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Friday, June 22, 2007

Duke Nukem Forever Screen Arises

Gaming Today shows an image off the 3D Realms forums which supposedly has been confirmed of being an actual screenshot which proves the existence of Duke Nukem Forever if little else. I can't even muster the energy to dupe and post the image on this one.

Honestly I don't even believe 3D Realms is working on it anymore. Not in any real sense. Not any more than my plan to say - build a treehouse - is shaping up.

Toronto Indie Jam

insertcredit reminds me of the existence of Toronto Indie Game Jam, AKA ToJam. Check out the 2007 entries, particularly samples like Quiver which has two people playing, one with the keyboard and the other with the mouse. The keyboard user generates monsters and the mouse user shoots them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

But I Was Working On That

In Safari there's this bug where HTML and rich elements clash. If you try to update the appearance of the HTML element while it is over a Flash embed, for instance, the HTML flakes out and likes to disappear. When this is say, your navigation menu, that is generally bad. Part of my job ... actually much of what makes my job what it is ... is to figure out the best workaround for situations like this one.

So I'm beating around an example on my Mac at work. The Mac starts pleading that it needs to do a security update, so I let it. It interrupts me again because it wants to reboot - so I reboot it.

When I log back in and pull up my example - it's fixed.

I confirmed with a co-worker. Looks like they updated WebKit and removed the bug.

Compared to the Windows Mobile nightmare ...

Windows Hatred To Go

So I recently upgraded my Nokia to a spiffy Cingular 8525 - also known as a HTC Hermes. This is kind of a moment for me since I've always been a big Palm fan and this 8525 is one big block of Windows Mobile. Still, the phone itself was the kind of hardware design I wanted - foldout keyboard, nice big touchscreen.

I figured Windows Mobile can't be that bad.

So last night I was syncing some MP3 files over to it while playing Oblivion. After a quick travel, Oblivion locked up and took the whole computer with it. So I rebooted the computer. I figured I would just need to go back to Windows Media Player and tell it to start syncing again.

Sadly, Windows Media Player had no idea what I was talking about. Maybe it had moved all the files over? Maybe not? It didn't really know what I meant by "did stuff". So then I picked up the phone and looked at the storage card - sure enough there were, well, some songs.

Then I launched the WMP mobile version. Files? What files? Songs? It didn't know what I meant. It couldn't see them. It could play them if I went to the song in the filesystem and then clicked on it - but once that was done the player refused to acknowledge it or any of its 100 friendly other songs as being in existence.

Being Windows - I tried rebooting the phone a few times to see if that would fix it. Nope.

Which brings me to my next point. Getting apps for this thing sucks. You never know if it will work or the app is outdated. 90% of stuff comes in a silly executable which insists on talking to ActiveSync when all you actually need is the cab file and a USB connection. I finally got Pocket Music running on the thing and ...

... the whole phone just crashes. Locks up totally. Refuses to even turn off until the battery is ripped out. After it did this like seven times I decided maybe it wasn't just coincidence that this started after Pocket Music. So this morning I removed it.

About an hour later - locked up again. Just before I installed Winamp.

Winamp, btw, throws an error message with a random assortment of letters before launching on this thing. But if it will stop crashing the phone, I'll take what I can get.

And someone was just asking me why I like my Mac so much.

Update: Right now Winamp is playing in the backgound on the phone. When I tell it to go to Winamp, it refuses.

So basically my phone is singing to me and the only way to tell it to stop will be to turn the whole thing off. Brilliant.

Update to the update: I just removed Winamp and installed GSPlayer (humorously right before Thomas recommended it). It's pretty bare bones but for me has the added functionality of actually working. And it's more user friendly than WMP.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Manhunt 2 For Adults Only

"Manhunt 2," an upcoming action game from "Grand Theft Auto" development house Rockstar Games, has been labeled Adults Only by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, according to a spokesman from Rockstar Games. Major retailers, including the big game chains, won't sell AO games, effectively guaranteeing the game won't be for sale next month as originally scheduled unless Rockstar changes the content.

Asked whether the studio would delay the game (which is scheduled for a July 10 release), Rockstar spokesman Rodney Walker told MTV News: "That's the last thing we want, but it's too early to say."

Walker provided "Manhunt 2" publisher Take 2 Interactive's statement on the game's rating: "We believe the process of rating video games is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them. 'Manhunt 2' was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of 'Manhunt 2.' "

This revelation followed news that the British Board of Film Classification — which rates entertainment, including video games, for the U.K. market — declared that it had rejected "Manhunt 2," denying it a rating.
-- Rockstar Games' 'Manhunt 2' Slapped With 'Adults Only' Rating

Has anyone heard the precise content which makes Manhunt 2 worse than Mature? Because if it isn't sexual content or nudity, I'm struggling to remember this rating being given for purely violent content.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Learn Something Every Day

Did you know vinyl LP's sometimes contained video games? I sure did not.

Blockbuster's Ray Is Blu

And has Engadget wondering if that will decide the format war in the long run. It's certainly a coup for Sony in a year that they could use a few - and while Blockbuster is still a powerhouse, we live in the age of Netflix. And since Netflix doesn't have any shelf space to fight over, I don't see them really picking a side in this fight (and would probably prefer a greater download percentage in the long run anyway).

Microsoft Can't Handle The Heat

Of their own console, that is:

Last week, GamePro addressed the alleged addition of heatsinks to repaired Xbox 360 units in Europe, although Microsoft subsequently declined to comment on these heatsinks despite photographic evidence supporting their installation. To dig deeper into the matter, the San Jose Mercury News spoke to Holmdahl, and asked him tough questions regarding the Xbox 360's failure rate. However, a good portion of these questions were answered with some form of the words "No comment", but of the questions Holmdahl was authorized to answer, many were dotted with Holmdahl's assurances that the public loves "the box".

"I would go back and say the vast majority of people love their experience," Holmdahl states, in response to a question asking for an explanation for the number of Xbox 360 owners who claim to be victims of a defective machine. "We continue to go back and address all of these issues on a case by case basis. There is a vocal minority out there. We go off and try to address their issues as quickly and as pain free as possible."

But even talk of beneficial upgrades, such as the change from 90-nanometer to 65-nanometer chips, was an off-limits subject for Holmdahl. When asked for a comment on the possibility of a chip upgrade, Holmdahl simply responded:

"We continue to redesign the box, continue to drive costs out. We don't talk about the specifics of it."

Holmdahl further emphasized his point by stating that 90-nm chips and 65-nm chips will yield the same results because the "quality is good at both of those."
-- Microsoft Dismisses Xbox 360 Hardware Complaints.

I kept hearing, but haven't actually stumbled on, Takahashi's interview with Holmdahl where Holmdahl dances around the point in such an apparently not so elegant manner. I think it's true that the majority of 360 users are happy with their purchase - but to flick away the slowly mounting evidence that the 360 was something of a flawed design to begin with seems arrogant and mildly reckless. The heatsinks are a telltale. Holmdahl is trying to say they won't fix anything because there is nothing to fix - but the European models prove they have fixed something ... so clearly there was something to fix.

And I raise an eyebrow at the 90 to 65 nm comparison, as I (and I think a goodly portion of the Internet) was under the assumption that one advantage of the new chips was less heat. That was the view of of this 2005 preview of 65nm chips in PC World. Maybe Holmdahl needs to pick up a few more magazines?

Basically Microsoft is in damage control here. The 360 isn't selling so wonderful as to manage a full blown controversy well. Fortunately for them, they're pretty good at this.

Manhunt 2 Banned In The UK

A sequel to violent video game 'Manhunt' has been banned in Britain, it was announced today.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rejected 'Manhunt 2' on the grounds of its "casual sadism" and "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying".

The game "constantly encourages visceral killing", it said.

The BBFC's ruling means the game cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.

It is the first video game to be refused a classification since 1997.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: "Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board's published guidelines.

"In the case of 'Manhunt 2', this has not been possible.

"'Manhunt 2' is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."

The original 'Manhunt' game was given an 18 classification in 2003 and was "at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category", he said.
-- I'Casually sadistic' video game banned in UK

That 1997 game? Carmageddon. Which later won an appeal.

I will say I have no love for the Manhunt franchise - I found the first one to be a video game version of a bad, bad horror movie. Tenchu was a much better "creep around and kill people" game without all the curfluffle. Again, my only real question for the BBFC is whether they'd be rating a film in a similar way.

TV Watch: Lil Bush

I've only seen like a few minutes of this show but it seems just more disturbing than funny. Does anyone find humor in remixing current tragedy, catastophes and political figures into munchkins?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Web Tech: From Sparkle To Silverlight

An interesting discussion from 2005 from around when Silverlight, then called Sparkle, was first publically showed around to developers.

Note From The Management: Crickets

Yes, I'm more than aware that is a cicada - but I thought it was more timely. Anyway, that noise is the sound of this blog as I attempt to swim from the undertow of work this week. I'll peek out when I can.