The Future of Gaming is Now!

March 25, 2009

I’m sure many of you are following the news coming out of the Game Developers Conference going on this week. Probably the most exciting news released thus far is details about the OnLive gaming service that looks to be pretty revolutionary for the gaming industry.

For those not following the story, OnLive is basically “cloud computing” for gaming. It’s platform agnostic, meaning that you don’t need any particular console or PC to play the games offered by the service. You can use a PC or Mac or a little console-like device provided by OnLive to plug into your TV and play all of the games available on the service as if you had them exclusively on your home device. The service takes care of all the thinking your machine is currently responsible for and off-loads it to their own servers where it renders the game play and video and sends the data back to your machine via the Internet. What the means is that you don’t need any particular set of hardware requirements for your games. PCs/Macs don’t need beefy system specifications and consoles will all be essentially equal in terms of horsepower because they aren’t using anything but input/output and data transfer services in order to play the games.


Besides offering gaming that doesn’t require any specific platform to play games, the service also is said to offer a greater community aspect then you find with most games. Essentially the streams that are sent to your machine in order for you to play the game can also simultaneously be sent to other spectators who want to watch you play. The service also offers a “brag” feature that will capture the last 15 seconds or so of your play and let you create a shareable moment of awesomeness that others will be able to view through the service. You will have the option of adding voice over to these streams so you can record specifics. I can see this being helpful for people providing helpful walkthroughs or tips to get through parts of certain games much like you find currently on YouTube.


This service has great potential to change gaming as we know it. Going into beta this summer and a launch some time next winter, we will soon get a peak at whether or not the Internet is capable of delivering this kind of content to individuals at it’s current state. The Internet has always been a pretty sloppy delivery medium and you have no direct control over the speed your end users get which can ruin their experience with a service like this. It’s possible that this service may end up being ready before the Internet itself is ready to handle delivering this content to users on a large scale.


The other issue that crops up is latency. Online gaming is already plagued with problems when it comes to latency and can directly influence the end result of the game for the user. When that happens, it’s only sending small bits of data to the server and then to all clients. Imagine having to send that data in addition to the large stream that is containing HD video content for your TV. It will also be interesting to note how much data the service ends up sending over the home connections and whether or not bandwidth limits imposed by ISPs start coming into play. I could imagine that some individuals who spend many hours a day playing video games may reach those limits quickly.


It’s a great idea that I hope is successful, it may take a few years after launch for the service itself and the Internet to actually be up to the task of making this concept a smooth reality, but I will keep my eyes on this as I’m sure many of you will as well. Here are some videos detailing the OnLive service.




Another great movie about the service can be found here:

Bend it like Beckham (your contract that is)

March 12, 2009

Being a week away from the Seattle Sounders FC home opener, I’ve got soccer on the brain. I’m eagerly anticipating the inaugural season of the latest expansion team to join the MLS. Seattle is a great soccer town and it’s about time we finally got our own MLS team. It turns out the timing couldn’t have been any better as the Sonics have left, the Mariners and Seahawks are doing fairly dismal, we have a great team of talent and high hopes to enjoy.


One of the great opportunities having the Sounders FC provides is to have lots of other soccer stars come to play in our stadium and to get to see these players in person for 90 minutes. David Beckham is a great soccer player and I’ve always wanted to see him play in person but figured there were slim chances of that. When he joined the LA Galaxy over a year ago, those chances suddenly jumped off the page as we were getting our own expansion team in Seattle. It was only a matter of time for a home game hosting the Galaxy that would most likely bring Beckham to our stands.


Unfortunately, it would seem that fate has thrown that chance into the wind. Sounders are set to host the Galaxy on 5/10/09, it will be without David Beckham who will be continuing to play for AC Milan. I’m not sure why the Galaxy ever “loaned” him out in the first place it’s a bit of a slap in the face if you ask me. If Beckham wasn’t ready to fully commit to the MLS because of World Cup 2010 goals then he shouldn’t have done it. LA offered him too much cash and gave him too much leeway in his contract that now they have this odd situation that makes their front office look to be getting a raw deal.



This is the 2nd time I’ve missed out on seeing Beckham play in Seattle. In 2004, Qwest field played host to a Manchester United vs. Celtic match that was a great game to see, however at the end of the season prior to that year, Beckham left Manchester United to play for Real Madrid.


It seems like Beckham will never play here, which I guess is fine. While I used to actually give it thought, we have our own team of stars now and Beckham just seems like an over paid NFL player. All he needs to do is blame his team mates on his playing performance and he could be T.O.

The Legend of the Seeker Continues to Disappoint

March 3, 2009

I have a feeling that for many fans of the Sword of Truth series watching the TV show “Legend of the Seeker” is like seeing  a car crash. It’s horrible to see, but you can’t help but not look away. At least that is how I feel and why I continue to watch. I guess there is a part of me that keeps hoping each episode that they will some how fix some of the major plot problems and complete inaccuracies they have presented in the series so far.

Richard and Kahlan

I still don’t understand why they settled on the concept of the series. Instead of using the books for more of a guideline on how to tell the story of Richard and his ever changing quest of being the seeker, they instead chose to take the universe created in the books and then create other stories that never happened in the book series. This format lends itself much better to be told as a prequel or rather taking place in some other timeline than when Richard and Kahlan are adventuring in the Midlands and beyond.


The last episode “Remnant” (Episode 13 of the 1st season) sort of had that quality to it, telling the history of a previous Seeker and his confessor. They did a good job of creating something that was believable in the universe of the history of the Midlands, however, the need to tie it together with Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd was unnecessary and just made for more discrepancies between the series and the books. About the only good thing in the latest episode was Bridget Reagan’s cleavage, it practically should have had a credit in the opening sequence.

Speaking of Bridget, she and Craig Horner who play the two leads of the series can’t act themselves out of a paper bag. But considering the type of show, that really isn’t too surprising and I didn’t expect much out of either of them from the beginning. They somehow managed to not meet my already low expectations. The delivery of dialogue is weak and uninspired. Horner lacks the depth to play a complicated character such as Richard. Richard has many sides to his personality and yet Horner only ever really shows one, maybe two if placed in an appropriate situation in an episode’s storyline. Reagan delivers all of her lines with the same monotone flatness completely lacking emotion most of the time.


Bruce Spence who plays Zedd is one of the better characters of the series. The only flaw I see in his performance is that he’s too serious in playing Zedd. In the books Zedd comes across more whimsical, with a very distinctive style and his own funny quirks and habits. There was only one episode that partially explored some of Zedd’s funnier traits and they should delve deeper into his character if they want to help the series.


Based on the preview of the next episode, I’m already cringing at more murder to the storyline. Apparently Richard will be heading home to Hartland (which he never returns to in his fight against Darken Rahl in the first books) and for some reason is dressed as a D’Haran soldier for all if not most of the episode. A gar will make an appearance again which hasn’t happened since the first or second episode and I have a funny feeling Richard will make friends with it and call it Gratch.