Modern Warfare 2 sucakge

Ξ February 26th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Rants |

Dear Infinity Ward and Activision, whichever is to blame.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is at the core of the game, a good game. It has all the good parts of a COD based games. It has good, solid gameplay.

That being said. I HATE it! What on earth were you thinking when the retards you call execs made the decision to do what was done. I will get to the list shortly. I am a PC gamer, and as such i expect to have my PC games live up to a standard. Without sounding snooty i would dare say that PC gamers are a more adept and tech savvy than console gamers. No one would argue with me if i said it was easier to start a console game than to chew gum. That is their design, to be dummy proof. Fine, let the dummies play their consoles. I have to ask… WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY ARE YOU DUMBING DOWN MY PC GAMES?!?!! WHY!!!!? I do NOT want a lobby system. I want a server, with people, people that can come and go without dicking the game up. If i wanted to be treated like a damn retard, i would buy an xbox. (no offense xbox'ers)

the controversial decisions made around the PC version of the game were made in order to benefit the consumer experience as much as possible.

Those decisions include removing all dedicated servers and user-generated content, as well as halving the maximum number of players supported in the game.

W T F!!! Ya, its much better now. Thanks for no custom… ANYTHING. Thanks for letting the cheaters go rampant. Its great, i love it!

Did anyone mention that there is a petition with over 250,000 signature to get dedicated servers in place? Their response..

Mouse control!? Really?! no way! So what your saying is "Yes, its the same"

Moriarte: Ignoring IW.net, is the PC version a direct port of the console version?

Mackey-IW: No, PC has custom stuff like mouse control, text chat in game, and graphics settings.

Pros:
-Good gameplay
-Nice graphics

Cons:
-"Dumbed down"
-no dedicated servers
-no moderation
-rampant cheating
-Lobby system
-no customization
-"Cheap" PC version
-Lack of caring from Mike Griffith
-User hosted matches
-host migration
-
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I found these amusing:
http://static.arstechnica.com/drawing2.png
http://blogs.battlefield.ea.com/cfs-fil … Blog01.jpg
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* confirmation that there will be no dedicated servers whatsoever How outstandingly fucking retarded of them.

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Q. Is it true that IW has removed keyboard support? do I have to use a console controller? A. yes, we felt that because so many people who can't read play games, that we would simplify the control scheme to exclude any complicated characters besides Y B A and X, or X, square, triangle and circle in the case of the PS3.

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sources:
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/200 … w2-on-pc/1
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009 … hought.ars
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showth … amp;page=4
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo … stcount=83
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo … stcount=77
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo … stcount=23

Original post by Extreme

 

Pseudoarchaeology, Sci-Fi, and the Quest for Scottie McMullet’s Love

Ξ February 12th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized, anthro-nerd, sci-fi |

Okay, so… I’ll admit it. I like pseudoarchaeology. Crazy theories, no alignment with accepted standards, dudes just going out there and making shit up because, for whatever reason – political, reputation-wise, religious, whatever – they want something to be true1. It’s great. I realize that, for someone with even just a purely academic background in anthropology, this is tantamount to admitting that I have a stash of Danielle Steele novels hidden inside hallowed out copies of real books2 but really… I like pseudoarchaeology.

Now that said, I like pseudoarchaeology for the same reason I like science fiction. It’s a good story. It tells us things about ourselves. If you want to tell me that aliens abducted ancient Egyptians, learned all about pyramid making from a series of detailed colonoscopies3, and then came back to Earth centuries later to act as head architects at Teotihuacan or Chichen Itza, okay, sure. Tell me that story. If you want to tell me that the ancient Greeks must have managed to make Polynesian contact because their helmets4 looked like the crested helmets of Hawaiian chieftains, okay. I can dig it. Tell me that story too. I think you’re taking the easy road with your hyperdiffusionism, absolutely, but I’ve read and watched science fiction for years that “techs the tech” whenever they need a context for the story they’re going to tell. I can handle that. I like a good story.

But – and this is a big ‘but’ that I don’t think the people making boatloads of money off these yarns are responsibly adding to their wares – pseudoarchaeology cannot be assumed to tell us anything more reliable about the past than science fiction tells us about the future. I think this is kind of where things start to derail. It’s a problem we don’t see that much with science fiction; most people generally don’t have a hard time separating reality from fiction when the latter is filled with metaverses, flying boy battle schools, and paranoid androids. But as soon as you start throwing around an idea about the past with just enough “tech the tech” to sound reasonable, people somehow lose their ability to tell reality from fiction… or, in the case of archaeology, reasonable-and-dynamic-hypotheses-which-are-consistent-with-the-information-to-date and really-cool-ideas-that-are-at-best-unsubstantiated-and-at-worst-completed-debunked.

Archaeology is a science – we can debate about how hard or soft a science it is at another time, if you would like – and for all the creativity that may go into the exploration, explanation, and re-evaluation of the data we find, it is disciplined. It adheres to known tenets. This “Garrett Fagan” person has a background in classics and ancient Mediterranean studies so he wouldn’t be on my speed-dial for “Phone a Friend” when an archaeology question comes up, but this article I think quite nicely hits the high level principles of the archaeological discipline:

  1. The most basic principle in archaeology, therefore, is that the discipline requires evidence to function. … A sub-principle of the basic requirement of evidence is that no amount of excuse-making for the complete absence of supporting evidence for a theory compensates for that absence. …
  2. The second principle is the nature of archaeological evidence itself. After 150 years of practice, what constitutes archaeological evidence is clear. People are messy. Communities of people are very messy. … So, when archaeologists encounter a “theory” for which not one verifiable object, never mind a site or a town or a burial, is adduced, they are rightly suspicious.
  3. So, while interpretative uncertainty and debate certainly prevail among archaeologists, there is one respect in which they are all united. Their hypotheses, to be convincing, must take all pertinent data into account. This is the third principle of archaeology: Hypotheses must respect the evidence. Any hypothesis that runs demonstrably against the evidence will be instantly rejected. Any hypothesis that is based on a selective presentation of the evidence will also be rejected, and for a very obvious reason.

I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. The archaeological record is spotty at best; everyone knows this. There are creativity elements which go into trying to fill these gaps in, to try and link disparate pieces together. There is room for creativity and there’s certainly room for interpretation. But only within those bounds. If you’re going to propose a serious, archaeological theory, there’d better be 1) evidence that supports it, 2) no evidence that disproves it, and 3) for the love of god, the proof you have better not be the fact that there’s nothing else in that particular archaeological hole. If you don’t have those things, then all you have is a story.

And there’s nothing wrong with a good story… so long as people know it’s a story. We can learn from stories. We can think about stories. We can look at something, fit the pieces together, and figure out something about ourselves from what we end up with. Ain’t nothing wrong with a good story. And that’s why I like it. It’s science fiction… just with less pew-pew-lasers and more chaTHUNK-chaTHUNK-ClovisPoints.

Story time: It’s been suggested that Roman mariners reached the New World between BC 49 and AD 79… or even earlier, depending on who you ask. (If you want to know, yes, it’s also been suggested that aliens visited the New World during the same time period. What of it?) The primary basic for this particular assertion are two shipwrecks, one off the coast of Brazil (1982) and the other off the coast of Venezuela (1987), identified as Roman-style vessels by the construction, the materials, and the fact that they contained identifiable amphorae. Of course, the finds have been suppressed by local governments because of political and racial upheavals so very little information is available5.

Let’s assume that all this is true: they are, in fact, Roman ships. (This is, after all, a story. And just like I can assume that the crew of the Enterprise can speak perfectly fluently with myriad species they’ve never met before because the Universal Translator just is, we can assume that these are Roman ships.) We mentioned above that the archaeological record is spotty at best. Why? Because it’s really f*cking hard to get in there. For something to enter the archaeological record, it has to be in the right place at the right time; preservation conditions have to be just right; it has to be in a place someone will later be able to find it. It’s really not easy. If there is even one Roman shipwreck in the New World, we can be reasonably sure there were a bunch of other ships there that either didn’t preserve or didn’t wreck. And if they didn’t wreck…

Now let’s stop there. We could continue any of a number of stories – well, if the Romans shipwrecked there, and it was a sheltered bay, then they probably stopped there on purpose; they probably lived!; if they lived, then they probably interacted with the natives!; if they interacted with the natives, they may have gotten alien colonoscopies too! – but this is really as far as I want to go with this. Why end the fun?

Because we already have the best piece to think about. At this period of time, the Romans had incredible technology, technology that most of humanity wouldn’t see again for a thousand years, technology that some of humanity still hasn’t seen. They were powerful, they were 6.5 million km of territory strong and growing. They were giants. And, if they had in fact reached the New World – regardless of whether they meant to or whether they just got swept away – and been able to return with the stories, the world was about to get a whole lot smaller. For them, for everyone else, for us.

But they didn’t. If those are actually Roman shipwrecks, if there were successful voyages that not only didn’t wreck but managed to find their way back home6the Roman Empire didn’t follow up. The biggest and baddest player in the game… and they chose to look the other way.

Why? Didn’t need the land? Didn’t recognize the natural resources available? Didn’t have the resources to spare from other initiatives? Couldn’t see or didn’t want to risk a glimpse at the long-term?

I don’t know.

Why haven’t we gone back to the moon?


  1. Kind of like writing a book to say that this really wants this… except not nearly as sad.
  2. And now that I think about, how many bodice rippers could you actually fit in between the covers of all six volumes of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? And how would you organize them? Take Chapter 16: “…it must still be acknowledged that the Christians, in the course of their intestine dissensions, have inflicted far greater severities on each other than they had experienced from the zeal of infidels”. What would you store there? The one about a young, innocent, but astonishingly beautiful young woman sent by her blue-blooded but impoverished father (his drinking ruined him but she loves him dutifully anyway; if only there were a strapping young man at the court who could show her what it truly means to be a man!) to the court of Henry VIII in 1534?
  3. Everyone knows that this is how aliens, the good ones anyway, get all of their information. Handshakes are for aggressive, warlike baby races. Butt-sniffing is for the academic elite of Sirius and the highly trained, four-legged xenoanthropologists they’ve sent to investigate Earth. Anal probes, though. That’s the money, people.
  4. Go ahead and Google that, by the way. Archaeological finds? Well, no, not really. But there’s enough LARPing there to get you through your day!
  5. This is a red flag to any well-schooled skeptic in and of itself, by the way. It’s like all those great historical fallacies: “Well, of course we didn’t find any evidence that Portugal discovered America first. THEY WANTED TO KEEP IT SECRET.” And by the way, it’s not that I don’t believe in government conspiracies or cover-ups. It’s just a numbers game. Given the limited number of governments and the seemingly endless supply of self-important people wanting to tell big stories they can’t substantiate, the numbers favor the latter.
  6. Charles Pellegrino has a book out called Ghosts Of Vesuvius. He had a pretty interesting take on what currents might have looked during this period of time and how that might have impacted travel to the New World. It’s actually a very interesting book. Just remember: storytelling.

Original post by blah

 

Star-Bellied Sneetches, Wanton Bodice-Ripping, and Baselining Sci-Fi Allegories

Ξ February 2nd, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized, star trek |

I write for a Star Trek sim.

Before you get all excited by the use of the word “sim”, let me first qualify that this is not, in fact, a computer program which simulates Star Trek adventures for which I write dialogue trees. (Though – holy shit! – that would that be cool. Is anyone hiring for that?!) It is not, in fact, a giant flight simulator to help you brush up on your docking procedures for the next time you find yourself in a starship approaching spacedock.

Simming is, in fact, a bunch of people who create unique1 characters in the Star Trek universe, throw them together on a ship, and let hijinks ensue. Each player has a character and contributes to the central story via that character’s perspective. You have your various methods (and various universes, I might add; I’m told the writing is typically very good on the Firefly sims, though I’ve never tried one personally) with IRC, forums, and email being the three big ones. IRC is a little too dorky for me (it sounds impossible, I know), forums are a little too informal for my tastes and generally don’t handle time disjuncts very gracefully, and email… well, email is just right.

For those of you who are horrified/vastly amused/vaguely nauseated by this very idea, let me introduce myself: Hi, I’m blah. I’m a dork. I refer you to all previous and, I suspect, all subsequent posts.

So yeah. I write for a Star Trek sim.

Now, contrary to…

Ahem. Are you done laughing?

All right then. Now. Contrary to what you might…

Okay, you just… you just finish. I’ll wait.

Thank you.

As I was saying… contrary to what you might think, it’s not all holodeck shenanigans, sweaty turbolift sex, mirror universe bondage escapades followed by awkward looks across the bridge, or viruses that somehow always manage to target the impulse control centers of the brain2. One of the greatest things about Star Trek – and about all sci-fi and fantasy in general, I think – is its ability to act as a proxy for human exploration, to function as an allegory we can use to explore fundamental human conditions, to provide a framework we can use to test our assumptions about those fundamental conditions. Star Trek, for all the heat it takes for its idyllic, antiseptic approach to science fiction, provides an easy mechanism for these explorations, one that is unencumbered by more realistic though endlessly complex elements like drug trades and social and economic stratification so crippling that non-government ship owners can’t even buy new port compression coils. These are dirty things, hard things and I think we need to consider them. If we need to cloak them in a fantastical allegory to make it go down more easily, sure. The power of Star Trek, I think, is that it gives us a clean slate we can use to look at each of even the dirtiest, hardest things in turn and in isolation.

This isn’t to say that Star Trek is particularly subtle about the issues it explores. It can be downright hamfisted at times. Did anyone else watch Let That Be Your Last Battlefield and immediately think of the Star-Bellied Sneeches3?

Now, aliens from Cheron had white and black faces.
The colors were reversed in half of the cases.
The difference wasn’t big. It really was small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But because they were ‘right’ all the dudes halved like Bele
Would brag to themselves, “We’re the best sort of fellows!”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort,
“We’ll have nothing to do with the wrong-colored sort!”
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

When the White On Left kids went out to play ball,
Could the White On Right play? No, not at all.
You could only play ball if your black was on right,
So the others sat by, lamenting the white.

When the White On Left grown-ups had frankfurter roasts
Or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
They never invited the White On Right crowd
They were left out cold. All that white’s not allowed!
They kept them away. Never let them come near.
And that’s how they treated them year after year.

ANYWAY, while Star Trek is at times about as subtle as Kirk round-housing a Nazi, it really does provide a nice, clean baseline from which we can construct the very issues we need to explore. Note that I’m not saying that this is the right way to use science fiction as an allegory or that this is the only way to use it. Rather, I’m pointing out that the very sterile, tidy environment that the Federation and Starfleet together create gives us a chance to set a clean baseline we can work from, delving into issues in targeted doses… in short, that the supposed weakness of Star Trek as an exploratory device is actually its greatest strength.

And this is why I love writing for a Star Trek sim. Not the only reason, mind you. I like writing. I like having an outlet. I like Star Trek in general. I think the uniforms are hot. But beyond all that, it gives me a platform to think about things and moreover, I often have a chance to explore interesting ideas and concepts with other writers. Challenging cultural and sociological issues are cropping up all the time as part of our gameplay (unsurprising, I suppose, since it wouldn’t be Star Trek without a convenient Weird Forehead Of The Week). Take, for example, this recent exploration of the process of enculturation as an analog to Borg assimilation:

“Spunau bolayalar t’Wehku bolayalar t’Zamu il t’Veh,” Nerali said, her attention still on her console. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one. It is not so dissimilar an approach. The Collective simply enslaves its practitioners where Vulcans enculturate theirs. It could be argued that the Borg approach is morally superior in that it does not inherently and by design prevent the development of individuality; it merely removes it at a later time.” She peered over her shoulder in his direction. “Will the modifications to the deflector array impact any other onboard systems?”

Enculturated? Qeynan’s brow furrowed as he focused first on her latter question. “The modification to the deflector array will not interfere with any functional control of the ship. The only problem I see is the need to lower the Cross’ shields around the shuttle bay in order for us to disembark and return. With these shuttles adjusted to match the Curie they’ll never be able to get back through the Cross’ shields until they’re remodified to their original settings.” He shifted in his seat to look back at her. “As for enculturated ideals I could argue by the rogues in the annals of history that such still allow for the freedom of choice. It’s part of sentient nature to pass on such core values to the next generation in order to establish safe boundaries of conduct; and the responsibility of the next generation to examine those values and decide whether or not to perpetuate them in the generation beyond.” He paused for a moment, considering the differences between boundaries and cages. Shaking his head, he went on. “The Borg approach is not morally superior by any means, Nerali. They do not allow individual development in the noble manner in which you suggest. Rather they allow each species own kind to enculturate their beliefs and ideals only to rip such from them and replace it with their own directive – assimilate or die. How is that morally superior?”

Nerali raised an eyebrow, saying merely, “I am speaking precisely of freedom of choice, Ensign Sehvi, and the development of the individual. Very few of us are offered the chance to choose our society, its morals, its bounds, its structures; I was able to choose, but so many others do not realize such a choice even exists or are afraid to take it if they do. Most often, we are simply born into it, trained via pervasive enculturation processes to accept it, to conform to it, to pass it on, all before we are capable of sentient, individual, self-aware thought. Cultural assimilation, Ensign Sehvi. It is a socio-evolutionary necessity for the continuance of cultures. But just because we associate the term ‘culture’ with family traditions, language, music, and works of art rather than assimilation tubules and regeneration alcoves does not mean that cultural assimilation is benign or that it is in any way less invasive than the atrocity you suffered. You were assimilated, made to fit into the whole, constrained, separated from self, unable to protest what was being done to you as it happened, and unable to fight against it once it did. And when you grew up, the Borg did the same.” She turned back to her console. “I don’t wish to justify the works of the Collective, Ensign, and even if I did not find you as pleasing as I do, I would never seek to dismiss the great cruelty you suffered at its hands. But as one of the very few who was able to choose her own cultural collective, I find it difficult to imagine a more heinous crime than denying a child self-determination.”

Seriously, now. Where else do you get to have a Vulcan with daddy issues and a liberated Borg drone debate sociological issues?

Answer: The same place you can go to explore the Prime Directive as an absolute extreme view of cultural relativism. I know, I know. You couldn’t watch an episode of Voyager without tripping over a Prime Directive violation and I’m pretty sure you could power a Type-9 shuttle with all the Earl Grey Picard went through as he wrestled with those issues in his ready room. But I don’t think I believe in the Prime Directive; I want to take a closer look at it. Oh, I believe in it as a plot-hole filler and I believe in its ability to generate character-building moments. I even believe in what I think it was originally intended to be. (It’s all supposition, of course, but I’d be a pretty easy sell if you were to tell me that a premise introduced in the 1960s could have been related to two technologically advanced groups of people taking advantage of lesser advanced peoples to further their struggle against each other.) But… Whew. Cultural relativism is one thing. Cultural determinism is one thing. The Prime Directive is way beyond both.

Thanks to the sim, I have the perfect place to explore this. And thanks to Star Trek, I have just the right foundation to do it on. I have a security chief on one ship. She just broke the Prime Directive4. We’ll see where this goes.


  1. I use the term “unique” loosely. (Yes, I know it’s a binary. Shut up!) Everyone creates their own characters, rather than usurping an existing one from Star Trek canon, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on a ship where at least 50% of the characters weren’t either telepaths or shapeshifters.
  2. In terms of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I find nothing remotely wrong with any of those things and should one of my ships end up having a mission like that, I will jump on the bandwagon with reckless, bodice-ripping abandon.
  3. By the way, did anyone else find it actually quite ironic that the Enterprise crew, upon first meeting Lokai, assumes that his coloration is a mutation? The entire episode is about racial segregation, social stratification… and the crew’s first impulse is to assume that the dude’s color must be a mutation, must be a flaw because it isn’t like theirs. Niiiiiice.
  4. Er… I think she broke the Prime Directive. There could be some extenuating circumstances – i.e. prior contamination of the culture in question though I think that argument is only valid if the actions then taken are taken only to correct that previous contamination – that would make her representation at the court martial breathe a sigh of relief, but close enough. She broke it enough for a good look. I blame my lawyer husband for this footnote.

Original post by blah

 

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