Thursday, May 24, 2007

Racism or stupidity? (hint: always pick B)

I don't like to blog. Blogging makes me think about all the things that piss me off, and then I just get more pissed off. I read an article yesterday that makes me mad, and re-enforces some of the reasons I hate many people.

It was an article discussing how an architecture firm was racist, because they did not include enough renderings of black people when they showed some concept drawings of a new building. Some poor guy is now getting in trouble because when he cut&pasted some stock photography in to a building drawing, to give a sense of scale, he was not being ethnically considerate.

There was no racism in this drawing until someone decided that there should be. There are people out there who spend their time looking to make trouble. (Al, you could do good if you didn't act like such a drama queen) These people do more harm than good, bringing racism, sexism, nationalism, and whatever other -isms you can think of in to a forum where they do not belong. What are they gaining? They claim they are trying to raise awareness of a horrible issue that plagues the world, but in reality they are -causing- the issue. I'd venture that 90% of the 'racist' issues out there are really just misunderstandings. Some random artist at some random company didn't purchase the 'black pack' from End of story. Or at least it should be.

Instead, someone decided to making a news story out of it, bringing up stupid facts about the Federal Fair Housing Act. Come on, seriously, the building isn't built, there are no leases available, no one is prohibiting non-white-males from getting on the damn train!

Here's a thought: Don't bring shit like this up. You are pushing your own agenda, you are not helping the nation.


Bonus extra rant:

Dear stupid self-absorbed Microsoft bitch,

Just because you are driving a brand new Mercedes does not mean you can make a U-turn in the middle of the road. You are in the right-hand lane so you can go straight. I am in the middle lane so I can turn left. Do you know how close you have to be when you pull your stupid move that when I hit my breaks (traveling 25-30mph, under the posted limit on that road) things fly off my front seat, my back 60/40 split seat falls open, and my car skids on the road? Apparently you don't, since you throw your hands up in the air when I honk at you. You are lucky I was able to stop inches from you - my air bag and seat belt would have protected me, but when my car barreled in to your driver's door you would not have made it out unscathed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Starcraft 2

As every person in the world should know by now, Blizzard recently announced Starcraft 2.

Starcraft, especially with the Brood War expansion, was an excellent game. How many computer games do you know of that are a decade old, is still being sold in stores, and still has tournaments?

I've had a wishlist for SC:2 for a long time. It looks like almost every thing on it has been delivered too!

My list of things I wanted in Starcraft 2 was always pretty short:


1) Support higher resolutions - even when SC2 came out I didn’t have any friend who only had 640x480 monitors so the ‘don’t want to give unfair advantage’ reason Blizzard gave sucked.

This is clearly provided in SC:2

2) Updated sounds - the sounds were good for the time, but limited in diversity. It was a couple years after SC released that I got a dolby digital out on my Mac, but nowadays multi-channel audio is much more common. Increase the sound resolution, increase the number of clips, and provide directional audio

New sounds are definitely in SC:2, can't tell if individual units have more variety or not

3) Updated graphics - this goes along with ‘support higher resolutions’


4) Camera control - zooming in and out would be helpful for grabbing units, and being able to tilt/pan would sometimes be helpful too. Tilt & pan would generally imply going 3D too

Well, it is a 3D game now, so the camera is definitely controllable

5) Smarter AI - being able to click out a route is great, but I shouldn’t have to route around a rock, or micromanage units within a group because 2 of them decided to take a different path

Now the AI is smarter and newer, but is it as smart as I want it? If I assign an attack group with ground troops and flying (or the new jumping/climbing units) will they take the same path or will they split in to two groups? Assuming everyone in the group is stuck on the ground, and starting from the same point, will one of them still wander off on his own?

Nice to have

6) Enhanced groupings - I found the small group size, and the limited # groups to be restrictive in my game play. I’d often not even bother making certain types of units because I wouldn’t be able to group them usefully.

The demo video showed groups larger than 8 units being controller. Not sure if you have more hotkeys to assign groups to or not though.

7) Cross-platform voice chat

There has been no mention of voice chat so far.

8) New units - Broodwars brought some cool new units, new units are fun

Yep, some new units. A couple of them are strategy breakers - ground units that can jump over cliffs dramatically changes some base building strategies.

9) New race - being able to play the hybrid race could be interesting

Nope. Can't find the quote, but somewhere they said it would just be the original three.

10) Battle formations - In Myth you could tell a group to assume a formation (straight line, staggered, etc) rather than just having your guys rush in randomly

The demo videos do not show any formations, they just show the old 'everyone run in as close as necessary to attack and surround' pattern. One can hope they'll be added though.

11) Unit loaning - If I want to loan my Protoss teammate some Mutalisks, I should be able to do so. He’d be able to put them in his group and command them.

No mention of this yet. Though apparently there is a feature in Starcraft that allows teammates to control friendly units anyway. It is an all-or-nothing and it combines your resource allotment though, so it isn't quite what I had in mind. 

12) Combined bases - Terrain and Protoss can do it, but since you can’t build on a creep foundation a teammate can not supplement your defenses easily. I’m not sure what the solution is, whether it is simply allowing a pylon to be built on creep would break certain strategies, maybe a way for a drone to eat a spot of creep?

Nothing has been mentioned or shown about this yet.

There were some other things that I’ve thought of over the years, but the point is it was already a great game that only needed some ‘minor’ tweaks to bring it modern.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

That was a close one...

The state of Washington just passed a law that prohibits sending text messages while driving.

Apparently on Friday Gov. Gregoire signed the bill. You can now get a ticket for $101 if you are caught sending a text message while driving. I have not seen the actual text, so I'm not sure if their is a clause about the vehicle needing to be in motion or not (i.e. is it now illegal to send a message while stopped at a red light, in front of the railroad crossing arm, or stopped in front of the local hooker corner?)

Luckily this is a 'secondary' offense, like seat belts and driving while listening to Vanilla Ice, so as long as you don't do something stupid (running a red light, speeding, swerving) they can't pull you over to give you a ticket just for it.

I'll admit that I've sent a few responses while driving down the interstate, but they usually consist of 'yes' or 'when i get there' replies which are easy to type ('yes' i can do without looking, 'when i get there' and a few other phrases can be stored as quick responses that you can paste with just a few key presses). The majority of my in-car messaging (like 99%) and the majority of my in-car message reading (slightly less, maybe 97%) is done while I am stopped at a red light.

Is sending even 1% of my messages while the vehicle is moving safe? No, not really. But, it isn't any more dangerous than people eating, people playing with their baby, people turning around to talk to their kid, people driving with their knees, putting makeup on, or the dreaded sneeze. Sneezing affects my driving much more than sending email does; your eyes involuntarily close for a couple seconds, your arms jerk some, you have to reach for a tissue, etc.

Anyway, be safe out their folks - if you text with your left hand, you can use the car door to shield your junk when the fuzz drives by.