Friday, January 30, 2009

Pixel Pushing

Those interested in Pixel pushing and the old school, there's a lot to chose from, especially free programs.

It's something well worth playing around with, especially handy if you are doing tile maps for hand held devices.

Tile Studio - This is a nice open source freebie

mtPaint - This is also open source and works well, just doesn't appear quite as polished.

fishEd - This is great and recently released as a freebie. Lots of resources here on the site too.

Graphics Gale - A nice little animation pixel program. Not free though, but not expensive either.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January Boston Post Mortem

This months talk was given by Randy Smith who was the designer that helped shape the Thief series of games for Looking Glass and recently of EALA.

This was a talk he gave at the Montreal International Game Summit, called "Games Are Art, and What To Do About It."

It was interesting and to summarise the talk, he went into how game mechanics have progressed over the years talking of the parallel of how peoples comprehension of movies have grown, so you don't necessarily have to be blatantly obvious with every detail to show emotion or the progression of time, people know a day shot followed by a night shot in a movie means that time has progressed, even though they didn't when film first came about. This kind of evolution is happening and how it needs to continue so that the game users experience can be more engaging. The slap in the face uninteractive cut scenes, overly forced sound and facial animations to show emotion fail because they aren't engaging, they break the flow of the experience that takes the game player out of the continuity of the expeirence much like if a movie director had a statue roll up in the middle of the cinema at a particular moment to show an emotion would be breaking of the flow and feeling of the movie.

He also talked about design decisions and different genres of games, how best to engage emotion out of the game player so that they have a feeling of accomplishment, how they can care about an outcome so that they have the desire to replay the game in to see a different outcome. It all comes about asking the question "Why?" at every stage of the design process. What you think will be a good idea, question why. What way of having a game mechanic do such and such, question why. Continually questioning these decisions brings about a more layered mechanic to the game so that you can see and show how engaging and what responses you are looking for. It also can lead to interesting spin off thoughts that could lead to new avenues to explore.

Friday, January 16, 2009

TrendNet TEW 424UB Wireless USB adapter - Update

An update to the original review of the TEW 424UB Wireless USB Adapter -

They released a new driver on the 16th of December 2008 -here

This driver seems to have fixed the device from BSOD'ing your system, especially when you lose a network connection, it is able to reconnect without needing a restart or causing a BSOD. Also doesn't seem to lose a network connection as often either, so a much needed driver update makes this a very solid and cheap wireless network adapter.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby Teethers

There are loads around, but the best so far has been the set of Crombi Training Teethers

They are just nice and easy for the baby to hold on to, nice bright colours, has a nice little rattle to them and the baby is able to easily use these to gnaw the back teeth with, which many other teethers fail to do.

Those gel ones that you stick in the freezer or the fridge to get cold do relieve some of the teething pain, but they are usually to chunky to be practical, the baby can't hold them very stably and isn't able to use them to sooth the rear teeth.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Seagate Barracuda 1TB Hard drive review

The Seagate ST31000340AS 1TB Barracuda

A sata 7200rpm drive with 32MB cache and 8.5ms seek time and a 5 year warranty.

It's a great drive, really quick and also very quiet which is lovely. This being an OEM box, you don't get any screws or any cables nor instructions though which probably isn't a problem for most people. Do jot down the serial number before installing it though as it's a mare to get to other wise and you'll need it for the warranty.

Amazon ship it in one of those "Ready to Ship" boxes, which means the box they send it to you in is the box of the product.