I’m a fan of Tim Schafer. Quite apart from the fact that his Wikipedia page shows him lovingly holding a jar of Marmite (good man), he’s been a writer/designer/coder on some of the funniest, quirkiest games in history: Monkey Island 1 & 2, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and Psychonauts. How can you not love this guy? It’s a terrible tragedy that Psychonauts didn’t sell better - sure its platforming was a little ropey at times and the game was padded out in places with uninspiring sections, but buried within this game were some of the most original, funny and bizarre ideas ever to grace the medium.
Making a living from open source is hard. Correction - making a living from writing open source software is hard - it’s incredibly easy to make a living from someone else’s open source software of course, which is why that’s what most people do 😀At one time the popular opinion was that pure-play open source companies could make a living from support services, which works to a degree but I know from both my own experience and from that of others that it doesn’t work that well.
Gartner haven’t exactly been the sharpest tools in the box when it comes to predicting open source trends over the last few years, vastly underestimating it until about 2008, by which time it didn’t exactly take a professional analyst to tell you that it was popular. Still, now they’ve woken up to its potential, occasionally they post something useful. In particular, I liked a recent blog post about how open source is “trending towards customer obscurity” - that is to say that while open source is incredibly important to producers of software, the vast majority of consumers don’t really care how their software is made any more than they care how their car was made.
I’ve been branching out with my hobbies particularly in the last year or so, mostly because my back problems now prevent me from spending every waking hour hunched over a PC, coding. In a way that’s a shame - I lament the sudden drop-off in coding time and hence productivity - but it’s also good to broaden my horizons a bit. I’m 36 now after all, and spent the vast majority of my spare time in the last 8 years on Ogre, so maybe I deserve a break 😉 After all, I get to work on Ogre a bit as part of my day job now anyway, if not as much as I’d like.
I’ve basically ignored Bayonetta for the last 12 months, because it never struck me as something I’d be interested in - I was never that impressed by Devil May Cry and similar games which to me just felt like random button mashers, and Bayonetta seemed to be relying far too much on how much leg and cleavage its main protagonist could show in any given screenshot. I’d pretty much written it off as a cycnical attempt to recycle old ideas but to tap into the frustrated teenage male demographic with guns, kung-fu, the occult, blood and cleavage - clearly a winning formula in that market.
It’s now almost a year since I decided to try using Twitter, specifically to post about Ogre development work I’m doing and other Ogre-related things (well, most of the time anyway). Seeing as I totally deride the concept that it’s a good thing to share the inconsequential, tedious minutae of your life with the internet and view it as the absolute pinnacle of sad, narcissistic behaviour, joining Twitter was a hard sell.
Like most members of the male species, and particularly the geekier types, I love gadgets. Complex ones are great, but sometimes the greatest satisfaction can come from simple things that just work really well. Here’s a couple of recent buys for me that fall into this category that I thought I’d share. Joby Gorillapod When we’re on holiday I often spend time trying to find places to put the camera so we can do a timer shot with us both in the picture, and when you’re in forests and up mountains finding a level spot is tough.
I picked this story up via Matt Asay and it pretty much summed up the frustrations I’ve had in the last 10 years when talking to certain people about open source - particularly when I was involved in business software. Peter Gyorgy, CIO of GE made this comment in a recent panel discussion: “I think open source is great for own internal playground type of things but if it’s running vital mission critical applications - networks running on open source for example - then that is a huge, huge risk to the organisation,”
I have to hand it to the guys at the Clan of the Gray Wolf, who are doing a 1,000 song Rock Band marathon for the charity Childs Play, all streamed live on the Internet. Presumably this is linked with the fact that Rock Band itself recently crested the 2009 target of having 1000 in-game tracks - and a month earlier than their deadline. . At the time of writing they’re 46 hours in which given that they’ve tackled 615 songs so far, represents not quite two thirds of the way.