Thursday, April 30, 2009

CFE: Barry's (First) 100 Days of Failure

THE BACKGROUND: A friend - a woman with a year-old baby boy that she loves to death - posted on her Facebook status:

Two wars, an economic implosion and a possible pandemic: President Obama is not God--he's Job.
Though I hesitate to bother even my most liberal friends with the inconvenient truths of their incorrectness with regards to politics, I felt a brief reply was warranted:
Too bad the rubes thought they were buying a Messiah instead of someone mortgaging away our future and way of life. Let the excuses begin! :\
Too which she replied:
And we would be in better shape with Palin? I say Pain because I think McCain would have had heart failure by now.
Oh no she dint! FLAME ON!!!
Well, let's see...if Palin was Prez, she probably wouldn't have:

* Nominated hordes of tax cheats, lobbyists and fat cats to her administration.
* Taken over two auto companies and six banks like an Empress to nationalize formerly private companies while paying off those who made the messes.
* Passed budgets that will triple the national debt in 10 years; debt that YOUR CHILD will labor in futility to pay off.... Read More
* Bowed to a Saudi king.
* Chummed around with every Latin American tyrant and sat silently while America was insulted.
* Groveled, apologized and blamed America to all who'd listen, cementing the impression that she was a punk who was weak.
* Insulted our best allies with cheap gifts and arrogance.
* Incapable of speaking w/o a prompter.
* Scared NYC to death for photos of her plane.
* Ensured poor kids couldn't go to her kids private school.
* Get the drift?

So, yeah, Palin would've been hella better! The bill for Barry's Marxism will come due and your son gets to pay it. :(

As much as the frightened and ignorant public who blindly swallowed the Myth of the One are to blame, Dubya and the Stupid Party are the main ones to blame for for the ascendancy of this charlatan. They squandered their power and betrayed their conservative principles in the vain hope being more liberal would make the media be nicer to them.

Bush exploded the budget and the GOP tried to be "Dem Lite" and drove people like me away. Bush was an inarticulate fool who couldn't explain what was happening and refused to defend against scurrilous lies and we all know a well-told lie will always beat a badly-told truth.

So, with the lame old McCain - whose only goal was to beat fellow GOPers for the nom - on one side and the glossy whitewashed package of Barack Obama - with all his hype and no serious reporting of his shady past and pals - on the other, voters who ponder their American Idol picks more seriously bought the empty box in "CHANGE!" paper. "How much worse could he be?" A: Lots.
Nightline tonight put together a really revolting hagiography of The One's first 100 days with such objective luminaries as Al Sharpton and Bill Maher fawning over how wonderful Barry's been and how we are finally about to join the Community of Nations thanks to this good shepherd. Ugh.

So blind. So foolish. We are so screwed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

CFE: Demigod Piracy Problems

THE BACKGROUND: Game publisher Stardock is a lonely advocate of not treating their customers like criminals and thus doesn't put DRM on their games. While this makes their stuff very easy to pirate, they counteract this by having updates and multiplayer limited to only registered legitimate customers.

Their new game "Demigod" was sold by Gamestop ahead of street date, an event which forced Stardock staff to rush in on Easter to get the server infrastructure up to accomodate players - gee, thanks, Gamestop! - and they immediately detected LOTS of pirated copies attempting to connect and play online, causing legit users to have a very poor experience.

Boss man Brad Wardell has been posting about the piracy problems and an update was featured on Voodoo Extreme which drew some scoffing replies, basically blowing off the explanations for load problems. I replied to these tools:

@Dangerdoggie & anonymousgamedev

Did Brad Wardell steal your girlfriends (yeah, right, like you have them!) or take the last slice of pizza right before you reached for it or what? Your attacks on this update indicate you're either illiterate or so agenda-driven that nothing matters, even if it's facts at issue. "AGD" - more like "anonymouspiratefan" IMO - is particularly dishonest and/or stupid because his scenario requires that no one actually read what Wardell wrote.

Just what the heck is this supposed to mean? - "If those users had bought the game instead of pirating it, they'd have been putting EVEN MORE stress on the servers, and they wouldn't have been able to fix the problem simply by rerouting the legitimate users to a different set of servers."

Now take a look at what Wardell wrote: The infrastructure was designed to handle up to 50,000 of these connections. But on day 0, there were around 140,000 concurrent users of which 18,000 are validated.

For your insane thesis to have the slightest credibility, you would have to assume that a game from a small developer and publisher would be such a blockbuster smash hit that it would attract the COMBINED peak concurrent user load of Counter-Strike, Football Manager 2009, Empire: Total War, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 on its first day. Get that? Demigod would have to steal the whole of Valve's player base to start approaching the mobs who were pounding their servers. That is lunacy! The only dev and title who can draw the crowds you're imagining rhymes with "Wizard's Burled of Boredraft."

Competently run businesses have a good idea of what their best case numbers should be and allocate resources accordingly. This is why Blizzard is able to launch WoW expansions that sell MILLIONS in the first week and absorb the onslaught. Stardock had no reason to expect this sort of traffic because they had a sense of what sort of load they'd be getting and they had more than double the capacity on tap for their legitimate customers. The system only faltered because nearly three times as many users were hitting the servers because of the hordes of pirates gumming up the works.

18,000 paying customers had to suffer because 122,000 thieves - that's a 6.78:1 pirate/customer ratio - messed things up and you have the gall to suggest that it's Stardock's fault for not having the capacity?!? That you then accuse Wardell of lying about the problems is just more outrageous. Stardock employees had to rush into work on Easter because Gamestop broke street date and they had to crank out fixes for the piracy-related loads literally overnight and little Internet snots like you dare call them the liars and attention seekers?

Stardock has been transparent in their dealings with their products. The company trusts the public - for better or worse - to not steal their works and doesn't slather DRM on their products and you seriously think that they wouldn't come out and admit the game outsold their expectations? That's how I really know you're a sack of bovine excrement - what company wouldn't want to boldly proclaim that their product is so popular that it sold three times as much and everyone was trying to play it?

You've got some petty vendetta against Wardell, Stardock, GPG and reality and you've just been served. Buh-bye.
This concludes this Smackdown.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

CFE: Television's Slow Suicide

THE BACKGROUND: Techdirt has a item about how Hulu keeps trying to prevent Boxee from working with their content because content producers are techno-phobic morons who can't understand that their very survival is being put in doubt because of their foolish actions. As I explain...

As television networks are bleeding out because audiences are shrinking and advertisers won't support scripted shows - why should they when "Surviving with the Idol American Stars" draws awesome numbers? - it amazes me that instead of embracing Boxee and Hulu and new means to connect digital content to TVs, they fight to the death to maintain business models created when there were only channels 2, 4, and 7 on the dial.

My girlfriend's family doesn't have DVRs and still tapes shows on VHS off standard-def DirecTV. (Ugh, I know. I'm working on it.) At 9pm Thursdays CSI, Supernatural, and 30 Rock are on. We watch Supernatural on OTA HD while she tapes CSI and then I download 30 Rock from BitTorrent, playing it back thru my Xbox 360. Clunky, no?

Now, why the hell aren't the networks making deals to stream Hulu (or whatver) directly to these game consoles like NetFlix does. Instead of making people muck about with a HTPC or things like Boxee, just pipe it into the Xbox or PS3 that's already hooked up to the TV. Duh!!! How hard is it to see the obviousness of that?!? It cuts down on "piracy"; allows advertisers to present their commercials in an unskippable format (Hulu's one 30-second ad per break is quite tolerable as opposed to four minutes of ED adverts); and gives viewers a good experience.

Whoops! It makes too much sense! My bad. Nevermind. As you were, people.

CFE: Regarding Difficult Videogames

THE BACKGROUND: The director of the upcoming game "Bayonetta" is quoted at Joystiq as hoping the game will be "sadistically hard". Comments as to the pros and cons of hard games ensued and my 1/50th of a dollar:

The original Ninja Gaiden was miserably hard; absolutely no fun at all; and the way it was structured where you'd have to fight a dozen minions to get to the mini-boss fights, only to die and have to rinse and repeat over and over made "playing" take more effort than my day job.

Early on, Ryu finds his family village pillaged. He (you) fights 12-20 enemies and then faces a mini-boss on horseback. Common sense would dictate that if the mounted warrior kills you, you should reset to the beginning of that area, but the a-holes at Team Ninja dictated that you re-battle the whole village before getting a crack at the boss. Not. Fun. It wasn't until they put out Ninja Gaiden Black with the "Ninja Dog" mode (read: "You suck. We'll take it easy on you.") that I was able to actually play the game I paid for. I struggled in spots, but it didn't feel like I was being laughed at by sadistic developers.

However, 1337 g4m3r kidz whined loud and often that Ninja Gaiden was too easy(!!) for their awesome skillz. They filled their diapers over Bioshock's Vita-Chambers because it removed the penalty for death. Yeah, gawd forbid players be able to finish the game. How many devs slave over the end levels of their games to have their work go unseen because players give up? I was so annoyed at their crying, I posted, "You want hardcore? Take a loaded pistol and put it on the desk in front of you and then play the game. When you die in the game, pick up the gun, put it to your head, and PULL THE #$%&ing TRIGGER!!! HARDCORE ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?!? ENOUGH RISK FOR YOU?!?!?" Sheesh...

If I were Bayonetta's publisher, I'd be on the phone telling Kamiya to STFU and not cripple my investment stroking his dom urges and pandering to tubby loser virgins who have nothing better to do than memorize 16-button combo sequences. Making games playable - and ENJOYABLE - for a majority of gamers isn't "dumbing down" or "selling out to casual gamers"; it's good business. Go ahead and put in a "PWNZ J00!!11!" mode for the hardcore llamas, er, 1337s, but give the rest of us a freaking break. kthxbai!
BTW, doesn't she look a little like Moose-Slayer?