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Aug. 31st, 2009




Disney buys Marvel.....





Jul. 30th, 2009



Therapy while gaming!?

Article on Yahoo News: Dr. Richard Graham has his way, massively popular online game World of Warcraft will soon get an unofficial new character class: the therapist.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the London psychiatrist is spearheading a movement that would let mental health workers join online game worlds as avatars in order to better treat players suffering from game addiction.

Dr. Graham believes the key is reaching at-risk players on their own turf.

"Those affected don't exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behaviour issues do because they're in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble," he told the Telegraph. "Because of this we can't get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms -- we need to turn to the Internet itself to tackle these problems."

The issue of game addiction itself is still quite thorny. The American Medical Association still doesn't consider game addiction to be a legitimate disorder, while other reports -- including a Swedish study claiming that Warcraft is "more addictive than crack cocaine" -- say otherwise.

Graham hopes to launch the project "by the end of the year," and has called on Warcraft maker Blizzard to possibly give therapists free access to the game. He also notes that since most therapists probably aren't Warcraft experts, the project could potentially recruit gamers to act as "peer mentors" and help identify troubled players.

So, although this e-mail is about WoW, this will no doubt inspire a small (very small, no doubt) handul of therapists who want to infiltrate other games.

How do you guys feel about this? Instead of hearing that 13 wine about how you tea bagged his dead body, you may hear "Now that you've shot me, do you feel less angry?" coming from you headset. Are you worried that this may actually happen? If it does, do you politely ignore, angrily berate, or smugly play along?

I don't believe any of this would happen, it's a pretty outlandish (See: Stupid) idea, but I would like to hear your opinions on it.


Apr. 22nd, 2009

blood for the blood god (2)


Post three of three, even though it's now tomorrow

I made a promise, and I didn't break it.

HEXEN: Wolfen (six level hub)

Hexen. Irritatingly, the least appreciated of the Great ID Trilogy, mainly due to the arrival of the false prophet that was Quake. And that, in turn, caused a near-dearth of decent user-built Hexen levels. Those that did try, though, came up with some gems, and here's one. I'd be lying if I said I'd played it a lot, as upgrading to ZDoom 2.1 broke it (ZDoom 2.0.63a works just fine, though) - so other old favourites such as Caldera and Vaults filled the bill instead.

For Doom and Heretic, I pointed out single levels - that's just not right for Hexen, where the hub concept was the biggest improvement on Heretic that there could have been. And as hubs go, this is a masterpiece. If it had been a full game conversion, it'd have blasted Deathkings Of The Dark Citadel into the weeds, as it addressed ever criticism levelled at that official add-on. Let's see. New monsters? You bet. The sprites aren't quite as impressive as the regular nasties, but they're a fine attempt, and there's quite a few of them to choose from. New wall textures? Not too many, but they're noticeable. New music? Yes, and some of the best I've heard for any Hexen add-on ever, including "extra boss music" and some chilling chords when there are traps ahead. New weapons?

These are the best bit!

For a start, all character classes have access to a blunderbuss; there are two lying around the levels. It's brutally effective against ettins and other lower minions and makes a really satisfying "KAPOW!" - but how do you plan to beat the inaccessible Death Wyvern at the top of the Tower Of Fire if you're out of shots?

And then there's the official Fifth Weapons. They've all been drawn exceptionally well, and come in exceptionally handy in boss battles - especially if, as I do, you're playing as the fighter and need a rapid-firing long-range weapon - that'll be the Dragon Lance. The mage gets an Ethereal Acid Spell, a bit like what the stalkers fire from the pond but at about five times the rate; the cleric's Mystic Crossbow doesn't seem to be as good. These weapons are powered by Aeon Mana - picking up the attractively-designed crystals (think of a grey yogurt pot with a purple infinity symbol on it) increases the maximum Aeon Mana capacity, to a maximum of (I found) 70. It powers the fifth weapons, and is restored by time - one point per second, to its maximum. It's a brilliant concept, comparable to the id Trilogy's cousin, Strife - in which the Sigil Of The One God is powered by the player's hit points. Collecting 40 aeon mana activates the "passive" ability (the fighter recovers one hit point per second, the mage recovers mana at the same rate, and the cleric has to stand there like a lemon in order for HP or mana to increase... occasionally.) At 60 aeon mana the "aeon attack" can be used; the fighter takes negative damage, gaining HP for every hit he takes to a maximum of 300, the cleric is surrounded in fireballs, and the mage spews out a ton of ghosts that makes the cleric's Wraithverge look very tame indeed.

So, you know what really hammers the point home here?

In this hub it's a massive amount better to be a brutal killing machine or a master of magic than it is to be a religious figurehead... and that's just the way it always should have been.

Apr. 21st, 2009

Lizzy Borden


The most extreme nerdery EVAR!

A new show has recently aired on SPIKE, "TV for men."  It is called Deadliest Warrior, and this show is, for lack of a better word, epic.  The premise of the show is that they take two elite warriors from different periods in history, and pit them against each other via their weapons and armor.  They then test the weapons for speed and force, and of course, damage.  The weapons are tested against pig carcasses for the similarity to human tissue, and a ballistics dummy of a skeleton encased in a ballistics gel that mimics human density and human tissue.  They will also put the armor (if the wariors have any) on said dummy and test the weapons against the armor, too.  At the end of each episode, you get to see a battle between the two warriors, including splattering blood, screams of pain, and the killing blow.

The only thing that irritates me about the show is the posturing from the experts for each warrior.  It's a lot of "My cock is bigger than your's!  HAR HAR HAR!"  Other than that, this show is intensely entertaining.  Actually, the goofy posturing is pretty entertaining, too.

The first episode was Gladiator vs. Appache Brave.  My bet was on the Gladiator, due to sheer brute force and the desire to kill.

And the winner is...Collapse )
The second episode was Samurai vs. Viking.  As much as I wanted to say the Viking would win, I put my money on the Samurai due to extensive training, speed, and better weapons

Winner of round 2...Collapse )

Tonights episode was Spartan vs. Ninja.  I figured Ninja would win because of sophisticated weapons used to fight and kill Samurai.

Round 3 goes to the...Collapse )

You can view the previous episodes here, and find out more about the show.  I believe the episodes are even up on YouTube.  This way, you folks not in the USA can see the show too, if you like.  Next week's episode is Pirate vs. Knight.  EPIC!!!  My money was on the knight, but then I remembered, pirate has pistols.  Pirate might just win, unless of course the knight can remove the pistols from the equation.  Then I think the knight would win. 
blood for the blood god (2)


Post two of three: heretics, heathens and excessive violence

...in which I continue to unearth the greatest WADs money never had to buy. Onto a game made on the Doom engine...

HERETIC: Fortress Of Fortitude (Hordes Of Chaos X, E5M3)

In the beginning... well, not quite, there was a standalone Heretic level called Steeplechase. It was an enormous level built around the ramparts of a humongously huge castle, in which D'Sparil was to be chased around and, presumably, faced right at the end. I say "presumably" because the ending I found didn't involve this final battle. Moreover, the level was horribly glitchy. Even taking into account its massive size, there was a metric fuckton of wonky or nonexistent linedefs and floordefs, along with several Inescapable Traps Of Doom and a green key that was hiding behind an inaccessible wall. Nevertheless, I cheated my way through it to see more missing walls behind the green door, and ended up at one stage transported to an inescapable part of the level. But, far from becoming potentially the greatest level never to be completed, the compilers of Hordes Of Chaos stepped in and saved the day.

And so it was that, in Hordes Of Chaos Episode V, the reward for fighting your way through Hell's Belly Button and Emerald Passage was this, the now-renamed Fortress Of Fortitude. HOC had imported extra baddies from Doom II and Hexen, and removed all the player's weapons at the start of each level. The layout of Fortress Of Fortitude was kept essentially the same from its original version, but had its backdrop improved, all the linedef problems ironed out, the troublesome green key was dispensed with altogether... and the number of baddies was bumped up from 231 to 530. Add in massive great stashes of ammo and tomes of power, and the resultant revival of this thunderously great castle level was a deliciously challenging rampage round the ramparts - but as with Warpzone in the previous post, not the kind of ludicrously-close-to-impossible scenario of Hell Revealed. In short, it's the perfect antidote to a shit day at work when all you want to do is kill, kill and kill again, without being killed yourself every three seconds. No doubt the Doom kvltists are sharpening their knives right now, because - as it always had to be - Hordes Of Chaos X requires a source port. Otherwise, where would all the imported baddies come from?

And the reward for completing this behemoth? An even bigger level, set in a tower in the middle of a huge valley, for the final battle with a seven-league Baron Of Hell. Only thing is, this one was annoyingly difficult to navigate through, and despite the scenery, was trounced by its immediate predecessor.
blood for the blood god (2)


Post number one of three today

...no, don't get too excited, because the number of you who will see this, read and comment can be counted on the intact fingers of Tony Iommi's right hand.

I was inspired to write this by Games Radar's 59 levels to play before you die, of which I have experienced precisely two - Tomb Raider's dinosaur experience, and a very brief flash of the N64's version of Rainbow Road, complete with crash barrier, which meant far less scope for The Computer to be A Cheating Bastard than the SNES version did.

When it comes to finding extra levels for my favourite first person shooters, there's nothing I like more than a truly enormous level. You know, about ten times bigger than any of the levels in the standard game, likely to be themed around a castle, something so huge and easy to get lost in that if it was reformatted for Quake (where there was no automap) it'd be damn near impossible. In short, the equivalent of a 20-plus-minute Moonsorrow masterpiece.

I was going to find one for all of my favourite FPSs, but as I haven't been able to play Duke Nukem 3D since ditching Windoze 98 about seven years ago, I'll have to restrict this article to the id Games Trilogy. Onwards, with part one.

DOOM II: Warpzone (standalone level)

It is said that the words "screaming apoplexy" were invented purely to describe the reactions of Doom kvltists when presented with a level that requires a source port to work. There's nothing I like doing more than winding up said kvltists, which is one of the reasons why I've picked this level, as any player will inevitably find out when presented with one of the many obstacles which require a jump key to be defined. Did I say many? There's a good reason for that: the sheer scale of this level has to be seen, and played, to be believed. Put it this way: in regular Doom, Refueling Base (level 10) has the highest number of monsters on Ultra-Violence - 279. Warpzone, by comparison, has 1,114, and it's no joke level like Nuts is. The attention to detail is strikingly high - but, again, not ludicrously overblown like the notorious Gothic99. And neither is it one of those moronically hard levels designed for those lifeless nerds who play Doom every waking hour of every day, in which the player, armed only with a pistol and three bullets, is routinely attacked by sixteen revenants at once in a confined space with no hope of escape and woefully insufficient means to fight back - roughly the equivalent of being asked to survive a direct hit from an atomic bomb. I've never worked out why such endless praise is heaped on the likes of Hell Revealed. This level puts all those criticisms right, because for us mere mortals, it is possible. Of the 1,114 baddies, one is a Cyberdemon fought in a wide open space with plenty of room to dodge his missiles - just the way it should be, one is a Spiderdemon, five are Arch-Viles and there's an all-new boss at the end. The rest are the general minions of Doom, in an near-perfect mix of weak-and-easy footsoldiers and the tougher baddies which need several huge blasts to dispatch. Best of all, though, the whole level plays like a Hexen hub - it's split into three distinct parts which all have to be revisited several times to find keys or hit switches that open doors in the other part. And as I've always found Hexen to be the favoured game of the trilogy, this is probably the ultimate Doom experience that I could ever wish for - to the point that it might just make the Heretic and Hexen levels I'm about to describe look just a little bit tame. Even on an IDDQD/IDFA 100% kills run designed to batter through the level as fast as possible (so that I knew how many of the final bosses there were in it), it took 63 minutes, so you can imagine how long it'd take to clear if it was to be played properly - which I highly recommend. Never before, and I suspect never again, am I going to see any level in any game that requires the player to concentrate so hard for so long. You know what this level is? It's the Viides Luku: Hävitetty of Doom. Marvellous.

Mar. 21st, 2009


(no subject)

Mar. 13th, 2009

Total Control


(no subject)

Unreal Tournament III is having another free weekend following the massive success of last weekend's free preview. Download it now on Steam, and if you like it, UTIII Black(with the new Titan pack expansion) is only $11.99.

Do it.

Mar. 11th, 2009


One-eyed filmmaker conceals camera in prosthetic

BRUSSELS - A one-eyed documentary filmmaker is preparing to work with a video camera concealed inside a prosthetic eye, hoping to secretly record people for a project commenting on the global spread of surveillance cameras.

Canadian Rob Spence's eye was damaged in a childhood shooting accident and it was removed three years ago. Now, he is in the final stages of developing a camera to turn the handicap into an advantage.

A fan of the 1970s televsion series "The Six Million Dollar Man," Spence said he had an epiphany when looking at his cell phone camera and realizing something that small could fit into his empty eye socket.

With the camera tucked inside a prosthetic eye, he hopes to be able to record the same things he sees with his working eye, his muscles moving the camera eye just like his real one.

Spence said he plans to become a "human surveillance machine" to explore privacy issues and whether people are "sleepwalking into an Orwellian society."

He said his subjects won't know he's filming until afterward but he will have to receive permission from them before including them in his film.

His special equipment will consist of a camera, originally designed for colonoscopies, a battery and a wireless transmitter. It's a challenge to get everything to fit inside the prosthetic eye, but Spence has had help from top engineers, including Steve Mann, who co-founded the wearable computers research group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The camera was provided by Santa Clara, California-based OmniVision Inc., a company that specializes in the miniature cameras found in cell phones, laptops and endoscopes.

Zafer Zamboglu, staff technical product manager at OmniVision, said he thinks that success with the eye camera will accelerate research into using the technology to restore vision to blind people.

"We believe there's a good future in the prosthetic eye," he said.

The team expects to get the camera to work in the next month. Spence, who jokingly calls himself "Eyeborg," told reporters at a media conference in Brussels that the camera hidden in a prosthetic eye — the same pale hazel color as his real one — would also let him capture more natural conversations than he would with a bulky regular camera.

"As a documentary maker, you're trying to make a connection with a person," he says, "and the best way to make a connection is through eye contact."

But Spence also acknowledged privacy concerns.

"The closer I get to putting this camera eye in, the more freaked out people are about me," he said, adding people aren't sure they want to hang around someone who might be filming them at any time."


Mar. 9th, 2009


what happens when you waste time and look up random things on Wikipedia

Wanted to share this little find with someone, figured this was geeky enough for this crowd!


The London Beer Flood occurred on 17 October 1814 in the London parish of St. Giles in the United Kingdom. At the Meux and Company Brewery[1] on Tottenham Court Road,[2][1] a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610 m3) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470 m3) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping the barmaid under the rubble.[3]

The brewery was located among the poor houses and tenements of the St Giles Rookery; where whole families lived in basement rooms that quickly filled with beer. The wave left nine people dead: eight due to drowning and one from alcohol poisoning.[2]

The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an "Act of God" by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible. The company found it difficult to cope with the financial implications of the disaster, with a significant loss of sales made worse because they had already paid duty on the beer. They made a successful application to Parliament reclaiming the duty which allowed them to continue trading.[4]

The brewery was demolished in 1922, and today, the Dominion Theatre occupies a part of the site of the former brewery.

that is all.

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