Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Biting The Hand

About 1.2 billion internet years ago, which for all you young kids is not last week, I used to read a web article published for a time on the site Happy Puppy. This is the really abbreviated wiki entry for it , in case you're interested, but it doesn't even scratch the surface.  As far as I knew, it was the site to download demos from.

Back in the day commentator Jessica Mulligan did a regular column, blogs didn't exist for us yet, called "Biting the Hand".   As an insider in the games industry (working mostly on MMOs at that time) it was a cool insight on stuff.  I don't know what ever happened to her, but she had a prophetic view.  And I think she followed the development of Star Fleet Command from the boards, which would make her the absolute of cool in my books.

Way back then she did a column on the introduction of user content to games.  I can't remember the context exactly, but I seem to think that one of the MMOs was considering allowing users to develop content.  I also seem to remember her thought son this were that the vast quantity of content generated this way would not in any way improve its quality.  Something about poo and sewers and volume of flow, but I could be making that last bit up.

And now I'm here to apply the same principle to Greenlight on Steam.  You may not have been bothered by this yet.  It looks like Steam has created a forum where every not-quite successful game developer can throw a "we're cool too!" on my Steam front end.  And most of these efforts look like rejects from the Apple Store.  If every third one isn't some kind of Minecraft clone, and seriously why would you want to, I'll eat my hat.  I'm speaking "metty-forik-lee".  For one thing I don't have a regular hat.

I'm honestly not even sure why it bothers me.  I know it has to do with the same horrible feeling I get at a convention when somebody wants to show me their partially cooked game.  "Hey look at my stuff!"  Are you referring to this left over pile of cut up cereal boxes?  Oh, those are "game pieces".  Yes, I need to be more tolerant of nascent talent.  No, I don't have a constructive action plan.

I guess it comes down to this:  I won't let anybody see anything I'm working on until I'm ready to sell it.  If I apply this principal to everything I see from everybody else either I'm way to fussy about completeness and "showability" or everybody else needs to rethink.

And no I will not buy your game on Steam if you made Terraria with one more thing to mine.  Or yet another game where "the environment is the game".

Monday, September 24, 2012

nVidia Driver Writers

Over the years I've had occasion to make some harsh statements about the folks who write the Windows drivers at or for nVidia. I'd like to be able to tell you that's changed. That after all these years they cleaned up their act. That the stopped with the crack cocaine.

I'd like to. But I can't. As an enthusiast I check for driver updates on a regular basis. I was pleased to note that the latest revision - 306.23 - actually lists my card in its supported category. Of course when you try to install it, it says that compatible hardware can not be found.

As usual the solution is to download a file from the Internet. If you need them search for nVidia gtx260m 306.23. It's a matter of updating 2 files and running the install.

Crack cocaine I say.

I understand that my chip is now more than 2 full revs back. I understand that support work costs money and can't be maintained for ever. But if you could stop saying it will work when it won't.

Too much to ask? Maybe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jon Rocks

Assuming this works normally, this should cross pollinate.  And then I will have achieved the tri-fecta.  And broken my own personal habit of posting once a quarter.

Ha ha.


Vanity Searches

I'm a fairly vain person.  I'm also prone to publicly admitting my faults in an attempt to illicit sympathy, but lets try to stay focused.

Have you ever done a vanity search?  That's when you put your name into Google and see what comes up.  When I do this under my full name, I come up fourth.  Actually my Facebook comes up fourth, which doesn't say much for my readership.

It never occurred to me to do the search for my gamer tag.  Until today.  Today I tried to open a twitter account (I know, behind the times) as MrPoody, assuming that would be a slam dunk, as usual.

It appears I have been beat to the mark.

Anyways I can be followed @MrPoodySpeaks.  Close enough.  Probably better actually.

As a side note, an alarming number of cat videos on youTube are associated with the name MrPoody.  Who knew.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Castle Games Presents Fleet Admiral

Ish. Near as I can tell the manufactorum is putting on the final touches. This means I should be able to do my first official box opening video. I always wanted this to be a vlog anyway.

Keep an eye to the sky.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The 0 Swap Initiative

So I've been dealing with a fairly cantankerous game issue - do you need a swap file.  My gut says no, even if my head says yes.

What does a swap file do?  In theory it allows your OS to move inactive memory pages to less volatile, and less fast, storage.  This leaves room for active processes to work with the fast resources.  It can/will also be used as a last resort to store active memory pages when you run out of physical ram.

The problem I'm having is, I'm beginning to suspect that the geniuses who wrote the code in question decided they could do this more efficiently themselves.  Anyways, in the mean time my windows swap file is turned off, to see what happens.  I'm hoping what happens is that the stuff actively working is not in contention with stuff being loaded.

Yes, I'm aware that if I run out of memory my machine will burst into flames and even the Omnisiah will not me able to save me.  The forces of chaos win.  We all end up in the servitude of warp beasts.  Or something.

Some statistics:
Win 7 (64 bit) seems to want to sit right about 1.9 - 2.2 Gb of memory.
The peak I've seen, even with Outlook, Excell, Corel, Chrome and a game open has been about 3.4 Gb of memory.
The commit always seems to be about 10% larger, but may not really matter.
None of this seems to stop the infernal jitter of Diablo III.

I'm beginning to suspect that either the resource management of the engine is rubbish or the need to get out to the server constantly to look up the loot tables is rubbish.  May be both.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Test Drive Unlimited 2

Really. I've been on a super car kick again. Watching hours of Top Gear UK will do that to me.

So I thought "Hey. I bought that on Steam for sale a ways back. Bet there's an Aston DB9 in there ". Which is as close as I've gotten to it. The game I mean.

It seems that Atari ( that would be the new Atari not the old, bankrupt one) are having server issues. The game desperately wants to download content, but the servers aren't having any.

In this day and age. Shoddy. It's rubbish.

Updated - 2012-07-28

It took about a week and a half to get this down.  Not sure if that's changed since, but now that I have it it's running quite well on Larry.  The boy is interested in it, so I'll see if the twin 8800's in Hank can handle it.  It's not the most realistic game, but it's way better that Need For Speed World.  NFSW is rubbish.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Batman: Arkham City

I think I'm almost done - playing at least. Owing to a minor hiccup of the steam cloud I've ended up playing through half the main story twice. If I had been able to play through the first time I would probably be more interested in running down Riddler and his ridiculous 10000 challenges.

On the other hand, if you're a developer working on a super hero game it needs to be at least this good. If its not, perhaps you should consider writing business code.

Back to Skyrim?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012 Gaming Season

Started the new list of games tonight. Now that I'm down to about one solid gaming slot a week it's going to be a lot harder to get through. And if course King Kong is just around the corner...

"Batman: Arkham City"
First impression - I'm only about an hour in and, much like the first game it's been a lot of cut scene. I'm a bit worried about the pacing. I've already had pop ins from Cat Woman, Penguin , Two Face and the Joker. Game play seems to be the same formula though which is good.

When on earth am I going to ever have enough time to play this monster. Don't misunderstand, this is a fabulous game, but I just don't have this kind of time.

"Deus Ex: the new one"
Which I keep forgetting the actual name of. Looks like a really cool shooter, but it's down on my list for now.

New on the RADAR is "Syndicate", which is a shooter redux of the RTS ( yes it was) I loved in concept back in the day. Looks a lot like Deus Ex.

And of course the Gorilla could be just around the corner. Or not. Bliz is being as tight lipped as usual. I may sneak into EB and pre order the fancy box. I promised myself I wouldn't do that again but...

Star Trek online is free after jan 17. It's almost worth it, except my time issue means MMOs are contra indicated.

and I only need to kill about 27000 more orks for the 40000 achieve in Space Marine.