Archive for January, 2006|Monthly archive page

What Kind of Superhero are You?

the good? superman and spider-man kick ass.

the bad? i’m more like robin than batman….

where do you stand?


Halo 3 is an FPS MMOG

NOTE: because of all the idiotic bile-filled comments this post attracts, i just want to take a second to point something out.  the original prediction was made almost a year and a half before bungie announced what they were making. in other words, when i originally wrote this, we were just coming out of HOLIDAY 2005!

it’s called reading, people.  it’s a REALLY cool skill.  some of you should look into it sometime.

now, back to the original post…

another “you heard it here first” moment.

bungie’s new project is a massively multiplayer fps based on the halo universe.

there are several reasons for me coming to this conclusion. take, for example, prior expertise shown by the folks at bungie:

  • backend server integration with live – these guys are the best at running complimentary xbox live servers tracking megawatts of data. there is no other company around who has this much successful experience bringing external servers and xbox live’s internal servers into harmony.
  • creating party based play – their virtual couch. forming a party. why doesn’t anyone else adopt this? that’s why nobody plays other fps games on live other than halo 2. it’s good to easily play with your friends.
  • heavy, heavy investment in developing the halo world ip – halo books. halo movie. halo character crossovers. they have a fully fleshed out world.
  • the end of halo 2 set up ‘matrix online’ like mmog world ready for war – was it just me or can the ending to halo 2 be interpreted as ‘okay, here is your playground to battle in?’ here are tons of ‘events’ that can be happening. look how open ended it is.

now, let’s look at some of the things frankie was talking about in his last update.

  • extreme ui work going on – there is no greater ui problem than translating something like an mmo interface to a console. my guess? some kind of radial menuing system similar to a neverwinter nights and kameo (when selecting your warriors) cross. can you imagine selecting options by moving one of the analog sticks through a radial interface? hold it over the selected icon for one of dave’s “half second” intervals and it jumps to the menu below. no button push needed.
  • ease of inputing text – why would you need to input text on a 360 in halo? workin’ through text commands in the heat of battle’s not cool. hanging out in a social situation, tho, is much more understandable. social fps?
  • not necessarily split screen – split screen ‘normal’ fps? yeah, duh! split screen mmo? not really.



a few other bonus thoughts.

  • make it subscription free, helping to legitimize live as a multiplayer service. no more of this “why do i have to pay?” nonsense.
  • hottest property (halo) + hottest console differentiator (xbox live) + hottest game type (mmo) = badass.
  • can you think of a better company (one who perfected online console multiplayer) to make the first fps mmog?


so. evidently i’ve touched a nerve with the halo faithful. well. them and a whole ‘nuther crowd: lemmings.

anyway. i thought i would layout a couple of thoughts on how it might work. since some folks *cough* brian *cough* don’t have any imagination.

to get you in the right frame of mind, there are 2 memes to keep at the forefront.

  1. the same blasting, dodging, grenade throwing, first-person, non-rpg fun.
  2. world of warcraft pvp servers.

speaking of wow, think along the lines of aliance vs. horde. only, instead, it’s arbiters vs. spartans. pve could include the flood and the Big Freaky Tentacled Thing™. lots of pocket missions involving the second class citizens — grunts, soldiers, elites, etc.

it’s that third faction (the flood) that makes things interesting. they could act as the lever to counter-balance the world just in case the spartans or arbiters get too powerful as a faction. just enough to keep the state of the universe in chaos, and thus, fun.

they could still have arenas.

they could have big, epic battles pushing the war one way or the other.

they’ve already implemented leveling – based on skill, not time invested.

ranking and feedback? handled by xbox live.

fits right along with their entire “30 seconds of fun” over and over and over, don’t you think?


oh, and of course, it’s not going to be called halo 3. they will still retain the right to make that one. to finish the universe. in the meantime, we’ll all be playing out the big final war on some game named something much more creative than “halo online.”

there’s a reason they keep referring to it as “their next project” and not halo 3. they sure didn’t mind calling halo 2… well… halo 2.

1/31/06 UPDATE 4:

a few things i’m tired of reading about in other people’s comments.

  1. yes. i know planetside was the first fps. i’m not talking about pc games here. i’m talking about xbox games. please pay attention to the context.
  2. legitimizing live as a multiplayer service. everyone who plays online in the pc world or on the playstation has the same argument “my online is free.” bungie, being first party, would be the one company who could legitimately make an appeal to microsoft for them to subsidize their server farm. it’s a benefit to microsoft as they can now combat the “free” counter to live by saying, “look! you get halo online for free when you sub to xbox live!” no other ip has that kind of leveragability on the xbox.
  3. mmo gameplay. previous implementations of mmo fps type gameplay all came out before wow damn near perfected pvp. and, having one npc faction eliminates many of the game design hurdles other non-rpg mmo’s have had. the whole multiple bases multiple ‘ring worlds’ theme allows for single player play. maybe the single player could just be set on a different outpost. maybe beating it unlocks the mmo aspects. there are lots of cool things you could do here.
  4. finally — FIRST PERSON SHOOTER. not rts. not rpg. not abc or xyz.

2/2/06 UPDATE 5:

sweet. an mmo that can be played on the pc too!

they are hiring pc developers. presumably to port ‘halo online’ over to the pc. hmmm… broad platform support. play with your pc only buddies.  sounds good to me.

It’s Over. The Next Generation Victor of Gaming is Already Cast.

wait a minute:

“Daiwa’s Maeda says that Microsoft isn’t out of the race yet; the company had released its console half a year before its competitors, which gives it an upper hand in mass production and cost cutting.”

the 360’s not out of the race yet?  “had released?”  “half a year?”  dude.  the last time i checked, it was the only one IN the race with no official launch dates from anyone else.
*sigh* anaylists rule.


PS3 Development

lyndon homewood: “At the end of the day it’s just a multi-processor architecture. If you can get something running on eight threads of a PC CPU, you can get it running on eight processors on a PS3 – it’s not massively different. There is a small ‘gotcha’ in there though. The main processor can access all the machine’s video memory, but each of the seven SPE chips has access only to its own 256k of onboard memory”

the conclusion from the article: “So there you go. PS3 is relatively easy to program for if you have experience with high-end PCs – certainly more straightforward than PS2 with its proprietary graphics APIs.”

uh. yeah. it’s easier than the ps2. sweet?

that’s like saying “a garden tractor is easier to plow 1000 acres with than a hoe because it has a motor.”  how about using a big-ass, industrial-strength tractor?  hmmm?

Working on Something.

sorry i’ve been quiet.  been working on something.  my regular weekend blogging time was replaced writing a 3000 word piece for something else.

i’ll keep you guys updated.


Microsoft and Sony Earnings

so, now that everyone is talking about microsoft’s earnings, official xbox 360 sales, et al, i thought i would mention something.

net income for the microsoft’s q4 was $3.65 billion. wow. that’s alot.

to compare, sony’s recent earnings announcement (which was good, thank god) elicited such exclamitory statements as “Stringer’s Sony Startles With Strong Profit” and “Profit Jumps at Sony” and “Sony’s Net Climbs 18% to Record; Competition Might Curb Outlook” were less than half of microsoft’s net income at $1.5 billion.

what really is interesting in all of this is their profit vs. revenue comparisons for the same quarter.


  • $66.5 billion gross revenue
  • $1.5 billion net earnings
  • 2.2% profit.


  • $11.8 billion gross revenue
  • $3.65 billion net earnings
  • 31% profit

microsoft has 15x the money to throw around to make the xbox 360 work. they have 15x the money to push into the living room. they have 15x the money to float them through to a ‘convergence’ victory.


p.s.  i was just thinking i should qualify “15x the money” as effectively “wiggle room.”  meaning, earning potential.  meaning cash in the warchest.  meaning shareholder love.  not necessarily representative of the ‘only’ 2.4 times the literal profit.

Damn my Obsessiveness.

Water! Temple! Bug! Woot!

Pulse Pounding. Head Swimming. Fingers flying manically across my keyboard. Scratching and scribbling noisily, struggling to find just the right word.

Damn this tiny tablet keyboard! My long, gangly fingers mis-stepping the entire way. I feel like I spend more time on the backspace key than actually poking at letters. Argh! Too late.

Sunshine. I need to go faster.

No! I need to concentrate on the next word.

Dinosaur! Got it! 10 points! I’m a genius!

Catching up to Seraphim now. It won’t be long before I claim that coveted top spot. Before I can reap the glory and spread the fear. Behold the giant: m3mnoch!

Um. How the hell do you spell “exuberant?” Wait! No one is going to use that as a tag. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever thought.

Teeth. Simile…. Ack. *click* *click* *click* I meant Smile. No? Clown? 4 Points!

Ranking is falling. There is only 46 seconds left in the round. I’ve fallen to 23rd. I don’t know if I can recover.

Think, dammit! Simple words. Descriptive words.

Fraudulent. What? Fraudulent? Where on earth did I come up with that one? Better yet, who in their right mind would tag a photo as “fraudulent?” And, how on earth did I spell that right the first time?  What?  Next photo already?
Sand! Yes! 8 points. Hanging steady at 23rd. Times almost up!

Erg. I have no idea on this one. 3… Banging out letters. 2… No! Not yet! 1… I can get it!

Too Late.

What? “THE Kevin Federline check out my site yo!” beat me? The absolute shame. I lost out in a competition of cognitive prowess to Kevin Federline? I guess there’s no chance Britney will shack up with me now, eh?

Is it really 9:30 already? Have I really been doing this for an hour? Wow. I need to pull up out of this swirling vacuum of….

Vacuum! I bet that was the last one!

Oops. New round. Gotta hurry.

Puppy? Paw? Fur! Yes! 7 points!

Huh? What? What was the link? Oh, yeah. it’s


Measuring Next Generation Console News Coverage

a couple of measurements according to google news.

mentioning the xbox 360

  • 6 weeks before launch: 3,270
  • 2 months after launch: 6,530

mentioning the playstation 3

  • “8 weeks” before launch: 1,930
  • 2 months after launch: ?

mentioning the nintendo revolution

  • “8 weeks” before launch: 329
  • 2 months after launch: ?

now, what happens when we count “xbox 360” and not “playstation 3” and vice versa?

xbox 360 and not the playstation 3

  • 6 weeks before launch: 2,360
  • 2 months after launch: 5,249

playstation 3 and not the xbox 360

  • “8 weeks” before launch: 629
  • 2 months after launch: ?

not that these are scientifically derived. and, there are a lot of mitigating factors: the 360 being first naturally draws comparisons from the ps3, for example, and thus causes a smaller number of hits when excluded from ps3 searches.

still. fascinating stuff to an analytical geek like myself. of course, i’ll update the searches to more accurately match up with the playstation and nintendo launches. but, in the meantime, it looks like microsoft is absolutely owning the pr battle between the consoles.

i only wish i had recorded the actual top 10 headlines for the xbox 360 before launch. ah well. i grabbed them 2 months afterwards, so that will have to do.


Button Me Too!

heh. saw the gaming hobo’s killer button and it instantly made me jealous. tho. mine’s a little different.

I'm an Addict

go make your own cool button too.


On a Related Note

google news came out of beta.  in celebration, i thought i would share my personalized google news page.