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  SL’s Cory Ondrejka on IP  
Posted 2004-08-19 by Tony Walsh
The Second Life Herald (formerly known as The Alphaville Herald) has posted a digestible interview with Cory Ondrejka, Second Life's VP of Product Development. Ondrejka is quizzed about Second Life as it pertains to Intellectual Property--a sensitive topic for many of Second Life's unwitting, ignorant, and deliberate infringers. Ondrejka discusses policing property infringement, SL's property policies, and gets into a bit of detail with SL's ability to stream music from URLs specified by in-world land plots. Interesting commentary ensues.
  Copy-Protectors, Use the StarForce!  
Posted 2004-08-19 by Tony Walsh
Sean McKenzie sent in this link to a Firing Squad interview with a rep from Star Force, a company that's developed controversial copy-protection schemes:

"Copy protection is getting more invasive. While we're not quite yet seeing dongles, copy protection has become a bigger hassle in recent years. First it was simply a matter of keeping the CD in the drive. Then we had CD keys. Then those CD keys began being authenticated online. Windows XP uses a scary validation system that I'm not looking forward to messing with when I upgrade my hardware in a few weeks. Now copy protection is disabling games if you have utilities that simply might help pirate a game - like Alcohol 120%, Nero or CloneCD."

Abbie Sommer of StarForce talks about the company, how the StarForce protection works, and responds to claims that StarForce is installed without user approval.
  Doom 3 Reviewed  
Posted 2004-08-12 by Tony Walsh
 has published my Doom 3 review. If you've been following discussion on this, you already know it's a weak title that fails to unleash its obvious potential. As some have pointed out, the difference in opinion between larger game sites and smaller, more independent sites is noteworthy.
Doom 3 Officially a Stinker
Doom 3: First Impressions
The Perils of Scripting

Tales of a Scorched Earth:
I have a bad feeling about this...
Doom 3 impressions

Sixgun Samurai:
Doom 3 Impressions *POST*
  Doom 3 Officially a Stinker  
Posted 2004-08-10 by Tony Walsh
It seems that most of the more cerebral gamers out there agree that Doom 3 is a clunker. I spent yesterday afternoon writing a review for Mindjack, only to find today that nearly all of my complaints were shared by other critics. Not only was the sentiment shared, but very specific dislikes. The similarity between my (yet unpublished) review and comments over at Game Girl Advance, Tales of a Scorched Earth, and even Wired News is striking. This morning I posted to GGA that "Doom 3 is a graphics technology demo rather than an actual game." Wired News' headline: "Doom 3: A Helluva Tech Demo." Arrgh.

In case you're wondering if I'm crying sour grapes here, I'm not. I am simply amazed that critics have such a unified opinion of the game, and I suppose I feel my reaction to the game has been validated. However, I'm not sure my review's going to sound all that original now.
  Doom 3’s Soundscapes  
Posted 2004-08-06 by Tony Walsh
 briefly interviews audiologist and musician Chris Vrenna about gaming in general and his work on Doom 3. IGN has a more in-depth look at Vrenna's approach. I've played about 8 hours of the game so far, and have appreciated Doom 3's understated but ever-present soundscape. Not quite a soundtrack, but more than merely ambient effects, Doom 3's audio bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the Silent Hill series: It hovers menacingly in the background, subtle enough to avoid being noticed, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
  Neverwinter Nights 2 Musings (Updated)  
Posted 2004-08-06 by Tony Walsh
How appropriate that I am two days late in mentioning the second edition of the successful Neverwinter Nights game. This time, the developers will be Obsidian Entertainment, using tools, technology, and game assets from the original Neverwinter Nights provided by Bioware, the original developers. Bioware will also "lend creative input and oversight to the development process."

This doesn't sound promising. It sounds like rehash (even the artwork on the official site seems to be the handywork of Marc Holmes, NWN's original Art Director). Obsidian had best address the shortcomings of the DM Client and Aurora Toolset for Neverwinter, because otherwise we're looking at another expansion pack, not a new game (i.e. Battlefield: Vietnam vs. Battlefield 1942).

Continue reading: Neverwinter Nights 2 Musings (Updated)
  Doom 3:  First Impressions  
Posted 2004-08-05 by Tony Walsh
Doom 3, the latest first-person shooter from the legendary id Software isn't so much a sequel in the sci-fi-meets-horror Doom series as a remake of the original game. Despite the chunky graphics of the first version, Doom 3 has a lot to live up to--more in the suspense and terror departments, since this newest version is so graphically-advanced that gamers are actually upgrading their PCs in order to play the game smoothly.

So, is Doom 3 worth the anticipation, hype, and $64.95CDN I shelled out for it yesterday? I spent an hour playing both single- and multi-player Doom 3 and present my initial impressions.

Continue reading: Doom 3:  First Impressions
  Study:  Canucks Prefer Games Over Movies (Updated)  
Posted 2004-08-04 by Tony Walsh
A survey of nearly 3000 Canadians shows that 79% find games more entertaining than Hollywood movies. The poll, commissioned by Xbox Canada, determined that 65% of console owners are gaming online, 32% play online more than offline, and most interesting of all, 67% of Canadians who are not currently playing online plan to do so within the next year.

According to Xbox Canada's PR firm, of the 2,953 respondents, 84% were between the ages of 14 and 35, and 86% were residents of Ontario, Quebec, BC and Alberta. These percentiles, not available in the official press release, temper the data presented. We're looking at a demographic from Canada's most broadband-friendly (and wealthiest) provinces. In addition, the age range is generally considered to be the core gaming audience, so the respondents are already pre-disposed to enjoy games immensely. While the study is still significant, it is not representative of Canada as a whole--rather it is indicative of Canadian gamers with disposable income.

More information from the official press release follows.

Continue reading: Study:  Canucks Prefer Games Over Movies (Updated)
  Multiplayer Gaming’s Quiet Revolution  
Posted 2004-07-20 by Tony Walsh
 just published my article entitled "Multiplayer Gaming's Quiet Revolution," about the emergence, maturity, and future of body language and facial expression as a method of human interaction in gaming. Second Life is heavily featured in the article as an example of how a multi-user platform can empower its users and forward warm communication in cyberspace. Shouts to Liam O'Donnell for his constructive criticism on my final draft.

I wish I'd seen these player-created Star Wars Galaxies videos before I finished the article. They are worth mentioning for the fact that even when players are not explicitly given the tools to self-express, they'll find a way to do it anyway. The message behind the videos, which involve scores of players dancing in unison, is related to game design and play politics.
Posted 2004-07-14 by Tony Walsh
The classic Commodore 64 puzzle-action game Paradroid has been remade for today's PCs as "Freedroid," and comes in Classic and RPG flavours, with multiplayer "World" mode in development. The Classic version, which pits your parasite-like robot against a world of angry machines, demands that you either destroy or take over everything in your path. The basic Paradroid, in my estimation, was the first game to introduce real-time "hacking" / "picking locks" using a graphical puzzle metaphor.
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy? get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock

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