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Posts posted by Nachimir

  1. It's incredibly hard to tell either way. It's not as if the exact number of pirate installs can be measured against legit steam installs. Most of the figures quoted about piracy are decidedly hand-wavy, as private trackers and mates burning DVDs can't be counted at all. Also, claims over lost sales by media industries are typically exaggerated, with every instance of piracy counted as a lost sale. Given that the costs of pirating things are significantly lower (in time, energy, and money) that's not a reasonable assumption.

    I'm not pretending it's not bad, because it is, or fair, because it's not, but content industries aren't doing themselves any favours by crawling back into the 20th century and failing to understand the problem.

  2. I'm given to understand a lot of providers are just renting cable off BT anyway. Quality of service depends largely on your region, around the midlands I've heard lots of bad things about NTL and lots of good things about BT. YMMV elsewhere.

    My NTL connection is generally reliable, though when it occasionally does go down their customer service is shit. NTL also have fairly poor upload speeds compared to other providers, as the network Diamond Cable put down in the early 90's was designed for cable TV, not packet switching.

    You will also rarely, if ever, get all of the speed advertised. "Unlimited" is a blatant lie on advertising for broadband, they don't even hire 8 megs of bandwidth for each customer. The logic goes that not all customers will use their connections to the full, nor will thier use be constant, so companies can save money by setting a contention ratio and only hiring sufficient bandwidth to meet it.

    BT, I believe, have download limits, and NTL have been messing around with traffic shaping - 8 meg connections will frequenly drop to 4 megs during the wee hours, etc., and this seems to be inflicted on heavy users.

    Also, check your cable modem. New NTL connections use NTL:250 modems, but after many connection upgrades we were still left with an NTL:100, which is ancient. They can't handle the increased power they've been shoving down the lines around here now, and a lot of old cable modems are starting to break. An engineer swapped it and suddenly the connection became a lot more usable.

  3. Actually, like a stylus, the intuitiveness of the Wii controller will depend largely on the implementation of specific games. It could be mishandled to create an incredibly non-intuitive interface. There's a big difference between motions that come naturally to people and arbitrary gestures that have to be learned and practiced.

  4. A crowdsourced MMO is going to be interesting to watch. He's also building a eBay style site for game dev investments, which is genius.

    The map mentioned in that article is here. It was meant to launch at GDC but alas, doesn't seem to work at all. We've tried it in all browsers in Linux, OS-X and Windows, and all it does most of the time is either lock up or tell us searches return no results. Anyone else had any luck with it? (Edit: Today, for the first time, the signup page actually worked for me. It displays results, but is slooooow).

    (Pity, it's also a very good idea. At work a month ago we decided to make a database of UK games companies and mash it up with google maps, then we found this. So we're rooting for it and poised to contribute...).

    I still can't get over the unbeliveably catalogue-esque self promotion portraits on his site, or that he was responsible for MDK. Your metaphor is a good one, though consensus seems to be that he's one of the good guys.

  5. Well, at least most of the experts say it's where interfaces are going : they don't pretend it's going to replace 2D interface in every cases, they just say that it's going to be the next field of experimentation for a bunch of researches related to usability and user centered interaction... and that their result will provide guidelines for the proper use of 3D interface.
    Excuse the bluntness, but I think that's kinda myopic. The history of games everything is littered with great ideas that got abandoned because someone screwed up the execution on them once, and then everyone else went "oh it must've been the idea that sucked". I think it's great that they are giving the idea a second go, and I think it's a flawed comparison since the scope of execution has obviously changed so much since VRML.

    Fair enough, and bluntness excused ;), but I remain unconvinced that 3D offers a good way to organise information. As social space, sure, fine.

  6. I think that might have been meant in the sense of art as concepts and deep expression, rather than art asset production and rendering. Craft is a useful word for the latter, though sadly often derided, so we're stuck with art, which is sadly not derided enough ;)

  7. Yeah, Sony really should have asked themselves "What happened to VRML?" at some point. 3D is great for some things, but it's a really sucky way to organise information. 80's visions of cyberspace didn't happen because we tried them and they suck.

    I wonder how they'll handle adult content? Will people cyber? I doubt it will enable users to any degree like second life, but judging by the screenshots and videos, PSHome is looking like an ideal place for hipsterotica ;)

    Using a virtual PSP for the interface looks a tad desperate too.

    I'm not as cynical about this as I sound. Honest!

  8. All good points Vimes.

    However, his point about AI is an interesting one, given what David Braben has been saying the PS3 will enable in terms of AI for The Outsider (i.e. "Our AI is going to be awesome because of having so much processing power to throw at it!").

    On one hand, speculation about what a more powerful console can do for AI is dangerously close to being a marketing bullet point, but on the other, if the PS3 and 360 really can scale a new height in terms of convincing behaviour, then indeed the Wii might get left behind.

    I think in being confrontational Chris Heckler probably picked exactly the wrong way to express that.

  9. To be fair, those office smashers were a little below average. I am always amazed though at how many grown adults and uni students I meet who can't actually spell. Around the time of the paediatrician thing, I saw an anti-paedophile march with a sign that read "PEDOFILES OUT".

  10. The Media Molecule guys are awesome, can't wait to see more of their new work.

    Hmm, second life with a decent renderer and without the sex is an interesting proposition. Back in the day, I knew a bunch of UT clans that got bored with UT99 and spent half their time just hanging out and chatting on severs.

  11. Also, after a few months of playing far too much Infiltration (A UT "realism" mod like CS), I unconsciously checked skylines for silhouettes. Fireworks also made me flinch and look for cover. However, I didn't shoot a single person. Not one. Not even a little bit.

    Games can have pretty profound effects, but so can other forms of media. I think Henry Jenkins nailed it best when he described them as a risk factor: A white middle class kid playing GTA SA is unlikely to go out and join a gang. A kid in a poverty stricken area rife with gang culture is going to get a lot more reinforcement from playing the same game.

    Games are part of a much bigger and more complex context, which is poorly understood because it's made of culture, personality, and all forms of media. People are ready to start flinging poo from all sides of the issue, which is by turns insecure, opportunist and unhelpful. Noone wants to believe anything bad about the choices they've made or the values they hold, and because games are a new form of media little to no such knowledge yet exists to support any side of the debate.

    The games industry is seldom if ever ready with decent counter arguments when people like Boris Johnson or Hilary Clinton start talking shite. Their anti-game arguments are absolute crap, yet when people like Greg Costikyan thoroughly dismantle them, it remains stuck in blogs and has no effect on mainstream media coverage or debate. Industry trade associations and the like could be doing a hell of a lot better in this respect; there are people out there who are not getting exposure that would benefit the games industry.

    The industry is also dangerously close to overselling the educational benefits of games, which are likewise poorly understood and *depend* on games having a real world effect on players. Spot the contradiction?

    The net result, IMO, is that games affect people pretty much as everything else does, but just as goes with other forms of media, they never pluck responsibility from the hands of players and *make* them do anything. It's a shame that keeps on getting drowned in sensational and reactionary rhetoric.


  12. I'm pretty sure there are residual effects; playing Destruction Derby 2 on the Playstation certainly used to make me temporarily more aggressive when driving. Never had so much as a near miss due to it though.

    Another time, I spent 10 hours or so squinting into the viewports of UnrealEd and, trying to drive immediately after, found it had temporarily fucked my sense of perpective and distance. Still, manageable and faded in minutes.

  13. You look like DanJW!!!! :D!!!

    I went out one night in December with my hair down, and complete strangers kept calling me Ben. They shook my hand and commiserated with me. While they talked I humoured them, and, because I got rid of my TV years ago, thought "Who the fuck is Ben and what's X Factor?"

    It lasted about a week; I'd get people staring at me in pubs and on trains and sometimes hear them whisper "Yeah, that is Ben" to each other. The funniest was in some toilets, when the guy at the next urinal turned, shouted "It's Ben from X Factor!" and I suddenly had all the guys in the bogs around me, pumping their fists over my head and chanting "You're shit! and you know you are!" while I was taking a piss.

    I'm glad people have forgotten about him now ¬¬

  14. I'm impressed.

    Clive Owen has a kind of everyman quality that would make him work as the main character to a game... his character in Children of Men certainly slipped off my empathic radar, and I'm not sure if that helped me become more immersed in the world or not.

    The tracking shots are indeed stunning. If you're intersted in that from a technical standpoint then Russian Ark might be worth a look, as the whole 90 minutes was done in one shot (It's nothing like Children of Men though, being a meandering, non-linear account of various periods of Russian history).

    I also impressed that the protagonist is only ever running from guns, seldom commits any violence, and is all round a hero without being the typical cinematic alpha male type.

    The aesthetic in HL2 was a fairly simple trick, which Children of Men did diverge from: A fascist state filled with rotting architecture, but bathed in golden sunshine. The large, slightly decrepit brick railway station in my hometown always reminds me of HL2 near sunset, what with the tannoy announcements.

  15. Thunderbird could be better; I too find it a bit laggy compared to outlook (Same for Firefox vs. IE), but like brkl: *anything* to avoid outlook express.

    I've found Thunderbird stable under both Windows and Ubuntu, and like its auto updates because I know they're not akin to an STI ridden, rohypnol wielding rapist.