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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for snow and tea and looking out of the window, wondering if we should go sledging. Snow. Great white heaps of the stuff. If only it were gold. Or instant coffee. Ah well, best ignore it, stay inside and pray we see another summer. In the meantime we’ll peruse some links pertaining to computational software entertainments, and maybe we’ll find something interesting. Maybe.

  • Sam McGrath, formerly of Offset Software, and now of Fractiv, has been talking about the peculiar, difficult, but ultimately lucrative journey he had with Project Offset, the Intel-sponsored development that was supposed to bring us a game that would showcase Intel technology. There’s an interview on BigDownload here. From the interview: “The original vision might be summed up as a fantasy version of Call of Duty. CoD has such perfect execution in terms of delivering that cinematic experience and we wanted to achieve that in a fantasy setting with dragons, trolls, goblins, siege vehicles, etc.” And also: “veryone was setting their sights very high. Had Larrabee worked out exactly as Intel had hoped, our game would have been the flagship title demonstrating their new tech, which would be a huge thing. (Think Microsoft and Halo…)” All that, of course, didn’t work out.
  • Massively asks: Does Eve Online make players better at other MMOs? I think it probably does. Hell, the lateral thinking, politicking, and man-management that I went through in years of playing Eve Online made me better at life. I am now a ruthless politician, and if you need someone to manage your remote-repping battlefleet, I am pretty good at that too…
  • GameSetWatch has some details about the AI Summit, which intrigues me a bit. Any readers going to go to that? GSW also offers a top five developers cross-posted from Gamasutra, which is something I was thinking of doing. Well anyway, here‘s their take.
  • We talked about Metro 2033 earlier in the week, and why we liked it so much. But here’s another take from PopMatters’ Nick Dinicola.
  • Phill Cameron has decided to hit the big notes for his Freespace 2 retrospective on Eurogamer: “Beam cannons cut into capital ships, paused for a moment by the hull before they come charging out the other side in an explosive, flaming lance that lights up the void. Missile trails arc delicately before they home in on your aspect lock. Small fires litter ships like blemishes, ruining that perfect, pristine exterior with the pockmarks of battle. And, when they’re on their last legs, huge cruisers and juggernauts shudder with crackles of electricity, seeming to be the only thing keeping them together.
  • More on that Mass Effect 2 data from GameReader. They’re calling it a “Tyranny Of The Masses”, and say this: “I’m more than a little baffled by the utopian declarations that have accompanied news of Bioware’s efforts to collect anonymous player data from Mass Effect 2. Gamers already influence the design decisions of mainstream developers in a variety of ways, so it is simply absurd to imply that player tracking will somehow give “voice” to a previously disenfranchised demographic.”
  • The big legal issue raised by the Glider bot in World Of Warcraft has now been given a ruling, and it’s an important one for the distinction between copyright and EULA type obligations. The court says: “A Glider user violates the covenants with Blizzard, but does not thereby commit copyright infringement because Glider does not infringe any of Blizzard’s exclusive rights. For instance, the use does not alter or copy WoW software. Were we to hold otherwise, Blizzard — or any software copyright holder — could designate any disfavored conduct during software use as copyright infringement, by purporting to condition the license on the player’s abstention from the disfavored conduct.” Why were Blizzard making this a copyright issue in the first place? Crazy. Also this Penny Arcade strip is relevant. And kind of funny.
  • GameCrashers wonder whether OnLive could change the way we use the internet. There’s a bit of assessment of the service in there, too. I do not like the sound of this: “Each of the games looked pretty good when there wasn’t a lot of motion, but with motion I started to see the compression of the video on the stream. Also, I could feel a tiny delay in my controller actions, but neither the compression nor the delay really stopped me from being able to reasonably play the games and enjoy myself, it just wasn’t necessarily ideal.”
  • Some thoughts on “Neodicy”: “Neodicies would grapple with the very real question of how we can justifiably believe in better futures while still acknowledging the risks that will inevitably arise as our futures unfold. Such a discourse may even allow the rehabilitation of the concept of progress, the idea that as a civilization we do learn from our mistakes, and have the capacity to make our futures better than our past.”

And finally the listenings. Two links this week, and then another one. One newer from me, one older suggested by Miles Newton. He points to this Ramona Falls video, which is just great. I will point to this rather chilled out album by Emancipator. When I feel myself dozing off to that, and fear I might be found dead in here next spring, I put this on.

See you on Monday.

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Jim Rossignol

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