Thursday, August 31, 2006

PAX 2006 Gameplay footage of Fury has this gameplay footage as part one of their coverage of Fury.
I know many gamers were probably really annoyed by the really loud announcer guy yelling at everyone in the expo hall about "unleashing their fury" but if you didn't get a chance to unleash it, you can at least watch someone else do it...

I sat down with the folks over at the Fury booth (before the hall opened so I could get away from the loud dude) and play the game. I've got 2 videos for you to watch: the first is gameplay footage with developer commentary and the second is an interview with their lead (and hungover) designer Adam to discuss the finer points of unleashing our fury.
The footage isn’t all that exciting; its more basic introductory type stuff than furious PvP action.

I didn't think having the announcers was that great of an idea for E3 and I was wrong. They were great and really got people into the booth. The hot two Amazon-sized Fury booth babes helped too. At PAX though I can see how their style may not have meshed with the real hardcore gamers especially without the hot babes. Nothing is really as good without hot babes. I’ve always said that.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


MMORPG.COM has some pictures of PAX, (Penny Arcade Expo to you noobs) where you can see the Fury booth. I don’t want to imply anything, but compare the Fury Booth picture vs. the ArenaNet Guild Wars Booth picture.

Carolyn also mentions playing Fury in her coverage from the floor.

UPDATE! I was just told that Fury was also mentioned under the tournaments feature:

Fury on the other hand had no super fancy prizes. Their supremely well placed booth is in the center of everything and attracted a lot of attention, especially thanks to their two loud-mouth commentators. They simply randomly handed out loot on the first day to lucky “MVPs” of matches. Carolyn and I both played quite a bit and had a grand time, which I will get into in a more formal article later. Nonetheless, Fury looks like the ultimate game for jump in, causal, fast PvP action.

UPDATE! Dana Massey from MMORPG.COM posted her write up of Fury as part of their full coverage from the floor of the Penny Arcade expo. Few minor points were off the mark but a nice general primer.


I just saw the latest sneak peak video for Command & Conquer 3. No, I’m not going to link it. I’m not doing anything for EA unless they are giving me lots of money to do so. If I’m going to be a hypocrite I’ll at least have to be bought first. Yeah I redid all the infantry icons for the German version of C&C: Generals for them but it paid for my trip to Disney World. If you want to see all 20 seconds of the video it you can go looking for yourself. I just wanted to say: Joe, if you’re reading this. I hope you're making EA pay through the nose!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Breaking out the “things to do before I die list”… Snorkeling on The Great Barrier Reef… CHECK!!! Been there done that! It was very very cool and I am definitely thinking about going again.

I did loose my Tour de France hat though. I watched some lady go out onto the fore of the boat and have her hat just vanish. The wind was so strong coming up over the front of the boat and funneling along the side that it didn’t blow off, it vanished. So then a few minutes later when I was getting motion sick I made sure to hang on to my hat very tightly when I went out. I had a barf bag in my other hand but once I got up front the fresh air and being able to see the dips and waves coming calmed me down. I decided to stick the barf bag in my pocket but I couldn’t fold it up one-handed. I was going to take the hat off and tuck it under my arm but when I lifted it an inch off my head the wind caught it, ripped it out of my hand and it was gone. I replaced it with a hat from Quicksilver, the tour outfit that took us out to the reef.

We also went up to the Daintree Rainforest for two days where we hung on the beach and did some Jungle Surfing but missed out on the night forest walk because it was constantly booked up. On the drive back down to Cairns we did see a Cassowary standing in the middle of the road. One of the Jungle Surfing guides had asked us if we had seen one saying it had taken him 5 years of living up there before he saw one. We had read a sign somewhere that said we should report any encounters or sightings of the bird but none of us could remember where we had read that or where we were supposed to report it to. Besides we couldn’t figure out how to describe where we had seen it since “that curvy part of the road with all the trees” wasn’t going to narrow it down much.

I got a whole slew of pictures from the trip but I seem to have uninstalled Photoshop. I was using it a few weeks ago and did do some cleaning up of my harddrive since then when making room for ComicBase. I can only guess I uninstalled it by accident when using the Add/Remove Program list to remove crap.

Back to the list, it originally said “Scuba diving” not “Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and last year I did go down to take scuba diving lessons. The first introduction lesson was free and we asked ahead of time if my diabetes and irregular heartbeat would be a problem and they said no worries. But once we showed up they said I would need a note from my doctor. I did plan on getting said note but then we spent that money on a trip to Sydney to see the Lord of Rings museum exhibit which was being extended an extra week.

What else have I done on the list? Play Poker in Vegas which isn’t really fair because I was living in Vegas when I first decided to make a list.

I’ve also seen Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC which was a disappointment because I found out that the theatre had collapsed in 1893, was rebuilt as a warehouse, then abandoned in 1931 then rebuilt and restored in 1967. So it’s not like it’s really “the same” Ford’s Theatre anymore. The museum in the basement was pretty cool though, seeing the coat President Lincoln was wearing stained with his blood really brings it all into reality. The coat had a big section cut out where somebody had been cutting it up and selling small squares of it as souvenirs to people.

Actually I’ve never actually “made” the list as in formally write it down. But if I did number one on things still to see would be the Aurora Borealis. I’ve wanted to see that since I heard about it. Then in no particular order Mount Rushmore, Great Wall of China (a remote part), Easter Island, Great Pyramid of Giza & the Sphinx. I’m a little wishy-washy about those last two now that I’ve checked the area out via Google Earth. The place looks like tourist hell. I would also have to include Uluru here in Australia.

I’ve had a chance to see the Statue of Liberty and to go up into the World Trade Center when I was in New York a few years ago. But I passed on those “standard” tourist things in favor of some other things. Of course now that the two towers aren’t there anymore I wish I hadn’t passed. I get to see the guy and kitchen they based the “Soup Nazi” on in Seinfeld, a Broadway show whose name I can’t remember, and hang out in Grand Central Station to people watch. I also saw a really scary, crazy, homeless man down in the sub-way. Not things on “the list” but still pretty cool.

Now after reading all this, you may think you really know what kind of dweeb I am but you'd be wrong. What was I doing while hanging out on the beach in the Daintree Rainforest? New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fury / Duke Nuke'm Forever Combo Pack

Adam has an interview about Fury over at Game World Network where he totally busts me for making a Duke Nuke'm Forever joke.


I recently bought the Archive Edition of ComicBase. It’s a really powerful comic book inventory database program that is tied in with Comic Buyers Guide prices and has weekly updates (example of a weekly update here) of prices and new comics. The 1 long box, 2 short boxes and handful of graphic novels I brought with me to Australia have grown into 1 long box, 8 short boxes and over 200 graphic novels. In comparison I have 20ish long boxes and an unknown number of graphic novels in storage back in Vegas.

ComicBase is way and above the other inventory programs out there. Some of the other ones I’ve looked at aren’t much better than the one I wrote in basic on my Commodore 64 back in the 80’s. I called it CIA for Comic Inventory Assistant. Cool, huh?

I bought the Archive Edition of ComicBase, the most expensive of multiple flavors of the program, because God forbid I not spend forty bucks when I could spend three hundred. The Archive Edition comes with over 150,000 cover scans so you can see pictures of the issues in the program. It also allows me lots of cool options for the Windows slide show screensaver. I really wish the slide show screensaver didn’t suck so badly though, if the Megabucks Slot Machines used the same type of randomizer we’d all be multi-millionaires.

I also sprung for the handheld bar code reader which allows me to jump to and batch add comics just by scanning their bar code; provided they are new enough to have bar codes and that they were entered when the issue was added. This version of the program allows you to submit new or corrected data so I’m doing my part by entering and sending in the ones I have that it doesn’t. I would love to say I’m doing it out of a generous nature and desire to share with others, but honestly I just like playing with the bar code reader. Bleep!

I do have a problem with the program though. It is very ridged on what it will report. I was expecting to be able to build detailed, custom queries and reports. It allows me a number of custom fields and check boxes but I can’t build reports based on them. It also doesn’t allow me to build reports based on many of the fields it has built in nor does it let me alter the report format.

For example I want to print a wish list. It allows me to easily build an “Issues I am missing” list by taking the list of titles where I own at least one issue the series of and printing the issues I am missing. The problem is that I have a lot of comics from a lot of titles where I am not interested in the issues I am missing. I can easily print a report based on titles in my collection and then not select those titles, but besides the hassle of going through several hundred titles to do that I also have a good number of comics on my wish list where I don’t own any comics in that title series.

What I want to do is to be able to mark comics as being on my wish list and then to print just a list of those marked issues. To do that under the current system I have to use the provided “marked” check box which is fine, but then I have to print a title report of EVERY comic in the database and tell it to only print marked issues. At least I think that is what I have to do because it’s been a few hours and its still “preparing report.” I'll let it run overnite before giving it up.

I’m thinking at this point, at least for the wish list functionality, I’m better severed by the pocket-sized notebook I carry around.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fury-Sanctuary Interview

Fury Sanctuary Q&A #2: Joseph HewittFury-Sanctuary just posted an interview I did with them last week. In the interview I paraphrased some quotes and then challenged them to find out where they are from. Cameron has been sitting in the IRC channel this morning and says that they arn't having any luck so far. I quote Kriuq "The internet is failing me".

I also signed up for some News Alerter service at MMORPG.COM which tells me they are kicking off their brand new series of exclusive screenshots. They say I should check back every Monday for 2 new images from Fury, the new MMORPG in production at Auran. Currently they have 2 shots of the School of Life. I'm pretty sure those are the first shots of that area. They are okay, its just doesn't look as cool frozen in a screenshot after you are used to seeing it while running around and animating.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Console Modding Versus Region Coding

Ozymandias is a Microsoft employee with a blog. I tried rewording that several times so that it didn’t sound like I was saying something I wasn’t. But it kept coming out sounding like, well like “Tommy is a 3 year old, a 3 year old with a gun!” But that isn’t what I’m saying at all. He is a blogger and he works for Microsoft, that’s all I’m saying.

Oh, and he wrote a bit entitled: The Problem with Modchips where he shares his thoughts and opinions on Modding. Modding being the purchasing and installing of special chips into your console game system; which in turn allows for playing of import games, creating your own custom content, and piracy. You all knew that unless you’re my mother reading my blog again. Everyone say hello to my mother.

So of those three in reverse order:

3) Piracy
Piracy is wrong. They are stealing. I too am a game developer and you are taking money out of my pocket. I don’t care if you wouldn’t have bought the game anyway. If you are playing it you should be paying for it.

2)Custom Content
Bah. He goes into the business model of the console systems and explains why you shouldn’t be doing what you want with your own hardware, making your own games but instead should be buying official games.

You know I don’t really see this as being a problem. I think the very few hardcore people that are making and sharing their own content are buying just as many games, if not more, than the rest of us. Plus they are gaining experience and are better positioned to get a job in the industry.

1) Import Games
Okay this is where he really looses me. Let me quote him:
The desire to play import games is at least a reason I can rationally understand, but cannot condone. Sure, there are games you might want to play that are either released earlier or, quite possibly, not released at all in your region. But sometimes companies have good reasons to either not release a title into a region or release it at different dates. It may be because of the time and cost of localization, marketing plans, ad buys, cultural considerations, or perhaps even because of the impact of piracy in the region. Whatever the case, it’s safe to assume the publisher has thought about it. The good news is that most publishers are developing with multiple platforms, regions, and languages in mind up front, so this is becoming less and less of an argument. (After all, it’s in the publisher’s best interest to sell as many copies as possible, right?)
What a load of bull$#!+ (remember my mother may be reading this so nobody tell her how to translate those symbols.) They might be valid reasons why the company didn’t release the game in that region, but none of those reasons are valid about why people that are actually paying above and beyond the cost of the game should be allowed to enjoy the game. They are spending their hard earned (well I assume its hard earned, but lets not judge) cash for the game. This is yet another sale for the publisher. On top of that they are also paying for the shipping cost of the game from what ever other region they are buying it from. Plus they paid for the mod chip and maybe even paid to have it installed. All of that so they could get a copy of a game that isn’t available in their own region.

Lets go through Ozymandias’ lame reasons and see if we can find any downside:

Time & Cost of Localization
The Company didn’t take the time nor did they pay the cost of localization and yet they made an extra sale of the game can’t really see the downside here.

Marketing Plans
Let’s not let the tail wag the dog here. Marketing plans are things to which the company does in order to get people to buy the game. Somebody bought the game, job well done have a cookie. It doesn’t spoil any marketing plan if somebody buys the game early.

“Oh my God! Somebody bought the game before our TV commercial came out! Our marketing plan is ruined! What ever will we do?”

Actually somebody buying the game early is a marketing plan itself. It is like when movie studios do sneak peeks before the movie is released in order to generate a buzz about the movie. I can’t see a problem here unless the game really sucks and they are afraid that the early purchaser is going to tell everybody it is turd in a box before their marketing plan can trick more people into wasting their money on it.

Ad Buys
WTF? He doesn’t have a lot of good reasons so he tried to fake another one but it this is more “Marketing Plan” crap. Seriously somebody bought the game without having to have witnessed some marketing spin; again I can’t see the downside.

Cultural Considerations
Like what? I think what he really means is that if the company doesn't think the game is the kind of game that would sell well in that country. I completely understand that a game company might think this due to the country's prevailing culture. That is a perfectly reasonable justification for not having released the game in that region. I do not expect a company to spend all the money it would take to sell a game in a region if they don’t think anybody there is going to buy it… but somebody did buy it! We are talking import purchases here remember. Somebody is buying the game even though the company didn’t release it in their region. That’s and extra sale!

I am not even trying to use any of this as a reason to say the company should have released the game in some other country. I know that just because some people imported the game doesn’t mean there would be enough people who would buy it to justify the expense of releasing it in that country. I am only saying that this isn’t a reason to be against somebody going through the extra effort of buying and importing it. Somebody bought the game that otherwise wouldn’t. Once more there is no downside.

Impact of Piracy in the Region
Okay this is the KEY POINT deserving of capital letters. If they are against modding of console systems for the very understandable reason of possible software piracy then why keep with the practice of region coding and restricting of consoles and games? It is companies like Microsoft that are region restricting the damn things in the first place! If people didn’t have to mod their console in order to play a game they imported from another region they wouldn’t also be able to play pirated games. Would some people still mod their consoles to play pirated games, sure. But modding wouldn’t be going more and more main stream with each console generation and in turn increasing the market for pirated games! (slam your fist down on the table when you read that, it helps with the effect.)

I do not currently own a modded console. But I do own a region 1 (United States region) Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation 2, and Nintendo Game Cube each of which I bought the week they were released while I was in the United States. As you should know I moved to and am currently living in Australia now. Australia is region 4. I can not go down to my local game store and purchase games to play on any of those three systems because they only play region 1 games and aren’t modded to play region 4 games. My only choice is to import them from the United States which is a big pain in the ass so I haven’t been doing it.

In the past I have always bought all console systems that have come out right when they were released. I have yet to buy an XBox 360 and I probably won’t be buying a Sony PS/3 or Nintendo Wii right when they are released because I don’t want to buy a console that is restricted to region 4 because I will most likly be be going back to the US sometime in the future. Now I will admit I am not even sure if any of these systems are region restricted but I haven’t read anything to the contrary.

Game companies have not gained any new console video game sales from me in the last 2.5 years and they are losing out on selling me their new expensive console systems all because of region coding. The only way they will regain me as a customer is if I move back to the United States or if I am willing to start modding. Well either that or Microsoft can ship me a region 4 XBox and copy of every region 1 XBox game I own and then be willing to swap them all back plus any new one's I've bought while in Australia for region 1 versions if I go back to the United States. Somehow I'm sure they will have some detailed buisness model rational on why that isn't a good idea even though the current buisness model that I just spelled out doesn't have me doing any actual buisness with them.

Doing localized language versions is understandable, doing different packaging for each reason makes marketing sense, doing NTSC and PAL version is still unfortunately necessary even if just about all new PAL TVs support NTSC signals. But adding the region coding requires additional coding, packaging and versions without adding any real benefit in return. I’ve heard some song in dance in the past about how it’s done because retailers are demanding it, but since they are the ones selling and shipping the games to people ordering them outside their own region I do not believe it.

Papercraft Video Game Models

Papercraft LinkI really love vintage video game artsy stuff. I stumbled on this paper art site that has "papercraft" models from the Advanced Wars series, Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider and others. The site offers template downloads of all the models with full instructions on how to assemble them so you can make your own.

I of course rushed to down load and print out copies of my own that I can now leave sitting on my desk, unassembled, for the next few years because who has that kinda time?