360 Reasons To Play

So, now that I have my lounge wired networking sorted out, the ground was prepared for my 360 purchase. I was going to wait until between Christmas and New Year before purchasing it, because I put all the games I wanted on my xmas list so people could choose from it, and thus I didn’t want to buy any ‘bundle’ that included games (I’d seen some with Halo 3 and Assassins Creed for example) until I knew what people had got me.

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As regular readers will already know, I recently made my choice between 360 and PS3, in favour of the 360 (on the basis of the view that right here and now, it best matches the gaming experience I’m personally looking for). After that it really just came down to practicalities, and one of the things about the 360 is that it has no built-in wireless. An odd decision in hindsight, I can only assume that it was decided early on when the machine was being designed, and that they couldn’t add it in later without having major space or shielding issues - certainly the cost of a wireless chipset is low enough now not to be an issue, so I assume it’s a design problem related to fitting wireless in with the other components.

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Rock Band most wanted

Rock Band isn’t here in the UK yet but here’s one of the songs I’m personally most looking forward to butchering recreating: Although John Entwhistle puts paid to the idea that the bass is the ‘easy part’ 😀 What a performance from all of them though - I envy the people who had the chance to be there in 1978 (I was a little young). Jump to around 7:45 for a classic rock moment if you’re in too much of a hurry.

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LEDs never get old

Like any self-respecting geek, I like gadgets, and I like LEDs. They just add something to every occasion, whether it’s christmas decorations, keys, desktop toys. They’re like chocolate sprinkles - there’s nothing they can’t improve. I have two new LED-bristling gadgets in my household this week, so I’m happy as a pig in.. well, you know. **Powerball Neon Pro ** An implulse purchase this one, I just happened to come across it as I was buying something else.

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This is a shame - The Orange Box, a game which gave me much pleasure on the PC mostly thanks to Episode 2 and Portal, has come a bit of a cropper on PS3. It seems that poor framerates in the prettier parts of Episode 2, long load times and lag in Team Fortress 2 have caused it to get much lower review scores than it did on the 360 and PC.

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Ok, so my last post wasn’t quite the last rant on GH3 on this site. Go Yahtzee. Clive Winston was my favourite character too, although his omission is one of GH3’s smaller sins. ‘Cliffs of Dover’ as featured at the end is one of my favourite tracks on Hard, but is one of those we’re locked out from in co-op because of the stupid career mode. Grr.

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Monkeyshines nostalgia

When we were 7 or 8, my best friend got a Philips Videopac G7000, otherwise known across the pond as the Magnavox Odyssey 2, although I didn’t make that mental connection until fairly recently. At the time it was the awesomest thing on the planet, with so many games all in decorative, oddly sequentially numbered boxes. Compared to the only-recently-colour TV games we’d survived on before, supplemented of course with expensive bouts of Space Invaders, Asteroids and Pac Man in the arcades (this was pre-Gorf for goodness sakes!

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Ok, one final rant on the stupidity of Neversoft here. Have they never played Guitar Hero co-operatively? Do they have no friends? Because this is the only conclusion I can reach for the absolutely ridiculous exclusion of a Quickplay co-op mode. Sure, the co-op career mode is kinda fun, but they decided that you have to complete the career mode for a given difficulty setting before you’re allowed to play almost half the songs at that difficulty level in co-op, because the game deems that you can only play at the level of the worst player.

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One of the few advantages of coming back from holiday was the thought of Guitar Hero 3 waiting for us, which was released while we were away. While the slowly diminishing but still ever-present jetlag has meant that I’m not exactly on top form in the evenings yet, I feel that now we’ve had enough of a play of it to be able to pass judgement, and unfortunately it’s not the judgement I’d hoped for.

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Hmm, I’m beginning to think this isn’t possible. I’m adding support for multisample AA on render textures to Ogre right now (as opposed to AA on render windows, which we’ve supported for ages), because I need it for a project I’m working on. It’s a little bit more convoluted than I expected since you actually have to create 2 separate render surfaces in both GL and D3D, and blit between them to trigger the AA ‘resolve’ stage, and given the complications particularly in GL with shareable FBO surfaces and making sure that you match AA modes on the shared depth / stencil / colour buffers all adds to the implementation time.

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