Saturday, February 25, 2006

CrazyKinux's Musing, a redesign

Those familiar with my blog may notice that I've made some drastic changes to the template I use. Gone is the generic blue header picture, replaced by a screenshot I took a few month back.

I also made some changes to the overall width to be able to post bigger thumbnails (well considering the size of these "thumbnail", you can't really call them that anymore), and to go for a more minimalist approach.

What do you think? Like it? Hate? No difference? I would appreciate your comments, positive or negative.

Compare this post (opens in a new page) to this one (also opens in a new page) to appreciate the difference of the screenshot size.

Enough bragging about my blog, instead, enjoy the majestic screenshot!

Friday, February 24, 2006

EVE Online: Theodicy (Chapter 7)

And here's the last chapter in the Theodicy novella. Now I can finally print it all, bind it, then read it in a comfy sofa, sipping a warm cup of coffee.

Theodicy Chapter 7 (pdf)

SEED: 10 new Beta screenshots

As promised, though a bit later then I would have liked, here are 3 of 10 new screenshots taken from the Garden inside the Tower. I did fairly a lot of exploration and went through every centimeter of the lush tropical garden.

This time there were sounds of various machinery as I walked near them. Made for a more interactive experience as you can imagine. It was getting pretty lonely walking alone in this great big complex with no one around (the Beta was limited to 75 simultaneous players) to interact with.

Here we go! This is the entrance to the Garden. Notice the mist effect in the far back of the Garden.

An here you can see the orange cone that marks the spot where I clicked to indicate a move command. In this shot we're now in the Garden, and you can see several devices to the left and right of my character.

I took this shot to show a close-up view of the characters and NPCs. The cell shading effects are really well done and gives this MMORPG a whole different feel to it.

If you want to see the rest of the screenshots, head over to my flickr SEED set.

By the way, if you have any questions, or would like to see a shot of something specific that I haven't yet taken, please let me know in the comments!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

EVE Online: Mining the Khanid Kingdom

This week-end we received orders from command that we needed to do some mining to get our ore supplies a bit higher. So the for the last 3 evenings I've been mining with some of my corp mates (Malindah, Padyn and Paladyn). I was the one hauling the ore, with the help of Malindah.

In this screenshot above, Paladyn was flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) in a Brutix while I was hauling the remaining containers.
It was a change of pace from the agent missions we had been running the last 2 weeks in order to increase our standings with the Royal Khanid Navy and the Khanid Kingdom.

I tried to get my Teamspeak to work, but without a headset it isn't worth much. Guess I'll have to get me one!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gaming: Windows Vista review on Gamespot - Part 2

The second part of the Windows Vista review, Windows Vista Part 2 - Navigation and organization, has been available since mid-last week. This time they go over "Searching" where we learn that Vista will use meta-tagging for easier and faster searches. The article also covers "Organization" and the new "Explorer" interface.

Overall things should be faster to find and Vista takes away some of the difficulties of filing numerous items. It's a shame WinFS won't make it until after Vista ships as this would provided an even better user experience. Guess you can't have everything at the same time.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

EVE Online: Theodicy (Chapters 4-6)

Last Friday, CCP released the next three chapters in the Theodicy novella. Enjoy!

Theodicy Chapters 4-6 (pdf)

Gaming: World of Warcraft, the new golf course?

It use to be that deals would be brokered on greens where corporate executives would meet for a game. The golf course was where the real wheelin' and dealin' happened. How things change! This article tells the story of a few high tech execs that now meet over in World of Warcraft, have some fun killing orcs and other baddies, exchange ideas and hammer potential RL deals.

Enjoy: Power lunching with wizards and warriors (C|NET

Friday, February 17, 2006

Gaming: The Escapist - Issue #32 Friday Extra

With this being the Friday following Valentine's Day, the folks over at the Escapist continue the 'Love' theme. Read on!

My Gamer Lady
by Bruce Nielson
"I would find some unsuspecting girl and convince her I was not a nerd, until she married me. Then, I would slowly but surely corrupt her until she, too, found computer games fun." Bruce Nielson details the evolution, and results, of his master plan.

Infinite Princesses
by Kyle Orland
Sometimes the most meaningful 'multiplayer' happens with single-player games. Kyle Orland relates how a re-release of a classic title made him realize how much the original helped him connect with others.

In case you've missed Tuesday's issue here's the link to my post about it.

Gaming: More on EVE Online and SEED & RF Online Beta coming soon

The last 2 weeks have been very busy and I haven't had a chance to post much on my gaming experience in EVE, and my Beta experience in SEED. On top of that, last week I received my "RF Online Beta Phase 2.2 Acceptance Email" from Codemaster, but never had the time to install it and play around.

This week-end I should have a lot more time and I'll be putting lots of screenshots of all three games.

So expect some goodies in the next few days!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gaming: Windows Vista review on Gamespot

So by the end of the year, if all goes according to 'the' plan, we should finally get a long overdue update to the Windows platform. Long overdue because if you've recently taken a look at Mac OSX than you know that 'we' on Windows are seriously behind in terms of a having a modern, sleek, powerful and stable os. It's really funny when you think about it, because it used to be the opposite; before OSX the Mac OSes were lagging behind Windows in a number of features.

Having said that, this is the year where we PC gamers need to think seriously about the next iteration of Windows, how this will affect our gaming experience and what we need to do to take full advantage of Vista's capabilities.

There's a running article over at Gamespot Video: Windows Vista where you can read about it. I'll certainly keep an eye on it. Speaking of being on the lookout. I came across this disturbing piece of information over at Firing Squad which after some exhaustive research has found out that none of today's graphics card will be able to fully support Windows Vista. Disturbing news to say the least.

If you have other information on this matter, please let me know. I'll keep you posted.

[Links: Windows Vista]

Gaming: The Escapist - Issue #32

So how was you Valentine's Day? A quiet evening at home, a dinner out downtown? Or maybe a fun evening playing your favorite multiplayer game with your significant other! In yesterday's thirty-second issue of the Escapist, the authors explore 'Love' in the virtual worlds. Read on!

Love in the Time of Pixels
by Mark Wallace
"This is a love story of a particular kind. It's a story of love in an online world, and of the ways it can bleed into the real world around it." Mark Wallace tells us the story of Diamond Hope and Unmitigated Gall.

Playing with Strangers
by Pat Miller
There's no direct competition, you don't kill anything, and you have no set goals. But it can get almost anyone, gamer or not, to sit down and play with others, to trade stories, and to show off their work. Pat Miller looks at the social wonder that is Animal Crossing.

The Digital Whorehouse
by Spanner
The arcade is unique in that it can provide short, intense bouts of personal interaction without so much as a word, as players win, lose, and play together in rapid succession. Spanner takes us to Blackpool's Golden Mile, a place where gamers can buy companionship one game at a time.

Tom Hall Makes His Move
by N. Evan Van Zelfden
What makes a designer jump from creating single-player games at an established company to working on an MMOG at an untested startup? N. Evan Van Zelfden interviews Tom Hall, Creative Director at KingIsle Entertainment.

Together Time
by Hitchhiker
Multiplayer gaming can be tough to get going if you stick to the usual hardcore titles, but cooperative modes and party games can make this easier. Hitchhiker tells us how he plays games with his wife Danielle, starting with the odd one out, Halo.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

SEED: Derella's Seed Beta Blog

Derella's Seed Beta Blog is a great to follow, for those interested in keeping an eye on the SEED beta. Daily news, and info. Let's all wish Deralla good luck for the next wave of Beta accounts!!

SEED: February 9th Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Morten, Seed Community Manager:

Newsletter from the developers of Seed

We made it to the Beta test!... but you probably know that already :).

It was greatly satisfying for us to be able to launch the Beta test on time. The end of January meant constant overtime for all of us. Kroll has seized the opportunity to order everybody back to standard work hours for now - in order for us to be able to work around the clock again as April come closer, I guess :).

Nevertheless, the Beta opened February 1st 12:00 CET. Our uptime was a tremendous 13 minutes, before the first crash occurred – that was about 12 minutes more than expected. We pretty soon accomplished uptimes of 30-60 minutes, and thanks to our should-be-patented Sys-op-in-a-box servers were restarted automatically and up again within a few minutes.

Thanks to all the feedback we received, we were able to pinpoint the major factors for the server crashes, and this week the servers have run continuously for up to 12 hours. Of course we are working on making these numbers even better, but we are pretty satisfied with our progress so far :).

We have upped the allowed number of simultaneous players to 75, and provided this does not lead to greater problems, we hope to let in more testers next week. When and how many is yet to be decided, but we will post an announcement on the forums as soon as we know.

Staff wise, we have sort of expanded again. This time with three graduate students, who will help us out over the next months as junior staff members. Tom and Peter are writing a master’s thesis about in-game mechanics, and will provide us with analysis and recommendations. Søren is here to gain on-the-job experience as part of his IT engineer studies and will work as assistant programmer.

Oh, and welcome to all the new readers. Last time I sent out a newsletter, there were about 300 subscribers - now the number is over 4.000! Likewise our forum has grown to over 11.000 members. We greatly appreciate the support you are showing us.

Kind regards,

Community Manager

Feedback? Go to our forum.

Things are moving forward as you can see. The 75 players limit explains why I could not get in last Sunday. Hopefully this number will increase over the next few weeks. Congrats Runestone on a successful Beta launch!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gaming: The Escapist issue #31

Balancing Your Second Life
by Pat Miller
Although all games have the potential for problems, opening up a virtual sandbox to the world brings an entirely new level of issues. Pat Miller talks to Linden Lab's Cory Ondrejka on how they handle Second Life.
Reimagining Challenge
by Patrick Dugan
"I am a gamer, my brothers are gamers, some of my best friends are gamers, but no matter how much it hurts, I must speak the truth: Gamers are what's wrong with the game industry." Patrick Dugan explains.

Show Me the Money
by Bruce Nielson
"Are your avid fans your best fans?" Bruce Nielson looks at how modern games with content creation tools often have the same expectation of support as expensive professional development tools.

Fraternizing with the Enemy
by Joe Blancato
It's common knowledge that game developers never play their games, or at least it is among the players of those games. It's also not true. Joe Blancato discusses playing your own game with Brian Green, Lead Designer of Meridian 59.

Great articles, as usual.

Battlestar Galactica: Reach for a Battlestar

Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, head over to for an interesting article on how the show is (or isn't) true to the physical laws of the universe, compared to its older predecessor: "Science in the new Battlestar galactica and why smart people like BSG".

Goes to show you that sometimes, being consistent with reality, makes for a great show, still.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

SEED: additional screenshots while exploring the Tower

So after my difficulties logging in on Sunday, I logged in tonight after a few updates to the client. First thing I notice was that I was alone. I mean I had the whole tower to my self. Not a soul to be seen. Weird, to say the least, since this is supposed to be an MMORPG! Oh well.

The next thing I noticed was that I could not stop my character from walking. Not that she went anywhere. She just stayed there, on the same spot, walking to know where! So might as well go and explore! Which is what I did. The next 7 screenshots are the results of this exploration. Enjoy!

The skills window. See, I'm training to be a mechanic!

Once I've completed my training, I'll be able to repair this, this, what the heck is this anyway!

This is where it starts to get interesting.

Because now I have no clue where I am. And of course, this is when the client crashes!! Oh well next time then. Speaking of which, my next screenshots will be a rundown of the user interface. See you then!

Don't forget to register on the forums for the next Beta opening.

Gaming: Kings of the Hill - MMORPGs of Today and Beyond

With so many MMORPGs on the market, picking out the best of the best has become quite a chore. We take a walk through some of the best games out there, and show you just why a select few deserve your attention. Who knows, maybe one of these will become your next addiction.
So eToychest put up a review today on the state of the best MMORPGs out there. Great! Another one of those article that'll get fanboys all excited about their game being mentioned, or not, praised or not, etc. You get the idea!
Having said that, it is a very good article and covers most of the major MMORPGs currently available. But, as with any such review, it was bound to forget a few of them, intentionally or not. And who can blame them! Well a lot of people it seems. Though the article itself is very well done and informative, the comments are where the juice is!

A lot of EVE fellow players have voiced their discontent at the choices that
Robert Faulhaber, the author, made. And though I do understand where Mr. Faulhaber is coming from, I can certainly appreciate the opinion of EVE players.

Anyways, enough rambling on my part. GO read the article yourselves: MMORPGs of Today and Beyond.

Gaming: Battlestar Galactica's Moore at GDC 2006

Seems that my favorite scifi show's creator and producer, Ronald D. Moore, will be giving a keynote at this year's GDC in San Jose. Mr. Moore has taken a 70' cult series, which many of us geeks were fund of as children, and made it a great compelling sci-fi story. Battlestar GalacticaBattlestar Galactica is probably one of the best scifi series in recent times. Hell, it's the only TV show I still watch still, and after Firefly, the only TV series I've bought on DVD.

Ronald Moore was presented with the challenge of reinventing a beloved story, which is a challenge often presented to producers of games,” said Jamil Moledina, director, Game Developers Conference. “His example of creating one of the most brilliant and successful science fiction masterpieces in recent Hollywood history is a perfect inspirational case study to capture the imaginations of the game creation leaders who attend GDC.

It'll be interesting to see how Mr. Moore can share his knowledge and experience on how to create a better, stronger, more intriguing sequel, and how Game Devs will be able to apply this knowledge to game design.

Read the announcement: Battlestar Galactica's Moore To Vision Keynote GDC 2006

EVE Online: Theodicy, a novella

The prologue to what appears to be another great novella from Tony Gonzales is now available on the EVE Online Backstory page. I remember racing through his previous novella, Ruthless, and being completely drawn into its story line. In the latest issue of E:ON there's an interview with him where we learn a bit more about this upcoming great sci-fi writer. Seems there's even a possible novel in the works. Who knows!

From what I've read so far, it looks as though I'll be loosing myself again in some great story telling!

Have a good read: Theodicy - Prologue (pdf)
Oh, and mark you calendars: Chapters 1-3 will be released on February 10th, Chapters 4-6 on February 17th, and Chapter 7 on February 24th.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Terra Nova: World Persistence

What if MMO environments were more responsive to the players actions? What would happen if, depending on the situation, the NPCs would respond differently to their player driven opponents? Timothy Burke over at Terra Nova asks the TN community this questions and probes their intellect further by asking what are technical (not design) implication of such a dynamic environment.

When I've ventured out before on this topic, I've found a reasonable degree of consensus on this point among scholars, developers and players, that dynamic, changing, responsive synthetic worlds are what we need. I've also heard on many occasions that they simply are not technically possible at the present time.

Head over at Terra Nova to read more about it : World Persistence: One In A Series of Queries. It's a very interesting post and the comments are even more so.

EVE Online: passed the 100k subscribers mark

Yesterday, CCP announced that EVE has reached over 100,000 subscribers!

This Saturday marks a major milestone for EVE Online and CCP when the active subscriber count broke through the 100,000 subscriber line. So from all of us here at CCP we want to thank you for your support and your input. This is a clear indication that a true player driven game tailored towards elite gamers is not just a dream but a reality, and we owe it all to you.

A great achievement for EVE and CCP. Here's to new PCU records being broken. Speaking of which, the last record was again broken last afternoon, when 23,178 players were logged in at 20:28 EVE time. So far, my predictions are on track!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Gaming: The Escapist #30 - Casual Friday

This Friday's Extra has two interesting articles on 'Roleplaying'. As with every 'Casual Friday' edition of The Escapist', these two article are a lot of fun to read as they take a slightly off-the-path vue of their subject.

Quest for Glory
by John WalkerEver tried to roleplay a fantasy character on main street? See how funny, and surprising, the results are!

Diseased Cur
by Joe Blancato
I can't say I agree with Joe's attitude on roleplaying, but I can appreciate his point of vue.

Skyland: pushed back to April

Well it seems we won't be able to know what happens to Mahad and Lena anytime soon! The show was supposed to air in early January on Nicktoons and later that same month on TELETOON, but as per Nicktoons' Skyland website, the premier has now been pushed back to April.

If you've got any news, please let me know!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

SEED: my first screenshots of the Beta

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I was amongst the lucky 500 chosen to be part of the first Beta for Runestone's SEED MMORPG. I've been watching these guys and the development of this MMO, and been waiting patiently for the beta to get here. And well, here we are.

So after getting my account creation info in an email on Tuesday, I just couldn't wait to download the game, install it and walk through this brand new and original virtual world. First I had to create an account, and that wouldn't happen until early Wednesday morning (the registration server didn't come online until then), which meant that I couldn't create mine until I got home from work last evening.

To my great disappointment though, the server was down when I tried to create my account! I would have to play EVE "instead". As if that was a poor second choice. No it was not. Never is. But the craving I felt was for SEED that evening, not EVE.

Tonight though, the wait was over. Sort of. You see, SEED is in Beta, and as with every beta version of any software it has bug, it crashes, it needs a lot of improvement. Which is why Public Beta exist in the first place. We're the Chuck Yeager of the MMO universe. That's us, the Beta Testers!! The Proud, the Few, the Lucky!!

So this first screenshot if where you create you your character. There's a bit of customization available though not as much as one could hope for. Still, these cell-shaded screenies are simply gorgeous! N'est-ce pas!

Then, once we have a character created, we're ready to step into this brand new world and explore it's farthest corners, it's every level.

And voila! Here we are, in the Tower! And this is pretty much as far as this went tonight. A couple of restart of the game, creation of 2 new characters and a few minutes after spawning to life, the game would crash. Too bad, cause it looks awesome and I wanted to explore some. Guess it'll have to wait.

All part of the Beta, all part of the fun. And there's more to come!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gaming: The Escapist issue #30

The Escapist #30 was released yesterday. This week they cover how the gaming industry was influence, and still is, by pen-based Roleplaying Games. Makes for a great read for any of us who's ever played D&D, AD&D, MERP, Traveler. Boy does it ever bring back memories. This is one issue you definitely do not want to miss.

In Celebration of the Inner Rogue

by Mark Wallace
Is the avatar separate from you, or is it an extension of yourself?

The Contrarian: Masks in the Woods
by John Tynes
How has MMO influenced the Role-Players and is there a place for them (us) in today's MMORPG

I Enjoy Playing a Girl
by Chris Dahlen
Why? Why not play someone completely different from yourself! Also see my earlier post on the subject.

A Roleplayer in Azeroth
by Will Hindmarch
With computer based RPG, we've gained a lot in terms of the visuals, but at what cost? Is it limiting our imagination or making it boundless?

Remember the Ice Chicken
by Nova Barlow
It's a whole new experience out there!