Yes, I got back from FMX/09 last night, after the usual pain-in-the-ass shuttling between London airports to make my connections and the inherent waiting around that entails. I’m constantly disgusted by the amount airports charge for internet access so I left writing this post until today. I really enjoyed FMX - it was the first graphics conference in which I’d been officially on the speaker bill, so I’m not sure how well other conferences treat their speakers, but at FMX I thought they did a fantastic job; everything was really well organised and went very smoothly.
So, following my 360’s demise I was looking up the practicalities of using an alternate borrowed machine temporarily until the repair is turned around. I’ve bought a lot of DLC (mostly Rock Band, but also quite a few XBLA games, Gears maps etc), and I know the license for them is associated with the machine, so I looked up the license transfer tool. All seemed pretty sensible and reasonable - I’d have to download everything again, but that’s no big deal.
Yay, I can finally join the not-so-exclusive club of having my first 360 die, with the ever so fashionable E74 error code. I don’t have a launch machine, whose failure rates are legendary, I have the 2nd revision (‘Falcon’), and it’s about 18 months old now. The ‘Falcon’ chipsets are not supposed to be quite as error prone as the launch machines, but still the failure rates are above what is usually expected of consumer electronics, so I seem to have fallen into that statistic (no official numbers, but thought to be around 16%, or 3-5 times the expected average).
Too many rant posts lately, let’s talk about something positive. I’m still really enjoying Fallout 3, it’s far, far exceeded my expectations and I really can’t believe it was made by the same company that created the cookie-cutter, sprawling yawnfest that was Oblivion. Now, being a veteran of the series (Fallout 1 and 2 were some of my favourite RPGs of all time, along with Planescape: Torment and KOTOR), to some degree it’s nothing new - they have clearly lifted a great deal of the style and content directly from the originals, but the fact that they’ve managed to do this without trampling over my treasured memories of the original is a revelation.
A few days ago, Yahoo! announced that they would be shuttering the venerable GeoCities this year. “So what?” you might well ask - GeoCities is after all an ageing service from a bygone era, and apart from some nostalgia and perhaps some data that some people might have had parked there for a while, most people won’t really notice it’s passing. But nevertheless, it’s important, and people who get carried away with putting a dollar value on the current favourite websites of the day (e.
Ok, this is very, very bizarre. Having bought tickets for the last 2 years, I got an email letting me know that the local summer-time comedy festival was returning this year, so I went to take a look at the lineup. The stand-up lineup looks pretty good, I recognise a couple of the names, and in any case it’s good to see people you haven’t come across before. But, the main thing that gave me a “WTF?
I picked up on this via Gringod’s twitter: Windows 7 will have an XP Mode, a virtualised environment but with the added bonus that it doesn’t create a new desktop, just virtualised application windows inside Windows 7 that are actually running on an XP SP3 VM. At first it all sounds pretty damn good, paving the way for MS to ‘do an Apple’ and redesign things more fundamentally without having to worry about being backwards-compatible forever.
I’d been tipped off about this possibility a while ago, but couldn’t say anything until now - Runic Games are now OGRE users and have been beavering away on their new game ‘Torchlight’, announced this week: In case you didn’t know already, Runic formed from the ashes of Flagship Studios, and includes members of the team that worked on Diablo and Diablo 2; games which I personally enjoyed but which my brother in law almost worshipped - he still plays the second one now.
In a past working life, I used Oracle a fair amount - I used Oracle 7 through 10, and they were pretty decent products. The lineup was pretty simple back then - Oracle was the gruff, stoic mercenary who didn’t talk much and cost a fortune, but had it where it counted - if you could get him to do what you wanted; SQL Server was the approachable and gregarious rogue who was a jack of all trades and came fairly cheap, but had a habit of disappearing into the shadows or asking for more money at more sticky moments; and MySQL was the happy-go-lucky bard who was just along for the ride, happy to work for free so long as it was all just a jape and no-one asked him to do any real work.
I picked up on the Gamasutra article about B-games thanks to Penny Arcade, and I found the debate fascinating. I’m a regular casual consumer of B-movies myself, thanks to the fact that the Sci-Fi channel shows them almost constantly, and their ability to amuse is seemingly inexhaustable. I also like the fact that you really don’t need to watch the whole of a B-movie to get something out of it, or even see the beginning or the end; you can have fun just trying to figure out the (usually awful) plot by just watching a 30-minute slot - in fact this is part of the entertainment.