15 November 2016

Why the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio are unnecessary and why they’ll hurt the industry and console gaming…

"And I'll have a side of large fries with that..."

Now that the PS4 Pro is launched and its hardware performance and games are being fully analysed by places like Digital Foundry we’re starting to get a better picture of what the future looks like for this side of the console space. 

The future does not look good so far.

9 November 2016

Sci-fi Tropes: Why we can’t be in a simulated universe and why the universe itself is a simulator...

The humans symbolise the functions, the jellyfish symbolise quantum entanglement... per Scott Webb

There has been a lot of philosophical talk about our place in the universe and whether what we experience is real within the last few years – you can even drag in determinism and consciousness into this debate to round everything off! Of course, these discussions have been going on for centuries as the idea fades into and out of popularity; the farther back you go, the language to describe these ideas becomes more limited, though. Rene Descartes didn’t understand anything about computers when he was thinking about the nature of reality and consciousness… but the issues, to my mind, are all intertwined.

23 October 2016

Public Service Announcement: Steam Disc Write Errors...

Seen this message before? Can't play your games? Well, read on...

I've noticed that this particular error is getting more and more common on Steam. Basically, what happens, is that Steam tries to update a game in some fashion and ends up getting a glitch and is unable to proceed. The error has been around for quite some time now and it's trivially simple to fix if you know what to do and where to look... in which case the fact that Valve have no Steam Help page dedicated to the issue (at least not one that doesn't assume your PC or HDD is in the process of dying).

Even worse, it would be pretty easy to code in the fix into the Steam client as a 'when this happens, do this' bit of functionality - all the indicators are there already so the information would just need to be flagged and acted upon.

I looked for quite some time, saw many incorrect solutions and many unhelpful 'suggestions' from hopefully well-meaning users and finally found something that worked (although I don't remember exactly which youtube video it was. I didn't find the work-around written anywhere though - so that's where this PSA comes in...

Now, I'm not going to say that this solution will definitively work for all causes of this error. If your HDD is dying or there is a problem with your system that is causing problems with writing to the HDD then you will need to address that in your own way. Otherwise, this is a good guide to start with before doing crazy things like reinstalling the game, Steam and your OS! 

21 August 2016

About 'adjective' games and responsibilities...

Alien words or alien worlds?

There's an excellent article over at Eurogamer about the type of game No Man's Sky is, the type of marketing and the words used in relating to the consumer. It's a complicated discussion but I feel that it's a great starting point for that sort of discussion so Alexis Kennedy is to be applauded for writing it and Eurogamer for publishing it - it's a brave move.

There are several ideas and concepts crushed down into a single, simplistic article there and, in many ways this serves to unintentionally obfuscate each individual idea or concept by rushing them past the reader in such a manner that the general reader's mind will not fully absorb the intent as part of the greater discussion. Ideally, each major concept would get a separate article but I can't blame them for not going down this path. So here's what I think about 'generalising a game through language'.

19 August 2016

The end of console generations? Or just a change in buzzwords...

The future?

There's been a lot of reporting on how the current console generation's mid-cycle upgrade is 'the end of console generations' but this can only be a bad thing for consumers and developers alike (as I've outlined before).

On the flip-side of things, are 'generations' really at an end? They're still going strong in the mobile market - you have generational separations, definitely. Many games and apps won't work on old hardware. Some apps which would be able to work have their support dropped for different hardware configurations due to cost and actual user numbers.

So what is this, exactly?