Thursday, September 29, 2005


Went for enrolment, didn't need to go, but already I am trying to wade my way through all the BS. There is somekind of document and website for our project that we should have been told about. Which is ok if somebody had actually told us about it, unfortunately there was nobody on hand to tell us what the website address was. I am reading some guidlines now (no idea if this is the one I was supposed to see or if this is something else). It mentions that all assignments must be submitted in both printed and PDF versions, yet it fails to mention how we can save our word documents as PDF files. As far as I am aware there is a hack you can do with HP printer drivers and I could always purchase Adobe, but neither of those are easy. Especially not buying Adobe because it is so expensive.

Additional: Looks like there are Free PDF Publishing Programs around, but I am not happy. University should provide guidelines, as this is a new requirement.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

HD-DVD Vs Blue-Ray and Why Microsoft/Intel went with HD

Microsoft and Intel have announced that they are nolonger staying neutral in the coming standards war and instead backing HD-DVD. I was a little surprised by this and Tom's Hardware has an article about why they have abandoned Blue-Ray.

Effectively Intel and Microsoft have jointly produced a requirements document for the next big storage medium and Blue-Ray has failed a fair few of them:
  • Authorised copies of a legally obtained disc
    Blue-Ray will not allow you to copy discs, this might seem odd, but Microsoft and Intel want to do this because Intel has a new standard coming out (like Centrino) called Viiv that will allow you to do some funky home entertainment stuff, and in that they want to copy films to a hard drive. Blue-Ray will not let them do that.

  • Support for hybrid discs
    Blue-Ray will not support forwards compatibility (do not get me started Again). Either by one side bing DVD and the other being Blue-Ray or some other method. HD-DVD discs on the other hand have the real potential to be sold as HD-DVD discs and still offer functionality if you only have a standard DVD reader.

  • Maintaining low production costs
    China is backing HD-DVD. So HD-DVD drives will be much cheaper.

  • Maintaining low disc replication costs
    For a disc replication facility to produce Blue-Ray discs, they will have to invest $1.7million per production line. HD-DVD on the other hand does not require a complete retooling of the facility. That isn't to say it won't cost money, but it is cheaper because HD-DVD is fairly close to how our current DVD standard works.

  • Disc storage capacity
    This surprised me, but HD-DVD has working 30GB drives where as Blue-Ray only has 25GB drives. Sony has promised 50GB discs, but they haven't managed to get that into a demonstration unit.

  • Interactivity standards (I think this means the Title Menus)
    HD-DVD is using iHD which is XML powered (sounds like it might use WinFX, better know as the Flash killer). And Blue-Ray is using BDJ which is powered by Java and supposedly so difficult to use, nobody will.
It seems that the only thing Blue-Ray has going for it is that discs can't be copied (a pro depending on your perspective) and the promised capacity of 50GB, but Toshiba has said that they will be able to support 45GB so even that isn't going to be an advantage over HD in the future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It Is A Competition Site

Yesterday I talked about and apart from being strange and funny, is a competition site to win one of two tickets (two tickets are up for grabs in each European country) to Origen.

From a recent Article:
Origen is? The debut of next generation gaming. A real place dedicated to gaming pleasures. A place to play Xbox 360 before anyone else. A place to play all the Xbox 360 launch titles. A place to take on other gamers.
I am glad we got all that cleared up then. The closing date for the competition is the 10th next month.

Monday, September 26, 2005

State Of The Blog

I have been posting for a while now (see lower right hand side of page) and one of my tenants is to vet everything that I post, but more than that, I sometimes wait for the right moment to tell you about something so that it's impact is more relevant.

For example in 12 hours time the countdown timer on This Mysterious Website (linked to in every official email newsletter) will finnaly countdown to zero and hopefully the site's secrets will be revealed.

All the news sites posted about this months ago, but I didn't see the point until it was interesting. And I think that is one of the nice things about a blog, you can intelligently craft the content instead of taking a link shotgun approach like Joystiq does, who's journalistic talents don't extend further than use of the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V shortcut (actually to give them credit they did send someone to TGS and they did have some good coverage, but that was a first).

Ancestor Audio Podcast

Scott Sigler was a writer that decided to write a book, do a reading of it episodically as a podcast and hope that it would generate enough publicity for him to get a bookdeal out of it.

Well Earthcore was a huge success and you can buy the book from or subscribe to the podcast and download all the episodes for the website.

I didn't listen to Earthcore because I slept through the first two episodes so I didn't get into it, but I have started listening to his new book Ancester (currently on episode three) and after a slow start (just episode one), has started to get very interesting. If you like audiobooks, especially free audiobooks I suggest you signup to the Feed (iTunes).

I should mention that iTune's feeds are a bad way to go for all podcasts because Apple doesn't update the database very often and you can be left waiting weeks for them to update. So I suggest you use the XML directly from the site instead. Unless it is something like Podfinder or iTunes New Music Thursday (sorry no link because it seems to have disappeared from the database for now) in which case don't have webfeeds.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Be Afraid

This News Story about a kid being arrested for writing a short story about a school being overrun by zombies reinforces my belief that Americans are a very scared people, but saying that those anchor people on that site look like they are made out of plastic, and that scares me.

Nintendo's Innovation Strategy

Bill told me to read This very long rant about Nintendo's Innovation Strategy and it's a good read, but overly long. Here is the snippet that made me realise it was talking about familiar territory:
Genre life cycle is the concept that game genres go through distinct stages of market status as they mature:
  • Introduction: A new and addictive set of game mechanics are created.
  • Growth: The game mechanics are experimented with and genre addiction begins to spread.
  • Maturity: The game mechanics are standardized and genre addiction forms a strong market force. Product differentiation occurs primarily through higher layer design elements like plot, license, etc.
  • Decline: The market consolidates around the winners of the king-of-the-genre battles that occurred during the Maturity phase. New games genres begin stealing away the customer base. With less financial reward, less games are released.
  • Niche: A population of hardcore genre addicts provides both the development resources and audience for the continued development of games in the genre. Quality decreases.
Essentially the article is talking about what everybody knows as The Product Lifecycle.
Image Hosted by

Product is developed (costs money), product is introduced (customers start to buy the product), there is a period of growth (where the money is to be made), other competitors release competing products (not so profitable) and then consumers move on to other products (see Foster's S Curve for a better understanding on that if you like).

The loss in development doesn't necessarily apply so much to games, but what he is trying to get across in his bloated article is that Nintendo needs to build freakish hardware so that they get on the upward slope of sales early with new types of games. Instead of producing games in a crowded market where it is difficult for your product to be defined (like with the current world war 2 FPS market).

The only problem I have with this is that it relies on a very whimsical type of product development where the product is constantly changing. So when FPS games are popular Nintendo is off doing something completely different and not necessarily giving the customer what they want (Nintendo has never had a serious racing game like Gran Turismo for exsample).

Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Darwinia Demo

My Biggest Moan with Darwinia was the gesture control system, because although it sounds cool, it certainly didn't add anything to the gameplay and more often than not I found myself frantically failing to draw a gesture in the heat of battle. Well Introversion has rebuilt the interface with a more traditional approach and released a New Demo and Patch incorporating the new design.

Originally I was just going to give a link to the demo without playing it because I am busy with lots of other stuff, but that just isn't my posting style.

I love the new interface and the demo level is excellent too, providing a better tutorial that was in the first release of the game, and a far more interesting level to play on than any in the first release of the game. If the didn't have plans to make a sequel before I hope they do now because this is much better (level isn't filled with Red Virus needlessly and it has an interesting objective).

Friday, September 23, 2005

Class Timetable

Today I went in to pickup my new class timetable and I am fairly pleased because I only have one four hour break between classes on a Tuesday. I have to go in every day, there are no other dinner or lunch breaks anywhere on my timetable and I have no idea wither the subjects that I chose Six Months Ago where good choices or not. I specifically chose subjects that had interesting lecturers. Meaning they where interesting to listen to, held my attention and didn't have a monotone voice.

Class supposedly starts on the 3rd next month.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

And So It Begins

I got a letter from uni today telling me my custom timetable is ready for collection, today! I will have a go at picking it up tomorrow, but enrolment is this time next week. A lot of the guys have been looking forward to going back because they are getting bored with all the free time (I hope they remember that when they are in fulltime employment), but I have throughly enjoyed my summer holiday and am A much better programmer now than what I was a few months ago when my holiday started.

My biggest concern for my final year has been to do with my final year project, for which university has provided this bit of guidance:
Produce a project to level three standard.
I am sure they will provide more guidance when the year actually starts, but I have surprised myself by actually having a very good idea of what I want to do and I think everybody will love it.

XBox360 Might Do Very Well In Japan

Xbox360News has a piece on a new survey that was done in Japan. Essentially before the Tokyo Games Show market research said that 6% of Japanese consumers where considering buying a 360. And now after the TGS, market research is saying that 22% of Japanese consumers are considering buying a 360.

If these two surveys where surveying the same type of consumer, then this is very good news for Microsoft.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Art of Deception: The Lost Chapter

Kevin Mitnick was hunted down by the FBI for being a so called dangerous hacker and there was so much media attention that A Film was made. When he got out of prison he wrote a book called The Art of Deception that talks about Social Engineering, but his publisher made him remove the first introductory chapter.

Well now you can read it Here, on his girlfriend's website (might be wife, not sure). A very interesting read about how he got into hacking, what interested him and what really happened in court.

Virus Spreading Through World Of Warcraft

Heres the skinny: Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul'Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to palyers and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the genral population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately die).

GM's even tried quarantining players in certain areas, but the players kept escaping the quarantine and infect other players.
*Belly Laugh* ye a self inflicted virus running through their servers passed from player to player. Once you get infected you have two options, either live and spread the virus or die.

And Here is a video of it from one of the towns. If you read the chat log you will see people talking about haxors and exploits, but it is none of these.

I have hared of bad things resulting from developer interaction in MMOs, but this takes the biscuit.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Random Fact

Simon Pegg star and writter of Shaun of the Dead (zombie film spoof). Plays the part of an extra 'Photo Booth Zombie' in George A. Romero's Land Of The Dead.

XBox360 Manufacturing Video

TeamXbox has a Video (no sound) of the first 360s coming off the production line.

Revolution's Controller Cradle

The new remote controller won't be used in any games other than first party titles. So for Nintendo not to alienate the few third party developers they do have making titles for the console, they are have made The Cradle. This will allow a more traditional form of physical interface.

It's a bloody Cube controller!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Eve Online 14 Day Trial

GameSpot has a free (no credit card required) 14 Day Trail of Eve Online going on.

Nintendo 2005 TGS Speech

Watch the streaming video Here.
  • Nintendo is attempting to halt the decline in the gaming population.

  • Trying to create simpler and deeper games (if that is possible).

  • No game videos or screenshots where shown during the talk.

  • No new titles where mentioned during the talk.

  • No mention of online support except WiFi support for Animal Crossing DS and Mario Kart DS.
I didn't even realise that there was a decline in the gaming population, but Nintendo seems to think there is. I am surprised that they are ignoring the possibility of expanding online and seemingly ignoring the international market.

Anyway I think I know where they got the idea for the controller. See if you watch a none gamer try to play a video game they will jerk the controller around as if that would do something, and that is where I think Nintendo got the idea for this new one.

Additional: GameSpy has the conference video as a Downloadable (without queueing).

Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 Screens

IGN has some Ingame Screenshots of MGS4 running on the PS3 and it looks nice.

EDIT: I was drunk when I posted this because it's pre-rendered and there is no PS3 hardware.

Nintendo Revolution Controller

I am not impressed, but I think IGN says it best.
At which point a mix of excitement and confusion set in. This is a bold step for Nintendo. It will seemingly exclude the Revolution from a lot of third-party release. They'll all have to be tweaked if they hope to work well at all. So, this creates a rather large uphill battle for supporting the system with a consistent flow of content. However, the exciting part is that most games that are actually made for Revolution will be very unique and that's what Nintendo is aiming for. Unfortunately, as the DS has proven, unique doesn't always equal better gameplay. Nintendo will have a lot to prove when it finally chooses to reveal real, polished software that's supposed to represent how Revolution will play. That is going to be the crux of Revolution entirely, because without a consistently fluid experience, this could also easily be a flash in the pan or something altogether frustrating. We have to wonder how it might be holding your arm in the air for an hour or more, and if that will cause any frustration.
The controller is not revolutionary, not when you can Buy It For Your PC today.

Revolution is still the code name.

You can Download the controller demonstration from IGN, but I don't think any games where shown.

I can't see myself using this and waving it around in the air because I would rather play siting comfortably with a traditional controller. I use games to relax, not as an excuse to destroy living rooms.

Still waiting to see the full presentation, but I don't think it will be anything more than Iwata holding up the controller and smiling.

Additional: GameSpy has a Gallery of all the current Revolution pictures.

TGS 2005 Microsoft Conference Video

GameSpy has A Video of the XBox360 presentation at the Tokyo Games Show.

The conference was very much targeted towards a Japanese audience. I know Microsoft is very good at presenting to a targeted audience, but this was excellent. Anyway the audio on the video is bilingual, so you get an English translation of the conference out of the left speaker and Japanese out of the right. So I suggest listening to the video through headphones.

A couple of observations:
  • There are a few Japanese market exclusive titles.
  • Only one version of the 360 will be sold in Japan and that will have a hard drive.
  • The Mysterious Construction happening in Tokyo is going to be a gaming lounge dedicated to promoting the 360.

The head of Microsoft Japan said that Japan is a key focus for Microsoft this time around and I don't think he was just saying that either. Very few XBoxs where sold in the last generation and not many people seem interested in buying a 360 in Japan this time either. So Japan represents the biggest potential growth in Microsoft's console market. That is if, they get it right and convince the Japanese public that it is worth their Yen.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bill Gates and Napoleon Dynamite Spoof Video

My wish came true because you can now get the video over at LonghornBlogs. Just click 'Watch It Here!' and then look for the 'Watch It Now!' link on the page that it links to.

Not bad considering it is full of insider jokes.

Microsoft Fingerprint Reader

So I bought a Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and this thing is stunning. It has reduced the amount of typing I have to do to login, by eight to twenty four characters depending on the site.

One thing I noticed however is that the more fingers I registered with the devise the slower the scanning recognition time is. Plus it doesn't work with FireFox (not without trying however).

I could have just setup the AutoCompleat.. function on IE, but I don't like the idea of my computer entering that information on a website without my interaction.

Revolution Controller Pre-Ravel Feelings

Just wanted to say that right at this moment I am positive about the Revolution controller, looking forward to it and realise that Nintendo has to pull something out of the hat to survive. It has to be something that can be applied to all games, easily applied to all games and something that is actually revolutionary (they promised).

That Bag Of Money

I counted the cash and in that bag is £12.99 worth of change. Now I get to use one of those funky cash counters at the supermarket.

IE Vs Firefox

There has been some gasps because Scott Berkun a Microsoft project management and product design consultant has Talked About the reasons why he is nolonger using IE.

I really don't think Bill will mind because wither someone is using IE or FireFox, they are still probably using Windows.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Knows It

If you go to Google and type in Failure you will get a Biography of George W at the top.

PDC 2005 Spoof Video

This year's PDC spoof video featured Bill Gates and Napoleon Dynamite in a slapping contest for control of the company.

I wish these where released, but because of licencing issues none of them will. Not the Matrix one, not the Star Wars Episode 3 one at this year's E3 or this new one.


Originally uploaded by Brook1983.
Last year I was feeling very down about being 21, but I don't mind 22 so much.

Anyway yesterday by moneybox became full. This is my childhood money box that I just shove loose change in (mainly ones and twos). Don't know how much is in there yet, but it weighs half a stone and I will probably count it later today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Check Your Power Requirements

This Site allows you to check your computer's Watt usage.

It says my system uses 303Watts. And that is ok because I have a 480Watt power supply.

Yahoo Bought Flicker

So Yahoo bought Flicker the popular photo blogging site (I might start using it actually) and some things have changed, including the signup prosess. It has gone from simple to horrible in one takeover. And you can read all about the horrible truth Here.

Interesting usability observations and WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING!

Google Maps Does New Orleans Disaster Area

Google Maps have added an areal photograph of the flooded New Orleans Here. And if you press the 'Satellite' button at the top of the map you can compare how it looks now to how it did look, or will look when all the water is pumped out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

That iPod Nano

I so want an iPod Nano. I have sat looking at the buy button at the UK Online Store and I can't justify the £139 price. I have an MP3 player and all I do is copy maybe two podcasts on to it when I am going someplace in the car. My current player works great and there is no way I would use even 10% of of the Nano's capacity in just using it for podcasts, but I want one. I so want one.

Purse Snatcher

This is a video of a guy TRYING to steal a girls purse.

Naruto US

Naruto is one of the best Anime series I have seen, not because of it's magnitude, but because of it's simplicity, concentrating around a few core characters with the occasional bad guy drop in. Anyway Cartoon Network recently picked the series up and I was very skeptically because traditionally American dubbing destroys the soul of the story by removing all that was expressive about the voice acting.

Well I just finished watching some video clips over at Naruto Fan and I am very pleased. It's not what I would have liked, but the way it is now has a strong resemblance to classic 80's kids cartoon series with all the fighting like what was in Thundercats and TMNT. There hasn't been anything like that on kids TV in some time. And as good as Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is, I wanna see kung fu and screaming on kids TV again. So it will be interesting to see if it is a success and possibly herald a return to those kinds of cartoons or not.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Vista Will Have Chess And Mahjong

Well I am assuming that's what This means.


Spent four hours picking my Dad up from the airport today because the flight was delayed, but lucky for me I took a few podcasts along and managed to catchup some. Breaks on car are making a strange noise and I have been updating GuidWiki some more.

This is just a token update because I am SO busy.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Best Guild Wars Resources On The Internet

Somepeople would have you believe that the best resource on the internet for Guild Wars is GuildWars GameAmp and it is great for some stuff like Elight Skills, but GuildWiki is updated by anybody who wants to update it. So if you see something that is wrong or something that is missing you can edit the information right there and then.

This means the site is a little clunky because so many people have edited the information, but it has the most information of any Guild Wars site. Simply because everybody and anybody can contribute.

The guys over there are currently building up the Sorrow's Furnace part of the site after the recent update and apart from the lack of a map, it's looking good.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This Is Kind Of Fun

Type in a word and This site will make up that word as a colash of items searched, with that word from Amazon.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What Is .Net?

A while ago I wanted to write something similar, but now there is This very simple and straightforward article telling you exactly what Microsoft .Net is.

I tried a few years ago to findout what it was, but all Microsoft says is:
.NET is the Microsoft Web services strategy to connect information, people, systems, and devices through software.
And that only makes sense if you know what it is in the first place.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Microsoft's New Mice and Keyboards

I was just wondering yesterday wither Microsoft was going to launch any laser mice products, and they are.

They have launched This Website that profiles the new products with a flash demo on the Useful Links section for each (except the gaming mouse). And out of them all, I really want That New Ergonomic 4000 Keyboard. I mean I have gotten on well with my Microsoft Natural keyboard with the split keys, but the 4000 looks like a huge improvement.

I still don't know if having the keyboard split has made a difference because I am not at uni trying to typeout a 3,000 word essay in one sitting, but I haven't had any significant pain either. I have occasionally has a soreness in my mouse hand, but I don't know wither that would be more sour if I had a standard keyboard or not.

I do take this whole computer ergonomics issue very seriously because I have had times where I have typed so much that it hurts in the morning. And I can see myself having a successful career using a keyboard and mouse. So the thought of having a medical problem caused by crap equipment is frightening.

Random Nintendogs 2 Idea

I was just thinking about the possibilities for Nintendogs 2 and I came up with Yoshiogs and Pokéogs. Cats wouldn't do so well because real cats aren't that trainable, but little Yoshi's or Pokémon theoretically are, so would make an interesting spinoff.

Normally I would write this kind of idea down in my little black book, but no way will I ever need this idea for myself, so I post it.

I like the Pokémon idea the most because it would bring the gamer closer to what is shown in the cartoon series and this would be a great progression for the Pokémon franchise. I can just imagine training sessions with Pikachu striking targets with lightening. Or even an adventure mode where you take him out and go on adventures around an MMO environment with other players, battling and doing quests.

"Come here Pikachu"

"Stop that"

"Over here Pikachu"

"lightning attack"

Arrr what fun.

Workplace Stress

Job Seekers Revenge has A Great Piece on workplace stress. It categorises stress into ten causes and provides a description and solution to each. The interesting this about this (and this is mentioned on the page) is that all the causes and solutions to stress are management related.

I was looking through this and realised that when I am at University (back later this month) I suffer from #8 Pervasive Uncertainty, #4 No feedback (good or bad) and #10 The Treadmill Syndrome near deadlines.

The PlayStation 3 Incident

Not happy with this post, but got to get this off of my chest because the whole thing is looking like another Sega Saturn.

I just seen Gabe's comments mentioned on Slashdot and I jut realised that if PS3 games are not potable to any other platform because of the overwhelming differences in the architecture, then that means that titles on other consoles won't appear on the PS3 either.

So potentially the PS3 will see no multiconsole titles. And as crap as these titles usually are, that is not good for Sony.

Recently there have been comments that the blue-ray drive is costing Sony $100 per PS3. And if that is wholesale price, that is not good.

Then there was the comment from Nvidia about the graphics capabilities of the GPU bing less than the currently available GeForce7.

And in general nobody has anything good to say about the thing, not even Sony's Ken Kutaragi. He said he wanted customers to think "I will work more hours to buy one" and "We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else". That suggests it is going to cost a bomb.

As far as marketing goes Sony has been comparing the PS3 to a supercomputer and nothing else. Things are not looking good.

They only way anybody could be positive about the PS3 at the moment, is if they made a leap of blind faith and just assumed that everything is going to plan.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gabe Newell Trash Talks The PS3

1UP have been doing some coverage of Valve and in This second part interview with Gabe, he trash talks the PS3 saying that there is no automated way to find problem code, and it is too easy to write problem code for the PS3, making it a development nightmare.

He also says a graphics driver autoupdater for the PC would be good, but as we all know, not all driver updates are good.

He also does a lot of other moaning. Surly he can't be like that all the time!?

OldBoy (Completed)

I can't remember watching too many Korean films, but I recently seen Save The Green Planet and that was very good. A Horror, SciFi, Comedy and not a black comedy either, there are very separate horror and comedy tones in that film that make it very different.

So anyway I just finished watching OldBoy, another Korean film and it is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. Korean cinema has certainly got my attention now. You must see this film, it is cinematic perfection.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

First Person Creator

I know I haven't been posting much, it's not that there isn't much to post about, it's that I haven't been giving myself time to write posts.

Anyway on the 22nd this month FPS Creator will be released. I mention it in the HOPE that it is good, but logically I think it will be a pile of wank.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Learn Visual Studio .Net

About April time I really started to get into the .Net communities, learning materials and at that time I found LearnVisualStudio.Net. Essentially it is a database of video tutorials, but tutorials that are well produced and designed to get you quickly up and running with whatever the video's subject matter is. I use the site when I want to know how to use something and can't be bothered diving into my books and struggle with examples that assume that I have read the previous section.

Anyway until September the 4th (Sunday) the pricing is $29.95 for the three month membership and $59.95 for the Lifetime Membership. Then on Monday it goes upto $39.95 for the three month membership and $99.95 for the Lifetime Membership. The Lifetime membership includes access to all current and future videos.

There are a couple of sample videos on the front page, so if you think this might be valuable to you I suggest you signup now.