Homewhirled: Homeworld Now In The Hands of Gearbox

April 22, 2013 in Editorial, News

After a long struggle to survive, THQ finally belly-flopped and its corpse promptly rushed to the chopping block, where its bits were auctioned off to an assortment of scavengers. Most of the big names went quickly, but until this week a number of these properties still remained unclaimed.

“What happened to Homeworld?”, was a common phrase on forums and the like. And now we know!

For a reported measly $1.35 mil, the Homeworld IP now belongs to Gearbox. I have trouble writing this without gagging a little, but am trying my best not to be too much of a dick about it. Here are my thoughts.

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The Catch 22: Growing The Linux Gaming Market

January 18, 2013 in Editorial

The word on the street seems to be that Linux is set to be a commercially viable gaming platform. And the way it looks right now, this might actually prove to be true. There’s still some uncertainty amongst both developers and gamers though. At the core of a lot of it is this: Developers are hesitant to make games for a market as small as this, and gamers are hesitant to adopt it as a gaming platform because there are so few games for it.

I asked Ethan Lee (@flibitijibibo) if he had anything to add to what I wrote, so I have included his view on the various topics.

Right then, here’s a list of things to consider, in no specific order:

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Elite Kickstarter: I Thought I Wanted This

November 6, 2012 in Editorial

Something strange happened today. Being a sentimental sort, I’m ordinarily quite an easy target for Kickstarter campaigns that try to push my nostalgia buttons. In fact, on more than one occasion since the Double Fine funding campaign have I backed a project before even watching the pitch video. So it seemed only logical that when a new installment of a game that defined a huge part of my childhood came along, I’d be all over it. The game, of course, is Elite, created by David Braben and Ian Bell. Today, Braben launched a funding drive to collect the equivalent of nearly $2 mil to make a new Elite game. I’ve imagined this day happening, and in my mind it seemed so grand. And yet, here it is, and I don’t feel anything even close to ecstatic. Quite the opposite. Cynicism and mistrust kicked in almost immediately, irrationally perhaps, but I know where it all comes from.

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My digital attic: About collectability of games

October 26, 2012 in Editorial

I have a teddy bear in the closet that I have had since birth. He’s suffered a bit of wear over the years, but still – it’s a just shy of  40-year-old children’s toy that I still have. There’s a number of things from my childhood I could have kept all these years, like my LEGO sets, my model aircraft or the one Meccano set I had. (taught me how to lose screws like a boss, so I’d be well skilled by the time I started building PCs)

My taste in toys started to shift around the time I was about 10-ish when I got my first computer, a weird little piece of kit called a Sinclair ZX81. Man that was the shit. I spent hours learning how to write little games in which you did things like steer a letter V to avoid an oncoming  flood of letter Os.

I discovered store-bought games when I got upgraded to a ZX Spectrum, much to my parents’ dread. The games on that were sold on cassette tape. Unreliable, prone to stretching, and sometimes the tape player would totally mangle the tape. Thankfully they were easy to copy. A smart gamer would make a copy of a brand new tape, and then just use the copy.

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Kickstarters Dangling the Linux Carrot

October 11, 2012 in Editorial

Linux gaming is seeing some much needed attention of late, and a lot of this seems to come from Kickstarter projects. There are some trends however that raise a few questions for me, and perhaps a gripe or two.

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Steam Greenlight: Some Concerns

August 31, 2012 in Editorial

Steam Greenlight went live yesterday. The system itself presumably exists as a means to crowd-source the initial vetting stage of indie games applying to appear on Steam, leaving Valve only with a smaller selection of games to approve. This seems alright in principle and it’s perhaps too early to judge, but there are some things that  potentially raise some concerns.

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SteamOS / Steam Box? Yes / No / Maybe / Both

August 18, 2012 in Editorial

A what-if piece over at Rock Paper Shotgun suggested the idea of Valve making a SteamOS. While a nice idea, I’m going to go with no. Some words from Gabe Newell in an interview with GT.TV lead me to think that my earlier speculation is closer to the truth, but not quite right either. Valve is not making a SteamOS, nor is it making a SteamBox. All they’re doing is enabling hardware manufacturers to build Steam-enabled custom hardware, whether it be “Steam Certified” desktop PCs or settop boxes.

Stock Market Slippy-Slide – Weeeeeee!

August 14, 2012 in Editorial

I should tag this story “random idiot talking out his behind” because I know very little about how the economy works. Consider this more an case of a layman calling it as he sees it.  Zynga, Electronic Arts, Funcom, Activision, Take-Two Interactive, THQ. All of them giants in the industry, yet all of them showing a massive decline in stock value over the past two or more quarters. What the heck’s going on?

Maybe software companies should stay off the stock market.

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Ungolden Oldie: DRM From Way Back

August 8, 2012 in Editorial

DRM: For decades now as gamers we’ve had a loathe-hate relationship with it. Publishers use it to stop the theoretical revenue bleed caused by piracy and second-hand sales. But as anyone with sense can tell you, it just doesn’t work. Games  still remain as copyable as ever, and the only people inconvenienced by it are those consumers who purchase products legitimately, making one feel that perhaps pirates offer a better service, if you choose to ignore the added malware.

It’s a well-covered topic, and we all have opinions on the matter. Publishers seem to be fooling themselves and/or possibly their shareholders by constantly believing that one of these days, the DRM is going to work. Dang pirates, we’ll show them. Thing is, they’ve been under this delusion for over 30 years.

So here’s our first nostalgia-piece. It’s about the goofiest copy-protection system ever to grace our beloved medium, the Lenslok.

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What’s Valve Really Up To?

August 6, 2012 in Editorial

Over the past few months, some of the most disruptive news in gaming has been from Valve. The company seems to be making a baffling sharp left-turn into completely new territory. On the surface it shows a few basic components of its master plan, leaving us to only speculate on what the rest might be. The most ambitious of these revelations, is the announcement that they are planning to try and get the entire catalogue of 2500 games on Steam ported to Linux.

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Indie games. Crowd funded games. Emerging gaming platforms.