New lick of paint

20 November 2006

You might notice a new design and layout for this site flickering on and off for the next few days. I’m just bringing some final tweaks to bear, you see, and ironing out some wretched IE bugs. It’s all part of a way to encourage me to write a bit more. Again.

So for now, please bear with me. The links are now on the righthand side; if you’re really, really interested in them, it’s probably easiest to be subscribed to my feed, where you’ll get everything.

I’ve got an article in a free supplement inside this week’s New Statesman. The PDF is available to download from that link – sadly, the HTML isn’t online yet. Still, it’s a cracking supplement – a nice range of content, very colourful, and a real departure for the NS. I’m on pages 28-30, if you’re interested – a biggish feature about where the British games industry might be going in the next few years, and the various challenges it presents. Quite challenging to write about the games industry for a more lay audience than usual; it’ll be interesting to see if the conclusions in the article hold up.

The answer may lie not in next-generation hardware, but in next-generation business models. For example, the British games industry emerged in the 1980s from the constraints that had previously beset the industry. At that time home computers, such as the BBC Micro or ZX Spectrum, were built to a budget, with limited power, developed for and by self-taught coders, often working alone. Now, there is a resurgence in popularity of games for very limited platforms: handheld consoles, mobile telephones, interactive TV and web browsers. And when developers have to work within tighter constraints, new ways to make and sell games – especially for smaller development firms – emerge.

Download the supplement if you’re even vaguely interested.

Impending upgrade

10 November 2006

The comment-spam on this site is really getting out of control; it’s never seeing the world outside, but I’ve got about 700 comments in moderation to deal with. Looks like it’s time to upgrade to WordPress 2.0.5 (from 1.5.2).

Of course, that requires fixing plugins that are crucial to this site but no longer in development. And it requires altering the theme. And writing scary scripts to migrate my post_meta table. Which have all now been done.

And, hey, when you’re having to do that much messing around in PHP, you may as well redesign, right?

Upshot of this is: I’m going to upgrade this site at the weekend, so a few things might end up changing a little, and if you notice said changes, you should shout. The old design will probably stick around for a bit, whilst I polish the new (very simple) one off. And then I’ll ram that live too.

At some point after that, my post about “wrestling with wordpress”, written when I started looking into this process a few months back, will see the light of day. I really don’t want to have to mess with it again. It’s very unpleasant…