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Sunday 24 June 2007

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars [Lurks]

There's a video here showing some non-marketroid shot in-game footage of ET:QW. I looked at it and I'm still reeling from disbelief. It can't be that bad, can it?
I mean first there's the basic graphics. It looks like Planetside. It looks like Half-Life 1. It looks fucking old. I mean sure there's an argument to be made for keeping it simple to keep the framerates up but this thing is not a patch on Battlefield to say the least.
It's not just the actual graphics engine though, it's the artwork. It's absolute gash. Whoever worked on the art team for this game wont be using it on their CV any time soon I should think. Ridiculously sparse, boring, derivitive-looking buildings and landscape. Concrete and more concrete, flat walls yadda yadda. Then there's the animation, my god it's desperate. Characters have what looks like Quake 3 style running anims, just something made up by a really bad animater rather than anything that looks remotely like human movement. Or alien movement, whatever.
Then there's the seriously crap derivative looking weapons, the apalling sounds, zero absolutely zero effort on the audio side. The actual gameplay itself, the graphics, the whole game looks like it's five years old and this has the Quake name associated with it?
Splash Damage are clearly incompetent game developers. This game is no labour of love at all, it's pretty much a tick-box implementation of Battlefield with some sort of Doom engine hacked up job. Shame on Splash, shame on Id for licensing the name to such utter turd.
PC multiplayer seems to be slippage after slippage. Still no Team Fortress 2, still no Unreal game. It would have been better if we'd never looked forward to this abomination. Edit: It turns out Splash damage are Brits. Nice one, the only well known multiplayer FPS to get developed on these isles and you make a steaming pile of dogshit. What a great hip hoorah for Britsoft you are.

Tuesday 12 June 2007

finding a use for an old Mac [Shedir]

I had an old g4 mac (800mhz, 1gb ram) with OSX kicking about under the stairs. With it's flatscreen it was origionally for the kids to potter about on, but they weren't interested. I landed a wee pc laptop for them and the wife to use but had this big mac left doing nothing.
Now I RDC from work to home daily to chat on the IRC channel with ma homies, but that was onto my dual core gaming rig. Seemed daft to wear that machine out, so I popped the mac in the downstairs cupboard with the boiler.
Now Apple remote desktop is a bastardised version of VNC, it's slow and shitty. However vineserver is actually quite neat, it runs as a service and has been rock solid for a month or more now. Connect to vineserver with the usual VNC listening app.
I've still to configure ssh on that mac actually, must get onto that.
Once I set the res to 1024 I popped the screen off and put a vga cable in, that lets it run headless as well. Anyone else wanting to do this change your dock settings so that the swirly thing doesn't happen. Thats a proper PITA. minimize using scale effect and untick animate opening applications
For grabbing linux distros (ha) azureus works fine, a bit slow but transfer rate is actually faster than the pc upstairs quite often.
IRC was a problem, I used colloquy. That was slow as a week in the jail at rendering the conversation. I moved to X-Chat Aqua and thats the dogs, light n fast it's working superbly.
thunderbird and firefox handle web and email really well. It's also handling the sharing of media to my xbox with xbmc over SMB without any problem either.
Putting the mac to sleep is a godsend too, I can log into my router over https on a specified port and issue a Wake on Lan instruction the mac and it pops up ready for akshun.
As I say, I've been using it for a month or so now and it's a big boost to passing the time at work ;) Plus as it's only got 1 hard disk, it'll probaby consume less power than the beast upstairs (which has 3). Hear me Al, I'm saving the world too!

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Kids in captivity [Slim]

The BBC rightly brings to our attention the depressing situation regarding our childrens freedom.
BBC NEWS | Education | Analysis: Rearing children in captivity
I had an extremely free upbringing, we lived close to a large unused bit of wasteland and spent all day there with the local kids from miles around building stuff, breaking stuff, jumping over stuff on our bikes and an awful lot of doing bugger all but being with our mates. I used to cycle to school too, hell I used to cycle everywhere, to the shops, to me mates house, it was my way of getting about.
Yet my kids aren't allowed any of those freedoms, their limits are the garden gate, everywhere else they must go accompanied. We only cycle on off road paths, never on the road, and never ever do they do it alone.
What's changed? The bbc's firming pointing the finger at over protective parents, they report less kids go missing now than in the 70's, and road safety's very much improved now than back then, meaning far less child fatalities on the road. Are they missing the point entirely? Are these figures showing how safe the country is a result of our newly over protective ways? If, as they say, only 9% of kids walk to school now rather than 80% in the 70's, this is going to skew the safety figures enormously. My back of the fag packet bollocks maths show that if theres half the fatalities on a fifth of the walkers our letting our kids walk to school would result in many more deaths than in the past, right?
There must be a catalist to this change, there's a reason why we're doing it. We're bombarded with child safety reminders daily, we're bombarded with images of missing kids, we're told about child sex offenders in our own neighbourhoods and we're told that more kids used to die when they walked to school.
What are we supposed to do when presented with these figures? I'd love to give my kids the freedoms I had, but can I do it with a clear conscience? I don't think so.

Friday 1 June 2007

Carbonsplifferous [Am]

The climate. You know it’s really serious when the US starts agreeing to finding targets for emissions. If you weren’t frightened before, which you should have been, I reckon it’s proper frightening that they’ve turned round the mother of all self-denials.
Anyway. It’s happening and stuff has got to get done. I think I’ll probably kill myself the first time I see Fiona Philip’s revoltingly sincere gormless face talking about how we all need to do better but so be it if the populace will listen. Morons.
And as for carbon approbation, the Lurker has discontinued referencing me as ‘G-Man’, swapping it out for ‘C-Man’ which is slightly distressing, if only for the fact that I can’t launch headcrabs at him any more. Now, we’ve all established that actually children are a major contributor of lifetime carbon, so in fact the real crim is Slim with 3 and KV with 7, albeit by different mothers, however the Lurker is obviously poking a little bit on my 3.2 litre car which I do 600 miles a week in (sorry) and Chateau Amnesia.
So obviously the real deal is to use less energy and lack of heating in the east wing may help but more has to be done. To this end I will be swapping to train when the new lines come in. I may also well end up getting a hybrid for a motor although one has to note problems with certain levels of hypocrisy and lack of detail here. The Lexus 430h may be hybrid and therefore is Congestion Charge free in London but puts out several times more emissions than a little Smart Car which has to pay it. This is pretty basic stuff which TfL should get right, right?
Moreover there is a lack of accurate data on the whole-of-life carbon contributions of products in general. Ok your Prius may do a lot of miles but just how much did it take to make the batteries etc? You could do whole blogs on these individual issues so I’m not going into detail here but it means that choices are not as clear as they should be.
And then, since I do have a larger house and a larger car, although we recycle, I wanted to make some effort to address the stuff that we do inevitably put out. Even if I reduce by a quarter (which would be huge) I’m still putting out 75% of what I do now and for each of us, that is many tons of CO2 a year. So this brought into mind carbon offsetting….
There have been some doubts raised about the efficiency of carbon offset providers – is it really efficient / does it really work / is it a rip off / will credits be double sold etc? So I did a little investigation and found a 44 page report by the not-for-profit organisation Clean Air Cool Planet ‘A Consumer’s Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers’ which can be found off this page; . A cup of coffee and a read later this turned out to be a fairly serious look at the issue and inspired some confidence.
The CACP paper is a due diligence report on 30 global offset providers ranking and rating them for their efficacy. It does highlight why research matters and you might be interested to know that about 70% of the providers do not make it to ‘Tier 1’ status. However, CACP does recommend five ‘Tier 1 Providers’ in Europe; , , , , . These provide multiple schemes to carbon offset in a number of different ways, from energy efficiency to funding alternatives, anaerobic digestion schemes to reforestation in geographically sensible places etc etc
So choosing a couple from this list (Driving green and Carbon Neutral) and knowing that all these schemes and one’s calculations are likely to be subject to some pretty large rounding errors I have bought credits to 150% of our family’s output. So am I an environmental paragon? Hardly. Carbon negative even? I doubt it really. But I’d rather be a G-Man than a C-Man….