Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spider-man 3 Teaser Trailer is live

Today is a good day. The Spiderman 3 trailer just went live at Apple's quicktime site.

Now is the perfect time for everyone to take a break from their busy day and see some web-slinging action (yeah, I know - I'm a huge dork).

It short, the trailer is the shit - I think I may need some new shorts. We got some sandman, some green goblin (2), but front and center it appears they have decided to go with the venom storyline (or at least setting up for Venom in Spiderman 4). Still curious as to how they are going to do the whole alien symbiote thing seeing as spiderman never left Earth to fight in the Secret Wars, but hopefully they make it somewhat believable ...

Yeah, the fact that I know some of this stuff is scary, I know ...

Monday, June 12, 2006

so this is why my liver is okay ...

Anyone who went to school at UCSB has at least once or twice made a joke about liver damage ... well maybe this post explains why there are numerous coffee shops in Isla Vista ...

Drinking lots of coffee saves liver from alcohol damage, research finds

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quick Fix Video Games

The below is a quote from this article: http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/24946

Most video games are a rip-off.

Nearly every video game since "tank pong" has buried its best content behind layers of work. Unlike any other retail product I can think of, when you buy a video game, the chances that you will actually get what you paid for are infinitesimal. I can't think of a single game I've played where I am confident that I've seen every single level; unveiled every coveted secret; unlocked every whatsit and pretty and soundtrack left like kipple by the designers in the dark corners of the code.

I bought it. I want my game.

I mostly disagree with the article - I think games should provide the user a great amount of value - after all you are spending a good deal of money on it - relative to say a board game, or other "toy", but I do see where the author is coming from.

Recently, my roommate purchased an xbox 360. In short the box is amazing. We have Ghost Recon Advanced War Fighter and Oblivion. I haven't played the latter, but the former got me sucked in pretty fast. I played an hour to two every night for awhile and was completely enthralled with the graphics, game play and overall presentation of the title (there is nary a menu screen to be seen - instead it's like an interactive movie - I digress).

One day, however, my buddy told me to check out Geometry Wars. Geometry Wars is a game from the Xbox Live Arcade - a part of the Xbox Live functionality that allows the purchase of smaller, more retro style games. As an example Street Fighter 2 is going to be coming out soon.

The games are simple, free to demo, and only cost about 5 dollars to buy - which unlocks the whole game. So I went and played the 3 minute demo of Geometry Wars, which can be described as a mash-up between asteroids, Galaga, and adrenaline :) - and then promptly bought it because I was hooked.

The game has three controls - move, fire, and bomb. Your mission is to destroy everything moving on the screen. Is there strategy, yes, but I don't want to get into it. What's the draw you ask - the game is addicting as hell. In fact right now at this time of night if I weren't writing this post I would be playing. It is like my "before I go to sleep brain relaxant". It's a drug - quick games that get you out of the worries of the world. A healthy dose of frustration does come along and if you look at the all-time high score on the leader board (currently 101,000,000) it could make your own high score (mine is 790,000) feel very paltry. Yet I keep coming back - the simplistic, addictive nature is outstanding.

I see the point of the author's post - sometimes a game should just exist for the sole purpose of existing - to be played with all the cards out on the table. But most the time if you really want to escape and play in an interactive world you need to have a game that has some varying levels of exposure in it (what would a role playing game be if you had all the spells right off the bat - or a racing simulation that dropped you in the hands of a Ferrari F-50 where chances are you can barely drive an Audi TT around the track).

In the end - yes we do need quick fix games, but if games stopped being rich, interactive works (of art one could argue) there would be far more people griping ...

Does High-Def make "great" SFX look bad?

I should preface this by saying I love HD TV and HD gaming. It's unbelievable - sports look great, games look great, and most movies looks great. But today I stumbled upon something I noticed once or twice before but kind of turned my head the other way.

I just finished watching Star Wars 3: Revenge of the Sith on HBO's High Def channel and I have concluded (because I am such an expert) that High Def is not always a good thing. In some cases DVD quality may be a bit better.

"Your nuts" you might be saying. Well here is why I say that. The High Def version of Star Wars 3 is such a clear, exact picture that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is apparent to the naked eye. Especially the green screening that is being utilized for virtually every shot in the movie. Since George elected to create most of the background scenery digitally and green screen the actors in, every shot suffers from this fake feeling. It would not be so bad if just a few shots here and there had this effect, but its everywhere.

To be fair, I should go watch the DVD version and compare it - the green screening effect may show there as well. As high def becomes more prevalent, it seems that more time should be spent on the lighting in both the digital set and the green screen set to make the two environments as similar as possible, so when they are composited together the effect is realistic. The SFX of today seem to be able to get by when movies are viewed in the theater (the "resolution" is not as high as HD), but when viewed at home at 1920 x 1080 (i) it really shows.

It would be interesting to see if the digital projections of Star Wars 3 showed this same noticeable green screen effect versus the traditional film projectors ....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Funny animation

This is really well done. Reminds me of the stick figure fighters Flash animation that was going around a few years ago:

Animator versus Animation

Zune Card