All posts by Doctor Mike Reddy

Little Big Planet == Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”?

I got sent the following link by a good friend, Richard Sewell, who is a mobile app developer: which is commenting on the following youttube video:

What is incredible really, is not that someone has made an electronic calculator in the virtual “sandbox” game (Game? Maybe “toy” is a better word for it) that is “Little Big Planet” coming soon to the PS3 (That’s Playstation 3, a game console, your honour). The amazing fact is that the simulations that have been possible on cheap hardware for several years now – decades even if you consider some titles as being complex enough – are no longer the creations of the developers, but of ourselves. All the developers do is provide tools, some case studies and a few resources. Then it’s “light the blue touch paper and retire!”

Herman Hesse wrote “The Glass Bead Game” as a futuristic look at the obsession that such a simulation can have; the reality that the simulation is mimicing takes second place to the cleverness of what the simulation can do that goes beyond reality, forging a newer reality that cannot exist in Reality. I wonder if (or should that be when?) Little Big Planet 2 (or 3 or 4…) will achieve such “realitence” (reality + sentience) or if we will fall foul of “virtality” by placing greater store on a simulation than the thing that inspired it?

I have hands… hands that can heal… Well Games hardware anyway!

I have a few XBox 360 controllers that have – due to work in case you ask – not been used over the Summer. They have rechargeable battery packs that have hardly been used. However, leaving them uncharged for such a long time – we are talking months – appeared to have been too much loneliness. They decided to die from neglect. That is three of the four did, as one apparently must have been left fully charged and did not expire.

Doing a quick google confirmed that these battery packs, while costing a lot of money, are perhaps not the top end cells you might imagine. Oh well. I plugged in the charging cables a few weeks ago and got the “Oh I am charged” green light almost immediately, but pulling out the cable resulted in the controllers turning off. Buggered batteries. Oh well.

But… today I noticed that one of the three bust packs didn’t quite turn off straight away. There was a tiny bit of charge! So, I plugged the cable back in… Red (charging) light comes on… then turns green. I repeat. The red time is longer. The controller takes a few seconds more before it is dead again. I repeat. And again. And…

…now the charging cable is staying red. The battery has been healed!!!

So, if you have a dead XBox 360 rechargeable battery pack and the plug and play charging cable, it might be worth your while trying this fix. Alternatively, I can pass my healing hands over it for a fee!

The joy of the new – Why Post ’92 universities are better for Games

Only 8 of the universities offering Games related courses, according to UCAS, are not former polytechnics. Why this is has been debated by Richard Bartle at the recent Edinburgh Interactive Festival, as reported here:

Basically, Bartle makes the argument that lack of academic credibility, and more importantly the lack of research funding for games, beyond “games for education” make the discipline unattractive for the older universities. No top grade publication route means that games research is hard to include in the RAE. However, I don’t expect that this will change anytime soon, and also believe that ‘gamegogy’ – my term of the use of games development (not just playing or consumption of games) as an educational tool – has a lot to offer Education.