A couple of random thoughts for a slow Sunday… You know, despite being universally reviled, spam actually has a purpose - and that is to prove that my email is working. My spam defenses are pretty good and sift out the vast majority of junk, but I still get the odd unfiltered mail every day and in a way, it’s comforting. It’s like a little heartbeat telling me that my email is indeed still online, and I will therefore be getting any important mail on time.

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I can easily see how Rock Band DLC went double-platinum on only 2 months and why Motley Crue said they had more sales as DLC than as regular records - it’s compulsive. It’s been scientifically proven to be impossible to have too many songs to play, especially when the quality of the note chart conversion, which is directly proportional to fun, is as consistent as we’ve found it to be. I’ve spent the equivalent of half of a full-price game just on DLC already, and I’ve only really stopped because I have all the ones that simply must have; I could easily find another half dozen I’d be happy to buy but the need is not as urgent.

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I’ve only been to Siggraph once before, in 2006 when it was held in Boston. It happened to coincide with a trip I wanted to make to see some friends / clients of mine anyway so it dovetailed in quite well - I also held a Birds of a Feather (BOF) meet-up for the OGRE community while I was there, and it was good to meet a few of our users.

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Someone spotted that the latest video for MOTORM4X, an off-road driving game made using Ogre which is being released commercially imminently, turned up on the front page of GameTrailers.com, which was nice to hear. Here it is, since it’s already been buried: I think it’s looking very nice - ok it’s not quite GT5 as some of the comments have so eloquently pointed out, but considering both the size of the team and relative budgets involved (I understand they have only one full-time programmer!

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Wow. Every new trailer I see of Street Fighter IV raises my anticipation level for this title a little more, and the video released from Captivate 08 yesterday is no exception. Just ignore the annoying voice-over. Stunning. The proof will be in the playing of course, but it certainly looks promising that they’ve captured the essence of arguably the best fighting game ever to grace any system. They even have a revamped version of a piece of music that I definitely recognise from SFII - I think it might be from Vega’s stage?

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I posted recently that we were having some mipmapping issues with NVIDIA’s newest drivers, the 175.x series, on both Windows and Linux when using GL. Thanks to help from the nice chaps at NVIDIA these issues are now resolved for the moment - there does indeed appear to be a bug in some aspects of the hardware mipmap generation implementation in these drivers, but the workarounds exposed a couple of bugs of our own in software mipmap generation code - which hasn’t been used by Ogre on most modern hardware for several years, since we’ve opted for hardware mipmap generation for a long time.

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Ok, I know I said I was going to lay off the Rock Band commentary for a while now that I’ve done my review, but I just wanted to add an addendum - it’s absolutely true what they say that the more people you have in the room, the more fun this game becomes. I’d played it mostly with my wife for 3 evenings and we had a lot of fun, but last night we had a bunch of friends come round to our place and it really does get even better.

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I’ve believed for a while that the process of reviewing games (or indeed, most things) by allocating them a numerical score is akin to trying to pin a rosette to a charging rhino; an exercise in utter futility. The very act of publishing an absolute number to a review is a total fallacy - that you can legitimately assign a piece of pseudo-empirical data, which will be processed as such downstream, to what is in fact an entirely subjective opinion.

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Spreading the word

I feel like I’m becoming something of an advocate for Apple machines these days, which is not something I ever saw coming. I hadn’t even used one until almost 12 months ago, and like many long-time PC users am guilty of having poked fun at them in the past (hur hur, one mouse button, hur hur, poor game support) but now that I’ve had one for a while, I’ve changed my tune.

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I’ve been waiting six months for Rock Band to make it to these shores. Six long, hard months where the only new music game to play was the crushing disappointment that was Guitar Hero 3. Now I’ve finally gotten my hands on it at considerable expense, what do I think? We spent an entire evening playing it and went to bed way later than we should have, and I even squeezed a little solo time into my lunch hour today (which should give you a clue as to the verdict already), so I feel ready to give an impression.

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