Sunday, March 30, 2008

Uncanny, Wii and XaviXPort

Firstly watch this (warning, do not turn your volume up):

This is called the XaviXPort and it was released in 2004. That is to say two years before the Wii, but like rockband each game requires an expensive addon, so the XaviXPort hasn't done so well.

I don't think that Nintendo has plagiarised anything that SSD has done with XaviXPort because motion sensing technology has been experimented with gaming for years and looking at the history of motion sensing it seems amazing that it has taken so long to be worked into a successful product, but I do find it interesting that I knew NOTHING about the XaviXPort until just fifteen minuets ago.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dr Byron's Video Game Industry Review

So some Dr of physiology was paid a large sum of money to Write A Report that would give some recommendations to the UK government on how to protect children from violent or harmful video games.

She has two main recommendations:
1) All games should carry a BBFC certificate.
2) All game consoles should have parental lockouts.

The response from the video game industry has been a big "meh, we told you so".

The Responce From The Government has been very much "This well conducted review has exemplified our commitment to the safety and well being of our nations children".

My response is this. The government should claim back the money they spent on this usless review and invest it into a "Just Say NO!" campaign to educate parents about saying NO to their own children.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last Gen > This Gen?

Ideas of gameplay transcend generation gaps as our understanding of gameplay progressively improves, but there is an argument out there that the current generation of console's graphics don't look much better than the last generation's later games. This comes from the fact that some people believe that this generation's graphics are just in a higher resolution than the last generation's. And that if it wasn't for the increased output resolution then this generation wouldn't look much different from the last, and I see their point after playing a few current gen games on an old CRT. But that was until I watched this video of the GTA IV trailer rendered in GTA San Andrea's graphics engine:

And the same trailer in GTA IV's engine:

After watching theses two videos back to back I was actually surprised on the leap that has been made since last gen. One that looks just as significant as the leap from the N64 to GC or PS1 to PS2.

Monday, March 24, 2008

FireFox 3 Beta 4

Despite FireFox having thousands of happy users, I have never been one of them. I am one of those people who will sometimes have more than ten webpages open at any one time and then leave them open on my computer overnight. This meant that FireFox's memory issues always blighted my attempts at using it as my primary browser. So it was with absolute delight that I discovered FireFox 3 (currently Beta 4 with Beta 5 coming soon) has solved all of that.

FireFox 3 Beta 4 is fast and responsive under all conditions. Websites like Google Maps, Digg and IGN that used to be super sluggish under IE and FF2, are now just as fast as any other website. I will even go as far as to say just as fast as a plain text blog.

So if you want to give the beta a go, you can Download A Copy Here. But be warned, I have found that it doesn't work with the new Yahoo Mail (I am using the classic view) and I have had the beta crash twice in the few days I have been using it for no apparent reason. This hasn't been a problem however because it remembers the pages that where open at the time of the crash, but despite all that FF3B4 is my current primary browser over IE7, FF2, Safari and Opera.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Quick Note To Website Builders

If you build websites for a living. Now is the time to Go Here and download a preview copy of Internet Explorer 8. The important thing is that you do this BEFORE the browser is launched and not AFTER. This will prevent a future incident where your inbox will be filled with complaints from customers.

That being said IE8's standards compliance is much better so problems (if any) will be minor, but it always annoys me when companies use the "It wasn't out so we couldn't test against it" excuse when there was a preview build (specifically for compatibility testing) available months before the official release.

Brave or Stupid

There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity and I think these people crossed it twice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

People Don't Need (Disturbing, NSFW)

People Don't Need Fur

People Don't Need Dolphin-meat

The whole animal meat eating thing is a difficult issue and I wish meat could be grown in plastic containers like plants, but the truth is that animals have to die to make meat and if you (including the hypocrite who wrote this) eat meat (be it a ham sandwich or whatever) you are part of the issue. But at least promise me that after watching this next video you will refuse to ever eat or try dolphin-meat and maybe we can call it a step in the right direction.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Worst Gaming Tattoos

Here is a collection of bad gaming tattoos. Although I will say that I don't think 19, 16, 9 and 8 are so bad.

I am a fan of many products by companies, but I would never have a tattoo of a company logo on my body like the people in photos 15, 14 and 1. Branding yourself with a company logo as if you where a product. The guy who has branded himself with the Nintendo logo even included the little Registered Trademark (R) on his tattoo. I don't know if this legally makes him the property of Nintendo like it does with cattle farming, but I would be eagerly following the caught case if one should arise from this.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The New Pace of Technology

The pace of technology is ever increasing and we can see this in the Fisher Price Tickle Me Elmo toy series. There has been more versions than what I am showing here, but look at the dates and leaps in technology and you will see my point.

1996 - The first TME toy is relased allowing a stuffed toy to interact with the child playing with them.

2006 - Motors controling Elmo's limbs are added to create animation.

2008 - Improved motor skills give the Elmo toy much the same characteristics of movement to that of his on-screen puppet counterpart.

2010 - Dissatisfied with being treated like disposable play things an army of indestructible Elmos rises up.

2011 - A new order is established.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Programmer Puzzle Games

There is a subset of puzzle games which for the purposes of this post I am calling programming puzzle games. The basic idea is that there is a level and you have a guy that you can control to complete whatever the objective is in the level to progress, but you can only control him by giving him a set of rules to follow by programming him (empowering him with a rule based AI). I love these things, but only independent developers seem to be doing anything with them.

Currently the best set of these games is made by Epsitec Games with their CeeBot series. In the case of CeeBot there is a programming language for the player to learn. This sounds hard, but it is aimed at a 5+ age range audience so everything is explained gradually with each level building on the lesson of the last and you can only progress once you have understood the concept the level is teaching. The game even comes with a better debugging tool than what most Java and C++ developers use today, so when your programs start to get large the game emergent teaches about logic errors without ever explicitly covering them.

Anyway today I played Spuds another Programmer Puzzle game that uses pictures to do the programming with. It was made by two brothers and apart from being a little overpriced ($19.95) and forcing the player to sit through a long tutorial, it's very interesting.

Again these games might sound boring, but I suffer from timeloss whenever I play them.