Monday, July 31, 2006

E3 Cancellation

So a few publishers said they weren't going to bother turning up the the 2007 E3 because it s so noisy and chaotic that they don't feel that they are getting enough exposure out of what is costs to exhibit. The organisers have chosen to make a few changes because they don't want to loose the customers and there will be an announcement today on what those changes to the event are.

My money is on a move to Las Vegas and employees of retail shops not being allowed in anymore.

Update: The announcement is that it won't move from LA, but will be moved from May to July, the trade show floor is no more and attendance is by invitation only.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

PS3's Entitlements

Sony has seen fit to adopt an Achievement system like that on the 360, but call them 'Entitlements' instead. Makes sense, now I just wonder wither Nintendo will do similar.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Brighton Road Trip

Ok here we go, the weather has been VERY hot and I am now running my computer on a dual 12" fan open case setup (yes two fans pointing at my graphics card). On the trip I took about 119 pictures on a 64MB card so what you are seeing here is just the best of those pictures. The k750i has a good camera, but still suffers from that photo delay problem where the picture preview on the LCD display is about half a second ahead of the picture that is actually taken when the camera button is pressed.

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I believe this was still in Leicestershire.

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Some cones.

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A Porsche. Not the most expensive car we seen. That was a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

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A TVR, I think it could be a Tuscan although it's difficult to see from that angle.

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More road.

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A Plane.

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Panoramic shot of hotel room. We stayed at the Paskins Hotel simply because it was the cheapest one we could find. No en suite bathroom, but that made it cheaper and honestly it was a nice clean room and walking to the bathroom wasn't a problem.

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View from hotel room.

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View up the road from hotel window. Yes that' Brighton beach. I still find it hard to believe how cheap it was, because last year in London I payed more than double for a lot less.

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Panoramic shot of Brighton Beach and Brighton Pier. I have messed up on this with the both pictures here so have had to do a little splicing. When I take a panoramic shot with my phone I take the first shot then it draws an outline on the left edge of the screen so I can match the next shot. Then it blurs the results together to make something that looks like one picture, but I am still getting used to matching things up.

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A sign for the conference at the Hilton.

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The Grand Hotel, the Hilton is on the left. Apparently the Prime Minister's bathroom was blown up by the IRA at the Grand in 1984 at a conservative party conference. There is a good webcam on the Grand's site showing you how nice the weather is right now.

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The old burned down West Pier.

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Beer on the beach.

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A helter skelter on the pier.

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Brighton Beach as viewed from the pier.

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SeaLife centre.

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Inside the SeaLife centre.

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The Royal Pavilion which is an ex royal palace.

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Bill (FooFly).

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Sunset as viewed from a bar on the ground of the Grand Hotel. Not sure if they rent the space from the Grand or whatever, but it was nice.

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Some girl in a tank trying to grab bits of yellow paper. Not sure what was going on, but it looked fun.

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One of the conference rooms. A little blurry, but it's the only shot I took of any of the conference rooms.

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I was going to upgrade my phone's memory to 1GB while I was there, but they wanted £60, so I left it until I got home and bought a 1GB Memory Card Off Amazon for £26 instead.

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This was a free guest listed party that we where invited to. It was sponsored too so all the drinks where free for most of the night.

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Bill and Beer.

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Me and Beer.

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Brighton Beach.

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Some Chalk Cliffs at the very edge of Brighton. I seen these for a distance so forced Bill to walk for twenty minuets so I could get a clear shot of them. And I actually thought this shot would come out better.

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Steps from beach to road. Not sure why she is covering her face, didn't notice that when I took the picture. Maybe she was brushing something out of her face or maybe she doesn't like her picture taken, who know.

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My Tom Tom GPS with the route home plotted.

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Another plane.

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Motor Home.

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Panoramic of countryside.

It was a well worth while trip. And I am very pleased with my k750i even if the pictures are a little bit of a hit and miss. Having a 2MP camera with me at all times is great.
As far as Brighton goes I wouldn't mind living there at all. It's a very nice place and in the current hot weather has a nice cool seabreeze to keep everybody cool.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Need Job

Was going to buy air-conditioning today as the forecast for the rest of the week is much the same as today. So knowing that I would be spending about £220 on a unit I though that having a quick check on my last bank statement to see if I had the cash was a good idea. Now I know that I only have £500 in the bank. This means I need a job and I haven't really started looking yet. I could right this very minuet chase up on a few possibilities that could lead to me getting an interesting job that I liked, but IT'S TOO HOT! Instead of finding a job I will instead be laying on the ground sweating for a bit.

2nd Birthday Today

Post number 1425 and I have now been doing this for two years. When I think of this yearly post I always think that I should take a picture of something like a cake or something, but I also think that would be too predictable.

Got memory card reader, have transfered pictures across from phone, have also made post with pictures linked in. But I still have to write comments and it's too hot for that. Once again it is nice and cool outside (being dark and all), but if I open a window I get attacked by moths. Yes I have opened the window a little, but it's not wide enough to cool the room sufficiently. For the room to be cooler the window gap aperture has to be at moth flying-in size or greater. Anyway so far tonight I have killed one spider and moved three flies in the past hour. They are attracted by the heat and light. This annoys me emencly.

Additional: This is post number 1438.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bullet Vs Katana (very impressive)

What happens when a bullet hits the blade edge of a Katana? Click Here to findout.

What happens when lots of bullet hit the blade edge of a Katana? Click Here to findout.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

half-Real by Jesper Juul

So a few weeks ago I finished reading half-Real and it took me a while to get around to writing about it because I had other stuff going on, but now I have finished reading it I can tell you that it is an excellent introduction to the field of video game theory. The book represents Jesper's Ph.D research into how the fictional and rule based elements of games exist as separate elements and then how they interact with each other to create the wonderful graphical gaming experience that we know and love today.

The title of the book half-Real, is a statement about game characters. The Queen character in chess is both a fictional character and part of the rules. So is not fully rule based (real) or fully fictional (not real).

A lot of what he talks about is very academic, but I didn't find fault in any of his arguments as he always backs-up his statements or discusses alternative viewpoints. Unlike A Theory of Fun where statements are made and then never discussed or where the reader is asked to make several big leaps of faith, half-Real has loads of references all the way through and I have since bought a few of the books Jesper references.

Normally when reading a book like this I will be writing notes and arguing points all the way though the book, but with this I only have about five markers, all highlighting very statements on Jasper's part which I found poinient.

Simply put, if you want to be able to talk about games on an academic level then you need to read this book. It covers the whole academic debate of what games are, and nicely defines, points out and discusses some of the sticking point of modern gaming debates around gameplay and narrative.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Religion Vs The World

So I just watched This Video of some woman ranting about the current conflicts in the world with Muslims. She is saying that the current conflicts are conflicts between modern society and Islam, which teaches that all unbelievers must be fought until all are believers. She says that the conflicts are being fuelled by calls for Muslims to rise up against none believers and Takfir (Muslims who no-longer believe).

She then talks about how the Jews did not take revenge after world war 2 and how the Buddhists did not take revenge on Muslims when they turned three Buddha statues into rubble. So why must Muslims defend their beliefs by burning Churches and destroying Embassies. Although I don't understand most of the religious aspects of these conflicts I know that there is no reason to fight and that she is speaking the language of peace which all of us have inside each and every one of us. Conflict is wrong so the instigators of conflict are also wrong, and I am not talking about instigating as in name calling, I am talking about acts of violence. Shooting someone in the head for something they said is not justified. Things get a little hazy when it comes to shooting someone in the head for something they might do, but the world isn't about Right vs Wrong, it's about people and society.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV

I know a lot of people are pumped about the new Transformers film, but as a kid I never much cared for transforming trucks. No as a kid my number one cartoon was always Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

And now they are making the fourth turtles film!!!
Get the trailer Here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Warning Addictive Game

Been very busy for the past few days graduating and all. Picture journal will now be up early next week now as City Link will now be delivering my card reader Monday.

Anyway Motherload is a game here you are in this little minor machine thing and mine for minerals and upgrade your minor machine. If you dig far enough down you will face Satan who you will then have to kill to win the game.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Half Life 2 Episode 2 has a new portal weapon, and ValVe look like they are also releasing what looks to be a free game attached to it called Portal. If you have played Prey than you know how cool portals can be, but earlier this week I had heard that ValVe was demoing something that was way cooler and Here it is.

This new weapon is way cool and the game attached to it look like a lot of fun.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Developer Conference in The News

Ok so it's going to be maybe Wednesday before I can post my photos, but I can at least mention what was talked about in the news at the develop conference while I was there. And no I wasn't asked not to talk about anything or asked to sign an NDA.

Epic's Mark Rein Not an Episodic Fan
Mark did the opening keynote and he was supposed to talk about the pitfalls of next generation development, but it turned into a discussion about episodic content. Mark was of the opinion that episodic games are bound to fail because they don't offer a complete experience and that developers should be discouraged from doing episodic games. And why bother because games and sequels to games continue stories anyway without giving the gamer the game in parts with a six month gap between episodes.
I have heard this point from other developers, but episodic content is a new thing, it hasn't been proven and is just one of those ideas that must be proved or disproved for us to learn from it. Interactive films is a good previous example that needed to be tried a few times before we can stand back and judge wither it was a good idea or not. In the case of interactive movies they don't work because they ask the player or viewer to be passive for a time then pickup the controller and make a choice. It is disconnected while still requiring action. If the viewer is sitting eating while watching the movie part, when an interaction point is reached they must then wakeup, consider their choice, put down their food, find the controller and make a choice. I only mention food in this example because that's what happens to me.

XBox Live attach rate has grown 50 percent, from XBox to Xbox 360; Live Anywhere the next step
I was in this talk, handing out feedback forms and generally being on hand to help. And yes it's nice to know that Arcade is doing so well, but Jeff also talked about being able to preview downloadable content in the future and that soon games will be able to show achievements in game. For example there might be a trophy cabinet with a gamer's achievements in game as 3D objects.

Everything you know about MMOs is wrong
While this was going on I was scanning ID badges and giving out bags & shirts, but from what I have read since it sounded like a good talk.

Joystiq interviews Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios
I actually got to meet Peter, I shook his hand, I said I loved Dungeon Keeper and he said thank-you. Peter is my favourite game designer purely because I love some of the games he has made so absolutely. His talk was about how his approach to game design has changed over the years from sitting on pizza boxes and having a bowl full of cigarettes, to communicating with a large team and trying to maintain a conservative vision without getting distracted. Very interesting and he put a lot of heart into his presentation.

what inspires Mizuguchi
I missed this one, but FooFly said it was good.

Game design ideas worth stealing
I missed this one to go to the XBox Live Arcade talk, but FooFly also said it was good.

Sony's Phil Harrison: "I don't think we're arrogant"
He is a very tall man. And talked on the conference debrief panel. Hearing him talk honestly instead of being on stage doing the PR thing at E3 was incredibly refreshing.

28 Days Later: it could've been a video game
I missed this one to go to a talk about the PS3 cell chip.

Joystiq interviews Rob Kay of Harmonix
He took part in a talk about designing games for the masses and I missed this one too.

PS3 dev kit BSOD... sorta
I seen this demo running and it was actually running an ocean simulation (hence why the screen was blue). The demo wasn't receiving input when I picked it up, but the PS3 controller is much lighter than even the original PSX controller. There is a little PS3 logo in the middle of the controller that when pressed brings up an overlayed system menu just like the XBox360. The analogue sticks don't feel as floaty as before. And the lower shoulder buttons are now analogue triggers which is nice.

Pledge Bank The Right to Protest

Boris Johnson has setup a Pledge Bank to get 6,000 people to hold hands and form a ring around Parliament's Anti-Protest Zone early next year, protesting the right to not protest within 1KM of the building without giving six days notice.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Photos Update

The Sony Ericsson software that I use to get photos in mass from my phone is broke so I have ordered a memory card reader as this phone stores all the photos on a Pro-Duo memory card. With the reader I should be able to transfer everything across very quickly too so this is actually better.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


It's going to take about two hours to transfer all the photos and videos from my phone so I think I will leave it running over night tonight. Otherwise it ties up my computer and I got Prey to play.

I heard about the XBox Live Arcade Wednesdays which means that every Wednesday at 8:00pm (GMT) a new game will appear on arcade. Not sure if this will continue past the schedule they have released, but currently for the next few weeks it looks like this:

Frogger (out now)
Cloning Clyde (19th July)
Galaga (26th July)
Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting (2nd August)
Pacman (9th August)

This is excellent news obviously. I downloaded Frogger and it's good, but the controls need to be better. Currently they are using the squishy D-pad to control Frogger and this can't be reassigned. I want to be able to use the A button to move Frogger forwards.
Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting, is the SF version that first allowed players to change character mid-match and perform special moves in mid-air.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Just checking my email now and I have 55 unread emails and 204 bits of SPAM. I took lots of photos so I will probably post a photo log tomorrow or the day after.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Microsoft Points Conversion and Start of Road Trip

I have a little spreadsheet that does all the currency conversion from Microsoft points to real money so I know how much I am spending when buying stuff from XBox Live Marketplace. This Site does the same thing with a web interface. Which is handy if you aren't used to checking the price of stuff yet.

Anyway will be back Friday maybe Saturday. Am taking my new phone with me so should have plenty of photos to post of The Event and Brighton when I get back. TTFN

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Random Fact

After death the Human body cools two degrees in the first hour and then one degree every hour after that.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bluetooth Transfer Speeds With My K750i

I managed to get the bluetooth file transfer working between my PC and K750i. Below as a picture I took yesterday of my 360 for a comparison against The Picture I Took in Currys of their broken 360.

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So as you can see the image is much bigger. Looking at the number of pixels on my new phone against my old, the new one has 95% more pixels.
I took the same picture with my two mega-pixel digital camera and both images look surprisingly similar. I would have posted that too as a comparison, but where as the image from my new phone is 233KB, the one from my camera is 1.13MB. To post that here I would have to compress the image and that would make it an unfair comparison.

The cut-up mouse pads under my 360 are there as vibration/sound dampening to stop it rattling the stuff on my desk (it's near whisper quiet now).

Anyway I have been transferring files back and forth for a good part of the day. And transfer is slow over bluetooth. I worked it out based on knowing how big a file was and how long it took to transfer that the transfer rate over bluetooth is 9.71KB/s which is ok, but when transferring a 10MB MP3 file takes nearly 20 minuets. I might try the USB data cable that came with it. And that's odd, normally you have to buy the data cable separately for mobiles which is why I bought a bluetooth adaptor for my PC in the first place, but with this phone the data cable came in the box.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interesting Day

I have passed this year at uni. Despite failing my Security Module test (still find that puzzling, but whatever) that is ok because it was the only bad mark I got and it wasn't under 30% so that means I pass, apparently.

Been waiting for an email from an organiser that should be able to get me and FooFly into the UK's first Develop Conference next week. I will have to do some chasing tomorrow as I haven't received all the details yet, and I still need to find someplace to stay, but it's happening.

And because I might be going someplace interesting next week and got my graduation the week after I thought now would be a good time to buy a new mobile phone. My Sony Ericsson T610 has served me well, but I wanted it to have a better camera and it takes too long for me to take pictures with it. So I have bought a Sony Ericsson K750i which is very much the same, but has a wicked camera. Simply move the shutter and the camera wakes up and goes into camera mode. Plus the pictures it takes are great and comparable to my digital camera. Am still trying to get it to talk to my PC as it wasn't seeing my Belkin USB adaptor earlier, but I should get something working tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Curry's Issues

So I happened to go Currys today and I noticed that they had a slight issue with their XBox 360 display. So I took this picture:

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They have a lot of nice HD TVs in there, but most of them are running video from DVDs. I was talking to one of the guys and he was saying that the only HD signals that where being displayed where on the 360 and four LG sets that had somekind of Compact HD Streaming box connected to them. Not sure if it was HD-DVD, but it was by Toshiba. My point is that if I went in there to buy a HD TV I wouldn't be able to choose one because the picture on all of them is shockingly bad. They are all displaying upscaled standard definition signals. So choosing a TV based on picture quality is near impossible.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Guy's Super Secret Special Power

Of all the uber skills to have in the world and This Guy can strip all the cloths from his body almost instantly.

Optical Illusions

Just some random Optical Illusions. My favourite is the one from the bottom.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

BSplayer Alternative

WARNING: I had sound ISSUES that are possibly related to VideoLAN so I would recommend creating a restore point before installing it.

My favoritest media player in the whole wide world BSplayer has started requiring systems to contain spyware to be installed to use their software. Even if you install BSplayer with the spyware, once you remove it BSplayer stops working. The pro version which allows usage without spyware is £20 so I have found an alternative.

I need an alternative because Windows Media Player doesn't support external subtitle files.

The one I have been playing around with is VideoLAN which is an open source project. And because of that has lots of useless effects and features that just clog up the interface and make things difficult to find. i.e to get to the brightness and gamma control sliders you have to go: Settings -> Extended GUI
I am still getting used to it, but it seems ok.

Prey 360 Vs Prey PC

I really loved the Prey demo on the PC and 360. And because the game runs better and looks better on the 360 I was going to get it for the 360, but then I seen the £39.99 price tag for the 360 version and the £24.99 (38% cheaper) price tag for the PC version. And because I refuse to buy any-game over £30 unless it is either excellent or the price can't be avoided, I will now be pre-ordering the PC version. If it was £29.99 fine I would have gone with the 360 version, but I play a lot of games, I don't have a job, I just bought a 360 this year and I am not made of money!

Incidentally the physics on the 360 demo suck. It sounds odd and it is, but it's true.

Friday's Post on Blitz

So Friday I went to Blitz Games for the day and they gave all of use a mug each! Which is great because I wasn't expecting to come back with any prizes.

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Obviously I had to sign an NDA and if you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I will honor it entirely, but I can still tell you anything that has already been press released or is public knowledge. And make the rest of this post sound as if it is giving you some inside information.

Blitz Games is an independent developer. This means that they are a development house for hire and that means they have to compete against other developers to get contracts for most of the games they develop. Hence why most of their games are franchised titles. The company is split into three main devisions, Blitz who are family game orientated, Volatile who deal with mature games and TruSim which produces (or will produce) serious games for training purposes. And all divisions use the same set of internally developed Middleware Tools. Which obviously cuts down on cost, but their middleware is one of the few tool-sets which is cross-platform. This obviously gives them an advantage when it comes to creating games on multiple platforms and the games benefit because there is going to be little to no difference between the different versions.

Anyway the future looks bright for Blitz in general because their work creating such classics as Barbie's Horse Adventures (which is one of the few child friendly XBox titles) is allowing them to push forwards into other projects like Reservoir Dogs which is obviously based on the film, but allows the player to play through the action that was not seen in the film and Possession which allows players to control hordes or Zombies.

I had a great time on Friday and learned a lot.
Blitz is still talking Applications for future open days so if you feel inclined towards a career in the video games industry and are a UK University student I can highly recommend applying.