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February 2004 Archives


February 29, 2004 4:06 AM


This is of course all IMHO, but...

I bought Unreal 2 based on previous Unreal experience and the prospect of adding vehicles to the mix. To bad the game is unpolished, unnecessarily complex and self-imbalancing.

The character animations are just weak. It's 2004 for crying out loud and Epic could only manage death animations that are rough approximations of falling down, and doing so within a few frames. Everything in Tribes 1 was better than everything in Unreal II.

The Multiplayer game is far to complex for its own good. The not-immediately-spawning thing is pretty cool and allows you to change your character class before you choose to spam. That's cool. But the choice on where to spawn based on which spawn points your team has captured accelerates unbalance team play when the other team gets forward spawn points. And don't bother using a vehicle to get anywhere because they are easily killed and they go from 'just fine' to 'blowing up.'

As the game goes on you capture generators to get energy for your team. The more energy, the more weapons and tech available to you. It doesn't take too long before one team has captured enough gens to rob you of any energy, so they have all the toys and you are stuff with your pea shooter. It's as if the game is designed to unbalance itself as you play and allows a critical mass to develop that should NEVER exist in a multiplayer game. May God help you if you are on a shitty team, because if you are, you will lose, period.

Also, a major gripe is the user interface in MXP mode (why call this MXP?). The HUD has sooooo much crap on it that getting an accurate or meaningful status is difficult and since this is a first person shooter I have no time to be scanning the interface for multilayer status indicators...

That's right, weapon status and energy have two layers. With the weapon portion of the HUD there's a bar for ammo in the current clip, and a bar for how many clips. And for energy there's you energy level and the team's level. There's about 10 icons for the tech items and diff colors for their status. So grokkable, no wonder it's #1!

There's a bunch of other crap on the screen that I have no clue about and the manual gives no info about. Thanks Epic. And thank you too Best Buy for not taking back opened software products.



February 27, 2004 9:56 AM


I hadn't thought that playing video games would be characterized as "going mainstream" (because I've played them since the 2600) but more and more often I see stories in the news saying that video games are indeed doing that. As far as I can tell, this happened a long time ago in a Mushroom Kingdom only a power switch away. This audio stream (Real; bleh) from the BBC discusses how the BAFTA's (the Brit Oscars) are adding games to their awards.

When I was in line at the local 'Hair Sluttery' waiting to get my mop cut I was playing Mario&Luigi with a kid right next to me coveting my Gameboy with sidelong glances and likely wondering why this old dude was playing video games... oh wait, games are "going mainstream."



February 19, 2004 2:00 AM


One trend I have noticed in many video games produced within the last couple of years is that the game teaches you to play it as you play it and assumes that you haven't read the manual. More often than not, those assumptions are well founded. Mario&Luigi: SuperStar Saga is one of those games where I need the on-the-job training, and Project Gotham Racing 2 (PGR2) isn't.

The manual for Mario&Luigi is so bad that it should be training me on how to use it (like the O'Reilly books do). On every page of the manual there are page numbers for more in depth explanations of the game mechanics, and quite often, there really isn't any info at all except for the page reference. IMHO, good manuals cover the basics up front in a linear fashion (ie, know this, then know this second thing and then know this third thing and you should have enough to go on). The manic, random access info architecture of the Mario&Luigi manual makes it a complete HASSLE to read and nearly impossible to grok when your job, wife and daughter are placing high premiums on your time.



February 12, 2004 3:11 AM


C|Net news has this story about Lycos today...
Lycos laid off about 90 people in the United States, according to a company representative. Sources inside the company said many members of its U.S. ad sales team were laid off Monday, along with the engineering and Webmonkey staff in San Francisco; employees of financial services site Quote.com and others in the Mountain View offices; and most of the staff in the New York office. Employees at Wired News were not affected by the layoffs.
And this advertisement runs underneath it...



February 4, 2004 4:37 AM


When a judge last year ruled that P2P apps couldn't be outlawed due to the fact that they have valid non-copyright-infringing uses, he made the right call. I'm sure we can all agree on that, and I have an example of how P2P networks could be leveraged in such a way (to my benefit no less).

access-music has made a batch of loops available for use in GarageBand, but of course, the low price and hordes of wannaba musicians made the download popular. That of course was a bandwidth drain and access-music pulled the download. They should have just put the thing on the various P2P networks and called it a day.

For what it's worth, the file name of the loops collection is "AccessVirusLoops.dmg" which I'll be looking for tonight via Limewire.

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