Guild Wars 2 Open Beta Weekend Overview


There are those who eagerly anti­cip­ate online gam­ing events. And then there’s the rest of the world. I kinda fall into the first cat­egory.

This past week­end I par­ti­cip­ated in such an event — the first Guild Wars 2 open beta test. Basic­ally it was two and a half days of fresh Guild Wars good­ness! But first a little back­ground.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Guild Wars 2 Open Beta Week­end Over­view”

Almost bought this, and now it’s free!

Valve has just removed pri­cing from Team Fort­ress 2 — the sem­in­al multi-play­er first-per­son shoot­er — in Steam, Valve’s online game dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.

Pre­vi­ously I’d been a Bat­tle­field Her­oes fan, but got busy and had little time for it. Now, with TF2 being free, and hav­ing a bit more time avail­able, I may just give it a whirl.

And if you’d pre­vi­ously pur­chased TF2, no wor­ries, you have exclus­ive access to spe­cial con­tent not avail­able to us free-load­ers 😉

I think I’ve bought my last desktop computer

A couple of years ago, I was all into and enjoyed build­ing desktop com­puters, pick­ing out the right video card, select­ing the best mother­board and gen­er­ally dig­ging deep into the innards of my future com­put­ing plat­form. And design­ing the per­fect ‘office’ com­put­ing envir­on­ment with short cable runs, ample power for my accessor­ies and lots of desktop space. Yes it was com­plex and involved and detailed, but it was a hobby — build­ing com­puters.

These days, I’m not so con­cerned about it. What I need to do on a com­puter hasn’t changed, but the com­put­ing industry has matured, my needs are now becom­ing much more main­stream, and the sig­ni­fic­ant dif­fer­ences between one com­pon­ent and anoth­er aren’t quite so sig­ni­fic­ant any more.

Put anoth­er way, what I have been doing and want to do on a com­puter, is now much more in demand by every­day con­sumers. And the hard­ware, is becom­ing much more homo­gen­eous. They’ve caught up. Wel­come to the future.

Honey, I shrunk the CPU
Moore’s Law has also caught up, to the point where the hard­ware is smal­ler, light­er, faster, and cheap­er to make. On today’s hard­ware you can have full audio and video edit­ing stu­di­os in the soft­ware that runs your phone. You can remotely pilot vehicles with your phone or mobile com­put­ing device, and you can eas­ily com­mu­nic­ate with any­one on the plan­et using any num­ber of mobile tech­no­lo­gies.

Any of the mod­ern note­book com­puters have all that stuff in a very tiny pack­age.

Home file shar­ing
It used to be that you had files on one com­puter, and you shared them with the oth­er. Both com­puters had to be on to share the files. Now, with ubi­quit­ous WiFi and home net­work stor­age appli­ances (basic­ally net­work-aware hard drives) in your house­hold, any com­puter or com­pat­ible device can access any doc­u­ment, video, mp3, at any time. No need to have a big Mas­ter Serv­er.

The same goes for net­work-aware print­ers. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers have WiFi mod­els avail­able that know how to play nice with your home net­work envir­on­ment. Again, no need for a com­puter dir­ectly con­nec­ted to a print­er.

I men­tioned home net­work stor­age above, but these days stor­age devices are dirt cheap. So much so that it’s become pos­sible for com­mer­cial busi­ness to be built up around the concept of offer­ing you free online stor­age of your doc­u­ments, pho­tos, music, whatever…for free.

And they won’t only store your files, they’ll give you free access to applic­a­tions and tools to cre­ate and edit your stuff. Again, I no longer have a need for a huge drive attached to a big desktop box — all this stuff is in the cloud.

One caveat
There’s only two real reas­on that I can think of for need­ing a ded­ic­ated desktop com­puter these days; high-qual­ity media cre­ation, and gam­ing.

If you’re into music mak­ing, video edit­ing, pho­to­graphy, art, design, any­thing that needs you to move masses of pixels or gigs of data around, the archi­tec­ture of a desktop com­puter box is more suited to that than many of the note­book com­puters on the mar­ket. And you’re likely using the com­puter in a pro­fes­sion­al set­ting as a pho­to­graph­er, com­poser and the like.

Gam­ing also is a hard­ware resource hog, and falls into that cat­egory as many of the same com­put­ing tasks in media cre­ation are also neces­sary in game cre­ation and play­ing. Of course, there are excep­tions — I’ve seen some very power­ful (and pretty) gam­ing laptops.

Inter­est­ing, but not enough
But gam­ing isn’t enough for me to build my desktop around it, any more. Con­sole gam­ing sys­tems have edged in with com­par­able graph­ics and game­play, on much big­ger screens than could fit on my desktop.

So it looks like my next new sys­tem, likely in a year or two, won’t be a power-suck­ing behemoth that sits under my desk. Rather, it’ll be some­thing small, light, can con­nect to desktop mon­it­ors, mice & key­boards, and the home net, yet is still port­able. And I think the same holds true for most of you too. Yes, wel­come to the future 🙂
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Oldschool Awesome — Sword and Sworcery brings it!


With an allu­sion to a massive psy­cho­lo­gic­al exper­i­ment, the new Super­broth­ers Role Play­ing Game release, Sword & Swor­cery, brings a new / old 8bit look to iPad gam­ing. Oh, and the game can integ­rate with your Twit­ter account, extend­ing the game­play into the Social Media world.

While I down­load the app and start play­ing (for an upcom­ing review, of course), why don’t you check out this video and then read this excel­lent inter­view with the game’s cre­at­or / artist / anim­at­or, Craig D. Adams.

Audi­ence Cal­ib­ra­tion Pro­ced­ure from Super­broth­ers: Sword & Swor­cery on Vimeo.

Oh, almost for­got — it’s a Made in Canada game 🙂 or Art Pro­ject. Some­thing.

Update: Cur­rently iPad only, though an iPhone ver­sion is in the works.

A Tale of Two RPGs


Two cool Fantasy Role Play­ing Games have caught my atten­tion lately on my iPad; The Battle for Wesnoth and Battle­heart.

Yes, they’re both RPGs, but are so dis­sim­il­ar in their approach and exe­cu­tion that they’re not really tread­ing in each other’s space, so to speak. Here’s why…


It’s Big
The Battle for Wesnoth (which I’ll call Wesnoth from now on) is a large, turn-based strategy-style RPG. Think back to the old-school ver­sions of War­Craft and you’ve got it, without the hew­ing of trees or min­ing of gold.


Now if this sounds a bit famil­i­ar, well it is. The iPad ver­sion of Wesnoth is a port (the offi­cial port) of the free Linux, MacOSX, and Win­dows ver­sion of the game.

Accord­ing to the developer:

Battle for Wesnoth is the offi­cial port of a gigant­ic, com­plex and detailed full-scale strategy-RPG. We made sure that noth­ing was cut from the game, everything from flags flap­ping to skel­et­ons jug­gling their heads, it’s all here!

Wesnoth is a unique com­bin­a­tion of tac­tic­al strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Pan­zer Gen­er­al, and Final Fantasy Tac­tics. Using your hero, you need to cap­ture vil­lages to gain income, and recruit new units to do battle. These units gain exper­i­ence through com­bat and can level up into power­ful new classes. But make sure to pro­tect your vet­er­an troops, as they can be recalled through­out a cam­paign!

Yes, it’s big. And fun! And long!

  • Almost 200 cam­paign scen­ari­os across 15 major cam­paigns — lit­er­ally hun­dreds of hours of game­play!!
  • Over 200 fully anim­ated unit types in six major fac­tions, all with dis­tinct­ive abil­it­ies, weapons and spells
  • Exper­i­enced units gain power­ful new abil­it­ies as they advance
  • Bring your battle-hardened troops with you as you fight through cam­paigns
  • Highly detailed and var­ied ter­rain graph­ics
  • Three levels of dif­fi­culty for cas­u­al to expert play­ers
  • Cross-plat­form mul­ti­play­er matches against iPhone, PC, mac and linux play­ers!
  • Pro­fes­sion­al music score with 90 minutes of ori­gin­al music
  • Open­Feint integ­ra­tion with achieve­ments

Being turn-based, you have the lux­ury of time to care­fully plot out your moves — not so in this next RPG!

Fun. Cute. Enga­ging. All words that eas­ily describe my cur­rent quick-RPG-fix.

Battle­heart doesn’t really have a fleshed out story, rather it’s more of a RPG forest & dun­geon crawl with a set of scen­ari­os encountered by your hearty band of adven­tur­ers, here’s my crew.

You pro­gress through the scenerairos, lev­el­ing up, col­lect­ing loot, find­ing and spend­ing gold.

As with any good RPG, as you level up you get access to new powers and abil­it­ies. And as you get more gold, you can buy bet­ter weapons, armor, and magic­al objects to make your char­ac­ters more power­ful.

Cre­ate a unique party of her­oes, and lead them in frantic real-time battles against mon­sters of ever increas­ing power. Lay waste to your foes with dozens of unique spe­cial powers as you gain exper­i­ence, upgrade your party’s equip­ment, and craft them into the ulti­mate battle force!

  • Eas­ily com­mand your army via simple touch com­mands.
  • Cre­ate a unique party from numer­ous char­ac­ter classes, includ­ing stealthy rogues, power­ful wiz­ards and sto­ic knights!
  • Cus­tom­ize your her­oes via dozens of unique skills — lit­er­ally hun­dreds of class and skill com­bin­a­tions!
  • Make the most of your party’s skills to con­trol the bat­tle­field — turn your oppon­ents into frogs, stun them with pois­ons, or simply des­troy them with met­eor strikes and whirl­winds of steel!
  • Over 100 unique items to col­lect and equip across a 30+ level cam­paign, com­plete with epic boss battles!
  • Put your cus­tom party to the ulti­mate test in sur­viv­al aren­as, where rare and unique rewards can be found!
  • Incred­ibly sharp anim­a­tion and art designed spe­cific­ally for the Ret­ina Dis­play and iPad!

My crew hav­ing a BBQ…

A simple and quick game to get into, but one that becomes chal­len­ging after a few hours of game play, which it should as it con­tin­ues to chal­lenge you!

Two Games, for two game exper­i­ences
As I men­tioned at the out­set, these two RPGs are only sim­il­ar in that they *are* RPGs. Which is great for me because when I tire of push­ing my party-of-4 through the next scene in Battle­heart, I can switch over to Wesnoth and slow things down a bit, while crank­ing up the strategy factor. More pure RPG fun!

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