Big News

30 December 2005

OK, so my big news is public on the internets. I’m going to be speaking at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in March, over in San Diego. The talk is called From Paddles to Pads: Is Controller Design Is Killing Creativity in Videogames? (the title you can see on that page is the one I originally submitted it under, but then I realised that I’d much rather ask a question than answer one).

The talk is about hardware interfaces to games, what they teach us, what’s wrong with them, and how they’re fundamental to gaming as a whole. The precis over at that link is roughly right, but I wrote it a long while ago and it’s definitely subject to change – so don’t hold me to it 100%.

I’m very excited.

I’m also very scared.

Tips, advice, comments, questions, all appreciated. Looking forward to seeing some of you in San Diego, maybe.

Happy Christmas

25 December 2005

Happy Christmas, y’all.

It’s been a lovely day here, doing not a lot. Eating good food, ringing the relatives, a lovely selection of presents given and received, and lots of time to chill out. All quite tiring in fact, so off to bed quite soon. Tomorrow it’s off to Bedford to see aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmother, and then on Tuesday I’m off to Derby to visit the Girl’s extended family. Back in London towards the end of the week, for New Year.

I’ll be posting again before the New Year; a few things to mention, perhaps a retrospective on 2005, and the usual stream from will all be happening before that. Enjoy yourselves!

Rails and Hypercard

22 December 2005

Gavin mentions the idea that Ruby on Rails might just be the new Hypercard – something I may or may not have discussed with him.

I think he’s right. After one of the London Ruby User Group meets, someone commented that all Rails really needs now is a killer easy-front-end for page layout, or an IDE for apps of some form, and it could really hit the jackpot. I immediately thought of Hypercard; it had the requisite simplicity, grace, and convention, and would be nicely suited to Ruby (just as it was to Applescript).

I’ve mentioned Hypercard before on this site. It was pretty formative in me finding a way I could program computers that wasn’t necessarily reams of code, of first making me aware of UI design, and of making programming fun. Rails has had a similar effect, properly kick-starting me into OO programming, and finally making me understanding and appreciate scripting languages.

The speed of gettings things working, that’s what matters. Not finished – finished might be a long way off – but you’ve always got something to show for your labours. That’s why I like it.

Powerbook woes: continued

21 December 2005

This is taking the biscuit.

Way into work: unplug Powerbook from PSU, bundle up PSU. Work on train a bit. Get to work. Plug PSU into power socket. Plug PSU into Powerbook.

No light on charger ring; no indication of a charging battery.

Change the fuse, same problem. I think, after two and a half years, the PSU is dead. Investigate buying a new one. A new power supply will be


I give up.

A system of the world

19 December 2005

“It’s a hard life, being a games reviewer. You’d think it would all be peaches and cream – playing games for ages and then being allowed to write about them (and if you’re really lucky, being paid for the privilege).

But it’s a lot harder than that.”

Another game review up on Pixelsurgeon. This time, a review of the Xbox port of Half-Life 2. It’s possibly a bit too “heavy” (you’ll see what I mean when you read it), but it was fun to break away from convention for a while. There’s a horrific typo/crap sentence based around a pun that doesn’t quite work and I’m a bit embarassed about that. Other than that, though, one of the better things I’ve written in a while.

Read the full review.