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Not dead...



Trends.

Posted by , 05 March 2013 - - - - - - · 1,263 views

With the launch of SimCity I have noticed an interesting trend developing; the acceptance that the launch of any game will be a week of frustration and disconnections while the publisher sorts out the servers.

Note I said 'any game'.
Not a multi-player game.
Not an MMO.
Any game.

One fan of SimCity, when faced with the question of 'why cant I play what is largely a single player game because I can't connect to the servers?' responded by comparing it to an MMO launch and that 'this should be accepted'.

In fact I'm getting a sense of deja-vu as I sit here and write this as I'm sure I've called this subject out before?

SimCity might well have multi-player aspects which require a connection but when the game has the ability to mark a region as 'private' this implies you can play on your own which brings up the question of why do I need to be online to do this and why can't you play the new game at release, instead having to suffer a week of 'server issues' while the publisher waits for demand to drop off rather than deal with it directly.

This acceptance I find worrying because it is a slide towards a world where you install your shiny new single player game but instead of being able to play it you are forced to login to a server which will not have enough capacity to deal with the launch day demand because the publish didn't want to spend the cash to do so.

Note this is not an argument against 'online drm' - my acceptance of Steam pretty much gives me very little to stand on there. This is against the requirement to be connected to experience a product when the person you have brought it from clearly hasn't, and never had plans to, allow everyone to experience it one day one.

In this instance given the overly inflated prices of games on Origin this is pretty unacceptable.
(I'll refrain from a longer anti-Origin rant at this point however.)

But I guess while people will pay the money for a game which may or may not work on release (and more importantly KEEP paying) this is a trend unlikely to reverse.

The funny thing is I dare say a cross section of this crowd have also complained about the idea of the next consoles requiring an online connection...


"Valve Box"

Posted by , 10 December 2012 - - - - - - · 1,170 views

Valve: "Windows 8 App store is bad!... btw you can now buy apps from our store!"

Valve: "Closed systems are bad! btw, here is our new closed system"

Gamers : "OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT AND THIS ISNT AT ALL A CONTRADICTION HERE HAVE MY MONEY!"

*facepalm*


Conclusion 2.

Posted by , 10 November 2012 - - - - - - · 1,127 views

The person who posted the first of the 'tutorials' we see on line these days has a lot to answer for.

While it is creating more "programmers" (and I use the phrase loosely) this reliance on tutorials with snippets of code and even video tutorials showing you everything is, imo, having a bad effect on the ability of those who follow them to problem solve.

Instead of learning to read docs, read books and figure out samples they instead require a step by step guide on the most trivial of things and then complain when such resources don't exist.

On the plus side as this army of vague competence marches forward at least there will always be better paid work for those of us who can think our way out of a paper bag instead of sitting at the bottom of it and crying because no one has made a video showing us how to get out.


Conclusion.

Posted by , 09 November 2012 - - - - - - · 881 views

In all my years of programming, both professionally and as a hobby, there is one truth I've learnt over the years which stands above all overs.

Most people can't design software for shit.

This thought depresses me.


Slowly becoming more and more disappointed...

Posted by , 29 September 2012 - - - - - - · 3,347 views
windows 8, xna, metro, stupidness
I'm slowly... oh so slowly... starting to crack.

MS have some blame to take here because they are apprently not communicating well enough but at the same time the latest Windows release is starting to bring out the Silly Season in a manner not seen since Windows Vista... in fact it's worse because it would seem people are not using their brains and its got to the point where I'm facepalming as I read twitter/blogs and... well.. I'm writing this at half-midnight on a sunday morning.

The first 'gem' which started to push me over the edge was the recent thing I saw where someone tweeted that 'windows 8 was a closed system'.

So, yes, there is this windows store and yes it will be the only way for end users to get at Metro apps but metro apps are not the only apps. I dunno, maybe it's just me but if the option to control where, more than likely the vast majority of the apps I'm going to install, comes from exists and they don't have to be signed and delivered from a single source I'm pretty sure that's not a closed system.

So, my Windows 8 machine could still run/install unsigned apps just like my Windows 7 machine currently does.
No change there.

(Minor side note: latest OSX release turned on 'app store or signed' only running of apps. Fortunately you can turn this off in the control panel but switching it on, silently, by default for all apps is pretty sneaky imo. And Vista users thought UAC was bad.)

The thing which really got to me however is the continued wailing about XNA which is going on and a blog post which tipped me over the edge.

Now, to be fair I think part of this can be put down to an MS employee not understanding a question correctly and thus giving a poor answer but the basics of it boil down to a developer asking 'will XNA work on Windows 8?' and being told 'no, never.'

Now, while I've not tried personally, I've heard that XNA based games are indeed working just fine on the RC version of Windows 8; which isn't surprising really considering XNA is a .Net library which wrap DX9 and Windows 8 supports .Net and thus the XNA runtime and if Windows 8 didn't support DX9 it would die a death anyway as no one would buy it because they couldn't play Half-Life 2 (and lets face it, it would give Gabe more reasons to cry about Win8).

What I think happened was that the MS employee heard 'XNA' and 'Windows 8' and assumed the asker was asking 'Will XNA work via Metro/WinRT?' which, of course, the answer is 'no' (which isn't really unexpected).

The net result; yet another blog post of uninformed opinions with no real basis in fact (and I'd like to say well done to a few commenters for trying to correct the amount of 'wrong' in that post) but, more importantly, the developer in question has swapped to using Unity for their game. Now, unless Unity at some point has a WinRT wrapper (and I believe they are trying to sort something out in that regard?) then Unity is working at the same level as XNA would have with regards to the OS, APIs etc.

*face-fucking-palm*

Of course this was an interview where the developer had no real idea about what XNA was, even refering to it as a language multiple times, so ya know I'm not assuming large technical competance but it just seems like the kind of thing you could figure out with a bit of logic ya know?

Which is where this wandering post is going to; an increasingly sad state where people jump on bandwagons and panic without bothing to research things themselves.

I've got no inside line at MS; I don't know anyone personally and I work for a living so I can't dedicate all my time to following tech; yet somehow I can figure out all this stuff but others can't?

A few months back Gabe of Valve fame declared Windows 8 a 'disaster' for gaming in what can only be described as 'scare tactic of the fucking decade' by anyone who takes a few seconds to look at the claim. Does Windows 8 control what software you can install? No. Does Windows 8 'hide' non-MS software? No. Hell do you think they would turn down a Metro based version of the Steam UI if Valve wanted to provide one? No.

It's not like Steam is a weak name either; practically every PC gamer going to going to know about Steam, even my mum has an idea of what it is thanks to my dad using it for games - I'd even go as far as to say 'Steam' as a brand is stronger than 'Windows' when it comes to gaming and the core audience they supply software to.

(Of course this all fell into place when a day or two later Valve announced they would be selling non-game apps via Steam - at which point the light bulb in my head got so bright it burnt out.)

Of course the arguement could be made that the MS store in Windows gives them an unfair advantage but my problem with that is - sure, but they have to get software to sell first; if developers don't put it on there then what advantage? And if they do its because they like the terms or are getting better terms so.. ya know.. compete?

It seems that the software industry is slowly, or not so slowly I guess, becoming a mire of conjecture, lies, sensationalism and down right misinformation. From PR people I could at least understand it but some of this stuff is coming from people who should be looking at the facts and not going around throwing out terms without any checking.

In a way its starting to become like mainstream politics; facts are out of the window and its down to making your opponent look bad rather than making yourself look good and having answers.

It depresses me and makes me think about just saying 'fuck it..', packing up and going to live in a cave somewhere.

(Oh, and I don't vote either...)






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