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Scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls!

This is just a quick little public note to Bethesda, who seem to be unaware that their mangy pack of flea-bitten lawyers has gotten out of the yard and are running around, rooting in garbage cans, snarling at children, and generally making a public nuisance of themselves.

NOTICE: you do NOT own the word 'scrolls'.  It's that simple.  Stop acting like you do.  Just stop it.  Now, before you irreparably ruin the fairly high regard in which you're currently (and precariously) held by most gamers.

Seriously, no good can come from this for you.  If you insist on suing the Mojang guys for [gasp!] injecting something else into the universe that includes the word 'scrolls', I will have no choice but to hate you so hard I'll get a hernia.  And I'll be in very good company: specifically pretty much everyone who plays games.

Even if you were 100% within your inalienable legal right to prevent Mojang from using the word 'scrolls' (which you are not, let's be clear on that), it would _still_ be in your best interest to refrain from doing so.  You're a gigantic and hugely successful game developer and publisher, one of the very few mainstream entities that is _not_ generally perceived as a den of jack-booted thugs whose only concern is the total subjugation of all humanity, achieved via the forced slave labor of brow-beaten employees whom you systematically chew up and spit out as grist for your money mill.

But make no mistake - if you sue Mojang in such an flagrantly selfish overreach of common sense, indulging in narcissism on an epic scale,  then you will be immediately added to the pantheon of despised companies that are (rightly) assigned blame and eternal scorn for crushing the few remaining vestiges of soul out of the video game industry.

So please don't do that.  Please?  Don't make me boycott Skyrim.  It looks like the bee's knees.

 

[update 20110928] Apparently the lawsuit is going to happen.  I took the liberty of submitting the above message to Bethesda via their contact form.  Not that it will do any good, as they've clearly unhinged themselves from reality over there.  Idiots.

Mike Capps (president of Epic) recently confessed that, well, these here are scary and confusing times for game developers.

So to help Mike sleep a little better at night, I thought I'd do him the favor of answering a few of his most pressing questions.

Will there be physical distribution in 10 years or even five?

No (and no).

Will anyone care about the next console generation?

Yes.  The same people hopelessly lobotomized on $50 roster updates for Madden, and a steady diet of Call of Medal Modern Duty Honor Warfare XVIII.  The rest of us will be busily enjoying (what's left of) our consumer freedoms on the PC.

What's going on in PC?

The same thing that's been going on for decades: high-quality game design by passionate independent developers, getting summarily discriminated against by the zombie nation and their corporate game publishing overlords.

Can you make money on PC if it's not a connected game?

Of course.  Please go look up 'escapism' in the dictionary and try to find where it says that it requires the presence of other people.  In fact, it's usually the opposite. 

What's going on in mobile?

Wholesale peddling of crap leveraging the lowest common denominator of exploitainment.  So, uh, opportunities abound, I guess, if that's your thing. 

There, I hope that takes some of the jitters out of Mike's stomach, and he can refocus Epic on its continued disregard and alienation of PC gaming.

hoss @ 20100923:12:13 (Thu)
GOG's Marketing Gamble

Good Ol' Games recently exited their (two year) beta in a very duplicitous manner, by pretending or insinuating that they were shutting down, only to relaunch a few days later with a revamped website.

Opinions of the stunt cover the spectrum from 'marketing genius' to 'f*** off and die'.

Someone started the requisite thread on the GOG forums asking: Did GOG.com’s PR Stunt Succeed Or Go Too Far?

Copied below is my contribution to that thread.

 

Yes.  It did both.  It 'succeeded' in the sense that it garnered the attention they were seeking, but it did so at the expense of the very people whose loyalty, enthusiasm, and good ol' fashioned money had allowed the service to even prosper in the first place.

Some are lauding it as a clever 'low budget, high impact' marketing campaign, but I would counter that it was only 'low budget' in terms of immediate capital cost.  What they may have saved, monetarily, was bartered against the collective good will of their existing patrons.  And that's a dangerous trade.

Attention is not the only currency that should be used to measure marketing.  When the true ledger is eventually balanced, some attention-getting schemes just aren't a smart bargain.

I've been a GOG member from almost literally day one, and I'm not at all impressed with this stunt.  In a few short days they burned through a huge amount of the surplus faith and affinity I had towards them.  I hope it was worth it, I really do.

I'm still here, and I'm not going to stop buying games from GOG, and that's another facet of the 'success' of the stunt - it wasn't so heinous that it burned the bridge with me (though I'm sure it did for some).  But going forward, when I buy games from GOG, I'll be doing so not because I genuinely like GOG, the way I did before.  I'll do it because they remain the least evil option in the war of hostility and exploitation being waged against game consumers.  They were always that, and it's the core reason why I rooted for them and will continue to root for them.  But for now, anyway, they've become _just_ that.

The sting of being treated callously, of being staked as collateral against the promise of greater market share, will take a good long while to wear off completely, if it ever does.

 

GOG is become like the politician that you believed in, but whom you discover has been cheating on his wife.  He may still vote the way you want him to vote, and wave the ideological flags you want waved, but you can't be proud to support him like you once did.  Something was lost.  Trust, perhaps.

And some will surely say (and already have), "pfft... you're blowing this way out of proportion.  This wasn't a big deal.  Get over it."   It wasn't a big deal, true, not in the grand scheme of things.  But it revealed something real that disappoints me nonetheless.  GOG demonstrated its willingness to wager us in a bet for growth and media attention.  That's changed my opinion of them, possibly permanently, and the change saddens me.

 

[edit: I attached an image from the GOG forums that I felt hilariously summarizes the whole episode.]

hoss @ 20100305:11:21 (Fri)

Activision, through their Sheriff of Nottingham - Infinity Ward, are stripping long-standing consumer benefits with the PC version of Modern Warfare 2.  Purchasing the game is nothing less than a declaration of your willingness to loss those benefits, and you're communicating that fact not just to Activision, but to all of the publishers who are watching closely to see just how little they can offer gamers in exchange for their money.  And don't pretend for a moment that this is just about PC gaming.  The trend in all of gaming is away from game ownership and towards gaming as a rented service.

The publishers' utopian wetdream is a market where the gamer owns nothing.  Instead, you pay explicitly for every hour of gameplay you experience, and even then are only allowed to play within the strict and permanent boundaries erected by the publisher.  And when the publisher decides you should stop playing an old game because it is no longer profitable enough, they terminate it and offer you the 'choice' of renting a new game, or nothing at all.

I've read a lot of commentary that is dismissive if not outright disparaging of the passionate furor exhibited over the MW2 issue, saying things like, "what's the problem, just let the market decide."  Yes, absolutely, the market should decide, but don't "let" it happen.  Realize that you, as a game-purchasing consumer, *ARE* the market.  The market is nothing but the cumulative purchasing decisions of all consumers.  The only power you have as a consumer is to accept or reject the exchange offered to you.  If you choose to purchase MW2, you are personally endorsing the continued erosion of value that gamers receive in their exchange with publishers.

A lot of people think that they can complain about issues like this, but then buy the product anyway, and somehow that influences publishers to react to their complaints.

The only thing that influences them is WHETHER OR NOT YOU BUY THE GAME!

Bitching about something and buying the game anyway is equivalent to buying the game and saying nothing -- it's equivalent even to buying the game and saying "Great job guys, keep up the good work and be sure to strip away more of my consumer benefits next time."   Because the only thing they hear is the sound of you purchasing the game - registering yet another gamer tacitly accepting reduced benefits, lowering the standard by which all publishers measure the market for all games.

There are more games than I could play in a lifetime, and no single one of them is great enough that it's worth trading away the freedoms that I want to enjoy as a gamer.  The only way I can compel publishers to respect and uphold those freedoms is by using my own incremental market vote to communicate the value of those freedoms.  And to hope that others do the same in sufficient volume to convince publishers in no uncertain terms that it's more profitable to provide these consumer freedoms than it is to take them away.

So, no, I won't be buying Modern Warfare 2.  Not on the PC, not on the console, not at all.  Just like I didn't buy Spore or Mass Effect or a multitude of other games that were wolves in sheep's clothing, threatening my freedoms as a gaming consumer.  And no, I didn't just pirate them either, so I could have my cake and eat it too.  Like I said, there are more games than I could ever play, and I don't bat an eye when I choose to skip any one of them as a statement of principle.  Fun is fun and there is no sole dispenser of it, nor is there any shortage.  I don't need MW2.  I'm not a heroine addict, unable to resist debasing myself just for the next high.  Or to put it another way, if I am a heroine addict, there are plenty of other dealers offering perfectly good heroine at reasonable prices, that won't make me fellate them in the alley and shoot up right there using their own dirty needle that they charge extra for.

hoss @ 20090811:19:27 (Tue)

I still get Gamasutra's Game Developer Magazine, though it's just a 'webzine' now unless you pay for it, which I do not.  Anyway, the fact that I'm still subscribed means they think I'm a game developer, or at least they pretend to not notice and/or care that I'm not, and as such they include me on their regular surveys (salary, publisher reputation, etc..).  I just recently filled out the publisher survey, and since I figure my input to them will dribble into a black hole, I wanted to capture my signature industry vitriol here for posterity's sake.

After having the chance to numerically rate all of my most loathed publishers as low as possible, I was then given the opportunity to say a few words.  So I did.

Activision/Blizzard:

Recent behavior regarding perceived rights to broadcasting of starcraft games is indefensible and reprehensible.  Also, the imminent monopolization of all games to battle.net is a blatant erosion of consumer rights.

EA:

They're not in the games business, they're in the extortion business.  They treat their own paying customers as the enemy.  EA is the poster child for what's wrong with mainstream game development and publishing.

LucasArts:

Do they do anything new anymore, or are they just busy milking the back catalog?

Microsoft:

Hurry up and die.  Microsoft is a cancer on gaming.  XBox Live is like eugenics for gamers, breeding out all the wholesome qualities of gamers and leaving only purely hedonistic selfish sociopaths.

Nintendo:

Consciously and systematically alienating real gamers in the relentless pursuit of the profitable calculus effect of 'casual' crap.

 

Is it any wonder nobody ever sends me Christmas cards?

 

hoss @ 20090628:01:26 (Sun)
Hail to the king, baby.

3D Realms closed.

Zero Punctuation ripped on the whole sordid story.

Honestly... I guess I don't care.  My prevailing emotion is a sense of tragedy over the cumulative amount of time, energy, resources, and most of all opportunity wasted over the whole affair.  Sure, it's a running gag to compare all of the things that have happened in the same time that DNF hasn't.  But that just highlights the gross mismanagement involved.  What saddens me is what could have happened.  I have no doubt that very smart, talented, capable, and creative people were involved in the development of DNF at every step.  Not necessarily all of the people, but I imagine the vast majority.  And what we, as gamers, have to show for their collective efforts is precisely zilch.  What they toiled for didn't need to be a Duke game, I honestly didn't care, but it should've been something that saw the light of day, enriched the gaming landscape, and validated their devotion and hard work.

I wanted to let the dust mostly settle before registering my feelings on the matter, as I was one of those that initially felt that things looked and smelled a lot like a very coy marketing stunt - the perfect setup for what would've been the announcement of all gaming announcements.

Instead, it was the just the obituary it claimed to be, and the only spectacle left is the inevitable lawsuits as the sharks circle in to fight over the carcass.

hoss @ 20090401:21:48 (Wed)

Here's another look behind the curtain of independent game development, this one courtesy of Vic Davis of Cryptic Comet, recounting the tale of Armageddon Empires.  This is both similar and categorically different than Jeff Vogel's success story.  Vic basically caught lightning in a bottle, experiencing an exponential upsurge of interest in his little nichey strategy game due to what amounted to a perfect storm of new games journalism.  But it wasn't entirely, or even mostly, luck (though getting the Penny Arcade firehose pointed at you doesn't hurt).   He took a decidedly non-mainstream approach to supporting his game:

  • Keep your mouth shut until you've got something people can play and buy.  Allowing a gamer to go instantly from 'never heard of it' to 'oh - it's done and I can buy it for $10' has a tremendously powerful effect.  Hype has to be sustained, and that's why mainstream marketing budgets are so huge, they have to finance the hype crescendo.  Curiousity is an itch and being able to scratch it immediately can turn casual interest into a sale.
  • Never stop updating.  The product launch is just that - the 'launch' of an extended voyage.  It's not lighting the fuse on a sales bomb, seeing how much you can get in the first month after release, after which both you and the customers flee from ground zero.
  • Make customer support personal and visible -- do it yourself on community forums.  This will directly stimulate peer-to-peer word-of-mouth sales recommendations (what the article calls the 'infection vector').  An interesting point was that Vic didn't host his own forums (on his company's website), opting instead to defer the game's individual community germination to existing broader community sites.  This put both his personal support of the game and the players' buzz about it in a more 'infectious' environment - he wasn't bootstrapping a new community out in some uncharted corner of the internet.  He set up camp smack in the middle of the very people for whom he was designing his game.  And as mentioned in the article, he recognized the importance of being genuine and not acting like a viral marketing person masquerading as a native.  He was honest and helpful and it paid off.

The end result was that he turned an unflinchingly hardcore, niche, turn-based strategy game (made with Macromedia Director of all things) into a smashing indie success.  And he's off and running on his next title.  Godspeed!

hoss @ 20090329:20:09 (Sun)

Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software has been kind enough (and narcissistic enough) to undertake a bit of blogging on the topic of independent game development.

Which is cool.  Don't take my narcissistic comment the wrong way - everyone who blogs is narcissistic.  It's cool because the more attention indie game development can get, particularly successful indie game development, the better.  And I don't necessarily think there are really any trade secrets worth hoarding here, so why can't successful indie developers pull aside the curtain a bit more?  Indie game development is hard work, besodden with failure and ruin, and almost utterly devoid of accolades.   And in that sense, it's not really any different than mainstream game development.  It's also risky business, but perhaps one 'secret' is that it might actually be less risky than mainstream game development.

Jeff's been making a steady living doing games for over 15 years.  That's a pretty stout achievement, particularly given the nature of the games he does.  He makes butt-ugly old-school RPGs only die-hards will love.  But the 'trick' is that there are evidently enough die-hards to make the exercise profitable.  Predictably and consistently profitable.  Having read the two recent posts Jeff made as 'tell-all' confessionals of the financial numbers behind one of his recent games, I wanted to distill some of the key disclosures that were made.  Again - these aren't trade secrets.  It's common sense stuff for anyone who's not totally drunk on EA and Microsoft's relentless propaganda.

  • The Long Tail is a real thing and it works.  If you're not beholden to pay back someone else's huge initial capital investment, you can ride the tail to profitability.  For the purposes of this discussion, the long tail is the steady, word-of-mouth driven sales sustained well after initial release, in contrast to the 'blockbuster opening weekend' effect that mainstream games tend to rely on to make it into the black, financially.  I've referred to this as the 'spike economics' of the game industry, and mainstream developers and publishers alike live and die by it.  Indies can't, because it requires huge (i.e. expensive) marketing campaigns, and it needs a steady diet of game releases allowing for the occassional blockbuster to pay for both itself and all the non blockbusters that 'missed'.  Note that this model may ultimately prove to be the undoing of mainstream game development as well, but that's the a story for another day.
  • Time is the most valuable thing you have.
  • Making multi-platform games is like printing free money.  You're already doing the design and implementation work.  If you take the right approach from the beginning, it's only a marginal amount of 'extra' work to get one implementation to work on multiple platforms and you've just hugely broadened the size of your potential customer base.  Which is critically important when your customer base is niche to begin with.  Which brings us to...
  • Serve an underserved niche.  Mainstream game development is like a whale - it has to eat an ungodly number consumers just to stay alive.  For that reason, many particular kinds of gameplay just get shoved aside categorically by the big publishers because the games simply don't exhibit the scale of consumer popularity necessary to offset the increasingly bloated development budgets.  And so the world is rife with cliques of gamers whose true desires go unmet by the industry at large.  And it is precisely these gamers that will forgive your pitiful little game its glaring deficiencies compared to a AAA mainstream game, if only your game scratches their specific itch when none others will.  As Jeff put it: "You have to write something that they can't get easier and cheaper elsewhere."   Because if they can they will.  You may eventually nurture some consumer loyalty, but you'll have none initially, and never enough to offset the fundamental disadvantages you'll face as an independent.  Like any successful organism, you have to discover an unclaimed part of the ecosystem.
  • "Big budget games will ALWAYS look better."  And "graphics are expensive. Really expensive."  Moral of that story - don't even try to match mainstream graphics quality.  You'll lose, and you'll just go broke/crazy trying.  Your time and budget (which is mostly time) are better spent pursuing the handful of unique things that are going to attract that underserved niche.  Good graphics aren't unique, and definitely aren't underserved.  Yes, a certain percentage of people will ceaselessly hate on your game for how crappy it looks.  Screw 'em.  They're not buying your game anyway.
hoss @ 20090214:11:15 (Sat)

As usual, I'm so culturally disconnected that I get all my news from Penny Arcade, and a recent post made brief mention of Blizzard hiring 'Fargo'.  I'll say it in question form, just as PA did, to convey the sense of perplexity that accompanied the concept:  Fargo?  Naturally I thought the reference was to one Brian Fargo, of former Interplay fame, whose name is associated with gaming classics like Fallout, Descent, Baldur's Gate, among others.  That's odd, I thought, isn't he like the CEO of some studio or something?  Yes, as a matter of fact, he is.  But given his history, I guess it's not a bad fit: Blizzard & Fargo.  But as it turns out, the entire concept is moot since the 'Fargo' involved is actually Dave 'Fargo' Kosak of (formerly) GameSpy fame.  You'll forgive me the mistake, I hope, on the grounds that I have in fact never heard of Dave Kosak, a consequence no doubt of the fact that I basically hate GameSpy, don't read it, and have been known to opine it as a traveshamockery of gaming journalism.

It just so happens, though, that Dave 'Fargo' Kosak is really funny.  I mean _really_ funny.  Despite my better judgement, I didn't eject myself out of GameSpy after following the original link on the PA post to Kosak's farewell letter (at which point I realized none of this involved Brian Fargo).  Instead, I proceeded to waste copious time reading archives of content authored by Kosak over his tenure at GameSpy, and it's good stuff.  Genuinely entertaining.  One part sophomoric teen gamer humour, and one part frustrated-literature-major-working-at-a-gaming-website, it adds up to some great comic content.  I recommend browsing the archives if you've got nothing better to do.

I still hate GameSpy.  Just so there's no confusion on that front.

 

Oh - I almost forgot, just to tie Blizzard back into this, I chuckled at the following comment posted to Kosak's farewell article:

ZombieMessiah on February 13, 2009 09:24 PDT
For all it's polish, WoW is pretty much the worst MMO ever.

A handholding, dumbed down, grindfest of 'epic' proportions.

I'm sure this is a wise career decision, but that doesn't change the fact that WoW is a steaming pile of horse...poop.

Indeed.
hoss @ 20081103:09:10 (Mon)

Here's a recent listing of free/open-source FPS games.  I was aware of about half of them.  Anyway, I just wanted to jot down the list for future reference.  Free is good.

And actually, while I'm at it, here's a similar article, this one listing free linux RTS games.

hoss @ 20080930:15:35 (Tue)

Here's a little puzzle for you.  What's wrong with the following two statements:

Along with more choices, and the consequences associated with those choices, Fable II boasts an improved combat system for mastering weapons and magic, an AI canine best friend and the much-anticipated Dynamic Co-op Mode, adding multiplayer functionality for you and your friends.

- EB Games newsletter

Lionhead is still making some tweaks to the online co-op formula. They assure us that online co-op is still coming, and that the goal is to have it launch within the first week after the release in North America. They also clarify that you will still be able to see your friends as glowing orbs prior to the update, but the online interactions will be limited to chat.

- Game Informer

Did you spot it?  The little lie.  Or not so little, depending on whether you think claiming a product has something that it won't actually have is a 'little' lie.  I'm sure the goblins in Marketing are so desensitized to hyperbole that they don't even categorize outright lies as lies anymore.  Perhaps if pressed they'd explain that "It depends on whether 'has' means current tense or future current tense.  Because in the future it'll be true.  Almost certainly.  Probably.  Unless it will cost us too much money.  Anyway, where's the harm?"  The harm is in lying through your bungholes to get people to buy something that doesn't actually *do* what you claim it can do.  We used to call that 'consumer fraud', and it got companies in trouble.  Ah.. those were the days!

hoss @ 20080923:22:01 (Tue)
Arx Fatalis Box (PC)

I managed to actually squeeze in some gaming the last few weeks, including an abbreviated affair with Arx Fatalis.  If you're an RPG junkie, it's probably worth the $10 it currently costs on Steam, if for no other reason than that you can then sound snobby when you're discussing RPGs with less seasoned gamers.

 

[UPDATE: don't get it on steam, get it on gog.com instead.  Help make the world a better place.]

hoss @ 20080515:20:57 (Thu)

So EA was going to ratchet up their disdain for people who pay them money for the privilege of playing Mass Effect or Spore on the PC, by using a copy protection scheme that involved online authentication checks every 10 days.  For some inexplicable reason, people got upset at this prospect.

EA subsequently backed off and is now apparently only going to use a more traditional form of customer abuse.  Their change of heart came, apparently, after listening "very closely" to their fans.

Not closely enough.

Listen closely to this:  I.  Hate.  You.

SecuROM doesn't work.  Period.  Using it just makes you look stupid.  Putting it in your games just makes me hate you.  If you want to be stupid and annoying, go do it on your own time, not with products for which I've GIVEN YOU MONEY!!

Astute observers have already identified the true motive behind EA's actions - namely to strike a strategic blow to the used game market, which the big publishers view (through their greed-tinted goggles) as a big ol' giant pile of lost revenue.

Which also makes them look stupid.  And makes me hate them.  Every transfer of ownership of a used game does NOT equate to a lost sale of the same game new at retail.  People buy used games because games are too expensive.  It's the same reason people want to buy songs instead of albums.  But just like the music industry, the mainstream game publishing industry wants desperately to establish a market that allows them to charge you money not just once or twice, but every single time you sit down to enjoy your media.  The concept of 'ownership' is antithetical to their megalomaniacal greed.

And crap like the repeated SecuROM authentication checks are just incremental steps in that direction - where consumers have slowly lost the right to actually own anything.  So every idiot that brushes this stuff off as just tilting at windmills simply doesn't understand the big picture.  They say, "what's the big deal, I'm never without an internet connection, who cares if the game dials the mothership every other week?"  It's not about dialing the mothership, it's about the inexorable erosion of your rights as a consumer.

It's never really about this little annoyance or that little inconvenience.  It's about digging your heals in for a fight against the accumulation of all of those little things that one day measure up to everything.

The powers that be for this battle aren't interested in any given inch, they want to take enough inches to eventually add up to a mile, without anyone ever making enough of a fuss to disrupt the plan.

hoss @ 20080325:13:36 (Tue)

I read a Q&A article regarding independent (as in developed and published) role-playing games, and ended up with a list of games that I wanted to be sure to (eventually) seriously sample.  So, here's the list, just for reference purposes:

Whenever I peek through the looking glass at the *real* indie scene, I'm overwhelmed at the passion and variety thriving there, in its own little ecosystem, almost completely invisible to the 'naked eye' of the mainstream media firehose that runs 24/7 in its attempt to feed the great gaping maw of the corporate growth overlords now holding the reins of the gaming industry.  And I come away feeling guilty that I've actually allowed myself to get swept up in the madness of the oppressively heavy marketing jackboot of the mainstream machine.  I feel like I'm right in the demographic sweetspot for these indie shopkeeps, and I'm doing a disservice both to them and to myself by habitually eschewing my own gaming inclinations in favor of simply keeping up with the Joneses.  So I'm also putting this list here as notice to myself to get with the program.

hoss @ 20080224:00:16 (Sun)
Fable Box (PC)

While I've got a long track record of railing against 'action' RPGs, I have an admitted penchants for just plain RPGs, where by 'plain' I mean games that actually offer legitimate role-playing, rather than confusing the concept with random number generation (which has always struck me as a particularly odd pair of concepts to confuse).  So I've had my eye on Molyneux's Fable ever since I caught wind of it.  That was a long time ago.  Even for real time, not just internet time.  Nevertheless, I finally got around to giving it a fair shake, and unfortunately what fell out of it was an admission that it's purported role-playing was a ruse.  I did not react kindly.  See for yourself.

hoss @ 20080102:12:59 (Wed)
Call of Duty (Deluxe Edition) Box

Like the slow eroding effects of wind, rain, and time, I march through my list of increasingly ancient games, whittling them away one by one.  The most recent being Call of Duty, the darling of 2003.  Cinematic WWII shooters are essentially their own genre, and I admit to being able to enjoy them on their own terms.  I've enough sense to know that for every dozen of them that are released (seemingly constantly), there's probably one or two worthwhile entrants, and I try to march through one of them at least once a year.  Next up is MoH:Pacific Assault, I believe, though it will be awhile, since I also have enough sense to space them out pretty generously on account of them all being basically the same game.  But that's about the meanest thing I'll say about Call of Duty, so enjoy the review.

hoss @ 20080101:22:00 (Tue)

As usual, it was one of Tycho's thought-provoking posts that provoked some thoughts in me which I in turn felt compelled to commit to the public record.  This time, it was the following statement in particular:

"More than anything else, I think it was installing Vista that made me hate PC gaming. The constant, system-level interruptions, the impaired compatibility, and most of all the savage kick to my framerate's exposed groin made me wonder what precisely in the fucking fuck I was doing screwing around with this onyx monolith."

And in the very instant that I read that sentence, the following (potential) conspiracy revealed itself to me:

What if..  just what if..  Microsoft is using Vista to screw up PC gaming on purpose?

More…

Lego Star Wars (PC) Box

Finally!!!  A new game review.  I knocked out Lego Star Wars with a couple of quick late night play sessions.  It was just the sort of thing to get me back in the writing groove at least, if not an actual gaming groove.  I'll have to bite off something a little more serious if I want to get my sea legs back.  But enjoy the review.

hoss @ 20071001:23:34 (Mon)

Disclaimer: I love Epic.  Not some dreamy, first crush, doe-eyed pre-teen girl kind of love.  No.  A deep, abiding, respectful, sacrifice my own well-being kind of love.  Why?  Well, mostly because of stuff like this:

"Our PC fanbase is of ultimate importance to us. They are our bread and butter. We can't let them down or compromise their experience in any way to accommodate cross platform play."  - Mark Rein

Oh you read that right: a major developer explicitly prioritizing their PC demographic over the proverbial fat-wallet console crowd.

The larger context for the quote is an explanation for why Epic won't be supporting platform cross-play multiplayer for UT3 (i.e. - PC players and PS3 players playing against each other on the same servers).  Here's a full explanation.  Normally, the phrase "won't be supporting" gets me riled up.  Not so this time.  Give me a legitimate reason why you're not doing something, rather than some maliciously deceitful and manipulative bucket of spin, and I'm usually placated.  Make that reason actually involve *catering* to me, and the vast multitude who've served as the very bedrock of your success, and I'll take you home to meet mom.

That's why I love Epic.  Well, that and the fact that they're not Valve.

 

hoss @ 20070410:10:46 (Tue)

We packaged up the latest version of the F-Sum mod and made it available as a public release, labeled v3.  The resulting traffic to my server has nearly crippled my internet pipe, so please be patient if you're browsing the site.  And please use one of the external mirrors listed on the F-Sum page if you wish to down load the mod - you'll be much happier with the bandwidth you get to the mirrors, I assure you, and I might be able to crawl out from under this crushing traffic.

 

As always, if there are questions about the mod, please email nsrl-help@negativesum.net.

 

Thanks!

 

[UPDATE] F-Sum is now Grid Motorsports.