Article re-posted from August 15, 2014
This one’s for a fun-Friday, hope you enjoy it: my take on a live-action Winnie the Pooh starring who other than Rob Schneider as Winnie :P
Article re-posted from September 3, 2014
Around 2005 when developing mods and games for PC was the first time I got challenged for ‘not developing for console’. My answer back then was that ‘I did not believe the notion that console was going to destroy PC, and that I simply wanted to create games I liked to play, as an avid PC gamer’.
The funny thing is that I used to only play consoles… back during the SEGA and Nintendo days, I only played consoles as they were much more fun than the PC, which seemed mostly limited to single-player gaming as any guests would simply have to ‘look at the screen’ while 1 person played.
The answer I now give to why I don’t feel the need to go out and buy a console is simply because it does not give me a type of entertainment that I cannot get on the PC (and better!). I’m unaware of every single game on every single console out there, so bare with me in this generalization that its a perception, yet one that many share (and thus at the very least, an advertising problem for consoles).
The ‘this business is killing off that business’ argument therefore in my opinion was never really valid, as the markets simply provided varying forms of entertainment.
‘Back in the day’ the movie-business complained TV was killing off movie-theaters, and even before that theater-producers complained movies were killing off theater, and so on and so forth.
The reality is, that as long as a new type of entertainment does not provide the same-but-better experience as its predecessor, it will never replace it…
It might get bigger and more popular, but it won’t kill off the previous form of entertainment anymore than taco’s killed off pizza’s, metal music killed rock, or T-shirts replaced office-suits.
Entertainment is diversifying, creating more and more types of entertainment aiming for different time-slots in a person’s life: whether you are on a 5-minute bus-ride (‘Flappy Bird’), in a 12-hour planeride (‘pocket RPG’s), at work (Facebook gaming), or sitting on the couch at a party (Wii), they’re all pitching for a different kind of attention.
The problem with console-gaming for me is, that it isn’t offering me a type of entertainment PC doesn’t give me already, yet it used to… This isn’t just nostalgia talking: console gaming used to all be about couch-gaming, where your friends would physically come over, and sit around the TV playing Mario Smash Bros, or WWF, Mariocart, Streets of Rage, etc.
Hell even today I even run emulators to play couch-gaming titles of the past with friends, some games I never even played back then! (thus the nostalgia argument doesn’t really work there).
The problem is that to me, console started to venture into the PC-realm by aiming for online-play, which I understand is more lucrative (each player now needs to buy a copy of the game, and a console, headset, etc.) yet for me then removed the desire of also owning a new console (I need a PC for work so already have one expensive machine).
To counter that, consoles nowadays publish exclusive content which is meant to pull you in, like not having ‘The Last of Us’ on anything but a PS3 or 4…
I feel this is not the right way to strengthen a market, as it only serves to annoy potential customers (like myself): I could play it on the PC, the controls would be better on the PC (for me at least), the experience would be at least the same; so why not have a PC version? (I already stated the answer to this ) If consoles were to offer me a form of entertainment I cannot get on a PC that excites me, I’d buy them right away, which is why I instantly bought a ‘Nintendo Wii’ when it was released in the hopes it revived couch-gaming.
I understand the economics of online-console play + the fact that there’s a ton of players there, but I think in order for consoles to grow their business and attract new loyal customers, they should expand even more than they already do towards hardcore couch-gaming or other new forms of entertainment the PC cannot deliver (Occulus Rift + hardware?).
Hardcore gamers are the most loyal to have around, so if you become the new ‘Nintendo Wii’ yet instead of focusing on getting grandma’s to stay fit, you reenact couch-gaming PvP or coop, I think you can grow out a really strong fanbase.
I bet some games like this exist on the current gen-consoles, especially within their online-stores, and if so, it goes to show there’s an advertising-problem for them to solve.
My message is: convince me to be your customer! What’s your salespitch for me to spend $1k in console/game/accessories on top of the powerful PC I already have? (other than the ‘well you cannot get this game..)
Article re-posted from July 23, 2014
I decided to make a concept for my take on early space long-term travel. So far most concepts I come across follow the traditional sci-fi point of view of clear, smooth, slick-designed interiors similar to those seen in Star Trek. My point is not to knock those designs, but I wanted to take a new route which I feel focuses more on human nature and which environments earth-born humans would be able to tolerate for longer periods of time, as they travel through the dark voids of space.
I wanted to take a conceptual route which enhances some of modern-day technologies which are already created to enhance our life.
For starters, I felt interior-habitats would be a big thing as they bring people together, allow them to socialize and provide a central ‘living space’ to all aboard a starship. Our current worlds ‘OceanDome‘ is a great example that people are already creating indoor-environments for such purposes.
The obvious development we can anticipate is that these kinds of massive indoor-environments will not only serve as holiday-resorts, but perhaps fuse with ‘malls’ to provide maximum social entertainment for people who aren’t living in a real-world natural equivalent.
It’s only natural that such developments would be used in star-ship design, as earth-born people will have similar needs, and until ‘holodeck’ technology comes into existence, massive interior habitats will become crucial areas in spacecraft, similar to how ‘Central Park’ serves as a central place of nature and relaxation in New York.
Another modern-day development that is going to become increasingly popular as its quality improves, and production-costs decrease, is ‘fake-window-screens’:
As life continues to urbanize, and the world is populated with ever-more humans, we can’t all have amazing views, and most of us will be confined towards living in tight apartment complexes. In order to improve our psyche and sense of happiness, lighting technologies, as well as these types of living-space improving technologies will continue to develop, and will naturally find their way in space-craft home-design.
We are increasingly conscious that things like lighting/smell/environment/view/and anything that naturally draws our senses is of enormous effect on our mental state. Imagine living in a constant state of darkness; how suicidal would you get? I therefore feel, and would love to see in sci-fi productions, designs more catered towards exploring different options to counter natural depressions that would occur.
That’s it from my take, now what I’d really like to know is if you agree with my statements, and if you have any further ideas / concepts / theories.
Article re-posted from Aug 7, 2014
Another future-vision post, focusing on my take on ‘future warfare’. While most science-fiction military visions focus on ‘aggressive looking robots and weapons’, I actually think things will move in the opposite direction as I think they’re forgetting the power of mass-media, especially intense social media channels.
As we know the world changes rapidly, and security, whether local or world-wide is becoming an increasingly political or social-media driven ordeal. It’s now more important than ever to focus on ‘how you win’ as the availability of globalized 3G networks means unfiltered material is instantly deployed and spread around the world. This information can be liberating, yet also very destructive when manipulated. Security forces have yet to adapt but will start transforming into 2 groups: a force for military conquest, and a pacification force. The conquest force is aggressive and is meant to overthrow the enemy, while the pacification force is meant to pacify an area, providing security according to acceptable human rights standards.
My take on it from a practical point of view, is that technologies will start to shift towards minimizing the conscious presence of surveillance and security-measures among the target people. This is because the mindset of people will increasingly become hostile to the idea of being ‘limited’. Soldiers patrolling the streets are a constant negative reminder and source of frustration for everyday life.
In addition, guerrilla-warfare will become an ever-more effective means to wage war, and so minimizing both civilian, as well as military casualties will become crucial to avoid grueling social media exposure and rising opposition. As the age of information intensifies, the patience to study the causes for a conflict-situation decrease and so wars, violent neighborhoods, and other areas of conflict will be reduced to ‘quotes and pictures on social media’. To counter this, pacification forces will start to adapt to this, at first with ‘social media campaigns’, yet this is an expensive and ultimately futile fight. Eventually they will start to focus on minimizing the ability for such negative publicity to get created, which is where I think minimizing the ‘military aspect’ comes into play.
I’ve divided possible future ‘pacification forces’ into several categories, all based on existing technologies which are currently being developed right now. I’m using the ‘police’ framework, as I think large-scale military conflicts are a thing of the past, and so security-technology will shift focus towards relatively localized security incidents.
-> Neighborhood Watch
Patrols will start to focus on providing information and updates to the local population. To give them a central place to ask questions and interface with the security system. These robots are automated and they have no defensive capabilities whatsoever. People can storm them and destroy these informational robots, as they are simply moving information machines. Newcomers into an area will get greeted and informed of the rules and regulations of this area, and people who are breaking the rules will get notified and warned. The touch-screen on the front allows the locals to navigate various pieces of information regarding the security-situation, and in addition offer the ability to request a direct conversation with a police representative. This direct conversation will channel through the neighborhood watch robot as it is equipped with audio-speakers, microphones and camera’s. The police representative will show up on the screen to interface with the subject.
-> Eyes & Ears
Gathering intelligence will become of crucial importance to ensure crime or guerrilla-warfare is detected as early as possible. Rather than loud overhead drones, small insects and animals will be converted to carry camera’s and other espionage equipment so the people don’t realize they are being watched. Currently there are technologies in the works which allow researchers to control insects from a distance, and the US military is already concepting the idea of espionage using this setup.
There will always be times when a more aggressive presence is needed to pacify an area, and for that I think the human element will change. Instead of ‘soldiers’ or ‘police-officers’ whose priority is to ‘save themselves’ in case of harm (which is used against them in guerrilla-warfare), remote-controlled drones and robots will be used. The reason I think they will remain remote-controlled by actual human controllers is because I think a human-sense of responsibility will be desired from a legal standpoint: who likes the idea of AI deciding on these matters? What is there is a fault in the software? The robots will be armed with non-legal stun or chemical weapon to prevent casualties. These remote controlled robots will be mass-produced as their priority is to prevent the loss of life, meaning many of these will be destroyed when attempting to subdue culprits in guerrilla-warfare situations. Packs of these interceptor-robots will be flown in by armored, remote controlled helicopters traveling at fast speeds.
The US military is rapidly advancing in mechanized and robotic warfare, you can read more about it here.
A central command is necessary to provide oversight and direction for a certain area. It is crucial they are nearby and focused on that sector alone to minimize the effects of cyber-warfare (example: hacking) the remote controlled elements. The mothership will be a high-tech airship flying in the safety of the stratosphere. In order to prevent high-range anti-air missiles from posing a threat, these airships will not only have missile-disruption and defense mechanisms, they will also have a net of small AI-controlled airships around it, focused on knocking out enemy missiles and projectiles which are on a trajectory towards them or the mothership. Fragmentation-missiles will then at best knock out one of the smaller robotic airships as they destruct these missiles at a safe distance from the mothership. Airships are able to stay in the air for a long time, which makes it an affordable means of excising long-term control.
Personally I feel very dubious about these advancements, as in the one hand I like the idea of an invisible security-presence that surgically removes culprits without harm, on the other hand it gives the government such an enormous amount of power over a population that I can’t help but dread the possible 1984-style communist world that might form because of this. It effectively renders dissent obsolete if you combine it with information control and cyber-warfare which is a scary thought.
Anyways, that’s it for now; feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on various technologies and their effects on society.