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  • Gamespy is stupid: BitTorrent NOT shut down

    Posted on May 27th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    Contrary to what Gamespy is reporting, BitTorrent is not shut down. See.

    Gamespy’s reporter is writing about the shut down of a single torrent site. The BitTorrent client and technology are very much still active. This writer is just an idiot. Or maybe it’s the editor, who knows over there anymore.

    CNN reported today that Federal agents have launched a campaign on users of BitTorrent Software used to steal data files from the internet.

    This is also erroneous. The campaign was NOT against bittorrent users. It was against the pirate websites that post torrents to things such as “Episode III” before they’re released.

    “Our goal is to shut down as much of this illegal operation as quickly as possible to stem the serious financial damage to the victims of this high-tech piracy — the people who labor to produce these copyrighted materials,” said John Richter, acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department.

    You know what this proves? George Lucas has control of the Justice Department. Here’s how I imagine it going down.

    George Lucas: OMFG! Episode III is on teh intarweb? People can see it without paying $10 a ticket? RICK! TO THE SKYWALKER CAVE! We’ve got to call the President!

    Rick McCallum: As you command, Master.

    George Lucas: President? It’s important that you stem the serious financial damage this is wreaking upon my empir^H^H^H^H^H I mean, my legitimate business. I’M A VICTIM!!!!111oneone

    UPDATE: Apparently, Gamespy has now altered the headline to more correctly say, “Bittorrent site shut down” instead of, “Bittorrent shut down.” So, kudos to Gamespy for correcting their HEADLINE to be more correct… now if only they would leave their game reviews alone. Note that they have still not corrected the erroneous content of the article itself.

  • Xbox 360: What OS is it running?

    Posted on May 25th, 2005 Finster No comments

    Found an article at linked on /. concerning what OS the Xbox 360 is running. In order to spare you a bunch of Linux-based quasi-religious zeal, here’s the pertinent info:

    The original Xbox ran an OS that had its roots in Windows 2000. Granted, by the time you strip out everything that is not needed in a console like the Xbox and replace some of the parts with stuff specific to that device (like the file system), and add a few pieces, it hardly resembles anything remotely like Windows 2000 at all. But you could say that’s where its original roots lie, even if 95 percent of it has been cut or heavily altered.

    The Xbox 360’s OS, in turn, has its roots in the OS of the original Xbox. I’ve been told (not by Microsoft, but by one of its hardware partners) that the Xbox absolutely positively does NOT run Linux [oops, the censors missed that one –Ed.] or Unix or some variant of that. The Xbox 360 project started with the Xbox OS the same way the Xbox project started with Windows 2000. They cut, added, and changed it in both large and small ways. It’s now quite a bit different from the Xbox OS, which was itself quite a bit different from Windows 2000.

    Really, the best way to think of it is as “The Xbox 360 OS.” But if you really have to think of it in Windows terms, you could say it has roots in Windows 2000 by way of the original Xbox, albeit with sweeping changes along the way.

    Interesting, if somewhat useless knowledge. (Unless you’re part of the mod community, that is.)

  • We shall reorganize into the first Galactic Empire for a safe and secure society

    Posted on May 23rd, 2005 Finster No comments

    Bear with me while I’m making some much needed changes to the Blog. I’ve switch hosting companies, so hopefully, trackback pings will work, now. Also, I’ll soon be starting a conspiracy theory wiki.

    Also, I have yet to re-import all the old entries and comments. That will be happening tonight, probably. I’m pretty sure the new host hasn’t propagated, yet, but soon it shall. Hopefully, I’ll have all the old entries up before the new IP address gets propagated.

  • Microsoft’s version of Xbox360 vs PS3

    Posted on May 20th, 2005 Finster 4 comments

    Today, Major Nelson (whom I generally agree with and respect) posted a rather idiotic comparison of the PS3 and Xbox360’s performance specs. You can view my comparison here.

    So, let’s digest Major Nelsons charts…
    Read the rest of this entry »

  • E3: Updated info for Stargate SG-1: The Alliance

    Posted on May 20th, 2005 Finster No comments

    Saw this linked on

    The Alliance will also include online play (at least on the Xbox), with up to four players able to play through the game’s campaign cooperatively as SG-1.

    That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

  • Xbox360: I thought *I* was at the center of gaming!

    Posted on May 18th, 2005 Finster No comments

    Read a VERY interesting interview with Microsoft VP of hardware, Tom Holmdahl.

    With all this talk of the Xbox360 being “gamer-centric” or whatever the hell they decide to call it, I would think they would be a little more encouraging of really “owning” the platform. As in, allowing me access to the hardware on my own terms, instead of being forced to use handicapped software like Microsoft’s craptastic MusicMixer vs. the brilliant homebrew Xbox Media Center.

    But gaming homey J Allard says that they want me to OWN the Xbox360, because I am at the CENTER of Xbox360.

    J Allard. I have two words for you: Shut. Up.

    ET: The original Xbox was home to a lot of homebrew development that Microsoft didn’t really intend for. But that kind of thing has proven pretty popular, like with all the homebrew development happening around the PSP. Do you guys plan to embrace this notion more this time around, or is it too worrisome with Live always connected and the marketplace and so on?

    TH: It’s very important to have a very secure system, and we’re making sure we have a secure system. It’s a very private system, very secure.

    ET: Can you explain how you’re locking it down?

    TH: We’re looking at it from a holistic standpoint, everything from servers to CPUs. We learned a lot from Xbox. We’ve architected the box to be very secure, and we started thinking about that from the ground up, and how to solve that problem holistically.

    What you just heard was the very loud and obvious chortle simultaneously released from the entire Xbox modding community.

    Here’s more:

    ET: WiFi—is it built into the system, or added on?

    TH: Ethernet is built-in, WiFi can be added on. It was designed so that it’s very seamless not only from a physical standpoint of snapping in and being flush with the box, but from an electrical standpoint where you plug it in and it recognizes the WiFi. It’ll be a seamless thing.

    Oh really? So, no built-in wi-fi. I’m going to have to get an add-on in order to gain the same functionality that is BUILT into the PS3 and Revolution.

    Good, I didn’t want that annoying wi-fi technology built in, anyway. Pesky 802.11. Sheesh.

    Everyone Else 1, Microsoft 0.

    But wait, it gets better. Let me set this up. The interviewer asks about the PS3. Tom’s response is the best response ever from a HARDWARE guy.

    ET: How would you answer those that say they [at Sony] have a performance advantage? They say their CPU is more powerful, their GPU does this many shader operations per secondÂ…

    TH: I don’t really see how they’re more powerful when they have one CPU core and we have three.


    The interviewer (and I’m sure any intelligent reader) was not fazed by this blatant over-simplification.

    ET: They would argue they have eight cores.

    TH: They have one core, they have seven something else.

    Uh oh. I wonder if Tom’s worried…

    ET: They’re claiming higher gigaflops for their CPU, and a total system performance of two teraflops.

    TH: I think it goes back to what we were talking about at the start of the discussion. It’s really about developing a whole platform. It’s not just about having a great platform on which to develop games…

    Yup, he’s worried.

    To Tom’s credit, he goes on to make a good point. The hardware has to be good, but the software and other services have to be better. And so far, Sony is building so much functionality and expandability out of the box it’s quite breathtaking. Oh, and standard wi-fi… you know… annoyingly built-in. Jerks.

  • Area 51

    Posted on May 14th, 2005 Finster No comments

    So, I have Area 51. I haven’t played it, yet. In fact, I haven’t even read any reviews of it. The most I’ve read about this game is the average score that I’ve seen on and several words from John Romero.

    See, I want to like this game. Really bad. I feel a tinge of sadness whenever I think of John Romero. He’s kind of like John Lennon. Well, except that John Romero hasn’t ever been shot. That I know of. Well, there was Daikatana… he kind of shot himself in the foot… anyway.

    As I played Doom 3, I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Would this game have been better if John Romero had been designing the levels?”

    Well, I hope to find an answer to that question as I play Area 51. I understand that Romero only helped design the multiplayer levels. But, I just want to see something with his name attached to it do well.

  • Xbox 360. Meh.

    Posted on May 13th, 2005 Finster No comments

    So, the ourcolony ending video.

    In contrast to the MTV Xbox crap (which reminds me of a certain SpikeTV video game debacle), this video is much more interesting and informative. It’s still an ad, but at least it has something interesting to say.

    three things:
    1) J. Allard’s gamertag is HiroProtaganist. Snow Crash reference for the win.
    2) Heh heh heh, Mei-Mei Bong. Coolest name for a Microsoft employee ever.
    3) I’m a little tired of this whole “OMG! Xbox 360 puts gamers at the center! You are in control!” Oh really. Am I in control enough to use a homebrew media player package? Uh… guess not. Am I in control enough to run Linux or another OS on my Xbox? Hmm. Nope. The video is basically screaming for people to mod their Xboxes, but I’ll eat 50 turnips if Microsoft will digitally sign anyone’s homebrew code, like the top-notch Xbox Media Center. Just ticks me off…

    Here’s what else:

    My dilemma is this. I’ve just moved somewhere that doesn’t have any broadband access. No cable. No DSL. There are wireless ISP’s, but the equipment costs are enormous. So, basically, I see little need to get the Xbox360. It seems to center so much around Xbox Live, it’ll be difficult to find games that have good single-player. At least, at launch anyway.

    No broadband = No need to buy Xbox360 for a while.

    Perhaps it is a strange way of looking at it. I’m trying to make the point that for people who don’t have broadband, and don’t have HD, there is little drive to purchase the Xbox360. Especially when I have a whole bunch of non-Live games yet to enjoy for Xbox1. I’m looking on the horizon for quality single-player experiences on Xbox360, and I’m not seeing much. Blue Dragon looks cool, but won’t be out for some time. Halo 3? Without Live, I can wait a while before buying the next single-player chapter. Halo 2.5? I would buy it in 0.2 seconds flat… if I had a broadband connection. Now? Meh.

    Actually, the new Nintendo console looks more attractive as it will do everything the Xbox360 does, has all the hardware that the 360 has (with an additional CPU core), and will be backwards compatible with GCN games, which is a whole stable of games I have yet to really delve into. *shrug* My excitement is muted at best.

  • I Hate Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance

    Posted on May 3rd, 2005 Finster No comments

    I can’t stand Action RPG’s that are based on Pen and Paper RPG’s. If it’s D&D, or in the D&D world, I want turn based. Or if it’s not turn-based, I at least want a really close approximation of turn-based. Troika’s Temple of Elemental Evil? Awesomeness. If Knights of the Old Republic didn’t have the best Star Wars story since Empire Strikes Back, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Bioware had a kind of passing salute to the Star Wars RPG, but was ultimately changed around quite a bit to make it more action-oreiented. It worked, and I would still give the game 5 out of 5 stars, but for me, it would be even more fun if they had stayed true to the original RPG rules and had it be turn-based with the d20 bonus feats, class features, etc. After all, if Troika can do it, why not Bioware?

    There may be an intersection between gamers like me who hate these Action RPG’s and gamers who enjoy “Strategy RPG’s” like FF:Tactics, Disgaea, etc. What I love about Fallout, Wasteland, FF6 and other RPG’s that use turn-based combat is that they come so close to recreating the feel of pen and paper RPG’s and paper-based war games. Turn-based strategy is king. It was even hard for me to like the original Baldur’s Gate when it came out because for me, it blurred the line between turn-based and real-time combat. Much like KoTOR has done. I should note that some action RPG’s are quite fun. I enjoyed Diablo and Diablo II to a certain extent. Dungeon Siege was fun for a few minutes. I’m a few hours into Jade Empire and absolutely loving it, but turn-based will always be my first love.

    And I don’t think it’s a problem of repetitiveness. Example: random battles in FF6. Repetitive as repetitive can be, but I’m about halfway through it again, and still loving the game as much as I did 10 years ago.