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10681  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 23, 2008, 01:15:24 PM
There's a reactivation weekend this weekend:
Just in time to try out all the new features included in Issue 12: Midnight Hour, it’s a free Reactivation Weekend! From Thursday, May 22nd starting at 11 AM Pacific (1 PM Eastern) and continuing through Sunday, May 25th at 8:59 PM Pacific (11:59 PM Eastern) all inactive accounts in good standing have free access to City of Heroes and/or City of Villains!

Tell your friends and bring them back to Paragon City or the Rogue Isles!

Have a great "City of" weekend!
10682  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 23, 2008, 01:10:24 PM
For an impressions thread, this thread sure is short on actual impressions.  icon_razz Could somebody throw in something enlightening along the lines of "I'm enjoying it because blah blah," "the single player quests are/aren't living up to the hype," (I couldn't really gather from my brief Fileplanet beta experience) or "It's as much fun as peeling off wallpaper in my bathroom." Thanks - it would help those of us on the fence.  icon_smile

I have a little 10% off Best Buy coupon so I might pick it up and throw it in the moss-gathering pile with Pirates of the Burning Sea.

I remain on the bubble, but I'm not really seeing any big sales on it so I might use my coupon while I have the chance.
10683  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Boeing Firing High-Energy Tactical Laser... on: May 22, 2008, 03:54:24 PM
Boeing Begins Firing High-Energy Laser Aboard Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft
After conducting a series of additional laser tests on the ground and in the air, the program will fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly.

"Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon" Fancher said.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.
This reminds me of a Wash. Post column I read a while back that was noting that the most sea-changing new developments or technologies tend to get buried in otherwise forgettable press releases that nobody pays attention to (including the Internet, World Wide Web, e-mail, Wi-Fi, etc. etc.).

Of course, the scary thing about inventing stuff like this is that usually the wrong people want the same technology. While it would be nice to make collateral damage a thing of the pass, I don't know how you defend against this thing (mirrors?) if it becomes more common and becomes a technology other countries possess.

P.S. I searched for Boeing, Lasers, and "holy crap!" with the forum search function, so if there's already a thread on this, tough.  icon_razz
10684  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 22, 2008, 02:33:40 AM
I would advise people not to worry about all the threads at official forums complaining about update 12 being a premature release, because most of the threads were created by people complaining they were taking too long to release it.  icon_razz And, it's a hollowed MMO tradition...

"We want the update!"
"We're testing it!"
"Wah! I wanna play!"
"We're still testing it!"
"Wah! I hate you! I'm gonna play the MMO Du Jour instead!"
"We're releasing it!"
"Yay! Uh. Why is it so buggy? What have you done to my game?"
"Uh. We'll fix it next update!"
"This sucks! You should've tested it more! I quit!"

I'm sure this is how Ultima Online, Meredian 59 and The Realm did it, and it still works that way today.  crybaby
10685  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Glad I didn't buy AoC on: May 22, 2008, 02:27:09 AM
Don't have neither.
Wasn't blown away enough by the Fileplanet AoC beta to get all lathered up about it yet. Waiting to see if people here keep playing once the Nipple Novelty Effect has worn off... icon_razz

Found the Warhammer devs incredibly obnoxious in most of their videos for the game to this point (which doesn't mean it isn't good, just they come off poorly -- they should at least get a new promotional video director who focuses on the game instead of devs trying and failing to be funny!)

Just got back from 4 grueling days at a business conference in Cleveland -- which from what we could tell, is like a zombie city in a George Romero or 28 Days Later sequel -- there's nobody in the city in the morning, at rush hour, at night, never. icon_razz Plus, cars not only won't stop for you if you're in a cross walk with blinking pedestrian lights all over it -- they SPEED UP! Cleveland - the Grand Theft Auto city! However, it does have the cleanest streets we ever saw in any city we can think of.
10686  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Speed Racer on: May 18, 2008, 01:50:26 PM
Speed's going down in flames at the box office. Even with international B.O. and DVD sales, don't know how it's going to even break even.

That doesn't mean it's bad (plenty of lousy movies and movie sequels make $200-$300M at the box office these days), but one of the great things about The Matrix (the original) was that it felt fresh, and had its own mythology. What's the point of the Wachowskis hamstringing themselves (Speed was their idea, no one else to blame) with a weirdo cartoon TV show whose audience is mostly 40 somethings like me? Speed Racer means nothing to the kiddie audience they tried to appeal to, which may be why no one is paying to see it.

I still get the impression all these needless remakes of TV shows from the '60s and '70s (Starsky and Hutch? Dukes of Hazzard? Bewitched? Sgt. Bilko? What the heck was the point of any of those?) that stiff at the box office just demonstrate a bankruptcy in fresh ideas, and maybe at some point the spigot of remaking 30-40 year old TV shows into movies nobody wants to see will end.

If it isn't, then at least bring on the Marine Boy movie. Maybe they can show the mermaid's breasts and get a PG-13 out of it.  disgust icon_lol While you're at it, throw in Ultra-Man, Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot (a show I remember as "an ode to handguns"), and Captain Scarlet movies so I can relive my childhood even if I'll be the only person in the theater.  icon_razz
10687  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: May 17, 2008, 03:04:19 PM

Quote from: morlac on April 21, 2008, 06:09:10 PM

Blackjack, you get in game yet?  I got a buddy playing with me and we can always  use a third (cannon fodder).  icon_cool
Belatedly, no, not yet. My POTBS box is still 3 inches left of my keyboard here, and I use it to put plates on.  icon_razz

After my Cleveland biz trip (I'll be back May 22), I hope to finally get a rest and have some time to either get into this, or get into Age of Conan. The latter's Fileplanet beta experience didn't quite "shake my world" as I hoped, so it's not quite as easy a decision as it sounded.

I still kind of feel like I want to wait for one more major update on this before I enter (I've read about the avatar combat finally getting a badly needed upgrade, for example, though I'm not sure it's plannned for the next update or a later one).
10688  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 17, 2008, 02:57:15 PM
MMORPG has a Midnight Squad video. Later in it is some of the Roman stuff that's new.

Yeah, I think my toons Metal Mandroid and Dr. Barium respec'd to remove hover and add Air Superiority. Though to be honest, I have such an excessive number of hotkeys, I can never remember what my Air Superiority key is in combat.  icon_razz

This June 2004 PVPOnline strip (during Kurtz's short-lived, pre-WoW release, interest in COH) says it all about Hover...
10689  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [video] 'Fusion Man' soars above Alps (jet fuel-powered wings) on: May 15, 2008, 03:31:02 PM
Sorry, I did a bunch of searches here for "Fusion Man" before I posted and nothing came up. I didn't think to search for "Now you'll believe you can fly!!!!!"  and "This is the real ironman!"  icon_neutral
10690  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [video] 'Fusion Man' soars above Alps (jet fuel-powered wings) on: May 15, 2008, 12:57:14 PM
I couldn't make stuff like this up.  icon_cool Not quite Iron Man, but pretty cool (the video has no audio, so don't whack your speakers):

'Fusion Man' soars above Swiss Alps
# Story Highlights
# Yves Rossy is the world's first man to fly with jet fuel-powered wings
# He demonstrated his flight talent in Bex, Switzerland
# His jet turbines enabled him to achieve a speed of 186 mph
# He uses only his body to change position in the air
Seems like kind of a cross between a jetpack and a hanglider. He apparently jumped out of a plane at about 8,000 feet, and flew for roughly 5 minutes, doing a series of rising loops.

Click the tab there at CNN to view photos, or at this link:

'Fusion Man' photos

Getty Images has a pretty awesome spread if you search for 'Fusion Man' at their site (I couldn't find a straightforward URL for it though, it had like 5,000 characters in the URL):

He hopes to fly across the English Channel later this year, though that's presumably going to require him to "wear" a helluva lot more fuel.  icon_razz

On closer look, it's pretty funny the wings have advertisements for a Swiss watch company (he's a former Swiss fighter pilot, it seems).

P.S. Yes he does have a parachute, both for landing and presumably for "oh *hit!" type emergencies.  icon_smile
10691  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Reaper survives on: May 14, 2008, 09:22:29 PM
I really liked the show, and I'm glad it'll at least get a 2nd mid season replacement run. The ratings for it are atrocious (par for the course for CW though), so I hope they can find a friendly slot for it. I wish Kevin Smith had time to direct a few more episodes as he did the pilot.

I didn't realize this, but you can watch full episodes at the official site (yes I'm a Tivo-less neanderthal):
10692  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 14, 2008, 09:14:09 PM
I had these phases over the years in CoX. I originally got hover/fly for almost everybody (super jump for a couple). Then I realized how relatively sluggish fly was, and started getting super jump for almost everybody. Then suddenly I liked super speed (even with its disadvantages in certain environments) and respec'd almost all my toons to super speed.

At this point all but a couple of my toons are either fly or super speed, or some combination thereof. Metal Mandroid actually has fly but didn't bother with hover at all (it's so sluggish as to be essentially useless).

Some folks swear by teleport but I found the animation sequence annoying and never was comfortable with it. My healer Dr. Barium experimented with it for a while before respeccing.

Where I think COH missed the boat was on some powers related to travel that Irrational's Freedom Force handled in more entertaining fashion. For example, Silver Bullet in FF was a great ball to play, and used his speed to do multiple attacks in one turn, or to serve as a battering ram (if I'm remembering correctly).

As for why more traditional MMOs don't offer a fly type power (most have mounts of some sort), I always thought the difference was that in COH, most of the time you just want to get somewhere and you're not really interested or concerned about taking in the landscape and scenery on your way there.

In most more traditional MMOs (LOTORO for example), they've put a lot of effort into memorable landscapes and scenes, and textures and such, and I gather that they really want you to see that. They'll give you horse-mount or a wagon or something to ride on, but they'd like to keep you at ground level and have you enjoy some visual sights along the way.

In other words, in COH, it's the destination; in other MMOs it's the journey. Just my 2 pence.  icon_razz
10693  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 2.0 Patch on: May 12, 2008, 10:35:44 PM
I would only return if:
A) Bill Roper let me smash him over the head with a whiffle bat (I'm gentle!) 40 times for releasing the game in the condition it was released in, even if it was probably the publisher's fault.
B) I could turn in my version .7 (or was it .8?) launch DVD for smelting, and receive a crisp 2.0 version that's function out of the box.
C) If every time I encountered an exasperating bug, a Flagship employee was ejected out of his chair...

Actually I think if they went back into the game and tried to "optimize" it like a film editor might (strip out all the "creative" levels and mini turret games that added nothing to the game; reduce some of the "level texture" repetition that made it seem like you were playing the same levels over and over and over, in spite of the randomizing) they could still end up with a shorter, sweeter game that was worth attempting to re-release either at retail or at least at Steam, Direct2Drive etc. I don't see that happening, and I'm actually amazed Flagship hasn't already burned through all its funding and called it a day.

I'm speaking as someone who persisted in the game, was a fan for a while and then gave up in disgust when one of the patches basically broke my game and made it unpatchable. I want to say it was 1.3 I couldn't even delete the incomplete patch file from my desktop (it wasn't set to read-only). It's still on my old PC, laughing at me...  disgust

If they re-release 2.0 at retail, I might seriously consider it. I'm just not willing to "infect" my new PC with a launch version of HG.
10694  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 12, 2008, 01:31:52 PM
Spoiler for Hiden:
The "Ten Rings" logo -- the early bald guy villain in Afghanistan is presumably a member of a Mandarin-affiliated organization (or it may just be a subtle reference for fans' sake) -- is sort of a vague reference to The Mandarin in the movie, fwiw.
Speed Racer was, in fact, a speed bump this weekend....  icon_razz

- Iron Man ($50.5 million/$12,284 per screen)
What Happens in Vegas ($20.2 million/$5,604 per screen)
- Speed Racer ($20 million/$6,220 per screen)

It sounds like Warners is already in a bit of panic mode cause the sad reality is a $120 million budget movie (Speed Racer) that only makes $20M on  its opening weekend in summer is in serious financial losses mode (even with DVDs and overseas stuff). It's not likely to improve with the Narnia and Indy sequels opening the next couple of weekends.
10695  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: New PC Updated! Help me choose an O/S! on: May 12, 2008, 01:14:23 PM
I'm using Vista Ultimate (64-bit). It's been fine with games, but I've had various 64-bit compatibility problems with non-games:
- Palm PDAs, Treos etc. can only synch via Wi-Fi, bluetooth or serial under it, not USB and Palm apparently has no plans to update that any time soon
- my Rhapsody/Best Buy music store isn't Vista 64-bit compatible etc., period)
- Various utilities (anti-virus, anti-spyware etc.) I had to download a special 64-bit compatible version for (usually if you're registered, it's a free upgrade)
- probably you'll join many of us in the "Why does Vista grind like a butcher's meat grinder for hours?" threads around the world, and you'll hear that it's the Windows indexing feature, the Superfetch feature and/or the System Restore feature (why XP's system restore didn't have to grind so badly to work, and Vista does, I don't know). And it may be all of those, or none of those (from my experience disabling everything in sight to try to get rid of the grinding). Then a genius will tell you to use the "Reliability and Performance Monitor" to track it down, and you'll find some bafflingly-named system volume sub-folder is grinding gigabytes of data forever.  Tongue

If all that doesn't scare you off icon_razz, since most games run in Vista 64 under 32-bit emulation mode, I'd be inclined (if I had it to do over) to just go with the basic 32-bit Vista and spare myself any headaches.
10696  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Shadowgrounds Survivor - $5 on Steam this weekend on: May 11, 2008, 03:39:10 PM
I was a big fan of the original Shadowgrounds, hung out at Frozenbyte's forums a lot, but for some reason the demo for the followup never grabbed me. Frozenbyte is a good small dev though, and their marketing folks are friendly at the forums. I think they don't quite have the manpower or resources to do all the things fans want just yet but hopefully they are a snowball gathering steam and resources.  icon_smile
10697  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 10, 2008, 07:11:52 PM
In case you missed it, open beta testing for this began recently, and Preloading for Issue 12: Midnight Hour will begin the next time you log out.  icon_smile
10698  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 10, 2008, 05:37:27 PM
Since I'm rooting for Iron Man to continue to do well, I'm sorta monitoring the box office.

If you were wondering if Speed Racer might race by it (given pretty mixed reviews, it doesn't look to have a Matrix style time at the box office), Friday's results don't indicate that Speed got up to speed.  smirk

Box Office Mojo estimates
Friday, May 9
-Iron Man ($15.3 million; $3,722 per screen)
-What Happens in Vegas ($6.7 million; $2,084 per screen)
-Speed Racer ($5.85 million; $1,622 per screen)

Things could change over the weekend soitainly when families flood into matinee shows.

Still, IM made about $24.3 million Monday-Thursday. So it's doing pretty steady, fwiw.

Echoed by Variety:

'Iron Man' soars over 'Vegas'

Go, Iron Man, go!  icon_cool
10699  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / NPD online subscription tracker (new in 2008) on: May 10, 2008, 01:34:53 PM
Saw this mentioned at, referencing a Next Gen article:

NPD: Online Subs Exceed $1 bln Annually
MMO/PC Game Subscribers

1.) World of Warcraft
2.) RuneScape (?)
3.) Lord of the Rings Online
4.) Final Fantasy XI
5.) City of Heroes
More info on NPD's beginning to track (i.e., estimate) online subscriptions is here (also Next Gen):

NPD Begins Tracking Paid Subscriptions
I don't really know how precise it is (the companies aren't suddenly providing these top secret figures to NPD, afik). It might not be much more useful/meaningful than the fan-created

If you're curious about Runescape (it's a UK-devved, free, browser based MMO with some Dungeon Runners-ish payment options -- although it seems to have been around much longer than DR, to be fair), it's over here:

An In-Depth Review of RuneScape

It's by most accounts crude (you're not going to show off your $3,000 gaming PC or $800 SLI video card set up with it), but sounds very much like the "little engine that could," and I'm sure their development cost overhead is very low.
10700  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 10, 2008, 05:53:13 AM
So, the Marvel comics writers themselves love the movie too. Although it's not we should expect them to be quoted on the Marvel Web site as saying "Iron Man blows!"  smirk Still, I'm fairly sure these same guys had no kind words to say about the Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Elektra, or Hulk movies. So, perhaps it's worth something afterall.  icon_smile

Marvel Comics’ creators weigh in
I'll boil it down for the easily bored...
Mark Waid: "Perfect. Note-perfect. The best Marvel movie yet. Robert Downey, Jr. is the single best-cast super hero since Christopher Reeve as Superman, and the humor and humanity he brings to the role of the cool exec with the heart of steel is just remarkable."

Reggie Hudlin: "I have to see it again. I actually wanted to see it again right after seeing it, but to properly rank it, I need to see it again. To say it is one of the two best films based on a super hero comic book is a safe designation. Best acting ensemble ever in a super hero film."

Gerry Conway: "It's a genre film that somehow lifts itself out of the genre and is a genuine, legitimate story, first and foremost. What can I say, I liked it."

Robert Kirkman: "'Iron Man' is nearly flawless. It has none of the little bits you have to excuse in most superhero movies. Pepper doesn't get abducted, Tony's helmet doesn't fall off in every scene, there aren't multiple villains who 'team-up,' it's simply a marvelous movie. With Marvel Studios in charge of the movie, you get a sense that the lunatics are running. The asylum—finally—and it makes for better movies. "Iron Man" is the comic book movie people have been waiting for a long, long time. It's finally here and it's awesome."

Joe Kelly: "I loved it. 'Iron Man' has renewed my faith in Hollywood's ability to shepherd our characters to the big screen."

Andy Schmidt: "Great movie. No qualifiers. No comparison to other 'comic book' or 'super hero' movies, no 'if you're a comic book fan,' just a great movie. Entertaining from the opening to the end, well-structured, well-plotted, and extraordinarily well-acted.

David Michelinie: "I liked it a lot, and actually plan to spend theater bucks to see it again."

Aw who am I kidding, I'm not saving you any time by cutting and pasting so much.  icon_razz

One thing I noticed in the Wash. Post here is studios seem to be lessening newspaper advertising even for blockbusters like IM (the ads for it in the paper are tiny, and they're barely able to fit one or two blurbs). I guess I don't really miss half page ads with "made up quotes," but I was hoping to see (for old time's sake) at least one big fat huge ad with all the appropriate enthusiastic blurbs -- no need to make them up in this case. smile

I don't know if it'll keep its momentum up in the coming weeks with Speed Racer, the Narnia sequel and the Indy sequel, but ... I'm rooting for it.  icon_smile
10701  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 07, 2008, 12:58:35 PM
I keep digging around for interviews and such. The NY Times had this interesting slide show, featuring some ILM concept artwork and sketches, and narrated by ILM's Aaron McBride, visual FX art director for Iron Man.

Suiting Up Iron Man

In the 1980s, the comic book had his armor being these flat things that fit in a briefcase, and when he needed to put them on, they just sort of popped out as full size armor and he shrugged them on by hand.

I guess in the more recent variations, it's some sort of "bio armor" that sprouts out of his skin and envelopes him (which I think I read Favreau wasn't too keen on trying to do, he was shooting for something a teeny bit more currently plausible).
10702  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 07, 2008, 12:50:47 PM
I've got a biz trip so I probably won't get much more time into the Fileplanet beta before it closes.

I like what I've seen, mostly, but haven't really done enough quests to know if they'll really hold my interest or not. After the first initial day or two, the game ran really smoothly for me fwiw. It looks great, and while the combat's refreshing, it's easy to get a grip on.

One of the things that annoyed me in Tabula Rasa was all the non-instanced quests that (if the server was busy) had you basically scraping alongside other players for the same objective. Or other players would just unknowingly whack some patrol that you needed for a quest. Or at the worst, you'd basically be waiting in line with 20 other players for some quest-enemies to spawn. I don't like it when a game emulates waiting at a deli counter for your order.  disgust

There's one quest in the fort that reminds me too much of that (by the house of pleasure I guess it's called), and I found other players constantly taking out the enemies I needed for the quest, leaving me to either "camp" or wait for the other players to go away. It's a minor annoyance, but if the whole game is full of situations like that, I might be a tad turned off. I don't need a 100%-instanced game, but I do like something of a mix or at least a game world large enough that "overlapping" situations with other players isn't a frequent problem (that's kind of how I viewed LOTORO).

While I enjoy the combat, losing keys 1-3 to the required directional attacks left me a little frustrated finding ways to make the various hotkeys easy to reach (normally I reassign some to letters, but AoC seems to make use of practically every letter on the keyboard on the left half of it).

I'm not pre-ordering more because I'll again be on a biz trip during the 3-day headstart, and launch, so I'll just look forward to reading here (and elsewhere) about how the launch goes and if the full game's quests live up to the interview promises (as far as being interesting, well written and something more than "get me 3 bricks" and "get me 5 spools of thread," etc. icon_smile
10703  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 06, 2008, 10:06:39 PM
Pohsyb had details on many upcoming "Quality of Life" (QoL) improvements coming to the game:

One I had been dying for (and it's right there on his list) was the ability to jot a short note "attached" to a name on global friends (or friends) list so you can remember who the heck someone is and why you added them to your list.  icon_razz
10704  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioware doesn't trust us (Mass Effect) on: May 06, 2008, 09:54:43 PM
If anyone thought EA/Bioware was going to think like Sins of a Solar Empire's publisher/dev team Stardock/Ironclad Games (as far as copy protection goes), they be fooling themselves.  icon_neutral

The sad thing is, they could probably do something similar as far as updates/downloadable content for the PC Mass Effect. But I imagine if a dev went to EA and said, "Lets skip copy protection, but make it so they need a purchased copy for the updates and downloadable content to work at all," the boardroom would be full of laughter without end. icon_razz I could've maybe seen the "old" Bioware considering it, but since EA owns their soul now, it's out of their hands.
10705  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My cat is exceptionally angry on: May 06, 2008, 07:19:34 PM
I've had my hands full raising one cat (Molly) for about 11 years now, so I admire your bravery raising that many.

I know the cat's are fixed and all, but maybe the visiting cat was female, and Tymora and tiggrr had some sort of jealousy-spat? Or else it might've just been some random incident that happened out of sight. Have they had rabies vaccinations? If one had been bitten, I assume you'd probably see them scratching at a bite or something like that.

My cat's so peaceful and gentle most of the time at home (she even lets me feed her her thyroid medication twice a day by hand without biting), but when I take her to the vet and they take her away from me for tests or nail trimming, it's like she turns into Mrs. Hyde and wants to snap her jaws like a piranha (she's declawed). The assistant had to wear elbow length gloves and put a velcro-felt muzzle on her mouth on Saturday (she looked like Hannibal Lecter when he's carted in, in Silence of the Lambs), and she tends to make this Lion-like growl when they're examining her or giving her shots.

When I get her home, she's back to being Ms. Jekyll....  icon_confused
10706  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 06, 2008, 12:41:11 PM
Entertainment Weekly has a nice interview, post-opening-weekend with IM director Jon Favreau [NOTE: Last page of the interview has *spoilers* if you haven't seen IM yet, and is clearly marked as such before you reach that page, fwiw icon_smile]:,,20198027,00.html
Do you get the sense that he understood the level that his fame was about the reach? Before this, he hadn't starred in a $100 million-grossing movie.

No, I don't think he [Robert Downey Jr.] got it until he and I went around to the theaters [last weekend].

He and I went around to the theaters Thursday night and Friday night because we both love the audience reaction. So you could sit home and have numbers faxed to you all night and e-mailed to you all night — it doesn't mean anything — but when you go into the Cinerama Dome [in Hollywood]...I went up there and intro'd the movie, and as a surprise brought Robert Downey Jr. up, and then everybody jumped to their feet. It just hit him. Then, when he was courtside for the Lakers game, and they flashed him on the big screen and people clapped or Jack [Nicholson] gave him a thumbs up — I think you kind of know at that point. And it's exciting.

It's exciting for everybody, because he's a guy that I think a lot of people wrote off. It's inspiring when somebody who sort of has his work cut out for him actually accomplishes that and comes back bigger and better than he was before. I mean, that's the American dream — and it oddly somehow relates to Tony Stark. And when art imitates life, you're onto something. I learned that off Swingers.
He has a pretty refreshing attitude as far as realizing a movie can make a mountain opening week and not be all that well-liked by fans or critics. They've (mostly) managed happily to achieve both.  icon_smile

They had an updated item on the Avengers movie:,,20197922,00.html
The Avengers — July 2011 (bringing together the characters of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor in one movie)
Yikes. Going to need a heckuva good villain against that team.  icon_razz And the real question is whether Iron Man can use Thor's hammer as a recharger.  saywhat
10707  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 05:28:57 PM
Super Hero Hype mentioned Marvel said they'd introduce Thor in Iron Man 2; and that "The First Avenger: Captain America" is the tentative "working title" for the Cap movie.

I guess the scheduling ends the idea that Favreau could direct the Avengers movie (there just wouldn't be enough time). It did sound like he, Downey and everyone were keen on doing further things, and I'm sure Stan Winston would love to work on new variations on the suit.  icon_smile

It all sounds great, but I just hope they can keep the quality level up, find the right people (not just hire music video directors who don't have any interest in the character or the comic books) and keep making unconventional yet ultimately smart casting decisions (as for Iron Man, and really it was Favreau who fought to get Marvel to understand Downey as a casting choice). And have a solid script as a starting point. If they can keep doing that, I'll keep buying tickets even when they're $12.50 for a matinee.  icon_biggrin
10708  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 04:53:35 AM
fwiw, it topped the $100 million mark during the weekend. I say fwiw, because a lot of lousy sequels make a zillion dollars and then do a fast fade so it's hard to read too much into numbers (esp. with movies showing in 4,000 theaters at roughly $8.50-$10.50 per ticket). I'm hoping it does steadier business given the good reviews and good will  icon_cool, and a nice "slow burn" even with Speed Racer, Indy et al due in the coming weeks.

I think it's something like the 2nd biggest debut for a "non sequel" movie (behind Spidey in 2002). Marvel's in kind of an interesting position though with Universal handling Hulk, and Paramount having distribution rights to Avengers or Nick Fury (SHIELD) movies if they do them.
10709  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 04, 2008, 02:59:44 PM
I put some time in with a necromancer. Kinda fun but you can't wear more than tissue strength armor and go down quickly if they get through the pets. You get summon two of the "red inside-out things" early on. And it seemed like randomly, my spell attacks (not summoner skills) would occasionally spawn a big icy blue pet.

Right clicking the pet health window (the random summonee doesn't get one afik) pops  up a simple pet control checkmark menu.

Couple close-ups of the boys (red is a "Mutilator," blue is a "Frozen Hatred"):

There's a pet buff spell that ups a pet's damage and physical size but removes your ability to heal them, while buff's active.

10710  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 04, 2008, 02:54:32 PM
I'm stumped on part of a destiny quest...
Spoiler for Hiden:
Nadini in the Destiny quest.

I'm in the night instance. I'm at the spot (in a house) where she's marked on the map. There's no Nadini.  icon_confused

Any ideas? Am I missing something? Or did the latest patch add a bug? (didnt' have this problem with my other character the other night afik)

I've checked Wiki and forums, but the assumption is she should be right there.
10711  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 04, 2008, 01:11:29 PM
Pssttt, there's some talk The Incredible Hulk later this summer has yet another Easter Egg after the credits (though I read differing things about whether the footage filmed will go in like that or not).

I've had a hard time tracking down Stan Winston interviews specifically about his effects studio's work on the Iron Man armors, but I finally found some fun comments from him in this IESB interview last year about the vampire move Skin Walkers (maybe the last 1/4 or so of this video interview is about working on Iron Man -- he loved working on it, and pretty much everyone he worked with on it so I'm sure he's up to doing more on it if they do sequels; he also recently signed up to work on Terminator 4, the one with Christian Bale as Sarah Connor's grown son).

The Iron Man portion starts at about the 4 min. 25 sec. mark, if you're impatient.  icon_razz

Stan Winston on Skinwalkers (and on Iron Man, later in the interview)

Much of the interview is lamenting an over-reliance on 100% digital effects rather than a mixture of effects that let a human actor still come to the fore. When asked about Iron Man though he's all smiles, and it's like his face lights up.  icon_smile
10712  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 04, 2008, 12:57:24 PM
3)  The endless load time may be releated to the windows indexing and search.  (I have both turned off on my Vista machine and do not experience long load times).
I still sometimes get frantic hard disk churning on Vista Ultimate even after having turned off Windows Indexing and the "Superfetch" feature (it's not defragmenting and seems to go on too long to be a paging file issue). Just now I fixed it by simply turning the PC off and no more churning when I returned.

It's true though -- even though that churning for those features is supposed to turn off when you're in a program or doing something else, it doesn't seem to stop and has killed my performance if I don't do something to stop the churning before I play a game. I can see in the "Performance and Reliability Monitor" it's some weird subfolder in the main hard drive volume (I guess that's an entire Vista thread topic in itself though  icon_razz).

My load times have been fine, fwiw. I'm a bit disappointed you get a level load screen (briefly) just walking through a doorway to go into a building in town, or just walking through a town's main gate.  saywhat (it doesn't help the immersion aspect to have loading screens for such routine movements).
10713  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 04, 2008, 12:50:04 AM
I hoped I would get less geekier as I got older, but truly the opposite is happening.  icon_redface

I truly must have this official Iron Man Movie: Iron Man Fine Art Statue  drool, available for pre-order (due in December 2008) for a mere $147.48 (about $32 off):
Now Kotobukiya can make not only the goods from all Marvel Studios produced films but also all goods from vast library of Marvel Comic Book characters. This IRON MAN FINE ART STATUE is the first character to be released from Marvel series. It stands about 12 4/5" tall and a serial number will be given in each item. This is the must item to buy if you are Marvel fan!
However, I don't think it has working repulsors. Sigh.  icon_cry icon_lol
Oh and the City of Heroes/Villains devs (NCSoft North Cal now) had a field trip to see Iron Man and came back in love.  icon_smile
10714  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 03, 2008, 11:34:08 PM
I saw it again, just got back from a 3:15 p.m. show. It was the same multiplex but a much smaller screen -- however, the theater was packed and really enthusiastic and into it; and the digital sound was great, so it worked out.  icon_cool

I took my retired 73 year old mom to see it, and she... LOVED it.  thumbsup She finds it harder and harder to follow stories with multiple plot lines so in a way this was perfect. It was interesting, without being hard to follow (aside from maybe the one flashback sequence early on), and she loved the performances and got caught up in the story and characters. Sometimes I take her to action films and she all but falls asleep, but I could hear quietly saying "oh no!" and "ah, so that's who's behind it" etc.

We often don't find much to talk about, but over burgers afterwards she and I talked about the movie and the director (Favreau) and all sorts of other things about it. Iron Man, bring generations together. Who would've thunk it?  icon_biggrin

One thing she said to me stuck out. It was something like "Oh I thought from the poster there wouldn't be anyone human in it, but it was full of great characters and all my favorite actors were so good in it." I know the 70+ set is not something the marketers seek out, but it must be a good sign of its very broad appeal.  icon_smile

There was much applause and cheers (unlike the half filled Thursday 8 p.m. show I saw), and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time because of that. I also got some neat things I missed the first time around. And a decent number of us stuck around for the "easter egg" after the credits. It's cool, though I don't think non comic book fans will understand the "reference" in it.

Oh, here's a Gaming Trend sighting in Iron Man...  smirk

10715  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:48:31 PM
Sorry, I have no topless shots yet though the "starter outfit" seems more appealing than the various armor scraps you get early on:
10716  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 03, 2008, 01:38:12 PM
BB for me was for me in a different way satisfying because of what it was trying to undo (years of horrific Batman Movies). I do think Iron Man has a bit more potential to appeal to a wider spectrum just because it's a little funnier and snappier though still gritty at times.

For those who obsess about box office figures (they don't reflect whether a film's good or not, but I certainly want to see IM recoup its fairly high production costs (I've read estimates ranging from $150 million to $190 million, and the scary thing is that's not even considered all that huge in today's world), the Friday estimates were about $35 million and the Thursday advance screenings (what I attended) pulled in about $5.2  million.

And it's pulled in about $22.4 million internationally so far, with a lot more openings still left:

Here's hoping for a $100m opening weekend. In fact, I'll try to see it again this afternoon and do my part. This time for less than $11.50.  icon_razz

PVP's Kurtz loved it too, fwiw:
Quote from: PVP's Scott Kurtz
Find a way to go see Iron Man today. We saw it last night at Midnight. It is without a doubt the best Super-Hero movie I have seen to date. It’s better than Spidey 2. It’s just…the perfect comic book nerd movie.
Like I said though, I don't think you *need* to be a comic book nerd to enjoy it. It seems to have more widespread appeal beyond, but certainly including, that.  icon_cool
10717  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is a bit of green mold bad for you? on: May 03, 2008, 01:02:33 PM
I ate some slimy packaged ham a few months ago (it was "preservative free", and I think I'll stick with preserved deli meats, thank you) and survived, so I think you'll be OK.

It won't hurt you, from what I've read (who knows? Maybe your peanut butter went bad). I don't think bread mold's going to give you salmonella (which is more from meats). But if you have any lingering problems then for crying out loud see a doctor about it.  icon_smile

Actually, of late I've started scribbling "sell by" or "eat this by" dates on certain things on my fridge with a Sharpie. Most packaged deli meats (the preserved kind) warn you to eat it within a week of opening no matter how air tight you store it, for example. I hurriedly made a sandwich for work yesterday so some opened meats would "beat the deadline."

I'd recommend The Sharpie Calendar Dating Method if like me you pay no attention to how old the stuff is you have in there (or a Post-It Note on your breadbox).  icon_razz

Lastly, my mom is a big fan of throwing bread - as soon as she bought it - in the freezer, where it'll last virtually forever. You can either pop slices in the microwave or in the fridge overnight to thaw, and generally it still tastes fine and chances are will be mold-free. icon_biggrin
10718  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:09:32 AM

NPCs you can communicate with will lip synch if they have actual speech (many do). Creepy.  paranoid

Finally got to the point where you run into other players. I'm not sure if the Green Giant is a pet of some sort, or what.

Note the little "padlock" on the panther they're fighting. This seems like an "anti kill steal" mechanism where once you "tag" an enemy, no one outside of your party can damage it. Not sure though, I'm just guessing.  icon_confused I saw it pop up a few times.

Just the requisite "gosh it looks so nice" screenshot everyone has been doing since the first Everquest. Well, so be it. It does look nice, even on modest settings.  icon_smile

10719  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:03:32 AM
I tried a Ranger tonight. Some pics...

Although archery is fun enough, every enemy that's not an archer makes an immediate bee line to you and starts whacking. In the early going anyway, I'm not finding archery very practical, fwiw.

Scrolling the mouse wheel pulls up a crosshair and a near FPS style view. It works well enough.

For all the talk of gore, in two nights of slashing at everything in sight, I have one decap to speak of.  smirk

The skills, combo whatever tree is intimidating. Archery includes grenadier down the line (firing crude bombs), including this grapeshot.
10720  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO 9.99 referral? on: May 03, 2008, 12:24:53 AM
Got my "re-invite" to come back and play free May 8-12. Natch, I'm out of town May 8-9 on business, and at a baseball game on the 10th, Mother's Day on the 11th. Cripes. So, I don't have much of a window to play then.  icon_cry
Quote from: Welcome Back to LOTORO e-mail
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Play your old characters, check out the LOTRO Anniversary celebration events, explore new areas, and tackle new quests. Just log into your LOTRO account from May 8-12, 2008 and we'll take care of the fun and adventure.
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