Thursday, March 31, 2005

Eccleston Quits Being Doctor Who!

First Andrew Hayden-Smith and now this! Whatever will happen next!

He says he doesn't want to be typecast and that's understandable because none of the previous Drs have managed to get work after Dr Who, but WTF!

PSP Launch

GameSpy has an Excellent Video of the PSP launch. I mean I have seen some launches through GameSpy, but this looks like the best yet.

Microsoft Getting Ready To KILL the Xbox

We are used to the last generation of systems floating around retail after a new generation of systems is launched, but because Microsoft is loosing money on each XBox sold. It Appears as if Microsoft will actually kill the XBox to prevent any more financial loss and to get as many people buying the XBox2 as possible.


One of the things I have always hated and will always hate, is companies that don't reply to email.

I post this because I sent an email to Rare asking what kind of low level programming skills they where looking for in their programmer applicants for a job they where advertising (just looking for kills that I can learn while on summer break). And they haven't emailed me back! HOW RUDE!

I could have been a serious applicant asking a valid question.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Andrew Hayden-Smith Is GAY!!!

See, if you wish for something hard enough it can come true.

I always through he was older than me, but it turns out I am two months older than him, but it would never workout.

My New Speakers Have Arrived

And they are very good, but the sub isn't as good as my old one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ad Hock Game Development

Introversion has published Darwinea's Design Diary. And there are very good reasons why games are not developed like this, regardless of wither you have a Manager to answer to or not. The team wasted a lot of time producing stuff that didn't work out right and the probably lost double that time by trying to make decisions later that could have been made at the start.

I have no idea why they chose to design Darwinia like this, especially when you consider that there is no shortage of good game designs out there, but the team got there in the end and I know they would have learned a lot from this.


Clocky is an alarm clock that hides itself when the snooze button is pressed.

Personally I keep my alarm clock on a shelf so I have to semi-getup to turn it off, but this seems perfect.

Transparent Screens

This gives me ideas.

Monday, March 28, 2005

New Speakers Part 2

[ mood | Happy ]
[ music | Good Charlotte - The World is Black ]

It has been a month since I last Posted about my broken speakers and I have only just today ordered a Replacement set (Creative I-trigue 3600).

I am not happy about going with Creative again, like I said before I don't consider one year to be a long product lifespan, but they where used a lot. I don't think this new set is going to be as good as my old set, but they are at the same price point as the old ones and they do look nice, so I am still looking forward to getting them.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Self Analysis Is A Wast Of Self Indulgence

So apparently i would make a good programmer. That's nice to know.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

You are great at finding patterns and relationships between things.
Always curious about how things work, you love to set up experiments.
You need for the world to make sense - and are good at making sense of it.
You have a head for numbers and math ... and you can solve almost any logic puzzle.

You would make a great scientist, engineer, computer programmer, researcher, accountant, or mathematician.

Understanding The Character Of Dr Who

Now the most important part of every Dr that has ever been and will ever be is his eccentricities, change anything else you like, but that one thing must remain.

The Dr is half human (his mother's side), has two hearts and is a Time Lord with a semi-working T.A.R.D.I.S., the cloaking function is stuck in the police box mode, but he refuses to get it fixed (sentimentality).

The Time Lords seem to be the self appointed protectors of time. There to guide anyone from making the same mistakes they once did. And as a Time Lord the Dr can regenerate, which is to say if he dies, his body will repair itself and morph into another. The very last incarnation of the Dr is supposedly The Master, who is the Dr's worst enemy, supposedly trying to bring about his own creation by killing his previous incarnations.

By knowing that he becomes The Master in the future means that he obviously knows that whatever his current state is, isn't his last and knows nothing bad will happen to him. This and the fact he has a T.A.R.D.I.S. which is the most desirable form of transport ever, allowing to travel wherever and whenever he chooses instantaneously. Plus the fact that he understands how it works and species throughout the galaxy have killed to try and get that knowledge, gives his personality a certain dottiness, but also a streak of resolve and certainty.

The Dr is the most interesting character in the whole of Sci-fi with a deep past, eccentric present and tragic future. You could be mistaken in thinking that he would be feared because of his power, but instead he is hated and hunted through time and space by powerful enemies. Through each episode we see this and yet we never know quite what will happen in the lives of the people around him. I just hope the production team don't screwup the Daleks.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Wicked PSP

Icespide has a wicked shots of his new PSP.

My Birth Chart

This is by birth chart and it describes me better (good and bad) than any little crappy internet survey. The first time I read this thing I was stunned at how accurate it was, so maybe there is something to be said for astrology.

Sun in Virgo

He is ingenious, sharp customer, discerning, crafty, diplomatic. To the point and subtle in speech, he is a real diplomat.

Weaknesses: petty and over-critical. Over-attention to detail, nit-picking and fussy.

Moon in Sagittarius

Likes to throw himself into the unknown and into adventure; he is agile, tough and enthusiastic. Attracted to long voyages, to discover the unknown.

Weaknesses: takes great risks in throwing himself into the unknown and into adventure. Audacious, bold and rebellious. Unable to stay in one place, is always ready to risk everything to achieve his goal.

Mercury in Virgo

He discusses, deduces and judges. He reasons logically and accurately.

Weaknesses: he is easily irritable and nervous. He tells off and criticizes. He is impulsive and manic.

Venus in Leo

Sincere, frank and warm affections. He is full of tenderness. High hopes of love. He likes to live and satisfy his passions to the full. Protects and makes friends with those who can be useful.

Weaknesses: excess in pleasure and amusements. Haughty, boastful, pretentious; he is affected, and seduces for the sake of seducing to prove to himself that he is attractive (this gets worse with age).

Mars in Leo

Combative strength. He always realizes his schemes. Can undertake big projects, conclude them successfully and receive the deserved rewards. He likes responsibilities and difficulties above all, and imposes himself forcefully.

Weaknesses: Combative force can lead to violence if he thinks it necessary. He is bold, presumptuous, intrepid; he likes to face danger and can naturally have a few hiccups on the way.

Jupiter in Sagittarius

He is agreeable, seductive, engaging and generous.

Weaknesses: immoderate taste for sport and games.

Saturn in Scorpio

Observant, self-controlled, unforgiving, tough, methodical, a researcher, an investigator. Lots of courage, self-assurance and can keep his cool.

Weaknesses: makes no concessions or compromises. He can become a fanatic of a creed, a party, work or a religion.

Uranus in Sagittarius

He is shy, delicate but proud, bold and lively.

Neptune in Sagittarius

Likes long voyages, things foreign, water.

Pluto in Libra

Brings changes.

Sign and ascendant

Virgo ascendant Aquarius

The planets in the houses

The planetary positions in the houses express the facts relative to destiny.

Sun in VII

Marriage or living together with someone of superior intelligence.

Moon in XI

Lots of friends, relationships. He makes friends easily and uses his relationships to further professional success. Feelings of friendship are superficial. Lots of children.

Mercury in VII

Hates being alone. He has lots of friends, likes to discuss and similarly has a lot of work friends. Likes to write.

Venus in VII

His fate depends a lot on marriage. Marries for love, children, happy emotional life.

Mars in VII

He dominates his associates, colleagues. He is the same in love life, dominating the spouse and this makes for a stormy relationship in prospect.

Jupiter in IX

Deeply intelligent, he is tolerant and sincere. Professional success can happen abroad or in connection with foreign countries. Faraway voyages are profitable.

Saturn in VIII

Financially not very well off, average salary. The spouse is also not rich. Possibility of a small inheritance, which helps a lot. Long life and natural death, if the aspects allow.

Uranus in IX

Interested in humanity. He is highly intellectual. He travels a lot. His mind is always alert, even when sleeping, during which time he often resolves the problems of the previous day.

Neptune in XI

Friendships are frank and unselfish.

The houses in the signs

Ascendant in Aquarius

Heloves meeting people, discussing until the wee hours of the morning. Likes to please, happily flits about. Is interested in politics, is a member of a youth organization, or one that fights for human rights.

House II in Aries

Financial success thanks to the use of energy and entrepreneurial spirit. He will tend to be spendthrift. Highly ambitious.

House III in Taurus

One is never better than at home. Not much travelling or taking of a sudden or unexamined initiative. Everything is calculated; the motto is "slowly but surely".

House IV in Gemini

Impossible to stay in one place, frequently changes home. If the job is monotonous, he will often change firm. The ideal profession would be one offering a lot of change, moving around, meeting lots of new people. An equally erratic love life is to be expected.

House V in Gemini

Likes to please; He can spend hours in the bathroom, preparing to go out, in the hope of meeting someone to dazzle. Likes interminable discussions with friends.

House VI in Cancer

Likes jobs in contact with the public. Weak point: the stomach.

House VII in Leo

Marriage for love, based on confidence, honesty, sincerity.

House VIII in Libra

Happy old age, natural death.

House IX in Scorpio

Likes long voyages, especially by sea. Might participate in regattas, likes risk, sport.

House X in Sagittarius

Job involving travel, especially abroad, and if possible with some risk attached. One of the professions.

House XI in Sagittarius

Loves above all travel, adventure and friends are often from abroad.

House XII in Capricorn

Disappointments are difficult to digest, the bitterness can last a long time before he is able to react positively.

Interplanetary aspects

The interplanetary aspects have a strong influence on the character and disposition of the individual and, consequently, on his destiny.

The conjunction aspect is variable and depends above all on the nature of the conjoint planets.

423 Conjunction Jupiter - Uranus

He knows what's going on at a glance. He thirsts after knowledge, and is a good organizer. He is very independent, likes his freedom of action, is a non-conformist. He is very agreeable company and is always in demand.

375 Conjunction Venus - Mars

He is amorous, not a peaceful and calm lover but a passionate one with a strong temperament. He is demonstrative in love, and likes healthy pleasures. He enjoys life to the full.

366 Conjunction Moon - Neptune

191 Sextile Moon - Pluto

He wavers between a rich and successful love life and social success. He has difficulty in succeeding in both. Almost always, the choice comes down on an ideal emotional life.

167 Conjunction Jupiter - Midheaven

He is a high liver, likes to have fun but knows what he wants and does whatever necessary to get it. He wants to - and does - succeed socially. After a hard day's work, a good well-lubricated meal in the company of friends is just the ticket.

121 Conjunction Saturn - Pluto

He perseveres, achieves his projects through hard work.

81 Conjunction Uranus - Midheaven

He must have a job that allows him complete freedom, something non-routine. He likes change, has a lot of energy and knows how to influence others in spite of his originality.

68 Square Mercury - Neptune

He makes errors of judgement, and lacks sincerity. He lets things happen, and is happy in his dreamworld. Confronted by reality, he is hesitant, incapable of being tested and falls back into his imaginary world. He might become a drug-taker.

61 Trine Moon - Venus

He is gracious, sweet and gay. He likes pleasure and entertainment, but also the Arts. He needs tenderness, loves and wants children. He appreciates home life in a comfortable atmosphere.

53 Trine Venus - Neptune

His professional life is unstable. He has a taste for the Arts, is a dreamer, is easily influenced and romantic. He is emotional and very sensitive.

45 Square Moon - Mercury

He is happy in his imaginary world and thus is happy nowhere, because he can never find his ideal world - thus causing a lot of change, instability and also disquiet. He is a liar, a gossip and leaves himself open to criticism. His lies save him. If the other aspects allow, he can be a very good novelist.

37 Sextile Neptune - Pluto

20 Trine Mars - Neptune

His feelings are dominated by wisdom and geared towards the ideal. He likes water, sea voyages. He likes odd people.

17 Square Sun - Neptune

His imagination turns to internal day-dreaming; he is easily influenced, and complicates life unnecessarily. He does not bring plans to a conclusion. The dream-world is enough.

15 Sextile Moon - Saturn

He controls his feelings. He has a sense of duty, of self-esteem and is prudent. He can concentrate on a long-term task, manual or intellectual. He perseveres and is serious in everything he does.

5 Trine Moon - Mars

He is frank, honest, full of vigor and ambition. He is strong-willed and powerful at work. He is a little hard on himself but, above all, on others whose capacity for action is not as great.

Advanced Global Personality Test

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||||| 73%
Stability |||||||||||||||| 63%
Orderliness |||||||||||| 46%
Empathy |||||||||||||| 56%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||| 70%
Intellectual |||||||||||| 50%
Mystical |||||||||||||| 56%
Artistic |||||||||| 36%
Religious || 10%
Hedonism |||||||||| 36%
Materialism |||||| 30%
Narcissism |||||||||||||| 56%
Adventurousness |||||||||| 36%
Work ethic |||||||||||| 43%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 50%
Conflict seeking |||||| 30%
Need to dominate |||||||||||| 43%
Romantic |||||||||||| 43%
Avoidant || 10%
Anti-authority |||||||||||| 43%
Wealth |||||| 23%
Dependency |||||||||| 36%
Change averse |||||| 30%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||| 56%
Individuality |||||||||||||||| 63%
Sexuality |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Peter pan complex |||||||||| 36%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Food indulgent |||| 16%
Histrionic |||||||||||| 43%
Paranoia |||||| 23%
Vanity |||||||||||| 50%
Hypersensitivity |||||| 23%
Female cliche |||| 16%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Stability results were moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.

Extraversion results were high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

trait snapshot:
social, outgoing, worry free, optimistic, upbeat, tough, likes large parties, makes friends easily, rarely irritated, open, enjoys leadership, trusting, dominant, thrill seeker, strong, does not like to be alone, assertive, mind over heart, confident, controlling, feels desirable, likes the spotlight, loves food, social chameleon, hard working, concerned about others


It's times like this that I wonder if it's worth going bed.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Random Tshirt Idea

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This is supposed to be a babydoll shirt.

If Only It Came In Pink

Raymond has his PSP now and gives a few thoughts on it and the games, but then in the second half of his column, he talks about how someone he worked with was caught in a piracy ring. Now with a video games journalist, that would be a career ending thing and even Raymond is having trouble getting his head around the 'why' factor. In my mind people pirate stuff because they find it easy and its a way of getting loads of software free, but as a journalist he probably would have had access to all the software he could ever want through his work. So it just doesn't make sense to put that at risk by betraying a fragile trust like that.

Video Games For Girls

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this for a Whie Now and I can easily spot a chick flick now, like This new film 'The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants', but as far as games for girls go, the closest we currently have is The Sims and Animal Crossing. Tetris did well and so did Dogz, but no games concept has flew directly over the heads of men and appealed intimately to girls before.

The endeavours of the crappy Barbie and Kate & Ashly games make an attempt, but these appeal to kids and not to a mature female mind. I am not going to go as far as to wear a bra and high heals to try and understand what girls want in a game, but I am looking at a difficult task. I know that girls have clear goal and I know that girls generally don't know what they want. So that leads me to believe they are just fickle. Maybe getting a girlfriend would help, I don't know, but a dressup game would be crap.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

This Latest Fake PS3 Image

This is fake, because it is too big. What the hell has it got inside it!? It's like the size of an XBox!

Tetris Tower

Tertis is probably the most addictive game ever made, but i don't see how it's new Tabletop Counterpart can really capture the block cleaning nature of the video game version.

The people in the advert look like they have having fun, so it must be good.

Random Tshirt Idea

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You know it's true.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rare Vacancies

I was reading the Programming Vacancies Rare has and all they specify as skills is C/C++ and some low-level programming skills. I mean, that isn't much at all. I could learn C or C++ in under a week and since they don't specify what kind of low-level skills they want, functional programming would probably do.

That kind of makes me regret not taking the Functional Programming module in my uni choices, but I could always swap when I get back.

Windows 25 Day Limit (Environment.TickCount)

I found This (Environment.TickCount) system property while looking for a way to get my System Up Timer to run in the system tray. It runs in the system tray now, and TickCount allows me to ask the system how long in milliseconds the system has been running for, so when you load the program it displays how long the system has been running for instead of how long the app has been running for.

Something I noticed is that Environment.TickCount returns an Integer variable, and the biggest number an Integer can hold is 2,147,483,647. So TickCount can only track the time the system has been running for as long as the system hasn't been running for longer than *Goes and uses Excel* 24 Days, 20 Hours, 31 Minuets, 23 Seconds and 647 Milliseconds.

My program will track the system time for about 97 years because it uses multiple variables (all smaller than an Integer), but since the TickCount property only tracking time for 25 days it makes me wonder what happens when that time elapses. Most likely TickCount would just goes back to zero, otherwise there would be a buffer overflow and the system would swear at the user, but is Microsoft really so pessimistic on how long a system will run for!?

I Can See My House From Here

I don't normally like posting a link to whatever all the news sites are posting to, but NASA'S World Wind is stunning and I need more RAM.

The Instructions tells you how to get the panning thing working so you can see the world in 3D, but this is the first proper application that I have seen that uses Managed Direct3D. All programs will be written in Managed code in two years, but it is interesting to see NASA take a lead with such an interesting program.

The coolest feature is the Scientific Visualisation Viewer which allows you to watch events like a forest fire or flood from a satellite viewpoint.

Monday, March 21, 2005

BBC1 Saturday 7PM New Dr Who

On Saturday we can all bask in the glory of the series so many people have already seen thanks to the wonders of the internet. And considering I reside in a household with a current and valid TV Licence I have in a way already paid for the episode and so I didn't break the law when I time shifted the episode the other week.

Considering this is the first episode in so long I am very pleased with the production team. The Dr is played probably on the dippy side of eccentric, but the Billy is as sexy as ever and that is what really matters.
The special effects could probably be better, but considering the volume of effects splattered throughout the episode I am pleased. Even that slight wink wink comedy element of the past series when an obviously fake monster appears on screen makes it into the episode.

XBox Vs PS2 Vs GC

I haven't actually commented on the current console war yet, but I think the winner is the XBox.

My reasoning is that if you have all three consoles and you buy a copy of Time Splitters Future Perfect, you will be buying it for the XBox because it has the best graphics and the best online support. The GC version doesn't have Dolby or Online and the PS2 version doesn't look as good as the other versions and is going to have the longer load times. Plus on the XBox you don't have to worry about memory space for the levels you create and it supports upto sixteen player multiplayer instead of only eight on the PS2.

If the GC had better thirdparty support and Nintendo was committed to pushing the capabilities of it's own hardware more often then it would have done better. And I think the PS2 has peaked, but that is because of the Sony branding, not the hardware.

EDIT: Added Comparison Table
EDIT: Updated Game Cube sound compatability info, blame Bill if it's wrong.

-16 Player Multiplayer
-5.1 Dolby Digital
-No Wide Screen Progressive, but has something the IGN Video Review referred to as 40P!?

-8 Player Multiplayer
-Dolby Pro Logic
-Wide Screen Progressive

Game Cube
-4 Player Offline Multiplayer
-Dolby Pro Logic II
-Wide Screen Progressive

Anime Has, NO Plot

This is a post I wrote over a year ago, but I realised yesterday that I hadn't posted it on here, so here it is, my analysis of Anime Vs Western story telling methods (well a brief introduction to anyway). If you are one of those people that are still struggling to appreciate Anime, this rant might help.

When it comes to a film the three main elements that I look for are Plot, Story And Character Development.
Plot is the direction the story takes. The story is the general scripting of everything and the character development is the changing moods and desires of the characters.

With Anime in general the emphasis isn't on plot, but instead on character development. A lot of Animes don't even have any kind of plot at all. I know this is hard to imagine with western cultured eyes, but then the oodles of character development that takes it's place, easily makes up for it.

Looking back on the amount of character development I see in comparison with Hollywood films, the characters can be quite wooden and a lot of the time are the same people at the end of the film as they where before the film even started.

If I take The Matrix for example. Neo is still the same person he was when the first film started. His circumstances might have changed, but he is still the same person.

American History X, shows the change a hardened Nazi goes through to become racially accepting. Its a great film, but the character transition happens too easily to be believable.

Unfortunately the only Anime we get in the UK is stuff with action, because they don't think we can stomach the deep character development with no plot thing.

An excellent Anime is one called Angelic Layer it's the story of a girl that move to the city to live with her auntie and to look for her mom. Through this she gets interested in Angelic Layer (a sport with little fighting toy dolls). She gets quite good and enters the Angelic Layer championship and through that finds her mum.
And that's it!
The entire plot laid out for you, in less than a whole paragraph!

And yet that's ten hours of on screen action, because it is the character development that takes precedence over the plot. So if we look at just the character development elements, we have a story about a timid girl venturing to the city, to try and find her long lost mother. When she arrives she watches some people playing Angelic Layer and she gets interested, creates her own doll and enters a few tournaments. Enemies become friends and in the proses she discoverers her true self.

About mid way through the story she has a birthday where all her friends arrive and they throw her an amazing party. It's at this point the timid girl we once knew realises she actually does have friends in this new place and she knows she can call this city her home.
While the party is happening (yes there is cake), her mother tries to visit her, but she gets scared and goes away, because her mother lost the use of her legs years ago and that traumatised her into thinking she couldn't be a good mum. So she has been hiding from her daughter.

Lots more happens that has no relevance to the plot, but I don't want to spoil it. Just know that I cried at the end.
Shame it will never get shown outside of Japan.

So to my point. When you watch anime don't go looking for a plot because you won't find one, instead immerse yourself into the characters and just enjoy it from moment to moment, second guessing the whole story is pointless because characters in anime always have more backstory than what is shown. And In the west we use animation for comedy and kids entertainment only, so there is much to learn from anime.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Game Elements

Waiting for a film to come on television so here is a list of elements that I could think of that makes up video games, because depending on which publisher's reviews you read depends on which elements they evaluate.

Characters / char development
Characters are usually a game's heart. Normally revolving around a hero in a tainted realm that must be cleansed. Character development is a characters evolving personality through the events in the game.

Always an important one, but designers can really make a game as difficult as they like as long as the gamer doesn't hit a wall and forced to stop playing.

Games are all about gameplay, this is the most important element, it is what makes games fun. Gameplay can be so many things, but I think it is what flow the gameplay takes and how much breadth the gamer is allowed to explore the game through interaction.

Gameplay Boundary/Rules
This is the gameplay elements that are limited. So for example a character might only ever be able to jump so hight. This creates a boundary that the levels and the rest of the game have to be built around. And from this we can create interesting gameplay dynamics like jump-pads. Gameplay Boundaries can be introduced to make the game more simplistic, and therefore accessible.

A game must be fun or entertaining. If a game isn't fun or entertaining then it isn't a game.

The styling to which the game lends itself.

An immersive game will draw the gamer into the environment and provide a more compelling experience.

Innovative / Originality
If a game isn't innovative or original in any way then it is just a ripoff of some other title.

Intuitive gameplay controls
The controls a game has needs to be accessible, otherwise it will hamper other elements like immersiveness and gameplay.

Learning curve
Games have to have a gradual learning curve otherwise most people will be putoff.

A game's length is important, too short and people will feel letdown.

Games can have other implications beyond their virtual realms. Games that have done this to date have always caused a storm in the press, but these overtones don't have to be so obvious.

The core direction or sequence of events that makeup the story. Western audiences traditionally like a twist towards the end that changes their perception of the story.

Repetitively / Fresh Content
Not really an element, but I hate it when designers use copy and past too much in their level design.

Replayability can extend the life of a game tremendously. This might be something like rewarding the player with a new ability once they have completed the game or maybe the game has so many gameplay possibilities that the game is worth playing through again.

The narrative of the events that take place through the game, how the plot is styled and delivered to the gamer.

Styling is important because it aids immersion. A game without style will feel disjointed and unfinished.

This is a key element because all games have a quality feel or presentation value to them and if there is something like frame-skipping present in the game, then this can effect the quality feel of the game and ultimately ruin any presentation value.

Music can add to immersion and excitement, but good voice acting and foley sounds can really increase a lot of elements and general good sound quality and volume control are essential.

Target age range / Ethical
Targeted audience and mature content is an element because it defines wither it is a kiddy game or an adult game. Ethical content comes into this because such games like GTA are unethical as they glorify carjacking and guncrime and games need to realise that they have a social responsibility to forfill.

Timing in the virtual game world is very important for it dictates the pacing of the game and how the player must react to events and changing circumstances in the game environment. Actions must have the influence of time on them otherwise reactions to those actions won't happen. Slow games make it easy to walk away from the game and fast games require the player to sit twitching at the controls just to keep-up.
Fictional timing on the other-hand has a lot of do with plot pacing and the continuity of events that happen in the game.
There is also timing that cross pollinates between both these types of time in that fictional are possibly tied to the realtime of the game. The player can miss these so games must have a mechanism that will (for example) pause the realtime, show the player something happening by moving the camera to it and then once the event is done return the player back to where they where before and continue the real game time.

Goals and Sub-goals
Games must have a goal for the player to achieve otherwise there is no gameplay.

The challenge is the effort required to active a goal or sub-goal.

Is the real virtual world noises of the game.

Sets the mood of the fictional game setting.

Player Interface
This is the device or peripheral/s that the player uses to interact with the game.

Rewards are integral to conquering challenges.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

One Of Thoes Days

Earlier today I was having an argument with my dad and "fucking baked beans" was said. So I thought it would be funny to do a picture of some baked beans fucking.

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A New Look

Compared to the Old Look this is a big improvement, but it's still not quite right.

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There is a potential bug in the days field where I shouldn't be able to record more than 255 days and the program isn't secure from someone changing the time values in memory and on exite the values are just stored as a text file at the mo instead of the registry, but I will get there eventually. My current thing is to add XML comments to the code (so I can auto generate anykind of document about the source code that I want) and get it to run as a tray icon in the taskbar.

Random Tshirt Idea

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Friday, March 18, 2005

14 Lecures Later

I have chosen my module choices for year four of my course. I am kind of happy with my selection, but its too early to tell wither any of the modules will be good or not. Hopefully I will be allowed to drop one of my choices because I have already done a level 3 module in the last semester, since I didn't do a 12 month placement.

I have successfully managed to avoid all JAVA and Ethics modules, but I think I might have one involving SQL. I say I think because I was so tired filling out the form I can't remember what I ticked. There is a Systems theory module which was recommended by my Innovation lecturer and that actually extends from my Innovation module so that should be good, I also ticked a simulations module that looks at process bottlenecks and one on Compilers. I chose five and two reserve in case all the places are fulled for one, but since I filled in the form today there is a very good chance that I will get all my choises.

Big Day Today

I am going to be sitting through a full day (10am to 4pm) of lectures and then choosing which of the lectures that I sat through, do I want to do the units for in year 4 of my course.

Looking at the units right now Component Based Development (introduction unit) and Information Security Management (my thing) look OK, but uni has failed to mention how many I need to pick. There is something about 120 points of level 3 modules that I need for honers, but they haven't explained it so I have no idea.
I just hope they don't expect me to choose my units today.

I know the guys will all choose the worst possible courses because they always do. When I see computer Ethics I run a mile because I know that entails writing one very large document on the social and cultural responsibilities of some of the stupidest things like an Insurance Companies Database or System Admins. I can write a good leaflet, but a fully referenced document with UML diagrams and crap is just pedantic. I have no idea what makes the guys look at something like that and go, "that could be interesting", as they have done a few times before.

My find and delete has been set to the words "Ethics" and "JAVA". Everything else is fair game. I don't do ethics because it is just common sence and I don't do JAVA because it is the devil's code. It is cases sensative, has a stupid debugger, no actual debugging tools and a garentee of eight errors when you try and compile the thing for the first time, not to mention the cryptic syntax and I still can't remember wither it is string or String, whitch is the basic veriable.

Incidentally we join the guys in Computer Science and Business Information Systems for our choices (we can all choose each others units). The CS guys seem to do a LOT of programming and computer architecture which frankly is pointless because very few people actually need to know a system in that kind of intimate detail. And the BIS guys just read about cases studies and network installation all day (sounds ok). Where as Computing (my course) covers it all from programming, networking, databases, innovation, usability, ethics and quality assurance. It is a course on the whole of Computing.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kicking And Screaming For Change

One of the final talks this year at GDC was the industry panel where they all talk about problems the industry is facing, and after reading GameSpy's Coverage it seems like the industry is even more angry about the state of the industry, than I am.

The cost of games is skyrocketing, but the amount of gameplay hours delivered is getting smaller and smaller. Games are supposed to be about Gameplay, but the industry chooses to spend loads on graphics.

They even had a big stab at the big players in the industry like Nintendo:
"Iwata says he has the heart of a gamer, What poor bastard did he carve it from?" Costikyan railed against Nintendo's premise, asking "is our idea of innovation blowing into a microphone?"
And yes, developers can rant all they like, kick and scream about innovating and how they must look at other industries for solutions, but not a single one of them had an answer.

Unfortunately the industries distribution model is too far gone to be rescued over-night. If they could choose a market however and then establish a development budget and product scope to target that market before they started making the game then they could set a profit margin. This would allow them to produce a good product on budget and give them a good reason to produce a sequel to a successful product (beyond squeezing the cash cow), because as things are the product is not getting better. And when that happens in other industries, they start again with a new model.

Wicked JAVA Game, GTA Style

Now I have played some JAVA games in my time, but This stands out.
Primarily because the AI feels right.

Stories Always Have A Beginning, Middle And An End

I remember always being told this all the way through school. Stories have three parts, a Start, Middle and an Ending. All my teachers told me this and at the time I agreed.

This fact is true when you consider that stories are all fundamentally just journeys, but when you consider that the best endings are always new beginnings, it is false.

For example the end of the first Matrix film is a phone conversation from Neo (with his new awakened abilities) telling the Machines that there is going to be some changes. Then he steps out of the phone-box and does his Superman thing. This allows the audience to imagine how things might change as the credits roll and it is a great way to make the audience keep thinking about a film (or whatever) long after they have seen, read or experienced (whatever form of medium it is).

This post for example is finite and has a distinct ending because it only has one running thread, that is me having a conversation with you. If however I was to have multiple interacting threads like for example characters, then I could construct personalities or traits for those threads and that would allow you to become connected with them and then I could construct a continuing future for those threads beyond the ending of the text, kind of like I did with my Coding A Feature A Day post.

This text however has an even more basic link to you, me talking through your internal reading monologue (yes the voice inside your head) and that can be used for you to question ideas or fill in missing ____ of txt. I can't see a way of doing the multiple thread thing in this post, but if I was to talk about a night-out and introduce friends and then talk about what happened to those friends, then the multiple thread thing would happen and I could leave it open for you to dwell on the outcome or continuation. So the end of a stories text doesn't have to be the end of the story at all.
Rant over, you can go and look at some porn now, OW! Puppies!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Star Wars Republic Commando (Completed)

My Commentes About The Demo are accurate about the most negative aspects of the full game. The command bits do work well, but you can either choose a good strategy or the wrong strategy so there really isn't much room for personality.

The story isn't very involving at all, you basically fight the same selection of units all the way through the game, even at the very end. And the game is TINY! It makes Contract JACK look like a good sized game (although JACK is still a smaller game).

Essentially this is a rental by design. And as a rental you will rent it for two days and complete it 4/5, but as a retail game.

I don't care how much it cost to make, there simply isn't much of a game to play. And as production costs increase don't be surprised if you start being charged £5 for an hour of game.

Coding A Feature A Day

Most artist's blogs inevitably have an entry where they talk about drawing at least one picture a day, just to keep their skills active. Well I have decided to do the same thing, but with my programming skills. So from now on I am going to code one feature a day into an application.

Here is my little app (Below). She is a System Up Timer that will keep track of how long she has been running for. She is an ugly little thing at the mo, but if I keep coding her she will eventually grow into something useful.

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This-morning I fixed a bug where she was loosing one second for every minuet she clocked and tomorrow I hope to improve here system memory usage, and probably make her look a little nicer, poor thing.

Possible big future features include multiple custom countdown timers, running from the system tray as just an icon, alarm functions and possibly even a line chart one-day showing session times and stats like average system running time.

I am coding in Visual Basic 2005 Express (Beta1), which compiles into .Net framework 2.0 code. Nothing but the latest SDK, primarily because I like the intellisence coding in the 2005 edition. Which effectively allows me to insert code by selecting it from a list, instead of hunting through documentation to find an example of the code I am looking for.

The Ball

I will probably do a big Innovation and video games post in a little while, but Dyson has just innovated it's vacuum cleaners in a new way by replacing the wheels with a ball (like he did with his wheel barrows). It Looks very different, but allows you to actually steer the cleaner instead of doing all that pulling and pushing you normally have to do to get it round a corner.

It's Cuz He Is Black

VCats has an interesting take on Sega's new Shadow The Hedgehog Game.

Peter Molyneux Speaks

GameSpy has interviewed Peter about Fable for the PC and B&W2. The video is downloadable on FilePlanet in WMV, QuickTime [Low] and QuickTime [High].

The poor fellow is obsessed with this perfect RPG/strategy/GOD game of his. He keeps reinventing the same game over and over again, but always falls short and settles for something smaller in scope (due to technological restrictions). You can see it in every singe one of his games and he is obsessed.

I have seen reacuring patters in my own design diary and it took me a long while to shake it off, but poor Pete can't even keep his gob shut about his aspersions. So now none of his fans believe a word he says about his upcomming games.
Poor fellow, yes yes, 5000 troops VS 5000 troops. I will believe it when I see it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Star Wars Republic Commando

Even though I hated the demo I have started playing SWRC and it is a tiny game like so many new games, but its kind of fun too.

I think the problem with the demo is that it starts you out on the last level and so it was too much, too soon for me, but the actual game introduces concepts like planting mines gradually, and actually explains things on the first level, like the numbers above your squad-mate's icons aren't their health levels, but instead their unit designation.

Extremely linear and I can't see any reason for replay, but I am having fun.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Loony Tunes Makeover

Resources: The Flash, The MOV File and the MSBC Article (with a video link to the news broadcast).

Warner Brother's says that it's an updated set of new characters descended from the original Loony Tunes characters, set in the future as crime fighters that will appeal to todays new technology and anime focused kids.

Initially I didn't mind the look of the new characters when I first seen them. They remind me of the reimaged batman they did a few years ago, that was very dark (not cool, just dark). Plus the crime fighting thing reminds me of the Power Puff Girls or even the Teen Titans. And after realising that, I know WB are really following what everybody else is doing instead of innovating something niche (niche marketed that is).

But to say this is Anime focused disgusts me. Maybe it has a fleeting resemblance to such crap as Battle Of The Planets, but nothing more. When I look at this I just see WB trying to claw a new series out of a classic, without effecting people's perception of the original. Kids will watch it if it is on, but i don't think they will be replacing their Power Puff lunchboxes anytime soon.

Random Fact

I have been running this blog for about nine months now and I still can't remember the URL.

New Black & White 2 Screens

Some of These new screens look brilliant.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

GDC 2005 Coverage

The three day industry event is now over and I am still downloading the Microsoft presentation, but GameSpy has a good Dedicated Section for everything that happened and even videos of the Nintendo and Microsoft (the one I am downloading) keynote speeches.

Plus AIXGaming has some Photoes of the GDC show floor.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Disney's Herbie Fully Loaded, Movie Trailer

Lindsay Lohan!
I wasn't expecting a new Herbie film, but Lindsay Lohan too!
O' ye, Here is a link.
Lindsay Lohan!

This Retirement Thing

I know that I said I was retiring from being a gamer. And I did for a good two weeks, but gaming has crept back into my life. I have stopped spending so much time playing games now, but I still do all the other gamer related activities that I used to, minus the checking of some news sites (IGN, EvilAvatar etc).

As much as I have tired to avoid gaming related stuff I can't do it because I am the kind of person that finds an interesting avenue of reading and then leaps in every time to findout how far it will take me. And the fact is that gaming is such a funky topic means that I can't help myself.

I have learned that I should probably put gaming second to everything else because rushing to complete a game so I can get on with an assignment that is due, isn't the best way to manage a workload or even my personal life. Darwinea took me twice as long as it should have to complete, but that’s because I actually stopped playing it when I had other stuff to do. Hell I used to complete most games in just two play sessions is how bad it got.

So I have changed the blog description to describe what I actually talk about. ‘Gaming, The Video Games Industry and Stuff’

Shadow the Hedgehog

I was thinking about Sonic earlier today and wondering when Sega would give the franchise another airing. And Sega has just released This which was shown at GDC.

Looks like Sonic adventure, but with Shadow instead of Sonic, and they have given him a gun.

State Of The Blog

I originally setup this blog to understand what motivates bloggers and to understand what the social implications or even the dangers of blogging are. So that's what these 'State Of The Blog' posts are really about. Recaps on this research process, but the recent addition of comments has made me realise that people actually read this rubbish and it has made me very conscious of what have been posting.

I have occasionally written a post and saved it as a draft post (yes you can do that with instead of posting it, usually because the post didn't have a final point to it, but since I enabled comments, most of my posts have been draft posts because I have been so conscious of what I have been writing and I have been more busy trying to think of acceptable content to post, than simply continuing with the flow of this blog.

So this has put me in an odd position where I am reading back through my older posts trying to understand what style I used to post in and why I posted what I did. And looking back the common trend seems to be short posts about whatever was on my mind at the time (like this one).

When I titled this blog I expected to write the odd bit of hateful deprecating journalism that just makes the writer look bad, like the Nintendo Has Lost The Plot post, but I haven't written as many of those as I was expecting and for reference my crappiest post to date, I think was my post about Half Life 2, but I don't find these hateful posts interesting to write about. They have been few and are simply just posts to get something off my chest.

So expect more short rants about programming and obscure rubbish in the future.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

New Legiond Of Zelda Trailer

The new Legiond Of Zelda was one of the games show at GDC and I think This new trailer proves that Nintendo hasn't completely lost the plot, but they have really got to get-it-together.

Nintendo Has Lost The Plot

I am honestly astounded by This interview with Reggie Fils-Aime (Nintendo US Marketing guy) over at 1UP because it is painfully obvious that Nintendo has failed to learn from their past mistakes.

As I see it Nintendo has lost third part support and is staying alive by producing a handful of good games every few years. Mario 64 was practically the only driving force for people to buy an N64 and even now with the DS, owner are starting to get fannie sores because Nintendo isn't releasing any good titles. Personally I haven't bought a DS yet because the grey case is ugly and there are more titles that I want on the PSP than the DS.

Typically Nintendo releases a few titles at launch then gamers have to wait for months before anything new is released and this was brought-up in the interview:
1UP: OK, they're coming, but do you feel like you might have missed an opportunity with that six-month window. Maybe if Mario Kart was here in January, could you have done it better?

RFA: I'll frame it this way: Would I love to be sitting here on a pile of 100 great DS games, and be metering them out, once per month? I'd love to do that, unfortunately that's not the way this business works. [Snip]
As first party vendors I would say it is their job to make sure there is a steady stream of good titles to keep owners happy, but Nintendo just doesn't have that kind of internal motivation or external support to make that happen.

The Most telling question was:
[Snip] But you could say that same thing about past-generation Nintendo systems: That you have the best software. But in the end, it comes down to a lot of brand-power, and your marketing and your image. Everyone could say GameCube has a TON of great games that you can't get anywhere else, and yet the PS2 still kicks its ass in terms of hardware sales, just because it's a cooler, slicker machine. It's a mainstream machine, people get it. It's out there, involved with the entertainment industry in various ways that the GameCube isn't. It's likely the PSP will achieve similar success, because it's a cool, slick machine. And you guys are obviously going for an older audience with the DS, what happens when Sony comes along with this movie-playing machine, this MP3-playing machine, and it outsells you guys, becomes the cool thing to own, and you come in second place in handhelds?

RFA: That's a lot of "ifs" in that question. [Snip]
Apart from that fact there isn't a single 'IF' in that statement, he responded saying that they will do clever marketing to grab as many sales as they can. He also talks about working with the Hip-hop community and the interviewer asks:
1UP: Can you do that with Mario Kart, and Princess Peach, and Yoshi?

RFA: I think you can definitely do it with Mario Kart. I think that you can definitely do it with Metroid Prime Hunters. I think you can do it with Advance Wars. Yoshi, Princess Peach, nuh uh. It's a different consumer. But quite frankly, we want that consumer just as much as we want the 21 year-old.
So he admits that Nintendo has lost the audience that they once held so strongly. Even I realise now that Nintendo isn't a company that gets me existed anymore. I just look at them now and hope they get better because I have a soft spot for them and they deserve better.

This next quote from Reggie is kind of interesting:
[Snip] because we're pushing the envelope on innovation, it is a tougher proposition for licensees to support our systems
Now if you checkout GameSpy's coverage of Microsoft's Presentation at GDC (Game Developer Conference), the guy doing the presentation J. Allard (XNA Chief Architect) says that Microsoft is avoiding the "Science Fair" that is normally associated with new console hardware. They have identified one of the console industries key flaws. Which is that when a new console is released, developers have to work with it for a few years before they get all they can out of the system. And Microsoft has hit the problem on the head with a big hammer by implementing standardised tools (XNA, more later).

The 1UP interviewer talks to Reggie about how developers only use all the console's power at the end of the products lifecycle and asks if Nintendo has any plans to help change that. Reggie responded with a simple, we are working on it answer. And Microsoft has XNA which will revolutionise console development with standard tools that allows developers to write games in managed code! (I will probably do a post later on the significance)

I liked this closing comment by the GameSpy writer on Microsoft’s strategy:
Since it's nearly a certainty that it [Microsoft] will lose the hardware horsepower race to Sony, it's wise for the company to emphasize features like personalization, customization, and ease of use. While jaw-dropping graphics will definitely draw a crowd, upping the accessibility of console gaming might help Microsoft reach new consumers.
Nintendo says they are on a different development path, but to what! Microsoft is trying to produce the best product they can for consumers and developers, so I don't know what Nintendo is trying to do or what direction they are taking, but the fact that Microsoft was at GDC and actually talking directly to developers clearly shows their commitment. Nintendo on the other hand is as tight lipped as usual.

Edit: Nintendo's president also Spoke At GDC, but he only talked about wi-fi and something about building on what they already had, which is good because of their strong existing franchises.

XBox2 Points and Versions

I was going to post this earlier, but I was round Bill's stealing his music collection.

I was reading GameSpy's info on the XBox2 earlier today and This second part about live support sounds great. Basically all games have to support a new points system. You will be awarded points by doing things in game, like completing it on easy, medium and hard or killing so many people in an hour. From there you can use those points to buy downloadable content over XBox Live.

Currently there is some content on Live which must be bought to be played, but this takes Nintendo's points system that they have been using, where you get points for buying Nintendo products for free rind-tones and crap, to the next level and a little beyond anybody else's reach because Microsoft is the only one that has a fully functional, integrated online experience and I can't see Sony or Nintendo getting anywhere near where Microsoft is for at least the next five or six years.

Another thing people seem to be forgetting is that the XBox2 will come in three different versions:
  • A cheap one without a hard drive.
  • One with a hard drive.
  • And one with a copy of Windows Media Centre Edition which will seriously rock the boat because Nintendo didn't integrated DVD into the game cube, saying that to blur the line between gaming and other devises was wrong. Well WMCE integrates everything you connect it to, and gives it a glorious funky interface. You can findout more from the horse's mouth at Channel 9, but this one feature could explode Microsoft's market.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Battlefield 2: Explosive Trailer

*Grown* not another war based FPS, but This is a great trailer.

Darwinia (Completed)

Darwinia by Introversion is a strategy game much like Populous, who's sequel Populous In The Beginning also used 2D spates on a 3D background and required the player to travel around a big map from mission to mission killing the other coloured guys. This game is certainly inspired by Peter Molyneux's work, right down to copying the gesture system from Black & White (more on that later).

Darwinia opens with an amazing sequence that immersed me right into the feel of the game. Dr Sepulveda welcomes you to Darwinia and explains that a nasty virus has infected this virtual world and is killing his life's work, the Darwinians. The supposed result of genetic algorithms.

It is your job to create units, and retake Darwinia one area at a time (tis a ye-olde-strategy game). The graphics are nice, the sounds are original (inspired by 80's gaming soundtracks) and the interface is workable. I say workable because to create units you must use a simple mouse gesture system. This is all good and nice, but I don't see the advantage over a traditional button system. You could argue that it frees up the gaming screen (like it did in Black & White), but to use the gesture system you have to access an alternate screen and then draw the gesture with the mouse. Frankly it would have just been simpler for them to have shoved some buttons on that screen instead. I didn't have a problem drawing gestures, but in the heat of battle getting a gesture wrong is a minor annoyance.

The game's levels look great, the art direction is splendid and seemingly original, although the engineer units look like those big flying things from Tron and that stuck with my through the game, because in Tron they are the bad guys and i couldn't shake the notion that I was the invading force in Darwinia.

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Darwinia (Engineer Unit)

Based of that I can't say that Darwinia is a completely original game, although they where very close to creating one and i am not sure a 100% original game is what they had in mind.

Darwinea's difficult is ramped up through the levels by increasing the number or units you face. Later on they introduce machines that produce enemy units on a massive scale and since you can't die or lose a game, it is just a matter of time before each level is completed. This sounds stupid and it is because some of the levels initially look like long slogs and they are, each level is just a matter of time.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the last level in the game is either incredibly easy or impossible depending on which island you attack first and this is all because of those enemy respawning machines, so I guess you could argue that they did think about balancing the game, but I don't consider increasing the number or enemy units to be a particularly fun or intelligent way for games to increase level difficulty because it always ends with horde-killing.

One-thing that made me taken aback was the inconsistency in the story. When you first arrive in Darwinia Dr Sepulveda says he doesn't know what happened, but at the start of the last level he reveals to you that he actually knew exactly what happened, and he doesn't acknowledge that he lied! It's kind of like "No I don't know he killed your dog" then "he had an evil look in his eye when he did it", WTF!
And in the end-sequence he mentions the Soul Destroyers! THE WHO!
I can only assume he is referring to the virus, but I have no idea and frankly inconsistencies in story are normally unfortunate, but appalling in a game this small.

Darwinia is not worth £30 (too short). Darwinia is partially fun, partially rewarding, but as an overall experience I question some the the team's design decisions.

The Funniest Webcomic On The Planet Returns, Hazza!

I have been reading Digital Purgatory for ages, but the updates stopped and that was a sad time, but the strip is back now and we can all rejoice again. For anybody who doesn't know DP is basically about a couple of software support guys, no fancy sets, no political commentary and nothing game related. Just a poster of a female model's body with Mr Bean's head on, stuck on the wall and a double act.

State Of The Blog

If you note at the top right corner of this page it says 'Anime and Stuff', that is supposed to be the description for this blog, but I haven't talked about anime much at all.

In other new1s the first episode of brand spanking new Dr Who has been leaked onto the internet. I did rent a few Dr Who episodes on DVD a bit ago and the old black and white episodes are far better then any of the crummy Mc Coy ones. Partly because the Mc year's cliffhangers always involved some alien jumping out or pyrotechnic explosion, and Ace shouting "DR!" *cut to music*

So when Dr Who was cancelled, rather than a death, it was really just the Dr disappearing, to reappear later with a completely different production team, and in an age where special effects don't have to involve rubber, model kits or smoke bombs. Dr Who has always been ahead of it's time (even now), but I truly believe that this time the BBC will be able to do it justice for generations to come. Fingers crossed anyway.

Monday, March 07, 2005

eXeem 0.22

Apparently they have sorted out the server stability problems now. So Here is a link to 0.22.


I have turned comments on. I think the emotional reason why I have left them off is that I have no control over what people post and that it will remind me that nobody reads anything I type.

Saturday's Eurovision Selection

This is kind of a belated post, but I actually think we are in with a chance of winning or at least scoring this year.

John Prescott Is A Fuckwit (Acording to google)

If you go to Google, type in fuckwit and press the 'I am Feeling Lucky' button, you get John Prescott's homepage at number 10.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A Game For Mother's Day

I went Morrison's to pick something up and they where completely out of flowers. Just a green skeleton of a flower stand remained. Thats was ok though because I hadn't gone there for flowers for my Mum because I got her flowers the last two years running and I don't like being predictable. No for my Mum it was a nice bottle of red wine that I know she likes.

It's interesting to see how some shops put on a big spread for mothers day and others just don't bother. Maybe the gaming industry could one-day promote games for mothers day, and that will probably happen in the future, but the industry is still lacking that kind of content that would be suitable for such an occasion.
Yes I know the kind of game i am talking about has never been made, but people buy films as thoughtful gifts, chocolate, clothes, flowers and even wines, but games are not yet romantic, thoughtful or considered a good gift for mothers day. Shame on the gaming industry I say.

Random Fact

One in ten people are not heterosexual.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cheapest Place To Buy Darwinia

I wouldn't normally link to shop sites for bargains, but Darwinia retails for a whopping £30. So if you want a cheaper copy I can point to PowerPlay Direct who are selling it for £17.99.

The game is actually very good, it just takes some work to get into.

Darwinia Update

I got past the Yard level and now the game has started to open up a little. Maybe Yerd is just a bad level then, because this is shaping up to be quite the game of strategy. Although I still don't see how anybody can loose, so with enough time invested the only outcome is a win.

And yes I know I am supposed to be a retired gamer, but this is made by Introversion, probably the most successful recent indie-developer. So this is not some manufactured product, or some middleware compiled rubbish from some company that churns out Sports titles year on year. No, this has been hand coded by people that eat, sleep and dream this one game right from the first design meeting.
So that's why I have temporally come out of retirement, so i can sample Introversion's fine fruits.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Darwinia, The Hard Slog

I have to say for the first few hours of gameplay I was more than just a little impressed with Darwinia. The fact that the game doesn't even have a main menu is very innovative. It just goes seamlessly from the intro into the game.

The problems with the game stem from the fact that you can't loose, meaning that to provide the player with a challenge many of the levels are just long stints of blowing stuff up. The story progresses well from level to level, but I have just lost interest after hitting the Yard level. Simply put, after a few upgrades the interface becomes awkward and there are so many enemies to kill that the gameplay looses pace.

I will probably play some more tomorrow, but right I just don't feel like playing monotonously destroying stuff.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Connection Down (well it was)

In an attempt to get Google to list my site more I am going to cover some deeper technical stuff occasionally that aren't usually found on websites, like this little incident today.

Got home, turned on monitor, found computer disconnected (happens occasionally), restarted and then I was unable to reconnect! At this point I knew something was wrong.

I kept clicking connect, but I would immediately get disconnected. Then Microsoft AntiSpyware poped-up and said something about the LSP (Layered Service Provider) which allows programs like Anti-viruses to have a higher custom level to network access.

So I phoned Wanadoo and the guy said it was my phone extension cable.
So I phoned again to try and get someone half competent and got a guy who knew what I was talking about.

He basically got me to reset the LSP settings by typing
'netsh nt ip resetc:/resetlog.txt'
at the Run screen.

I then restarted and all is fine now. So I give Wanadoo technical 4/5 for getting it right the second time and not making me wait either time I phoned (I stick to ISPs with good technical support even though it costs me more).

I don't know what caused the LSP error or corruption, but I am currently scanning for Spyware and afterwords I will do a full virus scan, but I know I won't find anything.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Comments OFF!

Now I remember why I took the decision to not bother having comments on in the first place. They either act as nob polishing with everybody telling me how good my posts are, or people flame me and I question why I bother posting at all.

Comments ON!

Just for now anyway.