I bumped into old leather-pants himself tonight while playing War Thunder. Yes, I’m going by “kfsone”. There’s a reason I’m not an actor, and that’s one of it.
Unfortunately, their chat UI is kinda lacking, and although I cancelled my queue I got sucked into a game, at which point – despite the chat window being up – I was unable to chat with you (it kept telling me that kfsone wasn’t online).
That game alternately drives me nuts (random damage model ftl) and makes me drool deliriously (but the models are so beautiful, and if the joysticks worked full realism mode would be a thing of beauty) and drives me nuts (did someone go back in time and suck all the evil out of the early WWIIOL UIs and inject the distilled tincture like botox into the World of Tank UI so that just when you think, oh I got this, BAM, it’s in your face doing anything but what you expected, and in russian) and makes me cheer (in-flight reload in arcade mode FTW!).
But then I’ve also been hopping into WarBirds occasionally (as kfs1). Have to say, when I did the offline training flight for WB 2013 and saw “bobn”s name … Man, that tugged at the old heart strings.
2 years ago, on a whim, I decided to go Windows 7 Phone – for the 14 days until the droid I actually wanted became available. But I was impressed with the slickness of the device; that Windows 7 Phone UI – the UI where they got rid of all the reasons to need UI chrome – is really slick and elegant. Unlike the Windows 8 UI, which is a PC UI hacked to look like Metro and coerced into removing necessary UI chrome (but still needing it).
Ultimately, the lack of apps and an assortment of stupid feature changes are what sluiced me out of staying with Windows phone.
Windows Phone 7 Summary:
- + Ultra-streamlined UI makes sense down to your bones after a few days adjustment,
- + Great text-to-speech for reading text messages and giving alerts,
- + Great speech-to-text – best I’ve seen so far for dictating texts etc,
- + Fast little device
- - One Volume Setting to Rule them All,
- - Tendency to reset the volume to full on incoming calls, texts, or pretty much any sound,
- - Speech functionality only available when you’ve have or have just had a bluetooth headset connected,
- - No significant app support
Plus I had a grand-fathered unlimited data plan.
So today, I used my end of contract upgrade to switch to the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
This may be a problem, because I’m a phone-in-pocket type of guy. The Note is HUGE. Half-way between my old phone and the size of my first-gen Kindle Fire.
In terms of the device in-hand, I like the size. In terms of portability – it’s bigger than my pockets. I bought an “Otter” belt-case for it. Yeah, that’s … just gonna take a normal guy’s pants down. The thing is huge.
Off the bat I had problems with the home screen customization. I want the time, date and temp displayed, sure. Do I want it so large I can only choose four other short cuts on that screen? Erh. No?
First App: HD Widgets.
Gives me a 2×1 clock + cal + weather widget. Replace the google search bar with a button and now I have a good 12 extra shortcuts on that page.
My contacts were mostly stored in Google and Windows Live so I got those imported nice and easily.
Getting Amazon Kindle running was a little bit of a pain.
And finally: There was selecting ring tones, alarm tones, notification tones and etc.
It didn’t come with a ringing phone tone. WTF.
And I’ll miss the alarm tones from the Trophy. I supposed I can always record them and make my own ring tones :)
It’s on, finally! The fourth chapter in the Elite franchise!
In 1984, Elite provided gamers with 256 galaxies of 256 stars, each of which had assorted planets and space stations. You loaded up with trading goods, bought fuel and launched out of Llave station to begin the process of trading, pirating and what not your way to the rank of “Elite”.
Those computers had 16Kb of memory. You are probably using a computer with 4-8Gb of RAM. That’s 260,000 times more memory than the computers of 1984. 1Gb is roughly 1 million Kb.
Then, 19 years ago, Dave Braben followed up with “Frontier: Elite II” and bent our minds: the game featured hundreds of thousands of stars, the entire of our galaxy, while at the same time allowing you to also go into the atmospheres and even land on the many planets and moons with cities and spaceports decorating many of the planets. All this is probably only 32x more memory than the previous version.
Today’s PC has 32,000x more memory than the computers “Frontier” was designed for.
Elite: Dangerous will be introducing multi-player to the Elite franchise, as well as bringing new depth and immersiveness to the game. Given how much Mr Braben has done with so little in the past, I’m really looking forward to seeing this chapter.
Right now they are pitching for funding on KickStarter – as of writing they’re at 1.1 million pounds of 1.25, 5 days to go!
As much as I’m enjoying playing this game, the irks are … very, very irksome.
This is not a review of ACIII, it’s a rant. I am actually enjoying the game, just not nearly as much as I could be with small amounts of simple polish.
It also suffers from several cases of over-solving of problems where the combination of fixes actually create a new and – in a couple of cases – worse problems.
Like it’s predecessors and other PoP-ilk games, ACIII controls appear to be based on camera context rather than what you’d expect. On an HDTV this makes the games wickedly sensitive to display lag. When I tune RockBand/GuitarHero, my TV gets an unfortunate 75-100ms.
There’s something more than that going on: When I get into open combat, my character drops into an extreme pedestrian mode. He won’t jump over stuff, he won’t duck under things, he can barely climb the most basic climbing faces (and when he can, he’s usually so slow about it that he gets shot down again).
They also tried to simplify the controls down and so there’s a lot more “auto” stuff going on. They’ve added a GoW style “press to wall” behavior. It’s automatic. And it will do it against even half-height objects. Like tables, or rocks. Which is ok, if a little goofy. Except when it turns out that almost everything you need to interact with, ever, is on just such an object. Sure; you just have to learn to approach things you want to interact with slowly so that you can find the miniscule corridor where the button “interacts” as oppose to doing nothing or something entirely different (such as “drop”, because that’s also what the button does).
I also don’t understand what is with the lighting on the 360… Every face is in shadow, making them look ghoulish, and the lighting frequently flickers like mad.
Other frequent nuisances:
- The camera doesn’t automatically come out of the down-over-the-shoulder view it uses when placing a snare, you have to run around to clear it.
- There’s no way to dismiss your horse so if you’re not paying enough attention, it tramples and breaks your snares when you don’t even realize it’s still following you.
- The bizzare “strangle-hold” thing while climbing synchronization trees when you are climbing the close-together branches and the camera decides to rotate at just the right moment that your “forward” stick pressure becomes slightly sideways; the only escape is to drop and die.
- Ridiculously hard to pick up weapons during combat.
- You wanted to send 3 wolf pelts on a convoy? Have fun scrolling thru all the selections 3 times.
- After zooming in to kill a target, the camera stays zoomed in instead of auto-releasing (should be an option).
- Sometimes you *can’t* loot a caravan – this may be that you need to move the guards’ bodies a really long way away.
- To use a rope-dart, you’re supposed to hold Y and press L. Pressing L turns on Eagle Vision. Uhm.
Visualization of the concept in “Breaking up is hard to do“.
Apparently, GCC doesn’t like the following second version of this simple piece of code:
size_t sizeInt = sizeof(int); // Compiles on GCC, ICC and VS. size_t sizeInt = sizeof((int)); // Compiles on ICC and VS.
expected primary-expression before ‘int’