Tech, Toys, and Tidbits


First – So exciting!  Doublefine (Tim Schafer – the name behind a slew of great games including Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend) has started a Kickstart fundraiser for a new game.  This is a great idea – bypassing publishers all together and putting the funding for the game in the hands of the audience.  I LOVE this idea – I just wish I had 10k to give in order to qualify for the lunch with Tim!

Next, this list underlines why a game developer would want to go the above route.  There are a number of incredible games on that list, many of which I have purchased from Steam or GOG.  Sadly, and unbeknownst to me at the time, none of the proceeds of my purchase actually help the developer in the slightest.  Many of them are out of business.  This is a huge problem in the gaming industry.  Publishers like EA (who haven’t actually developed a good game since the 90s!) pay a flat rate to the developers for the rights, and then pass nothing further on if the game actually does well.  And the big-name publishers wonder why people no longer buy their formulaic overpriced and overproduced piles of crap.  I basically read heading of that list as “You now have the right to pirate any of the following games.”  Which is not to say that I condone piracy – I do everything I can to support game devs, but that doesn’t include giving any of my limited budget to a greedy publisher just to fill their coffers while the folks that actually DID THE WORK have to find new jobs since their studio was closed down.  Grrrrr!  Ars Technica has a great article on the list that I highly suggest you read.

My wife and I got tired of living in an overpriced piece of crap apt, so we’ve moved to a better one. In the process we’ve cut our rent by 1/3 and gained a dishwasher and ensuite laundry! W00t!

We also switched over to Telus’ Optik internet and increased our intertube speed by 50% while cutting the price by $10/month! Sweet!

Oh! And! We get a free XBox360 for switching. W00t!

Anyone have any suggestions for 360 games? The package comes with Alan Wake and Forza3, and I’m planning on getting Shadow Complex and Limbo pdq… Anything else I should get?

So I’ve been playing Borderlands a LOT recently.  I can’t adequately describe how much ass it kicks.  However, there is only ONE save-slot per character, and if it gets corrupt you are royally boned.  My friend MrFish had his PC crash mid-save, and he lost his lvl 24 hunter.  Ouch!  So, I whipped up this little script to archive the savegame every 10 mins.  Simply put the script in your “Documents\My Games” folder, and run it before you start Borderlands.  (Oh, and you need to have7zipinstalled.)  You’ll end up with a “bups” folder in My Games that has archives of your save games.  Enjoy!

Grab the script here: {filelink=1}

Pixy and I have been talking about writing a game, and tonight we had our first “meeting” about it.  We now have the broad storyline figured out, as well as a few of the gameplay details.

I’m not going to give too much away, but I will say:

  • it’s going to be a metroidvania platformer
  • we’ll be using the most excellent Unity3d engine
  • it will be available on Mac/Windows/Android and maybe iPhone/Web
  • I’m not sure what spec Android device it will require, and probably won’t know till Unity3d 3.0 comes out, since that’s when Android support is introduced.

As we get a little further along I’ll create another section on the site here that will contain game notes, art work, and maybe even a web-player teaser level.  🙂

Many moons ago there was a racing game.  Not just any racing game, but a game featuring cars from the golden age of automobiles.  The newest car in the game was a 1973 Firebird, and the oldest was a 1932 Ford.

The game had a number of tracks, ranging from cluttered city streets, to small town main streets, to gravel and dirt country roads.  Basically, there was something for everyone. 

It featured a fairly realistic physics model, and was an amazing amount of fun to play.  The best part of the game, however, was tuning your rides.  There were thousands of aftermarket parts, licensed and realistically modeled, that you could install on your car.  Everything from Holly carbs, to glasspack mufflers, to cams, headers, and crankshafts.  These all combined with a physics model of the engine to give you an unprecedented amount of control over every aspect of your ride.

Plus, all the parts were part of a massive dynamic economy that tied everything together with part and car auctions.  The price of that high-end turbocharger you want is based on supply and demand, not some arbitrary dollar figure.

I actually had 3 separate 1965 Mustangs.  Each of them tuned, balanced, and tested (for hours!) to be perfectly controlled on a specific track type.  My offroad ‘stang could barely stay on an asphalt road, but was a joy to drive on the “Hazard Hollow” dirt track.  Conversely, the ‘stang I’d tuned for the road wouldn’t have made it around the first corner of the dirt track.  

Because of the vast number of parts available, I learned more about how engines worked than I ever thought I’d need to know.  It doesn’t take very many mid-race blown engines before you figure out that adding a turbo and nitrous to a 12.0 compression ratio rig is a BAD plan.

Added on to all that was an amazing group of people, racing clubs, and tuners, all happy to give advice, or go for a race at the drop of a hat.

There were problems with the game, such as lag, and a limit of 4 people per race, but those things were minor compared with the hours of joy the game brought me.

Sadly, in it’s infinite greed, Electronic Arts decided that the game wasn’t making enough profit, and cancelled it.  It was making profit, but not as much as the sims, so they shut it down.  Once the servers were gone, so was the game, and the community.   I haven’t paid for an EA game since.  They are the evil empire of gaming.

I recently found a brave group of folks trying to remake the game.  Check it out at