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Comment: Chicken and Egg (Score 1) 635

by lrnj (#40879843) Attached to: John Carmack: Kudos To Valve, But Linux Is Still Not a Viable Gaming Market

A better supply of games in Linux would lead more gamers to run Linux. More gamers running Linux will make the platform more attractive to developers. This would lead to more games in Linux, which would lead to more gamers running Linux, etc. This will also lead to improvements in Linux distributions for gaming, in terms of built-in features and hardware support, making the platform more attractive to developers and gamers, and so forth.

It's just a question of where the tipping point is. This move by Valve is a big push in the right direction.

Carmack might be right that for most games, producing a Linux version would cost more than it brings in, but in the long term an investment in making Linux a viable platform could increase future profits and promote brand loyalty toward the companies that had the foresight to pioneer. I think Apple has shown us that you just can't overinvest in "coolness". And the cost-benefit problem probably doesn't hold true for less technically ambitious games, which can achieve Linux compatibility for minimal cost if their code is reasonably well structured and segregates the platform-specific bits.

Comment: remakes natural with increasing slickness (Score 1) 179

by lrnj (#36402012) Attached to: A Plea For Game Devs To Aim Higher

It's not easy to advance on all fronts at once. If you've got a big team struggling with cutting edge technology, it helps a lot to have everyone on the same track with a nice, clear plan that everybody's well familiar with. There's nothing better for that than having a finished product to point to, and say, "We're doing this, only better, with our new technology, bigger budget, more sophisticated techniques, and greater experience." The same thing is happening in film, since visual effects are advancing so fast.

There are all sorts of highly original games being made. A lot of the real progress in gameplay is being made in low-budget games that don't get all that much attention because they aren't beautiful like the high-budget games. It just makes sense to prove your gameplay concept with cheap little ugly games instead of wasting a lot of skilled people's time on an experiment. You can always do a sophisticated remake later.

I don't see the problem with a gorgeous new Zelda, Halo, Madden, and Starcraft every few years, when we're still getting creative games like Portal, World of Goo, Dwarf Fortress, and Minecraft. It's what the audience wants.

As for the me-too shovelware, that's unfortunate but inevitable (as are the experiments that are plain failures). There are lots of customers who pay up front for games without doing any research (the grandma factor), people who haven't played many games are easily impressed, and unsophisticated investors: someone is going to exploit them, either maliciously or accidentally.

Comment: Apparently, I can predict the present. (Score 1) 66

by lrnj (#35994898) Attached to: On-Screen Keyboard Maliit Demoed With Gnome 3

The "Asus Eee Pad Transformer" is (minus the e-reader/pen tablet fantasy) is basically exactly what I described, although the keyboard/folder/battery-pack is sold separately (I can't imagine getting one without the other, though). And it's selling faster than they can put them on the shelves.

I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of these, at lower and lower prices.

Comment: Best of both worlds. (Score 1) 66

by lrnj (#35985070) Attached to: On-Screen Keyboard Maliit Demoed With Gnome 3

In order to get a low-end Android device as a test platform, I recently bought a cheap little tablet (Flytouch / ePad / MID) from China. Don't get me wrong, the implementation was horrible. I think this thing was a fifth-rate knockoff of a third-rate knockoff, and the stats (RAM, clock speed, installed Android version) were all lies. It is too slow and clunky, with too miserable a battery life, to use for almost anything (except testing software you really, really want to be fast and efficient, so yay).

But the neat thing is that it came with a very light little protective folder with keyboard. When you pop the tablet in the folder, it's just like a little laptop. I can't help but look at that and say that tablets and netbooks will converge.

What I'd really like to see is a little folder like that with the tablet with iPad-style capacitative multitouch screen, the keyboard module optionally with extra batteries, possibly a hard drive, optical drive, usb and other ports, and tiny mouse, and maybe a Kindle-style e-reader with a Cintiq-style high-precision pen input, so you could take notes on it or it could work as an auxiliary input. A nice little kit for all of your bag-not-pocket portable needs, that all works together and separately, and also adds two highly convenient interfaces to your desktop machine.

I think something like this will happen eventually (at least, without the e-reader/pen tablet -- one can dream). People love the tablet interface for lounge-and-browse stuff, but often need the keyboard and ports to get stuff done. There's little reason you can't provide both together. Right now, I think the keyboard/case is being left out more for stylistic than practical reasons (if, say, the iPad came with a keyboard/case, people would have seen it more as a crippled laptop with a gimmick than something new and exciting, even though it would be a more capable device).

Comment: Google alternative: duckduckgo (Score 3, Informative) 366

by lrnj (#35358474) Attached to: Bing Becomes No.2 Search Engine at 4.37%

I wish someone - even Microsoft - would come up with a decent alternative to Google.

I've switched recently from google to DuckDuckGo. I'd call it a decent alternative with a few advantages over Google, and a few disadvantages.

All in all, I consider it a slight downgrade, but google was starting to creep me out too much.

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