Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cabal Online / Granado Espada Soundtracks

With higher expectations and competitions among the different online games, many developers have tried enhancing the online gaming experience by improving the background music. Two such games that come to mind are Cabal Online and Granado Espada. The soundtracks from Cabal Online have a faster pace, which suits gaming fine. The tracks from Granado Espada are even better, with pace and theme that could be used for own leisure listening.

Here's the soundtracks from Cabal Online and Granado Espada. Both soundtracks are from, which may take a while to load. For Granado Espada the soundtracks could be purchased in games and some music shops (4CDs). Music4Games had an interview with Granado Espada people about the soundtracks used in the game.

Cabal Online Soundtracks:

Granado Espada Soundtracks:

Related Post
- imeem Soundtracks from the World of Warcraft

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wii - THE Next Console for all things?

Just read that Nintendo Wii has become the top selling console in the states, with 10.9 million units sold so far which beats XBox and PlayStation 3. It is actually not that surprising that Wii has such great popularity, simply because Wii targets a much much bigger market that includes the non-traditional gamers.

With Wii's easy to use interface and easy to learn games, anyone can get hook onto the Wii, and that includes UK's Queen Elizabeth II! If you can attract even the Queen to play console games, you are set to be the industry leader. :)

Other than the rich and famous, others are also using Wii beyond its traditional gaming purpose. For example, folks have used Wii for re-habilitation for patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, surgery and even combat injuries. The fun element of it adds variety to an other-wise borign re-hab process.

I've considered buying a Wii Fit for fun exercise at home, but the thought of me battling for the use of the TV unit sort of put this thought on hold. Another reason why the Wii is less atractive is because of the less than desirable online experience. Some users have commented that Wii's online interfaces and games variety could be improved further. Below is a picture of a Wii Fit demo.

Oh well, maybe I'll try to entice my family about the attractiveness of Wii and Wii Fit, and tout it as a console for everything, including exercise, gaming, online surfing...etc. Lolz.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

MIRALab - Prof Magnenat-Thalmann & Virtual Worlds

I chanced upon an article in the NTU '@NTU' magazine that described the works of MIRALab. After I visited their website, I'm impressed. The main reason is the amount of research they have done for CGI and Virtual Worlds. From their website, here's a brief description:
MIRALab was founded in 1989 by Professor Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann. She chairs around 30 researchers coming from as many different fields as Computer Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Telecommunications, Architecture, Fashion Design, Cognitive Science, Haptics, Augmented Reality, etc. This truly interdisciplinary group works in the field of Computer Graphics, Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds. Since 1992, MIRALab has participated in more than 45 European Projects. International conferences such as CASA and CGI are often organized in Switzerland by MIRALab. Actually, Prof. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann leads 3 ongoing European Research Projects: INTERMEDIA NoE, HAPTEX and 3D ANATOMICAL HUMAN, a Marie Curie Research Training Network. Moreover, MIRALab produces displays for museums, galleries, such as fashion shows or cyberdances with virtual models and clothes.
The list of projects could be found on their website. While they are not in the business of creating virtual worlds per se (not like Linden Labs), their works will feed into the greater community of how virtual worlds are created. I'm impressed mainly because the demo movies and images are of high quality for the technology of that time. For example, here's a YouTube upload of animation done in 2002, 'Virtual Life in Pompeii.

The work is not just in animation; they are now researching on textile and how cloth behaves in virtual world. Well, here's the YouTube about the research in this area. For more info, pop by their website for more videos and descriptions. I like the 'hair dance 2006' too but I guess we have enough videos for now. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More pictures of Myminicity

Myminicity is addictive! This is true for those people who like to build cities and watch them grow. My Myminicity has grown to a size of 352 population. This pales in comparison with other cities of 6 digits size population, but nonetheless there is some level of satisfaction to watch the city grows. I'm looking forward to the day when there are skyscrapers in my minicity.

Over the course of the game, I've also collected pictures of various 'disasters' that could happen for cities that are not well maintained. Here's a list of the different 'disasters', including the population leaving for more jobs (they will leave even if the unemployment is less than 2%), pollution, crimes / arson, and riots.

In order to avoid these disaster, the owner of the city will need to monitor and build more amenities. Sometimes, with the building of amenities, new buildings will appear, e.g. here is a picture of the police station. These are in addition to the earlier mentioned 'church upgrades' and 'factory development'.

There are many other 'graphics' present in the game, some of which do not have an apparent purpose. For examples, the 'mountains' and lakes. It will be interesting if someone could find an explanation for these 'features'. Ok, I guess I've bored my readers with these descriptions of Myminicity, and I'll try to move on to other virtual worlds / games.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

ExitReality - simple review

I was reading the Virtually Blind blog about the ExitReality '3D Internet' pluggin and decided to give it a try. The pluggin from ExitReality of about 3.7 MBs provides users the ability to view and navigate any 2D website in 3D. The signup is relatively easy:

After you downloaded the pluggin, the installation is also fast and without fuss. However, there is about where the nice experience ended. Using the pluggin I was first brough to this page:

There is no immediate tutorial, and the interface is not that intuitive. It took a while to learn how to navigate around. If you clicked on the tutorial, there will be instructions to help one start out. I'm also not sure why would people want to view a 2D website in 3D. ExitReality's own site is nice and pleasing but other people's sites may be less so in 3D. The pluggin also crashed my system once. Compared to other new 'Virtual Worlds' like SmallWorlds or the Amazing Worlds 's mirror world, there is much room for improvement. Oh well I guess it's all in beta stage and it is unfair to write it off so soon.

Here's how this blog looks like in ExitReality. The pluggin managed to detect that the general theme is in black, and painted the background correctly. Hopefully it will look better the next time, when the product is fully ready.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Lunar Festival, Haris Pilton & Zangramash in WoW

There are lot of blogs and websites on World of Warcraft (魔兽世界) with reviews, guides, discussions ... etc and I shall not add to the information abundance. Instead, let me just put a few pictures of the interesting (I feel) events of the game.

One such event is the Lunar Festival, where players in WoW can celebrate by doing simple quests. One of the quests requires the players to shoot fireworks into the air. The fireworks are quite pretty actually. Here's two screenshots of the event, where the heart shape fireworks could be seen in the lower picture.

Blizzard is always very creative when it comes to the naming of NPC and quests. We know the tribute to Zelda, King Kong & Mario in the crafting of Un'goro Crater quests. There is also the 'Haris Pilton' NPC in Shattrath City tavern, with an affiliation of 'Socialite'. She has a pet (of course) named Tinkerbell. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

It is always fun playing WoW, not just for the fantastic gameplay, but also for these little humour along the way. Let me end this blog with a beautiful picture of a sunset taken while I was flying over Zangramash.