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March 31, '07 - Saturday - Early Mythos Preview - Link
I got into an early Alpha build of Mythos, a game in the works by Flagship Studios, the peeps behind the upcoming Hellgate:London game. Wooo hooo. Yea fun! Click the link above to peep my bla bla.

March 29, '07 - Thursday - Easter Bunny to bring a new Xbox 360 - the "Elite" - Link
It seems that the recent rumors about a tweaked Xbox 360 are now true. Microsoft has officially announced the new "Elite", an all black unit which has an HDMI connection and a 120 gig hard drive. Also included in the estimated $480 "Elite" pack is a single (black) wireless controller with charger, an ethernet cable, an HDMI cable, Component cables, and a matching black headset. Lots of free stuff (primarily movie trailers and game demos) will be included on the drive. However, one full game will be included; Hexic HD.

The big surprise is that they did not include an HD-DVD drive inside the unit. The HD-DVD unit is still a $200 add-on part, meaning that this package plus the HD-DVD unit would total out at around $680, quite a bit higher than the base PS3 unit with a Blu-Ray drive at $500 (provided you can find one). However, Microsoft has recently reassured people that an add-on drive is the better deal, and I'd tend to agree. Since the high-def war is probably a couple of years from seeing a true victor, having an add-on drive allows the 360 to use either solution (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray). Should Blu-Ray start to show a clear lead at any point, Microsoft can easily create an add-on Blu-Ray drive.

Again I consider if I should get an Xbox 360. The Elite really has a lot of cool stuff going for it. Sadly, I'm currently in a position where I am struggling to find food money each week, so a new console is very very far out of reach. But, for those of you out there with money to spend on a new console, you may want to keep an eye out for the Elite as the release of things like Mass Effect, Blue Dragon, Assassin's Creed, BioShock, Halo 3, and other cool 360 titles approach their release dates.

March 9, '07 - Friday - Bloggin action
Oooh crap, been a while since I did a blog, and I tried to promise to do one at least once a month.

Um... let me see... I've been super poor lately. I've mostly been trying to deal with finding money to buy foods. Um... there is the GDC going on right now (I still don't know what that stands for) and there are some cool updates on games coming out of the show. I've seen some updates for Hellgate:London and Crysis which are probably at the top of my list for games coming out soon. I also saw an update for Tabula Rasa, which looks like it is shaping up nicely. However, since it was originally slated for last winter and they still don't have a date, I'm beginning to wonder when the hell it will come out, and by the time it does, will I still care. The updated info for Mass Effect and Blue Dragon look really good. It makes me sad I don't yet have a 360. Noting really new from Sony on PS3 stuff outside of their social channel thing. I don't really know if I care about that. Mostly they are still strutting around claiming to be the biggest and the best, but I don't really know if anyone cares as the price tag is still simply too high for most people and the games are still far too few in number.

Guess that's about it for this blog. k thx bye.

January 25, '07 - Thursday - Xbox 360 gained holiday momentum, PS3 lost momentum
Seems there is quite the hub-bub about Microsoft's Xbox 360 selling quite a few units (a reported 4.4 million) over the holiday season. Their current total world-wide figure is now at 10.4 million, which is quite a bit ahead of the 1.5 Sony is claiming and Nintendo Wii's 3.2 million. Rumors are that PS3s are even showing up on store shelves in Japan and staying there with store owners putting discounted prices on them in order to encourage sales.

While I certainly don't regret my PS3 purchase at this point, I am beginning to see why analysts were saying that Microsoft's Xbox 360 may hold the lead for quite a while. The 360 has nearly equal graphics to the PS3, as it can do 1080i, which is the same res as PS3 just not quite running as quickly (30 frames per second vs. 60) and it actually has an advantage right now that it can upscale or downscale resolutions according to the players desired settings, unlike the PS3 which forces down-scaling in almost all cases.

Also, the HD-DVD add-on is an add-on, meaning the consumer isn't required to pay for it. Although, if one does add on the hard drive, Xbox live service and HD-DVD add-on drive it will add up to a higher price than the 20 gig PS3, so right now, it is more of a price disadvantage. Additionally, the 360 is limited to old-school 2 plug audio instead of optical, which does mean the sound would be of lower quality. But, these are kind of side points.

As my PS3 has started to collect dust, I do begin to wonder - Were the analysts right? Are the 3rd party game developers going to jump ship and produce primarily for Xbox 360 and Wii due to the difficulty of the Cell processor? Are there simply too few games for the PS3 for the system to be worth the cost at this time? Due to the lack of 1st party and "exclusive" games for the PS3 I'd have to agree it really doesn't seem all that good of a deal right now.

My advice to anyone who can only really afford one system would be - get the one you know has games you would enjoy right now. Don't buy a system for games that eventually will come out, or technologies that are very new you may or may not use. Blu-Ray has yet to emerge as the dominant next-gen media. PS3's built in player is a bonus if Blu-Ray does win the high-def DVD war, but it could doom the system if Blu-Ray looses due to production costs since Sony will continue to use it for game media.

It is too early to tell which will come out on top, but right now, it seems that developers are all very happy with the way Xbox 360 games are going, and you certainly can't argue with 3 million copies of Gears of War. I certainly wouldn't mind having a 360 myself.

January 5, '07 - Friday - Tweaks and Stuffs
Happy new year peeps.

I've decided to put back in some low-cost options on my recommendations. I don't know if anyone would use them, they wouldn't shave a lot of cost off a system, but you never know. Also I've updated a lot of the bla bla in the sections which relate to DirectX 10.

December 4, '06 - Monday - PS3 and Blu-Ray woot!
Woot! Caught the PS3 as it came in to Best Buys this morning. They only had 20 gigs by the time I got back but that's fine. I don't need the media stuff on the 60 gig, and I have never been one to let my systems keep stuff I didn't need, so I don't expect to ever be short on hard drive space. Besides, it would not at all surprise me to see a 120 gig drive sold by Sony for Holiday season '08. It appears that the OS is like 6 gig, so there is a fairly large chunk missing from the 20 gig, but again I don't think that'll be an issue. Blu-Ray in the 1080i that my screen can show it is fricken awesome. I'll get a couple of Blu-Ray disks, I'm trying to wait to see how the war shapes up, but with as cool as they look and sound it will be very hard to resist converting as many as I can.

November 23, '06 - Turkeyday - Holiday donations
I went ahead and put up a holiday donation box as it were on my PC page. I guess we'll see if any peeps wub me. I'm guessing I won't see many donations, if any, but I guess ya never know. I'll probably take it down around mid-January.

Gonna get up super early tomorrow and see if Toys-R-Us or Target got any PS3s in. Supposedly Sony shipped more, but EB games isn't expecting any (plus they haven't finished the preorder units), so eh, ya never know.

November 17, '06 - Friday - Again, no PS3 for me
EB Games / Gamestop sent out a newsletter alerting peeps who had signed up on the site that the PS3 would be sold in limited quantity tonight on their online sites sometime in the "evening". Well, being on the pacific coast that meant I could freely click refresh on the page just about all day long. I started clicking about every 15 min at around noon, and from 3 PM on I was refreshing about every minute. Around 3:30 the page started to seriously lag each refresh, not a good sign, but a minute or so to refresh was not entirely unexpected. At about 4:15 the page finally went live and I immediately tried to get a PS3. About 5 minutes after my first click the page responded, unfortunately I'd pressed refresh a few too many times I guess and it showed 3 bundles in my cart! Ack! Another 5 minutes or so was wasted setting that back to 1. Click to the next page, 5 more minutes, click through a 'yes I'm over 17 page', again 5 minutes, enter credit card info, and push submit/verify 10 minutes and link dead. Back button to try again and 'that item is now out of stock and has been removed from your cart'. /cry /cry Again I try to get a PS3 and again I just barely miss it. Looks like I'm doomed to camp out every morning at EB's doorstop once we hit December. (There isn't much point trying sooner due to their shortage and their filling pre-orders first.)

I suppose it isn't entirely tragic, as the bundle they were selling contained 6 games, of which I only really wanted 1, and it was the 20 gig version, so not a super great value in terms of the hard drive there. Supposedly they will have another event for some 60 gig bundles. I guess I can try again if that comes up before I get one in person.

November 8, '06 - Wednesday - Nvidia Series 8 Launch Event - Link
I went to the Nvidia series 8 launch event today and pheeeewww the 8800 GTX is gonna pwn. Not much more to say here. Click the link above and read my bla bla and peep the shots.

October 29, '06 - Sunday - Hellgate: London - I got questions, they got answers - Link
A while ago I asked the Flagship Studio's peeps some questions via email. Ivan Sulic, community manager, finally got back to me. So, here they are:

Q: Will people who signed up for the newsletter have a greater chance of being invited to early public beta phases?
A: This is not planned, but it could certainly happen. It'll all depend on how many sign-ups we have vs. how many keys we're willing to distribute to fans and the general public.

Q: Public beta testing was last mentioned as possibly happening at the end of the year in 2006. Well, we are very close to the end of the year. Is this still an accurate estimate or has that been bumped into '07?
A: The big bosses keep telling me, "some kind of beta by the end of the year."

Q: The podcasts mentioned dual core, DX10, and Vista optimization is not yet in the game. Even though the game is not yet optimized for these features are there any conditions which the game will not run under? As example, does the game currently run ok under the current Vista beta?
A: HG:L currently runs fine on every platform we plan to officially support. There is no specific combination of Vista or XP + Video Card X that Hellgate simply will not run on. At least there damn well better not be! :D

Q: How will character names work? Are they tied to a master account name and master account names must be unique while characters can share names, or is it more like a standard MMOG where you join a particular server and each character name is unique on that server?
A: Character names are bound to accounts. It's highly unlikely that character names will have to be unique. They currently do not have to be.

Q: Will you guys take advantage of EAX? How about X-Fi enhancement?
A: Yes and...I think so. I recall asking our Sound Designer, Dave Steinwedel, about this not too long ago. I believe his answer was something like, "Yes, but not yet." I'm not 100% on that, though.

October 11, '06 - Wednesday - No Launch Day PS3 for me
Still pretty tired from the other day. I got up Tues morning a little early to go wait in line for the PS3 at my local EB Games. I didn’t think there would actually be a lot of interest in it due to the high cost (particularly compared to the Wii). I got up at around 8:45 and headed over to my local store. I arrived at probably around 8:50, over an hour before opening, and was peep #15 in line. Unfortunately it seems like I was about ½ hour too late, as the store was only allocated 13 units. Apparently the line had reached almost 30 peeps by the time the store opened at 10:00 and the extra peeps were shooed away.

I figured I’d wait around and see if they were taking pre-orders beyond the 13. It just makes sense to me, as the computer tracks the orders in the order they were placed. Some of us are fine with not getting it on release day, but we’d like to not to have to fight the masses for one when the second batch arrives, nor have to call like some ubergeek every couple of days asking for a status update. For whatever reason it seems that the EB Games / GameStop chain is not taking any more orders. If you ask me, that’s just lame. Launch day figures are 20-25% of the total estimated units to launch by Dec 31, and it seems logical to ‘make a list’ of peeps. It doesn’t sound to me like there will be plenty to go around, leaving people to fight over the units every time they come in. Perhaps some method of a line will appear as we get closer to launch. Let’s hope so. Chaos and fighting for the loose.

Well, I guess the good news about not getting one launch day means that I’ll have just that much more time to read game reviews and decide if the ones I did want to purchase really would be worth the price, or if I should just rent them through GameFly.

September 25, '06 - Monday - Confusion; PS3 or Wii?
There has been a fair bit of coverage of what went on at the Tokyo Game show last weekend. It looks like Sony had a fairly large presence and made the surprise announcement that the $500 PS3 unit will also include an HDMI out - removing the biggest difference between the two versions. Now with the option of buying a $500 unit and not loosing functionality, as well as some really cool looking footage of many games, I am back to being undecided on a PS3 launch purchase.

On the one hand, we have Nintendo Wii, poised to retake the masses, sporting what may be an innovative control, or what may be a gimmicky control, depending on how it is supported. On the other hand, the PS3 has vastly higher resolution options, as well as being able to run the new Blu-Ray media (and a huge library of playable games via PS2 and PS1 emulation).

I think at this point, it will all come down to the games. Who will have more games I'm interested in within a year of launch? I'm guessing it will be PS3, but due to the higher costs involved, will they be enough to entice me away from the much lower priced Wii? Will Blu-Ray be enough to convince me that price difference is worth it? Only time will tell. I'm sure over the next few weeks information on both sides will become fairly solid, as we are only 8 weeks from launch.

September 14, '06 - Thursday - Wii - Link
Nintendo has officially announced the Wii launch date as November 19th and the pricing at $250 (in the U.S.). For the longest time I was following PS3 the most. But you know, the more I've thought about it lately the more I've thought that going with Wii this year makes much more sense. Wii's price is really low, and they are targeting 4 million units by the end of the year. (Compared to the PS3 low-end price of $500 and only ~1 million units.) Additionally Nintendo's Wii is going to target very different gameplay when compared to PC, while other systems are targeting games that are more similar to PC games than they are not.

A low-cost system, millions of units, easy to program/develop for, games which will offer the gamers something different than they'd experience on their PC or other consoles, and the ability to download older games for low cost? Sounds like Nintendo is going to retake the crown and become the dominant console over the next few years.

(Over these next few years though I expect the PS3 development will become easier and the PS3 as a console will become much more attractive than it will be than it is this year. This year I think there has been too much difficulty with game development and production. This, added to a very high price tag, will really trip Sony up for a few years, and I think the gamers will be slow to adopt the PS3. Maybe in '09 Sony will dominate Holiday sales, but I firmly believe '06 will belong to Nintendo/Wii and once again Nintendo will be the console most gamers have in their homes.)

September 9, '06 - Saturday - To Blog or not to Blog
Hum, it has been a while since I've done a blog thing. Guess I'll just update some statuses. I'll try to get one up once a month to keep peeps informed on what's new and interesting, or just update what is old and in limbo.

Ageia's PhysX chip is still poop and way over priced. We are now right about 5 months post launch and there are still only 4 games that actually use the chip to any degree. And still, those which do are not considered worth having the chip for. I wrote the owner way back in like Spring of '05 when they had an estimated October '05 launch and told them that any price over $150 flat out would not sell. Well, big surprise, they are $250 and they are not selling. They need killer apps and they need to drop that price.

IBM is now shipping the Broadway CPU for the Nintendo Wii console. Wii is looking more and more attractive as a holiday purchase. I would not at all be surprised if they sold out completely and totally dominated Xbox 360 and PS3 sales.

July 6, '06 - Thursday - AMD's AM2 socket, K8L, AM3, and DDR3 - Link
Wow, this is really great news. While this doesn't sound like a big deal it really kind of is since the CPU tends to be the most expensive part of the core and the ram and motherboard speeds are often mostly untapped at the time they release. In short, this article references that people who have AM2 based motherboards can upgrade to the newest core type, a quad core, aka "K8L", and then upgrade their ram and motherboard at a later time while moving over that same K8L core. With previous generations (both from AMD and Intel) you were forced to change your motherboard, CPU and ram all at once. You can use a K8L core on an AM2 motherboard with DDR2, or upgrade to an AM3 board and use DDR3 with that same K8L core in either system. Options are a very good thing.

June 30, '06 - Friday - Playstation 3 rant
You know, I have been really supportive of the Playstation 3 decisions so far, but recent rumors have made me really take pause. The first rumors are that they may somehow prevent ‘used’ software from running on the system. This would prevent any sales of old games to game shops for resale, but more importantly block out the entire rental community. The most recent rumors circling today is that games will be priced higher than they currently are, possibly reaching as high as $100. Come on now Sony think for a minute. Anything over about $65 is seriously going to drive off customers. If these rumors are true and they price games at over $65 I can see the PS3 rapidly following the same disaster that NeoGeo had – too high of a price for the system and the games = failed system. Think about this for a minute Sony. Take the hit on pricing, keep prices low, make up the money by volume sales and long-term love of the system. You are already being touted as too expensive even without these recent rumors coming true. If they do, you are just making a recipe for disaster and you will scare customers off and they will go running right into Xbox 360 and Wii’s waiting arms.

June 26, '06 - Monday - AMD 4x4 supported by the industry - Link
I am surprised to see the industry being excited about the 4x4 architecture so soon. I was expecting it would be mid 2007 and beyond before we heard anything from the industry about the tech, yet this article indicates that several game designers and video/music peeps are fully supporting the tech in terms of what it can bring to multi-thread performance.

June 25, '06 - Sunday - Playstation 3 to use HDMI 1.3 - Link
I don't know how many peeps out there are considering using their PS3 as a Blu-ray player, but for me that is one of its greatest features. Back in 96 / 97 when I purchased my 1st gen DVD player I knew that in about 10 years time I'd be replacing it with something better. Well, here were are 2006 and we are on the verge of the next-gen DVD players, just as I expected. Along with this change comes a new cable type, HDMI. Since its introduction not to long ago, HDMI has gone through a few revisions and is now on a 1.3 standard. The PS3 will use this newer standard. This standard should rapidly make its way through the industry as a whole. We can already find HDMI based HDTV sets and receivers, though most of those are still on older HDMI input standards. I myself have a 1st gen HDTV, so of course it doesn't have HDMI. But, just like my DVD purchase, I fully expected to replace my HDTV around 10 years post-purchase, that being 2010, so again, that will be right on schedule. PS3 should be a good low-cost Blu-ray player and be future proof due to the HDMI 1.3 standard; not to mention the r0x0r games!

Note that at the time of this writing there are 2 versions of the PS3 set to launch in November. The higher priced version has the HDMI connector types, while the lower priced version will not include it. Also note that HDMI is backwards compatible, so you should be able to find an HDMI to (whatever) converter to hook it up to your HDTV/TV/receiver without any problems.

June 21, '06 - Wednesday - pure pwnage Episode 11 - Link
this guy "teh_pwnerer" iz funny n stuffs like he n his bro kyle make this funny web show n stuff lol

Translation : There is an internet web show about gamers and gaming. Episode 11 is out; brand new and all shiny. Funny stuff if you haven't seen the series. In this episode the macro plot thickens! dun-dun-dun! They talk about "banking sleep" lol. I kinda do that. I tend to sleep like 7 hrs when I'm having fun with a game and sleep like 9 or more when I don't have a good game. hehe

June 18, '06 - Sunday - Let Mortal Kombat Begin!
I purchased the rabb1t domain not too long ago and I've finally decided to start setting up the pages for it. Took a while to decide what I wanted to do that was different from just my PC page, hehehe. Originally this was just a single page of me rambling about my PC in a manner in which those who don't know hardware could understand my choices and read my comments on the tech yet to come for their own purchasing choices; now it has kind of evolved into a place where I will do that, as well as just genuinely rambling about things I may be excited about in terms of hardware or gaming.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2006-2013
Product images are copyright of wherever I borrowed them from if borrowed, or by me if taken by me. :)

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