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.
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.
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.
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.
The good: Rock Band finally arrived! It’s sitting on my coffee table ready for us to launch ourselves into it this evening. Yummy. If you wanted something done urgently on Ogre, well, you’re probably out of luck for a few days 😉 The bad: I managed to put my back out again - not sure how, maybe when sorting out the gigantic box of instruments, fishing behind the TV to wire the USB hub up, or maybe I’ve just been spending too much time sat crookedly at the PC recently (I was at it most of the bank holiday weekend).
If, like me, you were wondering why the excellent Pixelmator got out of the door without an easy way to see the colours you’ve picked in HTML-friendly hexidecimal form, the way you can in Photoshop - well, it’s actually that OS X has an altogether more elegant way of handling this kind of thing. I didn’t know this, but the colour picker widget shown in PixelMator is a standard OS X one, and you can plug in new widgets for it.
The fundamental flaw with selling the Rock Band instruments separately from the game in Europe was made crushingly solid for me today, as the postman delivered one massive box containing all the instruments, but the little jiffy bag containing the game itself entirely failed to materialize. Sigh. At least I know which revision of the drum hardware I have now, for the purposes of any mods I might want to purchase.
Nvidia released their new 175.16 drivers about 10 days ago, and I was glad to see that the stalling issues we’d had on multicore CPUs with OpenGL / XP in the previous 169.21 driver were fixed. However, to my dismay a set of new problems have appeared with mipmapping, again on OpenGL only. I’ve done quite a bit of testing over the past week to try to narrow the issues down, but the bottom line is currently this:
Physical goods are a pain. They take too much time and money (and oil / carbon emissions) to move around, they require high-street retailers to stock them who skim ridiculously fat margins off the top (or rather from the middle upwards), meaning the creators don’t get anywhere near as much as they should for their product, and worst of all, you have to wait for them to arrive instead of being able to get them right now.
I’ve never been a fan of the Metal Gear Solid games, and one of the reasons is that the frequency and length of the cutscenes drove me nuts. I can’t remember which one I last played, I think it was MGS2, but even within the short time I played I wanted to get up, fly to Japan, and shake Kojima vigourously while telling him to go become a bloody movie director already instead of interrupting honest gaming all the damn time.