The Haus

Thursday, March 29, 2001

More M$ Licensing Fun

InternetWeek writes of the trials and travails a company must go through to make sure you have licenses for all your Microsoft software. Microsoft deserves to be paid if someone wants to use their software, but I don't remember them being named the fourth branch of government. I don't know if I've ever known a company to show such utter contempt for their customers. Thanks Linux Today.

J.t.Qbe comments: Not "customers," A.t. Microsoft deals with "consumers," faceless masses who exist solely to pay money to Microsoft. When Micros~1 says "jump," you're supposed to ask "How high?" It's only a matter of time before more and more get off the merry-go-round. Mexico City, for example, is scrapping its use of Microsoft software and going to Linux, planning to save millions. Ditto for Mexico's schools. It's only the beginning.

Blue Shift for the PC

Gearbox has announced that they will be releasing Half-Life: Blue Shift for the PC. Previously Blue Shift was supposed to be Dreamcast only. In addition to a whole new episode, it will add "high definition" versions of the Half-Life weapons and characters. A movie containing gameplay footage is available for download. Cool stuff for Half-Life fans! I suppose this means I should finally finish the original game sometime. Thanks Stomped.

BGII Wrap-Up

The CEOs of Bioware wrote a wrap-up of Baldur's Gate II for Gamespot. It's sort of like Gamasutra's postmortems, but this one mainly focuses on the lessons learned during the production of BGII. Thanks Blue.

Sadly, I don't know that I have the patience to put in the kind of investment of time and effort necessary to play BGII. I think the first person shooters have ruined my attention span. Having said that, I wish I could play BGII in purely turn-based mode. I prefer to be able to sit back and think about my next move. Granted, you can pause the action, but it's not the same thing.

J.t.Qbe comments: You're right--it isn't. I only played a bit of Baldur's Gate; couldn't stand the "real-time action." Same for Planescape:Torment. I want to like these games, but the obligatory real-time element spoils it. IMHO.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Mega-Minimums for Windows XP

CNet News is reporting that the minimum system requirements for Windows XP will be a huge leap up from WindowsME. Here's a snip:
Microsoft's Web site recommends a minimum 300MHz Pentium II processor and 128MB of RAM to run the Windows XP beta, up from a 133MHz processor and 64MB of memory for Windows 2000. Although many PCs come with 128MB now, machines sold a year ago, especially budget PCs, typically came with much less memory.
A 300 Mhz processor and 128M RAM just to run the freaking OS? Why is it that the only things that seem to be making use of the latest and greatest processors are games and Microsoft's OSes?

The Master comments: And Excel, and Word, and Outlook, and any other form of Windows BloatWareTM you'd care to mention . . .

J.t.Qbe comments: If you don't want to buy a new system just because Microsoft Tells You To, just remember that Linux and BSD have much more reasonable hardware requirements.

A.t. brings up a good question though. It's pretty simple--with both Windows and games, you need the extra hardware to push the pixels around. Most other user software simply doesn't need the horsepower. However, PC sales have been in a slump since December (because most users simply don't need the latest and fastest machine) and this is, I suspect, the first of many attempts to get sales going again. If you want to run Micro$oft's latest and greatest, you're going to need a superpowered machine, so you'd better go buy one! Go! Spend! Be a good consumer! Make M$ happy! That's your reason for existence! Ok, I'm done now--back to my FreeBSD install.

Pondering the Imponderable

I played through the Serious Sam Public Test 2 yesterday just to see what it is like. I couldn't decide if the wave after wave of enemies was frenetic or simply annoying. Having said that, seeing a harpy blow up in a cloud of feathers like a dove hit with a Randy Johnson fastball is a unique experience. The werebull is also very cool. The graphics are gorgeous. For $15, you certainly can't beat it.

A lot of people compare it to Doom with its constant barrage of mindless enemies. When I played Doom, there were parts that actually scared me a bit. Nothing in Serious Sam is particularly terrifying. It's deliberately campy in places. The saving grace might very well be co-op play which was my favorite part of Doom.

The Master comments: I never did play co-op DooM, but I DID play quite a bit of co-op in Quake 1. That was a blast. It's amazing how tactics come into play in a co-op game like that. Great stuff-I hope to see co-op come back in the role it used to have in DooM and Quake 1.

Past Two Days' News

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January 5, 2015: It Returns!
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