Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Microsoft's X06 Coverage


Today Microsoft is hosting X06 out of Barcelona Spain. X06 is Microsoft's Xbox brand experience for the games and entertainment industry. To keep up with news and announcements coming out of X06, you can find coverage on a few different sites, some of which are listed below.

Joystiq is offering live-blogging throughout X06 from Barcelona, Spain, check it out here: X06: Press conference liveblogging - Joystiq

Gamespot has live coverage of X06 here: X06: Microsoft briefing in Barcelona--LIVE! - Gamespot

TeamXbox.com has coverage of X06 here: X06 from Barcelona, Spain - Team Xbox

Via: Major Nelson: Here are the direct links to the LIVE stream of the press conference if you want to watch. (You'll need Windows Media Player.)

http://dl.groovygecko.net/anon.groovy/clients/xbox/live/hb_1.asx

http://dl.groovygecko.net/anon.groovy/clients/xbox/live/hb_2.asx

MSN and Control Room Bring Music Performances to MSN Video


MSN and Control Room have signed a multiyear agreement to bring concerts to MSN Video, Quote:

"LOS ANGELES and REDMOND, Wash. ? Sept. 26, 2006 ? Control Room (formerly Network LIVE), the No. 1 provider of live digital entertainment and the producers of Live 8, and MSN, a leader in delivering compelling entertainment to consumers around the world, today announced a multiyear, global live content distribution agreement. Under this new arrangement, MSN will be the exclusive online worldwide destination via live and on-demand streaming for Control Room?s slate of live music programming, and visitors to MSN® Video will have ongoing access to live concerts from the most popular, top-selling musical artists as well as today?s most talked-about breakthrough acts."


Check out the full article here: MSN and Control Room Team to Bring Music?s Biggest Performances to Fans Worldwide: Exclusive multiyear agreement for live concerts launches with John Legend live from the Royal Albert Hall in London on Oct. 2.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tokyo Game Show


Many things announced today at the Tokyo Game Show. I had planned on posting about some of it but it seems I can't. I am totally tied up on a project at work and do not have the time to blog much. So, I just wanted to post a couple of good sources for TGS Coverage. Check out Team Xbox's TGS report for all the low down on what is going on. I am sure a few of the other sites such as Gamespot, Qj.net, or Next Generation will cover it as well.

I have seen that Microsoft is bringing coverage of TGS into the living room through Xbox Live, which I think is very cool. Anyhow, I am out of here and back to work. I will not be blogging much until after the weekend, not even my usual article links. Enjoy the TGS coverage.

Xbox 360 Platinum Hits Set to Launch - Next Generation


Next Generation has posted an article on the Xbox 360 Platinum Hits, Quote:

"Microsoft revealed today that the Xbox 360 will be getting its own line of budget-priced software beginning October 15."

The article goes on to mention the games will retail for $29.99 and four titles will be available at first with more titles going platinum in spring of 2007. Check out the article here:Next Generation - Xbox 360 Platinum Hits Set to Launch:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Microsoft Fights Piracy: Twenty Lawsuits Filed


Microsoft announced today that they have filed suit against twenty different companies for piracy, Quote:

"The lawsuits, filed against 20 defendants throughout the U.S., are against companies that allegedly distributed counterfeit software or software components or participated in hard-disk loading. Hard-disk loading is the installation of unlicensed software on computers that are then sold to unsuspecting businesses or consumers who will be denied the benefits of genuine Microsoft software. Lawsuits were filed against companies in nine states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Texas."

The announcement also discusses forensic testing of the conterfit software media wich, they say, could pose a risk to consumers. Check it out here: Microsoft Legal Action Aims to Help Fight Piracy: Twenty lawsuits allege illegal software sales, while new forensic analysis shows risks of counterfeit Microsoft software to consumers and businesses.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Video Game Violence in the Media


There has been a lot of talk lately about video game violence in the media. The story of late is about Kimveer Gill. Mr. Gill went on a shooting spree injuring about twenty people before taking his own life. One of the first reports out about Mr. Gill's suggested a link between video game violence and the shooting.
From everything I have read there is no proof that violent video games lead to homicidal rampages with guns in real life. Why can't the world just see a crazy nut with a gun who happened to play games? Because his games of choice, Postal and Super Columbine Massacre, are very violent games with a link to the real world.
As you undoubtedly know by looking at my blog, I am a gamer. When I heard about this happening, I knew some people would blame video games. Just like they blamed music, TV, movies, etc in the past. If violent video games are creating such demoralizing, violence inducing, traits in youths, why has the crime rate in teens and youths declined with the incline of video game sales? If these things make us monsters, should not the rise in sales also show a rise in violence in youth?
All the studies I have read and seen are jaded to some aspect. They get reworded or taken out of context so much that they loose all real meaning. There has not been one genuine study that proves video games cause violence. Meanwhile, some representatives in Capitol Hill are using these flawed reports to try and enact laws to protect us from games.
What I want to know is, when are we as a society going to quit blaming someones past time for the cause of all their woes? When we, as a society, start making people take responsibilities for what they have done and that won't happen so long as politicians and lawyers are looking for ways to create sensationalism to achieve their own agenda.
The best way to fight this misinformation is to vote, get rid of the ones causing the trouble. Quit watching or reading the articles that you know are wrong, do not support the ones who report it and let them know you won't stand for it. With tools like the Internet, we are more in the know than any other time in history and yet society keeps doing the same things, refusing to move ahead with the times.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Microsoft's Zune Delivers Connected Music - Press Release


Microsoft Press Release - REDMOND, Wash. ? Sept. 14, 2006 ? Marking the next big milestone for its Connected Entertainment vision, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled details of the first products to be released under its Zune? brand. Designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune will create new ways for consumers to connect and share entertainment experiences. The Zune experience centers around connection ? connection to your library, connection to friends, connection to community and connection to other devices.

?The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning,? said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft, who is leading the charge for building the family of Zune products. ?With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections.?


The Zune Experience

Available this holiday season in the United States, Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.

Every Zune device creates an opportunity for connection. Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

Zune makes it easy to find music you love ? whether it?s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace. Easily import your existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and browse millions of songs on Zune Marketplace, where you can choose to purchase tracks individually or to buy a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee.

To get started with great music and videos out of the box, every Zune device is preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music?s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records, and V2/Artemis Records.

Zune Accessories

To enhance the Zune experience, three accessory packs help Zune users enjoy their music where they want to, at home or on the road. The packs and the individual accessories, all designed exclusively for Zune, will be available at launch:

* The Zune Car Pack includes everything needed to hit the road with a Zune device, such as the built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger.

* The Zune Home A/V Pack enhances your experience in the home through five products that integrate Zune with the TV and music speakers: Zune AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Sync Cable, Zune AC Adapter and the Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock.

* Zune Travel Pack is a set of five products designed to keep friends and family entertained on the road: Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and the Zune AC Adapter.

Providing consumers with additional options to customize and personalize their Zune experience, Microsoft is also working with leading accessory manufacturers Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research

The Future is Bright

In addition to the features available at launch, built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. As Zune evolves, the device can be easily updated. The Zune software on your PC will let you know when these updates are available for download.

About Zune

Zune is Microsoft?s music and entertainment platform that provides an end-to-end solution for Connected Entertainment. The Zune experience includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service, and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. Inspired by the vast and varied community of music fans, Zune focuses on helping emerging artists shape the digital canvas. Zune is part of Microsoft?s Entertainment and Devices division and supports the company?s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq ?MSFT?) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft sued over Xbox Live Messaging


The Inquirer online has an article about Microsoft being sued over Xbox Live, Quote:

"A CASE has arisen in a Texas district court alleging Microsoft breached patents over multiplayer games this week.

Delaware plaintiff Paltalk Holdings Inc alleges Microsoft has breached its patents relating to methods and systems for communicating over networks."
According to the deposition the Xbox Live messaging service infringes on patents held by Paltalk for messaging over a wide area network. Check out the full article here: Microsoft sued over Xbox internet and the deposition here: http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/PaltalkversusMicrosoft.pdf

Could Nintendo Return to Console Dominance?


Nintendo announced the price on the Wii this morning at a NY press conference, Quote:

"Nintendo will reshape the home entertainment and video game landscape with the launch of its heralded Wii? home video game console. Wii will go on sale in the Americas on November 19th and Japan on December 2nd - European launch date, price and software line up will be announced at a press conference in London tomorrow (Friday 15th).

Wii will be sold as an affordable, mass-consumer product at an MSRP in the US of just $249.99. The price includes one wireless Wii Remote controller, one Nunchuk? controller and the groundbreaking collection of five different Wii Sports games on one disc, which anyone can play using simple physical movements, experienced or not."
I expect the Wii will be a huge hit this year. With Sony only releasing 400,000 units in the US and both next gen systems, Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, having higher price tags, the Wii packaging a five game disk with the console, the MSRP of Wii games being $49.99 ($10 less than the 360 titles and $10-$50 cheaper than PS3 titles), and the Virtual Console with hundreds if not thousands of games from the NES and SNES, the Nintendo Wii could end up being the number one console sold during the holiday season this year. Specially since Nintendo is targeting their marketing of the Wii as a console for the non-gamer and the dedicated gamer.

Funny, getting a Wii for $250 and an Xbox 360 core package of $300 put the combined costs close to the price of a PS3 core system of $500 and less expensive than the full PS3 system of $600. Check out the announcement here: Nintendo Announces U.S. Launch Date and Price - Team Xbox

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windows Live Services Go Live


Microsoft announced today that Live Search and Live.com have been released from beta in 47 markets worldwide including the U.S. and the U.K. Quote:

"The launch of Live Search is a significant milestone for our services business, with our core search and monetization platform ready for prime time for MSN and Windows Live? as well as for partners through syndication deals," said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of Live Search at Microsoft. "We now have the base to weave search through our services in ways that bring value to customers. This is just the beginning. We look forward to continued investment in search to deliver services that bring new levels of control and personalization to the Web experience."

ANALYSIS: Science and Videogame Addiction - Next Generation


Next Generation has posted an article by Aaron Ruby about Onslaught 2.0, the movement to make gaming a bad thing. Quote:

"Questionable scientific 'evidence' of game addiction is giving the industry?s critics ammunition for a new onslaught against the medium. And this time, it?s not just violent games that are under fire."

The article touches on the history of crusades against video games and the sensationalist popular science being used to target video games. This is more threatening than the violent video games debates, addiction brings on a whole new argument and studies to use against video games. Quote:
"Onslaught 1.0 focused almost exclusively on ?games with violent content.? Among other things, it allowed most of the industry to take a giant step backward (or as far away as possible) from studios like Rockstar and Running With Scissors.

Onslaught 2.0, however, will target the medium in general. There?ll be no slouching back to Tiburon this time round. And thanks to the kind of uncritical, sensationalist popular science that has found its way into places like NewScientist, the crusaders have acquired precisely the ammunition they need to stoke the stigma against videogames and renew their campaign to make gaming a sin that demands government temperance."

I believe this is the gaming industries wake up call, a call to arms if you will. If things continue as they have, gaming will soon find itself regulated like tobacco, drugs, and gambling. Gamers should sit up and take notice, mail your representatives to let them know you are not an addict, you are a gamer. You are not addicted to games, games are a way to enjoy a story interactively. Respond to NewScientist, tell them they are wrong to publish sensational claims on limited research that proves nothing and is based on a flawed model. Take the time to read the article, it points out many of the flaws inherent in this type of research. Check out the four page article here: Next Generation - ANALYSIS: Science and Videogame Addiction

Video Games Live Concert Inspiring Talent Show Act?

Video Games Live (VGL) is an immersive concert event created by the game industry featuring game music performed live with synchronized effects and audience participation. VGL seems to be inspiring the youth of today. Check out this rendition of Halo put on for a talent show by local high schools. Whoever says gaming can't be a positive influence should see this video.


Running just over seven and a half minutes, these kids put on a great show. A very VGL like rendition, this act moves from the Halo theme into the Mario theme and back into Halo. Much better than the talent show at my high school back in the day. The best act back then was guys in pantyhose singing some country song. The original video and a second video of the same act can be found on YouTube here: YouTube - Halo Theme Song School Talent Show

Via: Qj.net

Ben Heckendorn's Xbox 360 laptop: best mod ever? - Engadget


Wow, what to say? A fully functional Xbox 360 as a laptop! Talk about your portable platform. I talked with a friend about doing this very thing to a PS2 a few years ago, before the Xbox claimed me as a follower. Anyhow, great mod. Check it out here: Ben Heckendorn's Xbox 360 laptop: best mod ever? - Engadget

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Author Eric Nylund Interview at Bungie.net


Frankie over at Bungie.net posted the weekly update and in that update is an interview with Eric Nylund, the author of the Halo novels. Quote:

"Eric Nylund, author, bon vivant and debonair man about town, sat down with Bungie over a glass of excellent port and discussed his latest tome, the gold standard and the price of cravats."

The interview discusses why Mr. Nylund wanted to write the Halo novels, his current job at Microsoft, the up and coming book Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, and his future plans. A very interesting read with some good information. Also posted in this update is the cover picture of the new book Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. To see a larger picture of the cover or read the interview, go check out the post here: Bungie.net : Top Story

Via: Qj.net

Friday, September 08, 2006

New XNA Resources and Tutorials

Just a quick post to say I have added many new XNA resources on my XNA Project Blog. Included in the resources are links to the XNA Team Members Blogs, other XNA games/projects, and other XNA related websites. So, if you are looking for a more complete list of XNA resources, check out the project blog here: rijit's XNA Project. Yes this is a shameless plug to get you to go check out my XNA Project. Besides, where else are you going to find such a large XNA link list? (If you have found one or an XNA site or project not listed, let me know so I can list it!)

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Fall 2006 Dashboard Update Full Res. ScreenShots - Xbox-Scene News


XanTium over at Xbox-Scene.com has posted some screenshots of the September SDK release with the features that will be available on the next Xbox 360 Dashboard update. Quote:

"The September XDK has been released and with it developers got a first look at what to except in the fall 2006 dashboard update for the Xbox 360 that will be released in November 2006 to the public."
Looks like a slick update with some new features including the Launchpad for booting XNA games. Check em out here: Xbox-Scene News: Fall 2006 Dashboard Update Full Res. ScreenShots

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Firefox: Not as Secure as You Think


Many people have switched to Firefox because of security vulnerabilities in IE. In July I blogged about an article called Microsoft vs Firefox Myths which debunked many of the reasons I myself starting using Firefox such as: Firefox is more secure than IE: False!

Now, Adam Harrsion on g2zero.com has an article about the security of Firefox and it seems it is in worse shape than previously mentioned. Quote:

"Using Klocwork's K7 static analysis tool, I examined the large and complicated code base of the popular open source browser, Firefox. Overall it is clear that Firefox is a very well written and high quality piece of software. Several builds were performed on the code, culminating in the final analysis of version 1.5.0.6. The analysis resulted in 655 defects and 71 potential security vulnerabilities. The Firefox team has been given the analysis results, and they will determine if or how they will deal with the issues."

Seventy one vulnerabilities, that is a lot of security problems to fix. It seems to me all these browser Dev teams should get together and trade ideas on how to fix these vulnerabilities. After all, Microsoft invited Mozilla Devs over to make sure Mozilla and Firefox run on Vista. Would they not all make greater strides by sharing information and making security more open source? I think so but I am not part of either Dev team. Anyhow, read more about the Fierfox vulnerabilities here: g2zero archive: Examining defects in the Firefox code base

Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback


Ozymandias points out that Wildchicken is taking feedback on the Xbox 360 UI. It seems Widlchicken is the User Experience lead within Microsoft's Entertainment Experience Group, a team whose charter is defining great end-to-end user experiences across Microsoft's gaming and entertainment products including Xbox 360, Xbox Live, and Zune. Quote:

"Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback
Until I figure out how to put a permanent article for getting feedback on the Xbox 360 UX, I'm going to start by putting this blog entry in specifically for that. Feel free to leave comments, issues, suggestions, etc. Know that I or someone from the UX team will be reviewing them, if not necessarily commenting."
So, head on over to Wildchicken: Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback and let them know what they need to add.

Via: Ozymandias.com

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My XNA Project: Ringpod Warz


I have put up a site on Windows Live Spaces to document my experience in creating a game using XNA Games Studio Express Beta. I have posted a concept image and I will get the game notes posted today. So, as you have probably noticed by now, I have been posting less. I do not see my time allowing me to be a prolific poster and create a game, therefore my posting will suffer. I will try to keep up with important things going on the the tech and gaming world but it will probably be behind by a few hours. You can check out the progress on the game or volunteer to help by going here: rijit's XNA Project.

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

THE TOP 100 PC GAMES OF THE 21ST CENTURY - Next Generation


Next Generation has an article by Joe Keiser about The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century. Quote:

"Next-Gen has ranked the top 100 PC games released since January 2000, based wholly on unit sales. Revenues, aggregate review scores, commentary, franchise information and more are included."
Each game on he list has commentary on it's claim to fame. The list is copyrighted so if you are wanting to see what game was number one in sales, take a look at the article here: Next Generation - THE TOP 100 PC GAMES OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Sunday, September 03, 2006

XNA 101: Learning to Code Games

So, you want to create a game for the Xbox 360 or a Windows PC. Your looking for examples, tutorials, videos, and samples. You have found the place you need to be. I have a list here of sites that hope to help you achieve your gaming goal, a round-up of the latest sites I have found from around the web. So, without further ado, let's jump right in. (All links in this article open in a new window.)

MSDN.com is the Microsoft Developers Network, an online community for developers using Microsoft's developer tools. MSDN has forums for Game Technologies Forums available from Microsoft and the XNA Forum is located here as is the XNA Team Blog. Several other blogs of note on MSDN that include tutorials, tools, or commentary about XNA are:

XNATutorial.com - Video tutorials.

Krishna's XNA Space - XNA training/learning site.

George Clingerman's Blog - Tutorials and game.

XNADevelopment.com - Tutorials and source code.

Dev360.de - Site in German.

Xbox360Homebrew.com - Tutorials, discussions, and code.
TheZBuffer.com - Articles and resources.

TheHazeyMind.com - Tutorials and articles.

LearnXNA.com - Video tutorials and articles.

XNASpot.com - Tutorials, articles, and code.
Also, check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards for the FPS Genre


Gamasuta has an article in which they ask some game industry professionals which FPS game made the biggest leap in the genre. Quote:

"In August 2006, the editors of Gamasutra asked its readership of game industry professionals to chime in and vote for which game in the first-person shooter genre "brought the genre forward" in the biggest way - whether it be an early game that helped define the FPS, or a more recent one which took those core ideas and developed a more rewarding experience than before. Specifically, we asked: "Which first-person shooter/action title over the entire history of the FPS game do you think has made the biggest 'quantum leap' in the genre, and why?" "


The developers included in the article is a long list which I won't list in full detail but some of the quotes are from: Alex Swanson, GarageGames, Inc.; Toni Petrina, Cyprox Studios; Patrick Redding, Ubisoft; and many others. The games discussed are Alien Vs. Predator, Descent, Deus Ex, Doom, GoldenEye 007, Half-Life, Koronis Rift, Marathon, Quake, System Shock, System Shock 2, Tribes, and Wolfenstein 3D.

What I found peculiar is that Halo was not named in the article, I would have expected it to at least get an Honorable Mention since it was and still is one of the most popular console FPS game to date. This may not represent a quantum leap forward but I believe it is definitely worth a mention since it practically drove the Xbox console sales during the first year. Me and many of my friends bought the original Xbox in part to play Halo. I have not played all the titles listed but I am starting the process of hunting them all down to give them a try. I enjoy the historical side of gaming as much as I do the next-gen hype and hope to add these games to my gaming experience.

I put the above list of games in alphabetical order, if you want to find out what game was voted number one, you will have to go read the article here: The Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards: First-Person Shooters