Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski announced his return to the video game industry this week, and plans to reveal details on his new project “in the next seven days.” 21 months after departing a studio he’d served for 20 years, the 39-year-old tweeted, “It’s going to be a blast to finally tell the story of what brought me back.”
Cliff Bleszinski making video games again is good for video games. And that he says ”I don’t want really just the whole chainsaw gun thing to be my legacy,” is even better.
Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.
June 26th 1994 - Aerosmith releases “Head First” on the internet
Aerosmith is first major band to premiere a new song on the Internet. "Head First" was downloaded to over 10,000 CompuServe subscribers within its first eight days of availability.
I wasn’t able to find the file size that was uploaded but Given that the average user had a 28.8 kbps modem it’s likely that the song took 20-30 minutes to download.
Here’s what’s weird “Head First” is not a popular song. Actually, the song is so obscure that it doesn’t even have it’s own wikipedia page (though it is sometimes incorrectly mentioned as a “Cryin’” b-side). Nice to see that even in the early days of the internet, no one was able to manufacture popularity. Internet users are a mysterious bunch and you’ll never know what’s going to blow up, and what’s going to flop. Even when Aerosmith, one of the biggest bands in the world, released a new song on the internet it didn’t gain any traction. At least the internet is consistent.
Remember when it took 20-30 minutes to download a song? Now I download an album in about a minute. I love living in the future.
I know this is a cop out but I don’t actually know which service is better for me. Spotify’s use of my tracks and playlists gives it more functionality but Rdio’s desktop and mobile applications are more user friendly.
At the end of the day, using iTunes and my iPod app is better than Rdio or Spotify. I don’t have access to everything but it’s easier to use the things I want to listen to or already have. I know I spend more than 120 dollars a year on music but not much more, so the it’s more beneficial for me to spend the money on the music I want.
I drilled Spotify’s mobile offering for being ugly and useless without internet connection. While both music collections were lacking, Spotify earned points for incorporating my existing library. So what now? As the streaming landscape has changed I felt it was time to give you an update.
It obviously doesn’t matter what is better for me. It’s very obvious that people like using streaming services and that Spotify is the winner right now, at least in mindshare. They plugged themselves into Facebook and if you want, every single song you play can be sent to your Facebook feed. They’ve also plugged themselves into Tumblr, so if you want to make a music post you search and stream every track in their library (even if it’s just a glorified remote control for the Spotify desktop application).
Whenever i see someone sharing music on Twitter it’s always a Spotify link. I don’t recall the last time I saw Rdio, and I’ve never seen Google Play, or Beats music links. I think this has been aided by Spotify moving to an ad model as well as a paid subscription model. But just because it’s “winning” doesn’t mean it’s the best service.
[click on images to see higher res images in their own window]
I searched the services far and wide, for deep cuts, and mainstream hits. Overall I’d say that Rdio and Spotify are equally matched. I spot checked them both and I was hard pressed to find something that was missing. And the stuff that was missing, was missing from both services, like the Beatles, but this just highlights Spotify’s greatest strength – the ability to seamlessly incorporate music you’ve already purchased.
As someone who has been curating a digital music library since 2002 it’s hard to just leap into a service that ignores everything I already own. Especially bands like the Beatles (where I keep 3 copies of each album stored locally on my computer).
Both kind of trail on some high profile new releases. The recent Black Keys album for example, was released on May 9th and doesn’t appear in Spotify or Rdio’s library at the time of this writing.
Spotify has made tremendous leaps in design and functionality since I wrote about them last. Their desktop app looks better, and functions better since they recently rolled out a “Your Music” section. Now you can add music to your own collection so when you’re browsing, you can just look at the music you’d like to call your own, rather than the entirety of Spotify’s enormous library.
Rdio always had a “Collection” view. It was their biggest differentiator three years ago (and actually, biggest differentiator until a couple of months ago). It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why, but their implementation of collection just feels better. It has a little to do with layout. Spotify has some insane obsession with lists that seam to go on forever. They’re happy to show you what you want, but it’s almost like, it must be in list form.
Both allow you to “follow artists”. It’s a weird functionality that notifies you if an artist you follow releases new music. Rdio’s desktop gives it you a very quick and easy way to send music to be stored locally on your phone. It’s super helpful to enable that right from the desktop.
A pretty big downside is that there’s neither desktop application has a mini player. Especially since Apple recently made the iTunes mini player so much more useful by adding search, “add to queue,” and “play next.” When I use iTunes it’s almost always in that mini player.
As J.J. Abrams continues to work on Star Wars Episode VII, it seems his successor is about to get to work. Looper writer/director Rian Johnson is expected to be announced as the writer and director of Star Wars Episode VIII.
This is amazing. Rian Johnson is an incredible filmmaker and he is going to absolutely kill it making a Star Wars movie. I’m elated.
First, let’s identify the five category tabs, left to right: “people,” “nature,” a bell tab that can only be described as “random stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else,” “transport and city living,” and “symbols.” These five areas don’t remotely adequately cover the human experience, but, moving on.
Hearts are not under “symbols,” but under “people.”
Fruits and vegetables are not under “nature,” with all the other plants, but under “random stuff.”
Bikers, horseback rider, skier, and snowboarder are not under “people,” not under transportation,” but under “random stuff.”
Water droplets, stars, fire, gusts of wind, and explosions are not under “nature,” where the moons, earths, clouds, sun, and, er, another star all are. They are under “people.”
Articles of clothing are not under “random stuff,” but under “people.”
AND A BONUS NONSENSICAL RELATIONSHIP: Monkey and cat faces are not under “nature,” with all the other animals, but under “people.”
A great case for why “Summer Movie Season” is now 10 months out of the year.
Summer Movie Season is now just another marketing angle, the movies chosen for release during that window amounting to the multiplex equivalent of “maximum strength” painkillers.
And with everything from Avengers, to Star Wars, to Jurassic World, to Fast Seven all coming in 2015 “Summer Movie Season” would have to grow. We are seeing similar things happen in the video game industry. It used to be that the AAA titles were released in the fall. Now we’re seeing games like Watch_Dogs come out in May, and Mass Effect 3 came out in March of 2012!
But the advent of the online first-person shooter means that games like Goldeneye 007 and Halo are no longer the preserve of late-night sessions in the dorm room. Why play for nothing with your friends when you could be fighting against the world for new perks in Call of Duty? Major developers have all but ignored local multiplayer games in recent years, and now it’s up to the indie scene to pick up the slack.
Everything Sam Byford says here is completely true. Luckily, so far Halo has stuck to its local multiplayer roots, but it’s getting harder and harder to find games like this.
My favorite gaming memories come when playing local multiplayer. It’s the reason I own multiple Xbox 360s. A contingent of friends used to come over and play 6-8 player Bomberman and Halo in my old apartment. There is really nothing more satisfying than killing your friends sitting in another room.
Personally, I hope there is more local multiplayer coming. Even if it’s not from the AAA devs.
The optimized high-definition compilation includes four games for $59.99: Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4. The package will be all-inclusive, packing in every level, every multiplayer map (more than 100), every gameplay mode and every little bug or quirk as they originally shipped. Everything will run at 1080p resolution and at 60 frames per second. Dedicated servers will power the collection’s multiplayer component. The game will offer 4,000 gamerscore, with redone achievements that are unique to the collection.
Here’s a great look back at Danger and the Sidekick (or Hiptop as it was called outside the United States).
I think there’s a little too much looking to the past with rose colored glasses, and a little too much ‘we did this first’ (including ‘pivoting’…), reading Chris DeSalvo’s words with such enthusiasm is very enjoyable.
I wanted to reblog his article so my lovely readers could also answer. I started by reblogging on my phone but noticed, that when I hit, “POST” the text box didn’t show up. I quickly deleted that post.
I remembered that if I were writing a new post on my phone (which I do… more often than I’ll admit) there is no “let people answer this” check box. Tumblrs mobile offerings are all over the map. I’ve been extremely happy with the Tumblr mobile app, embedding video aside. Posting photos is great, links are easy to paste in, and I like the new mobile view, but asking a question and allowing people to answer has been missing for a while. It’s just another thing that makes a mobile internet experience inferior.
I moved to a computer. I hit the reblog button. I didn’t get the option to “let people answer this,” but I didn’t expect to, since DCU already turned it on. When I hit “Post” the text box was missing. It’s just a bit of a let down. I was trying to ask our question to a broader audience and Tumblr wouldn’t let me. I don’t know if it’s a bug or if there’s an actual reason why Tumblr would people from reblogging questions while still allowing answers to show.
I reblogged it anyway. And if you’d like to answer you can see the post over at Daily DCU. We’re going to tally up the votes in another day or so.
So what I’m saying, Tumblr, is that I’m not upset, just disappointed. And If I were to start a Tumblr iOS feature request it would be to allow people to answer questions.
A huge article from Nilay Patel. This gives you some perspective on the keynote that happened today. It’s an absolutely wonderful read.
But look past the usual list of new features, and what Apple was really announcing was the next version of itself — a playful, relaxed, hyper-competitive giant that wants the next generation of products and services to be built on its platforms. That’s the game now, after all — the mobile revolution is over, and the war is now between Apple and the Google / Samsung alliance for the hearts of developers.
And that’s really what happened today in San Francisco. Apple’s Cook and Federighi seemed relaxed and confident — just as the company’s Eddy Cue did last week at the Code Conference alongside Iovine. After a series of weird missteps, executive shake-ups, and hurried redesigns, it feels like Apple’s organized around a clear new mission: to provide the dominant platforms where the next generation of innovation occurs.
I recently re-watched X-Men: First Class, X-men 1, and X-men 2 (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of X-Men 3). I figured I should re-acquaint myself with these films before seeing Days of Future Past (which I plan on seeing later this week) and I’ve got to say, these films still stand up. Even in a post Avengers world, X-Men 1 and 2 are sold movies.
I was instantly struck by how X-Men 1, which was released in 2000 and kickstarted the modern super hero genre, is not an X-Men origin movie. It’s an X-Men movie. And while it heavily features Wolverine, and you could argue that X-Men 1 and 2 are Wolverine origin movies (ignoring X-men Origins: Wolverine, please, thanks). But X-Men origin movies, they are not.
In X-Men 1 the school is up and running, the students are already attending, the core X-Men team (Cyclops, Storm, Jean) are already established and doing their thing, and it’s clear that Professor X and Magneto have a long history. It’s almost as if you’ve picked up an X-men comic off the shelf and started reading.
Looking back, it’s a surprising move. Every other super hero franchise since has started with an origin. Heck, we’ve seen Spider-Man’s origin twice. It took 12 years for us to get an X-Men origin with First Class.
Another thing that struck me was how First Class leads very well into X-Men 1 (I watched them in chronological order). Jean is speaking to Congress about mutants as if their existence is common knowledge and Wolverine actually says to Storm, “The whole world is filled with people who hate and fear you.” It’s because the people in that world lived through a Cuban Missile Crisis where a mutant fired upon USSR and American battleships.
Even the first encounter between Xavier and Lehnsherr (in X-Men 1) is steeped in history. So is the first time we encounter Mystique. Her angsty reply to Senator Kelly’s comments about mutants. It’s wonderful how much weight is behind these small exchanges in the context of First Class.
It’s easy for prequel movies to over play their wink wink nudge nudge acknowledgments of their source material. But in this case, First Class does just enough to flesh out Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, and Raven Darkholme into real people and makes X-Men 1 better because of it.
X-2, well, I could write about X-2 for forever. It’s a masterpiece. It has the best set pieces strung together with the tightest story. It plays the ‘mutant for gay’ card perfectly since it brings it to the forefront of the plot. It’s unfortunate that X-2 will be phased out of canon (from what I understand anyway).
I’m looking forward to Days of Future Past. Every X-Men movie Brian Singer has touched has been very good. I have very little doubt that he will continue to steer this franchise in the right direction.
[EDIT: cleared up my last sentence, it was very wrong]