An Australian fan of Doctor Who goes through the steps of making a Doctor Who TARDIS MAME cabinet. Yes, it's even signed by one of the Doctors (Sylvester McCoy -- 7th Doctor). I think this is a pretty sweet cabinet, because everyone needs a TARDIS in their parlor. I love the detail that makes it into the final design of the console, as well as the Police Box exterior.
July 2008 Archives
Most of the major gaming companies will be there, so it's a good chance to see new projects in development. The big event of course is still the Omegathon, the LAN challenge that originally began the Penny Arcade Expo, in which participants can bring their own computers to wage mayhem and destruction.
Proceeds from both the Standard Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and the Amazon Exclusive collector's edition of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" go toward Children's High Level Group, which aims to make life better for vulnerable, institutionalized children.
Press Release in the extended.
Harold and Kumar filled the Ballroom, and we headed back to the exhibit halls after the panel ended. After being discouraged from the crowds, we exited the convention center for a frozen yogurt break, and afterwards I departed to catch a flight.
kwc in the meantime camped out Ballroom 20 and caught Dollhouse, BSG and Chuck.
After Pushing Daisies, I made my way back to the 6s, and this time caught JMS, TV Guide, and Mythbusters; by the beginning of TV Guide, the Ballroom had been packed, and the number of people that they let in after TV Guide was probably 40 or less.
We skipped the masquerade this year, in order to relax a bit and prepare for the final upcoming day of the con: Sunday.
The Joss Whedon panel was for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, which featured a great deal of the cast who wrote or appeared in the musical internet project. Felicia Day (Penny), Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer), and Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible) all appeared, as well as the writer who played the Asian Groupie in parts 2 and 3.
I wandered the hall for a bit before attempting to make the Sanctuary panel, but got recalled by the rest of Team Uni to head for the 6CDEF line, which at 2 hours before the beginning of the Avatar panel had already formed a line which filled the corridor.
The creators of Avatar had animated a short intro for Comic Con, in which they jokingly announced the release of Book 4, which they aired after the fan art contest, the costume contest. Book 4, which they promised was a better revised ending to the Zutara relationship featured a lot of fan art depicting Zuko and Katara in heavy duty kisses and embraces.
With 2 days left to go, the early attendees of the comic con left tired, but in good spirits, as the nightmarish Saturday loomed on the horizon.
A couple of stories; while most of the time I have been impressed by the professionalism shown by the comic con staffers and the hired security, this year's security seems somewhat more militant and rude; perhaps that is just one of the costs that comes with growing the convention to be so massive. littlestar picked up an early injury after clocked in the ear by a wayward elbow going for a Warner Brothers Bag, and we exited early to beat the exhibit hall. Wizards of the Coast appears to be a no-show this year, but the contents of the goodie bag include a booster of Maple Story and 30-card deck of Magic: The Gathering cards.
It really feels to me as if the indie comics have been pushed out by the mainstream publishers at the comic con, while the indies are still there, they are not as prominent as they were in years before, but at the same time, the Artist's Alley area is nowhere as empty as in years previous.
For the last 18 months, the United States has been purchasing Wiis at an extraordinary rate, already bypassing in sales the XBox 360, which had a year headstart on the Wii. 10.9 Million Wiis have been sold in the United States, and just as last year, the outlook for this coming holiday season seems grim, as Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo says:
"We are really intending to increase the shipments to the U.S., especially compared to last year. However, I can't give you a 100% commitment [that you'll be able to find a Wii this holiday season]. What I can commit myself to is that Nintendo is going to do its best to supply as many Wii hardware units as possible in order to meet demand there." "
"We're working very hard to make sure that consumers are satisfied this holiday, but I can't guarantee that we're going to meet demand. As a matter of fact, I can tell you on the record we won't."
Next week is the San Diego Comic Con, which is entirely sold out. With nearly a quarter million people in attendance, there's bound to be some games at the show, and with so many properties crossing over from comics to big and little screens, the likelyhood of having a comics-based game is high.
A month from now is the GenCon in Milwaukee. GenCon is the premiere geeky game convention in North America; focusing on all types of gaming, and in recent years has seen an increasing number of companies showing off their latest fantasy video games.
In August is PAX in Seattle, which one can consider to be the large-scale evolution of a LAN party turned convention, complete with famous speakers, rock concerts and a huge expo floor.
In October is Blizzard's own BlizzCon, which is their own convention to promote Blizzard titles (while charging $100 for admission and a wicked goodie bag).
Companies that have pulled out from E3 include Activision Blizzard, NCSoft, Her Interactive, id Software, Atlus and Foundation 9. Glancing through the Comic Con Exhibitor's list, I see Activision Blizzard there, as well as NCSoft, all of which leads me to suspect that their target is the mass market, not the games industry. In a way, this evolution away from the industry-only events make sense; competing against other media heavyweights only expends energy that could be focused elsewhere, and with most gamers looking online for reviews before they buy, there's little need to hype through the magazines anymore.
Q. I love that your fiercest ass-kickers are always girls. Buffy, Willow, Anya, River Tam, and I'm kind of assuming that Eliza Dushku's character in Dollhouse is going to be the main force to be reckoned with. Yet we're in the middle of a summer of action blockbusters and only one of them, Wanted, even involves a powerful woman. Is there some reason that we can have a woman or a girl be the main action hero on TV but not in movies?
A. Movies are from the Devil. Also, it's only recently women got to be action heroes on TV. Progress is slow, and often non-existent. There's plenty of cool comics with female characters... But all it takes is one Catwoman to set the cause back a decade.
Many of the commenters have mentioned the sorceress and her ability to Teleport in D2, and ask whether I think the Sorceress is a broken class as well.
I don't think the Sorceress is broken. The Sorceress is the successor to D1's Sorcerer class, and we felt that we had to be true to D1's spells, which include Telekinesis. In D2, all the characters can run, but the spell casters aren't very physical, and so it seemed to make sense that the lazy spellcasters would want to travel at their own pace. The necromancer has his minions and corpse explosion to clear his path for him, and the sorceress can teleport. Leaping isn't the only thing that makes the Barbarian unbalanced when compared to the other characters in D2. The Barbarian also has the cheese that is Whirlwind and Leap Attack.
In the context of Diablo 3, the Barbarian is broken because he already has an advantage the Witch Doctor does not, and that is to be able to Leap across the otherwise uncrossable gap. To me, that seems like a problem, in the eyes of others, it's a feature.
There's also a lot of encouragement that the commenters have written, which really warms my heart, but unfortunately, the Blizzard North team has moved on.
In my first post, I said that I think the PC is dying as a platform, and this is largely due to what I see in the marketplace; essentially unless you're developing a FPS, or an MMO, your game will likely not make it to the store shelves. Blizzard games are an exception, as are Will Wright's (Spore and Sims), but this is because they've carefully cultivated their products to provide long-lasting returns over time. Most publishers are not willing to take that kind of risk; they want a game they can sell (preferably right before Thanksgiving) which will provide a nice fourth quarter boost on earnings.
Akihabara News has coverage of the opening of the Softbank, as well as pictures of the crowds.
At $299, my box included a 4GB iPhone, headphones, power adapter, and an iPhone Dock. The 3G iPhone does not include a dock, which can be purchased for an additional $30.
The cost of upgrading to a 3G iPhone appears to have a lot of hidden costs associated with it:
+$30 for iPhone 3G Dock
+$5 a month for 200 Text Messages (+$120 over the length of the 2 year contract)
+$10 a month for 3G Service (+$240 over the 2 year contract)
+ $18 upgrade fee (if you are upgrade eligible)
+ ($100 if you are not upgrade eligible)
Keep in mind that previously, the monthly fee for AT&T in the US was $59.95 with 200 Text Messages and Unlimited EDGE data. This amounted to an additional $20 fee over AT&T's lowest cost service, but for the same amount of messages and data on a 3G plan, the cost is actually $74.99, making the iPhone premium $35 for those who were not already iPhone owners.
Last year when the iPhone arrived, the calculations for the cost of ownership over the length of the 2 year contract totaled $1440 for monthly service fees, along with the cost of the iPhone ($599, $499, $399, or $299 depending on when it was purchased and with what capacity), bracketing the total cost of ownership from $1739 ($299 iPhone 4GB with standard plan) to $2039 (8GB iPhone with standard plan purchased early at $599) or $1939 if the $100 coupon for the Apple store for early adopters is taken into account). An iPhone 3G this year will cost $1680 for monthly service (without 200 messages) and $1800 (with 200 messages). Adding in the dock ($30), and the iPhone ($199 or $299), yields a total cost of of $2029 (8GB iPhone 3G + Dock + 200 messages) to $2129 (16GB iPhone 3G + Dock + 200 messages).
Those who balked at the $499 and $599 initial prices of the original iPhone should still be balking at paying $199 or $299 for the iPhone 3G as the true cost of the iPhone 3G is almost exactly the same as the original iPhone (there's a $10 difference between the 8GB iPhone 3G and the original $599 8GB iPhone -- however, if the $100 Apple coupon for early adopters is taken into account, the original 8GB iPhone winds up being $90 dollars cheaper than the 8GB iPhone 3G. Interestingly enough, many people do not realize the price difference is only $10, and as a result, the demand for the iPhone 3G is even greater than the original iPhone. Those who purchased an iPhone at the $200 discounted price are even better off, as they essentially wind up with iPhones costing $190 less than the equivalent-sized iPhone 3G.
Taking into account the upgrade costs of $607 and $707 for original iPhone owners, it seems like an expensive upgrade for 3G data and GPS (and possibly more data storage space). This amounts to roughly $25 and $30 a month more for 3G capabilities -- those who need the speed will pay for it, but for all other owners of the original iPhone, I think it's likely they won't be surrendering them anytime soon.
One of the things that I see happening is that as users upgrade to the iPhone 3G, their older iPhone is resold back on the market as either an unlocked iPhone or as a iPhone that could be resubscribed to AT&T at the original data plan. With AT&T claiming that they will sell iPhones without a commitment plan at $599 (8GB iPhone 3G) and $699 (16GB iPhone 3G), there is a substantial resale value for secondhand iPhones which may end up as yet another AT&T subscriber. Currently, even used iPhones may be resold for more than their original sales price -- a look at eBay reveals several unlocked 16GB iPhones which have fetched $1000 or more, nearly $400 over the original price.
Yesterday evening, following dinner, we walked by the Apple Store in Palo Alto, and campers had already set up shop, with sleeping bags and Guitar Hero.
I setup the firmware 2.0 update for my iPhone and started looking at the new Apps on the iTunes Apps Store. I'm impressed by the creativity of some of the developers -- not only are there tools for everything you'd expect (Twitter, AIM, Flickr, Facebook, Pandora), but there are also Apps that seem very usable (such as the iLingo foreign language conversation books). What I haven't been impressed with are the developers who put public domain works on the Apps store for a fee (For instance, Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a $0.99 program). For many of the mobile indie games, more information is required than just a screenshot.
One of the more useful apps that's free is the "Remote" program put out by Apple -- which allows you to control your AppleTV or iTunes from the iPhone, effectively turning your iPhone into a WiFi remote control. The Google Mobile App is also very useful, as it attempts to predict which word you are typing in, which speeds up the input dramatically when googling a longer query.
I've been sitting on the fence about upgrading to the 3G iPhone; while EDGE is certainly slower, the price difference for the new 3G plan is more expensive than the original iPhone plan (about $360 more over the length of the 2 year contract), it doesn't feel enough of an upgrade to warrant the expenditure for the moment. That said, 2.0 firmware and the Apps store is a major upgrade to the 1.1.4 firmware.
Fritz Lang presented the original version of Metropolis in Berlin in January 1927. The film is set in the futuristic city of Metropolis, ruled by Joh Fredersen, whose workers live underground. His son falls in love with a young woman from the worker's underworld - the conflict takes its course. At the time it was the most expensive German film ever made. It was intended to be a major offensive against Hollywood. However the film flopped with critics and audiences alike. Representatives of the American firm Paramount considerably shortened and re-edited the film. They oversimplified the plot, even cutting key scenes. The original version could only be seen in Berlin until May 1927 - from then on it was considered to have been lost forever. Those recently viewing a restored version of the film first read the following insert: "More than a quarter of the film is believed to be lost forever."