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Where Will Arkham Take Us Next? January 31, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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I just finished my second playthrough of Batman: Arkham City and I have to say that the game is a tremendous achievement that Rocksteady should be quite proud of.  It’s the superhero game that so many have asked for so long.

Now that I’ve come to the end of the game for a second time its gotten me thinking about just where is the series going next?  I know a lot of people will cite the game’s finale as exactly that…final, but there is a tremendous amount of tidbits and easter eggs sprinkled through the game which have been found by various individuals online that speak volumes that Rocksteady is planning a third Batman game.

Before I go any further I would like to make it clear to anyone reading this that this is an editorial, and it is my opinion based upon all the evidence I have gathered from the game.  Please do not take anything I post here as biblical or essential to what the third Batman game is going to be, or that I feel so strongly about my conjectures that if the third game turns out to be something different I will lose all interest in it.  I am doing this for two reasons, one, to inform the reader of anything they may have missed playing through Arkham City, and two, because its fun.  Prepare to be spoiled.

So with all this said, what are my expectations about the third Batman game developed by Rocksteady Studios?  Well, I believe it’s going to be titled, Batman: Gotham City.  This had been kicked around quite a bit since the end of the first game, Arkham Asylum, and all signs pointed before the official announcement of Arkham City that Batman was going to be fighting in a much bigger location than the first game.  After fighting through Arkham Asylum, and then Arkham City, to continue to up the size and scope of the previous game there really isn’t any where bigger for Batman to go than Gotham City itself, well that, and the evidence I’m about to provide ahead.

The game also intentionally left several loose threads for those who may have given the side missions a quick look.  While most of the side missions you partake in have a finality to their endings and usually end in the capture of whoever it was we were seeking out, like Mr. Zaazz or Deadshot, there are two sidequests in particular I want to reference which could be tied directly into what may be in mind for the sequel.

The first is the Watcher in the Wings mission, where Batman finds a masked avenger following him in Arkham City, and you can usually catch him at pre-determined points.  After following the trail left by him you will discover that it is none other than the superhero Azrael.  Azrael was a regular member of Batman’s allies in the early 90s and at one point replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman after his back had been broken by Bane.  He tells Batman that what he did that night would bring about an even bigger event that he could not even possibly imagine.  He explicitly says to Batman that from what happens in Arkham, Gotham will burn, giving credibility to my theory that Gotham City will be the venue of the next game.  The file is marked not as complete, but filed away into the Batcomputer for later review.

The other is the Identity Killer mission, where Batman investigates several murders involving corpses that had their faces removed with surgical precision.  You first get a tease about the mission when you meet one of the doctors in the church for the first time caring for a patient with his face completely bandaged and holding a box they could not pry out of his hands no matter how sedated he was.  When asked about the prisoner the doctor replied that the bandaged man wasn’t a prisoner but one of the doctors who did it to himself!  As you follow the trail, all signs point to Bruce Wayne being the killer (Wayne’s fingerprints were on one of the scalpels left at the scene and witnesses said Wayne did it), in fact Oracle had a theory that Johnathan Crane, The Scarecrow, may have been responsible for brainwashing Batman in some way to committing the murders.  It turns out that the murders were committed by Dr. Tommy Elliott, better known as the supervillian Hush, a former friend of Bruce Wayne and now insane criminal mastermind.  As he peeled off his bandages he revealed his face to Batman, the face of Bruce Wayne, which he was able to create for himself after taking certain facial features from all his victims and stitching them together.  He walks out of his apartment, letting Batman live.  Oddly, Batman reports to Oracle that Hush had left Arkham City and was “gone” even though all Batman saw him do was walk out the apartment’s front door.  The file is also flagged to the Batcomputer for further review and Batman said he’d go looking for him tomorrow.

The final tidbit I want to bring up is probably the thing you want me to talk about the most, and that is the secret easter egg which has been all over the internet for the past few weeks.  One of the ships in Arkham City actually can have its cargo hold opened by your cryptographic sequencer.  The sequencer spot isn’t marked like other spots, so you have to figure out exactly where to stand for the sequencer to work.  When you determine the password (hardest in the game) the hold opens.  If you move inside the shipment, the game shifts to a first person perspective, and you see various shipments of gross bugs inside of it, an obvious fear weapon.  In the far back is a human subject, alive and absolutely terrified.  The shipment is marked that it is to be delivered to Dr. Jonathan Crane, The Scarecrow.  The Scarecrow had been mentioned very rarely otherwise in the game.  One possible ending of Arkham Asylum showed he had survived the events of the first game and may have gotten his hands on the Titan formula (similar endings showed Croc or Bane getting it).  It was also clear he had been in Arkham City at one point (The Riddler marked Crane’s Scarecrow mask buried in some hay as the solution to a riddle of his) but overheard chatting of some thugs said they heard he may have been in Arkham City but they hadn’t seen him anywhere.  It was likely he had been in there but probably snuck out.

What does Dr. Crane have in mind for Gotham?  Will Hush be involved?  And finally, will the new Azrael be joining us?  Crane was part of the Hush storyline in the comics (as was the rest of the of the Batman villains, but I consider Scarecrow’s part to be left as a loose thread in that story) and the lingering plot thread about it involved Batman wondering if he had been exposed to the fear toxin at some point in the story, affecting his judgement, which is exactly the same feeling Batman has in the game during the Hush sidequest.  The original (and most well-known) character who held the title of Azrael was Jean-Paul Valley, who has been dead in the comics for quite some time.  Will this new Azrael, armed with the appearance and weapons of Valley but the name and story of Michael Lane be a friend or foe?  Gotham beckons.

Oh and, Harley’s pregnant.

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The High Definition Video War Part 2 January 30, 2012

Posted by Maniac in HD Format War, Histories.
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HD-DVD released first and being first to market helped them quite a bit. Armed with an initial selection of high-definition movies from exclusive and non exclusive studios gave HD an impressive catalog of movies very quickly. A brand new HD-DVD player would cost the consumer about $500US at release, with models supporting higher resolutions and wider features costing more. The HDTV owning public was eager to finally have some native content to show off their new TVs and they bought them right up.

Blu-Ray launched towards the end of 2006 near the release of the Playstation 3. I would like to say that they had just as strong a launch as HD-DVD did, but they didn’t. The initial launch price of a standalone Blu-Ray Disc player was around $1000US, and the alternative to buy a brand new Playstation 3, which had full Blu-Ray support, was much cheaper, but not when compared to the price of a Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360. Sony was also bringing out their catalog of recent movies from their Studios, the majority of which were critical bombs that no one was interested in seeing, let alone seeing in HD. Warner Bros also held back the release of several movies they had initially released for HD-DVD, since they made use of features that the launch version of Blu-Ray could not make use of, like Picture-in-Picture commentary, and instead chose to hold back the release of those movies until Blu-Ray came up to HD-DVD’s specifications.

That update for the Blu-Ray players would come indeed, but it would not make a lot of early Blu-Ray adopters happy. When Sony announced that they were working on Profile 1.1, the first major Blu-Ray system update, it was clear that there were going to be plenty of currently existing standalone players that would not be able to meet this specification. The hardware requirements for a second video stream that was essential for picture-in-picture playback was not part of the initial BD specification (it was a requirement of HD-DVD however) and as such, even with a firmware update, there would be plenty of players that would not be able to make use of the feature. The Playstation 3, however, would have no problem meeting this specification.

Around the time that the Playstation 3 launched, Microsoft released an HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. Using the Xbox 360’s processor to do all the work, the HD-DVD drive would connect externally to the 360 using the rear USB port. It also had a USB hub in the rear for extra peripherals that were used by the Xbox 360’s rear USB, like the Xbox Live Vision Camera and WiFi Adapter. Priced at $200US and designed to be a cheaper alternative to buying a standalone HD-DVD player for people who already had a 360, the external drive sold quite well and increased the HD-DVD’s user base. It also had 256MB of internal flash memory to meet the format’s specifications for any downloadable content, and the ability to automatically update it’s firmware through Xbox Live.

Then there was an interesting little development. The porn industry threw their entire weight behind the HD-DVD format. This may seem like a minor sidebar for hilarity’s sake, but in reality this was taken with a lot of seriousness. The porn industry claimed that HD-DVD was the better format to work with, and as with Betamax, Sony was not all that receptive to having Blu-Ray porn. The truthfulness of this statement could be taken with a grain of salt, but it was certainly true during the VHS/Beta war years prior, and many have credited the porn industry’s support of VHS to be the sole reason why the format was a success over Beta.

Then there was another development that put the format war into a heavy stalemate. As Blu-Ray was picking up steam, Paramount Pictures announced that they would become an HD-DVD exclusive studio, adding to the ranks of Universal. Paramount had a pretty extensive movie collection out on Blu-Ray already, but it had been clear that because of the improved software of HD-DVD, some discs, in particular Mission: Impossible III, were superior on HD-DVD than their Blu-Ray counterpart. This also meant that a movie they had already manufactured and shipped to retailers, Blades of Glory, would have its Blu-Ray version pulled from shelves before release.

This put the format war into a stalemate through the 2007 holidays. Both Sony and Toshiba offered promotions to get customers during the holiday season, ranging from offering free movies through rebate incentives (which the Playstation 3 was also a part of) to temporary price cuts for new standalone players.

Then Blu-Ray dropped a devastating blow to HD-DVD that they could not recover from. Warner Bros announced they would become Blu-Ray Disc exclusive. Why did WB cross? Well, quite simply, they looked at the movies they had released for both platforms and said they clearly sold more Blu-Ray Disc versions of their movies than HD-DVD versions. Paramount had it in their contract that their HD-DVD exclusive status would be conditional that Warner Bros did not become Blu-Ray exclusive, as they knew that Warner Bros’s weight alone would turn the tide of the war and they did not want to find themselves exclusive to the eventual losing format for longer than they needed to be.

With the release of Profile 2.0 (BD Live), Blu-Ray players could finally meet the specifications that HD-DVD had since launch. It was now mandated that all Blu-Ray players would allow internet access from their discs and ship with 1GB of storage space for any downloaded content. While once again the Playstation 3 would have no problem meeting this specification, the current wave of standalone Blu-Ray players could not meet this hardware specification.

Toshiba put all their final efforts into one last commercial (which ironically wasn’t even in high-definition) to air during the Super Bowl, but it was too late. The format was running on fumes and they were fizzing out. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Toshiba called it quits with the HD-DVD format. Blu-Ray Disc had won the HD format war.

So how did HD-DVD, with its fantastic launch and superior software lose to Sony with their initially disappointing exclusive lineup, required hardware upgrades, and more expensive hardware? Well, it all came down to the elephant in the room. Sony was right in assuming that having Blu-Ray hardware inside the Playstation 3 would bring them the edge in the hardware install base. When Warner Bros looked at their sales figures for each of the platforms, they could see that the Blu-Ray versions of their movies were selling better, in my opinion this is probably because anyone with a Playstation 3, since they had the player already, was probably purchasing Blu-Ray versions of newer movies over DVD counterpart. The Playstation 3 integration, plus the install base from standalone players, gave Sony the sales edge in multiplatform movies. It also seemed that with the majority of early Blu-Ray adopters choosing the PS3 as their player of choice, the blowback from the hardware upgrade requirements with the new profile specifications was minor.

With the release of Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) Sony has brought Blu-Ray Disc to the software capabilities HD-DVD launched with. Warner Bros would use that to re-release previously exclusive HD-DVD movies which took advantage of the platform’s software capabilities, like Constantine, Batman Begins, and The Matrix Trilogy. Now, with 3D support, the Playstation 3 continues to support every major hardware update Sony has brought to Blu-Ray (internet connected firmware update required), and BD Live players have become as common and inexpensive as the DVD players they intend to replace.

So if you happen to be in a secondhand movies retailer and see a new movie in a red box and wonder, “Gosh, what’s HD-DVD?” now you know. Now put it back on the shelf.

The High Definition Video War Part 1 January 29, 2012

Posted by Maniac in HD Format War, Histories.
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Are you guys ready for another history story?  Back in 2005, the world was itching to bring High Definition TV into the mainstream.  While PCs had enjoyed HD content for years prior, it was finally being adopted into the home theater market.  The problem was DVD was not a sufficient technology for HD video and the movie studios knew it.  With the choice to use a red laser in DVD players, there was not enough bandwidth to support high-definition playback.

While HD televisions were finally being sold to the mass markets, the install base was still quite low, in 2006 only about 20% of homes had a HDTV in their house, and very few of them had any content to use for it.  Not all of the next generation consoles had even been released yet.  The time had come for the successor to DVD to be released, a new video format capable of displaying movies in high-definition video and audio, and show HDTV owners the full potential of their new TVs.

The problem was that like with any large group, the manufacturers couldn’t agree on how they wanted to go about making this new format and who would be the ones to make the standard.

Sony had a product in mind to meet this demand.  They had a new optical disc format with storage capacity of around fifty gigs.  Dubbed Blu-Ray Disc (BD for short) for the blue laser the player would read the disc with, Sony believed that the extra storage capacity of the discs would do well for containing large series, loads of special features, and completely uncompressed surround sound audio tracks.  The problem with it was that it was so dissimilar to what was currently on the market, new facilities would have to be built to mass produce them.

Toshiba had their own ideas.  They had a disc format of their own in mind that, while it did not have nearly as much of a storage capacity as Blu-Ray did, had a full list of technical features and software ready to go for it that Sony didn’t.  At launch, their format would be able to support picture-in-picture commentary, as well as allow any users with internet access the ability to download new content to their players.  Toshiba called the format HD-DVD and unlike Blu-Ray it could be mass produced using currently existing facilities.

Each side believed they had the superior product, but everyone knew that there was a major elephant in the room.  Sony was also producing their next generation console alongside their new high-definition format.  The Playstation 3 was the third in Sony’s highly successful gaming division, which had twice prior won the gaming wars by a landslide.  The decision to include DVD playback in the PS2 at launch had been an enormous success for the initial sales of the PS2, as they sold it as not just a gaming platform but an entertainment device, and Sony was banking that the choice to include a Blu-Ray player inside of the PS3 would be just as big an advantage to them as it had been in the previous generation.  None of the other consoles would support Blu-Ray out of the box, but there was some musings that Microsoft may include an adapter to allow HD-DVD playback on the Xbox 360 after the 360’s launch.

The sides were chosen.  Universal Studios would be an HD-DVD exclusive provider.  20th Century Fox and Disney both decided to join Sony Pictures and exclusively support Blu-Ray Disc.  However, not all the studios were willing to choose a side in this fight just yet.  Paramount and Warner Bros, who probably had the biggest studio catalog of all the studios, would remain neutral and support both platforms.

However, completely independent of whoever was going to win or lose this format war, the true loser of it was going to be the home consumer.  With an only twenty percent install base to go for, both Sony and Toshiba were going for a small portion of a niche market, which was probably one of the worst business decisions anyone could make.  It also would mean that with studios exclusive to certain platforms, there were going to be movies released that would not see a release on the alternate format.  If a consumer chose to buy a Blu-Ray player, they would be forced to buy the DVD of anything released exclusive to the alternate format.  They also knew that whoever would end up buying the eventual losing format would be forced to buy the winning format after the fact, and possibly rebuy their movie collection.

There were rumors of an 11th hour meeting of the minds to stop the format war before it started, but it fell through.  The war, it seemed, would be decided by the consumers.

Podcast 6 – Dead Space January 28, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Podcasts, Site Videos.
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For the sixth gameXcess.net podcast, I discuss the multiplatform franchise Dead Space from EA and Visceral Games.  Since 2008, there have been two multiplatform main games, one Wii game, two animated features, an iPhone/iPad game, and several novels.  In the podcast, I talk about my first experiences with the game, why I enjoyed it so much, my background with horror and where I think the series is headed next.

Check back next time for a podcast discussion on Gears of War!

Insomniac Finished With Resistance Games January 28, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Ladies and gentlemen, Ted Price.

So that’s it folks, the end of a gaming era is here.  The three PS3 Resistance games, as well as the Resistance property itself was all created by Insomniac Studios, and now they’re making it official that Resistance 3 was the final game in the Resistance series that they will be working on.  The property is in the hands of Sony and currently Nihilistic, who is developing a new handheld Resistance game for the Sony Vita.

I know this had made news in the past few days, but I wasn’t willing to post it up here unless there was some sort of official confirmation about it.  When this was posted it met my requirements of “official confirmation”.  As far as I’m concerned, Insomniac is the reason why so many people picked up a Playstation 3 at launch, and I still consider the original Resistance: Fall of Man to have some of the best multiplayer on the PS3.

Good luck to Insomniac with all their future game developments.  They are really good at their jobs.  Here, here.

Alan Wake PC Release Date and System Requirements January 27, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The PC release of Alan Wake is getting closer and closer.  Here are the final system requirements for the game.

OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7

PROCESSOR:A dual core processor is required:

  • AMD: Athlon X2 2.8GHz
  • Intel: Core 2 Duo 2GHz

MEMORY: 2 GB

HARD DRIVE: 8 GB

VIDEO CARD:DirectX 10 compatible or later with 512MB RAM

  • AMD: ATI Radeon 3650, 4450, 5550, 6450 or higher (per series)
  • NVIDIA: GeForce 8600GT, 9500GT, GT120, GT430, GT520 (per series)

SOUND CARD: DirectX 9.0c compatible

INPUT: Mouse and keyboard, Xbox360 controller also supported

The game will be downloadable through Steam, and you can expect it to take full advantage of Steam’s features.  It will not support the Games for Windows platform.  However, there are some pretty sweet features that the PC game will have.  A cool little PC feature is you will be able to play Alan Wake on multiple monitors, perfect for extreme widescreen aficionados.  It is also compatible with Nvidia’s 3D technology, but is very resource demanding, you’ll need a top of the line GPU to take full advantage of it.

Alan Wake is Coming February, 2012 to PC.  Both DLC episodes will be also released alongside the game.

Steam Mobile App Released January 27, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Valve has done quite a suprising thing and released their own Steam application for iOS and Android.  With it, Steam users will be able to access their friends list, read news and chat while on the go.

I wasn’t expecting Valve to do this, but it does make sense.  The fact is that Microsoft has already released a similiar program worldwide to allow mobile access to Xbox Live, and Sony has also released a similiar application for the Playstation Network (although it has not come to North America yet).  Valve obviously intends to continue to extend Steam accessibility past the PC.  We’ve already seen them release console games that have Steam connectivity (Portal 2 for the PS3) and it looks like this is the next volley to continue that expansion.

However, don’t expect to be able to use the program just by downloading it.  Valve is currently not accepting all users into testing this app right now, but if you want a chance at joining this program in beta testing, you will need to have a Steam account and download the program to your mobile device of choice.  Once you log into the app for the first time you will need to verify your device by e-mail, and Valve will add your account to the list of possible beta testers.

You can grab the iOS version here and the Android version here.

The Darkness II Launch Trailer and System Requirements January 26, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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2KGames has released a pretty bad-assed CGI launch trailer for The Darkness II, which, while is completely pre-rendered, captures the feel of the game quite well.  You can clearly see the extent of the powers of the Darkness and what emotional baggage Jackie is bringing with him this time around.

The Darkness II is coming Feb 7th, 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.  Here are the PC system requirements.

Minimum:

    • OS:Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor:Intel Core 2 @ 2GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
    • Memory:1.5GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space:10GB
    • Video Card:256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
    • Sound:DirectX Compatible
    • Additional: Requires installation of Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable, DirectX and nVidia PhysX version 9.11.1107 (included with download)

Recommended:

    • OS:Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor:2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
    • Memory:2GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space:10GB
    • Video Card:512+ MB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX
    • Sound:DirectX Compatible
    • Additional: Requires installation of Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable, DirectX and nVidia PhysX version 9.11.1107 (included with download)

The PC version of the game will require STEAM.  If you want to check out how the game runs on your PC before its released, you can download a playable demo through the STEAM marketplace free of charge.

If you’re interested in knowing more about The Darkness II, 2K Games will be streaming the first hour of the game here at 4PM PST today.

Science Check: Jurassic Park January 25, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Science Check.
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Back in 1993, when the first Jurassic Park movie released to theaters, my family took me to a local museum which had an extensive collection of dinosaur fossil exhibits.  The museum was getting quite a lot of attention following the release of the movie and was more than happy to pass out pamphlets filled with scientific information about the dinosaurs that fascinated us.  Inside the pamphlet I clearly remember reading an entire page entitled “Why Jurassic Park Would Not Work”.  Well, a brand new Jurassic Park game has been released by Telltale Games and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit.  Playing through the game twenty years after the first movie released made me think back to just how plausible a concept Jurassic Park was.  I’m sure like a lot of other people, they are wondering just how accurate the science and technology of Jurassic Park was.  Well, have a seat because there is plenty to talk about.

Sometimes, you’re forced to make some severe leaps of logic as to just how plausible a video game’s grounded reality can be.  Some things we’re willing to take for granted, like enemies will simply just carry health and ammunition supplies with them at all times, and you will be immediately able to make use of them.

But then sometimes there will be moments in gaming which skirt the bounds of reality and you are forced to ask yourself…COULD THAT REALLY HAPPEN?  Fortunately for me, I happen to have a bunch of friends on speed dial with science backgrounds and when I ask them questions, they have no problem filling me in on just what reality would do in these situations.

So this is Science Check, where I take a look at the leaps and bounds of scientific logic that games have made over the years and check if it would indeed work, or if you tried doing it in the real world, you’d be totally screwed.

Now I want to mention that I’m going to be talking about the whole of the Jurassic Park movie franchise.  I will sprinkle in facts taken from the various Jurassic Park games and if needed anything presented in either of the bi-coastal theme park rides.  I’ve never actually read any of Michael Crichton’s original books, but I am familiar with a few factoids in them that did not appear in the movie when applicable.

For those of you who have not seen the Jurassic Park movies (seriously, go watch the first movie, its one of the greatest movies of all time), here’s the concept behind it.  A theme park was able to create living dinosaurs by extracting DNA from intact blood left behind in fossilized mosquitos.  Mosquitos existed alongside dinosaurs 65 million years ago and would bite them.  Sometimes the mosquito with this dinosaur blood still inside would land on a tree and get stuck in its sap.  The sap would fossilize after millions of years, preserving the mosquito and the dinosaur blood inside it.  Jurassic Park scientists would find the fossils inside massive mines, extract the blood from the mosquito and use it to create dinosaurs.  Using the DNA of a frog they filled in any gaps in the gene sequence.  It was similiar enough and saved time, had they used a complete intact DNA strand it would have taken much longer.  With a complete genetic code, a dinosaur could be created inside an empty ostrich egg.

The whole park was monitored by an automated system programmed by Dennis Nedry.  The animals were kept enclosed inside electrified pens to keep them from getting out (or other animals getting in).  The point of the movie was to show that even with the most sophisticated control system imaginable you can’t keep living creatures under control, especially ones that don’t belong in modern day.

While I don’t have the museum’s pamphlet with me any more (I was 9 when I went to see Jurassic Park for the first time) I do clearly remember the case that the museum made as to why the cloning of dinosaurs on the scale that Jurassic Park used would not have worked.  The museum did not deny the possibility that fossilized amber could hold intact DNA from fossilized mosquitos. They did argue however that with the technology available at the time, it would have taken fifty years to go through all the DNA and create a dinosaur with it. If there was any mistake, they would have to start the process all over again.  In fact the Jurassic Park movie clearly stated that if you looked at a fast moving screens of genetic codes once per second for eight hours a day, it would take two years to read the entire DNA strand.  They claimed that using “virtual reality” (yeah that was big at the time) they could break down a strand in minutes and show the scientists where the gaps were in the DNA sequence.

Here’s the thing.  These numbers were crunched based on 1993 figures (or 1987 figures if you want to base it off of the book’s timeline) of computing power.  In the game Trespasser, John Hammond did confirm that InGen spared no expense to the computing power for the genetic scientists and had access to multiple Cray supercomputers, which were used for the gene sequencing.  At a cost of about fifteen or so million dollars a piece, they had about half the power of an original model Xbox.  Computing power was still very low, and even if Jurassic Park spared no expense with what kinds of computers they were able to buy, they were still limited by the computing power of their day.  Nowadays a current model iPhone costing around 300 dollars is about ten times more powerful than a computer costing fifteen million dollars was back in 93.  Would it take less time now?  Well, we were able to map the human genome in less than fifteen years, and during the time it was being worked on there were already other organizations trying faster methods to do it in less time.  I’m sure if you put some of today’s fastest and most expensive supercomputers in the world at the task they would be able to do it in a hell lot faster than fifty years.

The funniest part I found after watching these movies nowadays is that the computing technobabble (most of it spouted by Dennis Nedry) is actually quite accurate for the time.  He made it clear that any changes he made to the park’s code base would use up the memory and cpu cycles used by other portions of the park while it was operating.  This was quite accurate.  With software as complex as what it took to fully automate Jurassic Park with a minor staff, its software would take a while to debug, reprogram and compile.  The computing hardware that would be available to the park at the time was limited by today’s standards but accurately used.  Nedry had his own set of Macs to debug and build the park’s computer code.  In the movie they mentioned the park used a UNIX system designed for SGI workstations.  Back in the day, SGI workstations were considered the cream of the crop when it came to design power.  I’ve seen plenty of people online use them to replicate the interface Jurassic Park used, so it’s quite possible they can operate as shown in the movie.  To provide the computing power needed, Nedry networked together eighteen connection machines, which is typical for that kind of system.  If the server drives which contained the park’s operating system was set to read only, resetting it would clear out any changes made to it since it was installed, however it would have been a lot simpler and safer to restore a working backup.

As far as I can tell, if there was one thing the movies got completely wrong it was the electrified fences.  Modern electric fences, like the ones that are used to keep animals penned in wild preserves are only dangerous when touched by something grounded.   This still would be effective against ground based animals (I can’t imagine a T-Rex or Triceratops would be jumping very high).  However, Monkeys are notorious for violating electrified pens like this by simply jumping onto the fences.  There was no way Tim would have been shocked while climbing the perimeter fence, but he would have needed to jump off once it had turned on.

So that’s Jurassic Park, science checked.  If you haven’t seen Jurassic Park yet, you really should.  The Jurassic Park game is out for purchase on the Xbox 360, PC or Playstation 3.  You can find the PC version for download on Telltale’s site, the Xbox 360 version at retail and the PS3 version for download through the PSN.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare Release Date January 24, 2012

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Major Nelson has officially announced the release details for Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, as well as a few other games that will be released next month through Xbox Live Arcade.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the game since it’s preview at this year’s Consumer Electronic’s Show.  All the gameplay of Alan Wake returns.  The game will also feature both licensed music and new music exclusive to the game, including a brand new single by The Old Gods of Asgard (who sound eerily similar to Poets of the Fall, wink wink).  The game’s storyline promises a four hour campaign storyline and a separate game mode called Fight ‘Till Dawn, where you’ll have to defend yourself against respawning enemies until the sun rises.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, developed by Remedy, the creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne, will be released February 22nd, 2012 exclusive to the Xbox Live Arcade.  The final cost of the game will be 1200 Microsoft Points or $15US.  Since this is an Xbox Live Arcade release, there will be a free demo/trial version of the game released alongside the full version.