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Archive for September, 2013

Half marathon done

September 15, 2013 Comments off

Last year, as part of my general improvement of well-being and an old annoyance, I ran 10 km in less than 50 minutes. When I completed that part last year I decided to set up a new goal, this time it was to complete the Stockholm Half-marathon (21.1 km) in 2013. I also set up a time goal, to complete the race in less than 2 hours.

Yesterday, September 14th, was the day for the Stockholm Half-marathon 2013. I am happy to say that I completed the race and also completed the time goal of two hours, with a race time of 1:58:34. It was an interesting experience training for this – I learned a few things about running longer distances and about myself. The race itself was just the culmination of all that – the end of a (mostly) enjoyable journey. Of course, running together with 17000+ others and with lots of people cheering along the streets was not too bad either ūüôā

Not sure what the next goal will be, but I am quite sure I will run another half-marathon at some point.

Categories: Running

Running out of steam

September 6, 2013 Comments off

Last autumn/winter stumbled upon the closed beta of a niftly online RPG/MMO-type game, City of Steam.  I started to play the game in the closed beta weekends, which was pretty fun. I think they game had some issues, but the level of interaction and feedback between the developers and the community was outstanding. Primarily for that reason, I bought one of their beta packs, to support them in their efforts. The game also got greenlit on Steam, which sounded like a nice potential boost for the game.

After the closed beta weekends there were a couple of months which the developers, Mechanist Games, were working on updates and additions to the game – presumably based on the closed beta feedback. During this the company also settled some deals with a few publishers for different regions. The Western hemisphere (Europe, North America) was covered by R2 Games.

And so the open beta arrived – and players met a game which some ways were significantly different from the closed beta, and in many players’ view, not for the better. ¬† There were certainly improvements also, but the “dumbed down” aspects of the game annoyed quite a few is seems.

There were also a number of bugs and the interaction and feedback from developer side decreased. Perhaps not surprising though, with a few different publishers that now had the main responsibility for the game, instead of Mechanist themselves. Additional restrictions entered the game, bugs remained unfixed, less information from developers and less happy players – unfortunately it seems to have been going a bit downhill here. Last times I managed to log in to the game there were not many people around. Recent visits show barely any activity in the forums and I was not even able to login to the game.

What happened here? Did the developers suddently start to hate the players? Are the publishers the spawn of the devil? Hardly. The enthusiasm and engagement from the developers were genuine I think and I do not think that this changed really.

But it is a business and some business-oriented decisions had to be made. That may have been in negotiations with the publishers, there may have been other investors or similar that gave some ultimatums – who knows? Decisions were made by some people who did not understand the impact of those decisions I think and mistakes were made. Rumos also say that a few of the developers left the company as well – Mechanist seemed to be quite a small developer, so that would be something that would hurt them.

Will they recover to former glory? I don’t know. Hitting players with changes that annoy people, nerf features etc and at the same time decrease communication with the players seems like a bad combination. There may be good reasons why these decisions are made, but not obvious to players. All the more reason to improve communication with the community at these times.

In a way it reminds me a bit of the situation around Chronicles of Spellborn. A neat game which had its share of issues for the gameplay, but also some quite nice and unique features. The messed up the publisher situation when going live and eventually folded. One of the publishers made some attempts to revive the game, but in the end that was futile it seemed.

I hope City of Steam recovers, but from my viewpoint it looks a bit depressing right now.

Categories: City of Steam

Anarchy Online reaching beta stage with new engine

September 3, 2013 Comments off

In a post in the Anarchy Online forums, Nusquam (a.k.a. Joel Bylos) posted that closed beta test will start of the new graphics engine for Anarchy Online, as well as the new starter experience. Those with an account can login and register for the beta.

If/when the player is selected for beta testing, they will get notified by email.

It has been a while; checking through my old posts it seems that the new engine development was announced in 2007 – 6 years later it finally reaches beta stage. Hopefully they may be able to get to a release stage this year (or next year…),

Categories: Anarchy Online

Intermission

September 1, 2013 1 comment

I have not been blogging in the past 3+ weeks, which is simply because there has been other matters Рmore work to handle before travelling abroad and then travelling abroad. Just returned home from a 2 week trip to California and Silicon Valley. The first week was a road trip with a few colleagues, first along  highway 1 (most of the time) down to San Diego from San Francisco and then up to Yosemite and later back to San Francisco. For this part of the trip, Yosemite was the most amazing part Рwould have loved to spend more time there. The forest fire in Yosemite is worrying though and we did see the smoke from it in the distance.

The second week was a conference/learning journey with my employer and pretty much the whole company, with some quite interesting visits and events. It was quite an amazing and intense week; also the first time we traveled this far and were away for this long.  Now I am back home, at bit jet-lagged and full of impressions and thoughts.

So a bit later this week I will probably be back with the blogging, after catching up a bit.

Nevada Falls, in Yosemite Park

Nevada Falls, in Yosemite Park

Categories: General, hiking