May 2006

Happiness is a Warm OS

…bang! bang! shoot! shoot!

Installed Windows Vista Beta 2: Wednesday
Reinstalled Windows XP: Monday

Well, it’s almost there! The deal breaker for me was having to run crappy WDDM video drivers that broke 80% of my games and made half of the remainder run in “Runs Like Ass” mode. Yeah, I’m sure NVidia will issue Vista-Drivers-That-Actually-Install-On-My-Machine And-Don’t-Just-Forlornly-Refuse-To-Run real soon now, but life’s too short.

Oh, and Vista is going to require at least 2g of RAM. Just a heads up. In case you like shiny OS skins or DirectX 10!

Yes, I’m an OS whore. I’ll run ANYTHING. Heck, I ran WoW in Linux for a while just because I could. I am really not the person you should be taking OS advice from.

(On the other hand, I can recommend the Office 2007 beta unreservedly. It hasn’t destroy any of my critical work data yet!)

(Oh, and “Piggies” from the Beatles’ White Album. You should get that, too.)

Atari pulls plug on Neverwinter Nights 1

One of the stories coming back from E3 isn’t a very good one; apparently Atari didn’t want any further competition for the (non-Bioware) Neverwinter Nights 2, so ordered Bioware to cut all further live team support for NWN1.

Up until this point Bioware had made a fairly decent business model out of supporting a years-old game by paying the best community module developers to create “premium modules” for resale. The latest, a Nethack-type dungeon crawl, just came out, and a huge one set in Dragonlance was set to be released soon. To quote its developer;

I got the news from Rob Bartel at BioWare that Atari and Hasbro had just advised BioWare that they would not be giving any more approvals for any further premium modules \’e2\’80\ldblquote or indeed \’e2\’80\ldblquote anything more for Neverwinter Nights 1.

After just shy of 4 years \’e2\’80\ldblquote on the Friday before E3 when most senior business contacts at BioWare were out of the office and getting ready to head to LA, NWN had been quietly killed with a phone call to Darcy Pajak. Not only that \’e2\’80\ldblquote they had killed it just as our finish line was in plain view and we had only one lap left to go. And I suspect that they knew that full well, too.

Bioware has already said that one more patch is set to come out to fix a bug introduced in the previous version, and of course unofficial modules will continue to be released by fans. Still, it’s hard to see how Atari is helping themselves or Obsidian, the developers of NWN2 who I’d wager had nothing to do with this decision, by pissing off the mod community – the very people that they’ll need to attract to make NWN2 a long term commercial success.

Boy Howdy

Three Rings’ Bang Howdy! is in open beta now – in fact you can just log in using your puzzle pirates login if you have one AND YOU SHOULD.

I’m on as “Lum the Mad” (a suitably Western name, neh?). Looks like a nifty tactical game, more up my alley than the puzzles of PP.

Also Three Rings’ Dread Pirate Cleaver, Daniel James, joins the rest of us with too many opinions. Thanks to Raph for finding it. It’s always easy to find Daniel at a trade show, he’s the pirate!

I really like Three Rings. In fact I was mulling over dorking around with some of their tools back in the days when I had too much time on my hands and was thinking about doing a homebrew game. It’s no accident that when Puzzle Pirates was in beta it had more MMO developers per capita playing the game than any other beta I’ve seen. Good to see that they’re running a profit without doing World of Warcraft v2.4.

Bucky Carooe Died For Your Sins!

Mindark, Project Entropia’s Ponzimasters, get all up in Dan Hunter’s face with legal threats and ravings (check the comments here for examples) after his critical look at Project Entropia’s PR. His response? Classic.

It\’e2\’80\’99s not because I care at all about the implicit threat here: that if somebody doesn\’e2\’80\’99t do something about me (in general) or this posting (in particular) then defamation suits will flow like the gentle rain from heaven. One of the great beauties of all those years learning law, practising law, and (now) teaching law is that I actually know what the law is; and perhaps more important, I don\’e2\’80\’99t have any fear of groundless and stupid implied threats that I might get sued.

I remind you that I am currently still in Korea, which is in fact, fourteen hours IN THE FUTURE. Here in the future with our lighter than air airships, crazy mobile phones and really good beef dishes, we think Project Entropia’s full of hooey, but we kind of miss the spokeswoman with the frightening silver wig that PE had. Whatever happened to her, anyway? She pretended to be in the future, but we in the future know better!

Tune in tomorrow when I report on my attempts to navigate Korea’s subway system. Or to quote a conversation I had with someone from the home office here:

Me: I plan to go shopping in Dongdaemun market tomorrow.

He: You have my cell phone number in case you get lost?

Me: Yes. I’ll call and tell you “Help! I’m lost!” And you can commiserate. “Yes, it’s very unfortunate! Seoul is a very large city!”

He: Yes.(everyone laughs)

My bit for global understanding, part 1

It’s Friday in Korea. I am officially INTO THE FUTURE.

My every transaction in a Korean convienence store:

Me: “Annyong haseyo” (hello)

Clerk: “Heyyy!” (hey?)

(business continues, usually with some wacky pantomime involving me saying “phone” while pretending to hold a phone to my head when asking for an international calling card or something similar)

Me: “Kamsa hanida” (thanks)

Clerk: “Hah!” (Stupid American, your pronunciation sucks fish balls)

Seoul is like New York, except denser, and with more neon, and with 85% less English. There are PC rooms EVERYWHERE, mostly decorated with gaudy neon dragons. Sadly I won’t be able to start World War 3 because it looks like Panmunjom is closed on weekends.

Oh, and “chilsung cider” is pretty good.

WTS 3 runabouts, will take 900 gold pressed latinum

From Star Trek Online’s FAQ:

Will there be an economy?

As in the series, an economy will be present and fully functional.

Uh… guys, in ST: TNG there was no economy. The Federation was a pure communist society. This was actually a plot point in the final episode of the first season, where confused 21st century colonists rescued from a sleeper ship (translation: Fred Everyman from the present) try to figure out how Enterprise crewmembers get paid.

Offenhouse asks what he will do now that his money and office are gone. Picard points out that material needs do not exist in the 24th Century. Offenhouse then asks “What’s the challenge?”. Picard responds, “The challenge, Mr. Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich your life. Enjoy it.”

Once the series moved on to Deep Space Nine, and more importantly the utopian Gene Roddenberry died, the economy perpetuated by the caricatures of rapacious capitalism, the Ferengi, moved throughout the Federation. But based on the answer to this rather fundamental question, I can only await the forum threads as this game draws closer to release.