• Plastic X-plorer paint job

    The guitar Harmonix chose for the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II is not exactly my favorite guitar. The Gibson X-plorer just reminds me too much of german hard-rockers from the eighties... and mullets. Harmonix' plastic rendition of the guitar doesn't look any better than the original of course, and white doesn't help. I've seen things at Toys'R'Us that look less toy-like. I can't do much about the shape but seeing that I had already done a red paint job on my faceplate a while ago, I thought that at least the color had to change.

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    Tags: Gaming

    Sep 9 2007 10:30 PM
  • Seven deadly sins of game design

    There are a few very obvious game design flaws that for some reason still commonly get perpetuated today. They're especially infuriating when found in otherwise good games. The only explanation I could find was artificial lifetime enhancement, which is a bad idea because it can in reality dramatically shorten the lifetime of the game since many gamers just won't want to finish it. Which also means that they won't buy the sequel either.

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    Tags: Gaming

    Jul 5 2007 3:10 PM
  • The Wiimote doesn't work...

    ... for anything else than aiming and frantically moving up and down. In other words, slow movements aimed at the screen work well, as do fast, imprecise movements, but anything else is impractical.

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    Tags: Gaming

    May 17 2007 12:00 AM
  • Gaming 2.0

    Think what you want about Web 2.0, it is an unescapable change in the way the web will grow in the future. It is the convergence of several emerging ideas and technologies that individually wouldn't mean as much but that taken together make a real difference. These ideas are (paraphrasing Wikipedia and isolating the technical points from the business ones):

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    Tags: Gaming

    Apr 1 2006 1:02 AM
  • Finished Jade Empire

    Wow, what a great game! I just finished Jade Empire in "evil mode". I'm very likely to do it again in "boy scout" mode. The immersion and richness of the universe are just amazing. The only thing I disliked is the tendancy Bioware has to explain to us that the evil path is somewhat as honorable as the virtuous one. I enjoy playing an evil character (I know the subtle difference between game and reality as almost every other gamer on the planet), but don't try to tell me that he's not evil. Some of the things they make you do in this mode are actually quite disturbing. I'm still waiting for the (good) game that will let you play a Dr. Evil-like character: evil, but in a funny way. Yes, Dungeon Keeper did that in a way, but that was a long time ago.

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    Tags: Gaming

    Jul 23 2005 2:36 PM
  • Black hole evaporation paradox?

    I just sent this letter to Scientific American. I'd be interested to have any informed opinion on the matter.

    I’ve read the article about black hole computers with great interest, but there are still a few questions that I think remain unanswered.

    The article makes it quite clear how black holes could be memory devices with unique properties, but I didn’t quite understand what kind of logical operations they could perform on the data.

    But another, more fundamental question is bugging me ever since I read the article. From what I remember learning about black holes, if you are an observer outside the black hole, you will see objects falling into the black hole in asymptotically slow motion. The light coming from them will have to overcome a greater and greater gravitational potential as the object approaches the horizon, losing energy along the way and shifting to the red end of the spectrum. From our vantage point, it seems like the object does not reach the horizon in a finite time.

    From a frame that moves with the object, though, it takes finite time to cross the horizon.

    This is all very well and consistent so far. Enter black hole evaporation.

    From our external vantage point, a sufficiently small black hole would evaporate over a finite period of time. So how do we reconcile this with the perception that objects never actually enter the horizon?

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