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Gabe / on Mon, Mar 4 2002 at 3:35 pm

like stuff should be like totally free man!

I would say that I get around 10 or so requests each week to sign some wacky petition. I have never signed a single one. I especially wasn’t about to sign a petition asking me to boycott fucking Blizzard. I mean what the hell? They have delivered some of the finest gaming experiences since the mid nineties and you want me to boycott them because they are making an effort to protect their copyrighted material? I know some people out there are gonna use the product for legitimate purposes. But the majority of people are going to use the thing to play pirated software. I don’t care if they did ask Blizzard to allow them to implement CD key checks. Blizzard doesn’t want them making the product period, and that is their right.  I read all the posts on Slashdot talking about the purity of code and how information should be free. I have a message for all these hacky sack playing Volkswagen owners. They can read it on their Apple iBook’s brilliant 14.1-inch TFT XGA active-matrix display. “Fuck you hippy, get a haircut!” In all their frenzy they seem to have forgotten something most of us learn when we are old enough to walk. You shouldn’t steal. Sure shit should be free, I agree one hundred percent. But what if it’s your shit? It’s a fantastic idea until people start taking your work. I can’t count the number of times I have seen my artwork in other people’s galleries or posted in forums with their fucking name at the bottom. People get this bug up their ass about how the internet is for the free trading of information and it’s all just code man. That’s bullshit. My creative work is not free information. I salute Blizzard for what they did. You need to go after these fucking people whenever and wherever you can. I’m glad they sent a cease and desist letter. Hell if it was me, I woulda sent the letter and man over to their house to punch them all in the dick.

In Blizzard related news I have a new piece of Gabeart finished and ready for your perusal. Feel free to click on the thumbnail below to enjoy the full sized image.

From what I have seen of War Craft 3 I am really impressed. It just looks so damn good. When I saw this Demon Hunter for the first time I knew I had to draw him. 

In PA related news we are still blowing out the remaining stock of hard cover books for the super low price of just $19.95. Jesus I sound like on of those furniture store commercials. Why the fuck would anyone ever get into the furniture business? I mean every goddamned commercial for one of those places has them lamenting the loss of their lease and liquidating all their remaining stock.

I guess they filled the Japanese Xbox’s CD tray with tiny razor blades that cut giant gashes through your games. So that sucks.

Here is a really interesting site I saw linked in our very own forum. This guy has video game shit I’ve never even heard of.

People always ask me where they can buy their own arcade machine. I personally got mine at a local arcade that was remodeling. However if you are looking for a place online you should check out Arcade Infinity. They have some pretty cool looking machines.

-Gabe out

anon / on Mon, Mar 4 2002 at 2:12 pm

Clan Prancing Pony 4 Life!

It seems Tycho has been remiss in his sacred hosting duties, which is sad, but not unexpected.  I’ll instruct Batjew to begin the beatings.

During one of our top secret brainstorming sessions, Tycho, Gabriel, and myself gave birth to an idea so grand that we knew immediately we could not keep it to ourselves… truly, it would be our gift to mankind.  We would construct a laser—a laser that burns like the sun—and use it to draw a giant wang on the moon.  Unfortunately, after some quick budgeting, we realized we lacked the resources to make this dream a reality, so instead we decided to move on our idea for a Medal of Honor mod.

We need a relatively experienced modder who can tackle a MoH project for us.  The project is really quite simple, almost too simple to call a mod, in fact… I can’t imagine it taking a skilled programmer longer than a day or two.  If you think you’ve got the mad skillz, by all means, apply within!

(PP)Safety Monkey out.

Tycho / on Mon, Mar 4 2002 at 2:00 pm

Guess That Movie

Did IQ’s just drop sharply while I was away?

(CW)TB

Tycho / on Mon, Mar 4 2002 at 12:00 am

It is an issue like the one before us today that makes me glory in geekdom.

Bnetd, though - heard of it?  They’ve got a FAQ that explains it, but as this is one of the few parts of the equation that I understand, please, allow me:  Bnetd allows mortal men to host private substitutes for Blizzard’s Battle.net service.  Something else that it happens to do is allow people to connect to these surrogate Battle.net’s with pirated copies of the software.  This sort of thing is a veritable recipe for bunchy open source panties, igniting kuro5hin and Slashdot with “Boycott Blizzard” ballyhoo, peppered with the infrequent, heretical “Perhaps The Issue Is More Complex Than Good Versus Evil.”  LawMeme, which appears to be a Slashdot for lawyers, proffered this analysis of the pertinent legal realities, which spawned a rather interesting critical view.  Of course, this is all highly simplified - there is also a project called Warforge, which appears to be on even shakier legal ground - but you’ve got enough information in the links I’ve already provided to eradicate any hope of a productive Monday, if you’re so inclined.  I only have three things to add.

  • Obviously you can use Bnetd to facilitate quote bad things, let’s say the piracy, but I hardly believe that is the focus of the project.  Indeed, when discussing the issue with lawyers representing Blizzard, the Bnetd man made it clear that they would like nothing more than to roll in a function to do legitimate CD-Key checks, the way that Battle.net itself does.  It’s not something they can even implement without Blizzard’s help.  It goes without saying that the attorneys in question were not there to try and improve Bnetd, and as a result, they ain’t trying to hear that.  The blood of any breathing geek is enticed by the prospect of running their own Battle.net.  What if they could?  What if a sanctioned, but not supported product were delivered - one that diligently performed the anti-piracy measures assigned to it, ran their official ads, all while removing load from their main body of equipment?  I’m trying to figure out who loses here.

  • Though Battle.net is a matchmaking service, it’s silly to call that its only function.  I’ve always thought of it as performing a sort of de facto authentication, a la Half-Life.  This watchdog element is (I’m sure they believe) crucial to sustaining their business, and Blizzard has absolutely every right to try and protect their stuff via whatever methods they want to.  Whatever else is going on here, I don’t think that it’s okay to make something that emasculates their security mechanism.  I don’t mean that in a legal sense, this violates statutes W, A, N, and G or what have you, I mean it in a personal one.

  • For the sake of argument, let us say that Bnetd has some strong defenses, legally speaking, for what it is doing (or not doing, depending on who you ask).  This is not inconceivable.  Unfortunately, it hardly matters - and this isn’t just garden variety cynicism.  This is a highly distressing state of affairs.  Even if you are right, and you know it, clap your hands, actually proving that in a court can bankrupt your shit faster than you can say “I Remember When Food and Shelter Were Not Abstract Concepts.”  I’m just saying.  And the Bnetd guy, or one of them anyway, he owns the ISP that hosts all this stuff - and he’s aware of his rights.  I have no doubt that if you were running some shit like this, after one letter your ISP would just delete your account and then send a tall man in a black coat to kill your dog.  They can do that - didn’t you read your service agreement?  The law represents this terrible power and mystique, this raw force that can only be bridled by the law-yer, seen here as a shaman-equivalent character of near-myth.  You send somebody something from a lawyer - or even something that looks as though maybe it did - and you’ve harnessed the black remnants of forbidden magicks.

My heart thrills with delight, knowing that Gabriel’s position on all things Emu will cause him to rise up and call someone a hippy.  I do hope you’ll stay tuned! 

I’ve completely squandered my space on hypothetical meanderings which were likely of no interest to anyone.  I liked the bit about the man and the dogs, but that probably wasn’t enough to rescue it.  I wasn’t able to talk about Greg Kasavin‘s smouldering video review, which I am confident will win an award of some kind -  for example, Most Hot.  I didn’t talk about my grand plan to synthesize the classic, before-its-time Allegiance and the surprisingly engaging Renegade - which I’ll still do, because it needs doing.  Something else I didn’t do was make a dummy sing while I drank a glass of water.  I probably won’t get to that anytime soon.

Wrapping up:  Scunsion requests that you check out his “friend’s” flash game, Zero Race.  Please, please don’t sue him!  Andy Hull is putting his formidable programming abilities on the auction block.  I’m told he will make an excellent pet!  Also, I couldn’t help making a post in German under the pseudonym “Snarl” at the Stealth Combat site, which is unfortunate, because although it looked very convincing to me, many of the words I employed were not, well, “words” as such.  And it’s too bad, because I’ve actually grown rather fond of “hompf.” 

(CW)TB out.

p.s.  hompf

Tycho / on Fri, Mar 1 2002 at 12:00 am

Today’s comic touches on Knights of the Old Republic, and the recent decision to (exclusively!) release first to the Xbox while PC users grouse and sweat chicken fat.  I’ve told him, Gabe, we - collectively - have an Xbox.  We have one.  He can play it the day it comes out, he can even keep the thing at his house if he wants to - but he says it’s the principle.  And I said, “Well, you got a Genesis for Mortal Kombat, right?  Isn’t this cooler than Mortal Kombat?”  And then we’re back to the principle thing.  I know how he feels, as I used to feel much the same way.  It was only Sega’s Shenmue 2 (and the possibility of 3, etc.) that dragged me kicking onto this very large path, and that was so long ago that I hardly remember being angry.  I mean, I used to think of it as the Dark Side, and sometimes it’s Darkish I suppose, but most of the time it’s a nice mauve.  Join usss!  Of course, we can be certain that he’ll be by later today, just in case I need him to mutilate the true facts of our conversation.

It was nearly a year ago, but you might remember my comments on the early, early KOTOR tech we saw at E3.  Very few people who saw it seemed to write about it, which I thought was strange - but I now entertain the possibility that they were struck absolutely dumb. 

Interlude.

The whole thing was fantastic, yes, but not just because we were seeing the coolest thing at a gigantic, three day “Cool Things” expo.  I mean, this shit was closed door, they aren’t ordinarily going to waste their time talking to an artist and his stupid writer friend.  It was BioWare’s Communications Manager, Brad Grier, who - in his unquenchable enthusiasm for the project - asked us if we wanted to see the best new game of E3.  I don’t know if it’s the Canada thing, or what, but he’s this genuinely nice guy that we only see once a year, and we always look forward to it.  So, he gets us in.  And, like all the other times Gabe and I snuck into these press room demos, Batjew just turned his basic, non-media ID backwards, assumes an easy-going, but don’t fuck with me manner, and just walks in with the rest of the line.  We actually met the Juegos Online guys at this thing, the ones who now translate PA into Spanish in exchange for, um, being able to translate PA into Spanish.  This game takes place an even longer time ago than the movies, uncharted territory, and one of the Juegos guys was grilling the presenters on what seemed like fairly obscure Star Wars shit - the man didn’t miss a beat.  That’s worth noting.  I am eternally soothed to find a dork at the helm.

Agent Nich Maragos (of The GIA) made sure I knew about Progress Quest, and I would be remiss in my duties keeping such sparkling splendor to myself.  It’s even been called the Statbuilder killer, which I think we all know is lofty praise.   

I’d like to defeat Renegade before I come down one way or the other on it, but my exposure to the full version’s multiplayer has (thus far) been pretty satisfying.  This must be more like what people experienced in the Beta, because the version I’m playing now is the gold version - unpatched, though I heard there is one out today - and I’ve experienced zero lag in any server I’d care to play on.  What’s more, I’ve tried several servers with co-operative vehicles, i.e. gunner and pilot combinations, that no Demo server I played on had activated.  I’ll tell you what, though:  the map they released with the demo, C&C Under I think it’s called?  Filth.  If they’d included the City map I’ve been playing on - where I’m firing my tank’s cannon off of a highway overpass at Nod Stealth Tanks speeding on the streets below - they’d have a lot more takers, I think.  I’m not really satisfied with the graphics, primarily the nondescript, blah interiors of buildings that should be fascinating - but it’s not a dealbreaker.  Picked up Jet Set on Tuesday as well, and I think it’s luscious.  We might have done a comic on it instead, but after Gabe and I argued for twenty full minutes re: the Xbox thing, that seemed the natural course.  But both of these games make me want to write - a lot, as they make me think about games and their construction.  I will be insufferable on Monday, just giving you a heads up.

Also, we’d like to welcome our first advertisers: the freshly allied news and editorial sites Game Partisan and VG Nation, which are seen on the strip and content pages, respectively.  They’ve got a truly massive undertaking underway for April - the four, nineteen, zero two you see mysteriously suspended in binary - and they’d like to get acquainted before things get underway.  Gaming news, raucous roundtable discussions, and the like - give these two a try, and see if they don’t strike your fancy.   

(CW)TB out.

ferris wheels of noblemen




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