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colors: in monochrome September 13, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit.
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Did you know the DS has a pressure-sensitive screen? 

Look, Colors.

This kind of freeform gaming is exactly what we need; a step towards the future, a symbol of our own personal quests towards a brighter and better future. With more colours. Which is exactly why this review should be in monochrome, lest we forget what colours do for us.

So the thing about the world’s current hypnotised obsession with 3D graphics is that it’s losing a lot of the spark that existed in the day of the 2D world, when polygons were just a novelty that looked mostly like concentrated ass (surely you remember how asstastic Alone in the Dark looked). Now we’ve reached the depressing stage where 2D’s just a novelty.

You know, a good dose of 2D is exactly what we need from time to time, even if only to remind ourselves that we live in a world that’s largely three-dimensional; do you think that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need this emulated in every single game we pick up?

The funniest thing is; my income relates directly to our current sickly obsession with 3D art. Or should I say — my erstwhile income?

I certainly don’t mind when 3D’s done well (let me introduce you to a close personal friend of mine; the King of All Cosmos; his sense of style is ineffable and effortless; his world is the perfect incarnation of a 3D world that’s so perfectly conceived it’s almost 2D), but lately it seems we’re getting to the point where all we’re doing is going through the motions of a technical exercise; more polygons! more normal maps! more textures! And bigger! Quite frankly, I could care less if the characters I’m playing with look like real people. I could care even less if the characters I’m making look like real people.

My next point: the DS isn’t the best system in the world for 3D graphics, and I like that about it. Forget the hyperpoly (it’s like hyperbole, really) bull, how about that?

That this game-that-is-not-a-game gives us more opportunity for interactivity than most games do says a lot about the medium. Really.

Let’s just look at the touchscreen; the gimmick that’s making me pick up my DS (which I paid for) more than my PSP (which I didn’t).

Prodding at the DS, you might say the touchscreen is the fundamental mechanic that makes this machine a new beast. Not the dual screens, no. Those are just resolution extensions. But the touchscreen, which I was too reserved to embrace, wormed its way into my ratings; I think it has a lot of potential. We’re just not using it that way. Yet. It’s still young, it may grow.

The one thing I’ve seen the pressure sensitivity used for is a Japanese calligraphy teaching game; at least, I think it’s pressure sensitive. 

Were you one of the lucky people who had the glorious goodfortune to play in monochrome, before the world was wowed by 4 colour CGA, before the world was wowed by WoW?

I had an Apple II; it had two colours, green and a murky brown that passed muster for black in the night. It had games like Space Invaders and Wavy Navy that had ships that were ten, twenty pixels or so, but I could tell those ships were ships, and everyone along with me. And the games were pretty damn fun to play.

What exactly has colour given us? At first we had the pure remarkability of having 4 colours onscreen, then 16, then 256, then millions, the sharpness and crispness of our images expanding exponentially with each iteration of monitor divinity. I don’t think the same sense exists with HD; it’s very pretty, but it hasn’t blown people away quite the same way.

But what has it done for gaming?

Years after the Apple II+, I played Tetris on a beastly 386; it was in VGA, wonderful. Not so long after that, I played it on one of those monochrome Tetris monoclone machines that were flooding Asia and quite possibly the entire world, and — it didn’t make a difference.

We’re not doing enough with the potential of colour, just like how we’re not really doing anything with the pressure-sensitive screen of the DS, a miniature Cintiq if ever there were one (my 400 dollar PDA doesn’t have a pressure-sensitive screen for god’s sake).

I draw a grid on my DS screen. I put a cross in it, then a circle, another cross, until I’m at an impasse. Then it hits me; I’m free to do whatever I want in this game, and the lack of limitations is killing me.

What to do, where to go, how to do it? I don’t know. I plot out a little chart on the screen tracking my potential career progression. It bisects the screen neatly. Bottom-left, meet upper-right. At least we’re optimistic.

I start planning tomorrow’s schedule; finish my resume, polish my portfolio, do something productive. Suddenly it hits me; I don’t have that much left to do.

I trace a line around my DS’s insensitive screen. It takes a while before I realise I’m re-enacting a scene from Tron: Light Cycles. I close my DS.

Today’s over. Turn out the lights.

Colors! It could be the best game you’ll play all year.


subsurface shit scattering September 11, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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poking at caustics #2 September 11, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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the silhouette that time forgot September 9, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, random bullshit.
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small things.

respite from work: my reactionary bullshit stance against the evil powers of the PS3. Textures are not finished. AND PROBABLY SHALL NEVER BE.

I found this on my hard drive from sometime last year, crapped out while I was being paid to rap out models with 6-7000 polycounts/normal maps/specular maps/alpha maps. It was that way.

Media Molecule: you’re my new love September 8, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit.
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FINALLY! SOMEONE USES NEXTGEN CAPABILITY THE RIGHT WAY. I’ve been in love with Little Big Planet ever since the first trailer came out, but I feel it’s worth pointing out to those of you who don’t spend much time in the gaming world.

This is awesome; it’s like Rare using all the roaring angelic power of the 360 to make brightly-coloured cartoon pinatas. Innovation! What an alien concept. Imagine; using the power of PlayStation to foster a world that’s as resplendent in interactive glory as it is in beauty!

It might even be fun.

I’d totally want to work for these guys if they weren’t based in the UK.

Art links:

http://dric.lil.to/ – wandering star – katamari-esque

http://agasang.egloos.com/ agasang

http://maggi.new21.net/ maggi

words that need to die September 8, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit.

Today’s entry revolves around words that need to die.


Not only

…because my PDA’s handwriting recognition system won’t pick them up unless I manually enter them into its dictionary and I resent this immemesely! but also for these words are inimemecal in their seditious defilement of the aesthetic space known as the internet, and of that other aesthetic space known as my sanity
but also

…well, where’s the advantage in either of those words suppurating in the mire of popular consciousness? We survived just fine before meme besmeared the forefront of the blogroll and we’ll survive just fine without it, I tells you. I also tells you, the real reason I detest both these words so devoutly is this: they’re cog catchwords in the perpetual motion machine of the blogosfear illiterati.

People sometimes use meme and schadenfreude the way they should be, like the things that they are (words) — and! people sometimes use them because meme (substitute the other offender, if you must) is a word that everyone else has suddenly discovered and must use so they might join the memetic club. I tells you, yours are malignant, yon memes.

Ask me about the other one!

Naw, I’ll be concise.

Schadenfreude is the German word for deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others.”

Now there’s an opening variegated in flavours of unimaginative, all of them tasteless. Excellent; spend the first line of your introductory paragraph explaining the first word of your article; it takes me one line (hell, one word) to figure out the rest of the article isn’t worth reading.

Oh God, I turn the television on to get away from the stupidity of the plebweb and what do l hear?

“There’s a German word…”

I shit you not!

If I actually need to look up a word, I’ll use a dictionary, thanks.

Also, when I said “today” — I really meant “sometime last year, when I was really angry about the abuse of two specific words that serve no purpose but to aggravate the living shit out of me”. Today, in the sense that I just found this verbiage sprouting all surreptitious-as-you-please on my PDA.

More than a year later, these assholes are still recycling that stupid schadenfreude line. That includes you, if you’re doing it; stop it!

addendum: but here is an example of how you might temper your abuse with grace; this guy is not an asshole.

regurgitating the cne September 2, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

Today we’re talking about the Canadian National Exposition, where the international goods hall consists of booths with titles as selectively swanky as “Produce of France, China and India”. Booths that sell, for example, socks! 6 for 2 dollars. How very cultured.

Apart from having multicultural socks, the CNE has a bunch of reasonably fun rides. I say reasonably because puking makes me deduct points from the fun value of any given activity.

I never (well, almost never!) get sick on rides, but here’s a moral-laden story for you; don’t eat a corndog right before going on a ride that spins you forwards, backwards, widdershins and shinnerwid. Oh, it wasn’t just me! Everyone else felt pretty grotty after that one. It looked like a good idea at the time; the ride gave longest time for money. Too bad after a certain point (stomach battling through intestinal tract) time != fun. Everyone got very quiet halfway through; when the blender stopped, we lurched off the staggered platform. Rails, rails, a clever invention.

Oh, and if you’re still feeling nauseous, don’t immediately go on the big loop (the one that is, literally, one big loop-the-loop).

God knows if it was the corndog (I’m leaning towards this line of thought myself) or the car ride back that tipped me over the edge. At least I didn’t feel like barfing until I got to the relative safety of home.

Delayed-blast puke, the first puke I’ve puked in over two years. Fascinating.

to be, again, redundant: September 1, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to fly back to London purely because I didn’t want to go through the old carpet stench of Heathrow security.

It’s only half the reason.

Think it goes back to my original schtick? The one spamming alienation, basted under a veil of verbiage?

Let’s leave that to simmer for a while.

Eight months ago, eight months back along the line between Cambridge and London, I’d been working for a multinational company whose business card got me more than its fair share of credibility. It got me excited, back when I was fresh out of school. I flew places, stayed in five-star hotels, gave interviews, feasted on my expenses. Nothing lasts forever. It got me bored.

The problem was the same old problem; I didn’t want to be where I was, I didn’t know where home was, I wanted to know where home was.

Looking back at that December, from the perspective of this September, I find it ironic that I was working on a project called Home.

Eight months ago, I rode the line past the last stop, through the air. I left thirteen years of England, swapped rain lullabies for the banshee shrieks of gales and hails.

It’s been just another journey.

I got a new business card, one that didn’t do very much, look very good, or last very long.

I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; New York, New York; wandered around Ontario, saw a really big bunch of waterfalls.

After eight months, I still haven’t learned to stop lurching into the corner of my bed. I have a testimonial of bruises on my left shin. That’s a sign of something, anyway.

I didn’t find home here. Maybe I would’ve, if I’d been here for more than eight months. It’s a moot point. I’m looking for a new one. I’ll tell you when it’s found me.

One thing’s good; I’m coming to grasp the idea of living without regrets. Meaning; despite the ups and downs of the past 0.667 of the year, I feel pretty good about most of it, and wherever I’ll end up at the end of it. Being able to say that isn’t a bad thing, though I’m going to miss the friends I’ve made. And still, the friends who aren’t here.

I’m shocked, however, at how many of them (you) are succumbing to the lure of progeny. I’m too young to spawn. You know, the older I get, the more I feel like my own life has only just wheeled out onto the runway. When’s take-off? Oh, you say curing the problem of my singlehood would be the first step. I say you’re just being cynical.

Eight months down the line, the line with an end I can’t quite picture, and I’m sitting by my balcony, making posts titled with really bad puns, the CN Tower bisecting my sky.

And all I’m thinking is, FF0911, that’s the colour they’ve turned it this month. Conspiracy theory, anyone?