Picked this up for the iPhone when it was on sale a while back, finally played it. It’s fun! Full of Rube Goldberg machines and sleek flat polys. The animators must have had a blast.
Virtual reality is the stuff of programmer legend. Every software engineer that’s ever read Snow Crash (or more recently, the excellent Ready Player One) has dreamed of jacking into the metaverse. But why now? Well, if you think of it in very coarse terms as strapping two smartphones on your face and writing clever glue software, modern consumer VR is a natural outcome of what Chris Anderson calls the “peace dividend of the smartphone wars”.
It really is another of those things: if you think “eh, that’ll never happen,” just wait twenty years.
(As a pedant, I should point out that the Oculus, like the 2DS, uses a single smartphone with a line drawn down the middle. Two screens was an economical move in the DS vs PSP days—but that was before the smartphone wars!)
Chris was at the Steam Dev Days last week, trying to drum up more business—I don’t think he realized how much of his job would be looking for work and then hectoring people to pay us once that work’s completed—but he also brought back a tiny pc + Steam controller they’d given him (photo from engadget).
We tried it out on Portal, the first one, which might not have been retrofitted to use the controller. It’s a little strange: the two trackpads are the same, but the left one is pretending to be a joystick and the right one is pretending to be a trackball, so you’re using each thumb differently.
But it felt pretty good. Or, really, it felt half good. They’re on to something with that right stick; it’s got a clicker in it that really sells the illusion of trackball, or at least something vaguely mechanical. The left stick’s walking around was clumsy, and I drunkenly bumped into the wall next to a portal more often than I walked through it.
Apparently the new version is adding more conventional buttons, which ought to help. Even in its current state, it feels promising.
While I’m going through old nostalgic photos: this sign was made for Shaba’s attempt at Joel Test number 8, but quickly repurposed. (As far as the Joel Test goes, oh my god #11 will surprise you.)
Looking through my old documents; we had a little scale bug in Spider-Man for a while.
It’s finally official. Here’s the press release.
My favorite part of this is the way there’s no obvious accompanying photo, so sites picking up the news use their favorite Magic card art and hope for the best; depending where you read it, you could expect a movie about flying robots or orcs or steampunkers or who knows what. The Verge is the most literal.
I am not optimistic about the movie itself—it seems there’s a lot more ways to fail than to succeed—but I hope it turns out ok.
Every so often we have meetings at big companies we’re working with. I can’t say I’m totally immune to the change in atmosphere, but it doesn’t bother me too much. The artists, though, always come away all “thank god we’re not working at a place like that!” It’s not just the cubicles—apparently low cubicles are a thing now?—and the giant mazelike buildings, though those don’t help. I’m not actually sure what it is, to be honest.
Perhaps relatedly, I’ve heard complaints that parts of the city that have had these giant tech companies move in have had local shops and restaurants shut down, because their cafeterias (modeled after Google) keep the workers inside instead of sending them into the streets to buy lunch.
That makes me really sad! Eating with your coworkers is on balance a good thing, but ffs the walking and deciding where to go and eating actual quality prepared food is also important! The Google bus haters are throwing rocks through the wrong window, but the cafeteria does nobody any favors.
Obviously if your giant office building is in the suburbs that’s its own problem; go ahead and feed your own nerds.