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7:39 PM on 05.11.2009

Nine Inch Nails Rocking Tampa: A Photoblog

Let me start by saying that if the NIN/JA tour is coming anywhere near you (check here to find out), buy tickets right now!

Click here to download a free six track sampler of the NIN/JA music. Two tracks from each of the performing bands.

Trent is retiring NIN after this tour, so it may be a long time before you can see them again (see the pic of my shirt from the concert near the bottom, 1989-2009).


NIN/JA Rocking Tampa

Over the weekend my friend and I drove up to Tampa to see NIN rock the Ford Amphitheater. I didn't have a good camera, but one of my friends did and got some fantastic shots of SSSC, NIN, and Jane's Addiction.

The opening band was Street Sweeper Social Club, an interesting mix of some sick rock and rap. The tracks on the NIN/JA sampler were a good introduction, but seeing them live made me very interested in their upcoming CD. They remind me a lot of Rage (see the guitarist), but have a great new sound.




I thought their "banner" was pretty bad ass, I like the machine gun boom box, could make an interesting game weapon.




Lead singer, Boots Riley from The Coup, busts out some moves while performing. He was good onstage, and keep the crowd in it.




Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame is the guitarist. He performed the craziest solo I've seen live. He played with one hand, with his mouth, and then pulled the amp plug from his guitar and scratched music on his hand!

The Street Sweeper warm-up was fun, but the real show was just about to come on stage.




Trent was dressed pretty casually as usual, with patches on his left and right side with the "Wave Goodbye" logo.




Trent playing guitar for one section of the set. All the band members were constantly switching instruments to match whatever was required for the songs.




Trent rocking it out on the keyboard. It was almost like listening to the album, and he recreates 95% of all the sounds live on stage, there are very few non-live background tracks played. Eat it you lip-syncing pop bitches, that's a real artist!




Trent really gets into his music, it's quite an experience to see him perform.




Just another keyboard shot from later, he was rocking out The Hand That Feeds here. Love the picture, and the back lighting rocks!




My second favorite shot of the night, Trent's really blasting the vocals here.




A shot of the full stage. The stage was simple, except for the massive amount of lights, this show was all about the music.




My favorite picture from the concert. He was performing Head Like a Hole, and it was probably one of the best songs of the night. He playing songs from almost every album, even playing a few he hasn't played in years live.

It seemed to end way too fast, and then Trent was thanking us for supporting him all this time and was gone. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen, and I can only sit in awe of the performance and applaud Trent.

Following NIN was Jane's Addiction and none of us were really fans. We stayed for a few songs, and they still rocked. After watching NIN, we didn't feel like staying around, but for any JA fans out there, here are a few photos.







And as a final couple of images, here is a shirt that will make NIN fans very sad, and a "Wave Goodbye" hat.




"Wave Goodbye 1989-2009"

Goodbye Nine Inch Nails, we can only hope you return! Keep rocking Trent!   read


10:47 AM on 04.01.2009

April Fools in the Office

So I decided that this year I would pull a April Fool's Day prank on my boss. Pranks in my workplace need to be a bit subdued, because I work in the Information Systems department at a hospital. My co-worker and I went though countless pranks we could pull using our control over the hospital network, from faking a ConFlicker outbreak, to BSODing the entire hospital and letting our boss freak out.

Of course, bringing down the entire hospital to prank our boss seemed like a bit much, so I looked for other options. Thankfully, my boss decided that he would leave work early, which was a rarity. This granted me ample access to his office to pull a prank.


My boss' office... What to do?


I wandered our office looking around for something to use in a prank, and that was when I noticed our stacks of monitor boxes we had never opened.


Lots of unopened monitors...


Our hospital has over 800 PCs in use, and we are constantly rotating old machines for new ones we order. Since even the old PCs have LCD monitors, we usually end up with a little surplus.


Even more unopened monitor boxes...


It was then I had a brilliant idea, I grabbed one of our carts that we move computers on and began to ferry the monitors into my boss' office. Thirty minutes later and I had moved every box into his office. I pulled his chair out from behind his desk and started to stack. Twenty-five computer monitor boxes later and you have this...


It's almost like a throne... but sit on it and crush a couple grand worth of monitors...



Had to add insult to injury...


I waited for him in the morning so I could get a surprise picture. Where I stacked the boxes, he couldn't see them until he actually entered his office. When he came in he immediately left to go to a morning meeting, without even turning his office lights on. By the time he got back from the meeting he was in the full swing of the day... until he went to answer a call in his office.


He said "Your fired!!!" but it was a joke.... I hope...   read


4:35 PM on 08.09.2008

Woooo! Just got the Warhammer Beta 3 Invite!

WOOOHOOO WARHAMMER!


Well... it looks like the NDA is still is effect so it's not the open beta yet...

The only "disclosures" allowed are that:

1) The fact that there is a Warhammer Online Beta Test currently underway.

2) The fact that you are a member of the Warhammer Online Beta Test.



So I probably won't be posting anything about it at all, just in case there are spies around!

Downloading it now, been waiting years for this game, I still miss DAoC... Victory is mine!!!   read


11:06 PM on 08.01.2008

I'm Very Disappointed in D-toid...

COMMUNITY RESPONSE

Let me start of by saying while I don't think Luc's conduct in the comments of the Eternity's Child review was acceptable, I was very disappointed by the way the D-toid members acted in response. Let us all remember this was a very low budget, indie developed game, selling at a very small price point. There was no need to treat Luc the way he was treated. He disagreed with the reviewers and was very emotional when he did so, all of you would too if it was your baby.

While there is plenty of flaming and fanboy warring on D-toid, there are very few personal attacks, and that is why I love this place. I'm tired of the childishness that constantly fills other gaming site's comments (lookin at you Kotaku). What I saw in the comments was almost on the level of most of the Xbox Live crowd. The "Fuck Off Luc's" that spewed out made me feel ashamed to be a active member of this site. Luc never cursed or disrespected the reviews, he just didn't agree with them. Plenty of our members have called D-toid reviewers unprofessional (and worse) over reviews scores, and didn't design the game, they just played it.

You would think some members had placed large bets against EC or co-authored the reviews the way they reacted in the comments. It's one thing to be proud of yourself for "calling" a crappy game, it another thing entirely to use the comments section or blogs to launch personal attacks on the developer because you feel entitled. I'm wondering if anyone commenting on Luc's reaction has ever developed anything with a small team and had it ripped to shreds in a review? Doubt it.

Luc released a game that he spent a large amount of time on that had a major flaw, within a day of release the flaw was patched and now fully fixed. How many multi-million dollar games have been released with big game breaking flaws? Plenty, lets give Luc a break.

I bought EC tonight after seeing it was patched already on Steam. The jumping flaw is fully fixed, and in three levels so far I have never missed a jump due to the key not responding.


REVIEWERS

First of all, this game looks and moves much better than any run of the mill flash game, and I felt that was an underhanded comment when one of the best things about the game is the artwork and backgrounds. Lets also not forget that there is some beautiful flash animation out there, lol.

Second, after mainly naming the broken controls as the flaw that ruined the game for both reviewers multiple times...

"Let's talk about how the jump button only responds to your input about a third of the time, leading you to fall to your doom for no good reason. "

"Additionally, the jump button only works a third of the time."

"Roughly 66% of the times you hit the jump button, your character won't do anything."

"The problem is that it's difficult for the wrong reasons, most directly in terms of control."

Anthony and Conrad only put one reference to the patch, put it under a section about the game crashing, and then said it MAY fix the problems. Did Anthony or Conrad even try the patched game? Is it just better for laughs to not put somewhere on the review that the major flaw in the game has been fixed? The patch was released the same day as the review was posted...

Luc took his time and energy to get involved in our community, and I think the D-toid staff could at least return that time and energy to review the game with fixed controls, or at least add some insight into how much the patch fixes. The game I bought today doesn't deserve a 1 by any means, nor does it deserve the abuse that our community is heaping on it.


THE GAME

It's nothing special, but it's a decent side scroller that goes back to the roots and has some challenge to it. If you move while shooting and use the charge shot, you can clear though enemies quickly without shooting all their shots. The controls are working fine now, and it's easy to tell it was meant for mouse/keyboard and Wiimote. For the music and artwork alone, I think it's worth the price. If nothing else, it'll burn a few hours of your time.

You could spend $4.99 in a lot worse ways then supporting a developer who's just getting started...   read


2:36 PM on 03.09.2008

How to identify your Wii's drive! Help everyone see if SSBB will work before buying!



Since I just went though the deep emotional pain of buying Super Smash Bros Brawl and having my Wii error out reading it, I thought I'd do some matlockery and see if I could pinpoint the serial numbers that seems to be having problems.

My friend stood in the same line as me when we waited for lauch Wiis and bought them right after each other. Now his Wii is playing SSBB without a problem, and mine won't even see the disc. Since we all know "dust" isn't causing this problem, and that SSBB is on a dual-layer disc, it must be hardware.

I found a nice site called WiiTracker which allows you to find out the most likely hardware setup your Wii has, by your serial number.

I've only had 3 systems to test so far, but using this site, we should be able to build a list from those of us that have Wiis.



The first three characters in your serial identify the major revisions:

LU1 = First production run, no longer produced
LU3 = Second run, no longer produced, still may be on shelves
LU5 = Most recent model, in production and on shelves

According to what I've read, all LU3 and LU5 models will have no problems running SSBB, the problem is related to LU1's only.

UPDATE: Now we have a non-reading LU3 too!



Here are the three serials I've tested so far and their results (not putting up the full serials just in case):

Serial Number----------Drive chip-------SSBB Status:


LU1's

LU10231****--------GC2-DMS-------Not reading SSBB
LU10222****--------GC2-DMS-------Not reading SSBB
LU10123****--------GC2-D2B--------Reading SSBB
LU10236****--------GC2-D2B--------Reading SSBB

LU3's

LU30373****--------GC2-DMS--------Reading SSBB
LU30633****--------GC2-DMS--------Not reading

If you own a Wii + SSBB and want to help out, just visit WiiTracker, enter your serial number (bottom/side of Wii), then just post the drive chip and if SSBB runs or errors.
I'm not positive the drive chip is tied into this problem, but if nothing else it's an easy way to identify the different hardware revisions.   read


1:31 PM on 03.09.2008

CURSE YOU NINTENDO!!!

This morning Wii owners everywhere felt a stab of fear when Workmeng posted how some early shipment Wii's error out reading SSBB. Well, that small fear turned into a a major problem, because I just went out a bought SSBB this morning and got the worst message ever...

I present, EPIC NINTENDO FAIL!





Well, now I have to call Nintendo and get the damn thing replaced. On the plus side, my Wii's drive sounded like it was chewing on the DvDs rather than reading them (no scraching though thankfully) and so atleast I won't have to worry about that anymore...

Now I have SSBB sitting infront of me taunting me, and I'm sure I'll have to suffer though a couple weeks of this... I feel your pain 360 owners.

CURSE YOU NINTENDO!



UPDATE: One of my friends waited in the exact same Wii launch line I did and got the Wii right after mine. He also bought SSBB this morning and his Wii is playing just fine and he's seen no errors whatsoever. A quick comparison of our Wii info shows that his was actually a different production run, even though we both got them at launch and at the same store.

So just because you bought a Wii on "release day" you may actually have a second production run version that seems to handle SSBB just fine. Keep those fingers crossed!   read


3:04 PM on 02.15.2008

GeForce 8 GPUs will gain PhysX processing, world domination soon to follow!



We all knew when Nvidia announced their plans to buy Ageia that we would see on-board physics processing video cards very soon, but I don't think anyone but Nvidia employees expected it would come this soon. Answering reporter's questions, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has made some very interesting comments that pertain not only to future cards, but also the current 8 series that is running in many computers right now.

Nvidia is, at this very moment, in the process of encoding the PhysX software into Nvidia's very own CUDA. While that probably means nothing to the normal user, CUDA is Nvida's programming interface that was made for developers, allowing for custom made general purpose applications. The great part about CUDA is that it has already been implemented in all of the 8 Series cards.

So what does that mean for your average 8 series card user? That with only a small software download, all 8 series cards will be able to do PhysX processing with their current GPUs. This also means that with a little programming and bandwidth, Nvidia will be able to put PhysX capability in more computers in one day, than Ageia was able too in it's entire career.

Even more promising is that our current GPUs (graphics processor on video cards) and PPUs (physics processor on PhysX cards) and nearly identical in design and in their calculations (both are calculated using floating point number matrices). This means that there is every chance that current gen cards will have no problem doing both graphical and physics processing.

Strait from the horses mouth...

"We're working toward the physics-engine-to-CUDA port as we speak. And we intend to throw a lot of resources at it. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if it helps our GPU sales even in advance of [the port's completion]. The reason is, [it's] just gonna be a software download. Every single GPU that is CUDA-enabled will be able to run the physics engine when it comes. . . . Every one of our GeForce 8-series GPUs runs CUDA."

Even more intriguing to me, and the other SLI users out there who's second card sits mostly useless is what he had to say next...

Our expectation is that this is gonna encourage people to buy even better GPUs. It might—and probably will—encourage people to buy a second GPU for their SLI slot.

Finally, maybe my second 8800 will actually have some real use, this can't come soon enough in my books.

From TechReport   read


3:16 PM on 01.05.2008

Can There Ever Be A Winner?!

So, most of you have probably already read Sterling's post on how the PS3 could be uber, as I did just a little while ago. It's a great post, and along with the news of Warner Bros going BR exclusive, and the HD-DVD camp bailing on CES, it got me thinking about how the PS3 may actually have a chance this year at turning their sales around.



Let's pretend for a moment it's today, next year. So it's the beginning of January 2009, and Sony has just kicked some real ass over the holiday season. Let's say Sony has sold (to customers) 12 million units in one year, helped by all the AAA 2008 releases. M$ has sold around 18 million total, but there are major problems, the 360 is still selling poorly in Japan, the “red-ring” fiasco has spurned new buyers, and the sales are really slowing down.

With the release of Home, it's very own achievements, and a “fee-driven,” heavily updated PSN Network, the PS3 takes over the 360's early lead and sells like crazy. The 360's sales continue to decline each year, and the Wii just continues to sell (~$125 MSRP by then). We end up with sales that look something like this...


Ignore the ???? for now, but you smart people may already know where I'm going with this...

So, now lets pretend it's two years from now, the beginning of 2010. Sony has taken a major lead on Microsoft to the point of no return for the 360. Sony's “long-term, 10-year” plan is working, and the console is really starting to hit it's stride at the half-way mark. It's all looking up for Sony, with everything finally starting to go their way.

All the way up to this point, I've let it play out like a PS3 fanboy's greatest wet dream, but anyone who thinks Microsoft will go the way of SEGA has no clue of the tenacity that the big M attacks a market with. As soon as the PS3 starts to get into it's real swing of sales, Microsoft will drop the bomb...

On November 15, 2001; the original Xbox was launched, marking Microsoft's entrance into the console world of gaming...


Four years and 7 days later the 360 was born. Skimming a year off of the normal 5-year turnaround on consoles, Microsoft jumped the gun (and mauled Sony) by releasing the as soon as they could. Using this advantage they took the console world by storm, and managed to make itself the only “Next-Gen” console for an entire year.


Now, imagine what will happen 3-4 years from now when Microsoft follows the same course and announces the Xbox 1080, taking full advantage of all the new effects and the new ultra resolution textures. Those “????” in the graph can easily be 1080, and could easily sell millions it's first year as (yet again) the only “next-gen” console. DX10 will have been finalized and should be streamlined at that point allowing for some amazing “real life” blur effects (as we've started to see in Crysis and such), and HDTV's will be prevalent meaning everyone can take advantage. With a few years of hardware advancing, the 1080 could easily pummel the “cell and BR” just by using more current technology.

If Microsoft releases this console in 2010-2011 while the PS3 is still working on it's “ten-year life cycle.” Imagine all the graphics whores who spent all that time rooting for the Cell and BR, only to have a new Xbox come out and raise the bar well before Sony can even muster a response. Let's face it, we all know Sony is just finally starting to turn a profit, and won't really see “black” in the books till at least the end of this year... does anyone think after the fiasco of a launch that the PS3 had, that Sony is at all willing to develop a new system till they've sucked every ounce of life out of the PS3? Their ten-year plan isn't just a plan at this point, it's a necessity.

Presenting the Xbox 1080...


Only time will tell, no one knows what's gonna happen in this new and crazy market, but it's always fun to guess...



((EDIT = JUST as I posted this, Sterling posts "Is there an Xbox 720 in the works?" That's way to fucking weird! I am ALL KNOWING!))
  read


9:09 PM on 12.30.2007

Mr. Destructoid Goes 3D! Take A Look!

So, I recently “got a copy” of Maya Ultimate 2008 and decided to start screwing around with it. My first non-tutorial scene just happens to be the best mascot EVER! I couldn't decided off the bat what I wanted to experiment with first, but I knew it needed to be slightly easy to model. I wanted to stick with poly's for now, so I decided our boxy friend was the perfect choice.

I've only had 3 days so far with Maya, and I never used any previous versions. My only 3D rendering experience came from rendering weapons into Elder Scrolls 3. I had a lot of fun back then, so I decided to give Maya a try...

I present to you.... Mr. Destructoid (aka the green-tinted Smoking Robot) in all of his 3Dness...



Mr. D at Dusk




Mr. D at Night



Mr. D's Face Looks Cool!




These are just some renders of the scene I'm still working with. I'm in the process of finishing and rendering this into a small night/day loop that can be used with Vista's DreamScene. I'm also going to animate the lights on the face at night into another loop for DreamScene.

Considering it takes 3-5mins (depending on shadows) to render each frame, and my loop is around 240 frames.... It might be a few days before I render it all!

Let me know what you think!!!   read


1:24 PM on 12.24.2007

On Steam Now: An Amazing [Insert Belief's Holiday Here] Gift From Valve

Not sure if this was already posted or in a blog somewhere, but I just logged into Steam this morning and saw a wonderful early gift from Valve. If you don't have Steam installed, and you have a working PC, you should go here and download it now. Steam has everything from old school to new, indie to big studios, and a nice interface with decent download speeds... but thats not all...



ON STEAM NOW!!!



That's right, from December 24 (today) to January 1, EVERY GAME ON STEAM is discounted between 10-50%.







This includes one of my all time favorites...

Is 50% off on Steam right now, making it only only $9.99!!! I know many may already have it, buy for a measly $10 it's a great gift. It also can't hurt to have any of these games tagged to your online account. Which means you can download anywhere, anytime...




Also, don't forget about Steam's new gift service. I can attest that it works well, and makes it easy as pie to get your gamer friend a cheap gift for the holidays.


UPDATE ON DISCOUNTS!!!

BioShock = 25% OFF = $37.45
CoD4 = 10% OFF = $44.95
Orange Box = 25% OFF = $37.45
STALKER = 25% OFF = $22.45
ID Super Pack (From Wolfenstein 3D to Doom 3) = 25% OFF = $52.45
Company of Heroes = 25% OFF = $22.45
Two Worlds = 50% OFF = $19.95
Civ4 = 25% OFF = $29.95

Get in on that madness!   read


7:19 PM on 11.21.2007

Crysis: Could This Be The Most Over-Hyped Game Yet?!?!

Let me start out by saying I was a HUGE fan of FarCry, and to this day hold it as one of my top FPSes. I admired the open environment, and how many ways you could accomplish your objectives. Above all else, the game was beautiful, and the lush landscape with all the drawn foliage was amazing.


^^^Farcry, not Crysis

Because I was such a huge Far Cry fan, I followed the development of Crysis with bated breath. I read every release, watched every video, and blew a load with every new development.

Hell, I even built a new computer so I could play Crysis when it came out.

Then finally, November 13th came, I rushed out and got my pre-order, and installed the Holy Grail that is Crysis...

I've now spent a week with the game, and I am so disappointed I can't even begin to cover everything that has pissed me off about this game. This was supposed to be a new and better Far Cry, and all I ended up with was a Far Cry knock-off with a lame power suit with no power...

This leads me to my list of why



1) The story has no start, if you thought the "special agent on a vacation to the Isle of Dr. Moreau" (FarCry) was bad, wait until you start Crysis. There is NO BACKSTORY, and NO INTRODUCTION (save some basic military banter and names). You start in a chopper, jump out and get lost... maybe an hour later you actually get a tidbit of story line.

Usually a good basic rule to starting a adventure/mission in a game is to give some sort of information or purpose, Crysis does neither. While this does get you strait into the action, even the most meager story basics would have been nice.




2) After hearing how amazing this game looked, when I actually got in game, it wasn't what I was hoping for. It looks more like the original Far Cry engine, with slightly updated lighting effects, and vastly improved character models.

While the characters are some of the most detailed I think I've seen, the surroundings still suffer. There's times when I'm moving through the jungle where I swear I'm playing the original Far Cry. The mass amounts of foliage are admirable, but they are still using fairly low poly count leaf models/textures. (note: I'm running DX10 on all very high)

In my opinion the vast seas of foliage end up looking like giant piles of green jaggys, and even with AA and AS maxed, I can't help but see Far Cry in all the pixelation. The water is fantastic, but then again, Far Cry's water was almost as breath taking, and that was years ago.




3) While the first hour or so of playing with the nano suit is really cool, after the suit switching "newness" wears off, you may realize like I did, that your playing the same old first person shooter with a new interface. The suit adds some cool options to your attacks, but it has a very, very small power supply, and usually it's dry well before the fight is over, putting you right back into the same ole FPS.




4) I SWEAR this is the exact same AI as FarCry had. They still get shot in the face and turn the other way, they still get stuck trying to find you, yes... they still act like retards. There have been plenty of games recently that have made good enemy AI... (CoD4 has smart enemies) Why does it seem like I'm fighting the same retarded army then?




5) While multi-player is interesting, it doesn't feel like it has any really stand out qualities that can hold it above the waves of online shooters. With games like CoD4, Halo 3, and TF2 offering such amazing multi-player, I can't see Crysis holding onto a strong gaming community once the "newness" wears off.



After all the hype and press, I can't help but feel like they just enhanced FarCry's graphics and spit it right back out. The story is weak and slow to develop, the gameplay is nothing to write home about, and the graphics (while pretty) still show major weaknesses.




I spent over a year following Crysis...

what a waste of time.   read


6:12 AM on 10.09.2007

The First (?) TF2 Machinima... And It's Really GOOD! (Ignus Solus)

So I scrolled through the clogs and didn't see a post about this, but I worked all night so no bitching if this is a repost.

I was trolling my usual sites and came across this AMAZING TF2 machinima. It's called Ignus Solus, which is Latin and translates to "burn alone," a very apt title. It's about 8 minutes long and worth every minute of it. There's not much to say other than...

WATCH IT!



Just amazing, Valve should hire these guys and have them release stuff over Steam!   read





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