now this is a good looking 360 dashboard mockup…

The thing with the current XBOX 360 dashboard is that there’s obviously more unused space than there is really used space… there are now and for some time rumors that the user interface will be revamped completely…

Now there are people who know how to do it and they just made a mockup of what a dashboard with more used space would look like:

play this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game N+ now on your PC/Mac

Major Nelson announced this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game: N+. Because this game evolved from a former Flash game you can also get the “original version”:

“play as a ninja trapped in a world of well-meaning, inadvertantly homicidal robots. version 1.4 includes tons of levels (500), organized neatly into 100 unlockable episodes, and features 50 levels made by fans of N!”

n

Source 1: http://www.harveycartel.org/metanet/downloads.html
Source 2: http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/02/18/this-week-on-arcade-n.aspx

Assassin’s Creed: The unofficial Al-Qaeda game

It has been the most awaited game of the year – Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed”. The official plot deals about a member of the legendary assassins, an organization of … eh, yeah… assassins. Your mission as player is to kill nine different persons because they destabilize the peace of the hole Middle East with their actions. So far, so political correct.

256px-Assassin's_Creed

I say this is bullshit.

The historical assassins had been a bunch of fanatical and ideological blinded killers who dreamt of establishing a strict theocracy (think of Iran). This sounds very familiar with what islamic terrorists are doing these days, doesn’t it?

Just imagine a few changes:

– change of time: not the Middle Ages, but the present

– change of scenery: not Akkon or Jerusalem, but Bagdad or New York

– change of armament: not the dagger and poison, but AK-47 and explosive belts

– change of mission: not a hidden single killing, but casualties as many as possible

The rest remains the same.

What about escaping after the kill? Not historical. Assassins didn’t run away – they accepted their death and now you know where the modern suicide assassin is descendent from.

This is of course only a game, but with an interesting setup.

Jens Heymann

today (at least) one 360 died

There was this update. My 360 died right after it. Well: Coincidence?

IMG_7842

The support / repair experience is quite good so far – besides the fact that I have to get a coffin by myself and that they won’t add the lost Xbox Live Subscription Time to my account….

Now this is my second 360 that craps out. If you want to know what happened in 2006 to my first 360 go here.

Source: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,944f2bb2-696b-48fb-b06a-d8734f5a6f44.aspx

Forza Motorsport 2 arrived…

… it seems that there people at the Nürburgring do have a problem with tree decimation… the over one year old Project Gotham Racing 3 Nürburgring had significantly more trees…

This is the Forza Motorsport 2 Nürburgring:


(Forza Motorsport 2)

… remember when I had the exact same location pictured before in Project Gotham Racing 3:


(Project Gotham Racing 3)

in game advertising

Hmm… Once upon a time there was a guy with an idea. The idea simply breaks down to this:

“Sell full price games to people and get an extra revenue out of in-game advertising.”

So here we are: I just found pacific city in crackdown literally plastered with Dodge advertising. Once day it was Dell… if you’re playing in the UK you’ll probably get army ads… how sick is that.

The first game that got this kind of in-game advertising was Testdrive Unlimited. The advertising was only available in the US of A and when you bought the game there it wasn’t full-price but $20 less than a full price title – because of that in-game ads. As an european player you didn’t see any ads and you had to pay the full price.

To be clear: I don’t think in-game advertising sucks. I just think that if you’re gaining revenue from in-game advertising you should share it with the players who actually bought the game. (e.g. lower the game price).

In the case of crackdown there’s no lower price. And that sucks.

getting "Crackdown" early…

I just realised that I got my copy of Crackdown more than 5 days earlier than I was supposed to be. Crackdown is available in stores starting Feb. 20. Oh and it’s a great great game. GTA is nothing compared to this one…

Those who are also getting crackdown may want to consider visiting http://crackdown.wikispaces.com/. You can find some great maps there that come in handy when you’re on the orb hunt.

And for those who want to try co-op: add me to your friendslist (gamertag is “bietiekay”) and we’ll do a co-op mission or two.

XNA Game Studio Express (final) 1.0 is here…Creators Club founded!

The long awaited XNA Game Studio and it’s XBOX 360 game launcher counterpart is available for download. Hobbyist game developers rejoice!

“XNA Game Studio Express enables hobbyists, academics, and small, independent game developers to easily create video games for Windows and the Xbox 360 console using new, optimized cross-platform gaming libraries based on .NET. This official release enables the creation of games for Windows XP SP2-based PCs. Combined with an active membership in the XNA Creators Club (available from Xbox Live Marketplace), you can also create, debug, and play games on your Xbox 360 console.”

Oh. You have to have Windows XP SP2 at the moment to run XNA Game Studio Express:

“Only supported on Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2 (all editions) at this time. Windows Vista support will be available in an update to version 1.0 next year.”

Source: XNA Game Studio Express Download

it’s my 360s birthday and I bought her a present…

It’s exactly one year since the XBOX 360 launched and I got mine from amazon. And since it’s birthday-party time, I bought another accessory:

8 kilograms of pure joy and racing fun. It’s the “XBOX 360 Wireless Racing Wheel”.

I just had time to drive for about 15 minutes with the wheel and all I can say is: PERFECT!. It’s one of the best wheels I’ve ever used and the force feedback is the best I ever had on a console and on PC. Currently only Project Gotham Racing 3 (comes with the wheel) and the upcoming Forza 2 support the wheel (…and one or two other games that don’t count), but well: Forza 2 and GTR (should also support the wheel, not announced yet) will be my favourite games in 2007…

If you’re playing racing games on the 360, I encourage you to get one of those wheels!!

Source: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360wirelessracingwheel/

Xbox live connection ?

“Most broadband routers use Network Address Translation (NAT). Windows Internet Connection Sharing also uses NAT.

For most devices that use NAT, port forwarding is not required to connect to Xbox Live. This is especially true if you use an Xbox Live certified device. Port forwarding should only be needed if you use a proxy server or a true firewall device instead of, or in addition to a NAT. Sometimes, you may have to configure port settings on a non Xbox Live certified router or gateway.
If there is a firewall device between the Xbox console and the network device, you may have to configure the firewall to enable communication on specific network ports. If the NAT status in the Network Status area of the Dashboard is “moderate” or “strict,” you may have to configure port settings.”

The following ports must be available for Xbox Live to operate correctly:

  • UDP 88
  • UDP 3074
  • TCP 3074

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/908874/en-us

Your brain will explode from information overload…

“This material represents thousands of man-hours of work, and was presented during last month’s Gamefest 2006 conference (when we announced XNA Game Studio Express).

Good news: These content files represent a colossal amount of up-to-date knowledge, delivered right to your computer. Your brain might explode from the information overload, but you’ll die happy. (FYI: Most of the content is PPT slide decks and audio recordings. You’ll have to page the deck yourself as you listen. There are also a few movie demos and a couple of white papers)

Bad news: These are big honking files. Some exceeding 500Mb. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

Gamefest 2006: Graphics Track

  • Introduction to Direct3D 10: Coming to a PC Near You
  • Using Direct3D 10: Getting the Most from Your Direct3D 10 Engine
  • Effects 10: Driving the New Effects System
  • Exploiting Direct3D 10: Advanced Techniques Using Direct3D 10
  • Advanced Lighting and More from Microsoft Research
  • Xbox 360 Direct3D and GPU Performance Update
  • HLSL Shader Compiler Update for Xbox 360 and Windows
  • Under the Hood: Revving Up Shader Performance
  • Seven Ways to Skin a Mesh: Character Skinning Revisited for Modern GPUs
  • HDR the Bungie Way
  • Cross-Platform Graphics Engine Development

Gamefest 2006: Windows and Xbox 360 System Programming Track

  • Designing Multi-Core Games: How to Walk and Chew Bubblegum at the Same Time
  • Multi-Core Memory Coherence: The Hidden Perils of Sharing Data
  • Sublime C++ for Games
  • Games as Malware: Why Security is Your Problem Too
  • Hardening the Box: The Xbox 360 and Windows Vista Security Models
  • Supercharging I/O: Hard Disk, DVD, and Memory Unit
  • Memory Management Internals: Allocation Strategies for High Performance
  • Power Debugging: Nasty Bugs and How to Find Them
  • Taming the CLR: How To Write Really Fast Managed Code
  • Windows Performance Topics for Games
  • Xbox 360 CPU Performance Update
  • Developing Games for Windows and Xbox 360: Stories from the Trenches

Gamefest 2006: Developer Tools: XNA and Visual Studio Track

  • Working Smarter and Building Faster with Visual C++ 2005
  • Managing Content Builds with XNA Build
  • An Introduction to Agile Development
  • Creating Games with the XNA Framework
  • A Closer Look at the XNA Framework Content Pipeline
  • Managing Content Builds with XNA Build

Gamefest 2006: Visual Arts Track

  • Dynamic Animation in Next-Generation Games
  • Exporting SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT into a Real-Time Engine
  • Procedural Texturing Using ProFX: 2K Textures in 2KB
  • How’d They Do That? Graphics Samples Explained
  • Creating Captivating Visual Content for DirectX 10
  • Shaders and Shader Tools for Artists
  • Pushing the Pipeline: Creating a Next-Generation Art Pipeline in Less Than Six Months
  • Photorealistic Lighting Solutions for Next- Generation Games using Turtle 3
  • Strategies for Coping with the Demand of High Def Art

Gamefest 2006: Cross-Platform Xbox Live Track

  • Live Anywhere: Bringing the Live Experience to Windows
  • Session Enhancements: Host Migration, Improved TrueSkill™ and More
  • The New Xbox Live Server Platform: Opening up the Network
  • Community Extensions: Further Options to Customize Your Game’s User Experience
  • Achievements and Stats: Adding to the “Just Five More Minutes” Factor

Gamefest 2006: Casual Games Track

  • Developing Games for Xbox Live Arcade
  • Developing Web-Based Games for MSN Games
  • Preparing Casual Games for Windows Vista
  • Developing Casual Games for MSN Messenger
  • Future Platforms and Opportunities for Casual Games

Gamefest 2006: Audio Track

  • Full Service Audio: A Comprehensive Guide to Tools, Libraries, and Services for Audio on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista
  • The Fundamentals of Audio Rendering on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista
  • XMA Implementation and Aesthetics (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Compression)
  • Using the Top Rear Left-of-Center Low Frequency Speaker: How Multi-channel Audio Works on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista
  • Distributed Composing: Managing Audio Collaboration and Cross-Platform Deployment for XACT Projects
  • An Analytical Study of Audio Implementations for Existing Windows and Xbox 360 Titles

Gamefest 2006: Game Middleware Track

  • Adding Camera-Based Gesture and Face Tracking to Games
  • Making Your Game Sound More Cinematic
  • Extensible .NET Tools for Game Development – Guidelines and Lessons Learned
  • An Overview of Voice Recognition Implementation
  • Meshing AGEIA and Granny
  • Combining Different Middleware Solutions to Create a Customized Platform
  • The Convergence of AI, Physics and Animation
  • The Dos and Absolutely-Do-Nots of XLSP: A Middleware Perspective
  • Advanced Tools and Techniques for Shipping Your Game On-Time
  • Creating a DirectX 10 Shader Authoring Sandbox Using SOFTIMAGE|XSI
  • The State of the (Audio) Nation: A Conversation with Leading Audio Content Middleware Solutions

Gamefest 2006: Producer and Business Development Track

  • Games for Windows Vista: Nail the Essentials, Showcase the Innovations
  • Marketplace: Future of Digital Distribution
  • Making your Windows Titles Come ALIVE Anywhere!
  • Expanding Your Audience Through Accessibility
  • Rise Above: Improving Your Game’s Chances for Success by Focusing on What Players Want

Gamefest 2006: Quality Assurance and Certification Track

  • Introduction to Windows Error Reporting as a Service
  • Games for Windows Vista Compatibility: The Essentials
  • Microsoft Games Testing Organization: Testing Evolved

Source 1: http://www.microsoftgamefest.com/
Source 2: http://letskilldave.com/archive/2006/09/11/Gamefes…

develop your own games for the XBOX 360

Even more great news from Microsoft:

“XNA Game Studio Express is a new offering, targeted at students and hobbyists for game development. XNA Game Studio is based on Visual C# Express 2005 and lets developers target both Windows and Xbox 360. XNA Game Studio Express contains the following:

  • The XNA Framework, a set of managed code development libraries which will allow game developers to be more productive when creating games for Windows and the Xbox 360.
  • The XNA Framework Content Pipeline which is a set of tools that allow developers to more easily incorporate 3D content into their games.
  • XNA Game Studio Express also contains a full set of documentation, how-to’s and starter-kits that demonstrate how best to utilize the content pipeline and XNA Framework. “

Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/