It’s a little early for me to be posting again, but I have so much to tell you all! Gather ‘round children and listen to what I say…
Ha! You actually tried to listen. How can you “listen” to text? Foolish humans. Anyway, there is a lot of stuff I want to type/show you so I figured I’d go ahead and do it now before I forget half of what I want to include. That means this will be a media-intensive post. High fives all around.
Those crazy Japanese people… They come up with the weirdest, most random… and yet awesome “things” I’ve ever seen. This video is no exception. It’s a Flash video made for a remix/mixed song with sound taken from a popular independent/underground/doujin “group” (with one member) Touhou’s game. If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing one of his games, you’re missing a lot. There are 9 games so far, but only 5 you can get for Windows. They’re a top-down shooter genre game featuring insane levels of difficulty, awesome animation, and cool characters. I’ve played the 5 most recent games, and loved them. Today I found this post with links to flash videos and this was one of them.
Even if you know nothing about the games (which would help you understand this video a bit more) and even if you don’t know Japanese (which would help you understand what they are saying in this video a lot more), it’s awesomeness still shines through. It’s so full of WIN, if a loser happens to watch this video, he would actually be “cooler” afterwards. That’s how much win this video puts out.
Fast-paced techno/mix music, fluid animation, and a healthy helping of really bad En-gu-rish make this video my favorite of the week, and absolutely hilarious. Enjoy.
For those “in” on the video game technology news ring, you’ll know VALVe’s Source Engine is about to get an overhaul with full support for multi-core processors. This will allow developers to keep the graphics at the same level and focus on adding more to the games, such as super-advanced AI and physics. These two videos showcase a tech company’s take on what can be done with multi-core processors. After watching them, I gained new hope for video games.
One of the biggest problems in games today is AI path finding. They can get from point A to point B fine, but put an AI character on a path that requires them to navigate tricky terrain, and you might as well go out for lunch. For instance, remember how annoying escorting NPC’s in Morrowind or Oblivion is? Those stupid people can’t walk around a rock, can’t swim in a straight line, and walk right into an epic battle they have no chance of winning. Annoying. But now, with multi-core support, the AI path finding can be calculated in real-time without any scripting or algorithms. All on the fly. How wonderful. So check out this video. Pay attention to the second half when you see the soldiers close-up. They are navigating through changing terrain, and finding paths that current AI technology wouldn’t even consider.
This next video shows the remedy to another big problem in games, AI scaling. As it is now, only AI in your viewable area is “active”. Other characters far away, or behind you, or in a building isn’t active. So, (lets use a RPG setting for this example) you enter a tavern and talk to a few people and leave. After you leave the AI stops. When you re-enter, they are right back where they were. With multi-core enhancements, a whole town’s AI can be controlled with an extra core, completely unobtrusive to the main graphics/AI/gameplay processing. That means all of the other NPC’s are living their lives on their own. This opens up doors for vastly different ways to play and interact with a game’s characters. This video gives a few possible scenarios in an RPG-type game. Remember too, this is just a tech demo for the AI capabilities, so the graphics could look a lot better.
Isn’t that amazing? I can’t wait to see what VALVe has in store for future games. Imagine the interactivity you can achieve with these kinds of AI systems with characters like Alyx and D0G and Eli. Wow. The future is gonna be great. Check out the AISeek site for more videos and their whitepaper. Very interesting stuff.
Now introducing my “Kudos to…” section. This is where I give a personal “thumbs up” to people/places/ideas that I think are deserving of my praise. Without further delay, here we go!
-Kudos to… Nicholas Cage. Yeah, they said you’d suck as Superman, so what did you do? You jumped at the first chance you had to being a superhero. Now look at you… you’re Ghost Rider, in a movie that is sure to be a big hit…
-Kudos to… Fergie. You took “dirty” and made it fashionable. You took “nasty” and made it hip. Not only that, but you made chocolate seem disgusting after spreading it all over yourself in your Fergalicious video. I never would’ve thought someone could make the thought of chocolate make me want to puke. All hail the new queen of Nausea-ville!
-Kudos to… Fox TV. Not only have you replaced House with American Idol, but you put The OC up against the most popular show on TV, Grey’s Anatomy effectively killing The OC. I hope whoever came up with your schedule got some kind of promotion because that’s genius…
-Kudos to… President George Bush. Even with the lowest approval ratings in THE HISTORY OF MANKIND (ok, not really. But darn close.) you still won’t admit you seriously fudged up your term. Still you want to move more soldiers into Iraq. Still. You either have the tiniest brain or the biggest balls…
And there you have it. Let’s have a big hand for those I mentioned.
And the Legend Lives On
I finally bit the bullet and finished Zelda. I failed to collect all the heart containers. The problem with that was, I didn’t keep track of the containers I already picked up, so I would’ve had to retrace my steps and check each spot to see if I had that one or not. I love the game, but 50 hours later and so close to the end? I’m not really into doing it all again, ya know? Everything else I finished though. The bug collection, weapon collection/upgrades, etc. I just couldn’t stomach doing the heart search…
It was a great game! The final battles were awesome! The story was awesome! A little sad… but great still. There’s still a lot of questions as to how this game matches up with Wind Waker, since that game comes next chronologically in the timeline… Meh. I guess the new Zelda game in-development for the Wii will fill in a few more blanks? Hopefully so. The Legend of Zelda is such a great series.
New Old Favorites
House returns next week! Supposedly it will air uninterrupted up to it’s season finale date. I can’t wait! Also, Fox is really playing up the “Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House” line. Every time the mention the series, you’ll hear something about “Golden Globe”, “winning”, and “House.” Not that I blame them; Hugh Laurie makes House what it is. He’s a great actor. Who would’ve thunk it? From Stuart Little 1/2/3 to House? Funny how things just work out sometimes, isn’t it?
In February, LOST returns to TV… finally. And this one I know will air without interruption until it’s season finale. The producers/writers have also hinted at the end for LOST. They say they want to end it while it’s still interesting and popular. And their expert opinion places the “ideal” ending at “about 100 episodes.” Isn’t that a coincidence? 100 is the number of episodes that a series is prime for syndication… hmm. Anyway, I’m confident they’ll do the series right. They haven’t let me down so far…
I’ve also been watching Angel every morning. I got into the series toward the end, so I’ve been blessed with the chance to catch up on all the episodes I missed. It’s not my favorite vampire story… thing… but I like it. Too bad it comes on at the ungodly hour of 5 and 6 am…
And then there’s the still-long list of anime I’m watching… man, I’m not even going to get into that.
Old New Endings
That’s about all for now. There are a few other things I would’ve liked to mention, but I’m sick of typing. Time for another House quote!
“Yeah, and you might want to add chicken soup. It’s just as useless… but it’s got chicken!”