Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thunder. Thunder. Thunder. Thundercats, HO!

This is fan made and not an actual trailer, but it still makes me tingly. Remember Thundercats?



-iRob

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If this doesn't make you smile there may be something wrong with you. I'm just saying.



-iRob

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Master the Grid

If you've seen Tron, you may agree that the best part of the entire movie was the light cycle sequence.



The entire sequence is just over 2 minutes long, but it's the part that stuck with me for a long time afterwards. I also think that it was the first time I had seen CGI. Although it is possible to do this using old-school (really old-school) tech.


For years I wanted my own light cycle, possibly the coolest vehicle ever conceived.

My father once found me a shareware game for my Tandy 1000SX that was exceptionally cool, but it didn't have any AI built in and was strictly a two player game. It took a simplified top down view of two lengthening lines and threw in some random obstacles which for the time was pretty slick. I don't recall what it was called and can't find it now but it was very similar to Flash Tron which you can play within your web browser. A similar (but not as good) game is BMTron,

Another game of a similar feel is Tron 2.0 for the Gameboy Advance. The light cycle part is simply a minigame included with the main game but for my money it's the best part. (Click through the gallery here for a look.)

I hadn't thought about these much for a long time until recently when browsing the iTunes app store. I came across the free version of LightBike, which is pretty much what I had been hoping for when I was nine. It's fun but doesn't have a lot of staying power. I upgraded to the paid version in the vain hope that someday another of my friends will happen to have it as well so I can try multiplayer, but until then it's a nice diversion.

It did get me curious however to see if there was any other newer 3D cycle games out there. I had heard Tron 2.0 included a light cycle part but due to lag concerns it was 1-player only, which is never as fun. It turns out that there is a huge variety of games out there, most of which are free for the taking and community supported.

I tinkered with a few but the best by far was Armagedtron Advanced. It is incredibly fun, fast paced, addictive, and free. It comes in Linux, Windows, and Mac versions and runs extremely well on my home network. I tried it on my 7 year old Compaq (Win XP, 1.9 Ghz, 768Mb Ram) with a 6 year old video card (Radeon 9600 Pro, 128 Mb), and it works amazingly well with all of the graphics options cranked. On my ancient Dell laptop (1ghz, 256Mb, embedded crappy video, Ubuntu Linux) it runs smooth as silk (so long as all of the graphics are set to the absolute minimum).

You can play several people on one computer split-screen, or multiple people over a network / the internet, or any combination of these. You can customize anything you like, including creating maps, custom cycles, game physics tweaks, etc. So far the only changes I've made include decreasing the default cycle speed and making the computer controlled opponents really, really stupid. Even so, it's still blindingly fast and very hard. The trailer below captures a lot of the feel, but trust me when I say that it's a lot faster and significantly more intense when it is you making the turns.



Some more videos showing gameplay details are here (try to ignore the narration), and here.

I think that this would be an excellent choice for a LAN party. No weapons, no advantages, just reflexes, strategy, and picking a bike color (harder than it looks). So seriously, go download it and give it a try. And if you like it let me know, and meet me on the grid.

-iRob

"You've enjoyed all the power you've been given, haven't you? I wonder how you'd take to working in a pocket calculator." -Master Control Program, Tron

Monday, February 09, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Recorded Live - Now Found

Craziness! - The short film that haunted my dreams for years in my childhood has been found! Special thanks to Dr. Haggis for succeeding where I failed. Check out the video on YouTube here.

Oddities and incongruities: I was 100% certain that this was a Canada Film Board project, but that appears to be incorrect as it was rather an HBO short. Also, while it is clearly the film I watched, my memories do not match. I remember the story and most of the imagery, but the point of view, the layout of the set, the order of events and timing all do not match what's in my noggin. Clearly I'm remembering the 3 years of dreams that were based on the movie, and the director there must have used some creative license.

The up-tempo piano jazz was certainly a surprise as well.

-iRob

"We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society." - Judith Martin