Couch Podtatoes Episode 98: Exploration


Welcome back to the show everyone! This week, Izzy’s been playing the hell out of No Man’s Sky, and Eri has been knee deep in Starbound, both of which are exploration focused games. We dive into what makes up a game that is exploration focused, what the strengths and weakness are, and how they might improve in the future. As usual we touch on many different titles, systems and mechanics and weave in our signature potty-mouthed humor. Come on a journey with us!


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Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 98: Exploration (runtime: 39:49)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:45)
Discussion: Exploration (starts at 9:29)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“The Exaltation” by Revocation (from the album Great is our Sin)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

Sick of No Man’s Sky?

Are you sick of hearing about No Man’s Sky yet?

That’s too bad, because I’ve got more to share! I’ve put some more time into the game, as I mentioned I’ve been doing some streaming as well. I posted a full, un-cut stream onto my YouTube channel, and thought I’d copy/paste that here for those of you who missed it.

It’s been a blast exploring this procedurally generated universe, and now that the PC version is out, it seems that this game is the talk of the community. It’s not like we thought it would be any different, many of us have been hyped for the game for a couple of years now since we first learned about it. Eventually we’ll move on to new games, but this is the new hotness now, and there’s so much to share! I’ve got a few more cool screens for y’all to gawk at as well, but that’s all I really have for you guys today. We’re going to be recording a new episode of Couch Podtatoes in a few hours, and yeah, we’re going to be talking about this game and more about exploration concepts.  So keep an eye out for that, and happy exploring to those of you who are currently playing this awesome title!

No Man’s Sky Screens (So Far)

Just a quickie post. I wanted to throw some screens of this gorgeous game out there for the masses. Also, I’m streaming No Man’s Sky here and there on my Twitch channel. You should throw me a follow so you know when!

No Man’s Sky First Impressions

From the moment I saw the first trailer for No Man’s Sky back at E3 2014 I knew it was a game I had to play. Originally announced for the Playstation 4, I was then also anticipating this being on of the main reasons to buy the console (outside of brand loyalty, along with a couple other exclusives like Uncharted 4). Later, it was said that the game would simultaneously release for PC, so I was torn. I obviously have more power with my gaming PC over the PS4, but then there was the thought that it was technically a PC port, which can sometimes mean shit performance or controls. I was leaning towards getting it for PC anyway, until they said that there was going to be a 3 day delay on release. That sealed it for me, I wanted to play as soon as possible.

I looked into pre-order bonuses as well. It seems that a pre-order from Steam would net you a new ship. A pre-order from the Playstation store came with a bundle of icons (boring). Pre-ordering a physical copy from Gamestop however, came with a new ship, an upgraded multi-tool, and 10,000 credits. Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

I pre-ordered last week. I picked up the game after work yesterday. I didn’t get into the game the night before like digital customers, but that’s okay, I wasn’t too far behind. The game starts out simply enough. You are given the tiniest of backstories and are thrust onto a random planet where your ship has crashlanded. Your life support systems are low. The ship is damaged. You gotta fix shit or die trying.

My first impression was “wow, this game is pretty.” Followed immediately by “this shit is not intuitive at all!” Seriously, the tutorial or lack thereof is a hindrance. This is coming from a hardcore gamer who has made a career out of skipping tutorials cause “I can figure that shit out myself.” Eventually everything starts to make sense, but there is very little guidance. Normally I wouldn’t complain, because tutorials are boring and annoying and you usually already know what you’re doing before the system tells you what to do next. In this case, just a little more help with basic controls and functions would go a long way. After about 30 minutes I had most systems figured out and had fixed up my starship to head out into the galaxy.

When you leave that first planet, where to go and what to do next is a daunting task. There is the general goal of “reaching the center of the galaxy,” but outside of that you can pretty much do whatever you want. I’ve visited space stations, met aliens, sold goods, bought goods, killed drones, been killed by NPC pirate types, and discovered systems, planets, and creatures. It’s been a blast so far and I’ve barely scratched the surface. One look at the galactic map will confirm this. The game is HUGE.

I’m unsure about the multiplayer component. I’ve seen the game listed as single player, but I remember talk of there being other players roaming the galaxy, just that it would be nigh impossible to find your friends due to the vast expanses of space (18 quintillion planets). Still, it’s unclear if I’ve crossed paths with other players or if every shit I’ve seen has been an NPC. It does feel like a living breathing world though, with flora and fauna everywhere, sentry bots attacking you for grabbing resources on their turf, ancient monoliths to discover, and ships that will attack you if you piss them off. It really does feel like there’s always something new waiting around the corner, and it’s very satisfying to simply lift off from the ground, fly straight into space and land on the next nearby planet.

The upgrade systems are well done. You’ll find new tech everywhere, and then you just need the materials to build it. You can apply upgrades to your Exosuit, your Starship, and your Multi-tool. The multi-tool is used for both fighting and mining, and will come in handy for long periods of time. I saw the game mentioned the other day by a person who primarily plays MMOs and he had said that he isn’t interested in this game because it’s not “MMO-enough.” I’d argue that the inventory management aspect, along with the “Massive” part of MMO makes this MMO-enough in my book. Sure, you’re not talking to others, but who cares? There’s so much to do, you can’t afford to be on someone else’s schedule. Plus, I like the whole one man army aspect. But I digress.

Overall I’m impressed by the game so far. It’s unclear how long I will be enamored by it, but time will tell. I’ve already streamed once, and will do so again for those of you wanting to see it in action. I’ll also have a screenshot dump post up soon. That’s all for now.

This Is A Catch-All

What’s up everyone?

It’s been a few days since my last post, and with all of this Blaugust talk around the ‘sphere I felt like I should write something. At certain points in the year, it was asked whether or not the event would happen again this year and the creator of the madness, Belghast was debating taking a year off from the whole thing. He reluctantly made a post where he announce that the “super relaxed edition” of the event would be taking place after all. Just like our “NBI Lite” that happened back in June, it seems that running these events gets to even the most stalwart of bloggers. I was a participant in the past two Blaugusts, completing each marathon with little issue. This year I absolutely knew that I didn’t have it in me. It appears that the rules are gone this year and that you can write at whatever frequency you wish, and some people are coming out of the woodwork to particpate, but I’m sitting it out this time around. Even though it has been said that you can pick your own schedule and stick to it, as you can see I don’t really have one. A few years back after having not really been consistent for a few years prior, I gave myself the task of making at least one post a week and I have done that for over two years now. I will continue to keep that as my bare-minimum baseline and typically I push out 2-3 a week. That’s a fair amount considering I still put out a podcast once a week as well, and put out some YouTube content or stream once in a while as well.

The TL;DR of it all is that I don’t feel like it’s possible at this current juncture for me to put out a post a day without needlessly rambling like I’m doing right now. Plus, like Murf, I don’t feel like Blaugust is the same without posting every day, so I’m out of the running. Well wishes to those who are participating though.

Now that I’ve gotten past the obligatory “here’s why I’m not doing Blaugust” portion of this post, there are some other updates I’d like to share. First off, I was gifted an Nvidia GTX980 card from a friend who was upgrading to a 1080. I had been toying with the idea of upgrading to a 1060 because they were supposed to be on-par or better than the standard 980 (not the Ti), and when mentioning this on Twitter, one of our NBI newbies got in on the conversation. He mentioned getting the upgrade and having no real use for the 980 that was in his current rig. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I offered some money for the card. He refused, and graciously gave me his old card, no strings attached. So a big thank you once again to Vagrant_Zero!

I promptly fired up DOOM (it’s the newest, most taxing game I own) and turned everything up to Ultra. On the GTX770 I had prior to the upgrade, I was getting 30 FPS with some dips while running the game on Ultra. Post upgrade, it’s a smooth 60 FPS all the time. Of course, I’m still a pleb running my games at 1080p with V-sync on because my monitor can’t handle anything beyond 60hz. So yeah, it feels like a huge jump (and it is) but I’m not really pushing the card either. One way or the other it keeps me from having to upgrade for a while still, and that’s something I can appreciate. I want to get a 2 monitor setup and maybe make the jump to 2k gaming soonish, but it can wait for a while.

As I mentioned in my last post I finished off Wolfenstein: The New Order, so it was time to move onto something else to continue my backlog cleaning project. On a whim I fired up SteamWorld Heist, and really dug into it. Prior to that I had only really scratched the surface, and my best guess is that I’m getting close to completing it. I literally played most of Saturday, a little bit more on Sunday and some more Monday night. My play time before that was only about 2 hours, so it was clear I hadn’t done much at that point. I really enjoy the title, but at the same time it starts to drag a bit the further you get. Sure, the enemies and ships change, and the randomization elements are nice, but after a while you’re just doing the same shit over and over and I really just want it to be over. It feels like I’ve been playing for much longer than the play time would suggest, and that’s not necessarily a good thing in this case. I’d still recommend the title, but don’t think I should feel this way about it after the fact. Needless to say, it will be completed and removed from the hard drive when it is.

More paths are blocked on my way to backlog completion every month. New games are coming out all the time, and subscription services like Playstation Plus and Humble Monthly keep me flush with new shinies. This month on PSPlus we were given Rebel Galaxy and Tricky Towers on PS4, along with some other shit on the other consoles. I haven’t touched my PS3 in months, but I still keep adding the games to the backlog anyway. Maybe I’ll play some of them eventually. Maybe not. Humble Monthly provides even more games, but the results have been mixed. The early unlock this month was for the Multiplayer Starter Pack for Call of Duty Black Ops 3, which in itself is a novel idea, as the multiplayer and zombies are the core elements most people play CoD games for anyhow. However, I own the game on PS4 along with the map packs, and it’s likely that I won’t play it on the PC much if at all. The other games are revealed on Friday, and it’s likely there will be something else in there I already own or have no interest in, but perhaps they’ll be a gem or two. I still feel like it’s worth the monthly price regardless.

The major roadblock to backlog completion comes out next week. No Man’s Sky is finally upon us. I preordered on Monday just to get the extra goodies as Gamestop had a promotion as they always do. Apparently on PC you get some extra goodies for preordering as well, but the 3 day delay on the release along with the fact that the game was originally designed for the console made me lean towards picking it up there. I decided I’d go with a physical copy too, as I rarely do that unless it’s a game I’m sure I want to have around for a while. I’m still hyped for the game and will probably be stuck on it for a while after release so I have to try to finish some other games before then. Good luck right?

Lastly, I was invited to the closed testing of For Honor, the Ubisoft title that is factional PvP in semi-medieval times. Something like that. I just remember the trailer looking cool, so of course I signed up. It’s under NDA so there won’t be anything else from me about it for a while, but I do have some extra invites if anyone is interested testing it out. It runs from Thursday this week til next Tuesday, so get back to me soon.

That’s all for now. Will be back with something more substantial soonish.