See, this is kind of the thing that makes me happy (ish) to get up in the morning - a group of 4 students at the National University of Singapore have developed an interesting experimental game using Ogre and other tools, called ‘Rainbow Road’. What makes it interesting is that it’s a Wiimote-controlled shoot-em up which generates enemies based on a music track that you’re listening to. Their development video is pretty interesting, it shows the various stages they went through to get there.
I’d seen a few shots & reviews of Ikaruga before, right back to when I owned an ill-fated Dreamcast, but I never really thought it was for me. A hard-core, vertically scrolling shoot-em-up - surely I’d outgrown those when I stopped regularly feeding 10ps into my local arcade machines? Surely there’s very little I hadn’t seen from this kind of game over the years - I understood about the white/black switching thing but I figured it was just a gimmick.
For the last several decades, the computing industry has depended on what was perceived to be an insatiable desire for more raw computing power. The WinTel alliance has worked well, with the world’s most popular operating system demanding ever increasing resources (sometimes for debateable practical benefit), driving the demand for new chips. One of the latest drivers making people buy new systems is virtualisation, a nice little earner for those wanting to sell nice big mainframe-like boxes to replace the multitudes of servers - the ones they previously sold people to replace their original mainframes in many cases of course.
I couldn’t let this pass without commenting on it. The Gears of War action figures that have been talked about for a while now have finally been revealed in box form, one of them is shown on the right-hand side there (click for a larger version). Now, men have always been reluctant to grow up, and gamers are probably the least willing of all camps. But surely this takes the cake - action figures specifically designed for a product that is targetted at 18+ year olds.
It’s official - Vista’s UAC was designed to annoy users. The idea was to piss them off enough that they’d beat on the ISV’s to make them change their software so it didn’t trigger UAC prompts anymore. So that’s at least one feature in Vista that’s a rip-roaring success then. To be fair, it’s a bitter pill that had to be swallowed. Microsoft built OSs for decades that were concentrated on flaunting all their wares to developers with little or no protection; because you know, security just gets in the way and all those rookie developers get upset when things are difficult.
I love the Science Museum. Of course I do, it’s a natural environment for me - they have a Cray in there for Turing’s sake, I was geeking out about that for ages when I visited a few years ago (while my wife rolled her eyes and grudgingly took a photo of me next to it). So you can imagine I was happy to hear that Ogre is living there right now, for a little while at least, because a game made with it is part of the Science of Survival exhibition, a family-oriented interactive exhibition concentrating on “global resources, climate change, and our options for a sustainable future”.
I received a rather large package in the mail this morning which at first puzzled me - I knew for a fact that despite what I might hope, Rock Band really wasn’t going to arrive that fast! It was only when I saw the ‘Produce of Japan’ stamped on the side that it dawned on me who it might be from - my most significant client right now is a Japanese company.
Good news tinged with bad today - the rumours are indeed true, Rock Band has finally got a release date in Europe, that is to say May 23rd - provided you have an XBox 360 that is. PS2/3 and Wii versions won’t appear until around September time, thanks to a timed exclusive deal. I bet Microsoft had to lay out a pretty penny for this one, Rock Band is one of the most hotly anticipated titles around and I have to admit I’m dying to get my hands on it.
A few weeks ago I posted a rant about how companies keep way more code to themselves than makes any rational sense, under the pretense of protecting their competitive advantage. I asserted that in a large number of cases, what they’re keeping to themselves is actually exactly what everyone else is also developing internally, and also keeping to themselves in the hope that it’s worth something. Result - a ton of duplicated effort that is worth very little.