Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great News For Social Game Developers

Facebook and Adobe have partnered to create Facebook platform libraries for Flash.

Basically this makes it a lot easier for developers to plug the Facebook platform into their Flash games - which takes a lot of the burden from the developer in terms of managing friends lists, avatar/user images, etc. and lets them focus on making great games.

You can find out more here.

Thanks to Dale at Moket for giving me the heads up!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Zeebo

Here's an interesting announcement from GDC - another games console.

The Zeebo - lighter than an Xbox360 power supply!

Called the Zeebo, this new console is the brainchild of Mike Yuen of Qualcomm and Reinaldo Normand of Tectoy. The twist is it's designed for the developing world and as such is very inexpensive (relative to existing consoles). It's also completely wireless - so no cartridges or CD/DVD's are required - everything is downloaded to the box.

Here's a blurb from their website:
Zeebo hardware is based on Qualcomm’s BREW platform and MSM chipset, leveraging high-volume cellphone economics to create the world’s most affordable console. In addition, Zeebo users can buy the top game titles, localized in their language, for a fraction of the traditional retail price. And the Zeebo Console consumes only 1 watt of power--20 to 100 times less than other consoles--saving substantial energy costs (and enabling users to buy 2-3 more titles per year).
Hmmm, not sure how saving money on electricity translates into 2 or 3 more games per year. Either the games are almost nothing to buy or electricity in developing countries is expensive!

Titles include Tekken 2, Sonic Adventure, Crash Bandicoot as well as 5 embedded games including Fifa '09, Brain Challenge, Prey, Quake and Need for Speed.

It will be interesting to see how it fares. With the Wii changing the game and now iPhone turning everything upside down I wouldn't rule out the Zeebo from doing some interesting things.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

iWork '09

After the frustration of using Microsoft Office for Mac I bit the bullet and bought iWork '09.

I had previously downloaded the iWork demo and found it fast and intuitive - but I had a copy of Microsoft Office thrown in with my Mac as part of some promotion - so I persevered with using Office. But this last week was the final straw.

For some reason PC Office files don't load up correctly within Mac Office. These PC files load up okay in iWork though. Editing PowerPoint or Word files with more than a few graphics would grind my system to a halt with Office. They load up and work blisteringly fast with iWork.

I searched the web to find answers, but only found similar complaints with no real solution except some people saying Office worked fine on their Macs.

So, sadly, there goes my last major link to Microsoft... I really tried to keep some MS connection, honest I did. But in the end I was forced to say goodbye.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Princess of Mars

I just finished reading Edgar Rice Burrough's novel "A Princess of Mars". It's based on the adventures of John Carter, an American Civil War veteran and his otherworldly exploits

It was written in 1911 and published in 1912, and despite the age I found it to be a cracking good read. Burroughs wrote this as a pulp novel so don't expect Shakespeare.

I can see how John Carter along with Flash Gordon and Dune were obvious influences on Star Wars - from the fanciful names such as Jeds, Padwars and Jeddaks - to the desert setting, different alien races, giant arena battles with hero pitted against an array of alien beasts, etc.

It's fascinating to think that this was first published almost one hundred years ago. In fact Andrew Stanton of Pixar fame is prepping a movie version for release in 2o12 in time for the centenary of the book series.

The book's copyright has lapsed so you can read it for free. I read it using Stanza on my iPhone - a great ebook reader that lets you download the books directly to your personal library. Yes, reading books on the iPhone is actually a pleasure - something I was initially skeptical of. No wonder the Kindle is doing great business.... but that's another story.

You can also grab "A Princess of Mars" online from Project Gutenberg here.

If you're a sci-fi fan with an interest in where the genre began then I recommend having a read.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brainiversity at Local Library

My friend James emailed me this photo:

It's Brainiversity at one of the local libraries here in Brisbane. A quick check online revealed that quite a few of them have copies - and a number of them are checked out!

What's interesting about this is that the retail version of the game is currently only available in North America through Wal Mart, Sam's Club, etc. so the local libraries must have ordered their copies from the US.

That's pretty cool. It's always a buzz to see a physical copy of your game in a store or a library :-)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Woz Dancin'

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple. They're responsible for creating the company that brought us the Mac, the iPod and the iPhone.

Woz is a millionaire computer genius.

Woz created the Apple II.

And now Woz has done this - it's easier to watch then for me to explain...


Monday, March 09, 2009


I don't know how I missed this, but Polybius is a cool urban myth about a video game from 1981 that apparently caused players to go insane.

Conspiracy theorists say it was a project by a secret government organization, and men in black would visit the machine in the arcade not to collect the quarters, but to retrieve logged information about the effects on players.

Shortly after its release it disappeared never to be heard from again.

Until now. Here is the mesmerizing game play of the game that may, or may not, be Polybius. Watch at your peril!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Game On Talk

This week I and the other 3 Blokes - Duncan and Marko - did a talk at Game On called "Game Design Under Pressure".

We presented some useful tips on how to make games from the perspective of a small developer, covering agile development and other useful strategies to stay focused and deliver a game on time and budget.

What was cool is that 3 years ago I did the Game On talk by myself and Duncan and Marko of 3 Blokes were in the audience. As a result of the talk they changed their company direction and moved into the casual space.

They soon shipped a game, got more work and the following year they presented the Game On talk covering similar topics from their perspective.

Now I've joined with Duncan and Marko and this year all 3 of us gave the talk. Hopefully we inspired some people to get out there and make some games.

And you know what would be really cool? If some of those people give the Game On talk next year. I would love to sit in the audience and give them a round of applause.