10 posts • joined 14 Mar 2011
Re: This is not a validation of Microsoft's Metro strategy
While the metro interface doesn't FORCE you to use touch, the entire design paradigm for it is heavily touch focused.
As an ordinary computer user with a mouse I don't need large uniformly coloured slabs to be able to click them with the mouse cursor, I'm perfectly happy with design elements way to small to be useful in a touch environment.
For ordinary desktop work I fail to see any valid reason to use touch in favour of a mouse for any reasonable task, why then force a desktop userbase onto a design that even if not unusable is far from optimised for desktop work. Having metro as a chocie of interface would be just nice as it is useful for some circumstances where touch is a nice feature. but just leave me an option never to see the crap on my desktop.
For Google on the other hand this paradigm amkes sense, many systems running Chrome OS and almost all running Android are portable without a keybord or "convertible". The userbase for these devices are also commonly used to a touch environment and the ergonomics are not as hideous as they are for a desktop.
I feel that the big "thing" that the tape market has missed is realy home users., while not using as many tapes as companies the possible installbase is huge possibly making up for lack of individual volume through sheer numbers.
As I see it now there is currently no viable way for a home user with alot of data to keep backups and archive copies that is realistic.
To me the "ultimate" system for home use needs to fulfill a few criteria to be worthwile.
1. Physical size. The "unit" must fit inside a standard tower or for an external unit be no bigger then a shoebox.
2. Storage size. Must be sufficiently large that at most a few media units are needed for a full backup of a larger home system.
3 Has to be able to keep archive data.
4. Initial up front cost has to be low.
5. Cost per backup has to be reasonable. Has to be able to keep a few complete backups wihthout serious cost escalation.
6. Has to be "offline", if malware can whipe your backup you might aswell be without one.
7. Backup / restore time has to be reasonable, and require minimal interaction while running.
If for home use we limit ourselves to the following (I might well have missed some)
Optical disc - fails misserably on 2,5,7
Disc (usb style) - while not failing to bad anywhere the combination of wanting more then one backup and cost/backup makes this unatractive
Disc (NAS style) - Same as above but potentially vulnerable to malware on the backuped system.
Cloud - While I'm not fully up to date with costs for home solutions and there ability to rollback changes that has been pushed, it nontheless fails misserably on the speed requirements, an initial backup of 5TB of data using my home ADSL connection with 2 megabit upstream speed is not going to be done anytime soon, and I'm fairly sure no sane person wants to wait for the full recovery of said data either.
Tape - Aces most of the points not relating to cost where it fails misserably on upfront cost.
I fail to see any reason why a LTO tape drive has to have the seriously inflated pricetags thay have today. Sure there may well be significant development cost but that is what volume is there to combat. That leaves only extortionate licensing costs or just the regular corporate markup to warant the pricetag.
A low cost unit would be able to tap into a whole new market.
I just fail to see how this can not be easily alleviated by a XOR pass with a good prng with the seed as the first bytes in the stream to encrypt, then you would get a stream to encrypt that is close to perfect from an entropy point of view.
Have anyone checked the walrus as a possible new and revolutionary suspect for Jack the ripper?
Why should it have been dragged back by whalers from the pacific? Walruses are afaik a species that is eminently represented in the Atlantic, occationally even setting flippers on British soil.
I would say that space stations are highly overrated as far as computing goes.
First off, they are high maintenance and if you just happens to be a bit busy or just piped the error log to /dev/null for a bit of leisurely relaxation time it is likely to crash in a spectacular fashion, after which you have to explain what happened to people who don't understand the pressing work schedule. Network latency and bandwidth constraints are other issues to consider together with the usually stone age hardware running the things. On the plus side though, it might be a very nice for off-site backup storage, safe from most possible disasters up to and including civilisation ending meteor strikes, as long as the aforementioned maintenance schedule is followed. An extra plus feature may be the possibility of sending some offending beancounters to collect a needed backup which with lack of previously mentioned maintenance can be a carte blanch to get rid of both the beancounter and the space station eating up the IT budget while firmly putting the blame on the beancounters.
Mine's the one with BOFH embroidered on the back.
Re: Very true
I would say this is only partially true.
I feel that most of the better big studios also know how to make good games. Tt's just that they are rarely allowed to do them as the publishers prefer a dull easy game preferably from a known frenchise, with flashy graphics that is easy to market to a game that requires you to use your brain and is not necessarily much improved by flashy graphics.
Indie studios on the other hand usually lack the resources to make a game graphicaly breathtaking and miss the armies of marketing drones to push "more of the same with extra glitter" games through the ambient noice, that leaves them with doing games that can stand on there own merit without relying on marketing money and flashy graphics.
That said I don't understand the point of many indiegames deliberately making the graphics worse. while I can see the charm in simple graphics why for example make the fonts in the game look like upscaled 8x8 pixel fonts...
Now I'll go back to waiting for Shadowrun returns to release.
Re: Ah, another patent encumbered format @ Spaniel
The problem here is in my opinion not that you make something you want to be paid for. The problem is that what you want to get paid for is a standard, ie something that others will be more or less forced to use and in reality you have no option to use anything else. TV is not broadcast in multiple formats so you can chose the one you want, it is broadcast in one format take it or leave it.
Enjoyable but nothing great
A few points that didn't get mentioned since I don't care for consoles this ofcourse reffer to the real platform to enjoy fps games on.
Graphics: While the graphics are ok, they don't impress like farcry or crysis did. The environments while ok are not anything special, and some of the nature parts seems to be a bit low on the polygon count. There is also a strang omittment in that the game has no builtin advanced settings but only resolution and a high mid low kindof setting though a bit of googling turned up a application that allows you to change the settings as you please .
Controls: The controls work decently well and are not useless as many console ports are.
AI: Pretty useless.
Now onto the important stuff
Gear: There are two kinds of hardware in the game, weapons and the suit, let's start with the suit.
As in Crysis stealth is the name of the game most of the time, once in a while armor is also helpful, but stealth is what will see you through most of the game. The suit can be upgraded with enhanced abilities in four categories with three different options availible in each, unfortunately they have very different usefulness for the singleplayer campaign (the multiplayer upgrades are a bit different) it's also somewhat annoying that the cost for the different upgrades vary so much that you in reality have very limited choice on what upgrades to use until very late in the game. Overall though the suit feels a bit more pollished then it did in it's first incarnation.
Weapons: The weapons in the game are a decent collection, but somehow I miss some decent firepower upgrades it seems like I prefered to use the same weapons all the way through the game with a upgrade from assaultrifle to machinegun as soon as I get my hands on one. There are two hightech experimental weapons in the game that you can pick up at a couple of places, while good they suffer from not having amunition availible to replenish the initial loadout which limits the usefulness.
Gameplay: While you usualy can do things a couple of different ways it feels like you are mostly firmly atatched to the railroad tracks and are not allowed to deviate. While taking place in new york you realy have no way to move around like farcry or even crysis allowed you to do. The aliens come in three varities standard cannonfodder annoying cannonfodder and annoying amunition sinks. One strange thing is that while storywise the same aliens as in crysis they have apparently changed equipment since they bear no resemblance to the flying squids etc in Crysis.
From a leveldessign standpoint it's a clear move back from it's predecessors andshow little if any innovation.
Is it fun: The game is decently entertaining and the story is not bad, though I can't shake the feeling that I spend to much time falling from high places or drowning. or a combination of the two.
Here I believe you make a fundamental error.This title is part of a series, and must therefore relate to it's predecessors in some way. Assume you are reviewing Starwars episode V but it was Life of Brian, Life of Brian is (in my opinion) a great film, but it has nothing to do in a Starwars context, would you then review it as a great starwars movie?
The natural context to put a followup game in is the original, in this case Origins. How else would you be able to judge the game, compare it to the nes version of super mario? great graphics but the jump action lacks control?
So much worse!
In my not so humble opinion this incarnation of the Dragon age series seems to me to be worse in almost every way to it's predecessor, which is not something that bodes well for those of us that actualy want a good next incarnation of the game.
While DA:O in my opinion was not quite as good as some others thought it was a very good first effort for a new world and gamesystem, what DA2 fails to do is build upon what was good in origins and fix the shortcommings.
I will give you a number of my pros and cons bellow.
The game is not finnished, there are qute a few bug issues that should never have made it past testing to a release version.
Shipping highres texture as a download? ok for a digital download version I can understand that, to cut down sice for those not interested in it, but with install media, think again!
The inane reuse of dungeons. Apparently there are some very strict laws inplace detailing the layout of mines and sewers since they all looks just the same, after running through the n:th identical looking dungeon you start wondering just how much preassure EA put on Bioware to release the game fast!
The story feels rather disjointed and for a very long time i keep wondering when the main plot is going to take off, for your interest it never does...
Mostly everyone seems to agree what the problem is and it being mostly one single person, simply removing that person using the time honored methods of poison or a dagger in the back never seems to occur to anyone...
In my opinion most of the companions are rather lackluster compared to Origins + expansions. The only two memorable character is the lovable but rather dimwitted Merrill, and the well rather amusing Varric, to me the rest is easily forgetable, give me miniature giant space hamsters any day!
Combat is mostly uncontrolable. while in Origins you could actualy control the way a fight went, and who was getting hit by what in DA2 that is almost impossible.
Related to the above is the problem with what you see is never what you get, 99% of all fights in this game spawn in additional waves of enemies, nomatter how carefully you clean out a dungeon there are allways a horde of enemies still hiding behind you waiting to run into your mages.
Assuming the qunari you fight are standard military issue, and that the hordes of locals apparently hellbent on your death / purse / trinket, chose whatever is appropriate in chapter three are standard issue thugs any future qunari invasion is going to be a very short and blody affair. While oposition ofcourse has to be harder when you get better there surely must be better ways then having your average goons level at about the same pace you do!
DA:O made it self out to be the spiritual successor to baldurs gate a tsk that it in my opinion fell way short of, DA2 seems to be aiming at more of a Diablo style gameplay it don't do very well at that either.
The new and worse runesystem is to me very lackluster.
The rest of the "crafting" system is just as bad, just buy it from your personal potion shop...
The protagonist gets half a share in a mine, while said mine does have problems any profit it does manage to make is obviously swallowed up by the protagonists estate since none of it finds it's way in as any form of spending money. Supposedly decently well off i find myself rather poor!
The lack of armor options / customizability for your companions, why can't I give my companion tank that armor of ridiculous invulnerability that I can't wear myself?
While in origins you travelled around to different locations now the number of locations you visit are laughably small
Feeling rather negative so far lets skip the rest of the issues and go to some
The voice acting is decent.
While not filling your urge for a real rpg, it does give you a fix of monsterbashing action.
Not having a save the world from the big monster story is rather refreshing.
Automatic healing between fights is good since the game is combat intensive.
The mana/stamina seems a bit more well ballanced this time around
While somewhat amusing and not that bad way to kill a couple of hours, I would recomend you to dig out your old copy of Baldurs gate 2 + throne of amn instead or even better if you aren't in a mode for a save the world story, dig out that box with Planescape torment. Both of those games are old, but are still eminently playable and from gameplay and story infinitely better.
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