Sunday, January 31, 2010

Timewaster: Global Game Jam Keynote

This is a keynote speech from the current Global Game Jam, a competition in which game developers all over the world make games in just two days.

Watch:

Global Game Jam '10 Keynote from Ste Curran on Vimeo.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Angry Mob "Convinces" 2K Games To Fix DRM in Bioshock 2

From Rock Paper Shotgun:

"The current status is: SecureROM check on launch, but no install limts, and now there are offline profile options for GfWL meaning you can in fact save, load, etc without being connected. "

Darn right. It still kind-of sucks that multiplayer is bogged down by GFWL, but as I said, I'm not getting it for the multiplayer.

I will reconsider not pre-ordering it, because there's probably no way they could remove GFWL from the game at this stage without serious delays. There's still a little over two weeks to get it at 10% off, so I'll mull it over for a bit. Getting rid of another one or more of the annoying DRM bits would probably sweeten the deal enough for me to preorder, but frankly I'm still on the fence right now.

But at least I'm on the fence, rather than throwing molotov cocktails over the other side, metaphorically speaking.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ribbon Hero

Well I posted about something exceptionally annoying yesterday, so here's something that is exceptionally interesting and has cheered me up somewhat.

Thanks to Lost Garden (link on the weblogs sidebar) for pointing me towards Ribbon Hero.

Ribbon Hero is a game that turns Microsoft Office into a game that teaches you how to use Microsoft Office. Oh, and it's integrated with Facebook, so it's kind of like a Facebook game that's actually worth your time. Now granted it's not the most entertaining game ever, but it's one of the best educational games I've played in a while. So it's social (if you connect it to Facebook), educational and fairly entertaining.

Hopefully it might even cure my Mom of having to call me over every time she wants to cut and paste a paragraph.

It's definitely a step in the right direction as far as the potential of video games having the ability to teach real world skills. Most educational games are aimed at elementary schoolers, and while that is a good thing (The original Sticky Bear and Reader Rabbit programs certainly helped me understand arithmetic and basic spelling), there's so much potential for teaching more advanced subjects as well.

If Microsoft are smart (which they are), they ought to integrate it into all Office apps as standard from now on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Possibly Pirating Bioshock 2

Under normal circumstances, I buy games legitimately. Between my brothers and I, we own legit copies of thousands of PC games on CD as well as dozens to hundreds of games for each of the consoles we own (depending on which console you ask about). My Steam account currently has 242 little icons in it's games list, including the original Bioshock, but not counting mods, demos and others.

But I'm seriously tempted to just pirate Bioshock 2. Because of this. Limited installations? Okay, we don't own that many different gaming rigs right now. GfWL for multiplayer? Well I was buying the game for singleplayer anyway. Having to be logged into GFWL to save my single-player game...

What.

No.

Let me explain something: If you must be a jackass and include DRM in your game, you better make it invisible. Completely invisible. I put up with the DRM included in Spore and Overlord because when I bought them the DRM had been cut back to be mild and unobtrusive. If I had known the multiplayer in W40K: DoW2 required a GFWL account for the Steam version, I would have thought twice about buying it, and I think it's a big reason why I haven't played it much. As for UT3, I just play with bots.

But this is a whole step beyond anything previously: needing to be logged into GFWL just to save my single-player game I (would have) bought on Steam? No. No, that's not something I am going to pay for.

I am not going to pay for a single player game that requires an internet connection through a server to another server just to save my progress. That's like praying that I'll be playing through the game and suddenly can't save because of a problem with one or more connections. It's one thing to be mildly inconvenienced on the rare occasions a Valve multiplayer game glitches and I get kicked from a server or can't access my inventory for a few minutes or whatever. It's an entirely different thing to require the same kind of connection to save a single-player game. It's just plain stupid.

I bought the original Bioshock after the DRM was trimmed down to be essentially invisible. I may buy Bioshock 2 eventually, or I might just pirate it. If they cut back on the DRM before launch, it probably won't be quite enough incentive to pre-order, and I'll probably wait for a sale. I have over two hundred games in my Steam account, but Bioshock 2 is not going to be one of them for quite a while. Or I might just pirate it.

It's a pity, really. I was that close to pre-ordering it...

EDIT (a few days later): Okay, I definitely won't actually be pirating it. It'd be 12 Gigs to store the pirate version, plus another 12 gigs for the installed files, so that's at least 24 gigs total. So meh to that. But you get my point.

Even if disk space wasn't an issue, once I calmed down I probably would have made the same decision. I really liked the original game, but if they're going to pull the same crap of horrible DRM at release, pissing off everyone who bought it early, then later reducing the DRM while reducing the price, they'll probably do it with Bioshock 3 (or whatever's next) as well. Frankly, I figure the only way to get the message across is to boycott BS2 entirely until... well it depends on the post-release reviews.

If it turns out to be another GTA4PC situation, then forget it forever. I'll just pretend BS2 doesn't exist. Which is a pity. Because I want to play it, but customer abuse must never be tolerated.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

FF w/lyrics

Since I haven't posted a video in a while, here's BrentalFloss's version of the Final Fantasy Theme.