Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Weekend Links

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 13, 2011

Just some miscellaneous bits and pieces discovered this week:

John Carmack announced the superiority of  Direct3D over OpenGL. Didn’t start that way, if you remember. The funny thing is, we were an early user of Direct3D, and we voiced the same complaints to Microsoft. They ignored us. They listened to Carmack. I can’t blame them, I guess, but I have always felt an internal “neener, neener” coming on when I reflect back on that. A couple years later, the guy in charge of DirectX 7 explained to a room full of game developers that his goal with 7 and 8 was to make DirectX “suck less.” I guess they succeeded.

A Day in the Life of Minecraft Creator Mojang. I am re-reading “Masters of Doom” right now. Two indie companies flush with rapid success and riches. Totally different stories.

Top Tips for XBLIG Marketing. About half are specific to XBLIG, but the core principles of most are at least adaptable in some way to other platforms.

Might & Magic 7: For Blood and Honor was released at GOG.COM.  Funny how I get so excited about these re-releases of games that were old news a decade ago.  But they are new to me (already snagged my copy earlier this week), and that’s just how I roll.  And I know a lot of you do, too…

CRPGAddict talks about the most annoying CRPG enemies of all time.  I’m happy to see a picture of one of those @#%$! Cliff Racers from Morrowind at the top of the article. I’d add food-stealing gremlins from early Ultimas to that list, too. I’d be tempted to add those friggin’ leprechauns from Din’s Curse into the mix, except you can usually splat them and get more money from them than they were trying to steal.

This has been in the news quite a bit this weekend, but apparently a Dragon Age 2 player who was rude on the Bioware forums was banned not only from the forums, but also “accidentally” banned from playing his game, too. A single-player game, which he’d bought and played in the privacy of his own home. You want to know why people think these new, draconian DRM schemes are destroying games? That’s it, right there. Just the fact that EA *can* do this to your games is a problem. And then there’s this little tidbit about them sneaking an install of SecureRom onto your computer without disclosing this information to the public.

Bad, EA. At least no evil company can sneak their fingers through the Intertubes to disable that copy of Might & Magic 7 I just bought.




Filed Under: General - Comments: 11 Comments to Read

  • DGM said,

    Back when I played Morrowind, I ended up making a helm of “always on” invisibility JUST to get those @#$%ing cliff racers to leave me alone. It was so nice to be able to just fly around without them bothering me after that.

  • Brian 'Psychochild' Green said,

    MM7 is my favorite of the series. It was MM8 didn’t let you roll your whole party, and MM9 was just a disaster. MM6 was limited and a bit unbalanced when it came to the classes; Archers and Paladins could learn nearly every spell, for example. I also liked the little touches like the card game Arcomage, building your own castle, and the good/evil choice near the middle that actually changes the UI skin.

    I also remember the game fondly because the producer was a big Meridian 59 fan. One of the dungeons is patterned after the infamous Orc Caves in M59. It was interesting to see the caves rendered in real 3D!

    Anyway, I better stop before I go dig out my CDs to install it and play again!

  • Charles said,

    Glad to read Microsoft suck ceeded at sucking less!

    Sorry couldn’t help myself :p

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    I installed a mod to remove Cliff Racers entirely from Morrowind and I didn’t consider it cheating in the least.

    I’ve also noticed a trend with Microsoft and its products – they have an odd pattern ever since Windows 98 –

    Windows 98 – Good
    Windows 2000 & ME – Bad
    Windows XP – Good
    Windows Vista – Bad
    Windows 7 – Good

    Original XBOX – Blocky and inferior with absurd controller
    Xbox 360 – Perfect sized controller and sleek and successful

    Original Direct X 1-6 – Bad
    Newer Direct X – Better and better

    So, about every other thing Microsoft does is awful, but they learn from their mistakes and improve. And I think any programmer in the world who had heard of John Carmack is going to pay close attention to anything the man says.

    Finally, what the hell is it with companies like EA and Activision? Is there some guide book they both use, possibly titled something like “How to Be an Evil Bastard”, sequel to the popular, “How to Get Rich by Kicking Kittens”?

    I’m really worried from my background in business and observing real world corporations that success in capitalism inherently involves unethical practices.

    I suppose we’ve improved some though – in the old days, companies used to lock workers in the building so they couldn’t take breaks, made them memorize the repetitive movements required for their job so they could shut off all the lights to save money on electricity, and of course, make them work 12-18 hours a day (I wonder if “crunch time” is technically illegal under US Labor Law?), and if you couldn’t work because you were sick, they required you to send your spouse or child to work in your place.

    I personally think that after a company is making billions a year, implementing “cost saving” measures that make employees’ lives more difficult to save a couple hundred thousand dollars a year is just being an ass, shareholders be damned.

    My rule to live by is that if a company doesn’t treat it’s employees well and like the human beings they are, what kind of treatment can you expect as a customer?

    Wow. I got kind of soap-boxy there, but the thing with EA just ticked me off. The kicker? The player’s post that started all this was calling EA out on just these sorts of practices. Companies probably don’t get irony.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I think capitalist karma comes and lays the smack down on the people who engage in these kinds of practices in the long run, but the problem is that it’s a slow process that often doesn’t hit until the guys responsible have already fled the scene of the crime.

  • trudodyr said,

    Windows 2000 was certainly not a bad product (not really a consumer OS either, so your pattern is still valid). Agree otherwise.

  • Bad Sector said,

    Windows 2000 was actually a very good OS and performed much better than Win9x did. However at the time a lot of Windows applications (especially games) depended on DOS or used DOSisms and were badly written (especially when it comes to memory usage). Win2K was much stricter with badly behaving code and had poor DOS support (XP has much better DOS support, it even includes some sort of soundblaster emulation – sadly only for waveform audio – although the DOS support went downhill with Vista) so couldn’t run a lot of consumer and gamer applications.

    Direct3D 9 (and previous) always looked to me as way too complex for no reason.

    Direct3D 10, however, was redesigned from scratch and i can see why Carmack likes it. The first thing i said when i saw the new API was “this looks like OpenGL!”. They even changed a bunch of stuff (like rasterization details) to be more like OpenGL.

  • Calibrator said,

    LWR wrote:
    > Original XBOX – Blocky and inferior with absurd controller
    > Xbox 360 – Perfect sized controller and sleek and successful

    While the Xbox 360 was immensely popular from the beginning, especially in the USA (not so in Japan), it’s hardware initially had a *much* higher failure rate than pretty much any console before it: Around 30%!
    Actually, I think this is a pity as the hardware in general is good, apart from the very noisy DVD drive.
    While I can understand the motivation to not support Blu-ray (it wasn’t even available when the X360 launched as we remember) it was complete nonsense to support HD-DVD like MS did. This didn’t hurt the PS3 but the market in general – and therefore the consumers – as it delayed a common movie standard and it’s debatable if it really helped selling the X360.

    As for the first Xbox: Its hardware certainly wasn’t inferior compared to its competition (PS2 and Gamecube) but, yes, the first controller revision was universally criticized.
    However, MS changed the controller – like Sony changed the Playstation controllers before it (PS1: from a digital controller to an analog one (in Japan only?) which later became the first Dual Shock, PS3: from the non-rumble SixAxis to the DualShock 3).
    Claiming a console is a failure simply because the first controller was suboptimal is not fair, IMHO.

    The X360 is certainly more successful than the first Xbox – I guess MS was right in pushing affordable but immature hardware (heat problem) as fast on the market as possible and being the first to the party this time.

  • Jason K said,

    I just read this below quote from http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/6459941/1 response by Bioware staff regarding the suspension of player accounts will affect their game.

    “EA Community bans come down from a different department and are the result of someone hitting the REPORT POST button. These bans can affect access to your game and/or DLC.”

    I am totally avoiding buying legally from EA. They lost me as a customer and I have been buying games from them for years. I will continue to support and buy from developers (indie or big game developers) that does NOT have ambitions of godhood. Hell I would personally go “warez” on EA games.

    Seems these days big game companies are like software companies. We DON’T buy their games/software. We pay to use their games/software at their sufferance. This is nonsense.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    My reaction last time I got really annoyed at this (w/ Bioshock) was to not go out that afternoon on release day and buy the PC version as I’d intended, but rather to rent the XBox 360 version. Of course, maybe that helped confirm a trend that they were seeing – that PC sales sucked, everybody was moving to consoles – but they see what they want to see from those numbers.

    “Seems these days big game companies are like software companies. We DON’T buy their games/software. We pay to use their games/software at their sufferance. This is nonsense.”

    That’s really bugging me, too. I mean, if they were charging us less for the fact that they are giving us fewer rights it would be… well, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but it would be slightly more forgivable. But they are basically saying, “We can arbitrarily revoke all rights the consumer bought whenever we want…” That’s B.S., and is a court case waiting to happen. But if enough people vote with their wallet and make their voices heard over this, maybe it won’t ever come to that.

  • McTeddy said,

    You do realize that by going all “Warez” on EA will only hurt the people who made that game. EA has enough money to survive… and little enough decency any money they will recover lost profits by ripping out of the dev’s beating heart.

    The problem with “We can arbitrarily revoke all rights the consumer bought whenever we want” argument is that YOU willfully signed the agreement. It’s not their problem that nobody actually reads the EULA license before they agree to them. One company even got away with thousands of people selling their souls for a game!

    I fully understand why everyone hates EA and I do agree in many ways. But pirating a game is not the same as not buying it. Piracy is enjoying someone else’s hard work and not compensating them for it.

    Thats not justice.