22 Oct 2010

Prof. Richard Bartle's GDC Online 2010 Talk

Richard Bartle is widely credited (along with Roy Trubshaw) with the creation of the worlds first virtual world, and his insights into current MMORPG developments are widely respected and derided in equal measure it would seem.

In this talk which was given at GDC Online 2010 last month, Prof. Bartle relates the thought processes that he thinks have been neglected in the development of todays MMORPGs and how he and Trubshaw made MUD.

A very enlightening talk about how MMO developers can recapture the immersion and expression which he found that he had created in MUD.

M out

18 Oct 2010

25 Years Ago Today...

...A little known company, famous only in the their home country for making playing cards, released a little white box of electronics which plugged into a television.

That company has been a world leader in videogame technology ever since. Releasing 5 home consoles and dominating the portable gaming market for decades, they have led the way in innovation and ingenuity (sometimes succeeding, sometimes not) and brought us some of the most memorable moments  and characters in gaming's short history.

That company is Nintendo, and 25 years ago today they release their Nintendo Entertainment System (called the Famicom in Japan) and changed the world forever.

Happy birthday NES.

M out

17 Oct 2010

The Magic Number

I'm going to take inspiration from RPS for this weekly event, but with a twist, I will be scouring the internets in the intervening 7 days for articles that catch my eye. I will then bring you three of them that share a connection and list them in this post, whilst discussing their contents. Lets us begin.

13 Oct 2010

Its strange isn't it?

How we become dependent on our technology?

There are people who, like some kind of neo-luddites, disconnect themselves from anything technological in order to 'get back to nature', or 'slow down'. While I have a kind of grudging respect for them, I don't see the point.

In the last 50 years human ingenuity has come up with hundreds of gadgets and technological marvels which have the potential to make us more productive, more creative and less parochial than those who live a mere 2 generations before us.

We have devices that allow us to communicate with people on the other side of the world, and they fit in our pockets. We are connected to each other's knowledge in so many ways that we really have no further excuse for ignorance and prejudice.

As those who follow my twitter or Facebook are aware (two more technologies that are having a huge impact on our societies) I am without my own computer for the first time in almost a decade. I am currently writing this on my wife's laptop, which I only have access to while she's not using it. It has none of my collected thoughts on it, none of the little apps that I have installed and forgotten about but that I really notice the lack of. It also has none of my games and is incapable of running any but those released a good 5 years ago.

Seriously, its like having a piece of my brain removed. I use my PC as a repository of random thoughts, doodles, and other miscellany. Its as if certain key parts of my memory have been excised, parts that may well be incidental but which nevertheless play a large part in making me who I am. Its disorienting, debilitating and the only cure is to throw money which I don't have into buying new parts.

I had thought that a new power supply would be the answer to my problems, but the power supply arrived and it turned out to be the motherboard. The new motherboard I have (which I bought in relative ignorance of new memory standards and CPU compatibility) is not going to take the memory that I already have. Its turned into an epic clusterfuck and I'm getting frustrated with the whole enterprise.

I should consider myself lucky I suppose, that I have access to other computers which I can use to get may daily dose of connectedness, but its not my computer. The whole endeavour has highlighted to me how dependent I have become on technology, how enmeshed my life has become with a network of devices. How much of a cyborg I really am. We truly are living in the future.

M out

11 Oct 2010

Razer giving away 1337 goodies

To commemorate getting a whole bunch of friends on Facebook Razer, makers of gaming peripherals are giving away a huge stash of loot.

This stash includes:

Razer also have 1337 unspecified prizes to give out to those who sign up.

So click here to sign up now, and go like their Facebook page.

I have to say that whenever I've encountered Razer products I've always been impressed with the funtionality and build quality. I've had my Diamondback for a good long while and have not had any issues with it.

M out.

In the interests of full disclosure, if you sign up using the links above it increases my own chances of winning. That being said I wouldn't be promoting the contest if I didn't think the prize was worth it. May the best man win ;)

9 Oct 2010

Do Ya Like Big Robots?

Just a quick post to point you in the direction of http://big-robot.com. An indie games developer comprising Jim Rossingol ( games journalist and writer of RPS and PC Gamer fame, he also wrote quite a good book which I have yet to read), James Carey (who you may remember from projects such as RPS's Shotgunity project, but who otherwise doesn't seem to exist on the internet) and some other guy. Oh okay its Tom Betts, who apparently is a master of the arcane art of coding things.

According to the latest post, they are currently working on two projects, which is quite ambitious for a small, and relatively new indie dev. The first looks to be a sort of indie Sim City, though I sincerely hope its more than that, and the second is a more experimental affair through which big-robot will be playing with the Unity engine and figuring various stuff out.

I'll be keeping a weather eye on their progress and will gladly help out with playtesting (hint hint) anything they throw my way.

Its going to be interesting to see what a games writer comes up with in terms of games, one would hope that Jim's wide experience of the medium and outsiders eye will not be afraid to head off into waters unknown. We'll have to wait and see I suppose.

Good luck guys.

M out

8 Oct 2010

The Future of Videogames - Part 2 - Between Man and the Machine

Between you and your game lies the realm of the interface. Advances in technology are beginning to open up new ways for the player to interact with the game. In this part of my 'Future of Videogames' series (part one of which can be found here) I will look at some of these emerging technologies and imagine where they may take us.