Personal

Games as an art form. Pretentious? Moi?

It has struck me lately that some elements of the games industry appear to be becoming a mite pretentious and self-absorbed in recent times. It seems like some people are starting to believe their own hype about games being a bigger industry than Hollywood, and that the whole world better goddam take them seriously, right now. Presumably with a stamp of the feet. Case in point is Chris Hecker’s rant at the GDC last week.

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A shabby week

The start of my week hasn’t gone that well at all. Firstly, I went to the dentist for a checkup which went rapidly downhill - unfortunately I had impacted wisdom teeth which were removed several years ago, but they left behind some hidden problems which were missed or deemed not serious enough until I had a routine x-ray on Monday, at which point my dentist says it now needs sorting out.

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My new bodyguard, Kaspersky

As names go, it wouldn’t be a bad one for a bodyguard, given that it might conjure the image of a 7ft wall of meat from the former Eastern Bloc. I had to change the virus software on my main machine this week - or rather my Norton subscription had expired and since I’d become aware for a while that it has had a significant fall from grace in recent years I went looking for something else.

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Man vs virus

I hate getting flu whilst travelling - it last happened to me on the way back from Canada a couple of years ago, which wasn’t fun. Due to the awkwardness of living on an island with limited air links, my trip back yesterday required a connecting flight and a 4-hour stopover in one of the country’s dullest airports (Exeter). Unfortunately that morning I started to come down with really bad flu symptoms so it hasn’t been the most fun of journeys (not that it was really fixing to be anyway).

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PC gaming: retail isn't the full picture

I’ve lamented a few times on this blog about the way the PC gaming industry has appeared to have been in a slow decline in the past decade, and how consoles now dominate our gaming landscape. Now, I love my console games as much as the next guy, but as a developer, such a closed platform is always a disappointment. I grew up in the UK where pretty much every kid who played games did it on a PC - not as we deem it now, but a Personal Computer, not a console.

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Chartered IT Professional (CITP)

I just got a phone call from the British Computer Society, of which I’ve been a member for quite a while now, to let me know that I’m now a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). Nice. I’m a strong believer in professional and ethical standards, something I hope permeates all my work, even my previously spare-time work on Ogre, and I originally joined the BCS because of that - after all accountants and lawyers have professional bodies, why should IT be any different?

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Surfing the game wave

So, enough work-related posts lately, let’s talk about games. I’m being seriously fickle with my gaming love these days. The Wii came out, I got Yoshi’s Island DS for Xmas, and I still had NWN2 and KOTOR unfinished from 2006, and now I’ve been foolish enough to pick up Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin on import on a whim, since a couple of our local shops imports US games now and then.

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Gah

Sorry for the downtime of the site, and any bounced mails you might have had from my personal domain over the weekend. This domain’s contact email, unlike all the other domains I administer, was set to the old webmail account I used when I set it up, which I don’t check very often, and so I missed the renewal reminders. Dumb mistake, especially since this happened a few years back too and I thought I’d altered it, but obviously not.

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Meeting local developers

As you probably already know, I live on a tiny island just off the French coast. Many of you might not realise just how small it is - about 78 square kilometers in total and about 62,000 people. The upside is the quality of life is a lot better than many places, one of the downsides is that a small population and a significant economic skew towards financial services means there aren’t that many software development people about.

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Identity theft attempt, or a crazy?

Wow, I had a really interesting mail today. Here’s how it starts: Subject: PLEASE READ this is not an advertisement or a joke! Ok, that alone earned you a few points on my spam filter’s scoring system. But, then it gets more interesting: Dear Steve, AKA sinbad, My name is [omitted in case name was stolen from elsewhere]. That name is actually an alias (mine I mean). I must use thise alias because of what I am about to tell you.

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