Tuesday, May 31, 2005

E3 2005's MMOs

As if the MMO market wasn't crowded as it is, this year's E3 gave us a more than a few new contenders. You can view a full list Here.

Monday, May 30, 2005

How Is Anime Subbed?

I have been reading Matthew's Blog for a little while and he just Posted A Guide on what he does to sub raw anime. I have always wondered what the various tools where and how they where used, so this was a very interesting read for me.

If you are lazy and just want links to the various bits of software that he uses:
Subtitle Workshop (for subbing and timing)
Sub Station Alpha (is used for styling the text and this tool isn't in development anymore, but you can do what this tool does in Subtitle Workshop anyway)
VirtualDub (an excellent free video encoder, but the plugin he uses to encode the raw video with the subtitles isn't in development anymore either)

Stargate SG-1 The Alliance E3 Trailer

This E3 Trailer shows off the gate opening animation what everybody who has been following this game has wanted to see. And I think it looks as good as could be expected. I am not sure when the game is set, but I suspect that it is set after the final episode of SG1, because I know the developers have licence to practically do what they want with the franchise.

Still it is looking good and I only hope they do something dynamic with the level design and AI. Otherwise I can see this playing through like every other recent FPS (linear levels with stupid AI opponents).

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Controller Family Tree

This is rather interesting, and it proves that Nintendo is right about keeping the details of the new controller secret, because all their previous controllers have been copied.

DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil (Completed)

Resurrection of Evil is the retail expansion pack for Doom 3. It gives you support for upto eight players in multiplayer, a new singleplayer experience that is set two years after the events in Doom 3, and two new weapons. The double barrelled shotgun from Doom 2 which was left out of Doom 3 for some reason, and an artifact that replaces the Soul Cube, which give you a bazerk mode, where you can run around killing stuff with your fists.

I loved Doom 3 when if first played it through and I kept going back to play the odd level hear and there, but ROE is just rubbish . Apart from being very short (yes I know its an expansion pack) the game just throws everything it can at you towards the end of the game, and it just feels dumb, I even found myself activating god mode, not because the game is impossible, but because I got bored with its use of big nasties, and it just gets worse the further you progress into the game. On reflection I could have probably used the new artifact more, but then that makes you invincible while it is activated anyway.

The end boss is Dr Betruger and he is certainly no where near as good as the final boss in Doom 3 and actually spoils the game a little because with the three other bosses through ROE there are some tactics needed to defeat them, but Dr Betruger just needs pulverising with the rocket launcher.

Even if you see ROE in the budget bin, I wouldn't recommend it. It doesn't bring anything new and is just a poor imitation of the Doom 3 singleplayer game. With stuff thrown in, but with that being said, almost all expansion packs disappoint. So their probably isn't anything the developers could have done to make it better than what it is.

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DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil

I have started to play through the Doom 3 expansion and apart from realising that I can actually run the game on Ultra quality in 1024x768, with x2 antialiasing on and all the other options turned on too. It is a very scary game.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Matrix Online Kills Morpheus

I don't know what the wisdom was behind Killing Morpheus, but I don't think anybody cares. Mainly because anybody with any sense, isn't playing Matrix Online.

Civilisation Anonymous

Recently there has been a couple of comedic videos based around games, and the one over at Civilisation Anonymous is another great example (Direct Link).

Civilisation exploits that, just one more turn, element of turn based strategy games by always giving you something interesting to do or look forward to doing, in the next turn. Wither that by dropping a nuclear bomb on an enemy or completing another segment on your spaceship, its very addictive.

The only problem I have with Civilisation is that it requires far too much mouse clicking. Sometimes to complete the most basic of tasks there is like three mouse clicks or more involved.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spore Demonstration

At this year's GDC Will Wright (the gameplay god) showed off Spore as a work in progress and the most I have been of the game till now has been a few Screenshots.

Well today I found out about GDCTV (free registration required) which has a video of his presentation and others from GDC2005. I had heard this game was stunning, but I had no idea how so. I mean people over the years have envisioned this kind of game and made parts of it, but to actually see it finally come together is brilliant.

How To Smacktalk Over XboxLive

Here is a great video tutorial on smacktalking on XBoxLive.

EDIT: Direct Link ( WMV | MOV ) 17MB

Official BitTorrent Search

As the FBI shuts down One Site for illegally distributing Star Wars Episode III, Bram Cohen the creator of BitTorrent, launches BitTorrent Search which is an official search hub for all your torrenting needs.

It currently doesn't work, but it looks so snazzy I couldn't help myself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Netscape 8 Breaks Internet Explorer

Apparently, but I don't know who would actually install Netscape 8 to fined this out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Car Thieves Sentenced

Back in October my car was stolen and burned out. Well the two guy that did it, who I have never seen, got a total of five months in prison (one got three months the other got two). I can't imagine it was their first conviction because judges don't like sending people to prison, but I still feel sorry for the guys.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Random Observation

Link is wearing lipstick!!!

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Random Comedian

A few months ago I was looking for pictures of Creepy Dummies and I came across a comedian calling himself Mr Dead Guy. I have been saving him so I could work him in a post somehow, but it hasn't happened and all i can say is that I want to see his act.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sapphire Does Liquid Metal Cooling

The Inquirer says that Sapphire are going to be using a liquid metal colling solution on their new ATI Radeon X850XT PE card.

The cooling solution is apparently 64 times more efficient than water cooling and uses a magnetic phenomena to pump the liquid around.

144 Megapixel Camera

I am simply stunned by This Thing and I like how it isn't just being used to take pretty pictures.

It sufferers with the same disadvantage as those early cameras that took ages to capture an image, but that is because the camera itself isn't 144 megapixel, but the final scanned image it takes is, if that makes sense.

Minesweeper Record Broken

Thismorning I broke my own minesweeper record on Expert.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bloody Eurovision

I know I don't care, but what did we do this time!?
Maybe the voting reflected Europe's stand on the Rebate Issue.

This year's entries where all fairly terrible and that surprises me because last year's Ukrainian entry was good and a couple of other tracks where good also, so I was expecting the quality to be a little different this year, but it was not to be.

E3 2005 Is Over

Fargo's E3 Blog has a good coverage of the event, but lets see what we learned.

  • Sony will be trying to trump Microsoft's simultaneous (US, EU & PJ) release in august by doing a simultaneous (US, EU & PJ) release spring next year.

  • Microsoft is going to continue leading the pack as far as multiplayer goes. Right through until the XBox3 arrives it seems.

  • The jury is still out on the 360's graphics, but since nothing was playable we will probably have to wait until launch to get the scoop.

  • Speculation is haunting the PS3's architecture as people pick at Sony's design decisions. It might have no CPU cache, it might not have a programmable pipeline, but Sony still shows off The Best FMV.

  • Nintendo was as coy as ever with the details on their new console. My only hope is that they actually have something good in the works, but they seem to have settled nicely into being third place.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Microsoft E3 2005 Videos

XBox.com has a video section with some homemade videos and I just finnished going through all of this year's offerings to give you a juicy shortlist.

J Allard Interview
J Allard talks openly about the 360 and without the marketing spin.

Ballmor Interview
Microsoft CEO talks about the 360.

Photo Tour Part 1
Tour of the outside of the XBox booth.

Photo Tour Part 2
Tour of the inside of the XBox booth. Not as good as part one surprisingly.

Edit:Press Briefing
I think this is what is being shown in the Microsoft theatre at E3.

Increased System Stability Part 2

A few days ago I Posted about how my upgraded RAM has increased system stability, but last night things started to become none-responsive again and go a little funky. So I was forced to restart, but I took this screenshot (see below) just before I restarted and it looks like, by doubling my RAM I have effectively doubled how long I can run my system for.

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How To Email Big Files

YouSenIt.com runs a service where you can effectively email someone any file upto 1GB in size.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The XBox360 And Backwards Compatibility Issues

GamesIndustry.biz has an article about the issues with the backwards compatibility on the 360 and it is because the XBox used an Intel chip using the x86 architecture and the XBox360 uses IBM chips based on the PowerPC architecture.

So to run an XBox game on the XBox360 the game has to first be recompiled for the new architecture. I don't know how they are going to roll the games out, but I don't think it will be as simple as putting your old game disc in the new console.

EDIT: I later findout that is all Bullshit.

Klingon Programmers

Just one of thoes programmer jokes that has been spread around.

  • A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!

  • By filing this bug report you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!

  • You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!

  • Our competitors are without honor!

  • Specifications are for the weak and timid!

  • This machine is GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!

  • Perhaps it IS a good day to die! I say we ship it!

  • Our users will know fear and cower before our software! Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they are!

  • My program has just dumped Stova Core!

  • Behold, the keyboard of Kalis! The greatest Klingon code warrior that ever lived!

Film Review Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

I have just returned from the a midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith and this being one of the first consumer reviews of the film I will start with, it was good.

I could argue that the film didn't contain anything beyond what was needed to get the story from the end of Episode II to the start of A New Hope. And I could say that there where times when the talking probably got too much and that almost all of the conversations in the film consist of only two people, but it was good. The lightsaber battles where fierce and the character transformations where all done very well on the special effects side of things.

I do wonder if Anakin strayed to the dark side too easily, but as he already started down that path in Episode II and since we know where everything was heading from that moment, I guess that gives us no reason to question that too much.

I would have liked to have seen more characters in there like Lando and the Falcon, but as I have said twice already, it was good. Much better than Episode I and Episode II, but it is also arguable that it could be better than one of the original films depending on your personal order of preference with the films.

Go see it, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

E3 Conference Roundups

Ok I have now watched the Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo conferences all in loverly full screen quality and since there was so much in each video that the press is ignoring, I am posting some notes I made.

Duration 1 Hour and 19 Minuets.

  • Microsoft describes the XBox360 as "the most powerful gaming system ever created". And interestingly enough when it came to Sony, they didn't actually say the same thing with the PS3, even when they had the big chart on the wall with the floating point calculation comparison between the XBox360 and the PS3.
    Sony instead just said that the PS3 was "twice the speed of the XBox360 processor". I am probably reading too much into that, but if I was selling my system I would want to push the point of any advantage that my system had over the competition, as much as possible.

  • Microsoft said they will have 2 Million XBox Live subscribers by the end of next month. To put that in comparison FilePlanet gets 3.5 million unique visitors per month, GameSpy gets 6 million unique visitors per month and IGN gets 22 million. So there is plenty of room for improvement.

  • Talks about the HD era. Which to me is the era where every game looks stunning and every game you buy, makes you feel more connected to friends with the same game.

  • You will be able to use Live to talk to friends with use of the headset while you watch DVDs, TV or anything else on your XBox360. Producing more of a shared experience.

  • One of the most significant things that was said is that Microsoft wants to use the Live Marketplace so that gamers can buy, new cars, custom models, new weapons or maps and the thing that exploded my head was when he said episodic content. Which effectively is the same retail model that Guild Wars is using.
    Imagine a developer that releases a game called Adventure Guy And The Tomes Of Sorrow, then instead of releasing a retail sequel, they could instead sell the sequel as an expansion pack on the Live Marketplace that you would payfor and download. So you would effectively have a marketing model where a developer could make one game and then use that as a platform for continued revenue.

  • XBox360 will offer iPod and PSP connectivity as well as many other devices.

  • Marketing target for the XBox360 is one billion units.

  • Microsoft gave everybody at the conference a limited edition XBox360 faceplate. And a few of them have found their way onto eBay.

  • All games released on the XBox360 will have
    -720p (HD TV Support)
    -16:9 viewing ratio (widescreen)
    -5.1 surround sound
    It is interesting to note that although Sony supports a higher resolution of HD TV, they haven't said that every game released on the PS3 will support that resolution.

  • Gotham Racing 3 will be the first game to have a spectator mode, so you can see how other people play.

  • 40 titles for the American, European and Japan launch this November.

Duration 1 Hour and 49 Minuets.

  • The opening voice over said that "the PS2 redefined computer entertainment with unparallelled power speed and graphics. Converging movies, games and music"

  • The PS3 has almost double the XBox360's data processing capabilities.

  • The PS3 has just slightly more memory bandwidth than the XBox360

  • The PS3 has two independent output channels. So it can display a games on two screens at the same time.

  • PS3 has equivalent graphics capabilities to two GeForce2800 GPU chips. So using that logic my system is equivalent to half a PS3!!!

  • The PS3 GPU has 300 transistors, so it can do all the Hollywood effects in realtime, including light shining through flesh and 128Bit HD lighting.

  • The PS3 has a screen resolution of 2048X1024. In comparison the PS2 used a screen resolution 720X486 and the PSX used a screen resolution of 320X240.

  • Supports upto seven Bluetooth controllers (that means seven gamepads for use with multiplayer).

  • Gamepads are USB rechargeable and will last for "more than a full day's gameplay before needing recharge"

  • Fight Night 3 looks stunning on the PS3, but the demo had no audience members, which is significant when you consider that most sports games even today are still using sprites for audience members.

Duration 50 Minuets.

  • The DS has sold a ratio of 4:1 games per console, compared to the PSP's 2:1.

  • "our wireless solution tackles three, of the main challenges which have so far prevented meaningful expansion, of console online play"
    -No need for broadband line installation.
    -Its free.
    -Has welcoming play. (I am confused also)

  • Americans will be playing Mario kart DS and Animal Crossing DS multiplayer by the end of this year.

  • The game demo reel showed Trauma Center Under the Knife for the second year running.

  • The Revolution design shown at E3 is the prototype and not the final design.

  • Nintendo is not giving away the revolutionary feature for the Revolution yet.

  • "The Revolution's controllers are very unique, in ways we will share with you later"

  • The Revolution will play Nintendo's archive of games for the last 20 years. There is no indication that this will include GameBoy titles however.

  • The Revolution will be released next year.
    Interestingly enough Sony did not mention when the PS3 will be released, but I suspect next year also.

  • In the coming Game Cube titles trailer, they showed stuff that was shown last year. And loads of multi-console titles that are also coming out on the XBox and PS2. This suggests to me that developers only develop for the GC if they are making a multi-platform game.

  • With the PS2 VS XBox battle Sony proved that an early entry into the market is good and that graphics although important, are no replacement for good marketing. With the coming war, the roles are reversed and I suspect that the XBox360 will be a clear winner.

  • The PS3's graphics are much better than the XBox360's, but the XBox360 has a more mature multiplayer model and the development kit is far better than anything Sony will be able to produce. So it is likely that the XBox360 will have more creative, and more complex games, with much better multiplayer.

  • The PS3 will probably be the most expensive console ever. And by the time it comes out the XBox360 will probably be on it's second price drop.

  • Nintendo's franchises are overworked and they need something fresh.

  • The GameBoyMini might actually do well as a cheaper alternative to the PSP, but it will have to be priced right.

  • Microsoft had by far the best press conference, but then Microsoft does that kind of stuff all the time with the PDC and TechED.
    Sony needs to both shorten the conference length and put better content in because it was dull.
    And this year Nintendo's E3 offering is their weakest in a long time.

Film Review Cube Zero

Cube Zero is the third Cube film and after the terrible film that Hypercube is, I wasn't expecting much, because apart from being bad, Hypercube didn't lend itself well to the First Cube Film, which is a strong cult classic.

If you haven't seen the original Cube film then you are missing out on one of the most original SciFi cult films ever made, and love it or hate it, it still gets people talking.

Cube Zero really brings the series home, but I do stress that you must have seen the original film before you see Cube Zero, otherwise you will spoil the original for yourself. Not that the two films are connected in events or characters, but in the revealed depths that the story takes you through with both films would be spoiled.

Cube Zero is about an operator that monitors the people inside The Cube, and then enters it to try and save a woman that he has been watching.

The visuals are strong, the traps are amazing and the acting is great. I loved this film so much I watched it again with the directors commentary immediately after, but then I do have a weakness for SciFi. This film will appeal to anybody that analyses films for their philosophical or moral implications. It is not an action film, it is not a drama or a romance, it isn't even a thriller which it could so easily have been. No, it is a film that leads from the concepts and ideas in original Cube film.

Tomorrow Star Wars Episode III Revenge Of The Sith

Nintendo Revaluation Concerns

I don't know about you, but I can't be the only one concerned with the flying discs. I mean does that thing float by itself or does the Revaluation use it as somekind of defence mechanism!?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

DVD Review Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure

I believe Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure is not as good as Are You Dave Gorman?, but one was an episodic live performance broken up into smaller parts for the benefit of packaging it as a TV show, that I watched over many weeks. And the other is one continuous live performance about his experiences with Google and whacking.

Yes it is very funny, yes it takes you on a journey of denial and self discovery and maybe there is some insight into the human condition in there, but he didn't use as many graphs as I would have liked him to, and for that I am sorry, but this is still one of the greatest standup performances I have ever seen. And if anybody ever says they haven't seen it, I will say "you must see it".

Cinematography can't exactly be appropriately graded and the spacial effects simply consist of a set of slides, but it is worth seeing.

Tomorrow Cube Zero


  • The XBox360 will be backwards compatible.

  • The PS3 games look Nice (from a distance at least).

  • The Infested Trailer was funny.

  • And so far the biggest "Where the FUCK, did THAT come from!" game seems to be Bet on Soldier which centres around placing bets on competing soldiers, and the whole Mercenary thing sounds great when you consider that this will carry on over to multiplayer.

FilePlanet Download Manager 2.0

I have actually been waiting a few years for this, but finally FilePlanet has a proper download manager of their own. Get it Here and if you want a download to try it out on, checkout FilePlanet's E3 Files List.

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It only works with FilePlanet and unlike GameSpot's downloader, isn't a P2P client, so all the bits are coming directly from FilePlanet servers. I have added a test file from a public server, just to if the client will automatically start downloading once I am first in queue, but version one did, so I think this will too, and that is excellent news for none subscribers.

EDIT: It looks like it has been programmed using .Net.

EDIT: If you use the public servers you CAN queueup as many downloads as you like and it will automatically start those downloads when it is your turn.

Monday, May 16, 2005

One Of Thoes Days

Feeling a little down today because it seems like nobody I go out with has anything in common with me and I am getting tired of it. So I ended up using my age old coping mechanism, which involves me spending all day playing a game.

Here are some screenshots of todays depressed romp.

MMOs That I Have Played

Anarchy Online

Asheron's Call 2
Fun, but too much running required to do simple things and no markets, so you have to buy everything from other players. This sounds a good idea, but it didn't work for me.

EVE Online
Gorgeous looking game and fun, but you have to get into the community to get anything out of it.

Worst looking MMO I have ever played and just couldn't get into it.

EverQuest II
Just didn't get into it.

Guild Wars
Still playing.


Lineage II
You have not known treadmill level progression until you have played Lineage2. I spent three days on a tiny island, not being able to move too far off of it because I would die easily and all around you there are hundreds of other players hacking away at an infinite supply of monsters.


Good, but you can't win or loose. So there really isn't any point in playing.

Ragnarok Online
Didn't quite get it.

Was a free Java game when I first played it, but they have gone the way of something else now.

Star Wars Galaxies
The developers purposefully make things very difficult for the players, just to slow them down, and it makes the game feel contrived.

The Matrix Online
The dullest environment in any MMO, and possibly the worst combat system. That's not to say it is a bad combat system, it's just that it isn't very good.

World of Warcraft
Nice, but there is a lot of running and the game has little depth beyond the simple questing structure.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Last Ten Years Of E3

In case you missed something from the last ten years of E3, checkout Armchair Empire's Summery of all the past events.

Prelaunch E3 Pictures

Here are some pictures of the exhibition centre in preparation for this years event.

Increased System Stability

I just took this picture.

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The Now time refers to howlong my system has currently been running for and the Maximum time is a record of the longest time the app has seen my computer run for. So I have just broken my previous recorded record, but when I was running 512MB ram the most I could run my system for was four or maybe five days if I was lucky because it would always start acting odd. Like I would click on an icon and the program wouldn't open or applications would act very sluggish, but now I have 1GB of ram, well you can see in the picture that I have just broken my previous record. So by upgrading the ram i have increased system stability, but I don't know how much longer I will get or if I can go for a full week.

Will keep you updated.

Random Idea

A storage-less Camcorder, as the main issue when buying a camcorder right now is choosing what kind of storage medium is it going to have, CD, DVD, those little tapes, solid state or a mini hard drive, but it all goes to your computer in the end so why not just have a wifi-card instead. Then you could record all you wanted within range of a wifi receiver and then that could forward the video steam to a computer that is setup to record the stream. And that computer could be anywhere in the world.

Hay how about a digital camera that when in the range of a compatible wifi area gives you the green light to upload your photos to a remote system and clear its local memory. That way you could take as many high res pictures as you wanted.

Sorry about this, but Microsoft Research gives me ideas.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What Is Microsoft?

I thought this would be a fun post to do because Microsoft does a lot of things, but they are just one company. Well Microsoft is a platforms company, this means that they make software that other people and organisations can use to build their own stuff ontop of.

Here are some examples of the platforms they make:

Been around since Windows95 and is the basis for all windows applications. If an application is funning on windows like Microsoft Office for example, then it is running ontop of Win32. Or possibly Win64 if you have the new 64Bit XP OS.

This is apparently most of what you see on the screen. Windows forms and everything rendered inside Internet Explorer sends data to GDI with then produces something that can be sent to your Monitor.

Later renamed DirectX, this platform is a standardised interface for 3D hardware, input devices and sound hardware, specifically designed for use with games.

I will probably do a post on this in the future, but it is a new platform for creating and running software.

Avalon & Indigo (the future)
Avalon is best described as software for people, as in 3D interfaces for websites and software. Avalon has the potential to destroy the market capabilities of flash as the custom interface standard. And Indigo is best described as software for software, as in distributed services. So with that Indigo could have a company database on the other side of the world, but interface with it as if it was local with software developed inhouse or by a completely separate company.

XBox (and to my real point)
With the Xbox Microsoft was apparently new and uninitiated into the console market. And that would be true if you looked at the gamesconsole as products, but Microsoft seen a platform. And as a company that builds platforms, Microsoft has been doing this a lot longer than everybody else.

Film Review Casshern

I could have reviewed The I Inside yesterday, but it was so bad I didn't think it deserved the dignity of a bad review.

Casshern on the other hand is a visual feast of splendour, but falls into the same pitfalls as almost all ambitious Japanese productions do.

The story takes place in the aftermath of a vicious war between the European Union and the Eastern Federation. This was has left the land scared with radiation, pollution and biological contaminants. From this backdrop the story explores the motivations of leaders who will do anything to survive longer and asks the question of wither being human is purely physical.

The visual styling is rich all the way through and even has some Anime styled fight sequences that wouldn't be out of place in a music video. The main downfall with the plot is the same as most ambitious Japanese films in that their storytelling tradition always come from large scale backdrop that is too huge to contain within the span of a two hour film. And indeed this is why long running Animes and Mangas are so good, because they have the length necessary to cover the scope of the stories. And so because of the length of the film Casshern has huge gaping plotholes and characters that don't feel fleshed out.

The Subtitles on the DVD sometimes miss-out some dialogue that is relevant to the plot. There is one point where the central villain of the story says "I vou..." and then there is a pause, but the subtitles don't translate his response so it is impossible to know what his intentions where, unless you speak Japanese that is.

I liked the film and only a pacifist nation like Japan would produce something of this subject matter, but it is a very flawed work of art. And that is unfortunate considering how good the material is.

EDIT: The director usually does music videos and the film is based on a 35 episode anime series from 1973 titled Casshan Robot Hunter, so that explains a lot.

It's Fake

That video of the Nintendo Revolution that I Posted was made by some very talented guys, but it is fake and that is a shame because that would have rocked the industry, even without third party support.

Now I fear that Nintendo's actual design will be less than what was shown in the video and be a disappointment.

The Nintendo Revaluation

Get the video Here.

Some people have said that this is fake, I think this is leaked E3 presentation video, but we will know in a few more days.

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The BBC Does RSS

The BBC has created Backstage which is designed as a project site to see what innovative pieces of software people can make with the technology.

Microsoft's OneCare

MacOS and some versions of Linux have built in anti virus services that are maintained by the organisation that made the OS. And looking at the market I wonder why Microsoft didn't act sooner, but they are now brining out OneCare which is designed as a comprehensive system tool for defending and maintaining a system.

I think this is a great move because it is specifically targeted at home users that are in the high risk category for owning a computer that is infected with multiple virus, and offer then a great hands free solution. This might even go further and force McAfee and Symantec to cleanup their act because they have always dominated this market will rubbish excuses for security products and have probably contributed to the problem more than providing a solution.

OneCare will be a subscription service, but if the AntiSpyware beta is anything to go by this will be an excellent product.

I will probably stick with NOD32 because of the extra control it gives me, but I look forward to seeing people use OneCare over Norton.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Xbox360 Games

IGN has a List of all the games currently on scheduled for release on the 360.

XBox360 Revealed

OurColony has released an Xbox Team Interview.

Microsoft has a Fact Sheet up on the XBox website that details the current spec.

Perfect Dark Zero has been shown and it doesn't look as good as everything else, but then it is a launch title.

CliffyB's new game is Gears of War and it looks stunning.

And somebody mentioned that to code for the XBox360 you have to know how to do Parallel Programming because of all the multichip, multicore things that are going on. And that doesn't surprise me, but it is as close as you can get to rocket science under C++. So the sooner the industry ditches C++ as the language of choice the better.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dead Of Alive 4 Screens (XBox360)

GamingAge has them and the graphics are very pleasing. We are truly at the level of FMV quality graphics now and it feels good.

I have seen some supposed PlayStation 3 game screenshots and they don't look as good as this, but I haven't posted them because I wasn't sure they where using the hardware correctly.

Incidentally the XBox360 gets officially unveiled at 5:30am (GMT) on MTV. And with that we should also see some more ingame stuff.

A Theory Of Fun Completed

I finally finished reading Raph Koster's A Theory Of Fun and although I disagree with almost everything he says, I still can't say it is a bad book.

All the way through his book he is hungup on the definition of Fun, and he can't seem to get past the notion that games are learning tools. Personally I see games as an entertainment medium, but he seems to believe they are a learning tool.

A lot of his ideas about how games are evolving by soup pot development and just building features ontop of what has come before is very conservative. You can see his viewpoint in action with his last two games that he worked on which where Star Wars Galaxies and Everquest2. Neither of which where trying to be creative, or something new.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Penny Arcade Made Me Laugh Again

It has been a long time coming, but The New One did it.

I like the gaming humour, but it has been so long since they did something where there is both a product and a joke in the same strip.

Film Review National Treasure

National Treasure is an ok adventure film. The film centres around finding chronologically ordered clues to the Tempalers Treasurer, and the film initially does a good job at providing tension with the treasure hunt by providing two battling sides that are both trying to find the treasure first. Then in the last quarter of the film the two battling sides join together and the film just becomes boring because there is nolonger a race to find the treasure first and the film feels more like a dull hostage film.

The best thing on the DVD is a mini-documentary about real treasure hunters. Unfortunately this is hidden on the DVD, and you have to Unlcok Secrets to get access to the video.

Human Verification To Send Email

I just sent an email and got this (see picture).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

So that will stop spammers sending spam from inside Yahoo, but it still doesn't stop them from using Trojans or using spammer apps.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Why Are Games Written In C++?

Most computer games are written in C++ partly because the industry is slow to adopt new languages, but developers like C++ because the more performance a developer can get out of a system, the more power they can use for graphics, AI or something else. C++ is a language that trades performance over safety.

For example in Visual Basic data is checked before it is stored in memory to see if it is safe, but C++ will do anything that the code tells it to without checking because checking would require CPU cycles. Think of it like crossing the road. Most languages look both ways to check for cars, but C++ will walk straight across the road without checking because it is faster, and so it is upto the programmer to make sure that at that point there are no cars coming.

There is a move by Microsoft to get developers programming in managed code so we will probably see that with XNA.

First Perfect Dark Zero Art

Only On XBox360, and that is kind of funny because this could be a Halo killer, but if it is, then it's still on XBox.

Film Review 25th Hour

I didn't do a review yesterday because the postman didn't deliver, but 2th Hour is about a busted drug dealer's last day before he is put behind bars for seven years.

This is a great film because it centres around the emotions of the main character and the lives and motivations of the people around him. The DVD even has a not so common writer's commentary feature that covers all the nooks of the story, if you really want to get in there, but just on its own this film is very well put together.

Cinematography is good and the director has got the feel for each scene right.

Makeups good.

Actings good.

And this structured review approach really isn't working for me.

Tomorrow National Treasure

Monday, May 09, 2005

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

A Swedish scientist has confirmed that Gay Men Are Attracted To Men.
Well I am glad we cleared that up otherwise somebody might have made a terrible mistake.

Guild Wars Challenges

There is some challenges that are presented in GW that have some interesting social dynamics, but before I talk about those first I need to talk about that dismal excuse for an online multiplayer game Americas Army.

See with AA, to play the multiplayer component you first have to complete basic training which means that to play multiplayer you have to know how to run, crawl, jump, fire and reload a rifle, use all the weapons in the game and fire aimed shots at a distant targets.

Basic training is great because everybody who then plays the multiplayer might not know the map or where the objectives are, but they can shoot at the enemy and should have their controls configured by then. And nobody can attempt to play a multiplayer game without having the capacity to win.

GW has a similar thing because one of the earlier quests forces you to join a party with real people and communicate with each other to complete a quest. This particular quest involves your party getting a group of enemy units into a specific spot while one of you holds back and pulls on a leaver.

This is significant because it means that anybody playing the game in the area that I am now in has joined a party with real people and communicated with each other to coordinate a maneuver.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This screenshot is taken with a party of AI controlled party members. Great if you are an unsociable git like me or just can't be bothered finding people who are doing the same side quest as you.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Teaser

It's Here and from all the currently released books, this one will make the best film.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

InstallShield's New Activation Service

Macrovision is brining-out an Activation Service with their new version of InstallShield. This is very significant because it will eliminate the ability for people to give false serial numbers to the installer, they are using to install their new software with.

This could eliminate piracy completely. I hope that this brings down software prices, but I suspect that it will largely just increased profits.

They have a nice Flash Demo, but with a psychotic woman talking about it, if you want to know more.

The Guild Wars Begins

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about Guild Wars, but I really like it and literally I can login for just five minuets, get something done and then leave the game anytime I want. Just click logout and it is done.

This is very significant for an MMO when you consider that a lot of them like Matrix Online force you to stay in the game longer than what you probably want to, because to exit Matrix Online you first have to find an ingame phonebox and then select logout. To get to the phonebox you will probably get stuck in combat or something, but this is annoying if you want to quickly shutdown the game because of a phone call, someone at the door, something on TV, dinner is ready or find that you suddenly have to leave home. This forced me to Ctrl+Alt+Del the game a few times and it is irritating.

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What A Game Is

I must have something skewed in my brain here because the more I read about game theory the more I realise that people have different opinions on what games are.

So far I have come across:
  • Interactive Movie/story
  • Mind exercising activity
  • Learning about something (refers to a game educating the play about a skill or world)
  • Interactive universe
  • Multimedia puzzle
People always make the comparison between videogames and Movies or Stories, then tag on the interactive bit, but never once has anybody said that video games are a form of immersive media. And that is what games have always been for me, ever since I first seen Settlers. When I seen that I didn't see a challenge or a puzzle to be solved. What I seen was the chance to become leader of a colony of settlers trying to build a home in a new world around a castle. And I was the chief architect and it was my job to lead these people forwards. Now for a young child this was probably the first experience of importance and responsibility that I had ever felt, because while playing Settlers I was someone important, not just in my mind, but in this digital world and I adored doing this job for these people.

For me games have always been an immersive experience that I have used purely as escapism, to immerse myself in another world and playout a character's life and experiences or to takeon the role of someone else in a virtual world, was always the greatest joy I ever had. Now the industry has changed and I am slowly learning that it is because the people at the driving wheel of the industry, and the vast majority of people participating in the industry, either developing or playing, see things very differently.

Azureus Bugfix

I had the 100% CPU usage bug in the new version of Azureus and knowing that is was probably caused by one of the new features I tried disabaling JPC support. And since then I haven't had that problem occure at all.

To disable JPC support:
Tools > Options
Exspand Plugins on the side menue, select JPC and uncheck the two boxes.

SourceForge has fucked up my login so I can't talk with anybody actually having this same bug to confirm if this is a fix or tell any of the guys still having this problem that this might be a fix, but that is SourceForge's fault.

Film Review Cypher

Cypher is a scifi film about a corporate double agent. The acting is bland, but that fits the film perfectly.

I am going to try and keep this up until I see the next Star Wars film, but honestly, I don't know what to say, without giving anything away (hehe that rhymes). There must be somekind of structuring I could do here.

Tomorrow expect no film review, because I don't receive any post on a Sunday.

Random Fact

Australian Zoo has just opened a Tiger Exhibit to spread the word of Tiger Conservation.


In a world where one of the most common gamer laments is there's no originality in gaming anymore, Psychonauts is an incredibly enjoyable breath of fresh air. That's par for the course for Tim Schafer, though. I just hope this game doesn't meet the commercial fate of too many of his previous ones. He deserves better -- and gamers deserve more titles like Psychonauts.
- Allen Rausch

Friday, May 06, 2005

Film Review Gods and Monsters

I have been thinking of doing film reviews for the past few days now because we have entered the pre-E3 slump and there isn't much else to talk about, so probably for at least the next few days I am going force myself to post reactions to films I have watched, purely to see what rubbish I comeout with if nothing else, when I review for reviewings sake.

Gods And Monsters is a good film about a retired director that sits about all day and dreams of batter times because he has nothing better to do.

O! MY! that was terrible, maybe I shouldn't. On one-hand I do not want to spoil anything, but on the other the film does lack substance, although the acting is good and I loved the referencing to The Bride Of Frankenstein which is done because the director in the story directed that. I don't know if it has any basis in fact though. Well if you want to see a well acted film where the only interesting thing is the relationship between three of the characters, then this is it or checkout Bride Of Frankenstein, but don't expect fireworks.

Tomorrow Cypher

An Update

I really don't know what to say right now and since this is my sixth attempt at writing a post, I will just link to some stuff.

32Bit Gaming Vs 64Bit Gaming
[H]ard|OCP have benchmarked the difference between running games on a 32Bit system and a 64Bit system.

Frankly this article is a wast-of-time because the numbers 32 and 64 refers to the memory address length that they use. So a piece of data on a 32Bit system will have a memmory address 32Bits long, and a piece of data on a 64Bit system will have a memmory address 64Bits long. What this means is that a 32Bit system can only allocate 4GB worth of data and a 64Bit system can allocate more than tripple that, but that is effectively the only difference. So theoretically there should be zero performance difference and a 64Bit processor is a complete, and utter, wast-of-cash unless you are going build a system with more than 4GB of RAM.

New XBox360 Controller Picture
Thisone has a cable, but if you compare the design to the SNES controller it does actually look familiar.

Unreal Tournament 2007
1UP has an article on the next UT game.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Random Thought

I was just thinking about how a lot of people don't complete the games that they play and then I had an apifany about the definition of hardcore gamer.

Somebody who will orientate their lives around games or someone who will play and complete a game even if they hate it.

For example a hardcore mountain climber will travel the world specifically to climb mountains, not really having an explanation why and hardcore film buffs will someones sit through and analyse a film they hate just so they can say more accurately why they hate it or to complete a series of films.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Azureus Serious Problem

There appears to be a serious problem with the new version of Azureus. It is using 100% of the CPU and not letting go. I have had this problem and Many Others are reporting the same thing too. So it looks like the best option is to putoff updating until they fix this.

I don't think I can directly blame the developers because JAVA is such a nasty language to work in. I don't mean nasty as blaming the language, but if you aren't careful you will get bitten hard because the IDE tools simply aren't as good as what most developers are used to working with now and code bugs are very difficult to find.


I should be revising, but a new version of Azureus is out and it includes two amazing new features.

Jolted Peer Cache
If you are connected to an ISP that uses this, you might be downloading some of the file you are downloading directly from your ISP because the server side code saves the most transfered bittorrent bits that are transfered over the ISP's network on their server, so they can transfer it directly to you instead of honouring an external connection. So for example if everybody is using bittorrent to download a new trailer of the Half Life 2 expansion pack for exsample then the ISP can save a lot of bandwidth by giving you the file directly instead of having to honour external connections to every corner of the globe.

Distributed Database
When you download a file Azureus will tell the DDb that you are transferring that torrent. Then if the tracker goes down, you can ask the DDb who else is transferring that file and still get it. This goes even further by allowing you to get files from torrents where the tracker is already down when you start transferring the file.

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Back On The Box

The Hitch Hikers film is a great film, but purists have criticised it because it hardly holds true to the original material. If you want to see for yourself BBC2 starts showing the original TV series tonight at 11:20. I seen the TV series a few years ago and although it is very dated, the material shines through and it is a series you won't easily forget.

EDIT: Incidentally directly afterwords is Barbarella, one of the strangest Sci-fi films ever made. I mean its hard to sell wither its a parody of Scifi, or a parody of porn.

And then at 1:45 on Channel4 is Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood. Which takes the mickey of Black stereotypes, and isn't a film for the easily offended, but it is funny.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Questionable Ethics

Now there is nothing wrong with eating rabbits. And there is nothing wrong with asking for money, but I have a problem with SaveToby.com.

EDIT: You know after thinking about this I am not so sure that eating animals is ethical at all because killing animals for food it is not necessary. Not that I am suddenly going to turn vegan or anything, but the ethical implications of SaveToby.com is possibly a lot deeper than I can be bothered to think about.

Plans For The Net Four Months

I am currently trying to put some revision notes together for my Artificial Intelligence test for Wednesday. That's not to say that my intelligence is artificial, but instead that I will be tested on my knowledge of the subject of Artificial Intelligence.

Frankly it would have been easier if uni had asked us to write a program with several different kinds of artificial intelligence incorporated into it, but a test they have set and so a test I will sit.

After that I will truly be on my summer holiday and for the past few months I have been putting plans together to make best use of my time, because on previous holidays I have been willing to learn, but have lacked the accessible resources to learn. For example I only foundout what the Garbage Collector was when I got a LearnVisualStudio subscription. And this is something I have been trying to findout for a while because I didn't have the right accessible resource with a good explanation of the answer to hand, and crawling around the net for hours don't help at all. What I needed was a good reliable resource to hand and this Summer I have everything I could possibly need.

My objectives for the holiday is to have a go at ASP and ADO.net, but what I really want is to produce somekind of 3D game. If I can do that then I will have proved to myself that a future in video games is possible. And frankly it is only a 3D programming milestone that separates me from my goal. From there I will either apply to work at a games company as a programmer or get a different job and programme games part time after uni, but a future making game will happen one way or another.

To get me to my goal as quickly as possible (four months sounds a long time, but it isn't) I have made myself a shortlist of things I want to know before perusing my goal more directly. These are basically just a collection of programming terms and concepts mentioned by programmers over the past few months that I have no clue about or I just don't know how to implement.

Functional Programming
design patterns
partial derivatives
fractal algorithms
generic collections
polymorphic programming
Custom Events

I have resources that will get me through all of these and I realise that a few are language specific. Functional Programming is a language in itself, but I want to understand the basic concepts behind it as a lot of functional programmers don't like OO and insist that their programming model is better. So I have the workbook given to the students taking Functional Programming at uni. I could take it as a module next year, but it is a language that I probably won't use, so I just want to scrape the surface and have a look at what is different between that and conventional programming models.

If I do get through all this and manage to do some 3D stuff, then I will be learning C++ because that is the game industry's standard language that they have latched onto and most companies require applicants to know. C++ shouldn't take much more than a week for me to learn, so I will probably give it a go at some stage. That might sound odd to none-programmers, but honestly once you have learned one language and understand its driving concepts then it is relatively easy to learn others, although that first language is a big hill to climb and becoming competent in that first language is a long proses of producing many programs. Which is why I started my Feature A Day routine two months ago.

Fingers crossed then that I get everything done, but last year my only programming goal was to learn VB.Net, simply because I didn't feel competent in any language, even through I had done three years of Java. Now with one language under by belt I feel confident enough to tackle the big fights and even bigger challenges.