Useless Screenshots

Attention all MMO developers.  When you post pre-release screenshots of your MMO that do not have the UI enabled you are posting an utterly worthless screenshot.  Seriously.  A large portion of our interaction with the game is with the UI, not the pretty graphics you’re so fond of.  When evaluating the game we, as players, are not just evaluating how it looks but how we are going to interact with it.  A pretty game with a crappy UI is still a crappy game.

Let me put this into perspective with the obligatory car analogy.  Imagine car manufacturers were to post car ads where they showed you a picture only of the back seat.  That’s it, just the back seat.  You don’t get to see the exterior, you don’t get to see the driver seat, the controls, nothing.  Back seat, that’s it.  Would this tell you whether you might want to purchase that car?  That the exterior is sleek and aerodynamic?  The controls seem logically placed and modern?  Of course not!  You’re just staring at the back seat.

Stop showing us just the back seat and post screenshots with the UI turned on!

Thanks.

Breaks My Heart.

Ferret pile

I am a sucker for the fuzzies.  I wanted ferrets since I was an early teen.  However they were illegal in California at the time (still are, but that is another rant) and I don’t think even if they weren’t illegal I could have convinced my parents to have gotten one.  When I finally moved out of California to Sin City I was engaged and we had a cat and dog in a moderate sized apartment.  We both wanted a ferret, however, and we were now in a state where they are legal. The Plan was to hold off on the ferrets until the other animals had died.

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On the Morality of Schadenfreude in Entertainment

This evening my wife had Discovery on the TV as I was preparing to head out for work.  She was watching Dirty Jobs or it just happened to be on at that time, take your pick.  I watched bits and pieces and found myself amused and smiling.  Schadenfreude at its most basic.  But why was I enjoying this when I normally frown on other examples of schadenfreude?

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Old Code Never Dies

Back in July of 2003 I started working on a small utility called saeman, SA-Exim Manager.  Just something to quickly sort through the mail SA-Exim dumped into is different queues.  Back then my mail server was hosted on a local machine and using a GUI was not too slow.  However I had to move my mail processing off the local network, GUI operations became expensive and I stopped using and developing that tool.

About 10 months ago it dawned on me that I really should have made it a text based application which would work well through a command-line session.  I dug up my old code from Sourceforge and started tearing the GUI portions out.  After a few days of work spread over those 10 months I finally got it working.  Not the best code to look at and it still needs lots of work but it is functional.  I even moved it to some proper Mercurial hosting over on bitbucket.org.

Moral of the story, keep that old code in a decent repository.  Who knows when it’ll become useful again?

Note to Game Developers…

Online Overdose

Glancing over my RSS feed from MMORPG.com I feel something needs to be said.  The latest news had a string of stories from Star Trek Online, EVE Online, Warhammer Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Ultima Online, StarQuest Online, Ragnarok Online, Angels Online & Fiesta Online.  We just needed news from Anarchy Online and The Matrix Online to round it out.  Game developers take note.  If you’re developing an MMORPG the O means online.  Don’t put it in your game’s title!  We’re quite aware that it is online.  Thank you, that is all.

P.S. Ultima Online is exempted from the above.  They pretty much launched the MMORPG genre so it is understandable they’d want to make it clear that their game was, in fact, online.