I apologize in advance.
tagged: game, gaming
Penny Arcade notes that the phrase seen in the Moral Kombat trailer about terrorists using computer games to train for 9/11 is a little questionable. This seems like the kind of thing that merits a little digging.
Let's start with what is known. On page 5 of staff statement 4 of the 9/11 commision report, it notes that " the existence of computer-based software programs that provides cockpit simulation available on the open market to the general public. According to experts at the FAA such computer-based training packages, including products that simulate cockpit controls of the Boeing 757 and 767, provided effective training opportunities." Also, in statement 16, it notes that they "also used flight simulator computer games and analyzed airline schedules to figure out flights that would be in the air at the same time."
Section five of the report details this more specifically: "They used the game software to increase their familiarity with aircraft models and functions,and to highlight gaps in cabin security."
So we can all agree that PC flight simulator software was used during the planning. What about actually flying the planes? Atta, the pilot of Flight 11, was instrument certified, had flight deck videos to preview and clocked time on a real 727 simulator. al-Shehhi, who flew Flight 175, travelled and trained with Atta. The pilot of Flight 77, Hanjour, took flying lessons and was FAA certified for a time but had several complaints about his poor skills and English. Jarrah, who flew Flight 93, was licensed to fly small planes and had training for large jets.
In other words - none of the pilots of the 9/11 attacks relied ... even remotely ... on PC game software to launch their attacks. To state otherwise is completely ignore the facts surrounding the men and the training they did recieve.
Of course, this is common sense. It goes to the core problem with the logic that games are capable of wetwiring people to perform precision tasks - nobody actually believes it will work. Cops don't train on Dreamcasts alone. No soldier ever hit the field with nothing but Doom under his (or her) belt. The "virtual" of virtual reality is still so broad of a gap that it's simply not realistic.
I doubt games will ever get that realistic. Simply because it isn't much fun. I have fired handguns and I completely suck at it. By comparison, I can instantly be a highly trained space marine anytime I want ... because it's a game.
The discussion of the day is over morals and behavior - but training is simply not the current issue.
And as a footnote - Lieberman's off the table as a legitmate speaker on this issue since he's fine with violence and kids as long as it line his pockets with cold hard cash.
tagged: game, gaming
The problem with posting something like a project todo list for a guy like me is that it's a sure way to think of another project to completely eclipse everything else. Seriously, I'm like that guy who washes his car just to watch it rain.
Instead of going into big detail (because I hate to do that before I have anything working) ... this is the overall design concept.
No promises - but it's the shiny that catches my eye right now.
tagged: game, gaming
I'm really not a big fan of blog memes, but when Brinstar throws down it's hard not to respond. And often, trash talk a bit - but not this time.
I hated programming all the way through college.
I mean hated. I used to put those BASIC programs that they had in the back of computer magazines in and never got anything to work (yes, I realize how much that dates me). My LOGO class in college was a complete joke - I wrote a progam to convert roman and arabic numerals that would crash the parser on the third try. I only took it because I knew I would suck at math even more. I didn't orient my way to scripts and compilers until I got into web development professionally and PERL was the only way I could get a calendar to run. PERL was perfect for me, actually, since it focused so much on wrangling text and not so much PEEK and POKE.
Funny thing is that if I didn't have this early reaction to it - I'd probably be a professional game developer today. My early interest in coding was always about games.
I almost drowned during lifeguard training.
And the irony has never been lost on me.
I wasn't just in a fraternity, I was once the Vice President.
Which, by the way, also made me the PledgeMaster. This tidbit usually freaks people out if they've met me personally. My house, Acacia, though, was pretty non-conformative in general. Still, I loved those guys and my time with them. Plus, a fraternity brother helped me get my first job at State Farm and got my career in web development off the ground.
I've been circled by a shark.
Whitetipped ( I think ) in the Virgin Islands. Cousteau called this breed "the most dangerous". This one, though, was a local that frequently scared swimmers out of its favorite eating areas but had never hurt anyone.
My best writing professor was David Foster Wallace.
I took his class when he was teaching at ISU. I wasn't enrolled - I knew Dave socially and he invited me to sneak into the class. Best writing experience I've ever had. Lynn DeVore of Wesleyan was pretty great too and got me to just write tons and tons of material which I probably wouldn't normally have - but Dave taught me two great lessons: just write and expect rejection. I hate bringing this one up because there's no way that it doesn't sound like name dropping - but Dave was just a friend I knew for a while in college. I love his short stories but I've never even managed to finish Infinite Jest.
There you have it. Instead of tagging others specifically (I think most I know have been thusly tagged), I'll just say that if you've commented here or I've commented at your place - tag.
Interesting take from Dave Taylor:
Calling this a "gameplay" post is a bit of a misnomer - I didn't really play Phantasy Star Universe. My disappointment for it peaked before I really could get into the game.
I didn't realize that the only offline mode is a lame story mode which barely resembles Phantasy Star Online. There's no character creation - you start out as some futuristic sk8ter boi off to see his girly. Look, I popped this game in because my real girlfriend was out for a walk and I just wanted to jump in, slash some monsters, collect some swag and jump out. If I wanted to run around with wide-eyed long-eared girls, I'd play Final Fantasy.
So that almost did it in - but I decided to see if the network mode had an offline option. No such luck. If your PS2 isn't jacked into the net - you don't get jack.
Compared to the GameCube version of Phantasy Star Online which offers four player splitscreen - this thing is a coaster.
tagged: game, gaming
Cars is a Pixar film. Honestly, that's about as long of a review as you really need. I'd say it's easily not as good as nearly any Pixar to come before it - but it's still solid entertainment. Also, the animation and rendering is occasionally jaw-dropping (even compared to previous films).
tagged: movies, pixar
The amazing things people do by picking up the phone:
In 1994, Kevin Smith gave us Clerks and it was good. He maxed out credit cards, sold off his comics and dipped into his college fund to pay for the film - shot in black and white and a cast flushed out with family and friends. Its status as a cult classic is undeniable and the movie easily stands the test of time with its absurdity, grit and heart.
To date, Smith's success hasn't made any better films with the possible exception of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Clerks 2 falls somewhere in between. It's staple Smith work, but it's hard to capture the attraction of an indie movie without actually being an indie movie. If Jay and Silent Bob delivered big budget parodies and in-jokes of Smith's own work ... Clerks 2 offers an almost sentimental reflection on the movie that started it all.
The addition of Rosario Dawson to the set was most wise of Smith. In truth, nobody could assume the roles of Dante and Randall other than O'Halloran and Anderson and they fit back into the story seamlessly. Dawson, however, serves as a centerpiece who carries the movie with more range and depth than any other character in the movie. She alone makes the film a step above a simple color rehash of the previous characters.
I'm not sorry I missed this film in the theatres but I am still darn glad to have seen it on DVD. Even if it lacks the snap that made the first film so great, it has a lot of heart and tons of over-the-top humor. I would also heavily recommend the animated series for those that managed to miss out when it aired briefly.
tagged: movies, clerks
Time's list of the 10 best 2006 games is solid, if not somewhat predictable, except that (as kottke notes) - Wii Sports leads the list. Is this Time pandering to the tech crowd, trying to illustrate its geeky know-how, or is it truly a nod that gameplay is taking the lead over graphics in the coming generation of games?
tagged: game, gaming
I don't know how long I've been saying this, so its nice to hear some analysts back me:
Surely, I'm a little late in picking up Okami. Surely most people have ogled Sakuya's bum plenty by now. I got about an hour's worth of time with it last night and walked away with mostly good impressions.
The much hyped artwork definately lives up to the praise. This is stunning work. This is where the cutscene haters can bite me. I love watching Okami's animations and I have no problem waiting for them to get done so that I can play again. Actually, the art presentation in general - from textures to the animation to the sound effects - is exceedingly well done.
I can definately see the comparisons made to Ocarina of Time as well. It has that feel of a rich fantasy world welcoming you to wander around and explore. Sadly, though, it shares some of the "obtuse" nature of the Zelda (as Thomas would put it). A couple of times my wandering in the village was a bit aimless. Nothing provoking any controller throwing behavior, but a mild annoyance all the same.
I'm still debating about the "ink drawing powers" of the game. I love how it fits into design, sure, but I'm not sure it really adds a lot of entertainment value. On paper it sounds great - but in execution it feels like a odd version of connect the dots or the like. Especially in combat - where you can "strike out" baddies - it feels intrusive more than adding depth.
Also, there seems like there might be a lot of character management. I'm already trying to keep track of health, food, ink and ... money? God wolves need money?
All the same, I'm pretty psyched about it. Hopefully I can clock some hours in this week.
tagged: okami, gaming
I can't generate an Amazon link to the Duckman DVD's because technically - they don't exist. Despite having a four year run and a few Ace awards under its belt - this cartoon series has never been released on DVD's. Which is a shame, because the show is brilliant and original.
Duckman stars a neurotic, hyperactive, belligerent duck "private dick/family guy" who is more than simply incompetent ... he's usually outright catastrophic. Were it not for his porcine partner, Cornfed, he'd probably be dead by now. Hated by his sister-in-law Bernice (voiced by Nancy Travis) and not much more loved by his kids ... his family life is about as bad as his professsional one. Insane rants, killing stuffed teddy bears and a surplus of sex jokes round out the show. Not intended for small children barely covers a warning for the show. It's not quite as sophomoric as South Park (no talking poo) but the humor is definately aimed at adults.
And Jason Alexander certainly deserves some award for being the voice of Duckman (he probably has one). Duckman will occasionally break into five minute curses or rants which I could only assume would be the bane of such work - but Alexander carries it extremely well.
The fact that we have bootlegs is really the only problem. Occasionally the video will skip out and then get out of sync with the audio. Fortunately, the show is 99% funny with just audio alone - so this isn't really a problem. Video quality varies - but again the show's art style (best describe as a frantic kind of Picasso) doesn't really require the best resolution.
The real crime is that the show is sliding into obscurity and there doesn't seem to be any plans for a DVD release. This is a fine example where piracy simply wins out.
tagged: television , duckman
I'm generally about the worst about getting things done. I've considering inventing a new t-shirt with a writable area so that I can simply keep my current task list in public view. It's one of the reasons I started the blog, actually, to make dev diaries more of a public record so that I might have more of an impetus to finish things. If you go back into the archives, you'll see that I've left a couple of Unreal mods unfinished (and at this point we can probably considered abandoned). Out of the projects since - only Carter got to see the light of day.
I preface this in a such a way to put a "to do list" in a relative light. These are the gaming related project I may or may not be finishing:
For lack of a better term. I'm still working on inter-hyper-whatever fiction. I don't know what to call it - just "IF" seems simple and abbreviated. I want to put back in enough aspects of a "storyworld" that the player feels more in control while maintaining the core concept of being able to "write out" the story without much interference with a filter or parser. This will probably have more DHTML elements and quite possibly more straight up RPG elements as well (perhaps even the inclusion of a character sheet with skills and inventory).
The biggest shift here is the basic interface. Carter was based on the concept of the player "poking" at the story - often somewhat blindly. Find nouns, add verbs, see what happens. I'll remove the "find" completely - active nouns will be highlighted in some manner and probably to indicate what kind of actions will be possible against it. Actions will probably be organized as cards or some cardlike manner so that they're easy to identify and understand. There might be a stock set of cards like "examine" and "use", while "Fire Gun" would be reliant on the player having a gun (so basically the character sheet will control the card set).
Of course, part of the problem of using writing as a core is ... you have to write. I started one narrative - but I might scrap it for now and try another that might be a little less expiremental and easier to fit into a game style framework (more straight up genre). Even with all of this reworking - the biggest challenge remains the conflict between elements of story and elements of gameplay.
It's also possible that I'll gear a version for the Wii, DS and/or PS3 browser (pending the ability to test on any of those).
This is still a major interest for me. The controls have caused the most problem because iTunes doesn't support a key up event. Moving to mouse control would mean leaving the concept of coop behind - but I think it will be the way to go. The more I try and game on the Mac I gotta say - I really hate about 99% of keyboard control scheme. Yes, they're great for shooters and when you need an abundance of keys. It just sucks when you're doing constant movement. When you're button mashing. Maybe this is the carpal tunnel talking - but I don't find typing repeatedly much fun ... even if it does cause explosions.
Mouse control imposes new technical problems, of course. I don't have nearly as good of sample code and I'm not sure how geared iTunes is for it either. Still, I think it's compelling gamespace. You have access to one of the best kinds of random data possible, an application window geared for entertainment and a user who is possibly looking to chill out a bit. There's a technical ceiling, sure - but you're also free from worry about things like sound effects.
I'd like to do just more writing in the non-interactive realm. This year of NaNoWriMo made me miss the days of being able to write near constantly. Course, that was college and I was essentially an unemployed beatnik. I'm actually having fun with the spam poetry project - even though it must be the least marketable thing I've ever done. Might be right for a downloadable PDF or the like.
Getting something publishable would be the long term goal. It's not a necessity for writing - writing can be simply a hobby. But I do think that convincing someone else to pay for your work is a perfectly noble goal.
Well, that's the plan at least. Two out of three would be nice. Course, this is pending any other crazy ideas I hatch between now and the completion of anything else.
tagged: game, gaming