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Latest Comments by Dunc
Paradox Interactive now owns 100% of developer Harebrained Schemes
6 June 2018 at 10:32 pm UTC Likes: 6

My thoughts? “Harebrained Bag of Holding Inc.” is the best name for a holding company ever. Paradox must be doing pretty well for themselves, which isn't surprising. And yes, both of them have been pretty Linux-friendly recently, so I don't see much of a downside.

Futuristic thriller 'State of Mind' from Daedalic Entertainment releasing August 16th with Linux support
6 June 2018 at 4:59 pm UTC Likes: 1

Ooh, that looks good.

LeopardThis price is crazy high to be honest.
I dunno. Seems fairly reasonable to me, and I'm pretty sensitive to price. It's certainly more than I'm prepared to pay right now, but it's not even close to what the AAA crowd ask for these days. I wouldn't call it “crazy” high.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
4 June 2018 at 10:21 pm UTC

slaapliedjeHa, did you ever see the documentary about the Atri New Mexico dump?
I haven't, but the Retro Hour podcast did a good two-part interview with Howard Scott Warshaw about a year ago. Well worth a listen. He does point out that he volunteered to do E.T. in six weeks, even though nobody else on the programming staff at Atari thought it was possible. But yes, the fact remains that they were given that ridiculous timeframe in the first place. Crazy.

Microsoft acquires GitHub for some loose change
4 June 2018 at 5:44 pm UTC Likes: 4

ElvanexTo me, it is quite apparent that they are deep into the extend phase with minecraft... Won't be too much longer until they determine that that java version "no longer offers any benefit to consumers" or some such nonsense.
Yep. As I said, I expect Notch was very careful with his conditions of sale, which is why it didn't go pear-shaped within six months. But that's also what worries me about the rebranding of the main version and this new “Bedrock” edition: it looks suspiciously like some kind of workaround.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
4 June 2018 at 3:27 pm UTC

slaapliedjeOne thing I do find odd is that they show Tempest 4000 running on it, but Jeff Minter says he is currently unaware that he has ported that to Linux...
That's ominous. The Llamasoft logo jumped out at me from the Indiegogo page. Sounds like it's not as “confirmed” as they're making out.

But the more I think about it, the more the general strategy makes sense. In the light of Nintendo and the later Tramiel/Atari Games era, it's easy to forget how much early Atari was all about kids and families too. That's the market the original VCS was in. There were no “hardcore gamers” back then, at least not in the numbers that manufacturers saw fit to cater for. The 2600, with two controllers, sat under the family TV (because there was only one). That's why it had the woodgrain. Sure they didn't have something like Mario or Link, but that's only because the technology didn't allow for relatable cartoon-like characters and it hadn't occurred to anyone yet that a videogame company could do something like that. Even so, they did licence Asterix (in Europe), Sesame Street, E.T. (notoriously, but still, they had it), Pac-Man, Looney-Tunes, and, yes, Mario for first-party Atari-published titles.

I'm more sure than ever that this is what they're going for: basically the same niche that Nintendo has carved out since the Wii, but undercutting them on price (a little) and with an open platform.

Microsoft acquires GitHub for some loose change
4 June 2018 at 2:53 pm UTC Likes: 7

QuoteI mean, look at Mojang. Microsoft acquired them back in 2014 and has anything actually changed—no.
Because Notch had his head screwed on properly. I have no doubt he included conditions of continued managerial independence in the sale.

Look, on the other hand, at Hotmail. Or Nokia. Or Lionhead. Or Rare. Or Blue Ribbon Softworks. (“Who?” ... Exactly.) And I'm sure I could name more if I actually gave it some thought. This isn't bigotry, still less “hate”. It's not even scepticism of Microsoft's alleged new love for open source. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft tends to screw up its acqusitions, leaving the world at large with less than the sum of their parts.

But we'll see. Maybe Mojang does show that it has turned over a new leaf (although I note that the Java edition is “the Java Edition” now, and not just, y'know... Minecraft, while the Pocket and Win10 editions have been merged into the ominously definitive-sounding “Bedrock Edition”). I'll believe it when I see it though.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
4 June 2018 at 2:05 am UTC

Now, this is interesting:

QuoteIntellivision is making a new console and no that’s not a set-up for a joke that’s a real thing that’s happening in the real world, really.
Not simply in that first Atari jumps back into the hardware business and now their almost-forgotten competitor from the late '70s has returned too, but specifically Shamus's speculation on what it might be:

QuoteThere’s a lot of room between $5 phone games and the $300 Switch. I don’t know if it adds up to a “huge gaping hole in the market”, but I imagine there’s a lot of interesting things you can accomplish with sub-$100 hardware these days. You’re not going to get Overwatch or Doom 2016 running on that sort of machine, but if you’re looking to do family / party based games like LittleBigPlanet, Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D World, or retro arcade titles, then you can probably make that happen.
It's an idea that's been in the back of my head half-formed until I read that, but I think this is the market Atari's aiming at. Obviously not sub-$100, since we know the price, but that “hole” in the market between mobile and the Big Three. It's not necessarily retro gaming or emulation, although they'll certainly play a part in it; it's simply less hardware-taxing, but modern, games. Call them “AA” titles, if you like. It's the sort of market that, actually, Linux is already in, given the bias towards indie and away from the big names. The list of “confirmed partners” on Indiegogo - a mix of mobile developers and indies - would seem to suggest this too.

I still think it's underpowered (and possibly overpriced) even for that, but hopefully it helps to make some sense of what Atari may be trying here.

Final Shamus quote:

Quote(T)hat would sort of be muscling in on Nintendo’s turf. Except, Intellivision doesn’t have the vast storehouse of weaponized nostalgia properties to draw from. They don’t have a Mario, a Samus, a Link, or even a Kirby.
But Atari... well, Atari doesn't really either. But they're closer to it, and Atari S.A., the former Infogrames, has some more recent franchises to draw on as well.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
31 May 2018 at 3:48 pm UTC

stretch611Yes, it is underpowered. However, the primary purpose of this console is emulation. Emulating a 40 year old console.
Except they've consistently protested that it isn't.

If that was the idea, I'd agree. In fact, it's probably over-powered for that purpose; an ARM device would be more than adequate. But no: in their original announcement, they mentioned “modern” games. It's supposed to be able to play stuff from Steam. In fairness, it may never have been the intention to have current big-name AAA games on it (although I'd argue the marketing so far has been somewhat misleading on that), but it has clearly never been “just” an emulation machine.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
31 May 2018 at 1:25 pm UTC

slaapliedjeBut from what I understand VR is doing surprisingly well for being 'niche'. A lot of sales boosted from Ready Player One as well (not that I have seen that, I've given up on seeing anything by Spielberg).
I wasn't all that impressed by the book, if I'm honest. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I don't really understand all the breathless excitement over it.

You can now pre-order the Linux-powered Atari VCS games console, a lot more details revealed
30 May 2018 at 4:38 pm UTC Likes: 1

I've always been cautiously optimistic about this, but I have to admit that for the first time I'm not encouraged. It does look a bit underpowered. I don't know much about the CPU, but games aren't usually CPU-limited anyway so that might not be too much of an issue. And I can't comment on recent AMD graphics either, except that I have a now-ageing NVidia GTX750 and it's still fine for everything I've thrown at it (I didn't even have to use the very lowest settings for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and I think there were bigger issues going on there anyway; it could actually run on higher ones, and at a reasonable framerate, but it crashed more often).

However 4GB sounds like way too little. I have 8, and I'm finding that even games which used to work perfectly are coming out with updates that leave them grinding to a halt as they hit swap. 32GB of storage ain't much either, even if you can add to it. The system alone will swallow a third of that, if not more.

I wouldn't say it's definitely doomed yet, but they really need to at least double the RAM and storage.

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