Archive for January, 2010

Two Things

Posted in Video Game Development with tags , , , on January 29, 2010 by Dan Amerson

First thing. Microsoft sent us some dope swag as Nick pointed out on his blog. Here’s my less good picture.

Lighted Games for Windows Sign

I’m not sure why they sent us this sign, but it’s pretty nice particularly for punking a colleague.

Second thing. That engineer in the picture is Tim. Tim is headed off to EA-Mythic soon to work on some cool games. That means that I need to hire a replacement that can write the graphics codes as well as Tim. That’s right, Emergent is hiring. If you read this blog and think it might be cool to work on game technology or work with me, now is your chance. I’ve been with NDL and now Emergent for over 8 years. It’s a great place to work, we do fun stuff, and we get to play with the latest tech in gaming.

Here’s the actual job listing if you’re interested. If you aren’t a graphics programmer, there are other listings here. Alternatively, feel free to contact me directly by the blog or email. I’m spam-shy enough from my last website that I won’t post my email in plain text here. You’ll have to piece it together. 🙂 It’s my last name, amerson. The domain is Put an @ in the middle.

Edit: Nick pointed out that you can have a contact form on WordPress. I have added one which you can see on the right or click here.


Thread Safety Fail

Posted in Miscellany, Video Game Development with tags on January 27, 2010 by Dan Amerson

I saw this over on I Get Your Fail. This is a particularly funny thread safety fail worth sharing.


Blogs As Thought Organizers

Posted in Miscellany with tags , , on January 13, 2010 by Dan Amerson

Kim Pallister has a very interesting blog, and he’s put up a post on his five year anniversary.

That post is worth reading in general, but it has a particular interesting idea in it. He proposes that his blog is valuable to him in part because it forces him to think through a position on a topic and make sure he presents a full argument. He has to see both sides of things and make sure that he’s addressing them. That’s a very interesting analysis of the personal value of blogging, and it made me stop and think about how I post. When I look back at some of my posts, I don’t think I’m doing that which is a shame. For example, my last post was about how I think stereoscopic 3D would fail at least in the short term. There are many more reasons for my position than the few I put in the post, but I didn’t take the time to sort my thoughts out fully. As a result, I have something fairly incoherent sitting on my blog as one of my highest traffic items.  I guess people are looking for stories about 3D tech post-CES.

Kim goes on to say that blogging is even more important because of the relationship it fosters with other folks. I don’t want to discount that by not talking about it, but it didn’t have as much impact on me. It seems the more obvious point. Blogs are conversations, and I joined the conversation to talk with people and forge relationships.

Regardless of which reason resonates with you, click the link and read his post.


3D: Still Fail

Posted in Miscellany, Video Games with tags , , , on January 11, 2010 by Dan Amerson

3D TV for homes is one of the big things getting pushed in 2010. I’ve always been a skeptic of stereoscopic 3D. It feels like a gimmick to me, and I don’t see uptake in homes. Here’s an article outlining some challenges. On top of that, however, I think the sheer dorkiness of sitting around with the glasses on is a factor. To prove it, check out me looking like a dork.

Dan in 3D Glasses

To drive that point home, I’d like to point to the pointlessness that was Sony’s press event at CES. Check out Engadget’s live blog for these choice quotes which I’ve chosen to make fun of. I”ve left timestamps in place to make it easier for you to find context.

  • “5:18PM Sir Howard: “I’d forgotten I was wearing 3D glasses! That’s a good sign, isn’t it?”” – No, that implies that they aren’t doing much.
  • “4:30PM The projected 3D isn’t actually all that great — it’s nice, but it’s not worth wearing silly glasses for. Particularly when the real Taylor Swift is right in front of you. The sparkles on her guitar do “pop,” though.” – Behold sheer idiocy. Projecting 3D video during a live performance. Of a person. In 3D. Our friends at Engadget clearly get the silliness.
  • “4:23PM Sir Howard Stringer taking the stage. He is in 3D. “I bet you think you all look really cool with those glasses on, don’t you.”” – It’s such a cool technology, that Sony will make fun of it whilst trying to sell it to you.
  • “5:26PM To recap: Sony not only thinks you’ll wear the glasses, but that you’ll go out and buy them as an add-on kit for your TV, along with a transmitter. That sounds workable.” – Close with a little sarcasm!
For now, I’ll be moderate and agree with the first article. We’ll have 3D eventually, but it’s not happening this year which means I can be cool a bit longer. In secret, I really wish all this would disappear. It feels like a silly gimmick, and I can go outside if I want 3D.

Christmas Gag Gift

Posted in Miscellany, Video Games with tags , , on January 5, 2010 by Dan Amerson

Another delay in posting. 😦

This time I blame viruses. I got a cold, and my computer got a rootkit. Good times.

My friend and colleague, Shaun Kime, put up a post about a tradition at our company where we exchange gag gifts. Each person draws a name out of the hat, and the goal is to make a personalized gift that makes light of some facet of that person.

This year, someone decided to make fun of the fact that I think Earth Defense Force 2017 is one of the best games you can own for Xbox 360. To be clear, it’s not the bad animations, choppy frame rate, object interpenetrations, or lack of online co-op that make this game great. It’s the simplicity of the game design and the overall campy feel that make this game a must-own. I love this game, and I’ve played through it many times. If I had the money, I’d bankroll a sequel tomorrow.

Since I can’t do that, someone decided to give me a sequel in the form of Earth Defense Force: The Board Game. Here’s some pics.

First off, take a gander at the top down view. The game comes with a player character, NPCs, enemies, and upgrades. Notice that the board game upgrades on the video game by adding cockroaches!

Here’s a perspective view of things. It really gives you the same feeling as when you play the game.

The board game also includes a fully destructible building. Much like the video game, these buildings crumble at the slightest impact. i.e., I assembled the building, and it fell apart when I closed my office door one day.

Finally, for those who have played the game, the Air Tortoise missle system. It’s light on the missles, but aficionados of EDF will get the joke.

Overall, this is a really solid gag gift. Whoever made this should give themselves a pat on the back.

EDF! EDF! EDF! dba