Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: games (page 2 of 2)

Links from January 24th

Links from January 23rd

I’m going back to packaging up my del.icio.us bookmarks daily and posting them here.

  • The Black Triangle is an article from 2004 about game development found by Jason Kottke. It describes the disconnect between programmers and users, where users are unimpressed by seeing something relatively simple on the screen, and developers are thrilled at the huge amount of work that into getting that simple thing onto the screen. I’ve found it’s never a good idea to show customers the Black Triangle. It always comes later in the process than they’d think and often freaks them out.
  • waferbaby: The Setup. Interviews with people about their computer setups. I can never read enough of these.
  • New York Times: Gazan Doctor and Peace Advocate Loses 3 Daughters to Israeli Fire and Asks Why. The horrific cost of war.
  • Dr. Saturday: Australian Rules’ blood’s worth bottling. A proposed playoff structure for college football. A more interesting approach
  • Going.com: Newspapers Covering Obama’s Inauguration. A huge collection of newspaper front pages from President Obama’s inauguration. And yes, it still feels weird to type “President Obama.”
  • CSS Newbie: The EqualHeights jQuery Plugin. I’m always looking for better ways to set columns to equal heights on a Web page.
  • Glenn Greenwald: Mohammed Jawad and Obama’s efforts to suspend military commissions. When anyone questions whether the United States tortures people or tortures the wrong people, you can forward them the story of Mohammed Jawad, a teenager captured in Afghanistan who was coerced to confess to killing US soldiers with a grenade. The military prosecutor in his case petitioned that he should be released and ultimately resigned rather than prosecute him.

Has Flight Simulator met its end?

James Fallows reports that Microsoft has laid off the team that works on Flight Simulator. I was never much of a player of Flight Simulator, but it should be recognized as one of the most important games in the history of personal computing. It was one of the very first games to offer a first person perspective on the action, it was one of the first games for the IBM PC platform, and I think it’s likely that it’s the oldest continually developed computer game on the market.

Wikipedia has a lengthy article on Microsoft Flight Simulator.

PC Magazines has further details.

I can’t help but wonder if the better choice would have been to spin off ACES Studios and give them the Flight Simulator intellectual property to try to make it on their own.

MUDs turned 30 today

Massively reports that today is the 30th birthday of MUDs. The original MUD launched on this day in 1978. I’ll date myself by saying that MUDs (or one MUD in particular) was a very big part of my college years. In fact, I’d say I gained more practical knowledge of programming coding for the MUD I played than I learned in all of my college courses put together.

Using games for terrorist collaboration

A defense researcher has created a hypothetical scenario that envisions how terrorists might conspire to commit a terrorist attack using World of Warcraft.

Why people grind in games

Clive Thompson explains why people accept and even enjoy the grind in games:

Why? Because there’s something enormously comforting about grinding. It offers a completely straightforward relationship between work and reward. When you log into WoW, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you just plant your ass in that chair for long enough, you’ll level up. It doesn’t require skill. It just requires putting in the time. Play 10 hours, you’ll do better; play 50, you’ll do better yet; and yet more so with 500 hours.

The thing is, almost no arenas of human endeavor work like this. Many are precisely the opposite, in fact. When you go to your job at the office, there’s little or no linkage between effort and achievement: You slave like a madman all year long, only to watch the glad-handing frat guy hired two months ago get promoted above you. And if you’re a really serious nerd, the logic that governs interpersonal relationships — marriage, kids, your parents — is even more abstruse: Things can actually get worse the more time and effort you put into them.

I have often thought that this is the main allure of games. They offer a simple model of real life where the incentives are perfectly clear. It’s a refreshing break from the complexity of human relationships and human endeavor.

Links for April 19

Links for March 27

  • Scott Rosenberg: Give us each day our daily campaign call. The Presidential campaigns hold daily conference calls with reporters to try to manage the news cycle. Dave Winer is working to post the audio of those calls so we can all listen in. Great project.
  • Bzip2 mini-HOWTO: Using bzip with grep. Extremely useful shell script if your log rotation software compresses your logs using Bzip2.
  • Scott Jennings: Design Progression in World of Warcraft, An Illustrated Guide. Analysis of an interesting game design challenge. Building content for games is lots of work, so you want it to see lots of use. The hardcore players play mainly so they can achieve things most people can’t. How do you keep the hardcore players happy and still make the content accessible so more players get to enjoy it?
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