Money Draining March is Upon Us!

New Releases have assaulted my interest this week and may impact my wallet greatly… The last few days saw the release of several items of interest to me. First off, Square-Enix has released Final Fantasy 3 for the iPhone, which is a port of the Nintendo DS remake to IOS, then Lego Star Wars Clone Wars 3 for PC, Xbox360, and PS3. Next comes the movie SuckerPunch and the release of the Nintendo 3DS this past weekend. Today, we have the release of Disney’s Tangled on DVD/BluRay, 3rd Birthday for the PSP (which is a long overdue chapter in the Parasite Eve series), and Arrival, the last downloadable expansion for Mass Effect 2. Oh the choices!

Mass Effect 2 Arrival DLC has Arrived!

If you don’t know what Mass Effect is, than you can’t call yourself a gamer! Go buy it now and play it! Bioware has released today their latest and last downloadable expansion for the Mass Effect 2 game. I’ve only done some light reading on the expansion, since I don’t want to spoil it for myself, but this expansion finds Commander Shepard (the main hero of the story) alone, without his squad, on a rescue mission. He must rescue a scientist who has information on an impeding invasion. The expansion is priced at around $7.00,which falls in line with the cost of the other 3 expansions. Needless to say I’m itching to dive into the expansion. Now I just need to find time to do so…

If you want to head over to Bioware’s DLC page, click here

Getting Started in Game Programming

This post is to answer a question a reader┬áCullen asked me, and my comment reply started getting so large I decided it would be better served as its own post. Cullen’s question is what are my thoughts on how to get into programming. It’s a great question, and there are so many possibilities, especially nowadays.

In the dark ages of computing, you had BASIC, which stands for “Basic All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”, which well, was a simple form of┬áprogramming for a computer.

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Microsoft Kodu – Visual Programming for Games – Free and Available Now!

Summer is coming soon, and it is time to start looking into summer camps and things to do with my 8 year old son. One of the areas my son has expressed interest in recently is game development. Granted, I may have steered him into this direction a little, since he plays games, why not think about making them? Indeed, there are a few camps dedicated to this subject, but he is just 8, and he may be a bit young for some of them. I didn’t want to inundate him with some of the finer points of object oriented programming yet, and in my wanderings on the Internet I stumbled upon a Microsoft project called “Kodu”, and it immediately peeked my interest.

So, what is Kodu, and why is it interesting to me? Kodu is simply a visual programming tool for making games. It breaks down the major tasks of making a game into easy to understand visual components that a youngster can understand. In fact, you don’t type a thing. It’s all visual and it’s programmable even from an XBox 360 controller. Watching some of the demo videos, it looks quite amazing, and seems like a great way to give my son some of the basics of how a game works. Unfortunately, he’s too young to participate in their contest, and I’m too old. But that won’t stop me from giving a good try in the coming days. I’ll write back when I get a chance to introduce my son to this tool. If you want to check it out, head over to Microsoft’s Kodu site.

iPad1 vs iPad2 Sketchbook Pro Comparison

I was recently asked by a reader (Dave G) to do a comparison between the iPad1 and iPad2 in regard to performance with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, so in this article I found an image off the web and performed some basic coloring tasks to it. For those that may not know what Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is, it’s a paint/drawing program originally created for Tablet PC’s. It later found itself a nice home on the iPhone and iPad. I’ve not been a heavy user of Sketchbook Pro for the iPad, simply because drawing on the iPad has been a bit hard for me to adjust to; having been a heavy tablet pc/wacom user for a long time. Not having the pixel precision I’m accustomed to has been a sore point for me and the IOS platform.

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My Initial Impressions of the iPad2

Well, I gone and did it. I came home from my business trip and my wife and I headed out to Bestbuy to pick one up.

I didn’t order this online, nor worry about not getting one. Living where I do in Rochester, New York, it’s not a sprawling metropolis like Miami, or San Francisco, so there wasn’t the mob of hundreds or thousands. It was about 7pm when we got to Bestbuy, and it was a mob of about 10. I didn’t have much trouble getting one. Talking to the sales associate, he said they sold about 120 units since 5pm, when they started selling them.

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SpeedBall 2 Evolution – Relive an Amiga Classic on the iPhone

If you were around during the Commodore Amiga days you might remember a popular sci-fi sports game called Speedball. It was a mix of Rugby and Football in a futuristic setting. The players were all clad in armor and the field was even metal. It was a fast paced game with two teams pitted against each other to try and score at each other’s goal at the opposite end of the arena. It’s not a revolutionary concept, but Speedball’s execution was well done. I’m not a big sports fan, I don’t watch football or rugby for that matter. But something about this game was plain fun. It might have been the futuristic metal setting, but the original Speedball sits in a fond place in my memory.

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My Son is Psyched – Pokemon Black & White has finally Arrived in the US!

Pokemon Black BoxThe fateful day has finally arrived. The US Release of Pokemon Black and White. My son, who is a Pokemon fiend, has been anxiously waiting for this title since he caught wind of the Japanese release back in October. Sadly I’m out of town for work this week, so I am not around to witness the Pokebliss! My wife tells me he spent all of Saturday finishing up his homework so he would have more time to play today. He woke up this Sunday morning early and awoke his mom, dragging her out to Target, in a blizzard no less, to where he had his pre-order.

He called me a little while ago telling me that he picked up his copy of White, and was starting to play it. I’ll need to follow up with what his impressions are about it. I’ll need to wait until I get home later this week to see what Black is like. Yes, I forgot to mention that I had my wife pick me up Black. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Pokemon, but it’s so he can have someone to battle and trade Pokemon with. I’m pretty certain none of his friends will have it, maybe in a few months they will.