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10081  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is the last season of Enterprise worth watching? on: August 12, 2008, 10:55:18 PM
I'm not quite a die hard Trekkie (the only full DVD season set I have is Season 3 of ST: TNG), but I've been watching quite a few of these various Fan Collectives (where fans vote for their favorite episodes under a various theme, and the compilations usually include maybe 1 to 4 episodes from each show - so it's a fairly nice sampler) of late.

Although I liked maybe one or two early seasons of Enterprise, I was surprised by how much I really didn't like the Enterprise pilot at all, Broken Bow, which is included on the Klingon Fan Collective set. All the "I oughta kick your ass!" and the occasional use of "Damn" and "Hell" seemed to be bizarre attempts to try to make the new series "edgy," (but frankly, Scott Bakula is too likeable and decent a person to be acting like that - I just don't buy him when he's talking that way) and I'm glad they ditched all that later on. And most of the characters came across as repellent in the pilot (though I grew fonder of the characters as the show went on).

I was surprised how much I liked the couple Voyager episodes on the Fan Collective sets. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.  icon_cool

It seemed like nearly every ST: TNG and Voyager episode on the Fan Collective sets was written or co-written by Ron Moore, and I've been doing Google searches and reading up on him.

It's just so cool that someone who was simply a Trekkie fan (Moore) managed to finagle a chance to get a script reviewed, became a staff writer and eventually executive producer on DS9. It's interesting to read interviews with him about what his struggles to tell ambitious stories within Trek's limits and continuity. Apparently his brief foray with Enterprise (I guess he only wrote one teleplay and didn't find the writing environment as open as the previous series, at least from what I've read) was really unpleasant, and resulted in a temporary rift with Braga.

He also talked about getting to visit the set of Abram's Trek movie in one interview, and just be nostalgic about it though he clearly has no plans to return to the ST franchise. To this day I've never been able to get into his Battlestar Galactica stuff, but now having read a lot of interviews about what he was trying to do with it and why he felt he would never get to tell those stories within ST's limitations -- maybe I'll revisit the early BG seasons and see if this time I "get it."  icon_neutral
10082  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: August 12, 2008, 03:19:32 AM
I already canceled again though it doesn't take effect until Aug. 27. Shortest reactivation evah!  icon_razz I never really could remember how to play effectively. It was by far my strangest return to a game. My other re-visitation candidate is LOTORO, and I'll be curious if I can remember the gameplay mechanics there any better.  icon_confused
10083  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 11, 2008, 05:35:18 PM
It's really not clear how much of Perpetual's work was carried over. Since Emmert indicates they're using the Champions engine (which Perpetual clearly wasn't using) and technology for the ST game, I would guess that while some design docs might've carried over, not much actual assets would since Perpetual had its own technology (presumably).

I don't know if the actual avatar stuff will wow people all that much since they apparently want a game that works well across a wide range of systems (a la WoW).

I still find a little bit disingenous when Emmert brags about Cryptic's CoX work and neglects to mention that most of that dev team remained with NCSoft to form a new studio and keep working on CoX. I'm sure they have fine people aboard now, but it doesn't seem from what I've read there's much left of the actual CoX teams.

I've seen that with a lot of FPS dev teams where they brag "From the Creators of so-and-so," except said Creators left to form their own studios after so-and-so became a monster splash. But, I dunno, I've seen a lot of games from dev teams that didn't live up to their preceding game so maybe in the end, it's all just semanatics.  icon_neutral
10084  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 10, 2008, 04:41:18 PM
OK I got all the times confused. I guess it's today at 1:30 p.m. Pacific so it's not until 4:30 Eastern and I'll probably be out.

Jack Emmert and Leonard Nimoy Reveal Star Trek Online Today
http://www.startrekonline.com/node/71
10085  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: August 10, 2008, 04:35:16 PM
Da, da, daaaaaaa.... (probably mentioned in the various Flagship threads already, just thought it worth a Bump here)

(just a placeholder)
http://www.runicgames.com/
Quote
Seattle, Washington - August 8th, 2008 - The former Flagship Studios Seattle team is proud to announce their reformation as Runic Games (www.runicgames.com). As the team responsible for the highly-anticipated Mythos at Flagship Studios, Runic Games intends to continue to use their expertise in the Action-RPG MMO genre to create the best games in this market.

The studio is headed by Travis Baldree and Max Schaefer. Travis served as Project Director for Mythos at Flagship Seattle, and previously created the bestselling Action-RPG FATE. Max was the Executive Producer for Mythos, and one of the original founders of Blizzard North, the creators of the bestselling Diablo franchise. He was also one of the founding members of Flagship Studios.

Announcements about Runic Games' forthcoming projects will be made in the coming days.
10086  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 08, 2008, 07:46:28 PM
CNN has an update. Emmert promises gameplay footage Aug. 10 and claims the game is a lot closer to release than "hardened" fans might expect. But what about us Softened fans?  icon_razz

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/08/08/star.trek.online.ap/index.html
Quote
Emmert said players will begin "Star Trek Online" as the captain of a small Starfleet or Klingon Empire ship.

They can customize their characters from pre-existing "Trek" species -- from Klingons to Gorn -- and can create entirely new alien races. As they progress through the game, players can increase in rank and gain larger vessels and more crew.

"You'll venture through space exploring new civilizations and life-forms," said Emmert. "You'll also beam down to planets and have adventures inside your ship. It's a galactic-wide game. There's going to be tons of space to investigate. We have a great system for exploration, which will allow for almost infinite possibilities."

Players will also be able to battle against other vessels in laser-blasting, missile-firing deep space scuffles reminiscent of "The Wrath of Khan" and the Dominion War in "Deep Space Nine." Because the game will be set a few generations following the last "Trek" film, players shouldn't expect to run into James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard.

"There might be a ship called Enterprise flying around, but it's probably not the same ship anymore," said Emmert. "Most of the characters will have either retired or passed on, but you'll definitely be going to all the places you know and love from 'Star Trek.' Expect to see oldies like Vulcan and Bajor but also fan favorites like Andoria and Qo'noS."

Quote
"You're going to see the actual game working and functioning," said Emmert. "This isn't renders. This isn't concept art. Everything that people will see on Sunday is going to be taken right from 'Star Trek Online' as it stands today, so hardened people should know that a release date might be closer than they think."
10087  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Assassin's Creed PC lawsuit by Ubisoft (over "leak") on: August 07, 2008, 05:30:34 PM
(let me know if this was already posted somewhere, I did several searches-bj; it's specific to the PC version)

Ubisoft Sues over Assassin's Creed Leak
http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=90126
Quote
GameSpot reports that Ubisoft is suing Optical Experts Manufacturing, alleging one of the employees of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based disc replication company pilfered a copy of Assassin's Creed and leaked it to the internet. The GameSpot story indicates the game sold only 40,000 copies in the US through June, but that over 700,000 pirated copies of the game were downloaded.

They also relate an odd-sounding claim that Ubisoft intentionally included a bug in the code that would crash the game as a security measure (given how many sites now review "pre-release" versions, doesn't sound so smart Roll Eyes), and that negative reviews of the buggy leaked version harmed their reputation. The suit is said to be for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and negligence, and Ubisoft is asking for over $20 million in damages and legal fees.
Whew knew A) That there were any US-based disc duplication service companies -- I thought they did all that overseas now; and B) That Ubisoft had any sort of "Reputation" amongst PC gamers.  smirk
10088  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My New Resolution: NO MORE GAMES on: August 07, 2008, 12:46:47 PM
I've taken about the last week off from gaming to catch up on some DVDs (the Star Trek: Captain's Log compilation for one) and some TV shows I had been missing in my MMO stupor. And I haven't bought anything since Mass Effect several weeks ago.

I used to really dig burning myself out on games, but I've found in recent years the occasional brief sabbatical does me some good, and then when I return to various games, they feel fresh again. Only with MMOs (as I mentioned in the Tabula Rasa thread) if you take too much time off, then you forget all the hotkeys, the navigational shortcuts you used to take, and generally how to play.  It's not as easy as remembering how to ride a bike. icon_razz
10089  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 07, 2008, 12:36:17 PM
Oh, speak of the devil, TSA had an announcement that my alleviate my airport security line concerns a bit (these upcoming bag models will let you put it on the conveyor belt without having to remove it from the bag):

TSA to Allow Laptops in Approved Bags
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1829687,00.html?cnn=yes
Quote
To qualify as "checkpoint friendly," a bag must have a designated laptop-only section that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray machine belt and contains no metal snaps, zippers or buckles and no pockets.

Among the manufacturers selling TSA-approved laptop bags are Mobile Edge, Skooba Design and Targus Inc.
These are due out later this month, it says.
10090  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 06, 2008, 07:47:30 PM
I dunno. Honestly, I don't need one. In fact, of late I've stopped spending all my evenings playing MMOs and Web surfing in favor of my old passion of couch potato DVD/TVing.

The next work situation where it could maybe be of any help would be a conference in late October in Houston. So I guess if I pre-ordered now, perhaps I'd have it in time for the trip. Then I could see whether it's worth the security line and baggage hassles to drag one along.

So definitely maybe!  icon_confused
10091  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 06, 2008, 02:03:39 AM
DING DING DING!
Just got an e-mail notification from Amazon that they've started taking preorders on the 6-cell battery version ($549, free shipping):

MSI Wind 10" Mini Laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Atom Processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Black
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AS6YFQ/ref=pe_11480_10129960_emwa_email_title_1

They only list the black model in stock, though given that it's not really "in stock" (they're just taking pre-orders), I don't know what that means really. I guess they don't expect to carry 6-cell black Winds.
10092  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: August 05, 2008, 05:41:05 PM
I stopped "news hounding" this a while ago. Massively.com has some hands-on impressions from Cryptic's recent media day (albeit Star Trek Online's announcement has sort of pushed Champions into the background). While played on PCs, they apparently used XBox 360 controlllers, which should give an idea of it's multiplatform intentions. The controls seem fairly simple (buttons control jumping, basic attack, ranged attack, and blocking), and it doesn't appear it's a "remember 27 different hotkeys" scheme like more typical MMOs.

Champions Online: Hands-on gameplay impressions
http://www.massively.com/2008/08/05/champions-online-hands-on-gameplay-impressions/
Quote
An interesting feature that immediately became apparent is that all characters could make use of a ranged attack, regardless of type. For instance, a power projector would be able to fire energy bolts as expected, but a brawler would rip up chunks of concrete to throw at enemies as his ranged attack.

About attacks: the basic attack was typically a single punch, with repeated button presses becoming a chain of punches for more devastating damage. Holding down the attack button charged up a more powerful strike, the effectiveness of the blow more than making up for having to absorb hits from enemies. This strike varied from character to character, depending on power.

Finally, there was a jumping attack -- a jump, combined with a basic attack, resulted in a shockwave effect upon landing, stunning nearby enemies for a few moments. This might have been character specific, as the first character this blogger used was a hulking, tank-like hero. Blocking was an effective strategy against multiple opponents, and quickly became necessary versus swarming mobs.

Quote
In all, Champions Online plays extremely well and looks fantastic. The actual mechanics are simple enough to be immediately accessible, leaving the complexity to other areas, which is as it should be. Within a few minutes with the Xbox 360 controller, maneuvering the character became second nature. We would have liked to have been able to play with a keyboard to assess how it performed, but the controller better suited the active nature of combat.

We don't know how much of the gameplay we experienced will survive for the launch, but it was engaging enough as-is, and there's still roughly a year to go. We'll go ahead and say it: this title will become the definitive superhero experience for both fans of the genre and new players alike.
10093  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: August 05, 2008, 05:05:20 PM
Batman on Film has a fun (and final) the Dark Knight prize drawing. Top prizes are limited run ceramic sculptures of Batman and the Joker, each valued at $150.

http://www.batman-on-film.com/contests_dcdirect_TDK-3-August_8-5-08.html

Since you do have to give DC Direct your name/contact info, you'll probably want to use, well, whatever e-mail addy you're comfortable giving in possible junk mail situations.  icon_razz
Quote
(Sculpted by Kolby Jukes) "The Dark Knight" is in mid-flight in this dramatic action pose! This uniquely crafted piece features Batman's sweeping cape as the statue's base. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 10" high x 8" wide x 8" deep, includes a 4-color certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited editionof only 6,000 pieces! A $150.00 US value!

(Sculpted by Kolby Jukes) Standing on a pile of oversized playing cards, this statue features The Joker sporting his trademark grin! This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 10" high x 10" wide x 6" deep, includes a 4-color certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited edition of only 6,000 pieces! A $150.00 US value!
Second prize for 10 folks are the Batman Begins LImited Edition Gift set on Blue-Ray or Batman Gotham Knight (the recent animated anthology) on Blue-Ray.

I couldn't find the statues at the DC Direct site, but there's a pretty nice vinyl one ($125):

The Dark Knight - Batman vinyl statue by Kotobukiya
http://www.dccomics.com/dcdirect/?dcd=9825&lst=new&cat=STATUES

I'm putting this here in lieu of a one-post thread on TDK statues.  icon_razz
10094  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: lets talk digital cameras.. on: August 04, 2008, 07:39:51 PM
I was happy with my older Powershot, but I tried many different Cannon models in numerous stores in recent weeks, and none felt comfortable to me, and the menu screens/tabs etc. generally confounded me.

I don't begrudge anyone sticking their head in the sand and refusing to try other brands (I might never buy another non-Toyota because my 1996 Corrolla has been so durable, for example), but I don't really shop by brands with electronics these days.

That's why I've used (and been quite happy with) Sansa and Creative MP3/multimedia players instead of Apple, chose a Kodak camera for my sister-in-law (she's had it a year and loves it) and the Sony camera in my case. I will of course let ya'll know if I ever come to regret the decision.  icon_smile

fwiw, the Sony's LCD screen has passed the "Obscenely bright sunlight test" today.  icon_cool I talked myself out of a Kodak touchscreen model after reading that its screen generally washed out in those conditions.
10095  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 07:21:33 PM
For more jaded takes on blockbusters, Pauline Kael was always a good bet. I always said she hated everything that didn't have subtitles.  icon_lol Though in retrospect, she did respond to summer movies on occasion, esp. E.T. I've tweaked her words a bit for quiz's sake.

Quote
... the picture is an amalgam of [his] follies--plot for its own sake, dissociated from character or drama; the affectless heroine ... AND effects that Spielberg the youthful magician has already dazzled us with. Kinesthetically, the film gets to you, but there's no exhilaration, and no surge of feeling at the end. It seems to be edited for the maximum number of showings per day.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Quote
But at 2 hours and 17 minutes this is just a very big "Boo!" movie, with bum dialogue.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Aliens (1986)

Quote
It's an epic without a dream. Maybe the only real inspiration involved was to set [it] in the pop-culture past, and to turn old-movie ineptness into conscious Pop Art. And maybe there's a touch of genius in keeping the film so consistently what it is, even if this is the genius of the plodding.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Star Wars (1977)

Quote
Retro-40s virtue piled on the cartoon underpinnings of TV comedy shows.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Terms of Endearment (1983)

Quote
The movie is underwritten, but it has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. It's mean and anarchic and blissful.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Batman (1989) [I'll be damned, she loved it! saywhat]
This is kinda fun. Maybe I should start a separate thread on this.  icon_smile But everyone will just Google "Pauline Kael".  disgust icon_razz

I guess my only point is no movie draws accolades from everyone even if it makes a half billion dollars or sweeps the oscars.
10096  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 06:06:45 PM
Murphy's law is the more money, enthusiastic reviews and awards a movie makes, the more backlash and more "I didn't think it was so great" opinions you'll get.

I remember that with stuff like The Fugitive in 1993 or even Die Hard in 1988 (no, not everybody loved it, even if 100 Hollywood screenwriters have copied it). Heck, my mom expressed that opinion in summer 1984 when I belatedly took her to see Terms of Endearment (1983 Best Picture) at a military base in Korea. "This was Best Picture? Blah." Me, I saw it when it first came out and loved it. I think if you guys had seen it (TDK, not Terms of Endearment  icon_wink) opening day, you'd have different opinions. Titanic drew a lot of that opinion late in its run. I think Titanic's great, but Billy Zane's performance was perhaps one of the worst, one-note performances I've ever seen. fwiw. just imho.  icon_razz

I did have more fun with Iron Man, and there are lots of TDK fans who think Iron Man was a forgettable waste of time - and shame on them.  icon_razz

Oh well. Different perspectives make us human. I mentioned I enjoyed the Indy movie (in spite of the lame-o Lucas plot), but a friend of mine hated it so much he all but gets beet redfaced with anger just talking about it. Go figure.  icon_neutral

Aaaand, Freeman is in a Memphis, Tenn. hospital it turns out.
10097  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 05:48:19 PM
Morgan Freeman was in a nasty car accident (his Toyota overturned several times) and is in serious condition in a Mississippi hospital:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/08/04/morgan.freeman.accident/index.html
Fingers crossed for Lucius Fox.  tear

No doubt this'll bring out the conspiracy theorists that TDK is "cursed." Lord knows the cast and crew could use a break from tragedies. It sounds like he'll be OK, though something like this at age 71 has got to be tough.

He apparently over-corrected when his tires went off the road shoulder a bit. We've had some nasty accidents from that sort of thing in the D.C. metro region here, esp. with teen drivers. It's one thing that makes me nervous at 2-lane roads.

I just see the "Batman voice" as another means of disguising one's identity. How *should* he sound? Michael Keaton's Batman had a slightly deeper voice "in the suit," but it was clearly still his voice. I disguise my voice sometimes when calling friends, but they always recognize my voice unless I really exaggerate my voice or impersonation. I have to go "over the top" to become unrecognizable.

I sometimes find it silly in Spider-Man that nobody seems to notice that he sounds exactly like Tobey McGuire/Peter Parker with panty hose over his mouth (in the '60s animated version, Spider-Man has a more "grown up" voice, and I think they actually used different voice actors); or in the cheesy Adam West Batman, there's no difference between the Bruce Wayne and masked voice at all.

TDK edged out the lame Mummy Sequel for #1 again. It's to about $394 million through Sunday. Some pundits point out that Titanic's number of tickets sold (at a far lower price, so less profit per ticket) was astronomically higher. I buy that, but there are also a lot more things and technologies competing for your entertainment dollar today, and $4 gasoline vs. about $1.18 gasoline in December 1997, not to mention higher food costs today that might make you hesitate to drop $11 on a summer movie. It's hard really to make perfectly consistent comparisons between movies, even ones only 11 years apart.
10098  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: lets talk digital cameras.. on: August 03, 2008, 03:37:39 PM
After sort of surprisingly "falling in love with it" at a Circuit City counter on Friday, I got a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150 (Black model, 8.1 megapixel, 28-140mm lense) there yesterday. Prices are always better at Amazon.com, Buy.com etc. but I just preferred to get at a store and it was a $20 off, plus it's "Virginia Tax Free days" Fri.-Sun. here.

Sony page
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665339394

one review
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/sony/dsc_w150-review/

There are better rated cameras out there, but it just came down to me enjoying the controls, menu system and using it in the store (even if most reviews complain about the same things I like about it). There's a fun "slideshow" feature, and it has a tiny built-in speaker so you can hear your videos in the camera. Everyone tends to recommend the Big Brands (Canon, Minolta, Olympus, etc.; and Panasonic seems to be building a good rep), but I helped pick out a Kodak for my sister-in-law's birthday last year, and for me the Sony was the one I most enjoyed actually using. A friend of mine has a well rated Canon that I tinkered with, but I really found its whole menu system baffling. I'm sure I could learn it but I like ones that use understandable text explanations on the menu and don't require referencing the manual too much.

While I still think it's always cheaper buying these online, no matter how detailed a Web page listing is, it's never as useful as going into a store and actually using it, even just for a few minutes.

What I got is definitely not for those who want to fiddle with the actual camera settings (which I've never really been comfortable doing so it didn't bother me). I liked the wide angle (28mm), fairly strong zoom (5X optical) and increasingly rare optical viewfinder (albeit it's tiny and doesn't really give you the full lense view) and various other features. Megapixels are just ridiculous these days (there's a 13.6 MP variant of this), but for sharing online and via message boards etc. it's all quite a moot point. My old camera is only 2 MP though, and I was finding it not very useful for these occasional magazine articles I work on (they need at least 4-5 to be able to use them at any appreciable size in print).

10099  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 02, 2008, 02:31:37 PM
Oh man, I'm such an idiot. I thought I could just waltz into the Udvar-Hazy air and space museum and get IMAX tickets for TDK this weekend. They've already sold out today's 3 shows, and tomorrow's first 2 shows (I'm not seeing an 11 p.m. show on Sunday). ARGH.
http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?organ_val=21156&venue_val=202324

Box office update. Thursday's take pushed it over the $351 million mark into #13 all-time, behind Jurassic Park:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic.htm

Despite some truly atrocious reviews, the Mummy sequel presumably will pull in some folks this weekend though I wouldn't be surprised if TDK remained at the head of the list. A decent weekend would probably push it to maybe #8 ahead of SW: Revenge of the Sith ($380.3 million) behind Spider-Man ($403.7 million).

EW's Mark Harris has a column (not online yet, but it would eventually be at http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20205970,00.html) proclaiming "there's no way" The Dark Knight can reach Titanic's $600 million mark. So he echoes my sentiment, but I'm not as snarky about it, because I'd like to see TDK reach it I just don't see it quite having the legs (although it's had remarkable legs for a summer movie in a busy season).  icon_razz

Harris is still on the Snobby side of the critic fence that both lauds TDK's ambition but sort of waves off its success as "fanboy driven" and says any Oscar nomination talk for the movie is both fanboy-driven and (aside from Ledger's performance) a joke.  disgust

I don't see it as a joke because if critics think Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the King are all Oscar-worthy (and all got Best Picture and Best Director nominations in their release years, and of course ROTK won everything just about), then a leap to something like TDK isn't that much of a stretch. Unless you're a snobby critic with issues about guys in rubber suits and clown makeup.  smirk
10100  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 02, 2008, 02:20:48 PM
This reminds me of a reporter friend whom I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in1989 with who spent the whole movie whining, "Oh gosh, he stole that old man's car!" and the like. Probably he would've complained in Raiders of the Lost Ark about Indy "spoiling the ancient tombs," and "violating the sanctity of the South American natives!" He would've spent Iron Man hand wringing about Iron Man "destroying government property" and "hindering the war on terror."  Roll Eyes

I mean, come on. I never saw another movie with him, I learned my lesson.  icon_razz

It's summer. If everything's going to offend one's sensibilities, it's best not to visit a theater from May through August.  icon_neutral

That said, the comics make a big deal about Bats never using guns. So a fair number of Batman fans were a little peeved that he so non challantly fires what presumably are 20MM cannons in such a nonchalant way.
10101  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Man Beheaded on Greyhound Bus on: August 02, 2008, 02:14:15 PM
I checked some Canadien papers about it the other day. There's much hyperventilating about why fellow passengers didn't step in to stop him, or throw something at him, etc. But I don't think anyone knows how they're going to act when their seatmate starts stabbing someone with a big butcher knife until the situation actually happens. saywhat To be a blog/news article commenter with 20-20 hindsight on that seems pretty lame.

There have been several cases of bus drivers being attacked, though not to this grisly extent. Some of the US Greyhound stations are doing at least random metal detector "wand searches," but it really isn't reasonable for podunk bus stations in the middle of nowhere to do that.
10102  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: August 01, 2008, 07:51:11 PM
Super Hero Hype has some nice high rez versions of Watchmen posters from the convention:
http://www.superherohype.com/news/watchmennews.php?id=7562

Some are a little racy but I don't think anything is quite NSFW. Well, maybe Dr. Manhattan's blue butt.  icon_eek icon_lol
10103  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Exxon posts record high quartly profit...again on: August 01, 2008, 01:36:17 PM
Quote from: Michael Douglas in Wall Street
Gordon Gekko: The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.
fwiw, I cover parts of the oil industry (base oils, motor oil etc.) and deal with ExMo on and off as a reporter. They are both very professional, and -- because they're one of the world's largest privately-owned companies -- prone to just clam up if I'm asking about something negative.

Once when I dealt with a smaller publicly owned refiner, I remember being surprised how candid the public affairs spokesman was about something that I didn't expect them to even get back to me about.

What saddens me generally about US Business these days is it's basically about doing everything as cheaply as possible. And if that means outsourcing everything to other countries that don't allow unions and don't require costly worker safety/environmental standards, and importing everything in sight because other countries make everything cheaper, well... greed is good.  Roll Eyes I mean, heck, you even see it in game publishers ferreting game development out to overseas dev houses that presumably pay their people peanuts.
10104  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: July 31, 2008, 05:23:13 PM
Canuck, you're such a traitor to the MSI Wind cause. icon_lol

Actually, a work buddy and I goofed off a bit at a Best Buy after lunch yesterday. I saw several "normal" small laptops in the $599 range that seemed pretty appealing and looked nearly as small as the Wind and the latest EeePC models.

I think the Wind's launch pretty much got scrooged over by the 6-cell battery deficit (due to some big factory fire in South Korea).

Supposedly the 6-cell versions finally on the way (in terms of being available for pre-order) though it jacks the price up to $549:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10002464-1.html

Something called jkOnTheRun had some supposed reader impressions of one:
http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/07/jkontherun-read.html

In the end, I spend too much time Web surfing as it is. Being able to vegetate on my couch as I attempt to multi-task and watch TV would just be doubly pathetic, so I probably won't end up getting anything at all.

I'm probably getting a new Kodak camera today that uses a touch screen. It isn't "ultraportable," so I'll have to yak about it somewhere else.  icon_smile
10105  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Re: LF Warhammer 40K Squad Command PSP on: July 31, 2008, 01:00:00 PM
I have it, and I haven't played my PSP in almost 6 months (I'm really dismayed with the 2008 games lineup compared to the fine 2007 lineup). Just let me debate if I'm going to give up on the systems altogether or not, and I'll get back to ya.  icon_smile

I think part of the problem is the PSP devs can't make a living doing the games, so they do one good one, put their PSP dev kits away and then move on to console games (as was the case for the devs on Killzone: Liberation, SOCOM Tactical Strike and God of War: Chains of Olympus).

Blah, blah, guess I already said that somewhere else.  tear
10106  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:01 PM
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=832570

The actual Patch Notes:
Quote
COMBAT

    * We're now done with the majority of the process to completely equalize Male and Female damage. We've balanced the animation-lengths for all "white damage" attacks as well as all "combo finishers", and furthermore we've matched the animation length of "moving attacks" to the lengths of "stationary attacks". As a result players should now experience no difference in damage dealt or time needed to execute an attack based on what gender their character is.
    * Aborting multihit combos before they're finished won't activate their full effects anymore. [This will be good if you found yourself "wasting" multihit combos/stamina on thin air because the target already fell, something I often do.-bj]
    * Pet commands should now be more responsive.
    * When aborting a multihit combo finisher, you now get a percentage of the full cooldown depending on how many hits you got in before the abort happened. (It's really in this time!)

CLASSES


    * All Assassin, Barbarian, Bear Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian, Herald of Xotli, and Ranger combo damage and stamina costs have been rebalanced to match the newly adjusted animations.

Priest Archetype

    * Spirit Aegis will now give 0.5% invulnerability to Holy and Fire instead of 1% Fire with the first rank trained.

Assassin

    * Combos granted by feats should now deal significantly more damage than before.

Dark Templar

    * The Talisman Mastery buff will no longer be removed upon death if the proper feat is trained.

Guardian

    * Shield Sweep combo will now scale more consistently across the first three ranks.

Herald of Xotli


    * Pillar of Internal Flame Rank II is now a three-step combo (including combo starter) instead of an instant cast.

Necromancer

    * Bone Horde debuff now uses the proper icon in the debuff GUI.

ITEMS

    * Resolved an issue that caused item bonuses to not scale correctly.
    * Many items are now 'bind on equip' meaning that once equipped the item can no longer be traded.
    * Resolved the issue with raid gear that had lost it's bonuses in a previous update.
    * The bonuses awarded by gems have been rebalanced. Unfortunately some of the gem bonuses were originally applied incorrectly leading to situations where too much bonus was given, mainly for invulnerability rating. These gems have now been modified. The benefit of the different level gems has been also been amended though, meaning that higher level gems should now be better than the lower level versions.
    * All items Green+ are now Bind on Equip (BoE) or Bind on Pickup (BoP).
    * Items which are BoE/BoP should now state this fact below their item name in the mouseover tooltip. When these items are equipped and bound to the character, the text below the item name will change to reflect this. A message will now ask if you are sure when attempting to roll "need" on a Bind on Pickup item.

PVP

    * Players will now always see Massive PvP results, and the time left in a battle during battles. This information is displayed in the right top corner, below the minimap.

QUESTS

    * Field of the Dead: Changed the level on the quest Entourage from 52 to 47.
    * Field of the Dead: Changed the level on the quest Cleansing the Tomb from 53 to 48.
    * Khopshef Province: Forbidden Knowledge - The Crumbling Codex will now despawn after it is picked up.
    * Khopshef Province: Slave Cages will now show a visual effect when player is on the correct quest to interact with them.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: New Quests have been added to enhance your questing experience. Bosses have been upgraded to present a challenge to solo (or small groups) of players. Pay careful attention to the items they drop - they could be the key to defeating more challenging enemies.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: All quests should now be working.
    * Tarantia Sewers: Orphans in the Hovel - Galeria should now talk to you after you kill her captor.
    * Defeating Lord Atum-Keket in the Pyramid of the Ancients will now reopen the door to the Lord chamber.
    * The teleport altar behind Lord Atum-Keket will now be visible at all times.
    * The Master Torturer in Pyramid of the Ancients will no longer spawn multiple times in a row.

NPC / MOBS

    * Toirdealbach's Tomb has had its level range adjusted from 50-53 to 46-48 [as an Epic instance, it seemed like you needed L60 teams to have a prayer-bj]. Loot in Toirdealbach's Tomb has been adjusted to fit the new level range of mobs.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: The Harem Girls have been dressed up properly, and sexily!
    * Many of the spells used by raid bosses will now ignore line of sight-checks, thus making it impossible to avoid them by hiding behind pillars and such.
    * Many of the spells used by raid bosses will now be impossible to fully resist.
    * The Dark Flames breath attack used by Vistrix will now use normal line of sight checks.
    * The knockback strength on Kyllikki's Blizzard has been reduced.
     * Yakhmars adds have been modified, they will no longer stun players as they did.

TRADESKILLLS

    * Cloth Resource droprate in the world has increased somewhat.
    * The Resource and Building playfields (Lacheish Plains, Purple Lotus Swamp, Poitain) have new NPC camps that will drop tradeskill items previously only available through the Alchemist's Cache. Some of these encampments will aggro, some will not. This makes these zones more dangerous, but allows lower level players a chance to get the tier 1-3 resources they need.

WORLD DESIGN

    * Checkerboard textures should no longer appear on the ground throughout the world.

MOUNTS

    * The horse ability Hind Leg Kick will now have a 12 second reuse timer, like the other horse abilities.
    * The Skewbald Pinto Horse has had its stats adjusted to horses of the same tier and price.

GUI

    * The "Quests" tab in the quest journal should now indicate the current number of accepted quests and the total number of allowed quests. [welcome Qualify of Life improvement, many players asked for]
    * An option to add a player to your ignore list was added to the "Add by name" dialog.
    * If your trade is rejected, you will receive an onscreen message.
    * Tooltips for NPCs on the map should now show up in the localized version of their names, instead of their default English names.
    * You can no longer trade while in combat mode.
    * You will see an onscreen message stating that a team member has joined your team.
    * Onscreen feedback for a failed attempt at a trade due to a full inventory has been tweaked.
    * Added a new option that allows the player to make his cloak invisible.
    * Strange or seemingly out of place text in the UI should be removed

GENERAL

    * Several causes of crashes and assert failures have been addressed and fixed.
    * Important notification sounds now won't be interrupted by other sounds.
    * A fix was implemented for item descriptions when switching between languages on the client.
    * Fixed an issue that would cause some playfields to be empty after logging out for some time, and then back in.
    * You can no longer send unlimited mail through the tradepost. If you send several mails and are informed via system message you cannot send any more, you will need for in-game time to pass before being able to send more mail.
    * Ignored users will no longer be able to send you mail.
    * Raid playfields will now kick players who are not in the raid.
    * Fixed some animations that weren't blending properly
    * The number of needed 'Fresh Kills' has been increased to 20.
I've highlighted a few things of interest. Option to make cloaks invisible was something I had hoped for - it's just sometimes more fun to show off your armor backside, and there just isn't much variety in cape color.  icon_razz
10107  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:44:08 PM
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=832567#post832567

The Explanation Notes (full patch notes in 2nd post here-bj):
Quote
The main focus of this update has been in three key areas, firstly to update some of the instance locations to provide some great new encounters for you all to enjoy and secondly we have completed the process of ensuring the combat and item mechanics are consistent. Lastly we are continuing to focus on improving the GUI functionality based on player feedback.

New Instance Challenges!


The Pyramid of the Ancients dungeon has been updated and repopulated with a variety of new quests, encounters and dangers for you to face in this ancient site! The new content should provide an interesting and challenging experience for solo players and single teams alike.

Next up is Toirdealbach's Tomb in The Fields of the Dead. This group instance has been tweaked so that the mob levels are more in keeping with the level of the Fields of the Dead [sigh, I wish this had been in weeks ago; it was next to impossible-bj]. We have also been through and amended the placement of mobs in the dungeon so that the balance between ranged and melee opponents should be much fairer to groups trying to tackle this ancient evil!

Combat Updates

This update sees the completion of the work to ensure that the combat animations are consistent amongst the different class and sex character options.

Resulting from this, all Assassin, Barbarian, Bear Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian, Herald of Xotli, and Ranger combo damage and stamina costs have been rebalanced, the vast majority of stamina costs have been lowered to reflect the new attack speeds and the damage ranges will now be correct and consistent across any weapon and sex combination.

Item Updates

The issues that were causing item bonuses to not scale correctly across all level ranges has been resolved with this update. Items should now scale correctly between level 1 and level 80.

In addition the raid items for high level players that lost their bonuses in the earlier update should now be fixed and correct again.

Massive Resource Zone Update

The resource and building zones (Lacheish Plains, Purple Lotus Swamp and Poitain) have had a thorough repopulation based on player feedback as to what resources were problematic. New resource nodes and many new camps have been added to these zones to help the avid tradeskillers amongst you find what you need. Be warned though venturing too far off the beaten path may result in you finding yourself face to face with some dangerous foes who won’t take kindly to you trying to harvest from them!

GUI Updates

Continuing the trend of recent updates there are continued improvements and tweaks of the GUI in this update.

• Added a new option that allows the player to make his cloak invisible.
• The "Quests" tab in the quest journal should now indicate the current number of accepted quests and the total number of allowed quests.
• An option to add a player to your ignore list was added to the "Add by name" dialog.
• If your trade is rejected, you will receive an onscreen message.
• You will see an onscreen message stating that a team member has joined your team.

There are even more changes which are introduced in this update and we will continue to even further improve various aspects of the GUI in the coming updates.
This is mostly a big Quality of Life/Fixes type update though there are a few new quests mentioned for one instance (Pyramid of Ancients).
10108  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 09:13:42 PM
Oh, Wizard had a nice write-up of the Watchmen panel discussion:
http://www.wizarduniverse.com/072508sdccwatchmenpanel.html

While they didn't take a "bootleg video" of the footage, they do describe it in some detail.

I subscribed to Westfield's subscription comics service back in the mid 1980s to early 1990s. While I quite enjoyed it, my condo just doesn't have enough storage space to keep devouring them on a monthly basis. But I am trying to buy a few select compilations and graphic novels now and then. I'll probably try to get Batman: Dark Victory next.

I might try to get a hardcover of Watchmen, as I did give my copy to my older brother as a gift probably 20 years ago.
10109  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Monte Cristo has left the building on: July 30, 2008, 07:17:16 PM
Bennigans, and the Steak & Ale chain are completely liquidating (Chapter 7 bankruptcy). Was reading some news wire reports about it yesterday. Apparently all going down so fast that a lot of employees came to work and *boom* to closed doors:
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6293681

I used to be crazy about Bennigans but the Monte Cristo notwithstanding, it became pretty hard to distinguish it from Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's etc. etc. I imagine some of their debt was due to all the similar competition, and I'm sure with gas prices being as they are, fewer people are going out for their Monte Cristo fix.  paranoid

I did in fact have the Monte Cristo the last time I was there, a few months ago. It's great, but I never would recommend it for lunch on a work day. I felt like a tub of lard the entire rest of the day.  icon_razz In the future, you can have a similar effect on your afternoon energy level by eating half a jar of Crisco, but it won't taste anywhere near as good.  icon_lol

I always thought the restaurant with "flair" that Jennifer Aniston worked at in the movie "Office Space" was a faux-Bennigans, but friends of mine sometimes argued it was actually Ruby Tuesday or TGI Friday. I guess assuming someone doesn't take over the chain, it'll be the only reminder it ever existed.  tear
10110  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 30, 2008, 01:22:59 PM
TenTonHammer had a video interview with product manager Erling Ellisen at Comic-Con:
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/39381

PvE wise, around the 1min50sec mark he talks a bit about the upcoming Ymir's Pass (55-60, I think?) region. He said it will have a lot of the Yetis (seen so far only a little bit in a couple of zones), new archtecture, and a chance maybe to meet (as an NPC) Keira, who seems to be the female assassin that appears in a lot of publicity media for the game.

He also details the new dungeons, including Thunder Falls, a high level dungeon coming to the Thunder River area; and The House of Crom (which they haven't really talked about yet).

He said they're also working on increasing item visual diversity, making item statistics more meaningful, and make rewards from quests and raids "better."

10111  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 04:08:45 AM
Oops, I did goof, they already had the panel at Comic-Con on Friday. Here's some writeups:

SDCC 08: Elisabeth Watches the 'Watchmen' Panel
http://www.cinematical.com/2008/07/26/sdcc-08-elisabeth-watches-the-watchmen-panel/

Thomson Hollywood News service
http://weblogs.variety.com/thompsononhollywood/2008/07/comic-con-wat-1.html
10112  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 03:43:14 AM
If you're going to say comic books, graphic novels and Watchmen aren't "cool," all of us here will have to beat you.    drillsergeant icon_lol Besides, we're all videogamers and computer gamers here anyway. So we're all pretty much un-cool already, right?  slywink But I do appreciate having this place to discuss all of this stuff without feeling awkward about it.

Though I'll admit when I bought the two volumes of the Batman: Hush collection today at Barnes & Noble, I was imagining the cashier lady thinking, "He's too old to be reading this. They must be gifts for his son!"  icon_razz

Variety has a fairly neat video interview with director Zak Snyder:
http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=videoBC&bcpid=713438541&bclid=713073358&bctid=1691067603
He's not exactly eloquent, but he is unassuming and pretty modest. If he had a British accent like Christopher Nolan, he would sound like a genius.  icon_wink

The Watchmen Panel at Comic Con is tomorrow, I think -- or did it already happen? I'm confused.  icon_confused Snyder said they'll screen about 3 1/2 minutes from the movie - some of it overlapping the trailer footage in content, but some of it new too. He's still trying to whittle the 3 hour cut to about 2 hrs 25-30 minutes apparently. I'd like to think TDK's runaway box office at 2 hrs 32 minutes, or heck, Titanic's at 3 hrs. 14 mins would give him more leeway.

And EW had a video interview with some of the Watchmen cast (this page has *several* different video interviews so don't forget to scroll downward):
http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/07/comic-con-talki.html
10113  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 29, 2008, 10:10:37 PM
So how's my return? Well, the game genuinely seems to look better than it did before. They have changed meshes and some other things, and it seems noticeable.

A lot of map icons have been changed, and made a little easier to see and understand.

And the new instance (Velon) is right at the level where I got my highest characters to before I lost interest (low 30s).

The problem so far is I just don't remember how to play the game "well."  icon_razz Also, i reconfigures some hotkeys, but now I can't remember what the default keys were for certain things. I seem to recall 'F' by default was supposed to let you do a "quick kill" for extra exp when a red skull was above an enemy -- but I reconfigured it. And I don't see any key on the keybinding list that resembles that hotkey (I don't even remember what it was called officially). Argh. icon_confused

I also don't remember what my upper level characters' favorite abilities were. And while they gave a free respec at some point while I was gone (unassigning *all* your skill and attribute points), I'm lost as to what I was assigning points to before.

The thing about MMOs is you reach the point where everything is second nature, and after a few months away, it's like trying to ride a bike again after 20 years and constantly crashing into the street face first.  icon_lol
10114  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 29, 2008, 05:32:07 PM
If it wasn't $99.95, I might actually get one of these...
http://www.fathead.com/heroes/batman/  icon_cool

I always say it's best to catch movies like this early. Midnight Thursday even. Then you're as unburdened with expectations and what other people think as you can be (although since TDK review screenings occurred weeks before its release, it didn't work as well in that case). I did that with TDK and Iron Man, and was generally glad I did.

I really do miss walking into movies with no expectations at all. I think it was a lot more common pre-Internet. I had that experience with Jaws ('75), Star Wars ('77) and Raiders of the Lost Ark ('81). I knew about the movies a little going in, but I wasn't suffocated with advertising, interviews, entertainment shows etc. ad nauseam about them -- so I had an amazing time the first time I saw those and I wasn't spending my time thinking "This isn't as good as so-and-so said," which I do sometimes find myself thinking today.
10115  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 28, 2008, 05:57:07 PM
I should re-read it myself (you can find copies at most Borders and Barnes & Noble today fwiw). I was only about 22 when I bought it, and I ended up giving it to my older brother as a gift (1986-7) because, well, basically I didn't "get it."  icon_redface

EW has a photo gallery of folks at the Comic-Con, and among them is the entire cast of the Watchmen movie (w/ director Snyder), albeit not in costume:

Comic-Con 2008: 37 Star Portraits (Watchmen cast)
http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20215160_29,00.html
10116  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Pointless vandalism and the irritating inconvenience imposed upon the victim... on: July 28, 2008, 05:50:42 PM
A vandal in my generally fine neighborhood severely bent my '96 Corolla's manually-retractable car antenna *twice* in the space of a few months. The first time, the vandal bent it in a pretzel. The antenna is not flimsy by the way. It takes an awful lot of force to bend it at all, and there was no way to "un" bend it. This was in a crowded neighborhood outside our condo building, not maybe 20 yards from the front of our building.

I had a dealer replace it for something like $300. Most of the problem was peeling back parts of the car's interior to get the new antenna in place.

So after fixing it, I basically kept the antenna retracted (the radio worked surprisingly well without the antenna extended, in most places).

And then, I came out to my car another day and *boom*. This time someone had pulled the retracted antenna out, and then bent it across nearly the length of my windshield. With much effort, I was able to retract it most of the way into its antenna-sheath (about the last 18 inches can't go in). This time, I didn't bother replacing it. I reported it to the police both times, but it was always, "Did you have an argument with anyone in your neighborhood?" I hadn't. This was all about 5 years ago, but it still ticks me off when I think about it. The radio works fine, and to this day, the antenna is still sticking out, bent up, of its sheath.

I assume it was just some neighborhood kid who hopefully has grown up and moved on. I just couldn't understand why they did it to my car and none of the cars next to it (many of which are far fancier). But then I thought, why am I trying to attribute "reasoning" to a vandal.  disgust
10117  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Getting wisdom tooth pulled- any words of wisdom? on: July 28, 2008, 05:41:22 PM
I had two wisdom teeth pulled back in 1991 when I was 26. Mine was a rather strange procedure where they used some sort of strong local anaesthetic, and I sort of was half-sitting/half-standing for it. The actual procedure I didn't feel hardly a thing. But I did have to call my doctor that night (the surgeon gave me his home number, which was nice of him) to ask for a stronger painkiller prescription. I think I was fine after that. The first couple of post-op days were worse for me but it was OK beyond that.

I do think the ability to reach your surgeon after hours is important, so that's something I would ask about (nowadays he/she would probably give you a cell phone number).
10118  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 28, 2008, 05:20:12 PM
Oh man, what kills me is that my best bud in my City of Heroes supergroup was *both* an avid blackjack player (I don't know if Professional is the word, but he apparently did go to real casinos often to play), and a die-hard Trekkie. Unfortunately, he ran into some situation late last year where he told us he would have to basically avoid the Internet completely for at least a year.

So here's a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, and announcing the ST MMO. Good grief, that would be the poor guy's fantasy! I hope he finds a way to attend. crybaby

Like everyone else, I have all sorts of questions about whether you're controlling multiple AI characters on your ship, or other players (there was much debate about that with Perpetual's ST MMO take), and if the ship combat is going to be more Star Trek Bridge Commander, or more Freespace 2. And I dunno -- can you play as the "bad guys" and farm "red shirts?"  icon_razz

Since pretty much everyone from the City of Heroes dev team (save Emmert and I think one person who decided not to switch to the new studio NCSoft created to run CoX) is no longer at Cryptic, I don't really expect the game to play too much like it. But I'm sure Emmert's experiences with come into play at some point.

The Star Trek conference presentation on the game'll be Webcast, and no doubt it'll be all over the place Aug. 10 (presentation's at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, 4:30 p.m. Eastern time that day, fwiw).

Judging from the forums, guilds will be called "Fleets" in the game. The forums have a dev tracker thread already set up:
http://forums.startrekonline.com/search.php?searchid=3569

If you want to ask a question, they'll be doing some fan "Ask Cryptic" Q&As like they did for Champions Online, at this thread:

Ask Cryptic (to post questions)
http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?p=75694#post75694
Some of the questions are strange. I'm sure people here have smarter questions to ask.  icon_smile There are already 11 pages there.
10119  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 28, 2008, 12:57:44 PM
I worked in newspapers about 15 years and am a trade newsletter reporter (covering part of the oil industry) now - so I guess I just like to track news and stuff is all. I just don't play much outside of MMOs these days so that's what I like to track. And we have a good audience here. icon_smile There's no fun in tracking gaming news things down if you don't have anyone nice (well, usually icon_razz) to share it with.  icon_cool

Anyway, the Star Trek Online Web site launched today, with a letter from Cryptic's Jack Emmert about it:
http://www.startrekonline.com/
Here's the "About Star Trek online" info from the site:
Quote
Become part of Star Trek®: The Star Trek universe will appear for the first time in a massively multiplayer online game. Everything from the elegant domes of Starfleet Academy to the ancient temples of Vulcan, from the towers of Qo’noS to the Fire Caves of Bajor, from the mysterious Mutara Nebula to the unexplored voids of deep space, all will be represented in stunning 3-D graphics. Immerse yourself in the future of the Trek universe as it moves into the 25th century: a time of shifting alliances and new discoveries.

Adventure in the Final Frontier: Explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations in an expanding vast universe. Make contact with alien races, discover resources and uncover mysteries that will change the future of the Star Trek universe.

You Are the Captain: Command your own starship as a Federation Captain or a Klingon Warrior. Outfit it with the systems that you need to make your mark in the galaxy. Customize your ship as you see fit. Recruit, train and mold your crew into an elite force for exploration and combat.

Surface, Shipboard and Deep Space Adventures: Command your vessel in thrilling space battles, or beam down to planets with your away team for face-to-face confrontations. Missions will take you and your friends into space, planetside and even inside starships!

Powered by the Cryptic Engine, Star Trek® Online will be developed for both console and PC formats. With customizable ships and characters from the Klingon Empire and United Federation of Planets, ground, space and shipboard gameplay and unique options for player-generated content set in the Star Trek universe, Star Trek Online is the MMOG that allows you to boldly go where no one has gone before!
And Emmert's blatherings.
Quote from: Jack Emmert
Star Trek® has been a part of my entire life. Few other of my geeky obsessions can make that claim.

I started watching the original Star Trek when it reached syndication and cult status. I can remember even more vividly where I was for the premiere of every subsequent Star Trek series. For Star Trek: The Next Generation, I watched "Encounter at Farpoint" lying on the floor of my childhood apartment. When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rolled around, I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. I watched the first episode in the basement of my dorm with a dozen other students. A few years later, I was at Ohio State and saw Voyager travel to the Delta Quadrant while sitting on a friend's couch in Columbus, Ohio. And I was thrilled to see the beginnings of Starfleet in Star Trek: Enterprise. At the time, I was just starting out as a game designer, with little to no idea that I'd be jumping into that very universe within several years.

When the opportunity came for Cryptic to obtain the license for Star Trek, we were absolutely thrilled. I realized how many people at Cryptic loved the IP when the possibility of us getting the rights leaked out to the rest of the company. I had more Trekkies in my office asking to work on the project than I ever imagined.

Cryptic would now be given the task of bringing to life this entire universe that has been so brilliantly conceived and executed over years of TV, movies, books and comics. There are few other fictional backgrounds that fit the MMORPG medium so well. After all, Star Trek was never about a single character, ship or even planet; Star Trek was always about an entire universe. And MMORPGs are uniquely suited to create such a thing and allow players to explore every inch.

Admittedly, Star Trek has its challenges. We want to make a game that best captures the real essence of Star Trek. We see Star Trek as much about exploration as combat. As much about the variety of alien civilizations as it is about the core Vulcans, Klingons, Humans, etc. It's going to be an exciting ride over the coming months as we begin to unveil STO. I can't wait.
They have some screenshots there, and they promise some gameplay footage Aug. 10 at the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

Their screenshots are at:
http://www.startrekonline.com/gallery/screenshots/
Can't really gather much from it other than it'll mix space adventuring with ground-based (planet-based guess they'd say) missions.
10120  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 28, 2008, 03:23:30 AM
A little box office update. It pulled in another $75.6 million over the weekend to top the $300 million mark in the shortest time ever (surpassing Pirates of the Carribean):
http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/07/27/boxoffice.ap/index.html

While some are now speculating about it matching Titanic's numbers (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=titanic.htm) and its legendary $600 million plus mark, that's a pretty tricky thing to compare it to. Titanic released just before Christmas to fairly modest box office expectations, but it did have the advantage of releasing at a fairly dead time without much competition. I remember it having pretty spectacular legs -- I seem to recall it making more in weeks in February and March than it did in December. Nowadays some movies see their DVD release happen in that span of time.

In a way, I feel bad for Hellboy II -- which seems like a solid film that got steamrolled by TDK's success, and may not even break even in terms of its fairly modest $85 million production cost. The X-Files movie seems to have flopped, but its stingy $30 million production cost means it doesn't need to do much to recoup costs.
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