I am a salaried employee for the government… Well, my employer is a government contractor, which pretty much translates to my checks coming from Uncle Sam, and the government wants a punch card for your labored hours. It’s an old convention that likely spawned out of some kind of factory union, and has stayed the course for decades now. For the same reason that it is illegal to drive with an un-caged bear in Missouri (caged is okay), or illegal to take a lion to the theater in Maryland, or why it’s illegal to serve wine in a tea cup if you live in Kansas; just because. Sometimes old laws are like bad habits that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
Archive for July 28, 2010
I’ve been working behind the scenes for some time now, but I hate to talk about it until it materializes into something more interesting. I can say that it’s not a zombie game, but I think it’s going to be something that is just as fun and fast paced as you remember Zombpocalypse. I can also say that this new project is my first move into the Xbox360 Indie Games category. This will be my first console game in about 7 years, so I hope I still have the touch.
I’ve been procrastinating on the actual gameplay =( however, doing everything else from GUI to flow design… I’m a still stuck on what weapons to code. Traditional weapons, like the ones I typically like, don’t fit the theme for this new game. It’s not exactly a place for machine guns and rocket launchers. I hate game design some days =/.
I did add a bunch of code to start splitting the “trial ware” from the “pay” version of the game. Right now I am thinking of limiting by the following.
- Limited play time, like 5 minutes or so (this might be automatic from XBLA’s internal trial ware delivery system)
- No saved high scores.
- The high score is capped at 100k (or some arbitrary number). Though, if the score is not being saved, I guess this doesn’t really matter.
- No “trophies”. Microsoft is stupid and doesn’t allow Indie games to give out Achievements, so I thought I’d have my own “trophies” and add them to the high score table somehow. That way, other users can still see your fake achievements from the high score table.
Distributed High Scores are only possible because of a workaround that jwatte wrote. Basically it broadcasts to the XBLA intranet that it has a networked session. Others join the session, and their high scores get shared, storing the union of all high scores. In theory, you will never have everyone’s high scores, but you’ll get pretty close because if person A and B share their scores and person C meets up with person A, then person C gets B from A. They don’t even have to join your game, they just have to be online with a Gold Members account. The network sessions are just running in the background. Pretty genius stuff.
I don’t know if the email I received was legitimate, but it’s a sad day for Windows users. Below are the listings of stop dates for Windows support of various platforms.
|Product||End of Support (EOS) Date|
|Windows Vista RTM||April 13, 2010|
|Windows XP SP2
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 2000 Server
|July 13, 2010|
This does spring to mind a few bitter sweet thoughts on modern PCs. It is pretty amazing how far we’ve come in the PC market. My entry into the world of PCs started with my dads old Tandy computer. It had an abysmal processor and no hard drive. I had to insert a boot disk, then swap the 5.25″ disk for the application that I wanted to run. He later got a second drive, so that we could simply leave the boot disk into the primary drive. It was pretty space age stuff. I was pretty young at the time, and it was hard for me to even fathom what I was looking at. It was cool and interesting, and maybe even a little mystical to see little monochromatic pixels flicker on that heavy terminal display. The whole thing could have crushed me, had it fallen on me.
Year’s progressed, and I didn’t get back into computers until later versions of DOS. This was around the time that video games on the PC really hit their stride for me. Shareware disks were flying off the shelves of every mom and pop computer store and big budget games shipped on a metric ton of 3.5″ floppy disks. Hard drives were tipping the scales at a whopping 80MB, and it felt like every new PC on the market was showing revolutionary leaps in performance, not just evolutionary. I can still remember the day that I installed the Windows 3.11 update that finally put color on the screen.
Eventually, somewhere between Windows 3.11 and Windows XP, we lost something. The growth of PC performance seemed to be fighting to keep up with the successive versions of Windows. Features, like “real mode”, that once gave us console-like control over the PC was gone, and 2x increases in our clock rates only seemed to give us a perceived boost of maybe 1.2x. For every upgrade to the hardware, we had to give more to the operating system. The standard practice seemed to be a consumption of 50% or more of your resources, even in more recent iterations of Windows. It is not difficult to imagine sometimes, why it would take 3x the system memory and dedicate video memory to run a port of a console game that was released on 5 year old hardware. Open your Windows task manager some day and you’ll see an endless scroll of processes and services that may only be used in the most rare occasions, and yet they wait patiently, consuming physical memory and random idle clock cycles.
I wonder sometimes, what it would be like to exploit the power of modern PC’s with a more streamlined OS made for gamers. With all of the security measures and anti-virus abstraction layers in place for a modern OS, like Windows 7, I don’t know that it would ever be possible. I would like to believe that Microsoft is trying to do the right thing for gamers, but I have to question them when I can’t even browse the web on my quad-core laptop, without being plugged into an outlet, because Windows 7 services are consuming my CPU cycles.
- My router burns out, so I buy one from Amazon.
- It’s defective, so I return it and purchase a Belkin from Best Buy.
- Belkin sucks and I will never buy their stuff again. I return it and get a Netgear router, which thankfully works.
- The switch/hub in my home office insists on transmitting at 10Mbps even though it’s a 10/100 and I have nothing but 100Mbps cards. So I bypass the switch and only have my server on a hard wire at the moment.
- My Xbox 360 gets the read ring of death…
- I sent it away and just got my Xbox 360 back from Microsoft, about 2 weeks later. I had to uninstall and re-install all of my games and software, like Netflix.
- My home server just burned a stick of RAM, corrupted a hard drive, and has an on-board video card that doesn’t seem to work anymore. I suspect viruses at play, though I never download anything on that machine. It’s strictly a media/data server with Apache for web access.
…looking for my boot disk to see how much damage has been done. I am so tired of technology some days…