Geek / Technical

Good Programmers Are Lazy And Dumb?

I think Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb will find its opponents the same way that Seth Godin’s “All Marketers Are Liars” book did. The article doesn’t actually mean “lazy” and “dumb” in a derogatory way. Lazy means efficient. Make good tools to help you develop even if it means that your programming skill won’t be required anymore. Dumb means smart. Don’t accept assumptions when you troubleshoot a bug.

I personally don’t think it is correct to use the derogatory terms, however. It’s not like “failure means success for body builders”. Calling myself dumb and lazy, even if I know the real meanings behind them, isn’t very motivating. Still, it is good to identify assumptions you may erroneously have. It is also good to find the most efficient way to handle a task.

Games Geek / Technical

Casual Games Article in The Escapist

Casual Fortunes: Getting Rich Slowly With Casual Games talks about casual games and mentions Steve Pavlina’s Dexterity Software, Thomas Warfield, and David Dobson among other developers. It even mentions the Indie Gamer Forums and Game Tunnel!

Geek / Technical Politics/Government

MS Vista Anti-Piracy: Wow, What B.S.

Well, here’s MS Vista’s anti-customer restrictions explained.

So apparently if you buy a DVD, and Vista doesn’t like your HD-television (read: you didn’t buy a newer one), it will decide you don’t get to make use of high definition quality video. I already knew I didn’t like the digital restrictions management that Windows Media Player made use of. Now Hollywood and Microsoft get to dictate whether or not you can make full use of your paid-for television and movies. It would be like Windows detecting that a server you are connecting to is not using Microsoft software and so throttling your bandwidth to make the connection arbitrarily slower. Or like Microsoft’s IIS sending non-IE web browsers different, outdated HTTP headers.

I have a friend who couldn’t play a DVD from his computer through the VCR that he had hooked up to his television. He wasn’t copying anything, but he basically had all video and audio going through the VCR to the television, and the DVD player apparently detected the VCR and prevented the video from transmitting. In order to play the DVD, he had to disconnect his VCR and connect his computer to the television directly. It is a complete hassle for the customer that doesn’t do anything to prevent copyright violation. Anyone can still take a DVD and make a pristine copy without the need to break the copy protection, so what was the point of it?

And now Vista will be enforcing customer restrictions in a similar way. Lovely.

Games Geek / Technical

Gaming for the Budget-Conscious Gamer

How To Be a Frugal Gamer provides some tips on buying games on a budget.

It gives some basic tips, like preferring to eBay and renting to buying. Yard sales, the Salvation Army, and I’d like to add flea markets can be places to shop for cheap games and systems. Also, waiting out newer games to take advantage of the inevitable price drop works quite well, although waiting too long for a game with an online component might be a problem. From my own experience, Homeworld: Cataclysm was way cooler when actual people were on the servers. Why wasn’t there a manual TCP/IP option?!?

When I went to college, I didn’t sell any of my books back. I figured that they would come in handy later. In fact, these days I even find myself reading some of my non-Computer Science textbooks. I would say rereading, but I can’t do so truthfully. Anyway, one of the tips is to sell back old games.

I can’t.

Each game has a special place in my heart. I bought Zelda II for over $50 after saving up my allowance for who knows how long, and it was my first video game purchase. Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was the next one. I received Taito’s Dungeon Magic for a birthday. Dragon Warrior was my first flea market purchase. Ever. I can’t just sell off these games! For one, I haven’t even completed many of them. For two, you can’t buy the memories that these games made for me. So I can’t sell my used games. Years from now, even after the game systems stop working, I’ll probably still have them.

While I can’t say that all of these tips will be useful, I do think that some are great ideas. I never owned a non-Nintendo console, so buying a cheap Sega Genesis or Dreamcast or heck even a Playstation 2 would be a great investment in expanding my gaming knowledge. I never did play the original Tomb Raider or Toejam and Earl, and I didn’t get the opportunity to play Sonic the Hedgehog much. *sigh* The experiences I missed out on…

Games Geek / Technical

Manifest Destiny

Like most people, I’m excited about Will Wright’s Spore, but Joystiq reported that Michael Chang created Manifest which allows users to create new creatures that make use of procedural animation and movement. Pretty sweet, especially for a three week project.

Game Development Geek / Technical

J2ME Development

I mentioned previously that I was going to help a friend with his mobile game development company, and so I finally got around to learning how to work with J2ME.

I’m reading J2ME Game Programming by Martin J. Wells. I don’t much care for his randomly inserted jokes, and it is fairly obvious that the book is geared towards Windows. At one point I thought that Sun didn’t offer a MIDP1.x package for Linux-based systems, but I finally found it. I really didn’t want to be forced to use Windows every time I worked games in general, let alone mobile games.

It didn’t take me long to get things going, as you can see:

/me finally gets to check off an entry in his TODO list.

Game Development Games Geek / Technical Linux Game Development Marketing/Business

Quake 3 Source Now Under GPL

It’s been in the news for some time, but it is still very cool news: Quake 3: Arena Source GPL’d

id has been pretty good about releasing the source to their older game engines. It’s not a new idea for the company. Apparently you still have people who think that the GPL is about stealing someone’s work, as this comment shows:

A Shame
Why did not you buy this game ?

Quake 3 is a great game, it costs few bucks

You want games for free, so I ask you to work freely, without salary.
Give your goods for free if you ask the games for free !

Huh?!? id released the source code to their engine under the General Public License. The game data and scripts remain proprietary, so you can’t legally play the GAME unless you pay for the proprietary data . It isn’t like some GPL zealots hacked into their servers and placed the code under the GPL. It isn’t like Carmack will come out with a statement like, “It is with great regret that I must inform everyone that we’ve lost our source code to the scourge of the GPL; however, we will not give up. We will fight back, and we will win!” It was a conscious decision to release the source, and no one is under the delusion that it is a free lunch except for people who think that the GPL equates to legalized piracy.

The Complete Text of General Public License
The GPL covers whatever an author wants to cover. Some games, source code and data, are covered under the GPL entirely, but the terms are restricted to the engine’s source code in this case. Therefore, the GPL dictates the terms of copying, modifying, and distributing the Quake 3 Arena source code. Not how you actually use the program. Not what you can do to the art or music that comes with the game. Copyright law gives id exclusive rights to the Quake 3 Arena engine source code. If they want to allow people to read the code, change the code, compile the code, redistribute the code, etc, they have the right to do so. The GPL is simply one of a number of standard documents to express what rights they are allowing others to have.

Don’t worry. No one is ripping id off.

Games Geek / Technical General


I don’t play WoW, but I thought this thread on their forums was hilarious: Son owned by Mother

Geek / Technical

Guess the Google!

A friend sent me this link last week: Guess the Google!

It is a fun game in which you only have a few seconds to try to guess the Google search term that resulted in the 20 images displayed. Requires Flash 7 to play.

Game Development Geek / Technical

Time Flies

Whoops! I didn’t meant to stay up past midnight programming!

I think it is a good thing that I was getting so into it that I didn’t notice when an hour or two went by. At least, that’s what makes me feel better about how behind my project is. In this time, I managed to get the program window to come up and close on the correct input without seg faulting for the first time.

I was still having fun, as frustrating as it was. I distinctly remember not feeling motivated when I started this programming session, but here I am, hours later. Good night!