Don’t throw me away

I was reading this BBC article on the growing use of more advanced Artificial Intelligence in gaming. Most of the article focuses on the game Black & White, which is going to hit store shelves in about a week.

A part of the article really got on my nerves, however:

Game makers are turning to AI to make titles stand out in the highly competitive world of computer games. They like it because, if it is done well, it is a very cheap way of adding playability. Instead of spending huge sums on sumptuous graphics, long cinematic sequences, endless levels, characters and plots, a game can be made much more challenging with a bit of nifty programming.

The implication that advanced AI coding is somehow easier or cheaper than “sumptuous graphics”, etc… really bothers me. We have reached the point where programming is important to everyday life, yet it is still somehow regarded as some redheaded stepchild. Being that the team behind Black & White is comprised of some of the most talented artists, developers (who are artists as well, IMHO), designers, and managers, I can’t imagine that they picked up a copy of “AI for Dummies” and snarfed/barfed code to make their NPC’s smart. They instead put hours and hours into perfecting the level of AI that they desired. The article itself quotes Molyneux speaking about how hard it is to get AI right. Grumble.

A little pre-exam nostalgia

Five years ago today, I was dialed into MOREnet, using that to telnet into a free ISP, where I had ftp’ed a 4.3 meg ZIP archive into /tmp and began rz’ing it onto my Amiga 500 at 9600 bits per second. I then took that archive, split it up into several 720k archives, and using sneakernet I took the files over to my fathers 486DX4/100. I reassembled the files there, unzipped them, and slowly began to realize that qtest was going to be a whole lotof fun… Of course, the fun didn’t really start until I took the game to CCM and we played our first network game… qtest became Quake, and the rest is history… qtest was also instrumental in meeting Chris, as girls are always impressed by kicking the living shit out of them in video games. Too bad she eventually got better than me. :)

Damned dust…

This break, I had the opportunity to play some video games, but I noticed that my machine was locking up on occasion… It started frustrating me, so I decided to investigate… I installed the latest drivers yesterday, and it was still crashing today, so I cracked the case open…

The fan on my videocard decided to fill itself with dust and seize…. I took out the card, blew as much dust out of it as possible, and WD-40ed the fan, and it spins pretty well again…. Hopefully that was it..

Perhaps I am not so dorky after all

OK, so yesterday I established that I do have some definite dorky qualities. Last night, I discovered how much dorkier people can get.

So me and the roomies were playing Counter-Strike last night after going over to CSH again for orientations. The introduction of Quake into the gaming world brought about the concept of ‘Clans’. Clans are groups of friends who play together as a team. Unfortunately this devo’ed into a bunch of losers, most of whom suck-ass at the game, but believe that they are the best players ever.

Clans have spread out to many other games, and Counter-Strike is no exception. My roomies and I thought it would be funny to play as “Clan IronChef”, and we renamed our server “Kitchen Stadium”. Now, we aren’t serious about being a clan whatsoever, but apparently other people are.. :) This clan of idiots joined our server last night, and some of them joined our team. One of the members of this clan decided that we shouldn’t take this one particular route through the map. We ignored him, because the 3 of us are pretty decent at the game. Well he got pissed that we weren’t listening to him, so he started publically yelling out our positions to his friends on the opposing team. Now, while I understand that it is just a game, that just seems uncool…

I warned his buddies (and him), that if he kept acting like a flake, that I would ban the whole lot from our server… Then they just turned into 12 year olds (who knows, they might be 12 year olds in real life). It was just really lame… Some people just don’t understand that A) it’s just a game, and B) the game is there to enjoy, so why ruin it?

We kicked their asses without equivocation, so I guess we settled the argument the old fashioned way, but it was still really lame. :)

I’m a dork.

Unlike many things in life, video games are always there for you. :)

This weekend was pretty fun. As I said earlier, on friday Kelly came over to join us for the dinner I made (Sean was busy, and couldn’t come), which turned out awesome, if I say so myself. We all went to see X-Men, which was entertaining.

Adam cooked some wild steak on Saturday, and Kelly and Sean both joined us (Sean was doing a 24-hour experiment the night before, which is why he didn’t come over on Friday). They brought some kick-ass tiramisu for dessert, and we played some Trivial Pursuit. We then began playing Counter-Strike. Now, the past few times Sean and Kelly have come over, we have done this same ritual… They are hooked on Counter-Strike as much as everyone else in my household… We played for quite awhile, trading off computers inbetween maps. It would be cool to get another computer or two in the apartment so we wouldn’t have to trade off, but that would cost alot of coin.

Sunday morning, James made German Apple Pancakes, which were outstanding. I had never had anything like that before, and I have to say that for all the trumpeting James did about the dish, he lived up to his hype. :)

Today has been very slow, I feel like real crap (and have since I woke up). I just have a wicked headache and am pretty tired.. I feel terribly unproductive at work today, and there is another CSH orientation tonight…. Sigh, the burdens of being a man-about-town. :)
I really need to put my nose to the wheel at work this week, I feel like I am behind, even though I am probably fine… This summer has been bizarre…