Well, here we are with a new WordPress-based blog.
I’ve imported all of the old posts and comments, so nothing should have changed. It was slightly painful to switch over, but it now works.

If you have any problems with the new system, please let me know in the comments.
I’ll be fiddling with layout, themes and settings over the next few days, so bare with me.


It totally happened.

So I caved. We placed an order with Thinkgeek on Thursday last week and were surprised to have it arrive on Monday morning.

The device is great. No longer will the people fortunate enough to sit at the desks around me have to put up with the sound of Snake’s codec ringing whenever I receive a phone call. My phone is set to silent, and placed in its seat of power – my phone-armchair/stressball.

I also picked up some new t-shirts. You might even be lucky enough to witness the geekiness at an upcoming social event.


For those that didn’t want to sit through the huge 80-minute video on Google Wave, here are some of the features in short chunks.
As posted at

I’ll warn you up front that streaming video from TubeChop is very slow – good luck.
Original video here.

Inline Replies

As-You-Type Live Updates Over the Internet Between Users

Wave Revision Playback

Private Replies

Embed Waves into Web Pages

Live Collaboration on a Single Wave

Live-Updating Search Results

Contextual Spellcheck


Google are going to change the world.


Google Wave will blow you away. Please invest the 80 minutes of your life it will take to watch the following demonstration. Huge changes in how you communicate are coming. Prepare yourselves.

Google could have sold this application, pushed Exchange out of the market within two years and ended up with ALL OF THE MONEY.
But that isn’t really how Google rolls is it?


Following a conversation with Japh and a coincidental paragraph in a blog post from Bice, I thought I’d commit my take on the subject to the intertubes.

I’m not sure about motion controls.

Stare into Project Natal's child-like eyes
First we had the Wii – it was quite fun, but inaccurate. Rather than actually being able to swing Link’s sword using the remote and ready his shield with the nunchuck, we were disappointed to find that the game replaced button-presses with motion. Instead of pressing X to swing, we move the remote in a downward arc (ironically, causing Link to swing his sword in a horizontal arc).
Our dreams of 1:1 sword swinging were not realised.

Then came the announcement of the Wii Motion Plus, a gyroscope-based peripheral for the Wiimote that provided 1:1 feedback. Unfortunately these things are yet to be seen, prohibitively priced and only supported by a small number of games (at least, in Australia).

At E3 this year, both Sony and Microsoft announce that they too have decided to jump on the bandwagon and produce their own motion peripherals.

Sony’s offering provided a fairly exciting demonstration. 1:1 realtime mapping of the user’s movements, high degrees of environmental interaction, video feedback from the Eyetoy’s camera and the ability to utilise two of the devices made it seem a fairly attractive possibility.

Microsoft’s Project Natal was somewhat unexpected. Rumours of a Wiimote-esque product for the Xbox-360 have been circulating for some time now and were recently confirmed at E3. Unfortunately for Performance Designed Products, Natal seems to have made their product redundant. They don’t seem particularly phasedfazed by the prospect, though.
Having watched the linked product vision video, Natal initially comes across as a bit of a pipe-dream. Until, that is I read the hands-on demo some of the Kotakuites were given at E3. Full body control, without a controller is something we’ve been pining for ever since we first saw Minority Report. It seems that Microsoft may have something incredible on their hands here. If, only for its practical uses in the system’s operating system.

My concern is that I cannot see how this tech will be utilised in the types of games that built this industry. Sure there will be feckless minigames to play with, little more than tech demos used to show off the new products at conferences, but how will they fare under scrutiny from the ‘hardcore’ player-base?

I’ve heard musings about the prospect of Sony’s offering being used conjunction with Assassin’s Creed 2. I know what you’re thinking: “He’s got that twin blade thing going on, that could be awesome.” Thanks for bringing that up, Assassin’s Creed 2 is a great example.
In my opinion, Assassin’s Creed was primarily a cinematic experience. The thing that ‘made’ Assassin’s Creed was the fluidity and fluency with which Altair dispatched his opponents. Attempting to map that sort of skill to a 1:1 control interface seem fraught with danger to me. The demo of Sony’s motion control system highlighted one of the major problems with motion controls. You have no physical presence in the game world and thus, your ability to instinctively interact with it is diluted.

Case Study: You want to pick up that block.

Real life: You reach out and pick up the block.
Motion-controlled game world:
You reach out, watch the screen so that you know when your hands are over the block, move back and forth a bit to make sure that you’re directly over it, press the button that grabs the block, miss it, try again and eventually pick up the block.

You don’t have the advantage of all of your other senses and subsequently lose your reflexive, unconscious ability in these contexts.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think motion controls are interesting or even promising. I just don’t think we’re there yet. I am quite excited to see how Natal is used in the Xbox Dashboard interface. I think motion controlled operating systems could be great – In conjunction with a good old keyboard and mouse that is.


It seems that E3 this year is turning out to be quite the event. Evidently, the organisers of The Little Convention That Couldn’t have turned things around and have produced a show that is well worth attending. If you can get your hands on a press-pass of course.

I would love to go to E3, I’m sure it would be an incredibly exciting event. Having the opportunity to check out all of the latest games before release, meet the developers behind your most loved titles and rub shoulders with the people you read about on Twitter and on your favourite blogs would be worth writing home about. Or at least, blogging about.

Having said that PAX would be all of that, plus webcomics. Hrm. Also, it’s open to the public. Also, Gabe and Tycho would be there, bringing with them some incredible musical acts, the Omegathon and the beauty that is a huge LAN. Double-hrm…

This year’s E3 has been chock-full of very exciting announcements. In my opinion, the most notable were the announcements and demos of:
Microsoft’s Natal,
Sony’s new motion control system,
Assassin’s Creed 2,
Brutal Legend,
Splinter Cell: Conviction
and Left 4 Dead 2.

Left 4 Dead 2 was quite a shocking announcement for a lot of people. I have heard and read many comments around this, from people I know and respect, don’t know and respect, and don’t know and might respect if I knew them.
By far, the most numerous is the following, from this post on “Why should we have to buy a brand new game after only a year?”.

My comment on the post sums my my feelings on the topic.

“Why should we have to buy a brand new game after only a year?”

It’s funny isn’t it?
Valve have been almost totally unique in their approach to DLC. No charge, awesome content updates, long-term purchase support. TF2 is the prime example.

But, when they decide to produce a paid sequel (we have no idea of the price as yet – the optimist in me wonders whether it will even be full price?) we complain.
Perhaps the question you should be asking is why aren’t more publishers releasing free content updates for their games?

Valve could have quite easily charged $5 for each of the class update packs. They wouldn’t have had the uptake on them that they have now, but at least they would be getting clear payments for the work that goes into the DLC. At the moment its good press and word-of-mouth that are making them money. “Dude! You should buy TF2 – its awesome! They keep releasing updates FOR FREE!” This leads to further purchases of the game itself, rather than nickel-and-diming current customers to death with micro-transactions.

Ok, so Valve are releasing a paid sequel to their game a mere year after its initial release – Just like _everybody else_. I imagine that this isn’t going to become a trend. L4D2 will most likely be their long-term platform for this game series.

(NB: This will be my last Valve post for a while – I’m starting(?) to sound like a fanboi)

Hands on with L4D2 at E3
Interview with Tom Leonard: “Why oh why a sequel, Valve?”

EDIT #2:
Microsoft’s Project Natal tech demo to Kotakuites prove my spurious scepticism unfounded.