Via CrispyGamer, Harmonix have confirmed what I pretty much suspected, that there will be no Rock Band 3 in 2009. I’m not surprised, they already have the Beatles game in the making for 2009, and unlike Activision, Harmonix aren’t in the business of spamming the world with as many rushed sequels as they can manage before the general public gets bored. To be honest, I don’t think there’s much they could do to improve Rock Band 2 anyway, it’s a highly polished game and DLC keeps it fresh (and to be honest, I have so many tracks that we already have almost too much choice when we play - not that it will stop me buying more).
The MacWorld Expo 2009 is on at the moment, and yesterday was the keynote, which was interesting despite the absence of the turtle-necked wonder (get well soon Steve). By far the best news was that the entire iTunes library is going DRM-free by the end of March 09. As of yesterday, 80% of the songs are DRM-free, and the remaining 20% will have their DRM removed in the next 3 months.
I was a happy bunny in 2008, because it was the year when designing games specifically for co-op play finally entered mainstream thinking. Sure, games have had co-op modes for a while, but they’d usually been a bolt-on extra - at best you could add maybe one extra player who would be ‘along for the ride’; disposable, an afterthought. At worst, it might actually undermine the play experience, because the game wasn’t deliberately balanced for 2 players, or maybe you’d be limited to a small section of the content in co-op specific play modes.
I was quite gratified to read this post on Wolfgang Engel’s blog, in which he refers to some other posts discussing the recommended categorisation & nomenclature for the various stages / structures of scene rendering. If you read it and you’re an OGRE user, you’ll find them all rather familiar concepts, because OGRE has been based around these principles for years 😀 “SpatialGraph: used for finding out what is visible and should be drawn.
Pretty much everyone wants to use texture shadows in their real-time scenes these days; since they are calculated entirely on the GPU they scale well with modern chipsets, they are capable of shadowing alpha-rejected materials correctly (both as casters and receivers), they can be extended relatively simply to have soft edges, a variable penumbra and opacity with distance, and all kinds of other nice features. Depth-shadowmapping is the approach whereby you render the light-space depth (or some derivative thereof) of the shadow caster into a (typically floating point) shadow texture, then when rendering the main scene perform comparisons of the light-space depth of the pixel being rendered versus what is stored in that shadow texture.
Yay, I can tick another artist off my wish list for Rock Band DLC, since it’s been leaked that during January Lenny Kravitz will finally be appearing. Despite petering out a bit around the ‘Baptism’ album (which I thought was a bit weak and self-indulgent), and something of a bounce back with last year’s ‘It Is Time For A Love Revolution’, his 90’s classics are still the best, and that’s where the upcoming RB tracks are picked from.
Starting a brand new year with a rant post? Well, they do say to start as you mean to go on 😀 I’ve been a gamer for, rather disconcertingly, just about 30 years now. The first game I really remember playing was a Midway coin-op called ‘Blue Shark’, which used to sit just off the cafeteria of a butterfly farm / mini-golf establishment near my home, where we used to go for days out sometimes.
2008 has been a hell of mixed year - ups, downs, odd shimmying movements, it’s had it all. In the grand spirit of catharsis, I decided to pick out a few of the moments that stick in my memory about the year that zipped by when we weren’t looking. Most Inspirational Moment : Obama winning the US Election The moment I honestly didn’t think would actually happen for most of 2008.
So, 2008 is almost done and 2009 rapidly hoves into view. I thought I’d share a few of my predictions for the next 12 months, on the frankly dubious assumption that anyone on the Internet actually cares what I think. Specifically, I thought I’d talk about some IT business topics, since that’s what my mind is largely focused on when it comes to trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.
I had a nice surprise from my wife this Christmas, a spangly red kidney-shaped surprise in fact - a POD 2.0. I’d been recommended one of these some time ago, but had put it on my ‘future purchases’ list since I didn’t think I was really good enough to justify buying myself one yet. I wasn’t expecting anyone to buy it for me, so it was a pleasant surprise to unwrap it.