Enjoy your stay on Sir Arthur's Den, the website immune to the obsessive-compulsive advertising disease that has infected the Net. Read around, meet the author, do stuff and, if you like, leave a message ;-)
In short, how much is the performance improvement coming from DirectX 12 really worth? The graphics libraries exclusive to Windows 10 (the worst tragedy ever happened to computers since Microsoft Bob, but we will talk about that later…) promise to greatly increase the fps counter thanks to the optimized use of the GPU, and benchmarks seem to confirm the qualities of the new technology. On the other hand the “closer to the metal” approach in using the graphics co-processor isn’t just for Microsoft, while reality seems more complicated than a simple benchmark and the PC hardware around the world is full of crap. My PC, conversely, is even worse than that.
Technology progress is relentless but requires time, just like the new DirectX 12 libraries already hailed by someone like a revolution a few years before their times; success, then, is never guaranteed as shown by Ouya, the micro-console that wanted to rule over the world's living rooms and it ended up like the silly flop I was expecting since day one. In the end, when change comes for real, the PC as a gaming machine isn't dead anymore and remotely-censored digital delivery services have trapped us all. Forever. I liked the MS-DOS better.
Public cloud computing services are among the most unreliable technology products out there, and this is a fact that Internet corporations never cease to confirm. As a matter of fact, the only true guarantees that the aforementioned corporations can concretely comply with are the ones about security risks for virtual computing instances, breaches in users’ sensible and personal data, unauthorized password access, the unavailability of communication services vital for a country’s authorities. Insecurity is the only “always-on” thing, in the wonderful world of cloud, and promises about “unlimited” resources are lies so awful that Pinocchio would be disgusted.
How long does a videogame’s life last? I mean, how much time does it take to turn a “simple” game into something worthy of being in a museum, or into a downright phenomenon which endures the passage of time and is still played, modded and appreciated decades after being released? Selling millions of copies surely helps in reaching the “classic” status, as much as it’s useful to not to exclusively depend on digital stores that are on-line now and will likely be off-line tomorrow. In the end, as the 2015 E3 in June showed, gaming memories strike back on new generation machines as well.
The past that never goes away: Capcom still sells the same game with the Resident Evil brand, and someone is still buying it; CRPG games that were hot in the Nineties are updated, fixed and twisted in a worthless succession of “enhanced versions” with no end in sight (at least available on disk and fully translated as well); the monsters that were trendy in the Eighties are still relevant today in games, so good luck with creativity and renovating the collective imaginary. Today, if you want to play some really new game, you must turn to indie developers. This industry is brain dead.
After spending years turning piracy into a state affair and a business opportunity for copyright parasites, the media majors must now face a more and more obvious reality: fighting the sharing of digital contents on-line, on the Web or P2P networks bears no positive result at all. At least according to a growing collection of “official” researches and not just to sharing activists. The industry’s reply? More anti-piracy, more complaints and even more years in jails for wrongdoers.
Four months have passed, maybe it’s time to update the blog once more. And maybe it’s fine to resume some series neglected for too long like the one about the market of computer Web browsers. The last post on the topic dates back to 2009, and in just six years the situation changed so radically to seem like belonging to another age. And as a matter of fact we are in a completely different age, with many unknowns and a factual observation which is worth being highlighted above anything else: Firefox is a browser unavoidably doomed to oblivion, and it’s all Mozilla’s fault.
These gaming trends need to die once and for all: the bombastic and ridiculous hype from supporters of virtual reality, a worthless nonsense with no future since the second half of the last century; the stupid downloadable contents like Mortal Kombat “easy” fatalities; crowdfunding campaigns ending in a complete fiasco. The things that will never be enough: new side-scrolling action platformers; the growing popularity of PC gaming.
After unveiling the partnership with DeNa for smartphone games and the new console known as NX, Nintendo recently said not to feel like a loser in the home console market: the corporation isn’t “cornered” at all, president Satoru Iwata has stated, even though it is aware of the need to be up to date in a constantly changing world. Nintendo had more than a chance to enter the mobile casual gaming business, so the DeNa partnership comes from a thoughtful choice and not from desperation.
The content industry can rely on a growing number of tools for trying to censor, sue and damage the users of file-sharing, but said users have more and more ways to share, search and download music, videos or software as well. The Pirate Bay (TPB) is on of the most known names and one of the majors’ main targets as always, yet the old lion of BitTorrent P2P has got its own problems and it has to give way to competition as the most popular torrent site on the Internet.
Among the many lies cloud computing providers tell users and companies, the one about reliability and full-time availability is always the first to be proven wrong by facts. Cloud platforms go off-line almost regularly, and it matters little that the infrastructure is needed to manage applications and data in real time or that the affected provider is a hi-tech giant. Sooner or later all the remote servers vanish in a sorrowful cloud, and the user is left with his frustration for having entrusted his own business or digital life to someone who is only interested in turning them into profits.
Before the arrival of Windows 95, the creators of self-replicating malicious code were deeply concerned about the potential consequences of the new OS on the future of their activity. After the historical generation leap from DOS to the windows-based GUI, however, virus writers gained new confidence in their abilities, expanding their horizons and developing inclinations that occasionally turned into true megalomania. Some of the VXers from the Nineties had the god complex, and they didn’t hide it at all.
In April 1994 computing was still young, operating systems worked from the command line and the PC still had to become the universal phenomenon which later turned into a commodity like everything else. Microsoft was about to radically change things by releasing Windows 95, but there was another group of technophiles concerned with the generation leap from the prompt to the windows-based GUI and the consequences that it would have had on how the low-level code ran.
In the years gone by, when the arcades were still out there, I tried more than one “immersive” gaming experience among mega-screens, light guns and various simulations. A nice thing but nothing more. Personally I couldn’t care less about this new craze of virtual reality helmets, simulations beyond the limit of silliness and new technical solutions to avoid puking while you are in the virtua-world. Not even Half-Life could persuade me: I do not want stupid and sickening immersive simulations, I want stories. A new Loom maybe, now that the original one was released again digitally on GOG.com.
The last time I was talking about surprising news coming for the home consoles, and in these two weeks it was mostly Nintendo that stirred things up with unexpected announcements that (partially) confirm specific analysts’ anticipations and the need to stimulate a merciless market. But let’s start from the beginning: NPD Group numbers about sales of gaming hardware and software reinforce Sony’s lead on February too, at least for the home consoles, and the Japanese corporation’s business grows accordingly.
Trend Micro recently discovered a new malware family, classified as PE_VIRLOCK and designed as a combination of two different types of malicious code. The first type is related to a past when we still talked about computer “viruses” and not cyber-crime, while the second one is one of the most successful malware-based businesses of the past years. VIRLOCK is a ransomware which is capable of spreading through file virus techniques, and the worst part is that its evolution isn’t complete yet.
Since coming back on-line after the raid in a Swedish data center/nuclear bunker at the end of 2014, The Pirate Bay (TPB) has to endure a sailing by sight ridden with perils, dangerous waves and the usual zealots of the content industry ready to do anything to eradicate the most known symbol of BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) from the Internet forever. Anyway not all the efforts against “piracy” are focused on TPB, and not all the news coming from the P2P frontline are bad news.
Recently I said that the modern gaming world is horrible, however a more balanced view should sound like “half of today’s gaming market is horrible”. The things that aren’t so horrible for me include the relentless technology evolution - the new DirectX 12 should bring really great performance improvements - and the classic games continuously remixed or kept alive by fans. The worst (ie Electronic Arts) is anyway always lurking, besides the always-true warning about the inability of the big software houses to properly manage their most valuable treasures.
Who is winning and who is losing, more than a year after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One debut, the commercial, technological and gaming challenge of the eighth generation home consoles? The market seems to confirm the trend already set the past year, with the Sony console as the leading platform and the Microsoft machine desperately trying to get back on the top. Nintendo, at last, is really this generation’s Cinderella. But the future could be surprising for everyone, even for users thinking they have purchased a hardware device made to be forever unchanged.
Cloud computing is a scam, an endless progression of lies, technically impossible to honor pledges and outages that routinely shut down services the marketing sells as always-on and always available for users and companies’ needs. And yet the Internet herds are still drinking the toxic water of the cloud, and the corporations never get tired of making more and more amazing promises about the mythical features of remote-controlled systems.