Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Da Vinci Code Bust?

While gamers and armchair analysts alike will flame and fight over just how quickly Sony's new pricing structure (free with every home mortgage, essentially) will ruin the company ... Sony might have more realistic and immeadiate concerns on it's hands. The Da Vinci Code is it's massive theatrical and multimedia push this year, and it's not looking so hot right now.

The movie is getting slammed by reviewers who ackowledge it's nothing more than a standard boilerpot mystery plot with some crackpot conspiracy theories turned into a slow moving, elongated movie. "So, does The Da Vinci Code live up to the hype? Sort of. It's not a terrible film by any stretch, but it's not perfect either," says Kevin Carr ... and that's one of the ones counted as positive.

The grand Google Code Quest cross promotional challenge looks like a bit of a flop as well. It probably got some pretty cheap viral advertising out there, I would imagine. Claims, however, are stacking up that the last puzzles for the finalists are identical and easily reproducible on the net for others to preview. So far I've seen diagrams, screenshots and even a video offered. The fastest time I've heard is just over five minutes. A good time from people who didn't use the previews ... about nine minutes per puzzle or just about forty-five minutes. Since Google and Sony can't a) prove who used crib notes or b) determine a reasonable "cheating cutoff point" ... I'm sure the grand prize will go to the one who can memorize and mouse click the swiftest.

Note that I could be wrong and there might be variations not revealed. But there are definately some that have and at least some people have been able to benefit by seeing them early, so the point is somewhat moot for the overal contest.

That leaves the cross-platform Da Vinci Code game to save the pack. So far early reviews seem mostly impressed by it's lousy controls, boring gameplay and poorly designed combat.

But hey, it just came out on Friday. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

tagged: ,

Friday, May 19, 2006

I Must Love To Refactor

"Refactoring" is fancy programmer jargon for "toss out what you don't like and start over". Technically, refactoring is supposed to be modular and precise. Think retooling or refining ... but with various object being replaced in the process.

I'm playing with interactive fiction some more. My original intent was to take an interactive slant on Tell Tale Heart and make it, well, a true murder simulator. I've drawn away from that and started an original story. Also, I introduced a card system for combat. In doing so, I've started to examine some of the ways I accomplished things in Randolph Carter and in the process ... I'm considering ripping out the framework and replacing anew. I've started playing with some of the new methods of prototyping objects in JavaScript to boot, so we're really talking about a brand new bag.

Which feels like a good thing? But am I abandoning something too soon? I might not even leave it behind, but the changes I'm considering are fairly drastic - removing the "noun-verb" interaction list and replacing it with an implicit decision tree based on choices represented by cards. Even removing the second person narrrative for a third person narrative and placing the reader more in charge of organizing specific plot points, not objects or the like.

tagged: ,

Google Da Vinci Code Quest Spoiled (already)

Mere hours after Google released the final puzzles to their Da Vinci Code Quest, there are already screengrabs and solutions available on the net. I won't link to them here, but I'm sure followers of the puzzles will be able to find them pretty easily.

A shame, it was a pretty good concept gone awry first because of some of the marketing involved (insisting on movie related solutions/answers) and now because the final puzzles are apparently the same for everyone. Once a few people have solved the puzzle, they can post the answers for others to follow. So people who complete the puzzle later will have the benefit of being able to read up on the answers.

Ironic that Google, of all companies, is being defeated by the Internet.

Also funny is that I got the impression that the challenge had been altered to accomodate fairness. Originally, it seemed, the cryptex would be a key part of accessing the final puzzles. I'm guessing that was ditched for fear that not every contestant would receive the cryptex in time (insert UPS commercial here). Well, funny sad, I guess. Not funny ha ha.

Anyway, I do look forward to Wei-Hwa's continued puzzles on the 26th (when the grand winner will be announced, I think). Great contests are sometimes ruined by prizes.

tagged: ,

Da Vinci Code Quest Final Puzzle

I just got an email saying that the final puzzle for Google's Da Vinci quest is available to the finalists. Good luck, everyone. I'll probably be taking the challenge sometime late tomorrow morning.

tagged: ,

Quake Papercraft

Diagrams for Quake papercraft models. (digg it)

tagged: ,

DVD Watch: Hoodwinked

The Girl and I watched Hoodwinked last night. It's sad and remarkable that this movie has been able to fly so far under the cultural radar. It's brilliant. Tightly written, funny as hell and excellent voice acting. Highly recommend.

tagged: ,

The Da Vinci Code and Deceit in American Literature

I'm going to go all English major on you for a second. Bear with or move along.

I've been reading The Da Vinci Code mostly because it might help me win the Google Code Quest finals (which, thanks to the ginormous taxes that would come with ... I'm not even sure I want to win ... but ...). The last puzzle, for instance, would have taken me a fraction of the time if I had read the book. I bemoaned about this earlier, arguing the case that it belittled the contest in general somewhat. I hadn't even considered the fact that the answers to the puzzle appeared on the net a few minutes after that puzzle appeared. In other words, some of the people who finished before me may have done nothing more than google for it.

But I digress. In for penny and whatnot. I'll play the finals tomorrow and perhaps reading The Da Vinci Code will help, or perhaps it won't. I'm here on a different matter.

The Da Vinci Code, in my opinion, is exemplary of a something wrong with American literature these days. It got some notice with Frey's A Million Little Pieces, exposed by The Smoking Gun as a work of fiction rather than an autobiographical account as Frey insisted. Dan Brown, on the other hand, opens his novel with this disclaimer:


The Priory of Sion—a European secret society founded in 1099—is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercion, and a dangerous practice known as “corporal mortification.” Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million World Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.

This disclaimer occurs before the prologue (which, to be honest, is simply chapter zero). So before the reader is introduced into the story itself ... Dan Brown wants you to know: this is based on the truth. He sets himself up as an authority for the reader and creates a foundation for which the reader should take the events, including the fictional ones, in his novel.

The problem is that either Dan Brown (or his publisher) is lying or was grossly negligent with his research. In fact, the Priory of Sion is not an organization founded in 1099 with members including Da Vinci and Victor Hugo ... but rather an organization founded in 1956 as a hoax with the intention of supporting a known con man's claim to the throne of France. His description of Opus Dei is misleading at it's best and slanderous at it's worse. His description of "artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals" is likewise fraught with inaccuracies and mistakes.

My problem with this is that the book clearly has benefitted with this deceit. For one thing, The Da Vinci Code is at best an average example of literature when it comes to form, dialogue and plot. It's a beach read. Like Frey's novel, without the premise of being based on real world facts ... it would be never have reached the level of popularity it's received today. It was Brown's insistence that he was basing his fiction on fact that raised the ire of so many to dispute his story.

It's a basic function of storytelling to illicit a suspension of disbelief from readers. To simply write a paragraph insisting that the entire foundation of your story is based on fact, when it's clearly not the case, cheats the reader and undermines the art form. It's a degradation of literature. It takes an artist to lead a reader down a path and weave enough detail and substance that they ignore the world around them and suppose, utterly on their own accord, that maybe if this was real.

But anyone can put in a fraudalent claim of factual evidence. Insisting, after that, that "it's simply fiction and shouldn't be taken so seriously" is hardly a defense when even before the story begins ... the author has already defrauded the reader.

tagged: ,

Gears of War Video

Again, I'm flying a little blind here, but I understand it's worth the look (digg it). I find GoW interesting since Epic's made several hints in the past that they'd like to break free from the expectations of Unreal Tournament ... that being fast moving weapon array fragfast of yore. Gears of War seems to be the testament that they can move beyond that.

tagged: ,

Game Company Construction Kit

The Download Squad has several tips to starting your own game studio, including free game engines and the like. It's a bit brief to be called a complete guide, but it's a very interesting primer on some of the essential one might look at before trying to build the next Tetris. (digg it)

tagged: ,

Japanese Tenchu DS video

I can't see it, but please enjoy (

tagged: ,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dean's Top 10 From E3

Dean Takahashi offers up his favorites from E3, including Spore and Gears of War. He also note Resistance: Fall Of Man, a commonly panned game for the PS3 with "The feel of the weapons and quality of the graphics makes this title stand out as a next-generation title".

tagged: ,

EA's Neil Young On E3 and more

BIZ: Do you believe the PS3's motion sensing controller was in some ways a reaction to the Wii's functionality?

NY: I don't know; gyroscopic controllers have been around and that technology has been around for a while. Nintendo's application of it is fairly unique, so I don't know if that's the case. It's kind of hard for me to comment, but certainly when you think about what you do when you are playing a game, your primary connection to the game is through the interface and so the interface is an important place to evolve.

Nintendo in particular, if you sort of look at the history of Nintendo, really led the way in terms of controller innovation and I think to some degree other people have followed. I mean, Nintendo had the first analog stick. Then Sony sort of took that idea with the DualShock and took it forward and now Nintendo leading with a full gyroscopic controller and I think other people will ultimately follow that.

BIZ: Do you think though that because Sony and Nintendo both have motion sensing while Xbox 360 doesn't that there will be some more commonality between games perhaps being brought to both systems? Does it make it easier for EA?

NY: Well, I think the difference for the Nintendo controller is that it's core mode of operation is gyroscopic and I think that's different from the new controller from Sony, which is essentially a wireless DualShock 2 with motion sensing built into that. I think when you see our Madden product, that's something that really works very, very well with the Wii controller and I think it would be a little bit difficult to match in sort of throwing the [PS3] controller [laughs].
-- EA Los Angeles' Neil Young Tells All

Also goes into a bit of the whole EA spouse thing. Decent read.

tagged: ,

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenges

The Da Vinci Code Quest widget was replaced today with:

Many of you wrote to the Google team to let us know how much you enjoyed the quest, so I decided to keep creating puzzle challenges. Stay tuned for your first challenge on May 26 and get ready for a mental workout.

That's pretty cool. I think it's odd that they swapped the widget out before the contest actually ends (the final set of puzzles is released tomorrow afternoon), but it will be entertaining anyway.

Update 05/26/2005 ... first puzzle (and link to solution)

tagged: ,

Lost: Michael's A Jerk

Last night was a little anti-climatic, really. Most of the big points were fairly well assumed before going into the show. Michael's deal with the Others, Ecko's new obsession with the button ... even the "boat". Main points it seems were:

Michael's a jerk
Seriously, dude.

We get that you want your kid back. We all understand it must be anguishing to finally have that kid that you never saw and then lose it again. Really, it must be tough.

But to shoot two people and then be willing to sacrifice four of your fellow survivors into a trap that even Boy Wonder Robin could see a mile away? Bad show. Really bad show. The Girl and I couldn't stop commenting on how Mike's guilt could have been avoided by coming back to the camp and coming clean. It's interesting to note that he wasn't lying about his description of the camp, he just doesn't have the same info that Kate does about their real level of technology. So he probably does think they can be defeated.

He just prefers to screw over his friends. Jerk. I hope he's got "the sickness", otherwise he's just become my next pick for getting "kicked off".

What we have here is a failure to communicate...
Locke and Ecko find another hatch ... return ... and tell nobody.
Kate knows about the medical hatch but doesn't tell the whole story.
Michael knows there is a trap, but plays it "safe".
Virtually everyone has had bizarre hallucinations/events/sightings ... but almost always trys to hide it.

Before anyone goes trotting across the island, someone needs to start a town meeting or something.

The island is smaller than I thought
I had really thought the island had a lot of uncovered ground, but now I'm guessing not so much. The Others Camp seems to be on the other side of the island, and only a day or so walk. In a straight line, it seems like the farthest any one point is from the other is about two days?

What's with the blood?
They took Michael's blood. Was this to determine if he was "sick"? Or is it because Walt's got some interesting genetice properties?

Walt's a mutant
Ms Clue's (funny ha ha producers) questions about Walt were tre bizarre. Did he ever appear where he wasn't supposed to? When did he start talking? Is Walt some kind of "indigo child"? A special child meant to ward off the end of the world?

Hello, James Ford
OK, it's not that odd that they would know Sawyer's real name. But it does hint that perhaps these lists were compiled before the plane even crashed.

Is that Desmond's boat?
I had Desmond pegged as an Other, but that did look a little like a racing sailboat. I was really expecting something a little more exciting. The Girl pointed out that unless one of them is an experienced sailor, it's going to be hard to use that to escape. Maybe this is why Desmond returns? I still think he's working for the other side though.

tagged: ,

$800 Gaming Rig

Cheap gaming rigs are still perfectly viable,, as this $800 offering shows. Still, the 360 blurs the line between buying a low end gaming PC and simply getting a console which happens to be a high end gaming pc at a substantially marked down price. For $800 you can get a fairly decent 360 bundle and buy a Nintendo Wii, to use the Peter Moore Theory of gaming purchases. Microsoft's XNA approach insures that a decent number of PC titles are destined to be 360 titles anyway.

I think the real gloomy cloud in PC gaming's sky won't necessarily be hardware related though. When we see genres which have been traditionally entrenched on the PC platform like RTS's and MMO's ... then it will be harder to justify spending all that cash to have those bragging rights.

tagged: ,

PS3 To Feature Free Online Gaming

Right out of the box, the PS3 online service will let your multiplay for free unlike Microsoft's service. I would expect Nintendo to follow suit with this as well, since they are probably modelling the Wii online service after the successfull NiWiFi service (or just simply making a simple extension of NWF). Microsoft has made a lot of noise about Xbox Live and will be continuing to crow with Live Anywhere. It will be interesting to see how that stands up when Sony finally gets it's act together when it comes to this.

tagged: ,

Virtual Land, Real Lawsuit

In what might be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a Pennsylvania lawyer is suing the publisher of the rapidly growing online world Second Life, alleging the company unfairly confiscated tens of thousands of dollars worth of his virtual land and other property.

The attorney, Marc Bragg of West Chester, Pennsylvania, says game developer Linden Lab unilaterally shut down his Second Life account, cutting off his access to a substantial portfolio of real estate and currency in the virtual world. He's demanding $8,000 in restitution.
-- Second Life Land Deal Goes Sour

Between virtual gold farmers, virtual real estate tycoons and now this ... how long until I have to do all this condo hunting nonsense just to get a good castle in the next big game?

tagged: ,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lost: One More Guess

Maybe that thing all the people on the beach are staring at isn't so new...

Screen from the trailer for tonight's episode

Screen from Season One, "Walkabout"

tagged: ,

Lost: Burning Cigarette

Having now listened to the latest official podcast, it's revealed that the rolled object Locke shines a light on in the Pearl Hatch isn't a joint or anything that entertaing ... but burning cigarette.

Still burning? So someone was recently there and has a quick means of escape?

tagged: ,

Cheap PS3 ... Wifi and Card Reader upgradeable?

Digitial Displacement, via, reports that for both versions of the PS3 "will support bluetooth PS3 controllers. The only non-upgradeable feature of the 20GB configuration will be the HDMI output". This would indicate that wireless controllers are out of the box (in contradiction to some reports out of E3) and that wifi and card readers may be possible with components. Course, the sum of all that will probably be more than the $600 and you're still stuck with a smaller hard drive and no HDMI when that fancy flat screen finally comes to your town.

tagged: ,

Cryptex Sells For $200

The Make You Go Hmmm blog points out that the first Da Vinci Code cryptex just sold for about $200 on eBay. It also points that you too could be a proud owner of such a replica for just $59.00

The next one up on eBay is going for $100 already.

tagged: ,

Voodoo PC or Down Payment?

$24,000 for a gaming rig?

Who buys this kind of thing?

tagged: ,

Lost: More On The Button

Since the season is starting to wrap up, I'll probably have a lot more Lost posts for the next few weeks.

Besides, work is slow.

Anyway, I thought it interesting to read the transcript from the Swan Orientation (lostpedia) and point out:

Now station 3 was originally constructed as a laboratory, where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from this sector of the island. Not long after the experiments began, however, there was... an 'incident'... and since that time, the following protocol has been observed:

(That?) every 108 minutes, the button must be pushed. From the moment the alarm sounds, you will have 4 minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer processor(?)... * ...duction into the program. When the alarm sounds, either you or your partner must input the code.

Course there are two ways of looking at this: one ... he's lying and this has been the protocol all along and this is all part of the setup in which to convince two people in an expirement to press a button. In which case the whole "button function" thing is still pretty much up for grabs.


The button protocol really is a response the an incident which took place on the island. The blacklight map (blast door map) makes references to an "accident" and "fatalities" ... and even specifically "incident". It's possible that the map itself was written during a prolonged shutdown (when else would the door have been down for an extended period of time?) which may have been caused by the incident itself (although I lean more to then notion that supply drops are connected to lockdowns and it was drawn over time during those).

If that's the case, then it would stand to reason that the purpose of the protocol is primarily to avoid another incident. How? Well, maybe it does nothing more but insist obedience. Or perhaps it insures that at least one of the two man team is close to the hatch every 108 minutes. Or maybe it's simply a shutdown sequence for the electomagnetic devices which help monitor the island's bizarre activity.

The blast door might be best clue. Next to the Swan's location is written in Latin, "The wrath of the gods may be great, but it certainly is slow."

tagged: ,

To AJAX Devs: Why The Safari Hate?

TUAW points out that Safari isn't welcome at Yahoo's new AJAX party. I use Safari pretty regularly, both at work and home. It's a robust standards-compliant browser that does what I need. On the PC I use FireFox (when not testing or the like), but I usually use Safari on the Mac.

I've gotten similar brush offs from other places. It rather worries me, actually. I started working webdev before Microsoft decided to "get back the Internet" by pouring millions into Internet Explorer and beat Netscape at it's own "extended standards" game. Since then, the net has taken a lot of sweat off it's brow to fix the mistakes of the past. CSS, real HTML compliancy, foregoing mainstream use of browser-specific functionality, etc. AJAX ... which isn't a specific technology in and of itself ... but a hodge podge of existing tech ... can easily play a part of this by helping create cross browser and cross platform functionality.

The only problem I've had with Safari is that on my aging Mac at work, it can't process clientside functions terribly fast. So animation routines, for instance, will go awry (and that goes for Flash too). Other than that, after 1.3, it's been able to keep up with IE and FireFox without any problems.

So I wonder what functionality Yahoo has put into it's new home page to possibly justify cutting it out of it's demographics?

More On Net Neutrality

I wouldn't normally bother linking to Boing Boing (like you haven't read it already...) , but this bit on net neutrality, which describes the it as "a service question, a competition question, an economic development question, a consumer question" ... truly warrants it.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cryptex Action Shot

The Cryptex replica from the Da Vinci Code contest arrived today:

The cat was not included.

tagged: ,

How Old Is That Playstation 3 Controller?

Apparently the patent for the PS3 "tilt control" is from 1999. Honestly, this doesn't mean much more than Sony had considered such a design back then. According to the mumblevine, so did Microsoft and Logitech and probably a whole lot of people. There's also several reports that the new controller was thrusted upon developers weeks before the show.

So Sony, having already played with this in the past, guesses that the Wii is going to do a little scene stealing and so they dust it off and try and get a demo out of it. Unfortunately the real scene stealer of the show would be the PS3's price tag and nobody really cares that you can control a plane by moving your wrists instead of your thumb.

Nintendo has done a marvelous job of selling the Wii-mote's abilities. Sony needs to pony up and do the same if they want to shake this "wii too" image, no matter when they patented it.

tagged: ,

Lost: Random Guesses

It's quite dull here at the old office right now, so I was off reading the excellent Lost And Gone Forever blog. So I'm going to rattle off a couple random theories just to see what sticks as this season wraps up.

First some clarifications. Apparently the show producers are fairly adamant that Libby's and Ana's fate was sealed back when they wrote the show ... not when they got DUI charges. Truth or spin? Who know? Who cares? As long as the story wasn't subverted just to "fix" some casting.

And apparently the numbers in the log from "?" are sequential. So timestamps, not a second set of "numbers".


Desmond was a plant
Remember Des? He was the guy who met Jack while running, supposedly sailed across the world, and then "accidentally" ended up in the Swan Hatch when Locke decided to go blow it open. I'm guessing - no accident. Not running into Jack. Not being in the hatch. Guessing there wasn't even a sail across the world. When you track it all backwards, Desmond fits in with a group of characters who seem to be on the periphery of things. Claire's psychic. Sayid's American officer. Ecko's crazy daughter of Claire's psychic. They're always making some coy allusion or overt statement about knowledge they really shouldn't have ... or conveniently seem connected to an event which gets people on the island. They have day jobs ... but they also work for DHARMA/Hanso.

There is an actual disease
This is sort of assuming that Desmond's a plant ... but if that's the case then Desmond wouldn't have taking the drugs for nothing. He would have been taking them as a precaution. This disease might be what triggers all the flashbacks/visions/psychic whatnots in people. And it might cause some people to go completely nutters. The "QUARANTINE" is on the inside of the hatches as a reminder of this. The hatches themselves may be expirments to determine the effects (positive or negative) of the disease. Perhaps the purpose of the Swan's numbers being a "deadman's" style switch is to warn other DHARMA employees that something has gone wrong.

Henry Gale Imposter pushed the button
This has been the subject of much speculation. Did Fake Henry Gale lie to Locke when he said he didn't push the button? The general thinking is that if the button keeps something disastrous from happening then why wouldn't Gale push the button? And more specifically, lie to Locke aboout it and risk him not pushing the button?

1) Whatever the effect is ... it's not the catastrophic event Desmond described. Perhaps Desmond believed that, perhaps not. It may have been theater staged to convince Jack and Locke of the importance.

2) HGI, however, possibly knew he would likely be dead or rescued by the time Locke decided to stop pushing the button.

So it's not that HGI didn't want the effect to happen ... he just didn't want to be around when he did.

The button keeps old Smokey away
Something keeps the survivors somewhat safe while they are on the beach. Maybe The Others are just deciding it's time to let Smoke Monster take care of some problems. Course, that doesn't explain why Backwards Walt would be trying to get them to stop pushing the button. The idea that not pushing the button would be bad for people around the hatch might also be reinforced by the Others trying to steal away their "good" ones. Get them to safety, vaccinate them from the disease, etc.

Faith Based Powers?
Sounds odd, sure. But we know the island can heal people (Locke, Rose, Jin) and we know that the healing can go away (Locke). Locke's legs failing him in Season 1 occured at a time which would indicate that either a) he was psychosomatic and in control himself, b) his failing faith failed his legs or c) something or someone else can manipulate the healing on the island ( a combination of the LEP and remote viewing? ).

If this was true, then it would explain why faith is so important to the island's expirements.

Defeating Valenzetti
The Valenzetti Equation is a mathematical equation to predict the apocalypse, introduced via Gary Troup's website and also having been entered into Wikipedia by the show's producers ... now deleted since the Wikipedia really frowns on that kind of thing. Fictionally speaking, Valenzetti was a math genius who was the first to prove Fermat's theorem and died in plane crash over the ocean.

Basically it's a deathclock equation mixed with a bit of Asimov's Foundation series, I'm guessing. If so ... the numbers could represent a portion of the equation that Hanso is trying to disrupt. Altering (or removing) the lives of a few to keep the planet moving ... that kind of thing.

tagged: ,

Monday, May 15, 2006

Da Vinci Code Finalist After All

Just got an email from Sony that I made it as one of the 10,000 Da Vinci Code Quest finalists after all. Odd, the communication up to now really sounded like I hadn't. Guess I've got something to do this weekend now.

Funny thing though - I'm still trying to do the math on whether winning would be a curse or blessing. Grand prize is just over $128k in various gifts ... all of which would get a pretty hefty tax form in the mail afterwards. Yeah, I know, that sounds horribly cynical ... but try freelancing in Illinois for more than year without thinking like that (or possibly anywhere for that matter).

Anyway, we shall see. I'll be interested to see how my earlier criticism that the puzzles weren't hard enough holds up. This is a timed test now, across what I'm assuming is a final version of all five types.

tagged: ,

Sony also says "Buy A Wii"

Not to be outdone by Peter Moore's bizarre logic of console purchases, Sony says people who get a PS3 should get a Wii too:

"I think Peter Moore is exactly right," Harrison said. "I think Nintendo will be the second system consumers purchase after PlayStation 3. I haven't had a chance to check out the Wii myself, but Nintendo has a great history of innovation and has always done great things for gaming and long may they do so."
-- Sony Executive Recommends Wii as Compliment to PS3 (thanks to The Brother)

Microsoft is expected to make a press release later today stating that people should buy a 360 and two Wii's.

tagged: ,

Mike Antonucci's 10 "Wows" From E3

10). “Madden NFL 07’’ for the Wii. “Madden’’ sells and sells and doesn’t need a boost from me. But just FYI, Electronic Arts’ E3 demo of some Wii controls, such as using Madden's “hit stick’’ feature by merely pushing forward with the two-piece controller setup, was tantalizing. The EA staff said the Wii controls have been very comfortable to work with and adapt.
-- 10 "wows" from E3

tagged: ,

MacBook This Thursday?

Tell me I'm not dreaming.

tagged: ,

Can Microsoft Save PC Gaming?

Some would argue that might depend on if PC gaming needs saving. Microsoft is making much of it's plans to revive the platform, which has at the very least suffered sagging sales and shelf space in the last couple years. Will "Live Anywhere", "Games For Windows" and DirectX 10 be able to change any of that?

I have to somewhat doubt it. Live Anywhere doesn't solve any particularly problem the PC actually has ... it's just an extension of the Xbox franchise and won't do much but add another offering to a glut of PC online socialization software. Games For Windows reminds me of that IBM add where they try to solve customer support issues by finding a new jingle and there's nothing in DirectX 10 to persuade people to buy more expensive computers compared to more economic consoles.

And that's the real problem Microsoft has ... with the Xbox they've become servants to two masters. They say they want to revive PC gaming ... but they also want everyone to buy a 360. These aren't compatible goals. Why spend $400 or $500 upgrading my computer for some games while spending $600 on a console? Consoles are more user friendly, heavily subsidized (in the case of the PS3 or 360) and hold their value much better than PC hardware. As Microsoft emphasizes things like XNA, which will promote cross-platform development between the 360 and the PC ... the reasons to get a PC will be even less not more. The Xbox showed with titles like Deus Ex 2 that cross-development can be a detriment to the PC version. Games like Doom 3 got features on the Xbox which should have been included on the PC version, namely cooperative play.

As long as Microsoft treats PC development as an extension of 360 development, PC games will continue to whither. The PC market needs exclusive titles which take advantage of the fact that they're being played on a full computer ... not shared features or marketing labels.

tagged: ,

Q: Abstract Quake Art

Q takes the Quake I engine to "to produce a highly abstract environment that not only reduced the actual 3D ambitions of the original to minimal 2D planes but also exposed the pixel mechanics behind the software" (digg it). I might not know art, but I know an explosion of pixels when I see it.

tagged: ,

Q&A On Carmack's "Orcs & Elves"

My wife got me a new cell phone a year and a half ago, and it had some little Java games on it. When I played through them, I was almost morally indignant that someone would make these really awful games on this platform. Because I was looking at this and thinking, "There's more power in this handset than all of the early [personal-computer] games that we made back in the Commander Keen days. Why do these games suck so bad?"
-- John Carmack Cells It (digg it)

Well, it might not be the most ingenious title (then again ... was Dungeons & Dragons?), but Orcs & Elves could prove interesting. Course, the mobile version of Doom won't run on my 6230, so I'll probably never know...

Interview also includes the not so surprising confession of Carmack as Dungeon Master:

I would occasionally run Dungeons & Dragons games—I used to run them all the time, and I had this very large set of lore that would build up my worlds in the early days—but of course, for the last decade, I haven't been able to run those very often.

tagged: ,

Sunday, May 14, 2006

STOB 3: Corvus

I barely squeaked a victory out of Corvus in the latest of his Sprint Tournament Of Bloggers. He's actually been fairly modest about his skills as he was pretty able to fight back both my alt form and Shock attack (which for Sylux will heal during combat) ... which are two things I rely on heavily. It was 2-0 until I took a dive down an ice hole, making it 1-0 and I spent some time just trying to keep that from getting tied up.

I think I have to face Thomas again - which will likely prove somewhat daunting.

There might be enough people online later today to make a PUG (pick up game) happen. Sundays might be my best bet for a standing date to play Hunters. Unless I'm out of town (about once or so a month), I'm usually home Sun afternoons.

tagged: ,