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John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There

Zhe Mappel Re:Thing is (146 comments)

Very good points.

I notice you don't mention Willits in your pantheon of id talents. Wisely, I'd say. His design stewardship of Rage -- and its resulting perfect banality -- was as much a lodestone around its neck as was one more advanced yet performance-lacking Carmack technology. Put together, the mixture was lethal.

There was an id fantasy game in the works, briefly, a decade or more ago; it was killed off in favor of another FPS retread. I wonder what might have been if a) the faction that wanted to keep cloning Doom and Quake hadn't won or, alternatively b) instead of id consistently shedding its most notable design talents leaving Carmack surrounded with people content to recycle the past, he had struck out on his own with a new group of talent and created something original.

about 7 months ago

John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There

Zhe Mappel Re:Thing is (146 comments)

I don't understand how id thought that this level of quality was acceptable for release.

Nor did I.

That said, as a longtime admirer of his pioneering work, I'm pleased he's on to a new and exciting challenge. Thanks for the memories, John.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

Zhe Mappel Edward Snowdenhands (822 comments)

My advice to brave Edward: you already know the ugliness of the machine, so why bargain with the ghost inside?

The impossibility of a corrupt system according justice to its whistleblowers is a good reason for Edward to remain in Russia. Moreover, he should know, and will know based on poll data, that his sacrifice is scarcely appreciated by our society of sheep, anyway.

You've done your share. You've paid your price in loss of home and comfort. F--- Washington; construct a life out of all the many rich possibilities that have nothing to do with this declining empire and its sordid leaders.

about 8 months ago

Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Zhe Mappel Re:A lot worse than it seems (544 comments)

Do you want to know what brings about the biblical apocalypse? Ignorance of the natural world in which we live. Buckle your seatbelts, because the ignorant are starting to drive this bus we call civilization, and the last stop is not utopia.

I hate religion as much as the next godless heathen, but really now.

Surely you don't think climate change is a direct result of belief? At worst, fantasies about the afterlife can make the world appear more disposable to the god-bothered, but I don't think it's churchy mumbo-jumbo that drives hyper-capitalism.

Something else has led the west to overproduce, overconsume, overbear and overlord. And the causes and reasons are rather more prosaic than heavenly.

about 8 months ago

Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Zhe Mappel Re:Land of the dumb, home of the uninformed (544 comments)

Unfortunately, the US's first major "nation building" failure might be said to have occurred after the civil war... We defeated the insurgency; but never really managed to rebuild a functional society in the southern provinces. If subsequent events are any guide, we may just suck at dealing with religious zealots with shitty human rights records.

Oh, come.

Surely any society that can produce John Carmack can't be all bad.

about 8 months ago

Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Zhe Mappel Re:Texas Barely Registers (544 comments)

How is that odd? Muslims and Jews aren't the fanatical threat to freedom and education that Conservative Christians currently are in America.

Really? Apparently you've never run across a your average non-westernized muslim(or standard conservative muslims), they're more than happy to shove their opinions down your throat. While doing so, they'll also demand that you directly accommodate them. Jews generally are happy to not shove their opinions down your throat on their religious issues, and the more conservative are generally happier to enclave themselves up and run their lives according to how they want to run them.

Let's leave aside your completely subjective generalities about Muslims and Jews.

Instead, let's focus on the single meaningful metric that might help us test your hypothesis about "shoving their opinions down your throat," by which is generally meant something akin to propagandizing and/or policy that leaves the audience little or no room for maneuver or objection. I'll just assume that's your meaning, too.

I would submit the annual US subsidy of $500 per man, woman and child ($3b total) in direct foreign assistance to Israel is probably a fairer measure of whose opinions are imposed on Americans. That's roughly one fifth of our entire foreign aid budget. Now, you might happen to agree with such aid for religious or ethnic reasons, as is your right; all fine and good. I happen to oppose it as largesse that's morally and strategically unwise. But our sheer inability as opponents to find Democratic or Republican political representatives who'll demur from the policy rather neatly fits the definition of having it shoved down our throats.

about 8 months ago

Neural Net Learns Breakout By Watching It On Screen, Then Beats Humans

Zhe Mappel Ha! (138 comments)

"However, the neural net still struggles to match average human performance in games such as Seaquest, Q*bert and, most importantly, Space Invaders."

There's the Singularity put off for another year.

about 9 months ago

Dogs Defecate In Alignment With Earth's Magnetic Field

Zhe Mappel This explains everything (222 comments)

My pooch was always prone to dingleberries. Too much magnetic alignment, obviously.

about 9 months ago

Carmack On VR Latency

Zhe Mappel A bright future for this kid Carmack (94 comments)

Seriously, though: as a longtime admirer, I have to say his genius would be better used in gaming if he rid himself of the albatross known as id.

Imagine what he could do in any number of R&D areas if he didn't have to ship games bogged down by boring narratives, bland level design and twenty-year old ideas of corridor-based run-and-gun.

I wish he'd turn his attention to improving AI and developing emergent gaming. The next frontier awaits, but our Einstein is bent on rendering the same old mousetrap in ever higher fidelity.

about a year and a half ago

Supreme Court Disallows FISA Challenges

Zhe Mappel FISA? What's all the fuss?! (306 comments)

Those who aren't being wiretapped, tortured or disappeared by the US imperium have absolutely nothing to worry about.

about a year and a half ago

Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games

Zhe Mappel Another step in the crapification of gaming (592 comments)

Like the eponymous player in the song Pinball Wizard, "I must've played them all," but I'm so fed up with the black heart of corporate gaming that I can see a move like this by MS or Sony driving me away from consoles.

I don't want Pay-2-Win on IOS games, I don't want to buy missing features for AAA titles as DLC, I don't want DRM hoops to jump through and I surely don't want a system requiring an always-on connection. Over Comcast -- are you kidding? I'm lucky if my Comcast connection is even usually-on.

It might be different, slightly, if gaming hadn't spent the last decade becoming less and less diverse, cannibalizing itself, regurgitating lots of paint-by-numbers stuff we've seen so many times already. So adding monetary injury to the insult of omnipresent banality is really a northbridge too far.

Lately, I find myself on GOG buying old titles for a pittance. They aren't all nirvana -- some plainly haven't held up -- but a few are quite amusing and richly satisfying (I'm looking at you, Dungeon Keeper). The 360 and PS3 sit in their boxes, unpacked for months since a recent house move. The iPad games go unthumbed. Gaming from before the present era of nonstop exploitation holds out its low-poly hand, and it's really WYSIWYG: the other mitt isn't concealed behind its back with a billy club!

about a year and a half ago

Google Store Sends User Information To App Developers

Zhe Mappel Re:I thought it was creepy, yeah... (269 comments)

Excellent points.

Unfortunately, it's hard to get people to open their eyes about anything. Hardest perhaps of all with what they take to be benign, useful and friendly ("oooh, look at that Valentine's Day Google Doodle!"). Add ubiquity and the herd is fully placated.

As we watch Microsoft's fortunes wane and Google's rise, it's becoming obvious evil simply adapted to circumstances. It got cuter.

about a year and a half ago

Lab Rats Given "Sixth Sense"

Zhe Mappel Could be adapted for implanting in politicians (78 comments)

They taught the rats to choose the active light source by poking their noses into a port to receive a sip of water as a reward

Great tool for positive reinforcement in our congress critters. Still, science fiction teaches us it is always better to stimulate the pain receptors!

about a year and a half ago

Woz Says iPhone Features Are 'Behind'

Zhe Mappel Wozniak is "proud"? (587 comments)

Wozniak said he was proud of how loyal Apple fans were to the iPhone

A product to which he contributed nothing. A company from which he is long divorced.

I understand the need for sentimentality in order to soften his criticism, but it is sentimentality. It gets tiresome seeing corporations -- and their ex-founders -- constantly flog these ersatz emotions. His phoniness is at a mild end of the spectrum, of course, compared to rows of low-salaried store employees standing in lines cheering customers...

And yes, I have a bloody iPhone. I'm not "proud" of it, and when I've been told at the Apple store "congratulations" I like to say, "Ehhh, no need. Many things make me happier than your products." That's how to stop a Stepford Clerk in his tracks.

about a year and a half ago

Average Gamer Is 35, Fat and Bummed

Zhe Mappel Re:lets use electroshock! (439 comments)

Coming soon to the Wii: "Wiiiiii Me? The Zappy Fun-er-cizer!"

about 5 years ago

First American Internet Addiction Treatment Center

Zhe Mappel Definition of "addiction" for Americans (278 comments)

ad . dic . tion, n.: The state or practice of engaging in an activity that does not earn money for one's boss. See antonymns at "well-adjusted" and "slave."

about 5 years ago

A Video Ad, In a Paper Magazine

Zhe Mappel The key question (295 comments)

How long before I can play Doom on my copy of Entertainment Weekly?

about 5 years ago

Duke Nukem For Never

Zhe Mappel Re:this is so sad! (565 comments)

to me, this is as if a relative had died :-(

I see you are grieving, and I hurt with you, my brother.

Just, er, don't tell any relatives that you equate them emotionally with a stripper-loving redneck in a canceled video game.

more than 5 years ago

Chinese Hackers Targeting NYPD Computers

Zhe Mappel Quick! Call Jack Bauer! (212 comments)

Kelly suggested that 'perhaps it is because of the NYPD's reach into the international arena' that they are being targeted for computer hacking 'in much the way the Pentagon has been.'

OK, let's address this calmly. Who has to be tortured to make things right here?

more than 5 years ago


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