Friday, October 27, 2006

Rambling On

So it’s another exciting Friday night. I’m sitting in Ironforge waiting on the Battleground queues that are all over an hour, 20-30 minutes apart from each other and yet will inevitably all pop on top of each other. (note as I’m posting this: they did pop on top of each other) To make matters worse I’m watching “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days” on TV. It could be worse as we have “First 50 Dates” and “Cold Mountain” on the other channels. Actually, had I thought about it, I probably would have picked the Adam Sandler movie but this one came on after Smallville and I was too busy in Alterac Valley to change the channel. Now I don’t want to change since I already missed the beginning.

You are probably thinking “Oh swept in after Smallville, I can see that” but had I gotten of my ass and finished buying the DVDs I would have seen this Smallville already. You see I’m in Australia which means that the latest episode of Smallville is actually over a season behind the U.S. They occasionally air something simultaneously as the U.S. and then make a big deal about how you can “EXPERIENCE IT SIMULTANIOUSLY WITH THE U.S.” That is what they are doing with Jerico, you know about Jerico don’t you? You’ve heard of shows that are advertised as “LOST ON ACID!” well Jerico is “Lost that probably took some acid or something at a party Friday night, a party that lasted till sometime Sunday and is now hung over on a Monday morning as it stumbles into work.” Actually no, that implies too much excitement. It’s just “Lost that stumbled in late and tired on a Monday morning.” I so much want to like the show but its boring me to tears. The naivety of these people in the show, the country’s been nuked and they are busy playing soap opera.

I haven’t been keeping on posting all the Fury in the news links lately not that there has been a lot of new and exciting information released but I’ll be at the Game1 expo in Melbourne next weekend showing off Fury. Auran will also be at the eGames Expo at the same place two weeks later (Nov 17-19th). We have some older stuff like this German review based on seeing the game at PAX (You can make fun of this Google translation if you don’t speak German), this audio interview with Adam on Cybershack, and Adam’s latest Dev Diary is in the latest PC PowerPlay. I have a scan of it but decided not to post it. Who would want to put our crap in their rag if I just go and post scans of it instead of making you go buy the issue? I did a Dev Diary myself on designing and creating the ability icons but it sucks so I am going to redo it. It’s full of good info and insight to the process, just doesn’t have my trademark witty humor.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No adware notice the Aussie BF 2142 box

Kotaku has a post up that the Australian Battlefield 2142 box comes with no such adware notice. One of the commenters who goes by the handle Aeternum claims she is an EB empoyee and says:
I just finished a shift at EB and it's true, no note, but we have to tell them about the spywear. so we do get the spyware, but we don't have as many returns because people tell us to shove it before they buy it.
I've decided I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and not umm... not on the counter at my local EB... meaning umm... I'm not going to buy the game. That analogy didn't quite come out the way I planned. Who would want to put money in their mouth anyway?

I will go to my local EB this weekend and see if they do indeed tell people about the adware.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

EA - Adware, Its In The Game.

In the latest (October 11th, 2006) Computer Gaming World radio podcast they open up an advance retail box of the very soon to be released "Battlefield 2142". Inside the box they find a disclaimer notice informing you that the game includes monitoring software which runs while your computer is online, records personal information and sends it back to the advertising companies which provide the in-game advertising. ADWARE!!!!

There doesn’t seem to be much major news coverage of this yet but its popping up on a few independent game forums followed by a plethora of "fuck EA I won’t be buying this game" posts.

Now I’ve long been a fan of "Fuck EA" I mean fan of Battlefield 2 and I’ve been really excited about Battlefield 2142’s release... until now.

I remember when I first heard of EA when I bought "Archon" for the Commodore 64. I read the little "about EA" blurb and thought they were such a cool company. I was walking on air when a game I worked on, "The Mars Saga", was published by EA with my picture on the inside flap with their old, cool “cube, sphere, pyramid” logo. I loved that logo and I think they sold their soul about the same time they stopped using it. By the way, the little "about the developer blurb" that went with our picture for "The Mar's Saga" was the first time I snuck Douglas Adam’s references into some of my published writings. EA trimmed my original text a bit which ruined the pacing but they had legitimate space issues so I didn’t mind.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH ADWARE! I’m really upset about this. Okay there is something you should know about me. I have a computer curse. Things go wrong for me, mysterious things that nobody can explain; IT people have actually resorted to waving dead poultry over my machines. Back at Westwood I used to be required to bring my home machine in to test the install of our games because they would ALWAYS screw up for me… unless somebody was watching, but you probably guessed that part. Anyway I would bring my machine in and run the install program and then call the guys in from out in the hall (because it wouldn't do it if they were in the room) to see the machine after it had screwed up.

Because of that I don’t even surf the net on my game machine… ever! If I need something for that machine, I download it on this machine and then copy it over to that one. It is my clean machine. I am deadly afraid of installing the wrong thing that is going to slow that machine down. And now EA wants to install Adware on my clean machine! I am all for in game advertising, but this is going too far. I understand they think this information is valuable to them but it’s a bit more valuable to me. If Mr. Advertising Agency guy wants that information I’ll sell it to him but my price is going to be slightly higher than me paying full price for a game and having software on my machine slowing it down. It’s funny that I don’t feel that I am coming out ahead in their deal.

Now I do think that people are erroring on the side of chaos in what this adware actually does, but after the Sony rootkit scandal I don’t blame them. I lost all faith in Logitech when I found them installing adware with my new G15 Keyboard and G5 mouse. The infamous Real-player admitting it installs adware and not caring what you think about it. We simply can’t trust the big, main stream companies anymore than we can trust some back alley warz website. The fact that EA is scared enough about what they are doing to warn you with an actual writing on paper notice instead of something hidden away in a 12-page, 6 point font, end user license agreement written in lawyer language should tell us something.

There is another thing about this that intrigues me though. This is a notice inside the box for an online game where the game’s serial number is then attached to your online account so the game can’t be used again by somebody else. Most software stores have a no return policy on those types of games once opened. So what is the chance Mr. Software_Story_Guy is going to allow you to return the game once you’ve opened it, read this adware warning notice, and decided that you rather not have EA sodomize you?

Speaking of Computer Gaming World, the latest issue is the last issue under that name. They are being reborn as “Games for Windows: The Official magazine”. While you are spouting off your opinions of that, you can download PDF versions of the first 100 issues that they scanned and put online. I’d like to point your attention to my first game cover (well half a cover anyway) Number 55 from January 1989 with "Battletech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception". Or Number 71 from May 1990 featuring "DragonStrike". Then a few months later we see Number 75 from November 1990 showing "Battletech II: The Crescent Hawk’s Revenge".

Don’t look for mega-hit "Eye of the Beholder" on the cover of Number 83 from 1991 because it got beat out by "Legend’s Timequest"... tell me who went down on Scorpia to get that deal through?

Before end this and go get my jammies on I’d like to point out the legendary vaporware "Champions" cover from March of 1992. A game that never got released made the cover. It was a very big embarrassment for them. I wonder who was forced to go down on Scorpia as punishement for that one?