Blog v2

It has taken a lot of time because there are lots of underlying details and internal changes, but I finally managed to put this new version online.

Probably the most noticeable aspect is its appearance, which is quite different from the previous one (just in case nobody noticed, it was a temporary one). I had been considering lots of different styles, from the typical CMYK combinations to the somehow expectable pixel graphics, blocky stuff and all that. But since CMYK color schemes have already been abused so much in the past and since I’m not very good with pixel graphics, I decided to go for something simpler which didn’t condition the rest of the contents in the site.

Even though, I added a little bit of animation with jquery.color. Did you notice it? A bit like mathmos lamps but in web style :)

But the most important change is the new and shiny music section. The first thing which you’ll see is that kind of long musical biography specially aimed to curious people. If you’re not interested just skip to the next column where the releases and videos are :-)

Although it’s nowhere finished yet, my aim is to build a decent archive of the stuff I do and have been doing for the past ten years. Surprisingly I still haven’t done anything like that before (or at least not that easy to maintain or with such a completeness intention).

In the case of module files, I’m reading the song parameters using an extended version of herotyc’s modread, slightly improving the support for XM files, apart from being able to read the header of remote files, emulating fseek in those cases. I still have some work to do on the XM support (I’m not reading the samples or instruments text yet) and will probably add S3M support as well since I have some S3M files whose sample texts I want to show, so that’s why I haven’t released these changes yet. Maybe we could start a project for the modreader.php class, and somebody could add support for more exotic file formats, like MOD! ;-)

Anyway, that’s how the song title, tempo, speed and pattern count, apart from instruments or sample texts, get into the database.

There’s another interesting feature which is the podcast – how cool is it?! Now you can subscribe with your favourite device, and listen to my songs, as soon as I publish them.

For the superfans, there’s another feed, the songs feed – this one includes all types of songs (tracked and streamed), not only mp3 and may not be suitable for all types of players.

I hope you like the changes! And now… back to the sequencer! :-)

More impressions on Metroid 3: Corruption

After having played a bit more, it’s time to revisit my previous assertions about Metroid 3 … I have improved a lot on the controls, so now I’m less clumsy and don’t get that sick while playing; at least not as quickly as before1.

Speaking about controls, killing the bosses puts great strain on my right hand. That notion of having to fire as soon as possible just by articulating my thumb is not something my hand likes. In good old times, i.e. when I played with the NES, the fact that I had to held the controls with both hands made it easier to alleviate the tension on the one which had to push the FIRE button.

The music gets better although I still long for some evocations of the original one. I guess it might have something to do with the tons of Americans in the game credits. The Japaneses make all the difference!

In general I’m getting quite a lot into the atmosphere and everything, although it’s not enough to wake me up in the night for playing, just like the first Metroid ever use to make ;-)

1 Although I would get sick instantaneously if I saw mr.doob playing Portal. Luckily he finished the game and he’s not playing it again!

Bluetooth spam

I commented to mr.doob that I wasn’t very happy with letting bluetooth enabled on my mobile a couple of months ago, although I still hadn’t really investigated the possibilities of bluetooth and what could really happen – would it actually do any harm or not? – so I couldn’t elaborate on why I wasn’t happy with that idea.

But now I can tell you what can happen, since I forgot to disable Bluetooth last time I used it for downloading a picture I had taken with the phone, and it seems that several shops in London already know what can be done with Bluetooth: SPAM.

I have received several text messages just by walking around Central London. More specifically, these shops are located in the Tottenham Court Road area. The messages are like the following one:

Save 30% off Designer Eyewear & up to 70% off Contact lenses as a member of Spamming Store CARE plan. Call blablabla or email blablabla for more details.

The other shop was a computer parts one. Now I really wonder how strong the Bluetooth signal really is… the optical spammers store is right across the road which is a good three lane road. How did they manage to feed my phone with their rubbish from that distance? Unless they’ve got Bluetooth emitters at both sides of the road, that is.

I’m also wondering if there’s any legislation related to this. It surely is an undesired communication. And the best thing is that even if I didn’t notice the messages until a moment ago, it already had been downloaded into the phone.

Is there any channel which isn’t abused continuously nowadays? I get tons of spam in all my e-mail addresses offering me the solution for acquiring the manhood I never got (also known as the megadik), which I obviously prefer not to do, I get at least 2 letters a week from estate agents urging me to get out of my flat and rent it or sell it to excellent companies which are looking for properties in my area, and now I get rubbish delivered directly to my phone trying to sell me lenses or glasses, which I don’t need.

Thankfully we don’t have a phone attached to our land line – I have heard horrible nightmarish stories about land line numbers being terribly spammed.

So from now on, always turn off your Bluetooth connection before walking around Tottenham Court Road ;-)

First impressions on Metroid 3: Corruption

Mr.doob came with a surprise today … a game bag which undoubtedly was hiding Metroid 3: Corruption inside. It had to be played!

And there I went! (though a bit in shock, because I didn’t expect to have the game that early). It’s also the first time I try to play one of the latest 3D games seriously, I mean, for more than 5 minutes, so that showed in my general clumsiness for getting up to speed with the controls.

The first thing that gets your attention are the graphics. I must confess I haven’t studied the Wii specification in detail so the only perception I had was wii can’t do nice graphics. But they are pretty decent for the task they solve and effective enough, with nice effects like some distortion at the end of the gun if you’ve been firing for a long time, simulating heat. The only problem is that they sometimes are very confuse, and you can’t really distinguish what’s on the screen, but I guess that can be part of the fun of simulating spaceship corridors.

The beginning of the game is pretty boring, more administrivia for getting you into the atmosphere of the game and all that. It’s just another boring 3D game with objectives and goals to accomplish until something (which I won’t speak about) happens and the action really begins. Then is when I really got stunned, with Samus adopting the Ball shape and quickly going through tunnels or under a complete area covered with evil little ant-like aliens. It was like if you were watching the classic 2D game and suddenly it turned realistic, with the camera following the ball and changing its angle appropriately as to show the best view. Very good.

After that I haven’t been able to continue playing or watching mr.doob playing, since my old friend, Motion sickness1 kicked into scene and I was feeling really bad.

I’ll tell you one more thing. About the music. It’s just so … inappropriate for this game. It simply sounds like Yet Another USA Action Movie. Give me my intriguing corridors and happy music back! It has not its own atmosphere. It lacks personality. Maybe I’m wrong. I need to play more to verify that. But hey, these are just first impressions :-)

Thanks, doob!!

1 Which I used to call as I get sick when playing 3D games. Didn’t know it had a term on its own. Luckily it’s not just me who experiences it.

To whom it may concern

I so want this!

Legend of Zelda didn’t manage to catch my attention when mr.doob played it, but hey … this is Metroid!!!

I’m still not very convinced about the first person perspective view; when I tried Metroid Prime at past Game On exhibition I could hardly manage to coordinate the movements, but I guess it’ll be easier with the Wii’s controls.