Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Magic 8 Ball says

This weekend I finally got around to listening to a SXSW panel discussion that I had on my MP3 player for about 2 weeks. This panel had Raph Koster of Areae, John Bacus of Google/Sketch-Up, Jamaia Cascio from Open the Future, and Jeffery Paffendorf of The Electric Sheep Company. I cannot remember who originally linked me this recording, but it kept me up for about two hours last night thinking, so thank you.

I must have been in a rush to leave work on the day I originally downloaded the audio, because if I had learned who was actually speaking I would have immediately listened to it. I remember playing with Sketch-Up last year and the first things that came to mind when I created some basic models was how easy it was and how this must get integrated into the future of gaming. Here was a tool that allowed me to create objects in seconds and then upload them to a repository that could be accessed and downloaded by anyone who had an Internet access.

I can’t believe that there is an actual discussion going on about this! We truly are at a unique step in the evolution of gaming and I am loving it. When the day comes that I spend more time on my porch than behind the keyboard, I will be thankful for these years and the joy and suspense they bring. I know that fun days are ahead.Outlook is good.


August 27, 2007 Posted by | Industry | Leave a comment

Auto Assault Parked

It was announced yesterday that Auto Assault will be closing its doors and service at the end of August.

Today NCsoft is announcing that it will be closing down service for Auto Assault at the end of the summer. The service will close at midnight on August 31, 2007. As of today, any player currently in the service with an active billed account will not be billed again. If players have previously purchased time via multi-month billing or time cards that extends their service past July 31, NCsoft will reconcile these accounts appropriately. There will be more announcements coming soon regarding the shut down of Auto Assault and its impact on current accounts.

It hurts when any company drops a product like this and I really hate to see it happen.  I did participate in the beta program for Auto Assault and it was some of the most organized testing I have ever done.  The game released in a fairly complete state and with very few bugs from what I could tell.

The worst thing about this closing is the fact that NCSoft tried something new and failed with it.  Was it because they did a poor job with the design or because players were not ready to digest a Mad Max MMO?

The action in the game was fast paced and I loved almost everything about it.  Who wouldn’t?  I lived through every scene in Death Race 2000 I ever dreamed about!  It was disgusting and exhilarating, but in the end, not worth an additional $15 a month.

The crowd that would have really loved this game are those who are religiously tied to their consoles playing Twisted Metal and racing sims.  If NC could have somehow grabbed those players, they may have tapped a nice resource.

July 3, 2007 Posted by | Industry | Leave a comment

Global Warming and the Xbox

Games 4 Change and Microsoft are teaming up and launching a contest this summer for student game developers.

This worldwide competition, set to launch this summer to participants in more than 100 countries, will challenge college students to come up with the best game based on the theme of global warming.

I love this idea.  I have spent the last 4 days thinking about a game system for this and have yet to nail anything down.  Its such a tough subject because of the cycles of life that are involved and affected by global warming, a game could look at this from so many perspectives.

Simulators and city building games like sim city will probably makup a large portion of the entries, but I am looking forward to the really creative ones.  For some reason a caveman comes to mind, running through Detroit capping smokestacks with oversized bathtub plugs.  I wonder how accurate these games need to be in order to actually win.

I have yet to try Steer Madness but its the games with this original view that I will be trying.   I would love to say that my son will be playing games like this for homework or even for just fun.  I can just imagine him saying to me, “But Dad, Im just about to lower the air quality index to 50! Can I please stay up for just 10 more minutes?”


June 27, 2007 Posted by | Brainstorms, Industry | Leave a comment