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Archive

Archive for December, 2011

Weekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Saying goodbye is, when speaking in terms of someone you care about, probably the most difficult emotional interaction two human beings can share. It isn't so much the idea that you're never going to see this person again, because chances are that's not true. What hurts is knowing that someone who has been a staple of your life for years will no longer be there in a communal sense, that the companionship you've grown so accustomed to will be missing. When you care about someone, either romantically or platonically, you give them a piece of yourself, a piece they take with them when they leave.

Sometimes though, we get lucky, and our goodbyes are formed out of hope and optimism rather than loss and grief. Chris Grant, Justin McElroy, Griffin McElroy and Arthur Gies are walking into a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones; we know this because these are men who truly adore what they do, and the only thing that could pry them away from Joystiq's embrace is the promise of an even better tomorrow, which we hope they find as soon as humanly possible.

This is the transition between Joel and Mike, or Jason and Tommy. It's scary, but everything is going to be okay. We promise.

Ice World (Brawl in the Family)
Fungible Assets (Penny Arcade)
Skyrim's Most Wanted (Virtual Shackles)
Tall Order (Extra Life)
Videogames, am I right? (VG Cats)
Modding (Nerf Now!!)
The Sky's The Limit (Awkward Zombie)
Rattatattack (Life in Aggro)
Sacrifice (The Gamer Cat)

Continue reading Weekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye

JoystiqWeekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 23:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Saying goodbye is, when speaking in terms of someone you care about, probably the most difficult emotional interaction two human beings can share. It isn't so much the idea that you're never going to see this person again, because chances are that's not true. What hurts is knowing that someone who has been a staple of your life for years will no longer be there in a communal sense, that the companionship you've grown so accustomed to will be missing. When you care about someone, either romantically or platonically, you give them a piece of yourself, a piece they take with them when they leave.

Sometimes though, we get lucky, and our goodbyes are formed out of hope and optimism rather than loss and grief. Chris Grant, Justin McElroy, Griffin McElroy and Arthur Gies are walking into a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones; we know this because these are men who truly adore what they do, and the only thing that could pry them away from Joystiq's embrace is the promise of an even better tomorrow, which we hope they find as soon as humanly possible.

This is the transition between Joel and Mike, or Jason and Tommy. It's scary, but everything is going to be okay. We promise.

Ice World (Brawl in the Family)
Fungible Assets (Penny Arcade)
Skyrim's Most Wanted (Virtual Shackles)
Tall Order (Extra Life)
Videogames, am I right? (VG Cats)
Modding (Nerf Now!!)
The Sky's The Limit (Awkward Zombie)
Rattatattack (Life in Aggro)
Sacrifice (The Gamer Cat)

Continue reading Weekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye

JoystiqWeekly Webcomic Wrapup is saying goodbye originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 23:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, Alex Ayars discusses (a few of) the potential downsides of an alien invasion with his space-based RPG, Zigfrak.


What's your game called and what's it about?

Zigfrak is a game of deep-space conflict and discovery. Players begin in the midst of a human civil war, complicated by the invasion of technologically superior aliens.

Is the Zigfrak story inspired by any real-life events? How pivotal is the story to the gameplay?

The underlying story draws inspiration from historical and modern day events. Ronald Reagan gave an address to the UN in the '80s, at one point positing that the conflicts between human nations might dissolve if we were to be confronted by a truly alien threat. A big angle of Zigfrak's story is that his statement probably wasn't true -- that humans would continue on with their petty squabbles, even when faced with annihilation by a superior alien adversary.

The backstory is also inspired by the American Revolution and the contemporary debate surrounding the security theater. I try to present this nonpolitically, leaving the door open for players to interpret events however they are most comfortable with.

Zigfrak's story helps to prop things up, but is auxiliary to the many approaches one might take when playing. Each hub of content is a platform for telling a self-contained and lighthearted short story, with the player taking on a pivotal role.

Continue reading The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak

JoystiqThe Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 23:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, Alex Ayars discusses (a few of) the potential downsides of an alien invasion with his space-based RPG, Zigfrak.


What's your game called and what's it about?

Zigfrak is a game of deep-space conflict and discovery. Players begin in the midst of a human civil war, complicated by the invasion of technologically superior aliens.

Is the Zigfrak story inspired by any real-life events? How pivotal is the story to the gameplay?

The underlying story draws inspiration from historical and modern day events. Ronald Reagan gave an address to the UN in the '80s, at one point positing that the conflicts between human nations might dissolve if we were to be confronted by a truly alien threat. A big angle of Zigfrak's story is that his statement probably wasn't true -- that humans would continue on with their petty squabbles, even when faced with annihilation by a superior alien adversary.

The backstory is also inspired by the American Revolution and the contemporary debate surrounding the security theater. I try to present this nonpolitically, leaving the door open for players to interpret events however they are most comfortable with.

Zigfrak's story helps to prop things up, but is auxiliary to the many approaches one might take when playing. Each hub of content is a platform for telling a self-contained and lighthearted short story, with the player taking on a pivotal role.

Continue reading The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak

JoystiqThe Joystiq Indie Pitch: Zigfrak originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 23:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Space Quest II remade, released for free

December 31st, 2011 No comments

Perhaps "remade" isn't the best word to describe what the team at Infamous Adventures has done to Sierra's 1987 classic Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge. "Lovingly rebuilt," perhaps, or "delicately hand-milled," if such a term can be considered applicable in a programming sense. (We've decided it can.)

Infamous Adventures' reproduction features "hand-drawn backgrounds, hand animated characters, a full voice pack featuring over 4,000 recorded lines and a whole lot of extras," according to the group's official website. We don't know what's more touching, the fact that a small group of people completely rejiggered a classic out of love for the original, or that the fruits of their labor can be downloaded for free.

Watch those system requirements, though, as the PC version requires a whole meg of RAM.

JoystiqSpace Quest II remade, released for free originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 21:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Myst 3D video shows off Myst, not so much 3D

December 31st, 2011 No comments


Myst 3D
is coming to the 3DS in March, and a video from publisher Maximum Family Games offers a glimpse into all of its dimensions -- and they're falling flat. Joystiqer Tom P. points out that the main action shown in the demo video takes place on the lower, non-3D screen. There is some discovery gameplay on the upper, 3D screen, but since Maximum Family Games is billing Myst 3D as a game with "sharp 3D environments," we were expecting a game with sharp 3D environments.

As the friendly warning at the beginning of the demonstration states, we aren't able to see the true 3D effects in the video, and it's possible that the Myst holding screen on the 3D panel looks utterly outstanding. We'll keep both eyes out for more Myst 3D gameplay videos -- mostly because you can't see 3D graphics with just one eye.

JoystiqMyst 3D video shows off Myst, not so much 3D originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Little Big Adventure remake confirmed, may be used as testbed for third title

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Originally discussed back in August, talk of a remade/remixed version of Adeline Software International's Little Big Adventure (known stateside as Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure) has resurfaced during an interview between GoG.com and the creative minds behind the series, Didier Chanfray, Frédérick Raynal and Sébastien Viannay.

Other than confirmation that a rerelease of the original Little Big Adventure is in the works, the team also hinted at the possibility of an eventual Little Big Adventure 3: "We obviously have a lot of ideas for a third part, our best fans already know some of them, but before telling you more we need to test some of them with the remake. Games are different nowadays and we don't want to be stuck in 90's." If only every developer could be so self-aware.

JoystiqLittle Big Adventure remake confirmed, may be used as testbed for third title originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Little Big Adventure remake confirmed, may be used as testbed for third title

December 31st, 2011 No comments
Originally discussed back in August, talk of a remade/remixed version of Adeline Software International's Little Big Adventure (known stateside as Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure) has resurfaced during an interview between GoG.com and the creative minds behind the series, Didier Chanfray, Frédérick Raynal and Sébastien Viannay.

Other than confirmation that a rerelease of the original Little Big Adventure is in the works, the team also hinted at the possibility of an eventual Little Big Adventure 3: "We obviously have a lot of ideas for a third part, our best fans already know some of them, but before telling you more we need to test some of them with the remake. Games are different nowadays and we don't want to be stuck in 90's." If only every developer could be so self-aware.

JoystiqLittle Big Adventure remake confirmed, may be used as testbed for third title originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FIFA 12 Vita walkthrough is more of a run-, pass- and shoot-through

December 31st, 2011 No comments

FIFA 12 producer Matt Prior filmed a walkthrough of the game on Vita, and between the PR catchphrases about how easy its new controls will be, he offers insight into how players will most likely respond to the touchscreen handling. Prior says that most players begin with traditional controls, but once they use the front- and back-screen touch options to switch players, pass and shoot, they never go back.

FIFA 12 on Vita is the first title to use the FIFA engine in a handheld, Prior says, and the game truly does look pretty once you peek around all those poking fingers.

JoystiqFIFA 12 Vita walkthrough is more of a run-, pass- and shoot-through originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Five tech industry predictions for 2012

December 31st, 2011 No comments

The past year in technology was pretty wild.

The really big Internet IPO returned and the massive venture capital funding bubble inflated, which seems difficult considering that the venture capital industry is far smaller than it was three years ago. But look at some of the crazy valuations on revenue-less photo-sharing startups like Color and Path. And there is clearly another bubble inflating in the cloud computing sector, with every company that uses a distributed architecture now calling itself a “cloud company.” So what does 2012 have in store? Here are my predictions.

1. Social media will lose its sizzle.

It’s already happening in fact, as growth of social media usage has begun to slow for upstarts such as FourSquare and stalwarts such as Facebook alike. Silicon Valley has been obsessed with social media, and investors have funded hundreds of “me too” startups to the tune of billions of dollars. There are social networks for pet owners, all manner of marginal Twitter apps, a ridiculous number of mobile photo-sharing apps, hundreds of apps targeting social media analytics and on and on and on.

Just as location-based applications became a “feature” rather than the “big thing,” social media will live on and become an integral part of what we do. But the party’s over for investors and startups in this space. The big growth is behind us. Revenues from social media have not lived up to the promises, and the vast majority of those thousands of startups are either dying or on the ropes. It’s time to jump on the next bandwagon, folks.

2. The bubble will pop for the current crop of tech IPOs.

LinkedIn and Zynga will probably lose more than half their value. LinkedIn is a great company, but even its current valuation of $6 billion is hard to justify. Zynga’s valuation is based more on hype than business reality. Groupon will probably lose most of its value as well because of the inability of the company to actually make a real operating profit that doesn’t require odd accounting gyrations.

But we’ll see another bubble of inflated IPOs coming in the form of the next generation of social game companies, newfangled B2B technology players (if Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff doesn’t buy them all first), and cloud computing companies. And there is little doubt that Facebook will be the IPO of the year — but likely at a lower valuation than is being speculated.

Main screen of the $35 Aaakash android tablet3. An explosion of the tablet market driven by sub-$100 tablets.

The Kindle Fire made waves with its $199 tablet, but we will probably see a new generation of Android-powered tablets that are priced at $100 or below. Tablet manufacturers don’t have the financial incentive to make these too cheap because profits shrink along with price. Once these devices get in the $100 range, carriers may subsidize them as a way to get customers to buy data plans — just like they have done for years with smartphones. Or tablet manufacturers may offer these devices with internet service bundled for as little as $10-15 per month.

For sophisticated consumers, these cheap tablets will seem rudimentary. But there are many new markets that will embrace these devices. And they enable a quantum leap for education systems, communications and information sharing in the developing world. India’s $35 tablet is already a reality. The current version (pictured), produced by Montreal-based DataWind is underpowered and clunky, but the next versions will be very usable. Imagine the price pressure DataWind will put on the lower end (meaning everyone but Apple) of the U.S. market if it releases the Aakash tablet in the United States.

siri-iphone-4s-ad4. Voice recognition goes mainstream.

Former Apple CEO and chairman Steve Jobs revolutionized user interaction by popularizing the Windows interface and mouse. With SIRI, he did his magic once again. SIRI is light-years better at handling complex requests than anything on a smartphone to date — and is getting better with each software update. Apple will embed this technology in new devices such as the Apple TV, in future versions of iPads and iMacs. It will probably open the interfaces to other applications and set off the voice revolution.

The type of voice command capabilities that we saw on “Star Trek” will start to become the reality.

5. “Cloudburst” shakes the tech industry.

Cloud computing is advancing faster than our ability to secure systems. Companies are rapidly moving their most critical data and information from file cabinets and secured servers to shared servers on the Web. Cloud computing provides significant cost savings and operational advantages. But it also unleashes a Pandora’s box of security concerns.

We’ve already seen cloud break-ins originating from China. And a number of legitimate Internet companies have suffered when the FBI confiscated a shared server in a cloud hosting facility that also hosted rogue applications. One major security breach could throw cold water over the entire industry and slow down the corporate adoption that is expected to drive cloud growth this year and for many years to come.

No doubt the tech world is in for another roller coaster ride—which will be a lot of fun.

Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa is a visiting scholar at the School of Information at UC-Berkeley, director of research for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and senior research associate for the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

Full disclosure: Washington Post Co. Chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.

Copyright 2011, WashingtonPost

2012 thumbnail image via Shutterstock


Filed under: cloud, mobile, social, VentureBeat

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