Wonder Wednesday

It was 1992.  I was in my first year of university.  And the game Star Control II was released.  It was big, epic, and full of exploration and story and cool starship conflict, and above all else, it had a killer soundtrack.  In the game you spent a lot of time in hyperspace, and fortunately, the music for it was fabulous:

Ahhh, great memories.  There’s a reason this game appears on so many “top games” lists, and the music is certainly one of them.  I even have all the music saved within my music library, ready to pull up for fun times at any time.

Did you play?  If so, I bet you have the theme running gloriously through your head now…

Wonder Wednesday

It was 1993.  The Intel 486DX2 processor was the new hotness.  RAM was expensive.  VGA was the king with 256 colours max onscreen at any one time. And a demoscene group named Future Crew released Second Reality, a tour de force of visuals, music, and story/flow:

For a “demo”, all of the onscreen action had to be produced realtime, using stored bitmaps (rendered by home made pixel editors or raytracers), music sequencers, and vector graphics and other effects.  No movies and no prerecorded audio.  In the era of limited computing power, seeing what could be eked out of the hardware — often through tricks and hacks to bypass normal limitations — was a treat to behold.

And, I’d say, so too it remains a fun treat today, both for what it is and for it’s historical impressiveness.

Saturday Hilarity

I received this flyer in the mail… and spent a good five minutes laughing.  And still laugh whenever I look at it:


When Photoshopping goes horribly awry.  And then gets sent out to thousands of households.

Perfect timing too, I just taught a class last week on inserting people into photographs.  Brought this yesterday to class to show as an example… Hehe!


Wow.. the mental leap to make this new 3D printer is a big one:  use your computer’s sound card output to drive mirrors to direct a laser for X and Y axis, and use an IV-style drip for the Z axis.  Brilliant, I say, brilliant… and so did $700k worth of Kickstarter backing.  Plus, the dude’s open sourced the specs and it should cost about $100 to make one.  And this kind of laser curing is superior to a lot of the filament depositing techniques used by many of the other inexpensive models right now.  I’m excited!


“I don’t understand what it is about the idea of a “medium” that people find so confusing; it’s a conceptual space where works that share certain characteristics may occur.  Nobody is going to approve of the entire continuum.  …  There are also niches, as in any ecology.  You can certainly find things you don’t like, but those things aren’t anti-matter; when they come into contact with things you do like, there is no hot flash which obliterates both.  This totalizing dialogue, where “everything” and “everyone” is this or that, and here are the teams, and morality is a linear abstraction as opposed to its three dimensional reality is a crock of ******* ****.”

— Tycho @ Penny Arcade

Exploding Blood Sausage

Wow, another week, another great (and already highly funded!) kickstarter, this time for Wasteland 2.  Now THAT brings back memories.  I remember playing Wasteland way back when it came out… wandering the desert, trying things out and especially I remember with surprising vividness the scrolling combat description for each round.  I played and played until I got to some part where everything was wiping my party out really darn fast.  Probably got to some higher level area sooner than I should have, but I simply stopped playing the game at that time.  Hmm.  I wonder if I can muster enough time to finish the game before the sequel comes out…

Thinking about Wasteland has me also reminiscing about other (now amusingly old-school) games I loved.  Anyone else play Battletech:  The Crescent Hawk’s Inception?  Fun little RPG, using the full tabletop turn-based rules, if a bit tweaked (like the fact you could carry infinite ammo for any personal weapon – including SRM and Inferno launchers!).  Also played loose and fast (compared to how the BT universe states it) with ‘mech upgrading technology to allow you to actually have an upgrade path for your ‘mechs.  I remember once managing to escape the first combat with the training ‘mech, something not really expected, leaving me to having the only mech with a large laser in the whole game.  Kinda fun.

But the game that I am really remembering with fondness was Sentinel Worlds 1:  Future Magic.  I had so much fun in that CRPG, given it mixed space combat, ground exploration, interactions, out-of-ship actions, half decent graphics and a rather amazing soundtrack for the PC speaker (where the programmers, amazingly, subdivided the speaker track to play at 240 different notes per second, allowing them to simulate three tracks, and it was actually well composed music too).  I can hear the music in my mind even as I type.  I played that one through several times, loved it.  Anyone else remember or played it?  Or Wasteland or the old BT CRPG games?