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Dealing With Fairness and Balance In Video Games

ObiWanStevobi MS Trueskill (192 comments)

The MS Trueskill system used in Halo 3 was concieved to create as fair a match as possible. On the surface the theory is very sound and the system is quite good. Unfortunately, it was ultimately broken my MS's oversights in marketing and misreading the intent of it's audience. The system is based on how "certain" it is of a persons rank. Losing games would make it more "certain" a person was that level. Meaning after a person starts breaking even in the W/L column, the system cements their rank there, and it takes long term streaks to change that value. The problem came in when gamers realized they could start a new account and rank up faster because their "certainty" varibale would begin anew with each new account. Again, not a huge problem until you realize M$ gives out one month trials of XBL like an crack dealer giving out first time free sample. The system lets he good players quickly advance and let newer players play people that are a good match for them. But with free accounts being unlimited, everyone just starts over on a new account as soon as they reach their peak, flooding the low levels with grossly mismatched games. What could have been a sound matching system was ruined by marketing.

more than 5 years ago

Video Game Trends In 2008

ObiWanStevobi Bungie Sets Examples (81 comments)

One thing I think is missing from the discussion is what Bungie is doing to console gaming. There are a couple features in Halo 3 that used to be reserved for PC gamers. The ability to edit maps, take screeen captures, and save and review gameplay films is pretty huge in my opinion. Plus their integration with their website for these features is great. Early next year, they will launch their own version of "YouTube" where in game video is automatically uploaded to the user's channel and converted to usable video format.

Now that Bungie has done these features, and done them well, I know it raises the bar in terms of what I want out of a console shooter. I would hope that the ability to edit and share maps, screenshots, and flms becomes a trend in more games. It's great to be able to save and relive fun moments with friends without always running your games through the capture card.

It's hard to see how they wouldn't set trends seeing how Halo 3 still regularly rules the XBL unique user list, even with tons of other big name games on the market, and continue to rule the top of the original Xbox user charts with Halo 2.

more than 6 years ago

Batman Discussion

ObiWanStevobi Re:Can Oscar's be given posthumously? (967 comments)

Ledger comes across as pure scary at times. Since you haven't seen it, I won't say much more, but I will say Ledger did an amazing job. Right down to his speech, facial mannerisms, and erratic changes in demeanor, he sells crazy. So much so that, for me, Batman was actually a secondary character.

The joker came off so dark, violent, and twisted that it made me several times wonder how the movie 1: stayed PG-13 and 2: Was still a Batman movie.

I'd have to say Ledger is the better Joker.

more than 6 years ago



townhall.com slanders Mass Effect

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  about 7 years ago

ObiWanStevobi writes "Although this is yesterdays news, the "news" site townhall has still refused to tkae down an article that describes the game Mass Effect thusly:

And because of the digital chip age in which we live — "Mass Effect" can be customized to sodomize whatever, whoever, however, the game player wishes.

With it's "over the net" capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away.

It's called "Mass Effect" and it allows its players — universally male no doubt — to engage in the most realistic sex acts ever conceived. One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, race, hair style, breast size of the images they wish to "engage" and then watch in crystal clear, LCD, 54 inch screen, HD clarity as the video game "persons" hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of.

The regular, site supported columnist goes on to make more ridiculous claims about the game and gamers in general that are completely false and offensive. If you missed it, it's a must read. This guy makes Jack Thompson look reasonable by comparison."

How do you get the best value building a PC?

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) writes "Although I should ask before hand, I recently ordered everything I need to build a new PC. The high points of the system are a 3.2 Pentium D, ASUS ATX SLI Ready Motherboard, SLI Ready power supply, and GeForce 8500 Graphics card. I also added a DVDRW, DVDROM/CDRW combo drive, 250 Gig Seagate HD, 2 Gigs Kingston RAM, and a Wireless NIC. All of this in an ATX Mid Tower. Grand Total of ~$600. The best part is that I don't have Vista pre-installed.

Now this is not a great machine by current standards, but it is alot more bang for the buck than you can get from a manufacturer. I used TigerDirect and NewEgg to get all the hardware. Those are the sites I typically use at work and have been pretty reliable for me. But what I wonder is what everyone else is using to build their PCs. Where are you getting the most value these days?

Anyone have any particularly great machines they put together for much less than you would expect? What are your favorite discount hardware sites, or any to stay away from?"

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) writes "Worms hits the Xbox Live Arcade today I have yet to try it out (later tonight), but the Xbox ad says it has alot of the features you would expect in the PC versions, configurable teams, game options, etc. Looking through the gamespot reviews, it would appear they have those, but they are rather limited. It seems to have trimmed the weapon and theme selection down a bit. But, they do still have the banana bomb. Worms hits Xbox live at a suprisingly-high-for-a-live-arcade-title 800 MS points ($10 US)."

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) writes "Ok, since this is considered an invasion case, I picked YRO. I also figured a sword qualifies as a handheld device.

A man who lives in his mother's basement, and has a sword collection, is being charged after breaking into his neighbor's house. He broke in after hearing what sounded like a woman being raped. He burst through the door weilding his sword with a +3 Dexterity adrenaline rush. The frightened wanker then proceeded to show him(James Van Iveren AKA Krunk the Slashdotter) that he was alone and just watching a porno. Van Iveren is now being charged on several counts such as trespassing and damage to property for breaking the door. LINK

PS Notice the URL, porn.sword.ap"

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  about 8 years ago

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) writes "Although not a true history geek, I do have a certain affinity for early Roman/Greek history. Basically from 500BC to fall of the roman empire. Of all the interesting stories to unfold during the period, there are none that compares with the battle of Thermopylae. The story itself, without any modification (except any that history may have already given it) is surreal. IMHO, At least 20,000 soldiers being massacred upon the Spartan lines in mere days needs no graphic detail added to it. The dialog, as history records it, needs no spicing up. Hearing the modified lines in the previews is like nails on a chalkboard.

OK, here's the conflict. Aesthetically, the movie looks awesome. It appears to be a movie I would normally like. But given that is bastardizing such a good story, I don't know whether it's worth seeing or not. I do regret that if this movie is a hit, that most people will know 300 Spartans as an embellished comic book story rather than a historical event. What do you think, will you be seeing this movie in the theater?

PS — Personally, I loved the 60s movie that tried to stay as accurate as possible to historical accounts, and would love to see the epic battle done with todays CGI. When I heard a 300 Spartans movie was being made, I was pumped. Upon seeing the trailer, I was pretty disappointed."



How a spreadsheet turns into a global QC management system:

ObiWanStevobi ObiWanStevobi writes  |  about 8 years ago

How a spreadsheet turns into a global QC management system:

Working as a programmer/DBA for a rapidly growing company, I am commonly tasked with applications programming to speed up and dumb down operations throughout the company. One of the most common tasks seems to be creating small database apps for info that was once kept in paper files or excel spreadsheets, but have become to heavily used to maintain and search. Create a form with as few controls as possible and setup the connection to the database. I have come to prefer ODBC front end apps because we managed to get Oracle, MSSQL, Access, and IBM Universe databases that all have related data in them.

Yes, we are working on standardizing, that's beside the point. Anyway, about a year and a half ago, I was given a task for turning the welding defect logs into a database app. This was easy enough. Form with a few inputs, some reports, finished quickly and moved on. A couple months later, they really liked the reports it generated in seconds that they used to spend hours doing by hand. So they wanted to expand it to all other fabrication departments. So in went some more complex table structure to accommodate the range of defects for each department, deal with different shifts and employees, etc. Most input came from combo boxes, so there had to be all the structure in there so choices would limit depending on the shift, dept, etc. Along with that came more reports and utilities for managing that structure.

After a month or so of use, they really liked it, and wanted it for our plants worldwide. So more structure, tools, and reports were added, and we began using it all over. Then, we decided it should track all vendor defects as well. Once again, more structure, utilities, and reports.

A couple months later, our company decides to go QC Free, meaning all fabricated parts will be inspected by the same people that made them. In order to have accountability, we must now track all fabricated parts that pass inspection as well. In the event it turns out defective and an employee was lax in their responsibilities, we can take corrective action.

After (you guessed it) more structure, tools, and utilities, the program was once again complete. However, before launching the new version, a fellow R&D engineer suggests that since all the same info that goes on to inventory, ID, and inspection tags is now being entered into the database, we may as well have the computer print the tags as well. So that led to yet another overhaul to add thermal printer capability to the program.

Then, the next step was a mobile version for data entry and printing from handheld devices. That has been going for a couple months, so I am waiting for the next expansion of this program. I'm honestly not sure what else this program would logically do, but I'm sure they'll think of something.

A couple of vendors themselves have even expressed interest in purchasing the program after seeing it. That may be the next step, packaging it for use outside our company.

That simple task of turning a spreadsheet into a simple app led to company wide changes in the way we make, track, and inspect our products. It became our global QC management system. This company is my first programming job since school, so I couldn't say that anyone else operates in such a way, but I'd find it hard to believe that this isn't common. I've also had a simple data conversion become a complex scheduling tool.

Personally, I prefer this type of development. Although it would be far nicer to know the entire scope of the program before you start to make class development a bit cleaner, you have get used to code in a manner that allows for expansion. That comes with time. Anyway, I far prefer the performance of the apps to most commercial management apps. You get exactly what you want with no extra features or buttons users can toy with to mess things up, someone within the company has intimate knowledge with the internal workings of the program, making troubleshooting problems much easier, and the sky is the limit as to what you can do with the program. You are not limited by available add-ons or existing features.

Anyway, that's just my tale of how a spreadsheet became our global QC management system. Having not worked anywhere else in the same capacity, I'm just wondering if this sort of development is common for those writing proprietary software for your growing companies.

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