Oct 28 2006

Vision Of London

The BBC Collective website on Iain Sinclair:

Spend time with Sinclair, either in book form or in person, as we’re doing one overcast afternoon in an overgrown Victorian cemetery, and your surroundings rapidly become richer than you suspected them to be. It’s such investigations of the cityscape, both physical and emotional, that make up London: City Of Disappearances, a compellingly immersive new literary compendium edited by Sinclair.

Sinclair’s vision of London, and that of the 50-odd other writers and artists – including Will Self, Marina Warner, Alan Moore, Stewart Home and JG Ballard – who have contributed pieces to the book, is inimical to chainstore homogeneity, willfully at odds with the “City Hall version of London” and the airbrushed projections of the Olympic Committee. “The reason for doing the book in the end was a sense of threat, a sense that there is a mendacious, top-led voice that gives descriptions of London that I can’t recognise at all. You look at the River Lea and at the moment it’s just a carpet of green algae filled with dead fish and dead dogs. All the Olympic building work is on top of toxic sites – glue factories, piles of maggoty bones – and you can’t clear all that overnight, which is what’s constantly attempted and never works, so you end up with some freakish compromise that looks like JG Ballard’s science fiction.”

And that is a book I will be buying.

Oct 28 2006

Half Dead

Orphan Pamuk on writing and literature:

In order to be happy, I must have my daily dose of literature. In this I am no different from the patient who must take a spoonful of medicine each day. When I learned, as a child, that diabetics needed an injection every day, like most people, I felt bad for them; I may even have thought of them as half dead. My dependence on literature must make me “half dead” in the same way. When I was a young writer, especially, I sensed that others saw me as “cut off from the real world” and so doomed to be “half dead”. Or perhaps the right expression is “half ghost”. I have sometimes even entertained the thought that I was fully dead and trying to breathe life back into my corpse with literature. For me, literature is medicine. Like the medications that others take by spoon or injection, my daily dose of literature – my daily fix, if you will – must meet certain standards.

First, the medicine must be good. Its goodness is what tells me how true and strong it is. To read a dense, deep passage in a novel, to enter into that world and believe it to be true – nothing makes me happier, nothing binds me more to life. I also prefer it if the writer is dead, because then there is no little cloud of jealousy to darken my admiration.

Oct 27 2006

Reward Devotion

Eve is maybe a new kind of hardcore. Gordon Walton said at the AGC, and probably years ago elsewhere, “MMO’s don’t reward skill, they reward devotion.” Meaning, time-at-keyboard. That’s how we used to think about it. Eve rewards building and activity, meaning time-accruing-assets. Decisions made in the game with other players. It’s for that reason a lot of people don’t care about the micromanagement of the game, it’s the large scale corp wars (like BoB vs. ASCN these days) that keeps them juiced and their asset base that keeps them hooked.

The only thing I do wonder about is that 1) the game is still pretty hard on new entrants (economically, skills wise and socially) and 2) long term balance. Will every top corp eventually have a Titan? Maybe like the economy things will balance themselves out. There are no economies of scale in Eve (things don’t get easier as you grow) because it costs just as much to reproduce any losses you suffered, and the costs do increase as you grow. The game is not quite “Risk-in-Space” yet, and there’s no doom on the horizon. But CCP needs to add some more features and territory (enter, Kali) to allow some of the mid-sized corps and Alliances to grow I think.

Some interesting thoughts on Eve Online from blogger Adam MacDonald. He argues that Eve is hard to leave, due to the way we accrue assets and the way decisions (and not just dedication of time) hook us into the game.

He’s right. This kind of attachment is a remarkable and rather disturbing experience. My own Eve corporation is struggling with its own existence at the moment, worrying that we just don’t have the time to play at the level we’ve worked ourselves up to. ‘A new kind of hardcore’ indeed.

Is there space for the small solo corporation? MacDonald thinks not, but I’m less convinced. In fact I envy some of the small groups who roam around free of the enormous thousand-player structures of the alliances. Nevertheless this does seem to be the first massively multiplayer game that has really any kind of grasp on the ‘massive’. And massive is scary. And thrilling.

Oct 26 2006

PC Gamer Russia

Game magazine cover of the decade? And yes, this is the actual cover of the current version of PC Gamer on sale in Russia and Ukraine.

Oct 24 2006


A prototype jetpack (driven by a turbine, not rockets, so not a rocketbelt, versions of which have been around for years). Apparently untested at this time.

Flagged up by Jones, i think.

Oct 24 2006

Rocket Ships

Shuttle launch as seen from the ISS:

Found on Ellis’ blog.

Oct 24 2006

Weird Avatars

Jim Rossignol in The Escapist:

Lineage II takes over 2,000 hours or so to get to its final echelons, the level 70s. It’s not quite as ludicrous for World of Warcraft’s level 60, but nevertheless, the thousands of quests and 16,000 kills that are required to get to the later stages really do begin to weigh heavily on even the sternest gaming constitution. Then there’s Second Life and the need to learn how to use a CAD program to get along and feel productive. Even if you don’t become a builder, you’ll still need to negotiate dozens of unfinished shops, unruly journalists and weird avatars trying to make 3-D porn if you want to survive in Second Life. It’s all a bit much.

And I look at myself in the mirror and think: “you are such a big geek.”

Oct 24 2006

Sudden Camel Punch

Drunken brawling:

Your fighting ability here depends on how much you drink, and what you drink: The more you drink the more pain you are able to endure, but the less chance you have of hitting!

And in the game!

Oct 23 2006

Pwr Stn

I assumed this was CG when I first saw it, but in fact it’s a real power station recently constructed in the Netherlands.


Oct 22 2006

More On The Spam

I’ve just deleted 100+ spam comments. Title of the most recent: “Metastock Muscle Gay.”

I wonder if people click them just to find out?