Metareview of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach

This directly from Joystiq.  I want to make some comments here, too.  I want to try DDO:Stormreach.  I’m a longtime D&D gamer, and the thought of teaming online with hopefully easy to assemble teams sounds promising.  But I can’t handle the thought of an MMO with almost no single-player content and no reward until quest completion.

I know, MMO is massively multi-player, which many people assumes means you have to team.  But I don’t always have the time to wait during team building and then run a full mission/quest.  In DDO:Stormreach, you don’t get experience until the end of the mission.  That means if I can’t commit to an hour or two, I can’t advance.  If I wait for team building, I could easily eat up 30+ minutes of my play time.  If the mission takes an hour, I’m usually over my gametime budget then.  In DDO:Stormreach, that means I gain nothing.

So DDO:Stormreach is clearly not built for a casual gamer like me.  I had a similar problem with Diablo II when it came out.  Sometimes, I can go days or weeks with no more than 10-15 minutes play time at any time.  In Diablo II, that meant I couldn’t finish the game (and often couldn’t even complete some quests or reach certain checkpoints) until I have a long block of game time available.  In DDO:Stormreach that means I shouldn’t even start the game unless I have a long block of time.  In Diablo II, at least I earned experience for my game time, so I made some progress in my limited time in game.

Now, having said that, let’s just see a quick blip of what Joystiq showed in their metareview:

Hit the links for more details, and be sure to read the full Joystiq article for their comments, as well.

[tags]DDO, DDO:Stormreach, MMORPG, Dungeons and Dragons Online[/tags]

More eye candy

I like how the previous post looked.  I think I need to do a few more.  My favorite of these is first, but it’s so hard to pick just one.  Honestly, though, that third one doesn’t look quite right for her face.  But I can’t quite say why.






[tags]Jennifer Garner[/tags]

Game Informer’s top 10 games you’ve never heard of – April 2006

I date this, because plenty of gaming magazines have a top X list of games you’ve never played/heard of.  Beyond Good and Evil was on a number of such lists a few years back.  I’ve heard of some of these games, and even played a few.  But I’ve never heard of some of them.  Game Informer is a great magazine.  Generally, their recommendations are on the mark.  Check these out.

  1. Soldat – A little hard to describe.  A platform-view shooter.  Verrrrry popular.
  2. FAÇADE – Described as “interactive drama” in the magazine.  You guide the interactions between the primary characters and determine the story’s outcome.
  3. Ocular Ink – Play out the story of a detached eyeball armed with a paintbrush.  Bizarre sounding, but it looks really good.
  4. Runescape – A Java-based MMORPG.  You play this in your browser.  This game is closing in on 200,000 players.
  5. Narbacular Drop – An action/puzzle game from Nuclear Monkey Software.  Navigate the main character through a series of increasingly complex 3D levels using unique transport capabilities.  Just check it out.
  6. Cloud – This is described as a calming, dreamlike game with an ecological consciousness.  It’s also described as Zen-like, but I hate to use the term, given how often that’s used.
  7. N – Something like a combination of Lode Runner and Pac Man.  Nagivate levels collection pellets while moving through labyrinthine layouts, switches, and jump pads.
  8. Street Bike Fury – Think Excitebike with guns, no hills, and massive explosions.  How could you possibly pass this up?
  9. Epoch Star – A top-down space shooter (a la asteroids or Star Control) with upgrades and an economics system
  10. Stinkoman 20×6 – An old school, side-scrolling platformer.

[tags]Games, Game Informer, Games you missed[/tags]

Better lighting for better gaming

(via Joystiq)

A British company, Geomerics, has published some information on their work with geometric algebra which apparently will lead to better lighting, and therefore improved visual realism in gaming.  Certainly of no interest to most of the world’s population, but a big w00t announcement for many gamers.  Gameplay is what matters, sure, but improved visuals are almost always welcome, too.

Currently, lighting in games is a toss-up between three elements: in real life, light often changes position (e.g. as the sun moves across the sky); objects cast shadows, which are often quite subtle; and depending on your viewpoint, you can sometimes see light sources reflected in other objects. The usual method is to pre-calculate the shadows in a scene and paint them on the ground, but this means the light source must stay fixed. Thanks to next-gen computing power, spherical harmonic lighting can be used to generate soft, lifelike shadows from moving light sources, but without any of the shiny surface effects that complete the picture and add realism.

[tags]Gaming, Geomerics, Geometric Algebra[/tags]

Sharp’s dual view LCD – different angles, different view

I’ve seen this monitor before, but when I saw this on TechEBlog, I figured I’d post about it for those who haven’t seen this before. As the headline says, looking at Sharp’s new LCD from different angles can give you different views. Look at the image below – the view on the left is the same LCD viewed in a mirror. Notice the different image for the different angles. I have no idea how good the view differentiation is, but this is something that would just be cool to have. And being a geek, sometimes really cool is the only reason I need to want something.

With a parallax barrier superimposed on a normal TFT-LCD, these Sharp displays can show different information simultaneously depending on the viewing angle.


Cell phone has cool disabled feature – there’s an easy fix

(via MAKE blog)

The Sanyo MM-7500 and MM-9000 come with a feature that allows you to save GPS locations along with the pictures you take. Phonescoop has details on how to take advantage of this.

the mm7500 (and the mm9000) can add gps data to the exif file when you take a picture. these are the first phones in the US with this capability. cdma phones in japan have been doing this for years and they have some really neat photo services over there that let you organize your photos by where you took them.

Of course, right now, we don’t have these services to take advantage of this right now.  But I’m sure there’s tools available somewhere.  I may even try to find them.  If you turn some up, please leave a comment so the rest of us can get them.

[tags]Sanyo, GPS tagging, mm-7500, mm-9000[/tags]

Build your own arc welder at home

(via MAKE blog)

The downloadable PDF costs about $9, but you can also get the information for free.  Just hit the main page and choose the format you want for your documentation.

It’s constructed of salvaged microwave oven transformers. The solid state SCR module provides power adjustment, unlike the common AC welders which simply switch a multi-tapped transformer.

Here is a photo. As you can see, there are three sections. The bottom section, which is the base of the cabinet, carries the 8 transformers. (Four are visible.) The center section holds the cooling fans, the power controls, and most of the wiring. The top section is the tool tray and carrying handle. (I say ‘carrying handle’ a bit cautiously; this beast weighs 140 pounds!) Scroll down to see the schematic and design notes!

[tags]DIY, arc welder, MAKE[/tags]