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Showing posts from January, 2018

Thimbleweed Park and Deponia

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Point-and-click adventure games were a refined art form in the 90s. Sierra, Lucasfilm, and Delphine would crank out games with elaborate stories, great puzzles, and gorgeous backdrops.

Sierra was known for its biting humor and frequent unpredictable deaths (in Space Quest III, if you just happened to pick up a piece of metal on the very first screen, you'd bleed to death). Lucasfilm took the opposite way and tried to avoid any kind of dead end, frequently mocking Sierra in the process. Delphine had nice tech, great music by Jean Baudlot, although its pixel hunting sucked (some objects had miniscule hotspots that were frustratingly hard to find, and missing them would steer you into a dead end many hours of gameplay later).

The genre slowly died out towards the next millennium to the point of near extinction, and I was excited to see that two point-and-clickers popped up in the past few years! Better still, one of them was helmed by Ron Gilbert, the mastermind behind many of the ic…

For whom the bell toils

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The site reliability engineers, the great folks at Google who keep the servers running day and night, have a term for it: Toil.

This term refers to the tedious tasks that are part of daily routines, and the SRE have one mission: Eliminate it.

I remember back in 1999 when we worked on Mission: Impossible for the first Sony PlayStation. We had a bunch of audio files, but they didn't sound powerful enough, so one of us (poor Ivo ended up drawing the short straw) needed to fix each file.

The audio tool had batching support, but as always, we were in a hurry, nobody was familiar with how to set it up, we were worried that some of the files might get ruined by the batching without us noticing, so we chose doing it manually instead. So Ivo ended up opening hundreds of files, one by one, choosing the compressor option, and saving the file.

Today, this would be unthinkable for me. People are unreliable and suck. The more can be automated, the better. I started moving as many of my menial t…