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Urgh PC gaming

I've played games mostly on consoles for a while, no particular reason, I just like the experience better with some exceptions.

I've been playing Deus Ex Human Revolution on the PC and I'm torn.  The artistic design and the overall mood is great and occasionally amazing.  The gameplay ranges from ok to great has has awesome variation.  The cutscenes are mostly well done and the various.  The voice acting is great for primary characters and occassionally weak on extras.  Overally, it reminds me of a much more polished and enjoyable, though limited, version of Fallout 3.  It's a bit too linear in some areas, but generally does a great job of giving you multiple angles.  It has WAY too many loading screens for my taste.  The character quality is hugely variable.  Animation ranging from ok to strange (especially facial lip flap, yuck :/).  I understand the production costs involved in making good facial animation, but this game looks mostly crap at this point.

My biggest complaint so far is that the game is super unstable.  I think it has crashed in 5 out of the 7 sessions I've played it.  It even failed to load a cutscene and jumped me past some portions of gameplay. It feels like a combination of driver problems (ATI :/) and lack of testing thoroughness.  I bought the PC version on an review's recommendation.  I probably would enjoy it more on PS3 (my 360 is toast).

Hopefully it smooths out, because I really want to love this game.

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DirectX 11 Fail

I started playing with getting a Direct3D 11 pipeline up and running recently (e.g. draw a screen space triangle). It's absolutely crazy how many more problems I've run into than I did with Direct3D 9.

First the good:

  • Core design feels cleaner. Less functional groupings to worry about and those that are left seem to be grouped fairly logically.
  • The effects framework has been released as source. It also looks like it has a cleaner reflection interface than before. Don't look at the code though, it's scary.

Frustrations in random order:

  • You have to turn on debug mode to get ANY kind of error reporting out of the immediate device context.
  • Shader compilation and DXGI seem to talk to mostly DX 10 interfaces. Wtf?
  • The documentation is very sad. They refer you to DX10 docs for everything that's not new to DX11.
  • Where is the effects framework? How about where do they tell you in the docs? At the bottom of differences from DX10 effects page (not reference).
  • Documentation errors! D3DX10async.h does not exist. D3DX11CreateEffectFromMemory "Use ???.lib". Sad monkeys.
  • PIX is useless for debugging. Only timing and replay is supported thus far.
  • Certain errors seem to hang and crash the graphics driver. Thankfully the OS survives.
  • The DXUT source sucks. Try searching for the frame buffer setup functions in their source, I dare you.


  • State block interfaces. Why do you need interfaces when you have user mode drivers!? Instead of just saying SetBlendState(&blendstate), you have to create an interface set that and then use the interface pointer whenever you want to set something. Do you really gain that much out of the extra layer of indirection to make it worth it? Now simple operations like toggling on and off back face culling require many hoops. Maybe that's the point?

This is definitely the most frustrated I've ever been with a Microsoft release in a long time. Here's hoping the next release will fill all the gaps. On the plus side, I finally have a triangle drawing.

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I think I have a new favorite author

I just finished reading the Sandman comic series. It was great! Pretty much all the stories were deep and interesting in some manner or other. The various tidbits of mythology and the way everything fits together is absolutely awesome. I've also read Good Omens (gate wayed in through Terry Prachett), American Gods, Stardust and Neverwhere. While they've all somewhat similar in setting style (real + fantastic often with myth/fairy stuff), they've all be really very different in overall feel. Super great.

Next up a review of SIGGRAPH, assuming I can survive the humidity.

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Do I feel lucky, well?

So Mario Galaxy is played. It was fun, but I think a bit to gimmicky. Control wise it felt pretty good, but due to the many different angles there was very little focus on jumping. The entire game had much less a feel of exploration and more a feel of tons of linear missions. Now linear missions are fine, but they're normally supplemented by story or something else to keep people hooked. Or even increasing difficulty. There certainly was some variety, but each mission was so short it felt pretty hard to get immersed. I don't know, I think I'm also a bit disappointed that it really didn't feel much like a platformer, and THAT was what previous Mario games I played really excelled at. The gravity stuff was kind of interesting, but the execution style limited usability in pretty fundamental ways. It ended up feeling like 2 or 3 games smashed into one.

It was kind of pretty, but I don't think I will ever like the 100% spherical harmonics lighting (e.g. Mario was glowing half the time). The over use of menus drove me nuts. For instance, has anyone heard of autosave, there's very little downside to it in this sort of game. And dear god come up with a better use for the controller. I still think the only Wii controls I've really enjoyed thus far have been Metroid Prime 3, and that's because shooters are made for the pointing nature of the IR camera. I have yet to see the motion sensor be used as anything but a button. A slightly more engaging and less accurate button. Also, the next time I play a racer which is has super loose controls and starts you over for a single mistake, I think I'll explode.

I don't regret buying it, but it's definitely not at the top of my list.

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Business Card Title

So... Long ago, right AFTER I ordered business cards I found out that I could have whatever I wanted on them. Grrr. Since then I've occasionally tried to think of something to put on them. I've decided that it needs to be at least sort of somehow related to what I do. Sort of...

Thus far I've come up with... nothing. It's very sad. I suffer this problem when coming up with names for characters as well. Nothing....

I came up with "codeturnion ninja" but that kinda sucks.... I'm such a geek.

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Super Monkey Balls what?

So I tried out Super Monkey Ball Adventure. Basically it's dumbed down monkey ball puzzles (they may get harder later) with insanely irritating voices and crappy fetch based task gameplay. I'm going to keep pushing on it to see if I can get something out of it, but if it doesn't improve I'll be somewhat disappointed.

Dead Rising Demo. Can a game be based entirely around minutely fun gimicks? I have yet to play it, but the more random little things I see/hear about, the more it's possible that it might actually be fun.

Heheh, I just thought of a pretty hillarious thing. A parody game called Super Drunkey Ball Z! Ok, so maybe it's not that funny and probably would end up as stupid as the original after sequel 6000. It might even continue in DBZ's footsteps and wrap back around to hilarious. In closing, TIMES 4!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fraunch fries

Heheh, I love that movie. "You knoww"... "Two dollars!".

First off, it's sad for the PS3 that the 360 has the potential to drop in price. Second, it makes me cry how few and how little I am interested in 360 games. Ninety Nine Nights might be fun, but the animation looks really crappy (many many guys will do that). Chrome hounds could be fun except they severely deemphasized single player. Dead rising and crackdown both look like masses of uninteresting, mindlessly repetative gameplay. There are a few with small potential. The list goes: Prey (also PC), Gears of War, Blue Dragon. I'm probably missing some, but still...

The PS3 makes me cry because it is expensive. It does have a few games that I am really looking forward to though. Assassin's Creed looks awesome, though I'd like to see some actual gameplay footage. Resistance fall of man could be cool. All I've seen are screen shots of Naughty Dog's project, but it could be cool. Final Fantasy from the Kingdom Hearts team to come out who knows when. Of course, I don't know how many of these are years in the future.  We'll see if I get pulled one way or the other.

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Conference Mayhem

So, I just got back from San Jose. I was at an Audio Conference. Some interesting stuff, but really the thing I enjoyed most was bonding with an animation coworker of mine. We met some pretty cool people too and had some fun. San Jose has the craziest idea of "detour" ever. They had like 6 signs leading to this one street headed directly away from the freeway we wanted and then nothing... It was nuts! We did obviously find a way, but man.

The ironic thing is I'm headed back down to San Jose on Tuesday for GDC. Weird :P. In any case, that should be fun too. I'm actually planning on trying to get together with peoples. So if you're interested in a reunion, call/email me.

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Movie Partay

Unleashed hadeth a movie party, and it was good. There were many that came *smile* and a few that didn't *tear*. In the end, we had just enough space in the living room to fit everyone. We ended up watching 4 movies, starting off with Kung Pao: Enter the Fist, which is a brave starting point. I haven't seen it in a while, and thus forgot how funny it was. Mmmmmm, good. The other's included: Elizabethtown, Serenity and Big Trouble.

Elizabethtown was my only new one. And it was eh. I liked parts, but most of it felt like shallow philosophy. Or at least, philosophy I've encountered long before. The best part was by far the road trip near the end, and it didn't have any Kirsten Dunst or Olando Bloom talking :P. It's ok, it was better than I was expecting, and it's not like I hated it.

Presidents day looms, I don't know what I will do with the free time... Perhaps program (virtual machine), or actually workout for once :P.

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Aggrivating Oops’

Say function f() has side effect. Then change a call like:
r1 = f(); r2 = f(); r3 = f(); g(r1,r2,r3)
to this:
g(f(), f(), f())

And then wonder for hours why the results are all screwed up. It's because the evaluation order of function arguments is not guaranteed! Aaaaargh! At least I found it (and 3 other versions of the same mistake).... *sigh*

Sorry for the boring post. So... I hear Uwe Boll's latest movie died (BloodRayne). However, I also hear that Underworld 2 is coming out on the 20th (OMGROFLBBQ Awesome!). I love that acronym :).