You talk! ... Kind of.

Wednesday, February 29

World

42!

As Douglas Adams wrote of a rather different president:
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

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Tuesday, February 28

Geek

4.2!

Eight years late, but finally here: A mainstream microprocessor that runs at more than 4GHz.

At its launch in November 2000, the Pentium 4 ran at 1.5GHz, but it did less per cycle than the Pentium III or Athlon, and wasn't all that great.  Particularly since Intel initially tied it to the overpriced and underwhelming Rambus memory.

In 2001 Intel reached 2GHz, in 2002 2.8GHz, and by 2004 3.8Ghz.

And there they got stuck.  Unable to increase clock speeds, they went back to the drawing board, abandoning the Pentium 4 for the Pentium III-derived Pentium M, Core, Core 2, and now the i3/i5/i7 family.

And eight years later, neither Intel nor AMD had reached the 4GHz barrier at stock speeds (not overclocked or turbo mode).  My new systems can reach 4.2GHz in turbo mode, but standard speed is only 3.6GHz.

IBM will happily sell you a 5GHz server if you have the money, but for mainstream systems, the AMD FX-4170 has the fastest clocks around.

Unfortunately for AMD, a slower clocked Intel i5 2500 will run faster for most applications, but I've been waiting a long time for this, so let me enjoy it for a little while.

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Sunday, February 26

Cool

Call Me Pixy De Medici, Patron Of The Arts

'Cause I just commissioned some chibis. smile

I was looking at new notebooks the other day, and you know, my old notebooks are just fine.* I'd much rather spend the money getting some artwork to dress up the place.

I can write, I can program, I'm okay on design, I've even created some half-way decent music, but I'm not an artist. So finding someone to partner with on the art side of things could really spark some activity around here.

And if it doesn't, then worst case, an artist gets some pizza and I get some cool drawings.

* Plural because a couple of years ago, in a moment of weakness, I bought two. That actually worked out really well; my notebook before that got beaten to death getting shlepped about; this time I got a light-weight model that fits safely in my backpack and a bigger one for use at home, and they both still look and work like new.

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Saturday, February 25

Geek

Deviated

I've wanted for some time to have better logos and logotypes, and if possible, mascots, for the mee.nuniverse.  Ideally I'd like to get a co-ordinated set of logos and mascots for each of the domains and system components.

I don't know if I can afford to hire a serious professional artist, but I can afford some commissions on deviantArt.  The problem there is finding the right artist, because there are a lot of them, and a lot of them are good.

I like this for mascot characters.  It's not exactly a chibi, but I think it strikes a perfect balance of simplicity and clean lines, wholesome cuteness, personality, and just a touch of sexiness.

For logotypes, this guy seems to have it together - clean, clear, and simple.

I don't know if any of my readers follow deviantArt, but if you do and know of artists you think would suit, and who are open for commissions, please let me know.

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Cool

FreeD

DAZ 3D, purveyors of 3D models for...  Well, for 3D modelling, I guess...  Has jumped onto the razor-blade business model with both feet.  For a limited time, they've reduced the price of three of their modelling tools - DAZ Studio Pro (for 3D illustration), Bryce Pro (for procedural landscapes), and Hexagon (for creating and editing 3D models) to...

Zero.

DAZ Studio is no Maya, but it's quite functional, and you certainly can't beat that price.  Obviously they're betting that more users of the software will mean more sales of 3D models, and that's where they make most of their money.  I hope it works out for them, and if you're at all interested in 3D art, go over there and download the programs and try them out.
more...

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Wednesday, February 22

Geek

Farewellaria

Development of awesome 2D mining engineer training system Terraria has apparently ceased after the very welcome expansion late last year.  Two of the original three developers left to pursue other dreams and I can just imagine the feelings of the remaining developer, trying to meet the demands of a million (literally) fans.

Fear not, though, because there's a new game coming from one of the Terraria developers that is basically Terraria in space.  Terraria in space with penguins


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Cool

Two-For-One Kittening

Speaking of old-school RPG awesomeness, GOG are running a two-for-one sale on all D&D games right now - Baldur's Gate I & II, Icewind Dale I & II, Planescape: Torment, the complete Neverwinter Nights, Dragonshard, and Demon Stone.

Plus, if you buy any of those games you get Temple of Elemental Evil free.  Okay, some might view that as a minus, but it wasn't that bad. razz

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Geek

My Kittens Just Had Kittens

So, Double Fine, the game company headed by Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts) has raised over $2 million on Kickstarter for a new old-school adventure game - five times their original goal, and still going strong.

This has not escaped the attention of other developers of classic games.  Brian Fargo (founder of Interplay, creator of Bard's Tale and Wasteland) plans to launch a Kickstarter drive very soon to develop a sequel to Wasteland.  

If you're not familiar with Wasteland, it's the predecessor to Fallout.  Fargo didn't have the rights for a direct sequel, so the Black Isle division of Interplay developed Fallout as the next best thing.  Possibly the next better thing, because Fallout is a gem.

And Obsidian, the present incarnation of the aforementioned Black Isle, are also looking into the idea.  As Black Isle the team created both the original Fallout games, both Icewind Dale games, and Planescape: Torment, possibly the best computer role-playing game ever.  They're currently busy with a couple of projects - they do a lot of work-for-hire - but they have a lot of projects they never got to complete in the Black Isle days.  

It's unlikely that we'll ever see the original vision for Fallout 3 or Baldur's Gate III due to licensing issues, and Torment was a massive project, with 800,000 words of text (about twice as much as Lord of the Rings), but a just-plain-fun party-based isometric dungeon crawler like Icewind Dale is something that likely could and would be funded through Kickstarter.

I loved the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate I & II, Icewind Dale I & II, and Planescape: Torment) and if they were still making them today I'd still be buying them.  So if and when those projects show up on Kickstarter, I will leap on them, cash in hand.

Brian and Chris (Avellone, of Obsidian), you hear me?  However many of these projects you think you can deliver, me and my money are ready and waiting.

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Sunday, February 19

Anime

Katawa Shoujo

Right.  That reminds me why I don't like this sort of game.

I don't have any problem at all with the game subject or material; they're fine, and deftly handled.  It's the shallowness of the decision tree that I have a problem with.  At least when Mass Effect screwed you this way, you could mostly either apologise or shoot someone.  Sometimes both.

Right now, I give it a big meh.
more...

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Cool

It's Not An Addiction!

I was browsing around Kickstarter yesterday, looking for cool projects to throw money at, and there aren't actually all that many that excite me, having already tossed cashbombs in the direction of Rich Burlew's Order of the Stick reprint drive and Rob Balder's Efrworld motion comic project.

One that did catch my eye, though, is The Adventures of the Salamander. It's a series of children's books based on a story the guy wrote when he was five, and recently found while going through stuff his mum had kept (as mums are wont to do). He's now a freelance artist and has illustrated a number of books, but this is the first time he's both written and illustrated something.

Unlike Rich and Rob, I don't know this guy and can't vouch for him, but if you scroll down you can see that he can sure draw some nice salamanders. I thought it worth a few bucks for a PDF set.

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