Thursday Oct 26, 2006

The shady border between the virtual and the real

Chris Melissinos takes issue with Ashlee Vance of the Register about the utility of Second Life, on his blog last week (I can be a bit slow). He quotes a number of organisations using the virtual world of "Second Life" to offer virtual services, including Universities and it seems Reuters. I expect the financial services companies will be in on it soon. To me its a shame; West Nottingham College implemented courseware in the Neverwinter Nights game engine, which may have been more fun; it probably depends upon what your studying. WNC believes its an excellent learning/teaching vehicle, so perhaps this'll take off.

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Sunday Aug 06, 2006

Multiplayer Baldur's Gate at Home

If you're a fan of my del.icio.us RSS feed, you'll have noticed that I have been adding some links about Baldur's Gate. This is the first version released, and I finally got multi-player working in the home today, so I expect to be running through the game again.

I have discovered [at length] that Bioware used Microsoft's the "Direct Play" API in Direct X which won't permit local tcp/ip addresses to participate in a multi-player game. The simplest solution is to use IPX, which fortunately Windows XP still supports. For those looking to solve the same problem, I have documented my researches here... on my personal Wiki, although I have not yet documented my success.

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Monday Feb 13, 2006

Political Games

Republic, the Revolution I went shopping over the weekend and bought a couple of games. Now we have a new computer we can begin to catchup on what we've been missing out on for the last two years.

One game that caught our eye was “Republic, the Revolution”. I had had this pointed out to me before and it reminded me of Junta (see Answer.com & Wikipedia), which I have never got to play. It would seem that the computer game is set in a post Soviet eastern European state, and has a potentially a stronger story line and more strategies for success.

Junta seems based on some of the, or similar games first introduced to me by Michael Laver in “Playing Politics” which I read when it first came out. A second edition, called “Playing Politics: the Nightmare continues” was published in 1993 and a science around them and other similar games seems to have developed. Several of these games were referenced in “Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki, recently recommended by Jonathan Scwartz in his blog. (I've given you enough to find them on your favourite online bookstore).

But to return to Republic, I tried it last night but found it quite hard to pick up. The UI's are quite old fashioned, although how I expected a city's political composition to be displayed I'm not so sure, and I really rather enjoy the “Leninist/Soviet” look of the clothes, architecture and iconography. Anyway I checked it out on the internet and failed to find very much. The two crucial resources are the vendor site here... (you'll need to enable popups), with downloads such as wallpaper or buddy icons and “Game Faqs”, here..., although the forum referenced never took off. (I'll have to see if I need to do something about that).

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