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Because Success is Boring!

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All Hail Gord!

Gord runs a videogame shop. Gord is to retail sales as the BOFH is to the IT field. Gord is Canadian, so it carries the surreal (to an American) not-american-but-close feel like BOFH.

The Book of Gord!

My favorite entry:

The Book of Wrath
Chapter 3

Don't Touch! Its Dangerous!

Once upon a time Gord had a friend named Mike. And this friend named Mike had been given a Gameshark. Only this GameShark was not a normal Gameshark, it was evil and possessed dark spirits within!

It had a curious gift. This particular GameShark would blow out the PlayStation motherboard micro-fuses rendering the expansion port inoperable.

At the time, no thought was given to harnessing this power for evil.

A few months later a customer had brought in a GameShark that did not work. Gord tested it, found it did not work and in fact blew our the micro-fuses like the Mike's GameShark did.

This time, an evil idea was born!

"I'll give you $5 for it."

"Uhm... sure."

Gord buys the GameShark.

Then Gord left it on the counter begging to be stolen! Far from the computer where Gord completed his transactions, and conveniently hidden from his sight by a flyer folder. Would-be thieves would count their lucky stars at how tempting this target was.

And finally a couple weeks later, it was stolen!

Gord was a happy Gord. Not only would it not work, but it would blow out the expansion port of any machine it was plugged into.

Over the next three weeks, Gord went from fixing no expansion ports for customers ever to more than ten during that time. Gord's retribution was at hand, and the GameShark was doing its job well. This exercise was very profitable for Gord.

Note: For those of you who are unaware, a Gameshark is essentially a hex debugger/editor for the original Sony Playstation (and other platforms). Most people use codes from a little book that comes with it, or get codes from the internet; you can, however, use it's functional capabilities to pause the game, and look all across the machine's memory for specific values (lives or hit points remaining, etc.) and alter them. Of course, there is no OS running (the Gameshark is actually a hardware extension that can preempt real mode code execution); thus, you can even alter the game's microcode while it is resident in memory! Of course, if you don't know exactly what you're doing, the game crashes when you return to normal execution. Because of this, 99.9% of people think that these really are "magic codes", left in by the game developer or Sony itself, and then sold to the company that makes the Gameshark.

For you NES old schoolers out there, Gameshark=Game Genie. Game Genie, Pro Action Replay, et al work on the same principle; some models/platforms don't include the debug functionality due to limitations of licensing and hardware. I believe there was even an ISA card for old PCs that would allow you to do the same thing (though you could just use the actual "debug" program included with DOS until Win9x for the same thing; if a game+device drivers used all/most of the bottom 640K, you were out of luck and needed the card, or OS/2 Warp).




Not a Mistake

The Austin Game Conference was great. I met some of the gamedev.net "crew" at the booth and panels, and I made a metric ton of contacts. Not to mention learned a lot that directly applies to what I'm doing.

I think I spent a whole $650 on travel, hotel, and con badge (I drove)- not a huge investment, especially compared to GDC.

I plan on returning next year...

P.S. Austin is an awesome town to party in!




Mistake Number Three

Never write a manifesto spelling out exactly what you want.

Especially if what you want involves software. You end up writing it yourself.

If you take a look at the Engine Manifesto that I wrote about this time last year, updated once or twice, and cleaned up for the public, you will notice that I don't ask for much. I've been working on this for the past 6 months, but for once, I'm actually getting something done to the point that its useful. Once I have some of my copyright searches clear, I guess I'll release a little alpha and have a name vote/contest.

That is, after I get the win32 ports (VC and mingw) working completely again.




Mistake Number Two

I'm one of those people who just gets facinated with ideas; especially when they're stated well and put into some sort of context. As such, the content of Nerd TV is usually especially interesting to me.

I thought it would be a good idea to watch the latest episode whilst I wrote up some XML DTDs for the data files associated with my engine (more on that another time, like when I post the first non-crash-prone version in the near future). Suprise, I was wrong! I got no absolutely no work done...

...at least I'm inspired enough by the interviewee's personal achievements in the field of software to continue making progress.




Mistake Number One

Writing a single blog/journal/whathaveyou and participating in the community around it takes a lot of my precious time. So much so, I occasionally don't update it for months, thus shaming me into spending 90 minutes composing a really good update.

Welcome, hapless journal readers, to my second blog/journal/whatever! I hope to chronicle what goes wrong when I try things- say for instance, doing all of my calls to SDL in a thread outside of my program's real main loop (Mistake Zero for the purposes of this journal?).

Remember- success is boring, and teaches us little.



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