Tech N' Gadgets

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Video Game Statistics

Videogame Statistics
Source: Online Education

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My List of 2009 Games

Top 10 games of year 2009 which I played
1. Uncharted 2 (PS3)
2. Killzone 2 (PS3)
3. Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
4. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3)
5. Left 4 Dead 2 (XBOX 360)
6. Ghostbusters (XBOX 360)
7. Demon's Souls (PS3)
8. New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
9. inFamous (PS3)
10.Assassin's Creed II (XBOX 360)

Worst games of 2009 which I tried to play
1. Velvet Assassin (PC)
2. Saboteur (Full of glitches) (XBOX 360)
3. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PC)

Most Innocent game of 2009 which I played
1. Mini Ninjas (XBOX 360)
2. Flower (PS3)
3. Eyepet (PS3)

Least used gaming device Nintendo Wii

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Hanuman: Review

Today I got my copy of Hanuman which is India's so called first game on PS2 (Actually it is Singstar Bollywood) and published by Sony. I spent Rs. 499 for that which is not a bad price for a PS2 game. People might argue that we should sell it in 100-200 range to beat piracy but Aurona/Sony is not copying the DVDs, they are making it..they are making a game and any PSx owner will happily pay this much.
The game starts neatly with nice looking menu and all that. Before I could launch the game, I launched credit screens and I was excited to see over 70% people in the list whom I know.




After that, I started my game and it all starts with badly shaded stylized Hanuman model and he calls the terrain as huge. I tried to explore things and water was really bad (Splash sound was good though), trees were bad, grass was just a green carpet and fruits looked yuck. The English is so badly spoken (Sorry kid, no offense but it's against those who asked you to speak in that manner) that we feel like as if it's ages old way of speaking English.



Somehow there were pre-rendered movies for even the smallest movement and loading these videos took 40-50 seconds each time and then again when video is over and we get back to our gameplay.

There are serious errors with player movement. It flies having nothing under it and it keeps on climbing wall, even if it's over.



Then in the game after some stupid acrobatic action and nine loading screens, you find a cave and then there was combat with jackal. It was unique kind of stuff...just move your club in the air and if jackal is nearby, he'll get hit without even getting in direct contact with club and if you stand idle then they'll just move around you but will not hit you. After you hit these jackals, you get orbs and those are definitely good.




Once you are done with these jackals, you enter the cave to reach next level where you find a man who's stuck and Hanuman helps him to come out of that (all in cutscene) and that guy takes Hanuman home and since Hanuman has lost his memory (Nowhere told but assumed), man names him Vanabalakam (Jungle Boy). Hanuman is part of a happy family.



Now that family really puts Hanuman to torture and asks me to get fruits for food. Just imagine how many? 5-10-15-30-50-70..........100 and that was like WTF.


In my journey to 100 fruits, I encountered many other problem areas like this guy is walking at the same place:
video

There were some Tarzan like stunts which just looked and felt out of place completely.



Finally after 38 fruits and 16 loading screens, I had to call it off. I want to trash it but for once, I want to finish it but those 100 fruits will always haunt me and I'll always be scared. SONY :(

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Game is Changing

OMG

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Project Management or Technical Project Management: What You Want To Do?

One thing which is rarely talked about in the PM or upper group is about one of those competent folks who grew up though the technical ranks and took his place as a project leader though wit, skill, and the ability to communicate clearly to non-technical audiences.

These folks can maintain a tremendous bridge among non-technical, QA and all people relevant. These guys assess technical risks, assist with technical problem solving, and cut through the layers of bull-feathers surrounding any given technical project to determine what is really going on. Within their own technical areas they can estimate project time-lines to within hours of actual work whereas a non-technical PM will always rely upon the schedule given to him by the resource for which he’ll never be able to take justification.

More importantly, technical project managers think like IT professionals. They just need to save technical face for the team even when it would be easier to hang someone out to dry. This allows them to get straight answers and good work out of employees who would be classified as hopeless, negative, or uncooperative by non-technical project managers.

In any project, there are situations where the team struggles depending on the complex dynamics of the project and customer requirements.
Most important at that particular instant is get to the core root cause and start providing detailed answers and also put into consideration what should not be provided to the client protecting the interests of the organization.

On any given day a technical project manager will:
1. Track the project progress
2. Raise alarm if something is going wrong
3. Conduct a meeting
4. Compose dozens communications emails
5. Write a status report
6. Help his team prioritize technical issues
7. Find the best alternatives to any technical issues and will not be single minded to solve a problem.
8. Employ one or more mitigation strategies for technical risks

Now, this starts a confusing state. What role do they play after couple of years in technical project management or when they change company? How they can fit themselves in process oriented organization? Do they need to change their style?

Now I try to answer some of the above questions.

Are Technical Guys Ready to be Project Managers? : People who have spent some years in the project management profession know that not everyone can be a good project manager. Knowledge, Experience, Skills, Instinct, Passion for Processes and People Management Skills make great project managers and not MBA, PMP or PgMP :). These degrees or certificates just align your knowledge to the global standards of project management.

I believe that the main problem is that there is a lack of knowledge about project management in organizations and it’s just considered as next step in the professional career of an individual contributor.

I experienced many times how people (good individual contributors) were totally frustrated being promoted to project managers. Most of the time, a good techie would like to continue to be technical and still manage certain part of management. There’s hardly any need of out and out Project Manager unless he’s not technical and if company requires pure project manager then there should be technical project managers working for him who can help “Pure” Project Manager to analyse the information in right ways and I’d be dumb not to call those “Pure” as Morons in technology aspect.

Generally it starts when somebody presses the panic button and company thinks that they have more than they can chew and they start hiring “Pures” without even calculating the losses in efficiency, cost and time for putting wrong person for the job.

Nobody likes to be project manager by accident. Project managers must be trained for managing projects and they don’t do it like a moron, they have to understand every bit of technology. A “Pure” will always avoid meeting in which he’ll be the anchor because he won’t be able to approve or disapprove any argument. My argument is that if somebody ready for just the “Pure” role then he must be ready to take help of SMEs, team members and even QA people to understand all challenges and foresee challenges but WHY? Try a good technical guy who is flexible enough to learn processes and good at people management and see the change.

Training, practice and learning on the job are the right ingredients to achieve a good skilled professional in project management. Organizations should have a clear career path for project management, forums should be set to discuss experiences and training should be provided.

The biggest advantage of having a technical project manager is that a good technical project manager can build a great technical team. He can understand ins and outs of technical mindsets. He focuses more on solving technical issues, optimizing codes, setting standards for best practices and aware of all round latest technology happenings.

Another advantage of having a TPM is that a TPM doesn’t allow any bottleneck to happen. Most of the meetings will be inconclusive if PM doesn’t have a say or has to rely upon other heads to guide him. Whenever an issue is stuck, TPM makes a decision and rest sails smoothly. A TPM bears the maximum pressure so in a way he works like a transformer who takes the whole supply and distribute smoothly to the resources. A good TPM is always on top of the situation so what looks like a problem from one angle can be an easy go for a good TPM.

It’s not that having a TPM is all goodie goodie so what can be the disadvantages of having a TPM?

A TPM usually focuses more on solutions then problems. They generally tend to address the problem in front and they may oversee the global repercussions because of that. A TPM should mature at that level where he can see the overall system as one and not only specific part or module or problem.

A major issue with TPM is that they don’t project every issue they encounter. They try to handle what they can and reduce what they cannot and project only the impossible stuff. QA guys are villains for them too but over the period of time, they learn to appreciate transparency and significance of QA.

Now, we go back to the original question: Should we be Project Managers or Technical Project Managers? I'd personally prefer to be Technical Project Manager and would love to convert many technical guys into Technical Project Managers and I'm sure that I won't be able to make "pures" understand about technology.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Use Contribution Sytem: My Experience with it

Few days back, we had an internal seminar on User Contribution System and I'm publishing my presentation which had two parts; one is My Experience with User Contribution System and other is What we can do in our company.
Here's the first part:

Throughout my professional life, I’ve taken advantages of various User Contribution mediums like:
1. Codeguru.com: Always been a great resource of beautiful code written voluntarily by best programmers in the world.
2. PlanetSourceCode.com: Did everything possible on this. Posted various codes, Used several codes and discussed on complex logic and algorithms.
3. Gamedev.com: Full of technical articles, forums, wiki and enough for anybody to get started or to be the best in the world.
4. Allpm.com: My weekly stopover. This site has benefitted me a lot in terms of discussing my problems or solving my problems. Great resource for all project managers and above.
5. Amazon.com/ebay.com: I don’t buy anything from amazon.com if the seller or the product is not highly rated or well accepted. If I simply go by what buyer claims, maximum chances are to be cheated. Remove user rating, comments and discussion from these sites and these will be body without soul and will just be a catalogue.
6. LINUX: I must mention this. Without User Contribution, it couldn’t have been this big and today it’s challenging the biggest software organization of the world. Do I need to say more about this....
7. Wiki: My constant source of information. Though I don’t completely rely upon this but it’s a good first point entry for me. See the power of this that Britannica once claimed Wiki as Public Urinal but finally Britannica also opened its content to be edited and shared by the users. Power of User Contribution for sure \00/
8. IMDB: I use it immensely. Whenever I make my list on Bigflix, I check IMDB ratings, story lines and comments and then only Queue those in my list.
9. Blogs: Being a blogger myself (Dead for sometime but FYI techngadgets.blogspot.com) and big time fan of Chris Fiessinger, Steven Haden, Shashank, Alastair Patrick, several MIT guy etc for my daily dose of technology and information. Blog for me is much more important than news paper or wiki.
10. Survey by Various Product Companies: Most of the companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, Adecco, Google etc keep on flashing “Fill the Survey” when we visit their products or install their products. This is a great way to capture expectation, recommendation etc.
Long back I’d read an article about how Microsoft started with Windows. When they were selling DOS like hot cakes, they sent a survey to all their users, universities etc asking if they’d be interested in graphical OS. Only 30% people said that they wanted it and it was Microsoft’s forward looking (Extinct now) strategy that they thought at least 30% people are demanding and will use it and they started working on Windows. Even now Microsoft has a dedicated page for feedback collection (http://wfp.microsoft.com/).

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Video Game without Video

A new computer game developed by MIT and Singaporean students ve taken the video out of videogames, making it possible for visually impaired people to play the game on a level field with their sighted friends.

The game, called AudiOdyssey, simulates a deejay trying to build up a catchy tune and get people dancing. By swinging the remote-control device used by the Nintendo Wii, which senses motion, the player can set the rhythm and lay down one musical track after another, gradually building up a richer musical track.

AudiOdyssey is an experimental computer game designed to be accessible to both the visually impaired community and mainstream gamers. The user stars as Vinyl Scorcher, an up-and-coming DJ, on his quest to get club patrons dancing. Swinging the Nintendo Wii controller to the beat, Vinyl lays down the various component tracks of a song, and keeps the party jumping. If he does an especially good job, he can even freestyle! But beware - if dancers get too rowdy, they're likely to bump into the turntables, messing up Vinyl's tracks. Think you have what it takes?

AudiOdyssey was developed with four research goals:

  • The visually-impaired and the sighted can enjoy the same level and quality of gameplay
  • Navigate game's menus with ease and efficiency approaching that of conventional UIs
  • Create a fun and natural control scheme using the Wiimote
  • An engaging game that relies more on high quality audio than visuals
Download it from http://gambit.mit.edu/loadgame/audiodyssey.php