CodyLoco's Random Rants… A little bit of everything…

21Oct/080

The BIG E3 is returning for 2009! Booth babes too?

Back in the day I used to run a fairly successful, albeit small gaming site, my partners and I always had a dream of attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Centre...  We even had the oportunity to get free press tickets in 2006 but couldn't afford to go.  We planned to go the next year, but that came to a halt that same year with the announcement after the show that E3 2007 was going to be downsized to an invite-only, industry gathering with no more than about five-thousand people.  Of course, that meant the chances of getting tickets was slim to none.

The theory for the downsize, was that publishers were getting concerned that E3 was starting to cost more than it was worth, with newer, bigger, and more elaborate, display booths appearing every year.  The idea was that by restricting the show to press only and limiting displays to presentations and smaller gatherings, companies would not be inclined to out-display each other and blowing their budget in the process.

So far it seems, the theory was flawed.  This past 2008 E3 show was considered the worst so far by industry and press alike.

Monday night, X-Play on G4 TV revealed the first hints that the ESA (the entity that organizes the E3) is planning on bringing back the original, large scale E3 for 2009. According to the X-Play, E3 2009 will be taking place between June 2nd and June 4th, 2009 back at the LA Convention Centre, and is expected to increase the attendance cap into the tens of thousands.

What I'm still interested in, is what changes they will actually make to the show. Will the elaborate booths come back? What about the infamous booth babes? And, although it will still be considered an industry-only event... how the hell do I get a ticket? In the past, a guest ticket cost about $500 to get in.

Although lots more has been rumored through many other sources, I'm going to refrain from mentioning them because they all seem to contradict each other.

There is supposed to be an official announcement from the ESA today regarding the details for E3 2009, but all we can do is wait patiently like everyone else.  I would have tried to find out more, but looking around the web big names have called and only gotten the generic "we will comment on the rumors soon" reply.

More Links:

20Oct/082

Early copies of LittleBigPlanet sell on eBay for up to $350. Why?!

LittleBigPlanet on eBay

LittleBigPlanet on eBay: $350!?

I'm desperate to get my own hands on LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3, and the recent recall due to Quran references has made it an even harder wait since it now won't be released until October 27th in North America.

However, I'm not desperate enough to pay $350 for a copy of the game on eBay like a user by the eBay alias johnald214 did just to get it a week early.  Granted, I'm sure there is some kind of a "collectible" draw to it, but is it worth nearly $300 so you can hear two lines from the Muslim Holy Book in a song?!

Granted, he's not the only one that paid the price to be able to play the game early, as other auctions closed at $202.50, $183.68, $175.00, $152.50, $139.50, $130.00, $120.00...

On a side note, I was on YouTube looking at levels and came across someone that actually made a fully functional calculator "level" in the Beta for LBP:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiRgYBHoAoU[/youtube]

If you just can't wait another week, run off to eBay and within a week your "collectable" copy of the game will arrive at your doorstop just as everyone else gets home from Wal-Mart with their normal, and much cheaper version.  What's your take?

19Oct/080

No More Windows! Try the new Ubuntu 8.10 Linux OS

"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word that means "humanity to others".

An Ubuntu Desktop

A default Ubuntu Desktop with some apps open

That's quite the name to live up to if you are a linux distro.  Luckily enough, Ubuntu does live up to it's name.  It is one of the most user-friendly free open-source operating systems available, and the amount of computer users that run Ubuntu proves it.  Even large computer manufacturers such as Dell and Acer offer Ubuntu pre-loaded as an alternative to Windows when you order from them, proving that these companies have acknowledged that Ubuntu is a linux distro that is easy enough for the "common man" to operate.

Sadly, most people are under the impression that the only way to have a usable computer is to fork over the dough for a copy of Microsoft Windows and pay for the software.  Few are even aware that there are other operating systems available, and thus by default choose Windows.  Ubuntu offers all the functionality of Windows, even including support or alternative programs (still free!) for the most common tasks such as web surfing, image editing, word processing, music and video playback / editing, and more!

As of this writing, the latest version of Ubuntu, version 8.10 will be released in just under 11 days.  It includes numerous new features such tabbed Nautilus (the file browser) windows, encrypted private directories, improved guest sessions (to lend your laptop to someone to check your email, for example), updated networking and Samba support, and lots of added hardware support.

If you have never used a different operating system, you definitely owe yourself to try Ubuntu, since you may be pleasantly surprised.  You can download what is called a "Live CD", which you can boot from into Ubuntu so you can try it without making any changes to your computer.  Take the CD out, and the computer loads Windows as it always has.  Remember, the download is completely free, the operating system is free, and the software is free!  No reason not to try it out!

If you want to get the best of both worlds, you can also dual-boot your computer, so that when you turn on the computer a screen will appear asking whether you want to load into Ubuntu or Windows (Ubuntu for everyday tasks, Windows for gaming!).

Ubuntu 8.10 is currently in Beta until November 1st, 2008. I recommend you use the 8.04 version if you are downloading it before it comes out of Beta.

For more information and to download the Live CD, visit the Ubuntu Official Website and see what you have been missing!

By the way, did I forget to mention that everything Ubuntu is FREE?

Update: ShipIt is now taking pre-orders for properly pressed CD images of the LiveCD.  As with everything Ubuntu, they will actually you a copy absolutely free but it takes about two to three weeks.  If you want to order a free copy, visit this link!  Thanks to douglas1991 for the tip!

18Oct/080

LittleBigPlanet release pushed back to Oct 27, 2008

This will be pretty dissapointing if you have been patiently waiting for PlayStation 3's LittleBigPlanet (like I have):

LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet: Delayed Oct 27th, 2008 (NA)

Sony has officially pushed back the North American release date for LittleBigPlanet to October 27th, 2008 because someone on their forum says they found what is apparently lyrics in one of the licensed songs that are actually passages in the Quran.

According to the poster, Solid_08, "Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending.".

Here is a copy I found of the original post that caused Sony to delay the game:

To: Sony Computer Entertainment & Media Molecule

While playing your latest game, "LittleBigPlanet" in the first level of the third world in the game (titled "Swinging Safari":smileywink:, I have noticed something strange in the lyrics of the music track of the level. When I listened carefully, I was surprised to hear some very familiar Arabic words from the Quran. You can listen to part of the track here:

mt14.quickshareit.com/share/p...lip22503c0.wav

The words are:

1- In the 18th second: "?? ??? ????? ?????" ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death').

2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: "?? ?? ????? ???" ("kollo man alaiha fan", literally: 'All that is on earth will perish').

I asked many of my friends online and offline and they heard the exact same thing that I heard easily when I played that part of the track. Certain Arabic hardcore gaming forums are already discussing this, so we decided to take action by emailing you before this spreads to mainstream attention.

We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending. We hope you would remove that track from the game immediately via an online patch, and make sure that all future shipments of the game disk do not contain it.

We would also like to mention that this isn't the first time something like this happened in videogames. Nintendo's 1998 hit "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" contained a musical track with islamic phrases, but it was removed in later shipments of the game after Nintendo was contacted by Muslim organizations. Last year, Capcom's "Zack & Wiki" and Activision's "Call of Duty 4" also contained objectionable material offensive to Muslims that was spotted before the release of the final games, and both companies thankfully removed the content.

We hope you act immediately to avoid any confusion and unnecessary controversy, and we thank you for making such an amazing game.

Regards,

yasser
psn id : solid08

Sources:  Sony's Blog, 1Up, Original Thread (Cache)

17Oct/080

Resistance 2 MP beta hands on: an MMORPG grind?

Those that either pre-ordered the game or got ahold of Qore Episode 3 should have received their Resistance 2 Public Beta beta keys by now.  Now that the 2.2GB download is finished on my PlayStation 3, I have finally been able to log my own hours in the game's surprisingly lag-free multiplayer.

The beta gives you access to both major multiplayer modes: cooperative and competitive play.  I tried cooperative first, and after two and a half hours I have to admit I'm not very impressed by the gameplay.

Upon entering the game, you are joined by seven other allied players and given assignments in order to move along the game within the map.  The idea should have worked, but in the game, you immediately feel like you are grinding through some kind of MMFPSOG (or MMO-FPS?) instanced dungeon, except you only have one or two abilities at your disposal unlike the depth an MMO provides.

Take a look at the screenshots and you'll see the obvious similarities (and I appologize for them being iPhone pictures!): you gain XP for the amount of damage you cause an enemy and when you take them down, ammo pickups (items, which one of the three classes drops for you) has a distinct-loot glow to it, enemies have health bars and, believe it or not, stars above their head to indicate difficulty/boss, and while playing you often find yourself standing in place unloading clip after clip (kind of like a melee tank spamming your one attack ability) as if it were your assigned task for the evening...

The experience you gain apparently does allow for some unlockables.  You seem to randomly pick up or aquire some kind of tech currency (can't remember what it's called right now, sorry!) which is required in order to purchase upgrades for your classes such as armor and abilities.  Weapons appear to become available automatically as you level up as well.  As a soldier, you start out with the Wraith, a 1,200 round-per-minute gatling gun with a 200 round clip.  When you take into consideration the spin-up time and fact that it seems like your crawling if you move while firing, it really feels like you have no choice but to stand there and take the abuse.  Then again, the game does even call the Soldier class a Tanking Class!  Once you hit level 2, you are awarded with a rather unimpressive double-barrel shotgun which while more manuverable is rather weak.

In my opinion, the fact that there are only three classes: a Healer, which obviously revives and heales, a Spec Op, who's main job is to snipe and provide the squad with ammo, and the Soldier, who is the tank and can generate shields, makes for a rather shallow gameplay experience- especially since they obviously took so many queues from MMORPGs.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the enemy AI is embarassing at times.  Bosses will take turns in order shooting at a single player for a set amount of time, then move on to shoot the next.  While there can often be a surprising number of normal enemies on screen at a time, they don't seem to do much other than stand there and shoot and I have often seen them stuck walking at a wall until they decide it's time to switch to target a new player.

Of course, many will say that the game is still in Beta... but it's almost out and refining these kinds of details last minute would probably cause more harm than good.  That said, let's move on to competitive mode.

One of my biggest griefs with any online game is lag.  I can't stand it- if it's laggy, I won't play.  After about an hour of playing an endless competitive match with fifty-nine other players I realized something quite impressive: I forgot that I was actually playing over the internet.

I didn't see a single hint of lag the whole time.  This means I myself didn't lag at all, and incredibly, it also means I didn't see anyone else lagging at all.  That's impressive for a game that puts sixty players on two teams against each other (Chimera vs Human of course) and is still in beta nonetheless.

Gameplay is faced-paced and surprisingly fun.  The match I joined had the two teams playing a team deathmatch, but at the same time kept a steady flow of objectives that kept the battle focused and offered goal to fight towards.  Over the course of my hour's gameplay, I saw two different objectives: a fairly common hold-the-point or king-of-the-hill with one strategic point on the map, and a VIP

defense objective where one of our players became the VIP and he had to survive for at least two minutes on order to succeed.

Quick respawn times and fast paced, lag free action will probably make Resistance 2' competitive play one of the most popular online games when it comes out, but unless something changes drastically I don't think you will see me in the lobby waiting for a new cooperative match to start very often.

Again, sorry for the iPhone pictures of the screen! 😀

16Oct/082

How to make text readable on bright PS3 themes

Seemed like almost every theme I would download to my PS3 had way too bright a wallpaper which would cause the text from navigation options hard to read if it was white-on-white, so I would end up going back to the original colored monthly wallpaper.

Turns out though, you can actually lower the brightness of the wallpaper making it MUCH easier to read text on most themes. This is a great plus I find since Sony just recently finally introduced the moderately decent looking premium themes.

If you want to change the brightness on yours to see what I mean, go to Settings -> Theme Settings -> Background -> Brightness.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't notice this until update 2.50 so I couldn't tell you when it appeared for sure. Actually, it has probably always been there it jus took me this long to notice it...

On a side note, just got my access to the Resistance 2 beta so I'll update on that once it's downloaded, assuming there is no pesky NDA attached!

16Oct/080

iBlogging… WordPress + iPhone

I decided it was time to get my personal blog up finally, but I have to choose a CMS to work with. Most of my sites I build using Joomla 1.5, but I wanted a simpler system for my blog.

After looking at and comparing many including Drupal, b2evolution, and Nucleus, one feature immediately caught my eye on the WordPress site- iPhone App!

I just bought an iPhone 3G with Rogers and this naturally I'm on the lookout for cool stuff like that. After a quick script install using Fantastico (because I'm lazy) and a username and password here and there, I am officially writing my first blog post on my iPhone!

So far the app works better than I had honestly expected, but you really begin to miss those things we take for granted on a computer, things like copy and pasting!

If you run WordPress as your blog and own an iPhone, be sure to check out the app. I would add a link to it for you, but first I need to figure out how!