Posts by Gordon Cameron
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog3 days ago
There are apps that let you listen to music, apps that let you identify music, and apps that let you share playlists. What’s always been tougher is an app that can let you create music – without requiring a lot of specialized knowledge. Sure, if you know your way around a MIDI sequencer or an electronic keyboard you’ve got plenty of options – but what if you just want to belt out a tune and have a virtual Jay-Z take over the production reigns?
Chillingo aims to change all that with Zya, a new iOS app that launched today on the iTunes store. Zya lets you combine guitar, bass, and drum riffs in various genres – from hip-hop to rock to pop – then add your own vocal stylings to the mix. The app seamlessly welds together the various riffs, makes sure they’re in the same key and tempo, and pops out an original musical creation.
It’s all made possible by Zya’s cloud-based system, which offloads the heavy computer processing onto Chillingo’s servers. That means state-of-the-art, pro-quality mixing and autotuning are happening behind the scenes, ensuring that every song will be as slick and polished as possible.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog16 days ago
After a run of 22 years, the father of the first-person shooter is leaving the company where he became a legend.
John Carmack, cofounder of id Software – publisher of 1990s shooter classics such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake – has officially resigned from his position there. The announcement comes three months after Carmack took a post as Chief Technical Officer for Oculus VR, manufacturer of the virtual-reality ‘Rift’ goggle device. Though he had hoped to juggle his roles at both companies, “it just didn’t work out,” he wrote in a tweet earlier today.
Carmack founded id in 1991 with game designers John Romero and Tom Hall and artist Adrian Carmack (no relation). Though their early title, Commander Keen, was a 2D Super Mario-style platformer, it didn’t take Carmack – a talented, largely self-taught programmer – long to bring id’s games into the third dimension.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog16 days ago
The last of the big three next-gen consoles is here.
Xbox One hit the streets last night with special midnight-launch events in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as a massive event at London’s Leicester Square. Videogame fans camped out, stood in line, and in some cases dressed up as game characters as the long-awaited console finally made its way into users’ hands.
Industry watchers are keeping their eyes peeled for the first signs of difficulty in the console’s rollout. There’s much at stake: Microsoft and Sony (whose rival console, PlayStation 4, released a week ago to massive sales) have been locked in mortal combat over dominance of the new generation, ever since the unveiling of both consoles at the E3 gaming convention last June.
- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In17 days ago
We all know baseball cards can be worth insane amounts of money, but geekier trading-card fare is moving up in value too.
Pictured above is the ‘Alpha’ Black Lotus from the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Dubbed ‘Alpha’ because it was published in the game’s first edition back in 1993, the Black Lotus was printed in a run of only 1100, and is now on the game’s ‘Reserved List’ of cards that will never be reissued. It’s typically considered the most valuable Magic card ever printed -- but a recent eBay auction, which concluded on November 17, sets a new standard at $27,302.
- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In18 days ago
When Nintendo’s Wii U released a year ago, one of the criticisms it received was its relatively lackluster slate of launch games. While it did launch with the critically-well-received New Super Mario Bros. U (84% on Metacritic), that 2D platformer felt like more of a placeholder than a truly next-gen core Nintendo title. Where was this generation’s Super Mario 64, or Twilight Princess, or Super Mario Galaxy – a ‘killer app’ for the new generation of Nintendo games?
While it might be an exaggeration to say that Super Mario 3D World (releasing Friday with a retail price of $60) fits that bill, it’s certainly coming closer to earning the title than anything that has yet been released on the Wii U. Clocking in at an impressive 93% Metacritic score, Mario’s latest quest has gotten plenty of nods of approval from top game critics.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog19 days ago
If plummeting at high speed from a vertigo-inducing 140 feet into a gigantic pool of water is your idea of a good time, you have two choices. You can check yourself into a psychiatric institution, or you can wait till next spring and hightail it to Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn water park, where the world’s tallest waterslide is currently under construction, scheduled to open on May 23.
The Verruckt Meg-A-Blaster (“verruckt” is German for “insane”) will hoist customers up a 17-story conveyor belt in a four-person raft, and then let gravity take over. There are construction photos viewable on the Schlitterbahn blog.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog1 mth ago
Remember those ads in comic books for ‘X-Ray specs’? They didn’t really work, but video illusionist Brusspup demonstrates how you can achieve a similar effect on a run-of-the-mill computer screen.
This trick relies on the fact that old LCD monitors have a polarizing filter which, when removed, leaves an apparently blank white screen. Broken monitor, right? Not quite. Save that filter material and you can make some nifty glasses so that you -- and only you -- can see what’s happening onscreen. NSFW? Who’s gonna know?
If you’re a fan of Bruss’s previous work, keep an eye out for a callback to a previous illusion, as well as another cameo by his adorable cat.
To see more of Bruss’s illusions, check out his Youtube channel.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog3 mths ago
One of the downsides of living in the age of computer-generated imagery is that our eyes have been trained to mistrust everything. See an amazing visual effect on film, and you’re likely to assume it was done on a computer -- because it most likely was.
Veteran Youtube illusionist Brusspup’s latest opus illustrates this principle. If you saw this video with no explanation, you’d shrug it off as a simple CGI trick. But when you realize that everything you’re seeing is completely real -- and based on good-old-fashioned chemistry -- it gets a lot more interesting.
So how does it work? It’s based on a well-known phenomenon in chemistry known as the iodine clock reaction. First discovered in 1886, the reaction causes a mixture of colorless liquids to turn black after a short delay.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog4 mths ago
First launched when World of WarCraft was barely a glimmer in Blizzard’s eye, the free-to-play, browser-based MMO Runescape has spent over a dozen years bringing its quirky vision of a fantasy universe to millions of gamers. And Jagex, the game’s developer, has toiled mightily to keep the game fresh and relevant in the ever-shifting MMO market.
Initially revealed at a gala press event in England this May, Runescape’s latest and most ambitious overhaul, dubbed Runescape 3, has gone live.
The revision features, among other things, a completely-revamped 3D graphical engine, a fully-orchestrated musical score, and a new player-driven approach to plotting. According to Jagex representatives, player actions will impact the game world dynamically and determine the direction of future story updates.
[Related: Runescape 3 screenshots]
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog6 mths ago
Our favorite video illusionist is at it again.
Having plied his magic on objects as diverse as chairs, pushpins, and dry ice, Youtube genius 'Brusspup' now turns his formidable skills to sand. Plain, ordinary sand. Only, of course, with this guy, nothing is ever plain or ordinary. Check out his latest creation:
“What you'll be seeing in the video is a speaker with a metal plate attached on top, and a sound generator,” Brusspup writes. “A bit of sand is sprinkled on top, then you turn on the sound generator. There are certain frequencies that resonate in such a way that it creates geometric patterns with the sand. I continue to increase the pitch of the sound throughout the video. As the pitch gets higher, the patterns become more complex.”