Friday, December 30, 2005

PF whatever

Originally, I only wanted to post this, to prove that I really don't care about your luck in 2006:

But today I took this photo of Albert which reminded me that the world needs more love:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Videogame memories

I dare you to click here and read five guys ranting about their all-time top 20 games (i.e. 100 games in total, with some repetitions).

If you can still appreciate the beauty of Final Fantasy VII, 8-bit Zelda or the original Warlords, this is not only the ultimate nostalgia trip but also informative article about other gems you might have missed during the course of the years.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

When less is more!

This is the season of giving. That's why I give you this link to photo gallery. Although some of the photos contain NSFW material, the point really is what is NOT in them.

Shame on you, Nintendo

After MarioKart DS, I am now proud owner of another online-compatible Nintendo DS game, Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Although the game is great (better than the Gamecube version), there is a slight problem with Nintendo being scared shitless that someone might use the online features to promote nazism, child rape etc. That's probably the reason why you cannot easily visit other players' towns and first have to register "Friend Codes" which you have to exchange by other means. The game also tries to censor dirty words, but as with any such measures, it can be circumvented rather easily...

Animal Crossing DS

animal crossing

Animal Crossing

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Get organized with JBROUT

If you are looking for SOMETHING to organize your digital photographs and if you hate non-compatible databases and destructive changes, you can have a look at jBrout.

It works on Windows and Linux (and probably elsewhere where you can install Python) and stores almost all its data right inside the JPG files. If you upload them to Flickr, for example, the title, description and tags are then already automagically pre-filled.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Amsterdam: The Basics

OK, first of all some basic tips before going to Amsterdam:

I wholeheartedly recommend booking your hotel online at In some cases, it offers 50% cheaper rates than I got from three different Czech travel agencies! Also, when we arrived and the hotel desk, they checked if we really want non-smoking room (without asking what stuff specifically we will not smoke) and when we confirmed this fact, we got a free room upgrade. In the end, for 500 Euro, we got five nights in rather excellent room which normally costs 290 - 350 Euros per night.

Unfortunately, if you fly to Amsterdam, no matter how cheap your air tickets will be, you'll have to pay airport tax which is extremely high (around $100) for Schiphol airport! Fortunately, Schiphol airport (about 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam, train leaves every 5-10 minutes and costs 3.40 Euro) is rather great. You can really spend at least 4 hours here, just looking through all the shops, restaurants and art museum. You can check you baggage in 24 hours before departure (and you can do it at one of the ubiquitous terminals, without waiting in queue).

As for the location, it's probably best to stay in a hotel near the "Dam Square". From our five-day experience, this neighborhood is the only public place that feels both alive and safe even late in the evening. It's rather weird but even shops in the heart of the city open rather late (after noon!) and close rather soon (at 6 PM!), even two weeks before Christmas! Of course, if you'd rather spend the evening in the pub or night clubs, you can fulfill your desires in almost any part of the city.

But the most important tip (unless you insist on candlelit dinners) is: Albert Heijn! This is a chain of food supermarkets (akin to UK's Tesco, for example) that has really nice prices, good quality and large sortiment of goods. While the standalone hot meal (without soup, drink etc.) costs from 10 to 15 Euros in Amsterdam restaurants, in Albert Heijn you can get buy great dinner for two for around 15 Euros (there is super-sized Albert Heijn just a few meters to the west from the Dam Square). The problem with the restaurants is obvious: The ones that have menus in English often exist only to rip off the tourists. Also, they are usually full of drunk English tourists. However, we visited great Chinese restaurant in the Chinese quarter (the key here is to look for restaurants that accept credit cards - that usually means the food is not poisonous, there is no smell and the staff understands English).

Friday, December 16, 2005

Back again

Yes, I am back. However, I have lots of things to catch up with and Flickr has problems letting me upload about 500 photos from Amsterdam. A preview of things to come:


As you can see, it was pretty hard to actually deduce which entertainment was for gays and which was simple straight porn:


Friday, December 09, 2005

We're off to see the wizard...

OK, we are leaving for Amsterdam tomorrow. It seems Kryspin wants to go, too. Tough luck, Kryspin!


And a word to all Japanese readers: Hahahahahahaha!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Art of war

I absolutely adore these paintings by Nigel Ayers, from his series "The War Against Terror" and "The War on Drugs".

Sunday, December 04, 2005

OnHand PC - are you geeky enough?

I recently got a very special present: OnHand PC. It looks like rather big digital watch but is in-fact comparable to 8-bit microcomputer from 1980s (although its processor is actually 16bit). It was probably cutting edge technology back in 1998 when it was introduced (128KB ROM, 128KB RAM, 2MB Flash memory) but I doubt it was actually useful for anything even back then. The whole thing is navigated using miniature joystick and entering any text into its applications (it even has a word processor!) is much slower than writing SMS on your mobile phone.

Today you can buy it for $100 but it never sold well (as evidenced by the fact that the manufacturer gave 1000 of them to 9/11 rescurers for free). But it has extremely hardcore fans who created development evironment and several applications for it!

Yes, it's bulky and you have to press the button to actually see what time it is (unless you want to exchange the batteries each month). But there is something extremely geeky about this gadget and I feel like I am wearing a bit of history on my wrist. At least until the batteries run out...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

!!!HOT!!! Bizarre g.a.y p.0.r.n XXX photoset !!!FREE!!! CLICK NOW!!!

If you are heterosexual or easily offended, please don't click the image on the right!

Time to leave the closet?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sexy bitch

Could it be... Viky, a bride for Chucky?! Finally?! And what about Albert?

P.S: Princess Peach drifts better than Vin Diesel.

Monday, November 28, 2005

DS Demon of Speed!

MarioKart for Nintendo DS was just released in Europe. That means I can now race and battle with people all over the world whenever I am at any WiFi hotspot.

And it's fun as hell, proving again that polygons and motion capture don't matter (mostly).

If you want to race me, my "Friend code" is 244873-352476.

P.S: That logo on my car is custom-drawn. You can have your face or swastika there, if you wish...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ocaml Sudoku solver

I stumbled upon this Sudoku solver by an accident. It's written in Ocaml, solves Sudoku puzzles and is 769 bytes (19 lines) long! (Also see the links to other solvers at the bottom of the linked page.)

I am not sure if "code density" is the right term but it's astonishing how much can be done in Ocaml in so few program instructions. When I analyze the program above, I understand how it works but I seriously doubt I will be able to write anything like it soon. Almost everything I ever knew about programming must be thrown out of the window and I must approach the problems from the new angle and actually THINK while coding. It's very nice feeling, the feeling I didn't have since VIC-20 Basic in the early 1980s. :)

Of course, it's not easy to approach programming from fresh angles when you have to make living for yourself and programming is currently not part of making that living... :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Face of terror

Maybe I am ignorant but I never before heard of Gary Glitter until his recent "complications" with Vietnamese girls.

However, I can positively say I never saw a face that says "I molest children" more clearly than the photo on the right! (Except maybe Tim Curry in the "Legend" movie and Mr. Paroubek.)

Yes, this is the same man as on the pages linked above!

Kryspin's sense of snow

Today, Kryspin experienced snow for the first time.

Of course, he had no idea what it is so naturally he decided to hunt it and kill it!

UPDATE: Several people told me the link above does not work. It definitely works for me! Maybe there is some weird problem with Flickr. Try clicking here and then using "next".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Baldachyn has a problem

As I wrote before, I've got a problem: What to do in Amsterdam for 5 days (I don't drink, I don't take drugs, I am heterosexual).

However, Baldachyn has bigger problem: Does anyone have any suggestions what he should do for 4 days in Sofia, Bulgaria? He is also heterosexual, I think.

Any suggestions for Baldachyn would be appreciated here or in talkbacks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Lady in the Water" trailer

"Bedtime story"? Click here for another dose of weirdness from M. Night Shyamalan, master of WTF.

Monday, November 21, 2005

St. Albert

Today is Albert's name day. That means November 21 is the day of St. Albert and all Alberts get presents. Because of higher bed in our new flat, Albert would like something like this but they don't ship internationally...

Because there are only 365 saints in the calendar (actually even less), our other dogs have/had no standard name days (there is no St. Chucky or St. Stimpy). Our cunning solution is to celebrate their name days exactly 6 months before their birthdays!

And something for all the people who wanted to see more daring photos of Karolina: Here she is doing it doggie-style!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"The best of..."

Some people are using Flickr to post the very best photographs they take.

Not me.

Considering I am paying Flickr for 2GB of usable space per month, I see no reason not to upload almost everything I take photo of, after discarding the absolutely shittiest unrecognizable images. It might be educational to look through all that stuff some time in the future.

Of course, having well over 3000 of my photos on Flickr presents a problem for someone who wants to see something nice / interesting / not shitty.

This is why I created this set (which should grow in the future) containing the photos I prefer the world to see. Either because of the psychedelic colors or because of the cute dog with big eyes...

And, please, don't tell me my photos don't conform to basic photographic conventions. I looked at some photography books and I really don't enjoy taking that road.

I don't know shit about art but I know what I like!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

All your Google base are belong etc... (not funny anymore)

OK, so Google Base is public at last. Fine. Now, what should I do with it?

By the way - if I define my kind of item (let's say "My favorite disease") and add a few of them, how can I add another several days later? Do I really have to define all fields again? That seems stupid. And yes, I know it can be done using batch upload. I am now talking purely about the web interface.

"Haunted Memories"

I hoped to write this before Halloween but the wonderful Czech Post took OVER THREE WEEKS to deliver a package from USA to me. So this post is instead in remembrance of all the students who gave their life on November 17.

I ordered two pictures from and I hope to have them framed and placed at strategical points in our flat where they'll do maximum psychological damage to unsuspecting visitors.

You see, the images, when viewed from front, seem like normal ancient portraits. However, If you move to either side, they change to something rather unpleasant. Of course this trick is old (I remember Czech postacrds like this from the early 1970s) but these paintings are done very profesionally and the change is gradual (several stages and even something that looks like animation (see the actual footage here).

I purchased "Da Vince Corpse" and "Uncle Charles" (smaller versions) for $140 total, including $20 postage to the Czech Republic (which includes package insurance).

Surprisingly, even Karolina "sort of" likes them and came up with the idea of buying the aunt for the uncle. We shall see...

If you have enough space (and money), I definitely recommend going for the large versions, the detail is really amazing.

UPDATE: I almost forgot: If you are really rich, for "at least $800" the author offers to create a custom changing portrait based on your photo! See the FAQ on his pages.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The site is disturbing. I don't know what it is. It might be real. It might be clever propaganda. It might be viral campaign for Apple iPod or whatever...

Baldachyn says it might in fact be from the movie "Fargo". :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Analyze this!

Free Google Analytics is now live. And with a loud "thud", hundreds of traffic-tracking companies are suddenly out of business.

Bobsled in Prague

There is a long (snow-less) bobsled track in Prague, right above "Podvinni" park (over the tracks) or right below "Prosecka" street. You pay 50 Crowns for a ride ($2), with various discounts available. The nice thing is it operates throughout the whole year, even after dark (strong lights illuminate the track). There is also a restaurant, playground for children etc...


You can see the video of the entire ride (and my feet) here. Remember that this was rather safe ride and I was braking almost constantly (yes, the sled has brakes controlled by a lever) because I didn't want to lose my camera and/or limb.

Friday, November 11, 2005

So long, Emma...

I always loved Emma Thompson. However, after seeing her in her latest movie, I think it's time to say: "No relationship can last forever!"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Watch the skies!

Even when there are clouds. Or daylight. Using Stellarium!

8-bit memories

The wonderful people at have converted my second book about computer games to PDF. (The first one is available here).

This is a two part book about ZX Spectrum games (in Czech!) I wrote in 1987, when I was 19. The most amazing thing are the screenshots from the games. The original book had really crappy black & white printouts of the screenshots. The good people from used the ZX Spectrum emulator and the actual games to painstakingly re-create the exact same situations from in the original screenshots and grabbed them in full color and full quality. And I mean EXACT SAME situations, to the last pixel (of course they needed occassional help of the graphics editor). Frankly, this is just mind-boggling.

The original title was supposed to be "What Mr. Sinclair didn't anticipate" but it was deemed too Capitalist and the book was renamed to vague "Computer Games" - certainly misleading because it was only about ZX Spectrum games. Also, the cover says it was written by "Frantisek Fuka and the team" but I wrote every last letter.

If I remember correctly, I got 10,000 Czechoslovak Crowns for both books from Svazarm (The Union for Army-Youth Cooperation) back then. That's exactly how much my Spectrum 128 cost me. That's also exactly for how much I sold my Spectrum 128 several years later because some fool agreed to pay so much money for "Spectrum owned by Frantisek Fuka himself" and put it on display somewhere.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Accidental vector discoveries

While looking for something completely unrelated, I discovered Inkscape, an open-source vector graphics editor (something like Adobe Illustrator). Inkscape is Open Source (and thus free in all senses of the word) and available for many platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac. In contrast with Sodipodi, the only other competing Linux package, Inkscape seems more mature and - most importantly - has great tutorials (really not common in the Open Source world).

My second - quite accidental - discovery was the fact that Firefox 1.0.7 seems to natively support SVG format quite well. For example if you click here, you can see vector penguin right in your browser window!

And while we are talking about vector graphics and Linux, this initiative also looks really promising. I tried Xara several years ago and it certainly looked very... interesting and fresh.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Office Space special edition

I noticed that Special Edition DVD of "Office Space" was released. "Office Space" is one of the truly great comedies. It's written and directed by Mike Judge, the creator of "Beavis & Butthead" (who BTW also stars as Donnagon Giggles in the "Spy Kids" movies) but the humor is very different and very clever. The movie is about guy who is stressed out from his IT job, gets hypnotized to relieve the stress and - by an accident - stays "permanenty cool", not giving a shit about his job (arriving late, playing Tetris, not pretending that he's actually working, etc...). The are several scenes that are timeless classics (mutilation of the Xerox machine, talk about prison rape, very specific way of saying "Yeah"). See it NOW if you didn't already.

"Office Space" was never theatrically released in the Czech Republic. It was briefly available on video several years ago, under the supergay Czech title "Malery pana Sikuly" ("The Misadventures of Mr. Clever") - what the hell is that title supposed to mean?!?! And the tagline "Work sucks" was translated as "Work inhales" or something clever like that...

Disturbing Radek Hulan news from Spain (or Mexico or whatever)

According to this talkback, "La polla de Radek es una de mas grandes y lindas y ha destruido mas conejos que tu puedas imaginar. Lo conozco de cuendo era un virgen. No creo que la tuya sea mas grande. Gilipollas!"

Or, as "Google Translate" puts it: "The pullet of Radek is one of but great and pretty and has destroyed but rabbits that your you can imagine. I know it cuendo was a virgin. I do not believe that yours he is but great. Gilipollas!" I'd never have thought Radek could do that to innocent rabbits!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005


Until fairly recently (long after 1989 revolution), "All Hallow's Eve" celebrations (called "Dusicky" = "The Souls" in Czech) meant that you went to a cemetery and lit a candle there. I am happy to report that - at last - Czech kids are warming up to the idea of scary Halloween masks and monsters. Unfortunately, no trick-or-treating yet. (Click below.)


P.S: Baby Jesus (who brought Christmas presents to Czech kids for many centuries) already got his ass whupped by Santa Claus several years ago.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tulips, beer and Paul Verhoeven

We decided we are going to Amsterdam in the next month. I bought some travel guides, looked online and now I am stumped: What should two non-pot-smoking, non-beer-drinking heterosexuals do in Amsterdam???

Monday, October 31, 2005

Radek Hulan's international breakout!

Radek Hulan (idiot)
It seems that Radek Hulan (author of "the most advanced and most widely used CMS in existence", according to his words) has at last demonstrated his unique communication skills internationally (and became internationally pwned for the first time in history, as far as I know). That means I no longer have to explain the "Hulan experience" to English-speaking readers - it's now sufficient to provide the link above and let everyone experience his "screeming" for himself.

Note that the technical stuff is rather irrelevant in this context (although this one is funny if you know what DIFF is), just read how he expresses himself.

P.S: Please note I have the full moral right to make my opinions about Mr. Hulan public because I wrote better CMS than him, I have higher IQ, more money and bigger penis, which I'll use to make beautiful love to his daughter.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Compulsory obsessive something

Today, I went to visit my mother. She's an artist and she can never throw anything to the trash bin. She keeps everything and her flat looks like it. I'm pretty sure it's some sort of medical condition.

This is one of her many closets:


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Night watch

At last, I had time to test the capabilities of our new Canon during night-time shooting (from our terrace). I'm not saying it's something gallery-worthy, but considering it was without the tripod, I'm rather satisfied. (As always, click for Flickr page with large versions. Also see the neighboring photos on Flickr.)


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The inspirations of James Horner

James Horner is rather famous film music composer (mainly because of TITANIC, which is not one of his best works). He is also known for "borrowing" material from himself and other composers. And sometimes, I'm afraid, he goes too far. Listen to main titles from the movie Red Heat, supposedly "composed by James Horner". Now, listen to this music, composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1938 (the interesting part starts around 1:00 mark).

Shame on you, James! If you heard the music from Red Heat closing titles, it's even more similar...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

All your base are belong to Google

Something wonderful is happening. Watch I got in there a few minutes ago. Now it says "Forbidden 403". Official unveiling should take place soon (hours, not days).

UPDATE: I guess it will be days rather than hours before anyone will see it live again...

Never Say Never Again

Have a look at this rather well written NY Times article about Major Zeman and the purported remake. I must say I am not very enthusiastic about the idea of milking and destroying Zeman's legacy for a quick buck.

Warning: The article also features opinions of Jan "go fuck yourself, I know Glasgow" Culik. I recommend skipping the last three paragraphs.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Something fishy going on?

Karolina told me that she forgot to take the birth control pill yesterday. But I shouldn't worry because the chances of her getting pregnant are "one in 100". Everyone remember: 1 in 100, October 22.

And I thought she no longer likes me...

And now for something completely different: Autumn is here and the forests above Vysocany station are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!


UPDATE: Also available as 1024x768 wallpaper (Albert, not Karolina).

Friday, October 21, 2005

Thanks, BMG

If I understand this royalty statement correctly, it seems that during Jan-Jun 2005, I earned minus 30 Crowns (about $1.20) from BMG for them selling CDs containing my music. Do I have to pay them for the privilege right now?

I guess this is proof that downloading kills music.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Functional response

It seems my previous post was slightly misunderstood. I know about functional languages for years. I think my first real experience with them was when I tried out Clean on Windows about 8 years ago and gave up after one week. As I wrote here, for example, I refused to switch my brain to "alien" functional mode.

The point of my post was that now I am trying again. And that I was surprised that functional languages could be FAST. Of course, my brain is still refusing to switch to functional mode. It's pretty hard after all those years and it's nothing more than "fun exercise" for me at this moment. Currently, programming plays no part in earning my living (last time it did, SmallTalk saved me).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Programming language of the moment

During my search for the perfect programming language, I occassionally stumble upon functional languages. They are used mostly by old bearded people in white coats for mathematical problems.

However, Ocaml (or Caml) is supposedly able to generate native code whose speed is comparable with compiled C! That piqued my interest and I tried minimal Ocaml raytracer, whose speed was really suprising. Also note the whole raytracer is only 222 lines long. Another feature of functional languages seems to be the density of code - the ability to "say more" in less number of lines. But that also means you have to think more in order to code less.

If you have spare time and want to give Ocaml a try, read this online book. It's a good thing to refresh your brain by learning new programming philosophy that forces you to forget the design patterns you knew from procedural languages. It's really like when I started learning the first BASIC commands 25 years ago...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Get transformed

Go here to upload your (or someone else's) potratit and tranform it to look like it's different race, age, etc...

The image on the right was created without any user input, fully automatically, just by selecting "make older"!

This is another example of complex science being used to create juvenile fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Signing off

Almost everything packed into crates. Powering down the servers. Reconfiguring IP addresses. Moving today and tomorrow. Off-line for at least 36 hours!!!!! Good-bye, Vinohrady, hello, Vysocany. Wish me luck.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Excuse me, I just shat myself

Imagine this: You are at home alone, it's almost midnight and you are packing your dusty books from your dusty cabinets into crates. Suddenly, super-creepy voice says "Hey! No running in the hallway!".

Freddy Krueger in my closet

Then you remember the long-forgotten light-activated talking figurine of Freddy Krueger you got for your birthday many, many years ago and stashed it behind the books without taking out the batteries.

Albert v2

One hour ago, I found a lost dog on our street. He looked almost like Albert. Unfortunately, Karolina is out (taking care of her sister's bigass dog for the night) and I have to pack in preparation for the moving. I had no option but to take him to the Police.

However, if he was a "she", I'd definitely keep her for Albert to have sex with her...


Videogame Aesthetics

Sort-of continuation of the previous Mario post. There is a great article over here about "Videogame Aesthetics", i.e. about the fact that most videogame developers today strive for "realism" (by which they mean "scary plastic mannequin humanoids with ragdoll physics"), neglecting all the artistic and gameplay possibilities they are given by today's hardware.

If nothing else, the article mentions some great original games. I never heard of Spheres of Chaos before, which is best described as "Asteroids as designed by Hunter S. Thompson". I also wholeheartedly recommend "Rez" for PS2, which can be bought for bargain price today.

The author also gets bonus points for putting Jet-Set Willy next to the article title.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Super Mario 64

Not only is the following image (stolen from really cute, it also presents some interesting food for thought.

For example, how is it possible that you can portray such a number of specific recognizable characters in 12x16 pixels? In fact, you can portray an Italian plumber being dressed up as specific recognizable characters! I cannot say I recognized all of them, but notice captain Kirk and Spock, The Village People or The Beatles. Really interesting how our brain handles the pop-culture matrix...

Happy Birthday to me

Our server died today, that's why some images cannot be viewed right now (also concerns and We are working on it. Thanks for nothing, God, nice birthday present.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Come with me for fun in my buggy!

Today, I discovered a link on, pointing to Italian singer duo Oliver Onions (Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis) and their "unique" audio intro. Yes, it's awful, but what's more important: This exact song brings back touching memories for anyone in this country between the ages of 30 and 40. That's because "Dune Buggy" is a theme song from Bud Spencer/Terrence Hill comedy from 1974, "Altrimenti ci arrabiamo", aka "Watch Out, We're Mad", aka "Zwei wie Pech und Schwefel", aka "Jestli se rozzlobíme, budeme zlí" ("When the bad guys get mad, the good guys get mad and everything gets madder & madder & madder!").

In 1970s Communist Czechoslovakia, we had no Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. We had Terrence Hill with Bud Spencer (and Michael Coby with Paul Smith ["Simon and Matteo"], their imitators). "Watch Out, We're Mad" was certainly their greatest work of art and everyone I knew saw it at least half a dozen times. The fact that I immediately recognized the song more than 20 years after I heard it for the last time is the testament to lasting quality of Italian entertainment.

I discovered the complete lyrics online and found them to be much less sophisticated than they appeared 25 years ago. In fact, back then, I had no idea they were in English (or, rather, should sound like they were in English). Go here for more audio mementos from this movie.

Also found this one on the "Watch Out, We're Mad" IMDB board: "Would you happen to know if the choir song is available on any soundtrack releases? My son wants to use it for a gymnastics routine. It does not appear to be on any of the Bud Spencer/Terence Hill Greatest Hits releases (volumes 1-6). That's a lot of music to be released without that piece." Listen to "Il coro dei pompieri" to hear what his son wants to use for his gymnastic routine...

Now, 2 hours later, I still cannot get that stupid song out of my head...

"Luigi is my homeboy"

Get cool videogame T-Shirts at Get them quickly, before the makers get sued by Nintendo, Namco and Rockstar.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Games from beyond beyond the grave

I am still not entirely sure this isn't some kind of elaborate joke, but Cronosoft seems to offer new games for old computers. And I mean really new (recently programmed) games for really old (more than 20 years old) 8-bit computers, like ZX Spectrum or VIC-20. And they are SELLING THEM for money on the ORIGINAL MEDIA (audiotapes).

I mean: I like it, definitely, but how hardcore do you have to be to have working ZX Spectrum around, with working tape recorder, and BUY new games for it???

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Fuccon Family

Get all the Fuccon Family episodes here (Bittorrent, 250 MB). I guarantee you never saw anything like it (unless you are plastic American living in Japan, of course).

Friday, September 30, 2005

Canon EOS 350D is already here!

...and the resolution seems to be great. This is Chucky:

My Linux seems to communicate with the camera using gphoto2 library with no problems. I only had to change permissions a bit so that I don't have to be root to mount the camera.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

They are already here!!!

If you look at the live satellite pictures of Czech Republic you can see immense Death Ray being focused to a point southwest of Prague. I hope you know what this means.

Where is Tom Cruise when we need him?

UPDATE: "Bob" notes that this is not satellite but radar image. Of course that makes the whole thing even more sinister!!!

Moving, Canon, Kirby

Sorry for not updating very often, we are in the process of packing everythin in preparation to moving, while at the same time, plumbing in the whole house is being reconstructed. Some choice photos of all this are here.

Also, we bought Canon EOS 350D semi-pro digital camera online, which should arrive any day now. Karolina says she'd like to go to forest at dawn and take pictures of wild animals (presumably deer, zebras, hippos etc.). And I am rather fed up that the results from my current pocket camera are rather random. E.g. you shoot the same scene 5 times and maybe one of the stills will look nice:


And Kirby: Canvas Curse for Nintendo DS is really nice, with great ideas, innovative control (100% stylus touch), cute graphics, instantly accessible for everyone and "innocent", reminding me of the greatest games 20 years ago.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

God is cruel

These unfortunate people have the dubious distinction of being the first to burn to death while fleeing from hurricane.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

9999 levels

The problem I have with most of today's games is that they are SHORT. They usually have some sort of plot that unravels through several levels and after you finish the game, you usually don't have many incentives to come back revisit those levels. Although designers are doing what they can (e.g. allowing you to play through those levels again, with different characters or weapons), the fact is that level design takes time. How to make the game longer?

The first solution would be to generate the levels dynamically. I'm fairly surprised nobody yet came up with algorithm that would generate weird playable levels for example for Quake 3, Half-Life 2 or whatever FPS is currently fashionable (at least i don't know about it). Using this approach, you could have whole planets that you could run through in 3D! Of course the problem is creating the algorithm but I'm surprised no one even tried in the current-generation games (except some basic puzzle games).

The second solution is to make the game worlds so simple levels can be generated very quickly, either by person or by rather simple algorithm. Remember Sentinel with 9999 levels? See also Angband with its dynamically-generated RPG levels ("Champions of Norrath" for PS2 recently attempted something similar, with average success).

Enter Nippon Ichi, Japanese authors of turn-based RPG games for Playstation 2.

As you can see from the screenshot of their "Phantom Brave", they are certainly brave to use such a shitty graphics in Playstation 2 game. However, their games are not about graphics. They are strategy combat games for hardcore gamers who enjoy leveling their characters up to level 9999. Yes, I wrote "9999". After 10 hours of "Phantom Brave", my main character is somewhere around level 15.

To create strong characters in their "Phantom Brave" and "Disgaea" games (and probably also in the others), player has to revisit old (pre-designed) levels he already conquered, preferably with secondary characters so that they can also level up accordingly.

Their games also contain billions and billions of randomly generated levels you can enter to level up and get rare equipment (even levels hidden inside your equipment). It doesn't hurt that their games have weird plot and bizarre sense of humor ("Disgaea" is about cute little Satan's son), but you really don't play them because of the plot.

This might seem pointless to some people but it brings us back to the beginning: Why do we play games? Try telling "World of Warcraft" player that his levelling up is pointless. Nippon Ichi games just help you to realize that - even today - it can be perfectly satisfying experience just to see some numbers increase on the screen.

"Phantom Brave" is currently available in European stores, "Disgaea" (older and slightly better) is hard to get but you could find it in some bargain bin somewhere. (Their "Makai Kingdom" should be released in Europe soon.) Visit DoubleJump forums to get free downloads of strategy guides for both games. Those are REQUIRED if you want to grasp basic concepts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Moving stories

We are in the process of packing everything up before moving to the new flat. The most important story yet: I accidentally found out Karolina scheduled my Pikachu T-shirt to be given to Salvation Army (or whatever). Good thing I noticed that. No, I didn't wear it for many years. So what? This shirt will yet come handy.
Pikachu shirt

Also, Kryspin doesn't want me to pack my soundtracks. He is ALWAYS sitting there!