Sidhe presents Shatter

This week Wellington based Sidhe releases their second original game – Shatter for PlayStation 3, on the PlayStation Network.

Shatter is a fresh take on the retro brick breaking genre made popular in the 70’s & 80’s by Breakout and Arkanoid. Shatter features innovative controls, physics effects, power-ups, special attacks, and boss battles.

There’s already been some great coverage in the gaming press, including 1UP, IGN and PlayStation Blog.

Shatter will be released worldwide on the 23rd of July for US$7.99 and NZ$9.90.

For more information visit the Shatter website and forums.

NZ Guilt upon accusation laws come into effect on Feb 28

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!

Update: The government has stalled the law and is now considering throwing it out!

World of Goo for Linux

The award winning indie game “World of Goo” has been released for Linux!

On way of describing the game is Jenga with sticky balls of goo. Engineer structures by connecting the goo to get from one side of the level to the other.

Not many commercial games get a Linux release, hopefully if World of Goo and others are successful we may see more games on Linux in the future.

*shakes fist* at Australian game censorship

New Zealand has been caught in the crossfire by Australia’s draconian game classification laws. New Zealand gamers normally have a laugh at Australia’s expense due to their lack of an R18 rating for games, but not this time.

It would appear that in the opinion of Australian politicians, gamers are all children. There is no need for an R18 rating because adults don’t play video games. The consequence of this is many games are modified for the Australian market or are just banned outright. Take2, the publishers of the Grand Theft Auto series have been down the Australian censorship road before. To avoid trouble this time they’ve pre-emptively cut some of the more mature content from the game for the Australian market.

This kind of thing doesn’t normally effect New Zealand. We have an R18 rating – because adults play games. However many of the games sold in NZ for economic reasons are the Australian version. As is the case with GTA IV. So thanks to another countries brain-dead game classification laws the game New Zealanders will be playing is censored.

Alternative transport

The impact of not using your car

A great visual example of the difference between taking the car and alternative forms of transport.

Switched to Linux (again)

I last ran Linux as my primary operating system about four years ago. I switched back to Windows as I was doing a lot of Windows coding for my studies at Media Design School. After getting fed up with various problems I was having with Windows XP I recently decided to switch back to Linux again. Last time I was running Mandrake but I felt like something new this time round. After reading some reviews and checking out a few desktop screen shots I chose openSUSE 10.2. Ubuntu was a close second. It seems to be the Linux distribution of choice at the moment but I found it a bit too brown for my liking 🙂 Ultimately this screen shot did it for me. I thought this looked like a real clean, uncluttered and easy to use desktop. This is the default Gnome desktop, I’ve been a die-hard KDE in the past but I feel nowadays less is more. The new Gnome main menu looks reminiscent of the Windows XP Start menu. However there are a few subtle differences. For one, it includes Beagle desktop search. Not the Windows style search, more like Google Desktop. Type something in there and it will find applications, documents, email, web pages you’ve visited. Rather than opening up a huge hierarchical menu, the More Applications button opens up a page of more applications. No surprise there, but it’s more web like interface is quite nice to use. It also provides a search mechanism and convenient groupings to help with finding things.

That’s the default install. I’ve tweaked it a fair bit. For a start the default music player “Helix Banshee” didn’t work with my iPod Shuffle. I upgraded that to a newer version of Banshee that fixed that. I was quite intrigued by the features of Beryl. I was also finding the package management that came with openSUSE not that great. There seemed to be two package managers installed, Zen and Yast. Neither of which were that great, the main problem being that they were both incredibly slow to check for updates. Instead I installed a new package manager called Smart. It’s really fast and a breeze to use. Hopefully it’s included as standard in a future version.

Despite all the beta software I’ve installed it’s still pretty stable. I genuinely think that this desktop setup is nicer and easier to use than Windows XP. I can burn DVD+Rs again and my PC doesn’t reboot several times while trying to boot the OS and I can use ethernet without it dying every couple of minutes like it was on XP.

Although I installed a dual boot Linux/Windows configuration, I don’t think I’ve actually booted Windows since I finished reinstalling it.

Slashdot runs serious story on April fools day

Ha ha April Fools! As if /. would run anything but non-stop shit April fools jokes the whole day. Okay so it’s a slight exaggeration but I swear the jokes get worse every year…

GripShift online leaderboards

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on online high score tables for our PS3 game GripShift. We’ve now made these live on the official GripShift website. Building our own leaderboard site means we’ve been able to provide GripShift players with information that is not available in game, like overall player rank. So know we can tell who is the best GripShift player in the world! Incidentally it’s a guy called GG2U who bought and completed the game the first week it was out, he’s got some youtube videos of him pulling off some insane moves. Now the leaderboards are available online though others are seeking to end GG2U’s reign at the top.

In other GripShift news the boffins in the marketing department have uploaded a new trailer to youtube just in time for the European launch. HD trailer downloads are coming soon.


Wii News Channel Launches

I just updated my Wii to access the newly launched Wii News Channel. The top headline for New Zealand today: “New Zealand declares National Lamb Day”.

The country is finally coming out of the closet to declaring their Lamb Love with a national day.

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton stated, “New Zealanders had no reason to be embarrassed about their sheep … we hope all New Zealanders will recognise … this milestone and mark it by enjoying lamb for dinner on Feb. 15”.

Oh, we’re celebrating eating them then. Fuck off Jim I’m vegetarian.