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Work is continuing. I've done a couple of all-nighters, and this is my first full weekend since... what... mid-July? The excitement is mounting.

I have fixed something about this site which makes it show properly in Safari and Mozilla. I'm glad I found it, because I use Safari at home and it was getting on my nerves. The morale of this story: backslashes are evil. Especially in relative paths to CSS stylesheets and image files.

Also, I am writing this in one of my favorite cafes in Vienna, using my fancy-pants Wi-Fi card in my iBook. When I start quoting Cory Doctorow, shoot me.

Trecision goes into liquidation reported:

"Italy's oldest development studio, Trecision, has gone into liquidation after 12 years in business - but the company is hopeful that a buyer may step in to allow the completion of work on its forthcoming football title."

I had some contact with Trecision and Pietro Montelatici, their managing director, when they pitched a game to Blue Byte while I was working there in the mid-nineties. He's a nice guy and they've made some pretty good games. The last I heard, they were expanding, but that was during the dot-com boom - obviously things aren't going that well now. Here's hoping they'll find a source of financing.

Finally a game without violence

Frontal Assault. In other words: Dance Dance Revolution with breasts. No, really. There's a nude patch too. Good for when you want to relax for five minutes at the office.

Oh yes, it has been entered in the Finnish Assembly demo-scene party games competition, yada yada.

(From Slashdot, via the anonymous person sitting next to me at work who downloaded it by accident, honest officer, the link clicked itself, it was begging for it, the little minx.)

White Wolf Ends The World Of Darkness

"After 12 years of anticipation and development, White Wolf does the unthinkable and brings the World of Darkness to an end. The vampires' Gehenna, the werewolves' Apocalypse, the mages' Ascension - all merge into a great event that not only shakes the world, but destroys it. This is the Time of Judgment and you're invited."

Read all about it.

World of Darkness is White Wolf's excellent pen-and-paper RPG setting, the location of such excellent game systems as Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Mummy, Wraith, Hunter and Demon. In computer games it is used in Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption for PC and Hunter: The Reckoning for Xbox, and their upcoming sequels. It is an excellent setting and set of game systems, one that through its emphasis on storytelling over simulation had a big influence on the RPG world. I've passed some excellent moments in the WoD (having a game master who knew the entire setting inside out helped, salut Renaud ;)

World of Darkness is pretty grim, and the end of the world has always been looming around the corner. But now it's happening. It's going out with a bang. No more skulking in the shadows: the shadows are dancing in the streets.

It's a very unusual thing to do with a fictional universe, especially one designed and used for creating and selling many products. It's as if Viacom were to end the Star Trek universe (oh wait, bad example), or as if JK Rowling were to let Hogsworth collapse on Harry Potter.

It feels very, very right. I'm sure they're going to make a bundle off of this, but it still feels ballsy. And it is just satisfying - how long can you try to maintain that tension without anything ever happening? White Wolf's strategy and approach for developing and exploiting a fictional setting over more than a decade is to be commended.

Shocking new game

You've heard of chicks with dicks... you've heard of cocks with socks... but what about Chicks With Bricks? Out now, on your Java handy. (Sadly, the description is in German.)

I fear what I will be finding in my referrer logs in the next couple of weeks.

Thai government imposes night curfew on online gaming

Another interesting little news item from

"Authorities in Thailand are set to impose a strict curfew on online gaming which will see access to online game servers blocked between 10pm and 6am every day, with Internet cafes also facing curbs to their business hours along the same lines."

I spent a couple of weeks in Thailand last year (and I recommend it - you can read about my exploits here) and, although I wanted to get away from computer games, I did spend some time in Internet cafes.

"Ragnarok, which recently left its beta testing phase, was introduced to Thailand seven months ago and currently has well over half a million subscribers there."

Friends of mine were playing Empire Earth from 10PM to 3AM. There were a lot of other people playing Ragnarok.

"As well as the curfew, the measures also include mandatory play breaks every two hours in Internet cafes - presumably an attempt to combat afflictions such as deep vein thrombosis, caused by remaining sedentary for hours at a time, which have killed a number of gamers in the Far East in the past year."

Did I miss something? Wasn't there just one case? Wasn't that a hoax? But in any case, although I don't play MMOs, it's fascinating to see the lure of the virtual.

Sega names new HitMaker president

I thought the following news item from, which I am here shamelessly quoting in its entirety, was quite interesting:

"Virtua Tennis producer takes over studio lead role

Following the promotion of Hisao Oguchi to president of Sega earlier this week, the company has named his replacement at the HitMaker studio - Virtua Tennis producer Mie Kumagai, who becomes Sega's first female studio president.

In fact, Kumagai-san will be the first female president of any Japanese game development studio, according to a Sega spokesperson. She has worked with Sega since 1993, with her work on the Virtua Tennis series drawing considerable praise.

The Japanese game development industry is still seen as primarily a male-dominated one, despite the fact that Japanese women play significantly more games than their western counterparts, and that the industry itself employs many female artists and designers."

Industry demographics continue to fascinate me.