Friday, 31 May 2013

Fail Whale

I had a Twitter account. It was suspended. Not for being rude, but because I followed too many people.

There's a sidebar on Twitter that offers suggestions for people to follow. What am I supposed to do, not click it? Ignore people who I actively want to hear more from? Why would Twitter put up a feature it doesn't want people to use?

Am I just supposed to treat it like an echo-chamber, rambling mindlessly while ignoring the thoughts and feelings of everyone else?

Because I already have a Facebook account.



Thursday, 23 May 2013

May 23

Today is the birthday of someone very important to me. It's an important date for me, and every year I try to do something special for it. Maybe by writing an article, or drawing something:

This year... I don't know. I'm not feeling really productive today. And I can't really think of something significant to do this time. (And for the record, this person doesn't know it matters to me, and I'm not really a part of her life anymore. But I do it just to entertain the ritual. Maybe it's my weird way of honouring that friendship.)

There's still time left in the day. Maybe I'll find some inspiration and whip something up. Or maybe I'll just dick around in Skyrim a bit more.




Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Xbox One: "Living Games Technology"

This is from Microsoft's page about their new console, the "Xbox One".

This is terrifying.

Forget about what this means for the problem of "Boosters", people who just leave the Xbox turned on so that they'll accumulate experience in online games while not contributing, thereby ruining every multiplayer game ever. There's an even bigger pitfall to this idea:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Final Fantasy X: Blitzball

I have a confession to make: I love Blitzball. One of the most maligned mini-games in any video game, and I love it to bits. I'll try to explain why it works for me, and why it puts off so many others who've played Final Fantasy X.

For the record, Blitzball is a fictional underwater sport.

Which makes it harder to translate to reality than Quidditch AND Three-Man Squamish.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Valve: "Sweat Box"

Valve tests Left 4 Dead to see how much you're sweating during play, as if that could be useful information in any context. Is this related to that Director stuff, where the game makes itself more difficult depending on how "stressed" you are(despite the fact that it has no way of knowing that unless you literally hook yourself up to it)?

Let's say they used this sweat information in their games, and it would alter itself depending on how much sweat you've accumulated. What if they're just playing on a hot day in a room without air-conditioning? What if they're playing in the winter? Instead of designing encounters around nebulous, unrelated bodily functions, why don't they base the in-game difficulty on how much health and ammo your team has? What else have they got planned? Will they patch the game so that it spawns a Smoker every time I really have to pee? How is this making their games better?

This is why Left 4 Dead sucks out loud. You can't make the game harder or easier depending on how stressed out you think I am. But you can use the same information I'm using to determine how stressed I should be. Things like Health, how many team-mates are still alive, how much distance I have to cover to get to the safe room, whether or not I have first or second-tier weapons, whether I have a lot of pipe bombs or molotov cocktails or none, etc.

You wouldn't believe how many times I was playing this game limping, on my last hit point, with only one team-mate left alive, both of us down to our pistols, and the game decided I wasn't "stressed" enough. So they put a Tank in front of the safe room.

These idiots are not seeing the forest for the trees.



Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Lorax: Review

by Alex Hill


What still strikes me now, fourty-two years after it was written, was how fair "The Lorax" was. It was a cautionary fable about the price of a cushier life for man. It had a strong, serious message explained in Theodore Geissel's clear and gentle brilliance. It has been challenged in the past by people who felt it was unfair to the foresting industry, but it wasn't merely a one-sided rant. Especially in the 1972 animated short, the profit-driven Once-ler shows remorse for the damage his empire causes, and The Lorax seemed willing to compromise. There is a cost to civilization, and to personal gain. But he also allowed the faceless Once-ler his human weakness, instead of painting him as a simplistic villain.

Geissel knew that it's easy to do wrong by our world. But it's also easier than we admit to do the right thing.

Which is why I understand the damage the 2012 adaptation does to the material. I'm sure Illumination Entertainment meant well when they shilled for gas-guzzlers and disposable diapers. That doesn't make this a bad movie. It means their marketing division is run by the Grinch.