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Sony's CELL chip / PS3 architecture

KoKoRo, a Japanese blog, has a posting about what is apparently a very educated guess about the PS3's architecture. It's very hard to get good information about the PS3 or the CELL chip (1, 2), what with all the PR cloak and dagger warfare going on, but this analysis seems to confirm a rumour I heard that the PS3 will be even harder to develop for than the PS2 (which, as happened to the PS1, has been relegated to a small corner).

All the next-next-gen consoles will require some rethinking of development processes.

Real law in virtual space

Real law in virtual space

F. Gregory Lastowka and Dan Hunter of the University of Pennsylvania's Legal Studies Department have written a paper on real law in virtual space. Keywords: virtual worlds, cyberlaw, cyberspace governance, intangible property, online rights, avatar rights.

(From BoingBoing.)

Google loves me

When you're desperately looking for information on that Axe shower gel ad, where do you go? That's right, here. Not only did I find this search in my referrer logs, according to Google I'm the number 1 authority on this particular subject.

At least no-one was looking for the nude patch.

Update: My 15 milliseconds of shower gel fame are over.

The Matrix games licensing deal

The Matrix games licensing deal details

If you're interested in how the licensing deal for the Matrix games (both the one developed by Shiny and the MMO in development at Monolith) are structured, OR if you're interested in Matrix co-creator Larry Wachowski's private life, read this.

Fortress America's Weekly Update from 21/05/2003 contained the following paragraph:

Indeed, the whole event was marred only by the none-too-gentle ministrations of US immigration officials, who used an obscure part of the immigration laws to detain and then deport a number of British games journalists on the basis of their profession. The event organisers might want to take note; without foreign journalists, E3 would be a much poorer event, and the least they might have been expected to do was to warn registered foreign media about this regulation in advance. As it was, this unfortunate mishap left a sour taste in the mouths of many who attended from the UK, and not just those who were deported.
And now Reports Sans Frontieres tells of French game journalists with similar or worse problems. ( later added some details on four UK journalists.

All of this is seriously reducing my interest in visiting the US.

Short and simple

Although I think comparisons between non-interactive media forms and interactive entertainment tend to be lame, I think the short and simple Flash-based games that have become common over the last couple of years do bear some resemblance with jokes or single-panel cartoons.

Usually, these games are crude (although they are often quite effective at conveying a message, more so than most games: who can forget the hilarious Gulf War 2?)

But sometimes, they can be like poems: like the lovely Fly Guy with it's wonderfully simple interactions with various people and objects, or like the amazing Orisinal, which features many small, but delightful mini-games.

If that isn't your cup of tea, kick ass as the famous Xiao Xiao Stick Figure.

(Partially from Web Zen, via the excellent BoingBoing.)

The future of 3D graphics

The future of 3D graphics technology

ExtremeTech has a report on David Kirk's 'secret' presentation at WinHEC this year about the future of 3D graphics technology. It's quite interesting: database sorting using a GeForce FX, real-time photon tracing, real-time radiosity... it's all there.

The report links to this site, which explores the ways GPUs can be used for non-typical (ie non-graphics) tasks.

(From Spectrum, which got it from Slashdot.)

Sony's handheld game player

You've probably heard about Sony's PSP, a handheld game player. It sounds smart: they positioned themselves away from Nintendo's Game Boy and leveraged their engineering capabilities by putting a lot of high tech into it, plus the capability to play movies and connect to other devices. And they're big enough to have a decent go at pushing this thing into the marketplace. Apparently, the financial markets agreed - Nintendo's stock fell when Sony announced their plans. Nintendo's GBA is not technically advanced, but then, it never was. Nintendo's strength lies in it's software and it's product strategy.

What I find interesting is the shift of the technology arms race from the PC, to the console, to the handheld platform, to the mobile phone. Writing a game for a mobile phone is similar to writing a computer game twenty years ago, writing a game for the Game Boy Advance is a bit like developing for the SNES, etc. People who ruled back in the day with their old school software 3D engines on the Atari ST can now re-use those skills on GBA. But at some point, it will all go away.