Sunday, December 24, 2006

Wii means Whee

Well, both the PS3 and the XBox 360 are apparently having disappointing seasonal sales. The PS3 is low because they haven't been able to make enough, and the XBox 360 is low because, well, they're sitting on shelves collecting dust, I guess. But the Wii has been selling strongly, and apparently, there are lots of people on Craigslist looking to trade their $700 PS3's for $250 Wii's.

I can understand why. The Wii is just plain fun in ways that the other consoles can't be. This phenomenon is discussed in a new Gamasutra article that details the developer's perspective on the console wars, and I have to agree. When I think of the possibility of developing games to be delivered on the network services of the different console systems, it's the Wii that actually gets my creative juices percolating. Sure, we could do something cool for XBox 360 or PS3 as a downloadable, but the Wii is just plain sexier. I want people who play my game to be jumping up and being active, physically engaged with my game and loving it. What developer wouldn't want that?

It's still too early to tell who will dominate this generation of the console wars, but it really wouldn't surprise me to see the Wii let Nintendo leapfrog from third place to first place. The XBox 360 and the PS3 are locked in an "arms race" (which the PS3 has won hands-down), but the Wii is the one that took risks and bet the farm on fun rather than frame rates. I hope it sticks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Facing the darkness

In a recent meeting about Science Pirates, our educational game to teach kids about the science process and food safety, the deadline for first playable was mentioned: the end of March. It's looking like we're going to have to kick up the development rate to meet it - we still have about 20 scenes (!!!) to build to get to first playable, and then after that, we have another 5-10 scenes to flesh out the story, opening, closing, etc.

It's probably not a good thing, then, that I took on the responsibility to port/revamp another web site at work over the next couple of months. Basically, we're taking over a web site that has a lot of problems, and trying to make them not-problems, both for the client and for us. Unfortunately, the guy who wrote the original site has some really odd ways of doing things, and his code has security holes to boot. I'm basically having to go through and reprogram the entire site, trying to decide what features and existing data schemes to keep, and which to toss and redevelop. I don't really know how I'm going to build their site AND get Science Pirates done at the same time.

I think I'm looking at some long nights and weekends between now and April.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Minor tweaks to MVC.DIR

I've made a few minor tweaks to mvc.dir, my Model-View-Controller Framework for 3D Director projects. Basically, I changed the "game state" manager into a "game state" model object, because there's no need for it to be a full-blown manager.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Off-season Yorick Interest

Here's something I didn't expect: people are still downloading and tinkering with Yorick in December. Halloween is ten months away and we're fully in the swing of the holiday season, yet people are still investigating and planning for their home haunt. I expected for there to be no interest at all in Yorick until at least July or so, but here we are. Home haunters are nothing if not a dedicated group, I guess!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dodge That Anvil Available for Download

Hooray! The rabbi-licious carrot-collecting anvil-dodging exploding-beach-ball game Dodge That Anvil is now available for download from RabidLab.

If you haven't played this game, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Fresh, polished gameplay that is at once charming, fun, and infuriating. Cool secret areas. Innovative game mechanics. Great graphics. I just spent my lunch hour re-acquainting myself with the world of DTA, and every time I play it, it's as much fun as the first time.

Kudos to RabidLab for a great game. Support them by buying a license, because the world will only be a better place with more RabidLab games.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sick at the Happiest Place on Earth

I mentioned that I just returned from Disney World. What I didn't mention was that on day two of seven, I woke up with a sore throat, a headache, and nonstop drainage. That was a real bummer, I'll tell you what. I get these symptoms pretty regularly - must be an allergy attack or something, and usually when I get these symptoms, it's a predictable schedule and progression that usually lays me out with nausea for a day or two.

Now, when you're staying on Disney property, you're in a controlled little world. We didn't even rent a car, because they pick you up at the airport, take your bags directly to your room so you don't have to deal with them, and let you go directly to the parks after checking in. It's a great deal, but it pretty much means that you don't have many options for getting stuff that you can't find in the gift shops at the resorts.

Thankfully, Disney had a deal with a local pharmacy. We called them up, they recommended some items, and delivered them to our resort within an hour. I just had to run down to the lobby and pick it up. To my surprise, the drugs they recommended actually staved off the illness for the duration of our time in Orlando, rather than just taking the edge off. (The sore throat and runny nose hit me pretty hard once we got back - I'm only just now getting over it - but this was the first time that predictable progression ever changed much.)

One theory is that these brand drugs are somehow significantly better than my usual brand. But then why would those same drugs stop working as well once I returned to New Mexico? Maybe I was the happy beneficiary of the placebo effect - knowing that I was at the "happiest place on Earth" may have given my body the boost it needed to stave off the sickness for the days I was there. There are stories of elderly people staving off death long enough to see important celebrations and milestones of their children; maybe the promise of riding the Haunted Mansion again had a similar effect...?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm Back!

For those of you wondering why I haven't been blogging lately, it's because I've been in Orlando visiting the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Mission: Space. I went out there with the wife and her side of the family, and we spent a week hitting all the theme parks, meeting all the princesses, and giving my son the ultimate "pirates!" fix he needs to become a well-rounded individual.

Of course, that doesn't help you, does it? To make it up to you, here's a joyous tune to get you into the holiday spirit: