January 2005


The US military, taking time out of its busy schedule reducing Iraq to very finely ground sand, goes after griefers.

No, really! Finally, a valuable use of my tax dollars.

When you get banned, know that we know and have records showing you were doing something that\’c3\’a2\’e2\’82\’ac\’e2\’84\’a2s a violation of terms of service, breaks your EULA, and also happens to be against the law. We know who you are, and can track down where you play from. We have incontrovertible proof you did something illegal. The Army is angry, and we\’c3\’a2\’e2\’82\’ac\’e2\’84\’a2re coming for you.

As always, Penny Arcade predicted all this, long ago.

(As seen on Slashdot)


So, I’m not a great fan of outsourcing. That being said, I’m also not a great fan of Jessica Simpson and Wal-Mart. People seem to like both of those, though. And people that run businesses tend to like outsourcing. Even though I work in the tech sector, I don’t really see it inherently as an evil thing – it’s the natural tendency of a free market’s water to seek its own level. And while some things about free markets suck (like global corporations looking for the cheapest global availablity for its resources) they, overall, beat the alternative.

I’m not sure I like outsourcing, but I am sure I don’t like racism. And outsourcing is making racism fashionable. Cue the radio.

Continue reading…


(Posted as a response to an F13 thread, highlighted here so it doesn’t disappear into message board epherma)

So if someone gave me $20 million and told me to make an MMO I would (after asking for $20 million more – blackjack and hookers are expensive) create an MMO that roughly approximates what military colleges use to teach young officers about geopolitics.

Basically, everyone gets to run a country. (Set it in a mythical post-World War 2 era, but with no Cold War and no bipolar world – think the Warring States period of Japan, but with a lot more guns) You want to take over the world – or maybe not, maybe just develop your own little mercantile slice of heaven. You have a military, which you can develop, and you might even use it once in a while, but generally wars bankrupt you as a nation and budding little Napoleans will figure out why world conquest never actually works.

The MMO part of this would be in live team support. Basically, the “quests” in this game would be global events. There’s a tsunami, say, that has laid waste to 8 countries. Including a couple that are at war with each other. How do you as a world handle it? How do the international systems in place – alliances, UN equivalents, et cetera, react? Who takes advantage of it for political or economic gain? Who just wants to be nice guys?

This would not be a 3000 person game. This would be a 300 person game, with maybe 50 countries. You’d have a bit of “levelling up” to run your own country, depending on the country in question (maybe you need political support and get “elected” by the NPC voters, maybe you can take over in a coup and piss off the people who WERE running the place). None of this is rocket science, there are text MUDs (mostly sci-fi) that do this sort of thing all the time.

See, my pet theory is that there’s a space in the market for a game that uses MMO design principles, but does not actually stick you in a suit of armor and expect you to run around a first-person-shooter level hitting bunny rabbits over the head for their lunch money. There’s a level of seperation involved in playing a national metagame, yet still allowing for socialization and personal projection. People who’ve played PBM games of Diplomacy may be nodding their heads here.

This would also probably only cost around $5-10m to develop. Much less if it’s done as an “indy” game with low production values. If it was done as a web game I could probably do it myself, if I had mythical spare time. But it would be pretty cheap. More money for the blackjack tables!


Most MMOs are having problems now with Chinese farmers (and not the kind who grow rice). And no, I can’t talk about specifics you think I may know about, mainly because I have no specifics you would find interesting. (Contrary to popular belief, more than one person works on a game.)

But this guy can. In fact, he posted a survival guide. (Scroll to post 107 – or just read after the cut) Continue reading…


Fresh from letting us all know about the insanity of ex-Nintendo CEOs, Wired warns us not to play Katamari Damacy TOO much, or we’ll assume life is actually a PS2 controller.

“I was driving down Venice Boulevard,” recalled her husband, Dan Kitchens, “and Kozy reached over and grabbed the steering wheel and for a moment was trying to yank it to the right…. (Then) she let go, but kept staring out her window, and then looked back at me kind of stunned and said, ‘Sorry. I thought we could pick up that mailbox we just passed.'”

While motorists and pedestrians shouldn’t worry too much about rogue Katamari Damacy players, Kozy Kitchens’ experience with having a difficult time separating her real-life consciousness from that of her game playing is all too common among hard-core gamers. It’s so common, in fact, that game publishers might want to consider warning their customers that they may soon be unable to tell the difference between the game and reality.

But wait – not only can you get Reefer Madness from playing video games… you can even get a contact high!

“The weird thing was that last night in my half-sleep, half-awake haze, I thought I was playing Katamari Damacy, too, and I kept trying to roll Kozy up in my ball,” said Dan Kitchens. “I think I got this just from watching Kozy play the game for hours.”

So, I’m wondering a couple of things. First off, is Kozy Kitchens a real name? I mean, come on. I’m pretty certain that’s the brand name for a pudding. Less important, did anyone at Wired actually sit back and, in a moment of silent reverie, note “You know, I’m pretty sure the people who were interviewed for this story, not to mention the person who reported it, are complete crack monkeys. I mean, if someone plays a game where you roll continents up into a huge ball, and that somehow spills over into reality, hey, they may not have a clear definition of the whole ‘reality’ (waggling fingers) concept to begin with. Maybe we should write about something new! I know, top ten things that will bring Cyberspace to your skull jack in six months! Get me rewrite!” Because, well, I completely lost my train of thought. No, actually, I thought I was invading Russia again. Damn it, I HATE when that happens.

Or maybe, Wired wrote a purposefully wacky story beyond the realms of sanity to get credulous bloggers to link to it thus driving up revenue? Nah. Now I’m REALLY living in video game land. Undo! Undo!

“I’ve been using the computer for so long, and command-Z works for undo in all the software programs,” Hoffman said. “So whenever I find something in my life that I want to undo, I reach for the command-Z keys and I find it weird that it doesn’t work.”

Oh, wait.


…comes straight from games.slashdot.

SecurityFocus reports that players sharing house designs through Electronic Arts’ Sims 2 Exchange are finding their game behaving oddly: espresso machines mysteriously satisfy all the Sims needs, Sims are suddenly comfortable with open relationships, and the social worker no longer cares how they treat their children.

That’s correct. If you are hit with this virus, your sims could become comfortable with open relationships. Download the JudeoChristian Ethos Shield from Symantec today!



CNet: In recent years, there’s been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, “We’ve got to look at patents, we’ve got to look at copyrights.” What’s driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?

Bill Gates: No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist.

And this debate will always be there. I’d be the first to say that the patent system can always be tuned–including the U.S. patent system. There are some goals to cap some reform elements. But the idea that the United States has led in creating companies, creating jobs, because we’ve had the best intellectual-property system–there’s no doubt about that in my mind, and when people say they want to be the most competitive economy, they’ve got to have the incentive system. Intellectual property is the incentive system for the products of the future.

Bill Gates then went on to CES, where he demonstrated his closed source alternative to
video-on-demand solutions. It crashed. In retaliation, Microsoft declared war on Finland.

Story and socialist realist propaganda courtesy of those crazy mixed up Marxists at Boing Boing and Slashdot.


The BBC’s daily “righto, these blog thingies are quite smashing, I believe” story had this chilling aside:

Only 7% of the 120 million US adults who use the internet had created a blog or web-based diary.


ONLY. By my wacky American math, that implies 8.4 million blogs. Even if you count the 2.3 million “I think that guy across the all is da BOMB yo!” livejournals, that’s… um.

I feel trendy. I’m going to start drinking heavily now.