Exciting news! According to a blog post made a couple of days ago, the Raspberry Pi team expects the first boards to be available for purchase before the end of Feb! But a little background, the Raspberry Pi project is the brainchild of Eben Upton, formerly a lecture at Cambridge who set out with a simple goal – to try to reignite British educational system passion for by recapturing the programming frontier spirit of the BBC Micros of old. Seven years later and the boards are ready, compact and bristling with ports and potential.
Despite the original focus, the project has been blessed by a huge amount of interest and I for one am excited to get my hands on a board (or possibly several) to see what I can make them do. The boards have already been shown to run XBMC, Quake3 and have the approximate graphical capabilities of the original XBOX – I can’t wait to see what will happen in the coming weeks.
A rather cheeky 2D rip off (yes, I think that’s justified given the identical art assets) of Minecraft called ‘Crafted’ has popped up on the iOS app store. I’m tempted to give, what appears to be the crossbreed between Minecraft and Terrania, a go, but I don’t really want to reward what amounts to intellectual property theft in my opinion.
I’ve been reading with great interest a recently released approximation of the quantity and deposition of radionuclides from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident earlier this year. Recently published on the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics open discussion forum, the PDF form (entitled “Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determination of the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition”) is freely available.
The discussion paper raises a number of interesting points, particularly the indications of pre-tsunami reactor containment failure as evidenced by radioxenon releases, the large contribution to overall emissions from the spent fuel pool fire (reactor building #4) and the upward rating on the overall estimated radionuclide emissions. I strongly recommend a read.
Photo credit: TEPCO
Payday: The Heist is the result of mixing three cups of Left 4 dead with a whisked quantity of Modern Warfare and glazing the resultant cake with generous portions of awesome. Payday: TH takes the four player cooperative approach so brilliantly executed by L4D and adds wads of cash and rather irate Police officers. Sure, there are still guns and enemies that assault you in unrelenting waves but apart from that the presentation and style of the game are very different and exceedingly compelling.
There are six missions (of which I’ve only tried two so far) which are designed to never truly play the same way twice. Each is concerned with some sort of get-rich-quick style encounter the title of the game alludes to and the reward for in-game achievement is currency. This forms the experience and progression system unlocking new and better equipment progressively for the three distinct player types, each of which feel different and nicely mutually complementary.
The only minor negative point is the story – not much is explained and any inter-character banter feels largely there to cynically dispense with the story as quickly as possibly and make way for the action. In this game however, that’s absolutely fine by me.
The price and the quality of the experience and overall finish mean no second thought should be required here, I heartily recommend Payday: The Heist.
I finally took the time to complete Metro 2033 (it was only sitting on my shelf for around a year..) and I loved every minute of it. A lot of new games feel quite similar these days but being produced by a Ukrainian developer has really imparted a unique feel to this title. The visuals are spectacular and the gameplay has some unique and interesting elements.
Despite the developer 4AGames having a bust up with the GSC chaps (the developer behind the STALKER series) over originality of technology and IP, Metro 2033 is a very different game from STALKER. Ok, sure it is set in a post-apocalyptic world irradiated by the folly of man, but therein the similarities stop. Metro is a linear and highly polished romp through the tunnels and factions of a destroyed Moscow with a psychological gameplay element thrown in. These give Metro an almost FEAR style angle and my main criticism is that these were not developed further.
That said, the game is a competent, challenging and engrossing eight to ten hour gas masked adventure through some truly memorable areas which I have no hesitation in highly recommending.
My thanks to Nick for the snappy title 😉
Steam have a rather timely offer given my last post on STALKER 2, buy both STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl (SoC) and Call of Pripyat (CoP) for £6.24 !! Interestingly the offer doesn’t include Clear Sky but that is another story 😉
This is a real bargain and a perfect opportunity to experience these fantastic games, so go and grab your copies.
Remember, to get the most out of Shadow of Chernobyl get the STALKER Complete fan made spruce up mods.
STALKER 2 in the works, STALKER 2 in the works, STALKER 2 in the works. … (calmly reclining) and I’m mildly excited about this. 🙂 Not a huge amount is known about the follow-up to the first trilogy of STALKER games yet, the original press release was somewhat short on details. However, we do know that the same studio (GSC) are already working on it and it might use the Crysis engine.
I found the original trilogy to be somewhat of a flawed gem – breathtakingly exciting, compellingly authentic and very engrossing; but sadly each title lacked a certain ‘something’ that ended up detracting from the experience. Luckily a number of talented community members have released various spruce up mods which (especially in the case of Shadow of Chernobyl) really make the games feel MUCH more complete and enjoyable, greatly enhancing what is already a phenomial gaming experience.
If you’ve not played a STALKER game before I can’t recommend enough grabbing a copy of Shadow of Chernobyl (£9.99 currently on Steam) along with the STALKER Complete 2009 fan made spruce up mod and Call of Pripyat (currently £19.99 on Steam or £14.99 if you own either Shadow of Chernobyl (SoC) or Clear Sky). Somewhere between these great titles is pure gaming gold, I really hope GSC find it for STALKER 2. Roll on 2012!