The technology behind Shadow of the Colossus

This article covers a lot of technology including: HDR effects, level-of-detail, stencil-buffer shadows, motion blur, collision detection, inverse kinematics, and fur rendering. A very, very good read.

It’s rare to see a detailed technical article like this from such a high profile game developer on the web. I strongly recommend that all the games/graphics programmers reading this check it out.

Update: It’s interesting to note that the main character is modelled as a sphere for collision detection.

Pub trivia last night

Heidi and I went to Clancy’s Fish Pub in Fremantle for “trivia” last night.

The host was great. He was quite entertaining (although a little manic) and would lay into anyone who was taking the event a little too seriously (and irritating everyone else). The questions were well-balanced and everyone won something (we scored a pack of marshmellows and a dessert).

Heidi noted that the event was run by Fame Trivia, which is the same group that runs trivia nights at a bunch of places in Sydney. They train quiz masters and everything, so that defines a certain standard.

Conclusion: A good night out.

Where is our freaking air conditioner?

Over a week later and we’re still waiting on our air conditioner.

Thankfully it’s been fairly cool recently. Oh wait a minute, it hasn’t! In fact, it’s been stinking hot and today it’s humid as well (although admittedly not as hot).

Here’s a brief timeline of events that may make you reconsider buying large items from eBay:

  • February 13: Win bid and inquire about shipping costs.
  • February 20: Finally get shipping costs and pay immediately.
  • March 8: Unit still hasn’t arrived. Last possible day given 10 day maximum (3-4 days expected) shipping.

We probably wouldn’t so be irate if there weren’t such big delays in communication; 7 days to get a shipping price!? Plus, our recent e-mails have gone unanswered. Who knows what is going on…

Although almost unheard of on eBay*, we’re definitely giving negative feedback.

* Seriously, I’ve seen people give neutral feedback with comments like “sent to wrong address 2 weeks late”.

Electronics Boutique

After my last post on the Gameboy micro, some of you might be wondering why I avoid EB like the plague. Well, it’s due to a little something I like to call “The Zelda Collector’s Edition Scandal” (aka. “EB blantantly milks money from its customers”).

When Zelda: The Wind Waker first came out in Australia it was bundled with an exclusive bonus disc containing both Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and Zelda: Majora’s Mask and sold for $99.95 (RRP). On launch day at EB games across Australia, there were amazingly none in stock! However, there were plenty of “second hand” versions selling for $99.95 without the bonus disc, and the bonus disc was being sold for $49.95 “second hand”.

All this on launch day! Did they seriously expect us to believe that there were people who bought the game before the store opened and immediately returned it at the less-than-25%-of-the-price that EB will give them just so that EB could sell the game for 150% of the RRP. Bastards! Absolute Bastards! I remember other people complaining about it at the time and a quick google reveals a couple more reports.

Do yourself a favour and buy online or from local franchises like Game Traders (they even get import games in!). If EB does have something at a good price, you can make use of the “lowest price guarantee” offered by many other stores (eg. Big-W, Target, Kmart).

Gameboy micro only $98 AU!

Note: For those from the U.S.A., that’s around $73 US!

I first saw them for $99 (platinum and black only) at EB, but then looked around to find it elsewhere (or ask somewhere else to price match). I avoid EB like the plague! I finally found them for $98 at Big-W and at that price, I picked up a red one 😀

So that’s my mini-review of the Gameboy micro. It looks cool, feels nice, has a nice screen, and is very cheap (at the moment). Is it worth buying if you already have a Gameboy Advance SP? Probably not, the screen is smaller and the shoulder buttons aren’t as nice. Is it worth buying if you don’t have a Gameboy Advance or an original Gameboy Advance? Yes. At this price, yes it is.

Conclusion: Recommended (if you don’t already have an SP).

More details and images after the jump.

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PSP redesign revisited

A very slight update to my previous post. I decided to make the console feature identical to the current PSP and got rid of the second analog stick.

I also played around with moving the start and select buttons to between the dpad and four-button-layout, but decided against it. I’m not sure if they are used for music playback control (and should be accessible when the unit is closed)… plus it looked stupid 😛

Update: Pictures of the back of the unit, and the unit when closed, are in the previous post.

Dinosaur Jr

I went to see Dinosaur Jr last night with my sister. I wasn’t really planning on going, but she called me in the morning (when she just found out about it) and was pretty keen. So, I picked up a couple of tickets from 78s and we headed down for Japanese dinner and very loud music.

The reason I was hesitant to go was because it was the original lineup. Now the problem with this is that they would be playing the early songs, and the problem with that is that… I don’t really like these much. They have their moments, but tend to be more… a continuous flow of insane guitar solos and crazy drumming rather than cohesive songs. Something that I would have been more in the mood for in high-school.

Still these guys’ skills are amazing, and it was (as always) quite an experience to witness. At the encore performance they brought out the classic song-like songs like “The Wagon”, “Freakscene”, and their cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”. It was more comforting and less affronting. Speaking of affronting, I’m sure that the audience members without earplugs are sorely regretting it this morning. Even the opening band ended with “I hope you all brought your earplugs!”. Dinosaur Jr play really freaking loud.

All-in-all a good night out (in no small part because I was catching up with my sister). For me (and probably for all the fans screaming “Freakscene!”), the encore was the high point.

PSP redesign

It had to happen eventually! After my multiple previous Nintendo DS redesigns and my XboxMove concept handheld, and with rumours of a new model PSP floating about the ‘net, I had to give the PSP a virtual makeover. I hadn’t bothered with a PSP redesign before because… well.. frankly, it’s already pretty damn sexy.

I decided to make this one a (much more practical) clamshell design, but tried to keep the style very close to the original PSP. After spending some time working with images of the original PSP, I don’t actually think Sony’s design is going to age well. That logo and silver circle on the back in particular… it’s so… 2005.

As you can see, I’ve recessed all the controls and changed the analog button (often complained about) to an analog stick, moved it somewhere useful (another common complaint), and added a second stick (everyone’s PSP dream!). The control layout is the same as the Dual Shock 2 controller, so that should keep people happy 🙂

So there it is. I like how the unit looks when closed, but there is something that irritates me about all that empty space when the unit is open. I feel like adding another screen… 🙂

Thoughts? Comments? All are appreciated.

A size comparision to the real PSP and individual images of the open console, front, and back are after the jump.

Update: Fixed images (dpad down arrow and playstation logo).
Update: Fixed “promotional flyer” image (the console was the wrong size!).

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