Wednesday, December 26, 2007
First off, this video short was animated in the space of about 6 months-- two guys, adobe photoshop and adobe premiere and after effects. The premise: 3 LARPer nerds end up interrupting a nativity scene. Hilarity ensues.
They also animated two youtube responses:
Heh, of course, technically, I think if you're a paladin to Tyranus, you CAN be Lawful Evil;. But then again, I didn't see the lawful evil paladin use any class abilities. ;)
Here's a video for all the gadget dorks and Wii hackers: How you can take a Wii remote, a Wii sensor bar, and your laptop to create a Virtual Reality display! Seriously! The display properly reacts to head and body movement as if it were a real window creating a realistic illusion of depth and space:
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
So those of you who are on my regular friendslist know that I work at a homeless shelter with street-dependent and homeless teenagers. I have a handful of kids there who are gamers. Unfortunately, when they had to move out of their respective homes, they lost all their gaming stuff.
I know that there are some people on my friendstlist who used to be D&D gamers (or still are) and I'm wondering - if you have your old gear that you're not using, would you mind sending it to me for these kids?
They're trying, you know? They're trying to stay out of gangs and away from the drugs and in general to maintain relatively normal lives. I'd buy the stuff for them, but that's not appropriate for me to do.
So, if you have any of the following, used and in any condition? I'd love it. More importantly, they would.
Any extra character sheets you can spare (or direct me to a decent downloadable one?)
Dungeon Master’s Guide
Monster Manuel I
Player set of dice (1 D4, 4 D6, percentiles, 1 D20)
Complete Warrior Handbook
Player’s Handbook II
Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures
Monsters Manual 2-4
More info here.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"Tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th, around noon CST, we will release the first teaser trailer from Duke Nukem Forever. To tide you over until then, here is a screen shot taken from the teaser."
Tell my wife I love her!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
As the story goes, whispered in back alleys of arcades in the US, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981. The game was called Polybius, and was supposed to be incredibly popular... to the point of addiction! It was said that obsessed video game wizzes lined up to play the arcade game constantly.
Soon after, rumors abounded that smartly-dressed men in black suits began visiting these arcades that had Polybius . Instead of the expected marketing or demographic data you'd expect to be collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines.
The players themselves were said to have suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and supposedly... even death. Some of those who played Polybius stopped playing video games, while it was whispered that one hapless tester became an anti-gaming activist.
The supposed creator of Polybius is Ed Rottberg, and the company named in the urban legend is Sinneslöschen (German for sense-delete), often named as either a secret government organization or a codename for Atari. The game play is said to be similar to Tempest, a shoot 'em up game with vector graphics.
Such a spooky game made for great storytelling, but no one ever could point to the real thing... until now.
Yes, some dedicated classic game fans and digital pranksters couldn't find Polybius.. so they created it. Not only can you download the ROM file, they also include free fake artwork and game cabinet stickers. They even wired a flickering bulb effect into the main bios... this group thought of everything. So now you can build or convert your own arcade cabinet into a Polybius cabinet and freak people right the hell out.
if you liked this article and want to see more, you can donate a buck or more to my Patreon or toss some coins in the virtual tip jar to the right. Thanks!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Mind's Eye Theatre book for Mage: the Awakening isn't here? But where...only being released in .PDF format? [cries]He goes over the pros, cons, and how Amazon.com's new e-book reader might affect the playing field here.
Well, it looks like you won't be toting THAT one around in your Jansport anytime soon. But is it really such a bad deal?
The new Robotech RPG release date has been bumped again, with a release date set for February 2008, as announced in the Palladium Forums by Kevin S.
The good news? Palladium seems to be pretty optimistic about its future, and a recent press release teased some interesting details, like...
... which is very encouraging. Could we finally see Palladium making greater use of digital distribution?
Downloadable adventures, source material and G.M. aids; therifter.com, and a second podcast program...
Hell, be still my beating heart, might we even finally see... PDFs? E-books?
The most recent press release is here.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
But how many pro-wrasslers have done ads for local video game stores?
How about... Stevie Richards?
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Some non-game playing exec at Namco Bandai has decided that the gun controller that ships with Time Crisis 4 for the Playstation 3 cannot and will not be sold separately, even though there's a 2-player mode in the game. Their CSR's helpful suggestion? "You will need another copy of Time Crisis 4." It's as if the game is a license to use one gun controller—if you want more gun controllers, simply buy more licenses!
So if you gun breaks, or is stolen, or you don't want to buy a second game just for the gun... guess what?
Read one customer's chat with a Namco-Bandai representative about this issue here.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Guests Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com, Mona "The Hammer Lady" Shaw, Ralph Nader and comic Harry Shearer will talk about consumerism, net roots action and the frustrations of dealing with soulless corporate giants.
NPR's Bob Greenfield and Bart Wilson will take your calls, and emails, and together they will present Comcast with an alternate view of the universe -- one in which consumers are not simply a cash drawer and a nuisance, but a priceless resource to cultivate and exploit. Just not in the way they've been exploited for decades.
Visit ComcastMustDie.com (the new, improved version, coming this week) Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. EST with your ideas, and your rage.
You know, that is, if your broadband is working.
And if you kids have one o'them MySpace dealies, you can check out Shawn Who Raps right here.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Nov 13 - Jeff's review of Kane & Lynch goes up. The score is a 6.0 and the review, as well as the video review, are rather scathing in tone. It's worth noting at this point Eidos had been running full page front page ads for Kane & Lynch for a while. These ads would remain up until Nov 29th.
Nov 28 - Jeff is fired.
Nov 29 - The story is broken by Penny Arcade with a comic alledging that GS fired him over his review. In a rare act, Gabe comes onto the Penny Arcade forums to certify that the story is true. Jeff's firing is confirmed by NeoGAF poster mobius, a.k.a. GameSpot freelancer Frank Provo.
At this point, continuing through the next day, some sources come forth confirming that Jeff was fired due to his review of Kane & Lynch, citing annonymous sources. Primotechnology: "According to a fellow Gamespot contributor and close friend of Gerstmann who wished to remain anonymous, the editor was fired Wednesday morning because of his negative review of the game, which he awarded a 6.0."
Rock Paper Shotgun: "We have a reliable source who tells us that while Gerstmann wasn't the most popular man with the CNET owners, it was his Kane & Lynch review alone that allegedly saw him lose his job."
The most explicit was Tycho's comments explaining the PA comic:
"I will tell you the Gerstmann Story as we heard it. Management claimed to have spoken to Jeff about his "tone" before, and no doubt it was this tone that created tensions between their editorial content, the direction of the site, and the carefully crafted relationships that allowed Gamespot to act as an engine of revenue creation. After Gerstmann's savage flogging of Kane & Lynch, a game whose marketing investment on Gamespot alone reached into the hundreds of thousands, Eidos (we are told) pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of future advertising from the site. Management has another story, of course: management always has another story. But it's the firm belief internally that Jeff was sacrificed. And it had to be Jeff, at least, we believe, precisely because of his stature and longevity. It made for a dramatic public execution that left the editorial staff in disarray. Would that it were only about the 6.0 - at least then you'd know how to score something if you wanted to keep your Goddamned job. No, this was worse: the more nebulous "tone" would be the guide. I assume it was designed to terrify them."
Further, Kotaku has some quotes from a poster on the Valleywag claiming to be a GameSpot employee with some interesting insight. Those can be found here.
K&L is now rated 2.0 by users on Gamespot. Many subscribers are cancelling and there's a move to boycott Gamespot advertisers, which seems to be having some effect.
A few of you hopefully remember the strip I did back in April called Internet Argument. I guess it hit home for a lot of Intarweb people because it got linked to on MetaFilter, Slashdot, Fark, and a whole bunch of other places. In terms of internet traffic, it's the most popular cartoon I've ever done... the reason I'm mentioning all this isn't to brag, but to hype up the value of the cartoon since the original is now being auctioned off on eBay for charity.The bidding broke $375 earlier today, but c'mon, gang... I think y'all can nudge that a bit higher. Get crackin'! Show Duh Media us gamers are good people!
I am making absolutely no money on this sale- in fact, I'm taking a hit on it since I'm springing for the shipping myself- so don't think this has anything to do with me wanting some money. I mean, I do, but in this particular case I'd like all the money possible to go to some sick kids. Every single cent earned from this auction goes right to Child's Play, which if you aren't aware of yet is an amazing organization created by Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.
This is definitely a lot more than the standard prices for my books and prints, but of course original art is one of a kind and also I suppose it's been a good sixty seconds or so and I should again remind you that your money will be buying toys for sick children.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The New Dragon Magazine Rolls A Critical Fumble; "Writing for Dragon = Dumb" says author John Scalzi
The verdict: not a chance.
Says sci-fi author John Scalzi:
The pay is on the low side of adequate for the genre (three to six cents a word), but the kicker is that for that royal sum, you are expected to give up all rights to your work. Says so right there on the submissions page — in fact, it says it twice, in rapid succession: “In the event we buy your manuscript, you must assign your rights to us. That means that once your contract is signed, we’ll own all rights in your submission.”"So, what?", you may ask. "What if you really, really want to get published? Or see your characters or world-building idea in Dragon?" Well, by giving up all rights to Hasbro/WotC, you have also given them the means to take your work and base a game on the world and characters you created... all without paying you a single cent more than the low end of industry standard rates. If Hasbro/WotC decides that they want to create any sort of derivative work based on your intellectual property they can— they can make modules or campaign worlds or reprint them online or anything else you can dream up-- because under that agreement, you've signed away all rights!
These aren’t submission guidelines, they’re a stupidity test, as in, “are you actually stupid enough to give up all the rights to your work for three to six cents a word?” And if you are, what other stupid things are you willing to do for a mere pittance? I ask only because I have this gallon of latex paint here, and seventy-eight cents in my pocket. And I’m willing to pay every penny of that seventy-eight cents to see someone drink that paint. Because, man, that would be a hoot. That’s 9.75 cents a pint! What a rate!
Three to six cents a word is not even close to a fair rate to give up all rights to your work. Hell, three to six cents a word is hardly a fair rate for publishing anything, if you want to get right down to it, and most genre editors know it, or should. Those rates are barely adequate for first North American serial rights (i.e., the right to publish the story once). A 3 to 6 cents rate is on the lowish end of what pro genre publications pay, so Dragon is not only offering no premium to authors for their work for hire, it’s actually paying less than some magazines who buy fewer rights.
For a company the size of Hasbro, this is pure, grasping greed. Says commenter Jeff Hentosz, "The point is that the second biggest toy company in the world — which owns things like Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head, Easy Bake Oven and GI Joe — wants to pay practically nothing for everything you got."
I'll kick it back to John Scalzi, who wraps up the situation with a great big ribbon:
To sum up: Submitting your work to Dragon = dumb. Giving up all rights to your work for pennies a word = dumb. Supporting a magazine happy to bend you over a desk, violate your rights and then slap down a couple of grimy bills for your time = dumb. Not remembering writing is a business = dumb.
If after all this you still kinda want to send something in to Dragon, well, you go right ahead. But when you’re done, be sure to drop by my place. This gallon of paint ain’t gonna drink itself.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Spanish for Everyone is a game for the Nintendo DS, where the framework involves an accidentally stolen DS which is taken by a kid whose father is in a limo, being chased by the police, going back across the border to Ensenada.
His aunt, pictured at the left, suddenly appears ride as far as Tijuana, leaving him stranded in the middle of a foreign country where he doesn't speak the language!
Here's some more video links:
Level 2's cut scene
level 3's cut scene
and the ending, a lot of cars rushing in, "firework sounds" and... drug running?
The game cinemas are so hilariously out there that you might be tempted to think that the awfulness might be completely accidental. According to the lead designer of the game,though... nope, it was all intentional.
And it even sets up a sequel... French for Everyone.
Thanks to Sardius for cluing me in to to this wonderful train wreck of a game.
UPDATE: The head writer for the game also speaks up on Starman.net. The money quote?
... Gina Vasquez is a teenager-level joe "GINA VAsquez" now say those three syllables in succession and OHH. I know that it's nothing intelligent, but....well that suits the overall intelligence of the whole thing...... there are no words.
Monday, November 26, 2007
"When Duke Nukem Forever was announced, the fastest processor available to consumers was a 233Mhz Pentium. Since then the clock speed of consumer processors has increased over 16 times (32 times counting dual cores), and the fabrication process has decreased from 250nm to 65nm."
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Be warned, the end song does contain a spoiler or two for the game. But after the song, cake IS served.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Talk about dedication:
A Warhammer4k enthusiast going by the handle "oimorrigan," has built this incredible "Apoca- lyptic Manhattan" terrain for his Warhammer game.
He even decked out a room in his apartment with custom wallpaper that looks like ashen-gray clouds and nuclear fallout!
The construction is "UltraCal (construction plaster) + foamboard," and comprises some 50 buildings.
Click here to read the thread I found this at.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Then the release on the product page was changed to "November (tentative)".
Then, in an official press release, the release date was given as December.
As of October 30th, the Robotech RPG was categorized as being "still in development".
Dyval, the next book in line for being published before Robotech, isn't even finished.
When posters at popular tabletop gaming portal RPG.net expressed concerns that the Robotech book wouldn't cover the Macross era due to licensing restrictions, Alex Marciniszyn
(Editor for Palladium Books) said: " Your information is inaccurate. Macross era will be covered."
So, whether the new Robotech RPG will be released in November, or December... when then hell are we going to see any marketing for it, if it's going to be out in the next month or two? Why not release a table of contents, or a character sheet?
What eras of the anime will be covered? Will there be canon characters with stats? What new things will you be adding? Maybe a taste-- like stat blocks for Veritechs?
Why don't more anime news portals know about this?
Monday, November 12, 2007
The Code, November 07: Video Games Are Art, Cut Scenes are Rubbish, D&D 4th Ed Is Exciting, Behind the Portal, Haloween Fun, and more!
Of course, RPGX.org is your go-to guide for a thriving online community, PC gaming tips, and the latest news and reviews of what's going down in the gaming scene. Every month, the hard-working crew here brings you insightful features; a tour of everything RPG gaming has to offer.
Today, take a walk with me through the month in video games, RPGs of all sorts, and nerd culture-- a tour of a different sort. A walk with the weird, the obscure, the geeky, the freaky, the polemical and the profane.
Thanksgiving is coming, so be sure to save some room for... The Code!
Federal Reserve Of Boston Exhibition Focuses On Video Games
Plus: More 'Video Games As Art' Debate In Newsweek & the 'Net
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery is hosting an engaging, interactive exhibit on the history of video games this fall. It's called “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs” and the exhibit examines the video game industry’s roots in New England. The exhibit is planned to run though January 2008, and is free.
From the Fed's news release:
"If guests are interested in a more hands-on experience, they can play classic 1980 arcade games like “Donkey Kong,” “Ms. Pac Man,” “Frogger” or “Space Invaders.” In addition to being able to play these games for free, visitors can admire the sleek fiberglass console of “Computer Space,” an early 1970s arcade game. The exhibit also offers a look at the evolution of the home-gaming console, a timeline of video-game history, and an in-depth look at the motion-capture process (a key animation tool in modern video-game production). The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a leading education center for digital-game development, loaned several three-dimensional sculptures of creatures that were used to develop animations."This is most sincerely awesome. More and more exhibitions like this are popping up all around the country; I think that's an important first step for video games being taken seriously as a medium of artistic expression.
Speaking of artistic expression and video games, Newsweek's N'gai Croal penned an entry called "The Problem (and the Danger) of the continued Infantilization of Videogames" that is well worth a read-- it also sparked a lot of discussion on community weblog Metafilter in the discussion thread "Silly People, Games Aren't Just For Kids".
You Got Your Game In My Cut-Scene!
Er... Cut-Scene In My Game?
Game designer Sam Beirne-- most noted for his work on Guild Wars: Eye of The North and LEGO Star Wars: The Game, has posted an video game design-related rant on his 'It Burns' site - called 'Excuse me, your cutscene is in my game':
"My problem with story generally stems from the inclusion of non-interactive cutscenes throughout the course of character driven games. Bullet points on the back of a box like, 'over 120 minutes of mind-blowing cinematic sequences,' scare me off before I can even crack the wrapper. When I sit down to play a game, I’d actually like to play something. Cutscenes feel like watching someone else play. So, when a cutscene starts rolling I generally can’t help but sigh wondering when it will be my turn again."
Personally, while I think that pre-rendered cut-scenes certainly do, and will continue to, have its place in some games, they can sometimes break up a really immersive experience.
All YouTube, All The Time!:
Dungeons and Dragons 4th Ed May Lure Back Old-Time Gamers; From Narbacular Drop To Portal; Toyota's World of Warcraft; and Beta-Saurus!
First off, the latest Digital Initiative Wizards of The Coast is building into Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition seems perfect for roping in the two enemies that have TPK'ed more gaming groups than anything in the Montrous Manual: Time and Distance.
Pushing D&D in this way is both an admission of the problems of modern (adult) living while also creatively using modern technology to circumvent it. Check out the video below:
The next video is a talk from Valve's Kim Swift at this year's GDC-- she is a key member of the team that was one of the Independent Game Festival's 2006 Student Showcase honorees who went on to be hired by the Half-Life creator as a team and made the critically acclaimed Portal-- explaining how the Portal team successfully transitioned from working as a student team at DigiPen to a professional team structure at Valve.
Toyota went "viral" with a cute homage to the infamous "Leroy Jenkins" incident in World Of Warcraft, which you can see in the third video below.
"I am the LAWGIVER!"... hah!
And finally, an amazing game planned for the X-box that was not to be. All I need to say is: Peter Molyneux and DINOSAURS.
Hey, speaking of Portal...
An Interview With The Guy Who Put Words In GLaDOS' Mouth
Gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an excellent interview with Eric Wolpaw, formerly of Old Man Murray and Psychonauts and lead writer of Valve's Portal. The interview is full of gems like:
So what do you think is the hardest thing about writing for games?The rest is just as hilarious. Read it here.
At strip clubs, there’s a guy whose job is to talk between the strippers. He tries to do a good job and be entertaining and enthusiastic, but everybody’s just there for the nakedness. That’s a professional writer trick we call called an “analogy”. What I really mean is that game writers are the game equivalent of the guy who talks between the nude girls at strip clubs. Nobody cares about what that guy does, and anybody who does care is probably a little maladjusted. So I’d have to say the hardest part of being a game writer is learning all the writing tricks like “analogy”.
So You Wanna Write For RPG Publishers?
This article's an oldie, but a goodie:
" You cannot copyright or trademark an idea. Have I surprised you again? A lot of writers who haven't done much writing make the mistake of confusing their ideas with their writing. As many professional writers will tell you, ideas are a dime a dozen. Ideas are everywhere. Ideas are easy. Everyone has ideas.As they say in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.
What sells writing is not the idea behind it but the execution. (In terms of copyright, it works like this: you can't copyright an idea, but you can copyright the expression of an idea.) For example, the vampire story is an overused and fairly trite idea. There are many editors who won't touch one with a ten-foot pole. Yet there are writers who can still execute their vampire stories in such unique and fresh ways that people gobble them up, even after reading another hundred vampire stories. By and large it's the writing that sells RPG supplements, not the plot outline in the proposal. "
It's Trippy and It's Spooky, It's Geeky and It's Kooky...
It's a little past Hallowe'en as you read this, but that doesn't mean that you can't indulge yourself with some ear candy- in this case nerdcore hip-hop community RhymeTorrent's whopping 2-DISC Halloween-themed EP, available right here for FREE.
Well, there's a an excellent track by Entity focusing on the Resident Evil series, a Rev Badger track that name-drops White Wolf's Werewolf, and MC Loki's "Prince of the City" that's all about the coups and power plays that go down in a typical Vampire: The Masquerade game. So give it a listen!
McTwisted: McDonald's, The GAME
The irreverently madcap video-game review site "Play This Thing" looked at a game that aims to be a parody of life at McDonald's this month, in its review of McDonald's Video Game:
The game is drawn with a crazy flair, the blood splattered happy meal at the title screen should be some indication. There are subtle touches, like the joint perpetually hung out the mouth of a marketer, or the fact that some of your customers are men with beards wearing skirts -- a byproduct of the randomly combinatorial nature of the character generation system. Watching the constant flow of people getting their trays, then walking off, is sickly hypnotic; it's the core pulse of the game's system, where the commodities turn into cash and complete the play loop, and its also an abstraction of something that is going on all over the world, many times a second. The illustrations and writing are pretty on-point as well (hint: before you bulldoze the Amazonian village to plant more GMO soy, start a "McDonald's for the Third World" campaign).
Here's a link to the review!
Genius, man. The game comes from the Italian crew "Molleindustria" at http://www.molleindustria.org/. They have other work they've done online, too, but be warned, some of the games are decidedly NSFW.
Braaaaiiinnnsss.... I mean.... Gaaaaaammmeeeesss....
So, like any good red-blooded 'netizen, you like zombies, you like killing things, and so it stands to reason you probably like killing zombies. But say you're online, using your web browser to read the latest in the greatest news and gaming columns at 411Mania, and you get a hankering to to splatter the effluvia of the walking dead at the same time. Well, now, YOU CAN!
Here are more zombie games than you could possibly shake a severed limb at:Zombiegrinder! ;All Hallows Eve ; Divine Intervention ; Zombie Patrol ; Grave 2 ; Crunch Time ; Zombie Terror ;Loot 'n Shoot ; Zombie Horde ;Zombie Hunter ;Zombie Hunter II ;Zombie 4 ; Zombie Survival ; Generic Zombie Shoota with Cartoon briefing ; Zombie Killer 2071 ;Zombie Killer 2072 ; Zombie Squirrel Attack ; Zombie Swarm ; Land of the Dead ; Zombie Erik ; Zombie Escape ;Resident Evil: Apocalypse ;Stickman Sam 2;Zombie Worms ;Resident Devil ;
Monster Mash ;Fright Club ;Graveyard of Drunken Souls; Springfield Zombies ;Zombie Romp ;Zombie Gringer 60000&Umbrella Corporation Bio-Lab ;Dawn of the Dead: Zombie Massacre ;Grave Robber ;Escape from Zombie High! ; Shaun of the Dead ; Zombie Attack ;Ultimate Down ;Thing Thing Arena ; Night of the Zombie Kittens ;Resident Evil Escape; Zombie Survival: SM ;Survival Game v1.2 ;Zombie Survival Training ;Escape from Zombie Town ;Escape from Zombie Town 0 ;ZombieSimulator annnnnnnnd, finally: Teh Zombie 2 .
Pimping Is Easy When You Use The Code!
That's all for this installment-- have comments, questions, suggestions, or items you'd like to submit for The Code? Discuss it in our forum!
You can check out fellow RPGX staff thedixman doin' his thing that he does so well for RPGX here!
RPGX.org is here!
And if you're looking for the perfect place for specialty candles, incense, gaming supplements and more, check out Green Dragon Candles 'n' More.
Until then, be excellent to each other... and read my stuff!