Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Spore Creations

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Game - Flash Cards

Not so much a game, but imagine not having to look all over the floor for the lost cards, or ripped ones, slobbered on, etc.

A few years ago I made a simple program if you can call it that using Power Point.  Simply put it would roll through the letters of the alphabet, and also read the letter aloud.  It also included numbers, shapes, colors, animals, and other objects, and phonic sounds for the alphabet.

Now I have decided to learn computer programming, and Microsoft has a great tool set out called XNA that uses C#.  With this I am making this same program for Windows and the Xbox 360.

So far it is actually going well, I should have started with Pong, or "Hello World"...  But I like a challenge, and I like to learn as much as I can by myself, sometimes just with trial and error.  Over the next few days I will post the first screen shots, and soon I will share this program for beta testing with some of my friends that have kids so we can improve upon the ideas.

Hopefully in the end, it will be something that parents find useful.  While it will read the letters, we found it better to turn down the sound a bit and engage with our son while using the program.  It has fun colors, you can always find them, and it will always be in order!

You might have to worry about slobber on the controller or mouse though.


I started over with the code, here is what you can call an early alpha screenshot (or something).  All colors are just temporary, the font is temp, etc.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Alan Wake

As a fan of the upcoming PC/Xbox 360 game Alan Wake from Remedy Entertainment, I thought I would share a link to a great community website for the upcoming title.

Visit Bright Falls for more information on what is surely to be a great game, for those that don't know.  It is a psychological action thriller based in the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington.  Alan Wake is a horror writer who battles insomnia, and the stories he writes are based on his nightmares.  Light will be a big factor in the game, as it can keep your nightmares away.  (think something like "I am Legend" to a degree).  For more information head to the FAQ by clicking here.  It has the most up to date info, the only people that know more are Remedy themselves...

Remedy is the same team that created Max Payne, and they always push the boundaries of computer entertainment and what we think is not possible on a computer with both graphics and game play.  Not to mention the wonderful writing of Sam Lake!

On a slight side note, still waiting on those new (office) screenshots Mr. Mäki!?!  ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Xbox 360 - Lower Prices

On September 5th, 2008 - the Xbox 360 will get a true price cut across all models.  The base Arcade will be much cheaper than a Wii as well.

360 Arcade will be -  $199.99 was $279.99
360 Pro with 60gb HDD - $299.99 was $349.99
360 Elite with 120gb HDD - $399.99 was $449.99

All models have HDMI, the elite comes with a cable as well.  You can also play these on your VGA monitor with an adapter, I found one used for $9.99 at GameStop.

While the Arcade does not come with a hard drive, it is still a good console for MCE duties, or for games like Lego Star Wars, Viva Pinata, etc.  It does have a memory card (256mb) for game saves, but do not expect to be able to download movies, tv shows, or large game demos.  Or sadly play older Xbox games, since the HDD is needed for the emulator files.

On a side note the 360 HDD's are finally getting a much needed price cut as well.

120GB HDD - $149.00 from $179.99

Well I guess no word on the 20gb or 60gb, I do not see them listed at Gamestop anymore.  Bummer since I am doing more with XNA I would like an HDD for my Arcade unit in the other room of the house.


Some great games are on the horizon as well.  Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise came out this week actually, and at a great price as far as current gen games go.  $39.99!!  Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts which ships around 11/11/2008 will also be the same price.

Jensyn loves Viva Pinata, it is a safe game for the younger ones.  The only real violence is well you break pinatas open with a shovel (not required, but seems to happen anyway.  Give boy shovel, boy hits objects or shins with shovel), and they have candy inside them!  Very cruel actually, and sadly you can also witness this at your local park on most weekends.

Banjo looks interesting, you can build different fun vehicles that you can then use in the game.  They can fly, drive, float, bounce, and much more.  Looks fun, and I am sure it will be great for kids.  Again it is good to see Microsoft coming out with a lower price point on these games.  The first Viva Pinata was $59.99 at least I think that is what I paid.  Grrr!