March 6, 2008

Evolution of Water in Video Games

I found this interesting video.

The author compiled images of games through 27 years of gaming showing the evolution of water. It's interesting to see that first, it's just an harmonious blue (which reminds me of the comic #7, here). Then, unmoving pixels of different colors to show a wave effect. Different main colors to show the depth. or the proximity to shore.
Then, a little animation.
Then, interaction between character and water.
Finally, a semi translucent liquid instead of the blue one. With waves. Which reacts to interaction, be it from the character or from other sources (rain, falling logs, crocodile, etc).

There are other games he could have used, but I admit it's impossible to get all the images of all the games where water exists. Still, Titan Quest, Morrowind and Oblivion all show, to my mind, beautiffully animated water (when your computer is upgraded enough to ;)). I thnk Farcry and Crysis aren't bad at this either.

It's difficult to reenact effectively and beautifully the nature around us. It's so random, there are so many possible interactions... But still, as time passes, they manage to do it more and more. Gravity has become a common part of video games nowadays, and I must admit I find some fun in watching it just for the sake of watching it (I like railroading games to do something different than expected, like a tank race in Desert Combat ;) ).
Well, I just hope they'll manage one day to make a really immersing Massively Multiplayer Game where you can interact with everything. But... I fear I would never disconnect, then ;).

March 5, 2008

Mourning for Gygax, D&D style

A plain, where ordinarily the wind blows fiercely, but today strangely quiet.
A plain, normally inhabited only by insects and the restless spirits of those that fell on this bloodthirsty ground, but today black with people.
A plain, whose groune is ordinarily crackled by the sun, today trampled bare by the myriad of feet that have been on it for hours.

In this crowd, numerous and diverse creatures are visible. here an Ankheg near a huge Orc. There, an ebony scaled dragon lifts pixies on its wings, so that they can see. between all of these creatures, Fighters, Priests, Thieves, more than the eye can see.
The skies themselves are black: Devas, Balors, Mages from everywhere float gently, practically motionless.

Not a sound. Not a move. No one hits his neighbour, nor looks at him with envy, hunger. No one visits the pockets of anyone. Far left, even, a Lich gives a Pelor's Priest a piece of her robe to dab his eyes, wet with water.

Everyone's attention is centered on a single point, in the center of the battlefield. A huge Pyre has been set, upon which a human bodyu rests, in a strange multigarbed flower shirt, incongruous among this throng. The atmosphere is solemn...

A Huge Gold Dragon steps forward, dips its head respectfully, before roaring. On its neck, a man, in Archmage robes, better known to anyone as Elminster, speaks, after a little Castvoice (level 2) spell

"Thou... Created us, Gary Gygax. Thou started... Something that went far , more far than you thought it could go. Thou created... A child that will survive you. Thou changed the lives of thousands of childrens. And grown-ups. Thou enabled many to live their dreams. And here you leave us now, and no Resurrection, Raise dead, Miracle or Wish will make you come back."

Sobs are heard from everywhere. A gelatinous cube trembles like jelly. A rust monster chitters sadly. No one can see what the Invisible Stalker does.

"But verily, thou just shifted planes. And we have faith thy will conquer them, with your bag of dices +5/+8 against ignorant, your flowery Shirt of Resistance +4, your Glasses of X-Ray, Infravision, Ultravision, True Seeing and your never-emptying Beard.
May Thy Dices Never Roll 1, my old friend!"

A pause. A long pause, as each and every creature and character on the plain pays its hommage to the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, the first Roleplaying Game, one by one. Various objects are stacked, relics, artefacts, magic items, rare spell components.

Then, the crowd parts from the pyre, and in one move, fiery breathn Melf's meteor (level 9), Fireballs (level 3) are launched on the pyre.

"And now, in his honor, Battle Royale! May the PX flow like water!"

And the crowd roars...

Gary Gygax died today at the age of 69, guys...


Une plaine, normalement balayée par les vents, mais aujourd'hui d'un calme plat.
Une plaine, normalement habitée uniquement par quelques insectes, et par les esprits perdus de ceux tombés au combat sur ce sol assoiffé de leur sang, à présent noire de monde.
Une plaine, au sol normalement craquelé par le soleil, à présent rendu uniforme par les pieds qui la foulent depuis des heures.

Dans cette foule, des créatures éparses et nombreuses sont visibles. Ici, un Ankheg cotoit un gigantesque orc, là, un dragon aux écailles d'ébène porte des pixies sur son aile afin qu'ils puissent mieux voir. Et au milieu, une foule de Guerriers, de Prêtres, de Voleurs.
Les cieux eux mêmes sont noirs de monde, Devas, Balors, Mages de toute sorte flottent, pratiquement immobiles.

Pas un ne bouge. Pas un ne frappe son prochain, pas plus que ne le regarde avec avidité. Pas un ne fait les poches de son voisin. On voit même une liche tendre un morceau de sa robe à un prêtre de Pelor dont les yeux coulent sans s'arrêter.

L'attention est concentrée sur un point, au centre de ce champ de bataille. Un immense bucher a été mis en place, sur lequel repose un humain dans une chemise à fleurs multicolore qui semble incongru dans cet environnement. L'atmosphère est solennel...

Un immense dragon aux écailles dorées s'approche, s'incline lentement, profondément avant de rugir. Sur son cou, un homme en longue robe d'Archimage, au nom d'Elminster, prend la parole après avoir lancé un sort de Portevoix (niv 2).

"Tu nous as créé, ô Gary Gygax. Tu... as lancé un mouvement qui est allé bien au delà de tout ce que tu pouvais espéré. Tu as créé... Un enfant qui te survivra. Tu as... Changé la vie de milliers d'enfants. Et d'adultes. Tu as permis de vivre des rêves. Tu nous quittes à présent, et aucun sort de résurrection, raise dead, miracle, ou même voeu ne pourra te faire revenir"

Des sanglots se font entendre un peu partout. Un cube gélatineux tremble comme de la gelée anglaise. Un monstre de rouille chitter (??). Nul ne peut voir ce que fait le Chasseur Invisible.

"Tu as juste changer de plan, et nous te faisons confiance pour les conquérir, armés de ton sac de dés +5/+8 contre les incroyants, de ta chemise à fleur +4 de résistance, de tes lunettes à rayons X, d'infravision, d'ultravision et de vision véritable, et de barbe de garde manger. Que tes dés ne fassent jamais 1, mon ami!"

Une pause. Une longue pause, pendant laquelle chaque personne sur cette plaine vient rendre hommage au créateur de Donjons & Dragons, le premier jeu de rôle... Des objets divers et variés sont entassés autour du pyre, artefacts, reliques, objets magiques, composants divers.

Puis les gens s'écartent, et d'un seul mouvement, souffles enflammés, météores de Melf (Niv 9), boules de Feu (niv 3) tombent sur le pyre, l'enflammant.

"Et maintenant, en son honneur, Battle Royale! Que les PX coulent à flots!"

Et un profond rugissement emplit la plaine...

Gary Gygax est mort à 69 ans hier, les gars...

March 4, 2008

Link of the Day: Evolution of Villainesses

Thanks to When Fangirls Attack, a site with daily links about womens' image in comics, I found this link

It lists the global evolution of Villainesses from the 30's to the 21th century. Dangerous but Beautiful, to Reluctant Heroine, while passing through the Corrupted Heroine stage.

It's fairly complete.
I just would like to add a small detail: Heroines, it seems, are always beautiful, while villainesses go from Horrible harpies to Beautiful Babes.

But when a villainess goes to the other side, the package seems to include a complete makeover surgery. The two examples that spring to my mind are Rogue and Mystique.

I do not have copies of their first appearances here. i'll try to update that I could. But they were both ugly. I remember that episode of the X men where they go to erase the military files on them and wound up meeting Rogue...

But then, Rogue went to Charles Xavier, fearing for her psychic equilibrium. And lo and behold, she was suddenly cute as a fox.

Mystique never reaaaally became a good girl (but boy was she hot with those guns in X Factor!), she faked it. But still, she became quite the beauteous one (in a dangerous way... There's something about blue skin... Also, is it just me, or is Mother, from Cyberforce, identical? A question for another day, I suppose)

Out of the blue, these are the two that I remember. But I'm sure there are others!

March 2, 2008

There's something about Urinals

I don't like using public urinals, be it in Cinemas, at my workplace or in restaurants. I use them, I can't do without, but I don't like it.
I don't know how it is in the Womens' "playground" (I'd like to say "I don't want to know, but I do, I really do!), but to use succesfully the Mens' Urinals, one needs to bypass quite a few traps.
First, you can choose between what I'll call the Standing Ones and the Classic Ones (usable by both sexes, although I know some women who used the Standing Ones, usually when they were drunk).
My problem with the Standing Ones is that often, you'll feel your hands peppered by little drops of liquid, which is not the most pleasant experience in the world. Not to mention the fact that if you feel it there, then a good part of your clothes are peppered as well... Then, when you flush, the strength of the water is often too strong, and it's not so much a peppering as a cloudkill spell...
I don't use the Standing Ones unless I have too...
But the Classic Ones? We enter, litterally, the horror territory.
Some men seem to think that they have to mark their territory: why piss in the porcelain? No one will smell your odor and know you have been there. Tread carefully, wet floor <__<;;
Others think about the well fare of our planet: some people must live with 1 liter of water per day, so why waste water by flushing? Very kind of them. I'm sure some of you met the horrors that can lurk in those shallow waters...
And, finally, there are some who... should change something in their dietary habits. They think about flushing, which is good, but then forget to scrub while they are at it.
I'm sure I must sound precious to you, but "Do not do unto others what you would not like done unto you", if I remember correctly (and I'm not the most religious one...).
In the same spirit, flushing tends to release that selfsame cloudkill spell. I personnaly close the cover plate before I do it. Honestly, would you kiss someone or shajke his hands if you knew the amount of filth that can be on them? Think of others and of yourself ;)