The Animal Farm

August 19th, 2010

Re: Windows Mobile 7

Responding to this post. For the uninitiated, Zach and I frequently have open discussions by way of this blog.

Between iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm, I’m starting to believe the phone market is pretty saturated. Given Microsoft’s previous cell-phone performance, I’m not convinced they’re in any position to dent that market. I’ve toyed with porting Word Duelist over to WP7, but I’m hesitant to start up anything unless they want to give me free hardware. I’m pretty certain they don’t.

To respond to the ‘indie game mix’ question, both XBLIG and WP7 use XNA - though obviously WP7 doesn’t have access to as much, and there are mobile considerations that need to be considered (ie tombstoning). The submission method seems like it’s changing; believe me when I say I would gladly wave goodbye to the ego-driven peer review scheme, but the new system might be a tad pricey.

But, y’know, if any of my Microsoft contacts (*cough* Matt) want to pull some strings and get me free hardware, I’d gladly take the plunge.

Any market that lacks peer review already has a special place in my heart.

August 19th, 2010

Windows Mobile 7

It is fairly common knowledge that I currently own an iPhone 3GS.  I bought it when I did (the release day) because at the time I thought it was the best smart phone available.  I still stand by that thought today (that 14 months ago the iPhone had a very strong lead in the smart phone world).  The game has changed since though, however.  Android OS phones seems to be cropping up everywhere and a lot of them are very good (Evo4G, Droid/Droid Incredible/Droid X(possible not, I’ve heard mixed things)).

It does seem like the good Android OS phones aren’t on AT&T, however, and I am pretty sure I am stuck with AT&T until I can convince Morgan to get a different phone other than her iPhone(which she had no desire to buy until I bought mine, now she trumps me in usage by orders of magnitude).  So sticking with AT&T, and knowing that I have another 5 or 6 months (assuming AT&T does what Verizon does, which is let you cash in your new-every-two plan 4 months early) until I can benefit from reupping contracts instead of buying a phone outright, it seems like I might be switching from iOS.

Of course, we have the Android OS running around looking fairly awesome, but currently the AT&T selection is lacking.  I believe Dell is coming out with some smart phones that seem like they might convince me otherwise, however.  Recently though, I’ve been reading up about and looking at a lot of Windows Mobile 7 stuff.  I have to say, I am very taken by these reviews.  The GUI looks fantastic, and it seems much more robust than the iOS one.  A big gripe I have with iOS is that the app icons are static.  I would LOVE something more than these silly badges to alert of me things.  Something as simple as making the weather app icon display the actual temperature, would be much appreciated.  At any rate, I am not sure the Windows Mobile 7 GUI can support this, but it looks like it should, given the “tile” system they have in place.  I am not to wild about the complete integration of FaceBook/Twitter, but that seems to be how things are heading right now.  I actually prefer the seperate apps for this that I have on the iPhone.  I suppose this default functionality could be replaced with applications, but that isn’t something I am used to, being an iPhone user and all :-p.

At any rate, Windows Mobile 7 has really piqued my interest lately, and I am desperately hoping for more information/demos of it soon.  I think it comes out this fall, so I’ll probably jump down to the AT&T store when it does to check it out myself.  Same goes for Dell Storm(I think).   That phone looks pretty sexy as well.

Also, Brian, the XBox Live integration with Windows Mobile 7 looks fantastic, do you have any knowledge about how it mixes with the indie games section of XBox Live?  This seems like an avenue that for your indie games that would probably be easier than porting to Android.


August 9th, 2010


I have a story to tell. How exciting.

About a week ago I posted a call for an artist for Abe and the Velociraptor. Usual venues - GameDev and the XNA Creator’s Club forums. I get a few responses.

The first response was a little strange. When I asked for example art, he sent me the Mona Lisa and a hand holding a mirrored sphere. I initially scoffed and was ready to forget the e-mail (I pointed the ridiculousness out to coworkers that day) when there was a follow up e-mail: “(to clarify) these were hand-drawn reconstructions of the original paintings for an art contest in reconstruction.”

OK, I guess that’s plausible. That sounds like something an artist might do. So I continue communication.

After some discussions, his credentials sounded OK. He linked me to a very compelling portfolio piece - looked pretty modern and well-done. We had some discussions on art direction; nothing in-depth, but there was two-way communication.

For about a week we went back and forth; a few days in, he hinted that he had a significant amount of concept work done and that he was going to put it online. There were a few distractions (girlfriend involvement, couldn’t access the SVN, wasn’t familiar with SVN clients), but I mostly wrote those off as this project not being his highest priority.

And then today the big reveal:

He wasn’t really an artist.

Yea, you read that right. He was just some bored guy stringing me along. He Wiki’d enough articles to sound vaguely convincing. I can only assume the portfolio piece he sent me was someone else’s. And the reconstructions were, in fact, just pictures of original works.

After telling me all this he just… kept talking. Even told me about the game idea he constructed while he was leading me on. Talked about programming and how it might help with his math/physics work. I didn’t much enjoy talking to him when I didn’t know he was playing a prank - I’d actually commented to Laura earlier today about how I didn’t particularly care for him - so after a few minutes I cut the conversation off and went back to, well, playing the ukelele. We’ll talk more about that some other time.

So yea. I got played. He wins, I guess? Moral of the story: be more thorough when recruiting artists.

Second moral: Don’t trust anyone named David Bandel. Apparently he’s developed something of a cult following.

August 8th, 2010

See the Light Android Sales Update

It’s time for everyone’s favorite foray into small numbers:

Trials - 1556
Sales - 25
Total Profit - I don’t wanna think about it

Man: Are you Abe “The Rail Splitter” Lincoln?
Abe: Used to be. These days they call me Mr. President.

August 1st, 2010

It’s Not the Mortality

Ever hear someone recite the aphorism, “Life only has value because it ends,” or many of its variants? The basic premise being that mortality is the driving force behind why humans do things with their lives.

It’s nonsense.

It’s clearly lacking foundation. I don’t know anyone who’s ever known an immortal, I’ve certainly never met one myself. There has not been a frame of reference for how such a being would exist and conduct itself, so speaking on the topic is speaking from a place of sheer ignorance. We’re left with the single reference point, that of the mortal, and we’re hopelessly bad at evaluating even that.

Death is not a motivator for accomplishment - at least not for a good long while. It’s certainly a motivator for some things like not walking in front of pesky trains, but a “mortality deadline” (har har) is not what gives life value and it’s not what compels people to lead fulfilling existences.

How can I say this with such authority? I can’t, really; I’m just as lacking in the alternate perspective as anyone else. I haven’t spent years of my life conducting relevant research (does such research exist?) or even so much as passed out a questionnaire. I base my beliefs on fuzzy observations, analyses of people I’ve known and read about. Instead of even pretending to claim I have hard evidence, I’ll ask a series of questions for you to contemplate, and then I’ll swing back around to reinforcing my points:

If death never loomed, would technology never progress? Would people be satisfied chiseling rocks all day because, hey, they’ve got so much time to chisel rocks? Or would they still move forward to find better ways to spend time?

Has the inevitable death of a young person compelled them to do something extraordinary or was it not even on their mind? Did Gandhi or Bill Gates or Napoleon think, “I’m probably going to be dead by 80, maybe I should get to work,” or did they realize the need for a change and act on that?

Is there a discernible change between the fulfillment people get from their existence when they are young versus when they are old and the “deadline” is looming?

I submit that in any of these cases, mortality changes very little. People are compelled to do things and live their lives and assign values to their existence because those things are there to be done, and that would not change whether the person lived to 70 or a billion or forever.

You could argue that in the face of immortality, there would be a major societal shift in the way life, accomplishment, and value are perceived and that could very well invalidate any of the above. And I would argue that you have absolutely no idea what such a shift would look like - you couldn’t even being to piece that topic.

And please, don’t attempt to extrapolate a poor, anecdotal analysis of short term deadlines and turn that into a comparison on death. They’re fundamentally different beasts.

Yea, that article inspired this post. So what?