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Half-Life 2

You may have heard about Half-Life 2. Even CNN Money has reported on it, and how it, together with Doom 3, could save the PC games market.

Shacknews had a good preview that described the Half-Life 2 action sequences that were shown to the press in more detail. If you read between the lines, it sounds like there might be a lot of emergent character behavior.

From what I can tell, it sounds like Valve has been doing a great job. They seem to be focussing heavily on character display, animation and behavior. Zelda: The Wind Waker takes a similar approach, although using a cartoon style instead of photorealism. It makes a lot of sense: so much can be conveyed through characters - and so much can be destroyed if they don't look and act right. I'm surprised the overall technology level is not further ahead than it is. Perhaps Half-Life 2 will help.

Storytelling across The Matrix has an article about how the storyline of The Matrix is distributed over several films, animated series, and the upcoming video game. It discusses what's special about this approach compared to other detailed fictional universes, such as Star Wars. You'll need to click through an ad to get to the article.

It also links to the development diary of Michael 'Saxs' Persson, lead programmer of 'Enter The Matrix'.

Health potion or shower gel?

Health potion or shower gel?

Axe, a cosmetics brand that's fairly big in Europe, recently released a couple of new types of shower gel. Both their visual design and their message reminded me strongly of health potions:

Health potion shower gel

I wonder if its accidental. In any case, these real-world products have not yet reached the effectiveness of their virtual equivalents. My magic power is still at zero.

Only YOU can save privacy and fair use rights

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a laudable organization fighting for digital rights, has created a game that "highlights the ways that consumers' privacy and fair use rights are being whittled away by digital rights management technologies, online spyware and data profiling services." It's not particularly subtle, but it's for a worthy cause.

Ready, aim

An innovative new computer game input device, mainly aimed at men, has been developed at MIT.

I'm refraining from any naughty suggestions because I'm really afraid of what I would find in my referrer logs...