Saturday, March 24, 2007

iPod Blues

My iPod nano stopped working last weekend. I had been listening to "A Forest of Stars" the second book in Kevin J. Anderson's "Saga of the Seven Suns" series as I travel across Brisbane from comic store to comic store trying to fill in my missing issues of my Daredevil collection. (Hows that for geek quota?) I had been swapping the iPod into the car radio adapter and headphones all day. But then once I got home it wouldn't turn on. I tried plugging it into the charger and computer with no results. I went online and tried all the tricks and still couldn't get it to turn on.

Monday morning I took it down to the Apple store which is complete with its 'overly hip' Apple store employees. Somehow I got my time of my trip back to the states for the last E3 confused with my trip to SOE the year before and thought it was out of warranty. I was told by the 'Apple Guy' that Apple doesn't do repairs and instead will sell me a refurbished iPod for FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! (thats Australian dollars btw) which is about the same price as an 8 meg Nano. Mine is the cheap 1 meg version. He gave me the number of 'The Mac Doctors' which was an independent store in Brisbane that does do Apple repairs. He wrote the number on a card from memory implying they refer people to them a lot.

I realized my mistake about when I bought the iPod a few hours later and went back. I was met with a little suspicion but once I showed him my receipt and he looked up my 'registered' iPod in the computer they accepted it.

I picked up my refurbished replacement today no problem except for the parking. They are right next to the Bose store where I bought my excellent noise canceling headphones. Both stores have two designated parking spaces and both places park their official company car in one of the spaces. Idiots.

But the back to the $400 AUD for a refurbished iPod. WTF? Seriously why would they charge so much for a refurbished iPod when you could buy a top of the line new one for the same price. Even if they wanted you to buy a new one, wouldn't it be easier to just offer you a discount price on a new one? Offering to sell you a refurbished, out dated older model when yours breaks so soon after the warranty going out just made me want to buy a cheaper MP3 players. I certainly didn't feel like spending a lot more money to buy a new iPod, cheap or top of the line version.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Next Generation Clothing

I have a bunch more links to reviews of Fury from GDC but I keep forgetting to forward them to myself from work.

Pong Shirt from Think GeekBut... remember that cool graphic equalizer t-shirt I wore to the Australian Gamer party a few weeks ago?

Oh come on its only three blog post down. Jez, I can't count on you people for anything. If are all going to come together as my legion of worshiping fans I am going to need you to focus more. Anyway scroll down and have a look, I'll wait.

Back? Okay now check out this cool shirt from Think Geek that James linked to me today. Granted its just bounces back in forth in one small animation loop, but I have to get one!

The next generation of this stuff is going to be really cool. Philips is already doing some cool stuff like their 'emotional sensing' light up clothing (link to the cool pictures) and Philips Lumalive technology.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Gamecock Fury at GDC '07

Yesterday was Gamecock's big press day at the Game Developer's conference so lets go surf the tubes for industry press. Heading over to Google with a search for "GDC Fury" to see what we can find...

"Fury First Impressions" from Firing Squad.

Hmm, not a bad write up. Pretty good actually. Some screen shots of the new levels. Doesn't look like he understood that those were pre-built characters and you don't have to be "offensive or defensive based characters which can concentrate either on long range or melee attacks."

What else can I find...

"Fury First Look" from Gamespot.

Okay this guy hasn't done a very good job.
How Auran plans to implement realm-versus-realm combat has yet to be seen, but it's certainly ambitious.
I've seen how they are going to implement it. You walk up to the match making guy, the Astralist, and sign up for a War Zone match. Badda bing badda boom you are in a realm-versus-realm battle. Ambitious? Maybe he just doesn't understand that it is instanced combat with matches pre-set up via match making. I also don't quite agree with him on the definition of the term "skill-based."

And what is that I see in the comments section? One of our alpha testers breaking his NDA. Yes, dufus that is exactly what is expected in the alpha version.

Back to the Google results...

MMOz has a bit quoting our latest newsletter which I didn't get for some reason. I signed up on one of my email addresses way back when just to keep an eye on the marketing department. I got the last one and... oh wait... I bet I used that other email address that I haven't checked yet.

What else can you find for me Google? And enough with the "Off-Road Fury"... stupid racing game...

"GDC Fury Impressions" from Game Daily.

A good review don't get me wrong but from reading it I get the impression that this guy has never really plays games, but occasionally sits on the sofa and watches his nephew play "that Nintendo thing." There are parts where he makes the game sound turn based.
Every time a player initiates a hit, they can either dodge or parry it or take the damage, which in turn ticks away on their health meter.
Thats how you describe Real-time MMO-style PvP combat? Did the Gamecock guys liquor them up that much before showing them the game?

Speaking of liquoring up the press, I found some pictures of the Gamecock media group party over on Kotaku. Now I must warn you that these pictures aren't for the feint of heart. And no this isn't the "midgets and strippers" party like they put on at E3 when they were Gathering of Developers (GOD games). This is more like a scary French circus on drugs. I tried going through the gallery looking for Adam and Tony but all I could find was the guy dressed up in the Gamecock mascot costume holding up the giant Auran laptop computer that I whined about dragging around Melbourne last year. Maybe Adam and Tony didn't survive the party.

Okay... ready for the link. Just keep saying to yourself that they do it to gather the attention of the jaded press and get coverage. Just think if you were a member of the game industry press whose party would you rather go to, EA's or somebody known for doing something like... GDC07: Insane Gamecock Party.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

CDC Games Invests in Auran

This story has been going around the business news wires:
BEIJING, China --(Business Wire)-- CDC Games, a business unit of CDC Corporation (NASDAQ: CHINA) and pioneer of the "free-to-play, pay-for-merchandise" model for online games in China, announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to invest in Auran, a leading developer of online games in Australia.

What I love is this bit that always gets included in Auran press releases:
About Auran
Established in 1995, Auran is one of Australia's oldest and largest game studios and has won numerous technology awards. Boasting a team of internationally experienced developers, Auran's staff have worked on a titles including: Asheron's Call 1 & 2, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Mythica, Middle Earth Online, Need for Speed Underground, Magic and Mayhem and many more.
See that "Star Wars Galaxies"? They have that in there because of me even though I really didn't work on Star Wars Galaxies. I was a CSR for Star Wars Galaxies for about 8 months back at launch between EA's closing of Westwood and starting at Auran. I was trying to get onto the Everquest dev team and my friend Shawn Lord at SOE recommended that I could easily get my foot in the door through the CSR department. He said that is where most of the Everquest designers had come from at that point. Anyway, I have brought up several times that the Star Wars Galaxies listing should be replaced by one of the other billion games I've worked on but there it is again. Come on, wouldn't you be more impressed by something like Command & Conquer than Star Wars Galaxies anyway? Lets face it, Star Wars Galaxies sucked.

Actually I just got an "Eye of the Beholder" fan mail yesterday from a girl named Irene. Thats right, a girl! I showed her where I hid my name in the artwork. :-)