Tag work

PopStar Guitar

And our latest product is now out. It’s a Wii guitar game with a little hand-held peripheral that clicks onto the Remote, targetted at the young folk. It’s selling like quite warm baked products, apparently. From this review:

To say they loved it would be an understatement. They couldn’t stop playing. They used the Air-Guitar peripheral exactly as it was meant to be used, dancing around the living room, making exaggerated movements and having a blast.. From setting up their band to playing the songs they thoroughly enjoyed every facet of the game. They sang along to all the songs, and the difficulty (set to medium) was enough that they missed notes here and there but never hard enough that they were in danger of failing the song.

Best description I’ve heard is "Guitar Hero’s little sister." Aww.

And a few years back

And here’s another one from a few years back. Six of these people are still here. Seven, if you count Steve, who’s invisible in this picture.

Broadsword Interactive

This is us, folks – sans Paul and Ian H. who were away. Zoom for bigger, natch. I’m in the blue at the front.

UPDATE: And of course, Harry.

and that makes Ian a Zoe Wanamakermakermaker..

"Hey, she looks just like Zoe Wanamaker!"

"So does that make [Ian’s face-customiser software] a Zoe Wanamakermaker?"

busy busy busy

If only I had a brain. I was up here till 5 this morning, fixing bugs but mainly sitting around waiting for builds to be done. Our current project has enough data to cheerfully fill a DVD, so builds take some time. Waking up this afternoon I turned on the TV news to find that I seemed to have slipped into an alternate reality – the top stories were:

  • Karadzic found and arrested (surely his whereabouts were more or less an open secret in Serbia, just no-one had the inclination or guts to go after him?)
  • Major breakthrough against prostate cancer
  • Fuel prices actually going down
  • Mugabe and Tsvangirai shaking hands and signing stuff

In other words, all Good News. When was the last time that happened? Things seem to be back to normal now.


Still incredibly busy, hence the silence. It’s tough here at the code face, and the amount of overtime being done by everyone here is just ridiculous. But you never know, we might actually be winning.

Ah well. Here’s a cute story about a piglet who’s scared of mud!

insane video cards

New! Experimental! Well, something mental. Requires its own power station, I suspect.

we can’t resist web surfing – what about games?

This article, linked to by BoingBoing, describes why we (well, some of us) can’t resist surfing the web. It’s apparently because we get an endorphin high from viewing new and richly interpretable information. Interesting – because for me it also explains why I like the games I do.

I’m a neophile, which probably just means I’m wired to get a hell of an endorphin kick from new, deep information. But I have terrible coordination and reflexes, and I don’t particularily enjoy conflict or adrenaline rushes, so I don’t get a massive kick out of visceral action gaming – twitch gaming. So the games I like provide me regularly with dollops of interesting (and beautiful) New Stuff which I have to think about in order to keep playing the game.

My favourite game is probably Ico – there’s a bit of fighting but it’s not a problem, it’s mainly just a case of wandering around a beautiful, huge castle solving puzzles. Every new area is a massive endorphin hit for geeks like me; a new wodge of beautiful, inventive worldbuilding I have to get involved in to solve.

Shadow of the Colossus didn’t entirely work for me, because the environment, while lovely, wasn’t deep enough. And the monsters were fundamentally the same fight over and over again – not much new data there. And I was shit at the fights, because of my dreadful coordination.

Portal works beautifully – each new level is a world I have to get involved in. They’re not particularly pretty, but they are very cleverly designed and have to be explored and engaged with in a new way because of the game’s novel mechanic. Also, of course, there’s always a new bit of comedy from GlaDOS waiting for me when I get to a new level, which is a massive hit of new, quality data in itself. But largely I loved it because I didn’t have to jump through too many frustrating time-dependent and coordination-dependent hoops to win the level. I just had to analyse the puzzle successfully, and then put my analysis into practice, with just enough acrobatics to make it require a few tries to get it right.

Now, it seems to me that most games are designed for another sort of person – a competitive person who likes adrenaline rushes, exercising their reflexes and coordination, practicing physical skills. There are currently few games for those of us who get that same visceral kick from thinking and exploration. Oh yes, we’ll play the twitch games because there’s often enough interesting stuff in there to keep us hooked, wading through the combat parts even though they’re a chore.

But where are the exploration games like Ico and Myst now? Why don’t they sell well? Because the article seems to say that everyone, to a large extent, should be sucked in by this sort of dynamic.

Or are most gamers really jocks and not geeks?

home now

We’ve been here all day, having been here all weekend, and half an hour ago the studio manager ordered everyone home. A couple of us are still here, though – because there’s an interesting problem to fix. Welcome to the geek mind.

Broadsword Towers

Our new offices, at Unit 12, mere yards away from our old office at unit 8. But you should see the view! Oh, and I found the Amelie soundtrack in a box ;)

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