RPG, Virtual Worlds and Guybrush Returns

July 11, 2009

Too much had happen these last weeks so let’s summarize a little bit. First I’d like to say I went to the ApolloCon here in Houston and being my first Con in the states was a good experience, it’s definitely different from the ones I went to in Argentina but impressive nonetheless and I enjoyed it with my five years old son, who met with a real astronaut for his first time (me too btw) and got an autographed picture, how cool is that!

A couple of weeks ago was published on Gamasutra an article about Role Playing Games for computers, although it was long it was full of data and I got to know some games that I didn’t and it also made me remember about Ishar, the ones I played when I was a kid. Very good article indeed and I’m sure it will make you want to play one of those for sure.

Metaplace is something I still haven’t try in full, I setup an account there but haven’t spend too much time yet, but on a newsletter I received was the announcement that you can embed your virtual world from Metaplace in any webpage, including of course your blog, so if I get a little time to make something productive with it I’m sure I’m going to embed it in here.

And well, I can’t go on without saying a word about the biggest comeback on Graphic Adventure Games, Guybrush Threepwood is on his way again, now from Tell Tale Games and as I have said when I knew about this, let the Second Golden Age of Adventure Games Begin.

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Summer reading

June 21, 2009

I’m taking summer-classes this year but in the brief period between those and the end of the last semester I bought three books that I wanted to read and I’m going to review it for you here.

The first one I read was “The Gold Standard” by Mike Krzyzewski, it recounts how the USA Basketball Olympic Team got formed and the process used to build it and meet the goal of winning the Gold Medal on the 2008 Olympic Games. It’s clearly trying to catch the business aspect of forming a team, but for those looking for a sports book I can tell you’re not going to be disappointed, it tells about the behind the scenes of a team formed by great stars like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and how to make them work together and build truly a team. Overall a great reading, you can learn from this book, mostly how to be a team player and of course how to create and lead a team.

Next was “T-Minus: Race to the Moon” by Jim Ottaviani, Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon. This is a graphic novel about the behind the scenes of the Space Race of the ’60 and ’70 between USA and the USSR. Although it would be nice if it was longer it meets the expectations, you get to know the internal fights and stretch time-lines both programs had and much more about how the Soviet program worked, at least I didn’t know that it was so dependent of only one man and who that men was and how brilliant he was. Great reading, fun and informative at the same timed.

The last one was a book I was trying to read since a long time, “A Theory of Fun for Game Design” by Raph Koster. Certainly it’s what everyone is saying about it, an instant classic and a must for those wanting to work on the gaming industry and even for those willing to know why we play games and how to make them in a successful manner. After reading it I truly believe it changed my way of thinking on certain aspects and I was able to identify past behaviors of mine on play situations and the actual reasons of my reactions. A book to read once and consult every time you need it and of course one to recommend to everyone.


T-Minus: Comic about the Space Race

February 20, 2009

I read this story today and got exited about it. It’s a graphic novel about the US/URSS Space Race in the ’60 but focused on the scientists! At last someone put the view on those that makes everything possible.

And the thing that the author’s motivation is to show and encourage people that you can be part of this without being an astronaut is the best part. Indeed, of course you need to study a lot and really hard to get there, but YOU CAN.

Just yesterday I read an article saying that NASA is supporting the development of an MMO Game about Moon exploration. NASA and Video Games together, I don’t need to tell you that is the Dream job for me and a lot of other people, and something I thought we would have to wait several years to see it happen. And you know what? Is happening right now.

The author of T-Minus mentioned that we have lost that excitement about going to space and the Moon and that he is trying to get that again with this book, but I think that excitement is coming back already. Just the idea of having plans to return to the Moon, and even going to Mars on the schedule, only that should weak up a dead.

I just hope to be alive the day we’re back to the moon and the day we launch the first manned spacecraft to Mars.


The Space Internet has been born!

November 19, 2008

Some years ago I read an article saying that when the man gets to the moon the internet should add one more thing to the domain names, that is the planet thus having domains like google.com.earth or lunarvacations.com.moon. Though I wonder what the domain for the ISS would be?

Nevermind, all that comes to my mind yesterday when I saw this title on my RSS Feed: “NASA Successfully Tests First Deep Space Internet“. I immediately jump to the site to read the news and it was exactly what I expect it to be. The Interplanetary Internet was born, I got really excited and started passing the link to my contacts (here’s the link by the way) and wondering when this will appear on worldwide media, but I still don’t see any mention to it, I really don’t know why, so I decided to make a post on this blog.

This morning while I was keeping the pace with the world saw another article mention it “NASA Tests Interplanetary Internet” but still that is not the big media.

And the really cool part is that Vint Cerf is involved in this, the “Father of Internet” in person, I mean this is huge, really HUGE. Let me put some technical words here:

Unlike TCP/IP on Earth, the DTN (Disruption-Tolerant-Network) does not assume a continuous end-to-end connection. In its design, if a destination path cannot be found, the data packets are not discarded. Instead, each network node keeps the information as long as necessary until it can communicate safely with another node. This store-and-forward method, similar to basketball players safely passing the ball to the player nearest the basket means information does not get lost when no immediate path to the destination exists. Eventually, the information is delivered to the end user.

They’ve used one spacecraft and simulate the rest to test the transmission but it was a success so the are going to keep testing it and not so far in time this is going to be THE way the spacecrafts will communicate with earth.

I probably should start doing some research on the bilello.earth domain name…


Moon Truck or "Time to get a Hummer"

October 30, 2008

As the projects to go back to the moon are going on we can start to take a look at what the NASA is doing to accomplish this achievement. In this case they are informing about the tests they are doing with the new Moon Vehicle, in this case a Truck and not a rover like the ones used on the Apollo era. Why? well they explain it:

“Those lunar rovers were disposable, so they were only going to be used for two or three days. These that we’re looking now, we’re looking at up to five years length on the moon.”

But why a Truck?

“We’re talking about hundreds of kilometers. This is a completely different paradigm than Apollo.”

Moon Truck

Here’s a picture of the device, like copied from a 50’s movie right? Well they said is not the final design yet so it could change in the future, let see some specs about it:

NASA’s Chariot moon truck chassis consists of six bug-like legs, each of which tipped with two wheels. The 2,204-pound (1,000-kg) vehicle is about 15 feet (4.5 meters) long capable of hauling twice its weight in cargo and driving up to 6 mph (10 kph) on rough terrain. Each of the wheel talks can pivot 360 degrees and be lifted up to clear rocks or other obstacles, giving the Chariot the ability to mimic a crab’s flexible mobility.

Very flexible indeed, so far test were really good and the engineers are learning a lot but there is still a long way to go, keep tuned.

Link to the full article: Astronauts Ride in Style in New Moon Truck


Space Station Toilet Broken

October 10, 2008

Recent news tells us about the problems the astronauts are facing on the Space Station, they only have two toilets up there and one has broken, again, and as they say this is vital for the crew in the ISS, more now that they except to increase the number of people living in it.

“The problem appears to be a [gas] separator issue.” the article says, I couldn’t have made any better if I wanted to make a joke, right?

The replacement will cost $19 million, I’m sure being a plumber on the next century will be really profitable, maybe Mario style ones.

Ok, enough with the jokes, it seems a really serious problem, so you may want to read the article with the details, I just can’t resist to make a joke.

Article: Space Station Toilet Breaks Again