Samsung UN65HU9000F “2nd day” review

September 7, 2014 Leave a comment

We just bought ourselves Samsung’s 65 inch, Ultra High Def 4k 120hz Smart TV… Ooer.

This is a stunning piece of hardware. We picked the variant with the “one connect” external box. You plug everything into that rather than the TV itself. This has all kinds of advantages.

The display is HUGE. It really is a little bit of a home-theater experience. There are some fantastic presets for picture settings and some clever nuances like three settings for auto-levelling sound (off, standard and night).

For our first night of viewing we broke out an eclectic series of tests.

We plugged in the Xbox one and threw in a Pacific Rim bluray; we threw in a DVD of old 40s, black and white, Sherlock Homes, Heaven Can Wait on DVD and finally Rio on Blu Ray.

Then to streaming, Amazon Instant Video (AIV): The “One Connect” box that comes with our particular model has build in apps, so we tried AIV on both the Xbox and the TV.

I wrapped up the night with a short session of Thief on the Xbone.

Tonight I tried watching a few more shows using solely the TV – some HD YouTube videos, “The Pacific” on AIV and Falling Skies S04E01 on AIV on the TV and on the Xbox.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Massive flop

July 2, 2014 Leave a comment

A “massively online game” is a game with a large enough population that there will be some requirement to distribute processing work and some form of shared, persistent state that is going to make distribution non-trivial.

WWIIOL is a big empty PvP sandbox with a shared world-state and a single, shared, resource (supply of equipment). Elite Dangerous is technically just a multi-player, map-based shoe box (star systems are sharded dynamically) but it has a single, shared, supply economy… Both are “massively” by the technical definition.

People have been making “massively” games, then, since 1988 (AirWarrior) at least. Many of the same problems have persisted across the development process since. But it seems that, today, there are still people stepping over that threshold in denial and breaking themselves in the process.

There are two main ways you can flop across the finish line, whether you’re a new startup or an established and successful developer…

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Categories: Gaming, Rants & Opinions

Elite could be dangerous

June 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m unsure whether to write a long, rambling rant about my observations of ED, trying to explain and expound, or whether just to cut to the brutal chase. Today is my birthday so I’m going to treat myself to a short brutal vent.

Frontier have released a decent number of games and they’ve done OK in the console/pc box game market.

Elite Dangerous is the first Elite to leave the hallowed ground of single player, and it’s skipping simple campaign / self-hosted co-op and going straight to sharded MMO. And I see all the warning signs of a box-game dev team making the mistake of thinking they have a clue about how to develop an MMO.

1. They’re referring to the current state as “beta” when it is clearly “alpha”. Unfortunately, the terms have their meanings kind of fixed, and people draw conclusions based on them. Including the engineers etc working on the product (“What comes after beta? Pay!”)

2. They seem to have selected Web Forums as the primary means of communicating with players. Perhaps they have secretly discovered that the 12 years or so of evidence that this does not work only applies to games developed in the US? But click that link and compare the number of posts in “Elite: Dangerous General” – just the one forum – with the older frontier game forums which represent games that have been out for years.

3. Any MMO dev who plays the game and loiters in the forums briefly for a week or so will know in their bones that nobody is “watching” the beta, certainly not any of the important metrics, stats etc, and since they are clearly competent at single player games, you can only conclude that it’s because they just haven’t got a clue that they should be.

4. There is no evidence of QA.

I’m just going to skip straight to the conclusion I’ve drawn from years of experience applied to filtering/processing what I see in their forums, in their patches, etc.

Frontier are working this exactly like a single player game would be shipped, with the addition of forums to handle the online community.

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Playing the E:D Premium Beta

June 26, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been an Elite fan for a long time, so naturally I backed the kick starter.

Since I’m in the middle of seeking new employment, I’m not getting a great deal of time to play, but you may see me flying around as ‘kfsone’ if you too are trying to beta.

 

Categories: Gaming Tags: ,

And now for something completely similar.

May 18, 2014 1 comment

So I’m back on the job market. Lots of ideas and inspiration from my time at Blizzard, a really great place to work. No, I won’t tell you. I already have a few job apps out, and I’m trying to stick to the US west coast and gaming.

I’ve been in the games industry proper for near 12 years now, and while that’s where I’m going to look first, I’m going to be open to possibilities back in the real world.

Right now I’m toying with the idea of a C++-centric code templator I’m thinking of calling “C[]” (C-squared); something that can handle trivial cases like “take this list of words and generate an enum statement and an array of strings” to the ability to generate multiple complex code modules from shared definitions.
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Categories: Coding Tags: ,

VMwin

December 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Still trying to rescue one of my virtual machines on my ESXi 5.5 blade that I erroneously upgraded to 5.5 virtual hardware (which prevents you from using the vSphere client to edit settings any more). I finally got an evaluation vCenter running, only to find: you can’t use vCenter to manage a free ESXi host. Even if you pay $6k for vCenter, it can’t manage a free vSphere host.

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VMware: We’ll take your money, look – a dog!

November 30, 2013 1 comment

I continue to be impressed at just how customer-hostile VMWare manage to be.

Step 1: Give all products vague and conflicting names (VMware vCenter Server requires VMware vSphere Client to access),
Step 2: Make every feature a product rather than having products with licensable features, because that was cool in 1995, damnit,
Step 3: Instead of hiring copy/technical writers for your web site, make instructional videos that are approximately related to something vaguely within a a page or two of of the link you clicked on.

I just watched what appeared to be the “omg you want this” promo for vCenter, and it was all about how the client is now web-based which can now do a search, and you can do other stuff while it searches and go back to the search. Seriously, the entire video was in the context of “sure, there’s other stuff to click, but look – we can go back to our search!”

What brought this on? I have an old SuperMicro server blade that hosts my Ubuntu apt-cache and Windows server, and I thought I’d try upgrading my ESXi from 5.0 to something newer. Even though the blade has stock e1000s, when I upgrade to 5.1 or 5.5, they kinda quit working, and you have to dig down into VMware forums to find a link that basically says “force it to reinstall the 5.0 drivers using magic shenanigans”.

Then I got shanghai’d with 5.5 – it’s still free but they’re cutting off access to the “vSphere Client” you use to manage it, and I upgraded the “virtual hardware” on one of my machines, It paused for a while so I went to click again, exactly as a dialog appeared with the “OK” button directly under my mouse.

This was presumably the dialog that was mean’t to warn me that upgrading the virtual hardware would lock me in to requiring vCenter Server to change settings on the server in future.

And now that server won’t boot because the mac address conflicts with something. So I wanted to install the vCenter Server trial, I think. So I follow the link that the old vSphere client provides and … I have no damn clue what this is that I’m installing.

The website is just a mess. It’s harder to shop for a specific product than it is to find a decent Windows 8 tablet (ka-ching).

Well played, VMware, well played. I’ve left your site feeling dazed and confused and with a strong desire to buy shares in Microsoft…

 

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