Resisted the Kickstarter, but the videos that were released this week left me powerless to resist. I pre-ordered the dev kit.
Like I mentioned earlier I was looking into buying a computer. During the Christmas holiday (smart move, not) I decided to actually place the order. The components arrived last friday.
|1||€ 203,90||€ 203,90|
|1||€ 104,50||€ 104,50|
|1||€ 208,89||€ 208,89|
|1||€ 64,99||€ 64,99|
|1||€ 30,89||€ 30,89|
|1||€ 124,-||€ 124,-|
|1||€ 41,90||€ 41,90|
|1||€ 16,20||€ 16,20|
|1||€ 54,50||€ 54,50|
|1||€ 88,-||€ 88,-|
Instead of a regular ATX motherboard and case I went with the much smaller micro-ATX form factor. The system I ended up with is quite tiny; it fits neatly behind a cabinet.
Windows 8 both pleases and disappoints. It’s lighting fast running from SSD and Metro really does look nice. Switching between Metro and the Desktop however, is not that great.
I was worried that the configuration I went with didn’t pack enough of a punch to run new games at the highest visual settings, but Metro 2033, Witcher 2 and some other games I threw at it were no problem. Which is awesome.
My Xbox Live subscription expired this week. The 6th of December to be precise. Unlike many years before I didn’t even look into renewing it this time.
There are two reasons for that. One is that I just didn’t use it that much this year; I think Modern Warfare 3 was the last game I played online. The other is that I’m just too content with Playstation Plus. Not that it’s a problem to have both at the same time, but since Playstation Plus (and my PS3’s 500GB HD upgrade) I’ve been using my Xbox less and less. Mainly because Playstation Plus has made it super easy to statisfy my gaming hobby.
I like collecting video games. I like looking at the boxes they come in and storing them in cabinets. Before Playstation Plus (and the Humble Bundle) I had trouble adapting to digital-only games. There just wasn’t an advantage for me. Games would cost about the same and there was no way to put them in cabinets and look at them.
Now with Playstation Plus I just get a bunch of free games every month. I don’t like all of them, but they are practically forced into my collection. And apparently that worked. It changed me. I have no problem buying games and just getting a code or download link anymore. I think I might even prefer digital to physical copies..
I have been planning to buy a new computer (not a Mac). To play games on and maybe start some Windows projects for Danger Cove. I’m having a hard time to just go ahead and purchase the components though. This is the list I’ve been staring at for a few weeks now.
|1||€ 204,90||€ 204,90|
|1||€ 99,90||€ 99,90|
|1||€ 208,-||€ 208,-|
|1||€ 65,45||€ 65,45|
|1||€ 57,95||€ 57,95|
|1||€ 3,35||€ 3,35|
|1||€ 125,95||€ 125,95|
|1||€ 10,95||€ 10,95|
|1||€ 35,99||€ 35,99|
|1||€ 16,09||€ 16,09|
|1||€ 81,51||€ 81,51|
|1||€ 93,50||€ 93,50|
Have you seen these remote controllable, color changing lights by Philips, called Hue?
They’re working on an official SDK/API that’ll allow you to make your own apps that can trigger color and intensity alterations. Really looking forward to see games like Amnesia involve Philips Hue in their gameplay. We could do all kinds of cool stuff like lightning, bright interogation rooms, dimming the lights when things get eerie, flickering you name it.
Apparently Philips made it pretty easy to get started, by using the unprotected HTTP “API”. Allowing this to work with HTML5 based games.
Conan O’Brien reviewed “Hitman: Absolution” this week. He’s talked about quite a few games now and mentioned this was his favorite. Which says more than you might think.
Christopher Walken (actually Jason Stephens) has a similar item on YouTube: Chrisopher Walkenthrough. This is him playing Minecraft.
I backed the Kickstarter project and the iOS game is just the right appetizer. Plays wonderfully (or at least just as crappy as I remember) and looks great.
Carmageddon on iOS.
(Right, I ignored this part of the internet for almost a year.)
I just finished Gabriel Knight 2: the Beast Within; the best FMV game of the 90s (I don’t think they were made in any other decade). When it came out, it blew my mind. Now it looks pretty dated, but it offers such an immersive experience. The story is awesome and most of the acting is pretty good. The game’s depiction of Germany, German people and American actors talking in German is especially memorable.
The intro and some gameplay.
The EA games discount that gog.com ran a little while ago allowed me to buy some of my favorite games from the past (Theme Hospital!, Wing Commander!) for a pretty good price. The problem with gog.com for Mac users is that all games are Windows-only. Or at least they were. Gog has teamed with Alun Bestor, the creator of Boxer to bring the games to OSX.
Boxer makes it super easy to bundle old DOS games into neat .app packages; ready to play with the click of a button. Bringing that to gog.com means I can simply download the games and start playing. Awesome!
I bought my first Mac just 3 or 4 years ago. Before that I used to alternate between Windows and Linux, mostly sticking to Linux. The flexibility and complexity was something I liked most about Linux. Compiling a new kernel each time I inserted a new piece of hardware into my computer and fixing errors until a game or application would compile and install successfully used to keep me entertained for days and nights on end. The absence of these exact things is what made me buy an Apple later; it just works.
This week I realised that while I’m quite familiar with the history of DOS, Windows, Linux, Amiga, C64, BeOS and so on, Mac OSX’s predecessors are a mystery to me. A few brief experiences with NeXT workstations and iMacs in public places aside, I’ve never used the system before OSX. Obviously exploring this makes for a perfect spare time project. I managed to install NeXTSTEP in Parallels and tried to get past greyscale graphics, which proved to be difficult. After reading some experiences by others I swithed to VirtualBox, which allows you to customize hardware properties, like ethernet cards and sound devices. VirtualBox with OPENSTEP (NeXTSTEP with OpenStep) and the latest update almost provides a plug and play experience due to much improved driver support. I took some screenshots running OPENSTEP 4.2 at 1024x768 pixels with 32bit colors (a setup that cost about $ 15,000 when it was released).
This screenshot shows Facebook, looking rather broken, and DOOM in the front. id Software used NeXT systems to create the famous first person shooter. Relying on the Objective-C based development environment to create most of the tools, like the level editor. Speaking of which..
While Xcode 4.2 and InterfaceBuilder 4.2 were released almost two decades apart, they feel strikingly similar; dragging and dropping components and attaching their outlets to ‘First Responders’, it’s all there.
EDIT: Over at Hacker News, Zev provided a link to a video of Gene Backlin giving a talk at SecondConf last year, titled ‘NeXT to X’. About 21 minutes into the video Gene walks through a screenshot supported comparison of creating the exact same app using development environments that were created 20 years apart.
YouTube has some pretty cool videos that show Steve Jobs demoing NeXTSTEP. Like this one, where Steve talks about what he calls ‘interpersonal computing’:
Or this ‘secret’ video, supposedly only for the eyes of fresh NeXT employees:
Fiddling around with NeXTSTEP has been fun. It reminded me that I tried, but never really liked, the Linux window manager called WindowMaker, which I did knew was based on NeXTSTEP. WindowMaker to me felt out of place on Linux and inferior to Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment and other window mangers at the time. Like OSX today, the NeXTSTEP interface feels a lot more comfortable on the system that it’s been designed for.
Some sites to help install OPENSTEP yourself: