Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Microsoft's Boomerang

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They look vaguely similar and apparently the Microsoft's Sidewinder pad didn't sell very well, but wither that is another reason to think the PS3 controller is a bad idea or not I don't know.

Halo2 In HD

IGN has a Video of Halo2 running in HD on the Xbox360 and it looks great. Not sure if running it on the 360 removes the texture popup, but it looks great.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bloody Sony UK

I want to get the guys at the flat a joint present for them all so I wouldn't feel guilty about not buying them anything individually for their recent birthdays and Christmas.

The two games I was deciding between Shadow of the Colossus and Katamari Damacy aren't viable choices because one isn't released until next year and the other wasn't and won't ever be released. The sequel to Katamari Damacy will be released in the UK, but not until next year!

I don't know what I am going to do now because the guys have a terrible habit of buying games and then realising that they are bad only after they have bought them. So Shadow the Hedgehog for example is currently on their list of most wanted.

I might say I will ow them a present, but it will be almost February before I can get it to them. And it's all Sony UK's fault.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Xbox360 Merchandise

If you wish you had a 360 or have one and just want to showoff then has a good deal going. They sell clothing and other stuff all branded with the Xbox360 logo.

My personal favourite is This Mug with inhaled sides.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

N-Gage Is Dead

Nokia Have Said that they are nolonger going to be making any new N-Gage category phones.

I don't want to flame them for trying something new so I won't rant, but here are just a few reasons why it failed:
  1. Overpriced games
    £30 per title vs free or very cheap (£3 per title) games that will run on almost anyphone you like.

  2. Limited Title Selection
    The lack of a Killer App to persuade buyers to get an N-Gage made getting customers difficult.

  3. Expensive Entry Level Device
    For a customer to get their fist N-Gage and then later hopeful become a loyal customer cost too much (£200+ I think).

  4. Crap Controls
    Any gamer looking to buy it as a gaming devise would soon realise after playing on one for less than two minuets that the controls where rubbish and the N-Gage is a phone first and a games system second.

  5. Side Talking
    The fist N-Gage required the user to talk into the phone against their head widthways making the N-Gage look like an oversized ear. This certainly didn't give it any street cred as shows.

  6. Crowded Market
    The Competition was too much. Free Java games all over the internet and Publisher/Developers like GameLoft making their own quality titles for every phone on the market, made it difficult for any casual mobile phone playing gamer to desire anything more. Especially not when the latest Java games look comparable to the overpriced N-Gage titles.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Just One More Turn

Been playing the full version of Civilisation 4 now and it is undoubtedly the best civilisation game yet. There are a few minor distractions like not being able to play on those ultra large maps and I can't play the game windowed, but other than that it is excellent. The best thing about it is that because of all the little click saving improvements turns in a large game even in the later stages of the game can be completed in less than ten minuets.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Civilization 4 Demo

I have just been playing the Civilisation 4 Demo and I am impressed. The tutorial has a talking head of Sid himself taking you through the basics of the game (has his voice too), but the one thing that has annoyed me more than anything about the previous games is that they have required an excessive level of mouse clicking to conduct the simplest of tasks and Civ4 seems to have eliminated most of that. Plus the game seems less complex from an interface standpoint. And that inturn should make later stages of big games much more enjoyable.

Xbox360s On eBay

The 360 is selling for quadruple the recomended retail price on eBay.

I have no idea who is paying that kind of money for a console, but it must be important to them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Phase Test

I have a practical test tomorrow for Systems & Simulation whereby I will sitdown infront of a software program called Arena and create an accurate simulation for what is described on the test sheet. The whole thing lasts an hour and is only worth 10% of the module grade.

I mentioned to one of the guys that I would have a look at a couple of tutorial exercises tonight and he said he wouldn't bother because it was easy. Now that might be true and it is only worth 10%, but honestly that makes no difference to me. I am being tested so I will revise. Not a lot mind you, but revised I have.

Plus it is an open book test so we are allowed to take in notes, and I have made some just incase I forget something stupid. 10% might not sound a lot, but sometimes it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Six Degrees Of Wikipedia

There is a theory that you can link any two actors in the world in six steps or less purl by what people they have worked with. Now apply that theory to Wikipedia articles and you get the Six Degrees Of Wikipedia web tool.

I did manage to find one that is 7 degrees of separation by linking Magnet and John Lennon.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

White Phosphorus

The BBC has an interesting Video Report on how blogging is making the US Military and journalists in general look bad.

The US attacked Iraq under the false pretence that Iraq had biological and chemical weapons. And now the US (hypocrites) uses chemical weapons themselves!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Problem

Imagine two different brands of washingpowder. Both are priced the same, but one has flashy packaging, where as the other doesn't. The one with the flashy packaging doesn't get any stains out, but the one without the flashy packaging does.

In this instance anybody buying the washingpowder with the flashy packaging would soon realise how crap it was and try a different brand. Probably the one without the flashy packaging and then become a regular customer to that brand.

This model of "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" does not apply to gaming. If a game wants to sell well it has to have flashy packaging. Regardless of wither the game is actually any good or not the publisher still makes a sale. Customers don't associate crap merchants with poor products. So even if a gamer hated the last five games they bought from Electronic Arts, then they will still buy another.

This is the problem with the games industry and there are several ways of fixing this. One is to start producing games as episodic content. Two is to offer additional paid content for that game through a micro payment (XboxLive Marketplace will do this) and there is the third method that I am exploring in my final year project.

I would like to talk more about what I am doing, but I am afraid someone might try it first, make a mess of it and destroy any possibility of success that it might have. Still I can say that it is going well at this moment and even my nonegamming supervisor has gotten the vision.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Darwinia on STEAM

Introversion has Announced that Darwinia will be available for purchase over STEAM from the 14th of December, priced at $19.95.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My Computer Graphics Assignment

One of the modules that I have taken this year is Computer Graphics. It is about 3D computer generated objects and how the computer tracks scaling, positioning and rotation in 3D space. The module sticks very well to the basic theory of how it works and I probably know enough right now to create my own very rudimentary 3D engine using a couple of 2D lines and a grid.

As a practical side to the module we have been instructed to use a free 3D graphics program called POV-Ray. POV-Ray is different to other 3D design tools because it doesn't have a graphical designer, instead the user has to programmatically generate objects. The advantage to this is that the designer can create objects that are based on mathematical principals like These or These. And I myself have found being able to design one object and then generate thousands of duplicates in under eight lines of code to be very useful.

Anyway the limits of my skill doesn't extend much further than this:
#include ""
#include ""
#include ""

camera {
location <10, 5, 10>
look_at <0, 3, 0>

light_source { <10, 8, 3> color White*2 shadowless
radius 40
tightness 5
point_at <0, 3, 0>

plane { <0, 1, 0>,0
pigment {
checker color Black, color White

box {
<-1.7, 0, 1.7>,
<1.7, 0.5, -1.7>
pigment {Gray}
texture { T_Grnt16 }

box {
<-1.2, 0, 1.2>,
< 1.2, 0.5, -1.2>
pigment {Grey}
texture { T_Grnt16 }
translate <0,0.5, 0>

cone {
<0, 1, 0>, 1
<0, 5, 0>, 1.0
pigment {Gray}
texture { T_Grnt16 }

pigment {Pink}
Which when rendered looks like this image below:

Image Hosted by

The assignment I am expected to produce for my practical is This. I know POV-Ray is capable of doing Very Nice 3D Work, but I don't think I am going to be able to do the picture justice. Still my limited skill should get me a pass at least.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Keyboard and Mouse Adaptor for the Xbox and PS2

Yep, SmartJoy has an adaptor that will allow you to play a console game with said keyboard and mouse.

I so want to know if this is makes people play better.

Xbox360 Backwards Compatibility

You can view the published list of all the games that will be supported at launch Here, but eventually all Original Xbox games will be supported. As long as you have a hard drive that is because the original Xbox has a built in hard drive and Microsoft can't make the original games aware of the presence of a hard drive or choose not to use it.

A couple of nice benefits is that all the Xbox games running on the 360 will be running in 720P, have antialiasing and if they support multiplayer allow you to play multiplayer with people playing the same game on the original Xbox. All downloadable content will be available for download from the Live marketplace and I think Microsoft has done a cracking job.

Buzzy Buzzy

I had a look in Game today and there must have been at least three new games that I haven't played yet. This is bad because I want to play them badly, but I don't have the time. Especially not since I got myself a good project supervisor and he is helping me achieve my own vision for my undisclosed project instead of just letting me do what I want and sign stuff off as needed.

I am hoping to setup my own site to dump all my little .Net crapplets on, and maybe some sourcecode. I have chosen a name and a host, but I don't have the time to create a good looking site so I am currently looking for solutions to that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Cybermen Are Back

The BBC has Released the first picture of the new Cybermen costume.

I like it, but wither the Cybermen will use the phrases "You will be made like us" (or something like that) and "resistance is useless" which I am convinced was stolen for The Borg in Star Trek. Especially since both are cyborgs and create new Cybermen/Borg through a proses called cyber-conversion/Assimilation against the will of the poor human.

Anyway if you see a Cyberman in a dark alleyway you have few options, but if you do happen to have something made of gold then you can clog the cyberman's respiratory system with it by rubbing it against the Cyberman's chestplate (never did quite get that one).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kameo Podcast

To promote Kameo Microsoft and Rare have started doing a Kameo podcast. The Official Website has More Information about what they have planned, but the first episode is simply a well produced narration of the backstory.

If you have iTunes open, just drag This RSS Link onto the podcast screen and you can get the first cast right now.

Girlz Don't Exist On The Interweb

I found This article by Whitney Butts about her frustration with guys on he internet funny. She talks about online gaming and how girls don't exist on the internet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Free Copy Of Visual Studio Express

I have gotten confused in the past few days about all this and you can't buy it at retail yet, but Visual Studio Express is out right now and you can download a copy right now for free!

This is how it works. Until November the 6th 2006 Visual Studio Express Basic, C#, C++ and J# will be free to download and register from Microsoft as a special offer to get more people using .Net. After that period you will have to spend $49 to register an Exspress copy. I am assuming they are doing this to promote VS2005 because there are a lot of VB6 developers who are scared of .Net and a lot of other developer that are only just discovering .Net, so this free offer does make alot sense from a future business perspective.

You can download and register a free copy right now from The Visual Studio Express Homepage.

Right now I am recompiling my apps, testing and looking for site hosting so I can shove a few of my apps and sourcecode up onto a website.

WARNING: If you currently have Visual Studio Beta software install you must uninstall the software and THEN the Beta 2.0 Framework. If you do this the wrong way around you will have to format your computer to get Visual Studio to work again.

Monday, November 07, 2005

How To Manage Geeks

I don't normally read management material, but This piece by Eric Schmidt CEO of Novell, is a very interesting article about getting the best out of your companies geeks.

Visual Studio 2005

Looks like it isn't out until November the 28th now. Well according to This Amazon page anyway. Maybe I got confused with today being an MSDN release for subscribers or something.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The page cannot be displayed

Frigging university email system.
I have email to send!

It wouldn't be so bad if I could use my primary yahoo account to send mail from (had that since 1995), but the university system sees all email from that as spam.

Even when the stupid thing is working it will log me out as I am typing an email and flatly refuses to send any email with more than one attached file. Ye it will allow me to attach the files, just not send the email.

Visual Studio 2005

Tomorrow Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 should be out. No mention on, and only a "subject to change" mention on So I don't know if I am going to be able to get a copy next week or not because nobody seems to be stocking it.

I will try and have a look around PC World tomorrow after class, but since I have been waiting four months for this and it is a major platform release for Microsoft, I am a little surprised that doesn't even have it listed.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ctrl + Alt + Delete Makes Fun Of Sony

Recently The Official Playstation Magazine Reported that Sony weren't going to invest in a competing service to Microsoft's XboxLive service. I think that might be because they can't afford it, but Tim Buckley made a great comic of it over at Ctrl + Alt + Delete.

Memories Of Guild Wars This Halloween

If you missed this Halloween's GW event then you can still Download The Video showing all the loverly treats.

I Bought No Fireworks!

Remember remember the fifth of November
gunpowder Treason and Plot
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
should ever be forgot.

The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Presentation Video

FilePlanet has a great video presentation of Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. This is apparently the same presentation that has shown behind closed doors (maybe at this years E3, but i am not sure).

The whole thing looks stunning, the character animations could be smoother, some of the voice acting could be better and the botmapping could be better too, but it still looks stunning.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The BBC Sucks At Technology Coverage

So I watched the program that I Talked About Earlier and it turned out to be a Money Program report and the whole thing was bad. I know the BBC doesn't do technology coverage very well, but having young mothers giving their opinions on the 360 was laughable at best because the mothers had no clue what it was, they aren't gamers, they weren't interested in gaming, there wewen't gadget or technology orientated epople, they probably don't have the time for games because they have young kids and so are probably a hardest demographic to market gaming to. Probably more so than grandparents even because at least grandparents have the time to play games. Young mothers barley get enough sleep and expenses like new TVs or a wardrobe are usually put on hold because they are trying to adjust to the added existence of having a new child.

There wasn't a single mention of Nintendo in the program and there was a perceived assumption from the program makers that the PSP and 360 are in the same market, when we all know that the handheld and home console markets are very different and that most gamers aren't advesre to having one of both because they don't have to share the same space in the living room, whitch home console systems do.

Anyway there was an interesting comment by the Sony European guy who when the interview was conducted (pre PSP launch) said that he fully expects the PSP to be this Christmas's number one gift. And I find that highly unlikely, but if Sony does a last ditch marketing campaign then I think they could at least compete against the 360 for that spot.

Something On Tonight

DOCUMENTARY: Microsoft's Big Games Gamble
Channel: BBC 2
Date: Friday 4th November 2005
Time: 19:00 to 19:30 (starting this evening)
Duration: 30 minutes.
Documentary which follows a team from the world's biggest hi-tech company as they launch a new version of their Xbox games console to take on the Sony Playstation. It is a huge gamble, but the potential rewards are enormous. The new consoles can play music, store photos, and let you contact other people online, so whoever wins the battle could become the gatekeeper to the world of home entertainment. But can Microsoft get their new consoles into the shops in time for Christmas?
(Widescreen, Subtitles)

Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from
Copyright GipsyMedia Ltd.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Revolution Like Controller

Someguy has put This Video together showing a gyro mouse and thumbstick being used in HL2 Deathmatch.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

That Xbox Space In Japan

That Xbox Lounge in Japan opened today. And my god the Food, Drink and Deserts that they are serving there all look fabulous.

I have no idea how they are going to handle the number of people wanting to use the lounge, because it it was me I would be in it all the time.


I seriously have nothing to talk about.

Project is going well and I have a meeting with my new supervisor this Thursday. Programming wise I have developed almost half of the knowledge that I need to complete it.