Damn Canvas Commands

I’ve been putting quite a bit of effort to get my gaming system for The Infected game to work properly. At the moment I call the system to be in “alpha” state, but it’s already functional. You can basically play any board game online with your buddies using this system. For example, here’s a screenie showing me and a buddy of mine just finishing playing Lotr Confrontation (board game) online using this game engine:

I’m sharing more info about the system at some point when I’ve tackled certain issues.

Little bit about the technology: I’m using browser based system and relying on Canvas command for rotating objects. When I have big pics (like that map) for some reason the rotate causes small issues (sometimes one or two of the map pics is missing). I’m doing some more testing to see if I can find a workaround for this issue.

I’ve tried scanning & uploading couple of board/card games online to see any possible issues with the system on different configurations and how usable the system is. I’ve got few people testing it here and there, which has helped me to go in the right direction with the system. Now my goal is to finish the bits of the system to support the elements that I need for my game, but from the very beginning, I’ve tried to make such a game engine that other people (like you) can use it too.

More info coming later, but before that I gotta figure out how to fix that Canvas issue.

What Gaming Sites You Consume?

I’ve started to notice a trend in my own internet behavior, and somewhat feel that this new behavior is saving my time. I’m talking about following news via twitter.

At some point I was noticing that twitter is full of crap (that holds quite true still), but now I started thinking that I rarely visit to other gaming sites. Earlier, I checked indiegamer.com quite often. Gamasutra.com was also something I read. And I had a list of blog RSS feeds that I more or less frequently visited.

Nowadays I’m visiting indiegamer.com quite regularly (one reason being the fact that I’m a moderator there), but besides that (and my own sites) I think my direct visits to other sites have decreased. I now longer visit those sites so often unless somebody tweets about them. So, when there’s something worth visiting, twitter will tell me about it (I’m using Tweetdeck by the way, which is a must-get).

Didn’t really planned this. It just happened to me.

What gaming sites – blogs or others – are you visiting?

Ended Up Buying 4 Games

In the convince me to buy game contest I had several “finalists” to choose from:

I ended up choosing these products:

Congratulations for the winners – very convincing!

In case you want to check what others games there were, please see all the games here.

So, GOG Gets No Strike 2?

It’s easy to judge.

GOG made a stunt where they made announcement that made people think that “they are closing”. Which they were not. And people felt sorry for this and showed sympathy. Later… they pretty much communicated that “oh, but we are not closing (never planned!”).

There’s tweets raving around the net judging this PR stunt where they fool people.

It’s easy to judge them. They point out that they are a small company and need to generate buzz in any possible ways. That sounds like a lame excuse in comparison if they would have simply said “we ****** this big time, sorry folks.”

Yeh, it’s easy to judge.

Luckily, they are somewhat knowledgeable on how to apologize.

Here’s what PC gamer reported them to say:

First of all we’d like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com

Apology accepted from my part.

I think GOG has made terrific effort in digging good old games from their graves, shined the plates and got us to play these wonderful classics.

Sure… they might have missed the target for this “we might close down” PR stuff, but hey – it’s people who work there. People make mistakes you know.

I don’t see much point in judging them.

That’s strike 1.

In baseball you are out after 4.

How about giving these guys a break?

Age Ratings For Music Videos?

Few years back, I pondered why there’s no age limits for music. For movies and games there’s several different type of ratings.

My baby girl is now 6 months. We had music television (or Voice – Finnish alternative) open every now and then and I started to pay attention what they show in the channel since our baby seemed to watch all the bright colors that TV displays – also in the music channel.

I’m thinking that there’s definitely stuff that’s not for kids. In fact… radio channels have got our votes nowadays.

I started wondering again, why there’s no ratings for music? You can play any music around the clock and there’s no guidelines for parents. It feels that I better turn off the channel rather than risk it.

I’m on safe waters what it comes to movies/cartoons and such. I’m also on very safe waters what it comes to games since I’m very familiar with those… but music channel – or just plain audio – is something I cannot control so easily. At least not here in Finland.

I wonder if this is the case in other parts of this planet – and I wonder why there’s really no clear age ratings or such for music.

I’m Almost Seriously Consider Joining the Pirate Party

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from those zen books (including almost must-read books such as Zen, Hardcore Zen, The Zen of Zombie) is that resisting something might not be the optimal answer.

Often, a better approach instead is accepting the (attacking) force and then gently leading this force to somewhere. Anyone who has trained any martial arts knows that this is the basis for many moves.

A pretty recent news is that GOG.com is offline now. They are coming back “but not in their current form” as they say. I hope they keep all the classics there, but we’ll see.

I recently saw one of their tweets, stating:

Sometimes it’s really hard being DRM-free… hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy :(

GOG.com is a place where I bought games that I had bought or pirated in my childhood. Looking around in the internetz makes me feel that people aren’t pirating GOG games. Maybe they are but I feel that there’s tons of good vibes towards GOG and people want to buy these old classics.

And I can almost bet my left hand that it must be tough to try stay DRM-free. Traditional management and publishers are so pro-DRM that it’ll be easier to travel back in time than it is to convince them that DRM is a (somewhat) bad thing.

Which gets me to my next point. Maker of Minecraft blogged about piracy and said that he is voting the Pirate party of Sweden in the next elections. He had written a blog post that you gotta check out. One quite interesting quote from it:

To people who want to get paid for their digital works, myself included, that [sharing free copies] is a bit of a problem. All of society and economics is based on an old outdated model where giving something to someone would rid the original owner of their copy, so everyone who wanted a copy had to buy one from someone else who would lose theirs, and the only source of new copies was you.

I’d like to summarize my own pirate days:

  • Before I made my own games, I pirated everything
  • After I started making my own games, I pirated nothing

That’s quite accurate statement and almost true as well.

Anyway. I feel that piracy is somewhat a problem. I don’t know how big problem it is, but it can be a problem.

And here’s the second problem that piracy causes. The words we use to describe piracy is “problem”. Anyone who has read anything about business knows that “problem” can be “opportunity”.

Now, how could piracy be an opportunity?

I have trouble solving this issue:

  • Pirates (not Pirate Party necessary, although I don’t know what they want) want to share copies away free without paying a dime.
  • That’s indeed cool and the value of the stuff increases exponentially when everybody gets to use it for free.
  • But on the downside, the developers get nothing. Perhaps leading need to shut the shoppe. And then nobody shares nothing no more. Or at least something else.

That’s how I’ve rationalized why piracy is a bad thing, but I cannot ignore the fact that piratism could be an opportunity. People want to share things, and perhaps our economical system just isn’t modern enough to handle sharing.

Sure, we could think of ads and stuff like that – but pirated versions just take away ads so that also doesn’t work.

Or perhaps we simply need systems that work. Perhaps piratism is a statement against DRM, against non-easy sharing, against all the policies that make it difficult for users to consume games (or music/movies etc.).

But we soon get to the point I made earlier: what could be the new model? I’m not so convinced that just sharing everything pro bono between everybody is the answer, without thinking the developers and publishers, and for this I’d like to get some ideas and answers.

I’d also hope to get answers from people who aren’t just big time pirates (or members of the pirate party), I’d like to get answers from developers and publishers who are big time pirates & pirate party members.

Zen-wise, it might actually make sense to me to try join the Pirate Party and try and get answers from inside. I’m not saying that I would be supporting pirating in any form – heck no. I just want to get some answers.

Couple of things to note:

  • No, at the moment my stand against piracy remains: I don’t accept piratism in any form (I don’t consider buying a game and then copying it/finding pirate copy for your own use in any way you want in any platforms you use to be piratism – but that’s just me).
  • I hate DRM.

I think I need to first change my own image about piracy. If I keep describing piracy as a problem, I’ve already mentally labeled it to something bad.

Pissed Off People, The Driving Force

Continuing with the “annoying things” theme here.

Some days ago I started to feel pretty annoyed about the fact that there was some dust and sand or whatever on the floor. When I walked over it – bare feet – those small nasty lil things felt annoying under my feet.

In fact, this was so annoying, that I just had to do some vacuum cleaning right away.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and probably won’t be the last time.

In fact, I can see this same phenomenon happening everywhere. People are getting pissed off about something so much that they spend tons of time improving it. Just to stop the annoyance.

Refactoring happens quite often due this. It’s not that we really always need to clean the code… it’s to stop the annoyance that we feel when facing the unclean code. At least sometimes.

Care to give me an example from your own life (gamewise or other) from this phenomena? Don’t tell me that this has never happened to you.

Small Annoying Things

Yesterday I didn’t make a blog post. I coded my game system instead and sort of lost track of time (or pick some other reason). The fact that I didn’t post an article bugs me.

Two days ago, I posted a blog post with 2 polls. Currently first poll got 64 votes, and second one 63. That annoys me big time. (Damnit, that one dude could have voted in both polls you know!)

Something to do with consistency (and promises). First thing I will “fix” by writing 2 blog posts on some other day (to keep my 1 post per day average running) which sounds a pretty damn foolish if I think about it.

But nothing that I can do for that poll thing.

Therefore the question remains: why are these small annoyances so annoying? Rationally thinking, one poll having 64 and another 63 votes should not mean nothing.