Merry Christmas (2009)

Just want to wish all my readers and their families a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe Holiday Season. Heres to a New Year full of gaming stuff worth talking about.

May your dreams come true.


Turbine Pumpkin Carving Contest 2009

New event in theme for the Halloween holidays, Turbine announces the Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Turbine Pumpkin Carving Contest! – The Lord of the Rings Online™ Forums

It’s that time of year again: the weather turns colder, the leaves turn colorful, and spooky fun turns up everywhere. It also means it’s the perfect time for a pumpkin carving contest! We’re looking for the best LOTRO-themed carved pumpkins! You could win a custom title on the forums, and one lucky winner will win one million copper (also known as 10 Gold). Your carving can be of your favorite creepy LOTRO creature, spooky scenes from around Middle Earth, emblems and icons, or anything else from (or about) the game! Turbine will accept digital photographs of entries from October 12th through October 30th. Eligible winners will receive a special forum title (“Master Carver”) and their winning entries may even be featured on! One lucky first prize winner will additionally receive 1,000,000 copper! Entries must be original creations, should be at least 1024×768 in resolution, and no larger than 6MB in file size. Photograph your pumpkin and enter it in the following category: LOTRO pumpkins Need some inspiration, or just like to carve pumpkins? You can use this Turbine logo template to start practicing! Download the template by clicking here. How to use a pumpkin carving template:

  1. Print the template on a sheet of paper.
  2. Cut along the dashed lines in the corners (this will help your template lay against the round surface of the pumpkin).
  3. Attach the paper to the desired side of the pumpkin where you want the design to show.
  4. Follow along the black lines poking small holes through the paper into the pumpkin’s skin.
  5. Remove the paper template and you will see dots in the shape of the design on the pumpkin’s skin.
  6. Connect the dots, and then start carving! Keep your template beside you to help you as you go – the gray shaded parts are the ones that will come out of the Pumpkin.

Now you know how to use a template to carve your very own Turbine fan pumpkin! You can make your own templates and use the same techniques to apply them to your pumpkins! Ready to get started? Click here for official rules and tips on sending in your pumpkin entry!

To Demo or Not to Demo…

In this little.. article.. I will discuss the practice of releasing Demo versions of software (focusing on Games but touching on other items), versus not releasing such versions.

Companies have, in the past and present, used Demo versions of their software to either promote it or to allow consumers a free ‘sneak peek’ at the software. The most common demos that a standard consumer will use are Game demos (this is a generality of course).

So, should Game Developers definitely release demo versions of their games? It is a pretty sticky question to be honest; sure you allow people to preview the game before they buy it, but you also have to balance that with development time/budgets and the question of how much to put into the demo, whether to have it be the full release only requiring an unlock or a limited release with only partial functionality (the first is an open invitation to hackers/crackers to get the game out on the P2P market [though I am not against P2P in its entirety, P2P has plenty of legitimate uses ( uses a P2P protocol for their used to update/install the game client)]. Where do you draw the line? Lets take a look at some pros and cons of releasing Demo’s to the masses:

Pro: Demo versions of software allow users to experience the content before committing their money.
Con: Demo versions have a history of getting hacked by those same users and distributed ‘unlocked’ without anyone paying a dime.
Solution? Well, it is hard to come up with a solution short of making a separate build of the software – if the software doesn’t have the full capabilities of the unlocked program, it doesn’t allow for crackers to open it up for free distribution; this, of course, brings to head the cost of extended development time needed to create a separate limited build of the software.

Opinion: I personally think that developers taking the extra time (and extra cost burden) will see those expenditures come back in the form of increased sales. I know that I use Demo’s often to see if my computer can handle the game (even if only on low settings), and if the game play is intriguing enough to keep me interested and be worth my investment. It is hard to judge if a game will run well on your computer just by looking at the Minimum Requirements of a game – sometimes other factors can come into play and prevent the game from running properly at the lowest possible configuration settings. (Case in point: I tried the demo for on my laptop which exceeded minimum requirements (though not quite meeting recommended) – even with all of the settings turned to the lowest values, the game just would not run properly. On the other hand, demoing not only showed me that the game would run on lower settings, but that it was a game I would enjoy [and subsequently ended up purchasing]).

This topic must be a pretty heavily debated one in game companies, but I am sure that enough research would show that demos, in the end, help the bottom line.. which is what matters most of all to most of these huge companies right?

I am probably going to have this topic on my brain for a while, so expect more thinking from me on the subject. Until then, enjoy your gaming!


Lest We Forget – 9/11/2008

Today is the anniversary of a day that no american in the near future will forget – the day when terrorists from the Al Quaeda network rammed 2 planes into the World Trade Center, 1 in the Pentagon, and 1 short of its target thanks to its heroic passengers.

No words I can say can really express what today is to me and to many Americans – all I can say is: I remember – and I Cannot Forgive.


Remembering Sept 11, 201

Remembering Sept 11, 2001

Another Enlistment Update – 05122008

Just got word from my Recruiter, my info is sitting on the desk of the final approval guy at USAREC. He will know either later tonight, or tomorrow, about the approval (he sees no issues, it has been approved all this way). If it is approved tonight then at 0900 tomorrow I will be picked up to head to MEPS for entry into DEP. At that time I will be able to choose a job (or at least verify that I keep my job), review my contract, and then sign the dotted line.

If that happens then I will probably ship out within 2 weeks – but only if they have openings in the upcoming WTC class (the May class).

Almost there.

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New page coming to the blog soon

I will be adding a new page to this blog soon with a bunch of little freeware applications I have created over time, as well as some web scripts I have come up with (when I think to package and document them). I used to have a small consulting company (self run) but I had to close it up due to lack of work in this area. I am going to be closing the site down that my company was out of, and moving all of the apps that I had created and put up there over here.

I am going to be doing programming ‘on the side’ of my Army career (along with gaming of course) so you can expect to see new offerings now and then. Most of my software apps are things I made as convenience to me, nothing really special – but people have found them useful (or so I have figured by the download #’s I have seen).

I will update when the page is ready and the files put where they need to be.

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Enlisting Update 05/12/2008

Well, just got word from my recruiter that my waiver was approved at Battalion level (without the second iAvatarnterview) and is on its way to USAREC (United States Army Recruiting Command) right now. Once USAREC approves it I will be green lighted to head back to MEPS and take the Oath of Service. To say I am excited and nervous at the same time would be an understatement; I thought I would have a tad more time to get my apartment squared away and get some more PT in – guess I have to put things in over drive now.

Anyway – thats all for an update; One more phone call from my recruiter and then I am Army Green.

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