Walking proudly to other planets

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by NotAdmin, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    Well, let me start by explaining the title. As we speak, right next to me is a glass of Johhnie Walker Black Label. Due to being a blend, whisky connoisseurs worldwide will probably turn their heads in disgust, but I would like to reind them that without blends, our beloved Single Malts would nost exist.

    Most whisky distilleries solely exist because the bulk of their produce will be bought in order to be used in blends. The single malt is possible because the blends pay the bills. Besides, if it was good enough for Sir Winston Churchill, who the heck am I to complain?

    In any case, as I announced in the Hubble thread, I suddenly have an urge to write. I'll write about interplanetary travel, as that is where I can bring great experience to the table and stuff.

    When I was young, TV was mostly in black and white, and we actually had to walk to this cupboard-sized box in our living room to change the channel. But we had Star Trek. The old one, with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. A bit later, there was Battlestar Galactica. In my dreams, I was an astronaut. I commanded some spaceship, flew to different planets, and explored. I experienced great adventures, fought many valiant battles, and saw many an amazing site on ever-changing planets. Man, when I'd grow up, I'd have seen stuff my parents would not believe! Captain Peter would rule the universe!

    So, here I am. I am 35, have a boring office job as a programmer, but heck, at least I saw stuff my parents would never believe. You see, my mom is terrified of boats, and my dad is terrified of flying, causing them to perpetually be stuck in Europe, and with my little brother only getting a single trip to Suriname, that kind of makes me (by far) the most exploring member of the family, having visited many an exotic location. Well, okay, if you call Las Vegas, San Francisco, Egypt and fricking Saskatoon exotic, at least.

    And yet... And yet... I never really got to be a big fan of Science Fiction. I read bucketloads of books when I was a kid, but most of them were fantasy. To this day, the great majority of my bookcase is filled with Tolkien, Pratchett, Piers Anthony (a lucky hit, caused by my favourite software house of old, Legend Software, producing an adventure game based on the books of Anthony, and while the game was dissappointing, the book included was not), Goodkind, and then a single copy of RingWorld. Once again, the result of a video game.

    Most of what I played gamewise also was fantasy. Science fiction as a gaming genre never really captivated me much. Sure, I played Dune 2 from dusk till dawn, and I played X-Wing relentlessly, but overall, after the true adventures fell out of grace, I ended up playing a lot of Warcraft, Eye of the Beholder, Diablo, etc.

    Then EU came along. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the game. On one hand, I somehow feel more comfortable inbetween wizards and elves, but on the other hand, there still is something special to EU. It's not the great storyline, or my particular attraction to SciFi (Lykke is by far a bigger fan of that than I am, and most of the SciFi movies we own we only bought extremely recently). And yet, something keeps pulling me back.

    It must have something to do with visiting new planets, somehow. To some extent, it's similar to seeing the movie Avatar. I saw some screenshots and reviews on it initially, and I have to admit I was not too keen on seeing the movie. In fact, whenever Lykke suggested we'd go see it, I'd try my very best to sneak out from under it. She finally insisted, and I sighed, and went along.

    Biggest surprise I had in a long time, and I'm glad she did persuade me to come. It instantly rekindled my childhood dreams, and Captain Peter was ready to explore again. With the latest releases on Calypso, I cannot help but compare that to Pandora at times. Seeing a Hiryuu coming right at you makes you think back of the flying reptiles on Pandora. When reading that Cyrene will have a tree city, I cannot help but wonder if it will be similar to what Pandora had, and at the same time, I am thinking of the Elves of Lothlorien in Lord of the Rings.

    To some extent, Captain Peter is real. I do have the luxury of visiting and exploring new worlds. Granted, it's not physically, but sometimes a movie or a story can be so good that it'll suck you right in. Tolkien had a true gift. When you read his books, and experience him describing in great detail absolutely everything. The colours, the smells, the sounds, you sometimes completely get sucked into the story. Peter Jackson truly did a great job when he made the movies.

    I do not yet have the very same feeling when I play video games, but technology is ever growing, and somehow I feel that within my lifetime, we will reach a point where the virtual reality stuff we were promised 10, 15 years ago, where you'd wear helmets and gloves to really make you experience stuff at a whole different level, will be a reality. Where computer CGI will be almost impossible to distinguish from reality (well, with Lord of the Rings and Avatar, that has pretty much been the case), and where you literally can emerse yourself in a 3D world and go exploring (This has, to some extent, also already been done).

    I am merely waiting for the time where you will be able to combine 3D graphics and life-like CGI with, for instance, the control features of a wii, and force feedback like you have now on joysticks. The true virtual reality we were promised, where you have a projector over your head that allows you to turn around 360 degrees. Where you wear gloves that provide feedback when you touch something. Where the same helmet you wear can provide you with scents. Where if you a mob kicks you in the chest, you actually feel an impact to the chest due to a thin layer of computer-controlled fabric giving off a pulse.

    Captain Peter, reporting for duty, Sir. At your service! *salute*
  2. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    nice one Peter and though I am 5 years younger then you we seem to have played the same games in the past but where you played Warcraft, Eye of the Beholder and Diablo I started on Command & Conquer, so I guess that's were our gaming needs split. You started on the fantasy path and I walked the scifi one. I for some reason don't like elves. This is probably why I have never player any MMO before or since Project Entriopia. There are just no good Scifi MMO's out there (well some are emerging now and I have tried them and just didn't like them very much).

    A lot of the virtual reality stuff we were promised is a reality right now, they just haven't put it all together to make that one VR product. I mean 3D screens, very real graphics, voice control, interaction by using your hands (like the Wii), stuff that registers where you are looking and changes the view on your screen accordingly (link), even an controller that used your mind (link). It all is a matter of putting those together I think to get pretty close to the VR things we saw in the movies a long time ago. Sure it will cost a bit of money, but I think most of it is possible already.

  3. narfi

    narfi Lost

    I agree, its possible now, just to expensive or not enough people with the money that care enough to put it all together yet, its definitely coming though.

  4. SciFi has always been important, in that I need a healthy dose of reality to anchor my thinking mind it, allowing the creativity side to wander off for a while. Imagine the brain (L & R) being a couple in town, your partner doesn't mind if you have a few beers, if you leave her & the credit card in a shoe shop.

    VR with a Magic and Google Maps I was particularly drawn to this as I own this phone, though it'll work with anything running Google Maps and inbuilt compass detection. Using the Street View ability, I put a dark t-shirt (glad nobody can see me) over my head and moved around looking at the screen. The sensation was great. I also had a Picture Viewer as a kid, and appreciate the point is fooling the brain, but removing other stimuli that say ur looking at a game and not actually there.

    VR has been tantalizingly close for a couple of decades, I've got a 16yr old book describing how to make your own VR helmet, glove and code the basic world / box object to experiment with. It was possible with a couple of old portable tv screens, it's sure as hell possible with the screens in mobile phones. If I can hack something together at home, it can be done by business. Offerings exist, but stuff comes along, com ports replaced by USB, OS changes, etc; VR constantly slipping out of grasp.

    Before Entropia I was playing the MMO Planetarion. Without fancy graphics, the mind was occupied by the task, the numbers, the social network required to succeed.
    The magic of the virtual world is immersion, believing for a while something new and exciting exists, your life isn't ruled by small minded idiots.
  5. curious what video game was based on the works of Piers Anthony. His Incarnations of Immortality series are some of the best books i've ever read. And since i've read well over 1k books, thats saying something. If you remember the name of the game please let me know.
  6. jim_T

    jim_T Disturbed veteran

    Personally I can stand sucky gfx's, lousy game controls etc etc, for me it's all about gameplay! That feeling...when you know you should quit but, then goes ah heck one more time over and over again! i.e. just to be able to beat the highscore/finish the quest/beat AI-boss/or whatever... :) Like Peter I didn't grow up with fancy gfx and advanced game controls hence...I reckon all those things a considered a bonus for me...no thinking about it I prefer lousy gfxs...Fancy gfx's w/o actually gameplay is like...Porn...sucky gfx w gameplay...is LOVE! :)

    Kind regards!

  7. Open hailing frequencies to Captain Peter's ship at once and send my compliments!

    Our backgrounds in geekery seem quite similar, though my clock gets set back a bit further. That big wooden cabinet showed me not only the pointy-eared hobgoblin you mention, but it also showed me men walking on the moon as it happened. I was later fortunate enough one spring afternoon in 1972 to watch 3 incredibly brave guys ride the fire with my own eyes. I was only a bit more than three miles from pad 39a, and not only could you see it and hear it, you could *feel* it. It was too loud to be just a sonic experience. My ribcage rattled, I could feel the earth under my feet tremor as 7.5 million pounds of thrust pushed that rocket skyward.

    On that day, I felt there was nothing humanity couldn't achieve if we really wanted it.
    I still do.

    In the meantime, I await the spin-offs of that technology to enrich my entertainment here on Earth. While I would indeed love to go adventuring and would gladly do so if fate ever smiled so broadly upon me, I think Calypso will the the only alien world I "visit".
  8. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    The name is Companions of Xanth. Legend was famous for releasing extremely difficult (mostly text-based) adventures. I loved their stuff for exactly that reason. I ordered Xanth almost as soon as it came out, and was quite annoyed to find that it was a point-and-click game, that took me about 3 hours to finish from start till end.

    However, the game also included a copy of the book Demons Don't Dream, which gave me a lengthier entertainment. I never heard of Piers Anthony before, but now have a copule of his novels standing in my bookcase, from when I undertook trips to the US and Canada :) I ought to see if I can get some more :) I am a sucker for puns, and his work contains fantasy AND puns.
  9. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    to add to the VR thing I came across a nice new touch screen the people from Disney are developing. It is called Tesla Touch and make it possible to feel the difference in textures shown on the screen.

    TeslaTouch | Home
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