Sunday, August 29, 2004

Totally failed today to purchase the 'Political Machine' game from Stardock because you cannot buy it online. Very bizzare... as I rarely venture to retail stores.
I've got some good work done on democracy, partly inspired by the screenshots ive seen of TPM. I'm doing a very different game, but looking at another politics game shows me the kind of standards of graphics I need to match.

The big news non-work wise is the arrival of a new cat, MILO is his name, and he is a 2 month old bengal kitten. He behaves and looks a bit like a tiger, which isnt much of a suprise. Even during this one blog entry hes fallen off a desk twice and knocked PC speakers onto the floor, plus walked over this very keyboard.
Maybe not the docile sleeping companion a coder should really pick. But hes great ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I have to say that my Sony S1XP laptop is one of the best products I have bought in years. Its totally transformed the way I have worked on my home stuff, with a wireless connection to the web I can sit in bed and write this blog entry, or lie on a sofa whilst coding democracy.
The screen is amazing, and the graphics card more than adequate (ati 9700).
The only downside (and its a noticeable one) is the battery life. 3 hours if you are lucky...
I think with laptop components, more effort now needs to go into power consumption.
Take video cards and hard drives. I really don't need more than 10 gig on here, but it has 30. I don't really need a DVD writer, but it has one, I don't need top-notch performance in any area on a mobile PC.
Yet when it comes to specs, most laptops put video card specs and drive sizes way ahead of battery life. I'd gladly swap my 30 gig drive for a 10 gig one that ran on less power, Id happily lose DVD writing capability if it stretched another 30 mins battery life.. This is a good place for someone like Clive Sinclair to come in with some really cool invention that gave us mobile users back some battery time. Maybe they could recover the kinetic energy of keystrokes or something... (can u tell I'm not a scientist?)

Monday, August 23, 2004

There is finally a (basic) website for democracy HERE complete with two screenshots of the current build. I am steadily adding new policies now, added gun control, legalising drugs and the death penalty today. Also found a huge memory leak, and discovered that the task manager under XP lets you select a column to show GDI object usage per process (which is handy if you are a coder...)

I tried out the demo of Rome:Total War today. I have to say I am very disappointed. The game doesn't look as good as I remember it when I last saw it, but more importantly than that, the gameplay is still as confused and chaotic as the last two games. You put lots of clever strategy in place, them watch frustrated, as the whole battle turns into a big punch-up with all the organisation and control of a drunken pub fight.
I can't see why this game took them so long to make, It seems to be exactly the same as Medieval, but with 3D units instead of 2D. (and to be honest visually it doesn't make ANY difference after the first 10 seconds of going 'ooh-3d).

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Work continues on democracy. I am thinking of doing a basic skeleton website for it tomorrow, somewhere to store upcoming screenshots. I've been reading reviews of the recently released "political machine" by stardock. It seems to get good reviews (I must get a copy...) but i'm not worried about it being a direct competitor as it (and president forever) are:

1) Based entirely in the US, as though the rest of the world doesn't buy games or have politics...
2) Mainly concerned with personalities, TV campaigns and speeches, rather than real politics.

I view Democracy as being closer to NationStates than either of these games.
I must promote this website. I got the link from Slashdot. Basically it looks like some guy got wound up by some spammers and set up some JavaScript to constantly reload images from their pathetic viagra-toting websites constantly. Spammers deserve a fiery death, so feel free to let that page run in the background as you surf. I've already leeched 90 MB from these drug-peddling swine ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Today some really cool stuff turned up in the psot. - 5 sample copies each of the jewel cased Russian language versions of Planetary Defence and Starship tycoon from akella.
I've had games go into retail before, but thsi si the first time they have been standalone rather than as a compilation.
Its VERY VERY cool. The back covers especially 9with screenshots) look fantastic. Both games make for really good screenshots, and these look like very good games (im not that impartial though). Obviously the advance money is nice, but Im hoping to see some royalties from both games, as I suspect they may both sell very well.
Its truly cool to be able to fill a shelf with boxes of your own games, which I have done now, and thats even before i get the Take 2 version of Starship Tycoon.
Work continues on Democracy, getting better every day, I need to do some tidying up to make the code for loading in data a lot simpler, and then I will have a very elegant and structured piece of code. Im looking forward to the stage where the game is playable and fun and I can start
adding data and tweaking values.
I'm still swinging both ways on whether this will be a popular game that starts its own mini genre, or whether everyone will thinks its dull.
Still if Microsoft train simulator can create a genre... surely politics can?

Friday, August 13, 2004

Things have been going pretty well. I got paid by the Russian publisher for Starship Tycoon and PD, I sold a few sharewrae copies of ST over the last few dyas, ST should feature on the coverdisk of some finnish magazine, and Im hunting a potential UK publisher for ST as we speak. Added to this, I've got some work done on Democracy, adding stylesheets (very basic ones) for text formatting. Using GDI is definitely the way to go for turn based stuff.

My laptop is still EXCELLENT. So its nothing but great news. Hurrah!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The big news is that Starship Tycoon has gone gold in the US. I need to geta press release written tonight methinks. Also means Im due for some mroe money. Hurrah!

My "danger: Klingons crossing" road sign has arrived from the US. It shall have pride of place on the wall of my house. No I am not kidding. Yes I am a geek.

Got some work done on the data for voter types in Democracy, which is very cool. I need to think some more about artwork for it.

My Sony laptop is the greatest thing in the univere. its awesome for watching DVDs on. the screen is absolutely superb.

Monday, August 09, 2004

There are memory leaks in the movies. I installed boundchecker, but couldnt get our licence to work. The licence utility thing is a badly coded badly designed piece of confusing crap with totally bewildering instructions.
So time is money, and boundschecker was wasting mine. I uninstalled it.

Note to software developers: if your product is hard to use, I wont buy it or even finish evaluating it. I dont give a damn what your program does if I cant see how to use it.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Well I am typing this from a gorgeous sony vaio s1xp. Its a suoerb bit of kit, but getting it working with my new wireless router was a total drag. At first i didnt even realise it had a conventional LAN socket, it was so well hidden. After a huge amount of mucking about i finally got it all working by removing the network bridge gubins under network setting, fiddling with the encryption type of the routers wireless setup, and lots of mucking about releasing and renewing static IPs. I have to say that sony could have done a better job in setting it up with a usuable network setup.
The screen is fautless though, especially for watching a dvd in widescreen. absolutely top class.
Sadly its punishingly hot right now so i cant go in the garden for the true "wireless" experience, although ive tested it from upstairs and it was a perfect connection.

The laptop is set up with the editor for Democracy, so hopefuly i can look forward to a major boost in productiivity now ;)
Any day now the gold master for the US Starship Tycoon will be announced. AFAIK its already gold in Russia.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I ordered a sony s1xp laptop. hurrah. It should turn up tommorow , which is also barbequeue day. Its my attempt to be sociable. Knowing my luck either
1) it will rain (im in the UK)
2)nobody will show up
3)everyone will show up (lots)
Oooh the tension.

People I know have cracked copies of Doom 3. I dissaprove strongly , even though these same people will be buying full copies. hmmmm.
Looks like John Carmack speaks about game team sizes in this months PC gamer, might be an interesting read...

Monday, August 02, 2004

evesham didnt bother to email me backj so they just lost a sale. Im planning on ordering a sony laptop from a uk online firm. Ive already emailed them with a question and they replied within an hour.
Customer service makes a huge difference. why don't companies realise this?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

I am planning on buying a widescreen laptp from However... I'm very wary these days of companies who dont give a damn about their customers.
So i emailed their sales dept yesterday to ask how long the delivery time would be.
I reckon if I dont have a reply by Monday lunchtime its pretty clear they won't really be wanting my business. And there are plenty of othr laptop manufacturers out there.

I got quite a good bit of work done on Democracy and on its editor, which I intend to get up and running in a useful way as soon as i can. There will be a lot of data to input to the game, but with a decent laptop and editor, I can do that whilst lying in bed listening to the radio. which will be cool.
Andof course, I MUST have a widescreen laptop before my DVD box set of Star Wars turns up ;)

Discovered today that shareware-only sales of Starship Tycoon since its release earlier this year have passed $5k, which is great ;)