Friday, December 09, 2016

Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian: The Last of their Kind

It's the end of an era - of two eras, in fact. At this moment, you can walk into a game shop or pop over to your preferred online retailer, and buy, actually buy with real money, both Final Fantasy XV (which started development in 2006) and The Last Guardian (work on which commenced in 2007). Two of the longest-running development processes, and indeed longest-running jokes, in the industry have finally come to a close. Unlike previous marathon dev cycles like Duke Nukem Forever (started in 1997, launched in 2011) and Daikatana (whose three-year development time now looks positively reasonable by comparison, despite being two years longer than planned), these epic stories even seem to have a happy ending, with both games being largely well-received.
It's not just the end of an era because these titles have finally been released, though. It's also the end of an era because in many ways, The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV are relics of an earlier time. The whole manner in which they've been developed and created is a hangover from a previous decade, preserved in amber by their stubborn, years-long refusal to be finished and wrangled onto a Blu-ray disc. With their release, coincidentally within days of one another, it's not only the saga of their individual development processes that draws to a close; they are the last of their kind. Unless you're some kind of Half-Life 3 truther, there are no more of these epic, bizarre, oft-delayed beasts that we're waiting for. The curtain has fallen on 2000s game development.
The significance of this derives from the fact that these beasts from an earlier era show up just how much the industry has changed and moved on in the time since they were announced. The mid-2000s structures that created these games and that permitted them to turn into sprawling, decade-long and monstrously expensive development morasses are, for the most part, gone. We shall not see their like again, not least because an industry in which many companies have skirted bankruptcy due to this kind of project has changed precisely in order to prevent this from happening again.
"The notion of the all-controlling auteur sitting at the head of a gigantic, phenomenally expensive development project is very much one from the 2000s"
The influences that have changed the industry have come from various places. Engagement with the world of mobile and social games has been a major force for change - not just because publishers are making mobile titles, but because they're learning from how mobile games are made. They've seen how risk can be lowered - not eliminated, but lowered - by back-loading much of the development process; treating game creation not as something that finishes when the game launches, but something that continues long afterwards, with the game already generating revenue even as the team continues to build it, informed by genuine user feedback and data about player activity. That paradigm is central to mobile, and it's now the beating heart of the "AAA+" games that combine AAA production values and aesthetics with Software as a Service (SaaS) principles to keep players engaged for months or even years.
On a more fine-grained level, game companies have also been influenced - albeit by no means uniformly - by new approaches to software development and business organisation largely pioneered in the US start-up scene. It's becoming increasingly common to hear developers talk about their processes in terms that originated in Silicon Valley; lean start-ups, agile development, scrums and stand-ups. Some of the concepts being adopted are buzzword bingo; others are solid, valuable ideas that are helping teams to communicate, to rapidly prototype and iterate on ideas, and perhaps most crucially, to identify things that aren't working earlier in the process than was possible before. No one concept is a panacea to development hell, but each of them, implemented wisely, is another strand in the safety net that's been woven to prevent projects and studios from repeating the mistakes of the past.
One outcome of all of this has been a subtle but important change to the notion of the "auteur". The Last Guardian's Fumito Ueda undoubtedly falls into that category; Final Fantasy XV's Tetsuya Nomura is perhaps a more questionable figure, but from a management perspective the label fits. The notion of the all-controlling auteur sitting at the head of a gigantic, phenomenally expensive development project is very much one from the 2000s, however. Hideo Kojima's acrimonious break-up with Konami came largely because the company no longer wanted an auteur figure spending tens of millions of dollars on risky, five- or six-year long development cycles. The new breed of auteur which has emerged in the intervening years is no less talented, but far more focused, capable of delivering games regularly, on time and on budget, recognising this as being as much a part of their job as the implementation of their singular vision. Consider, for example, that just about the entire extraordinary career of Hidetaka Miyazaki (the whole Souls series and Bloodborne) has taken place while Ueda and Nomura struggled to get a single game out the door.
"The age of the auteur is not over...but the role has changed, and it's impossible to imagine any company tolerating a development process like Final Fantasy XV's or The Last Guardian's in this day and age"
It's not that there's no room in the industry for big, impressive games, or for the creatives who dream them up. The age of the auteur is not over - Kojima, after all, had companies falling over themselves to fund his new studio after his departure from Konami - but the role has changed, and it's impossible to imagine any company tolerating a development process like Final Fantasy XV's or The Last Guardian's in this day and age. Sony, which publishes The Last Guardian and is bankrolling Kojima's new studio, is likely to be the most liberal publisher with regard to its handling of creatives; it recognises that the value of having a high-profile auteur working on PS4-exclusive software goes far beyond the question of how many copies their games will sell. (Which, given that Hideo Kojima appears to be spending Sony's money on an utterly impenetrable head-wrecker whose primary theme thus far is "my best mates hold babies for some reason", is just as well. It'll still probably sell five million copies, though.)
So enjoy Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian (I'll get around to them eventually, but I finally cracked and picked up Persona 5 last week - incidentally, that's a series that has had three magnificent instalments released in the time since Final Fantasy XV started development - so I doubt I'll get around to them this side of the new year), and marvel at the strange, winding and terribly long pathway that brought them to us. Enjoy it all the more because it's almost certainly the last time we'll see something like this happen - and that's a very good thing, for games and for the industry. The excesses of the 2000s are no way to build a sustainable industry or, really, to make good games. With the launch of Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian, we can finally shut the door on that chapter of our history.

Nintendo Switch Virtual Console to include Gamecube games

Nintendo will release a new console next year in the form of the Switch. It's a unique system that has at-home and on-the-go elements. Now, an executive at rival PlayStation has spoken out to share his thoughts on it. PlayStation Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida told DigitalSpy that he thinks it's a "very unique system."
"It's very interesting that they've designed the system to work well with more conventional games in terms of inputs and buttons," Yoshida said. "So I think it's good for core gamers and their marketing message focused on that."
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Asked if Sony views Nintendo as a competitor in the hardware space, Yoshida replied, "I think they're going to cover a new market for themselves."
You can read the full DigitalSpy interview here.
Yoshida is not the only executive of a competing company to share his thoughts on the Switch. On the day that the console was officially announced, Xbox boss Phil Spencer commented, "I'm always impressed with their ability to state a bold vision and build a product that delivers on that vision."
The Switch goes on sale in March 2017. The console's price, specs, and launch lineup will be announced at an event in early January.
In other news, a report today claimed the console will play GameCube games via the Virtual Console. Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee are reportedly among those that will be available.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt Were Alien Hybrids

Top 10 Ancient Egyptian Alien Hieroglyphics Proof Of Aliens Life
Are we alone in the whole universe? You would get different answers to this question from different people. No matter what the skeptics or the debunkers have to say, but there is hardly any doubt that alien life does exist and they have been visiting out planet since the ancient times. A study on the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics would confirm this further. Here is some of the best hieroglyphic evidence that points towards the existence of alien life.
(1) The Temple of Seti I at Abydos has a hieroglyphic panel that bears symbols resembling the helicopter, spaceship and fighter jet planes. These hieroglyphic panels were made three to five thousand years ago, when man had no idea about these modern day vehicles.
Vimanas ancient aliens texts with flying crafts
(2) An Egyptian woman is seen sitting with an alien looking being in her laps in one of the hieroglyphic panels that has been recovered. Human structures can be easily made out in other hieroglyphic hence it is obvious that the being in question is certainly not human, but an alien.
aliens in the Sumerian Gods
(3) Many hieroglyphs bear images of humans with extra elongated craniums. As naturally human cranium is not supposed to be that long, it is believed by the alien enthusiasts that ancient Egyptians tried ropes on the skulls of their babies to make the cranium look elongated. This was a measure to emulate the appearances of the aliens is what is widely believed.
Egyptian elongated craniums Hieroglyphics
(4) A flying saucer is seen in one of the hieroglyphic panels that are found on the walls of ancient Egyptian monuments. The shape and structure of the alleged flying saucer is so accurate, that someone might think that the ancient Egyptians had referred to a sci-fi movie to draw that. This however, proves that ancient Egyptians did encounter alien spaceships and that is why these objects have found their place in the different work of hieroglyphics.
UFO Egyptian Alien Hieroglyphics
(5) Mysterious alien looking creatures are being found in many hieroglyphic panels all across Egypt. These beings have large black eyes and look humanoid, but certainly they are far from being humans.
ancient drawings of aliens of Egyptian 400 BC
(6) There is another hieroglyph that is found in the Temple of the Pharaohs where an alien is found that resembles exactly the little grey men about whom we keep on reading in the various tales of alien encounters.
Pharaohs Grey alien
(7) Another work of hieroglyphic art depicts a flying object that is emitting some rays pointed towards an animal. This hieroglyph is concrete evidence that not only aliens exist, but they also have been abducting animals and humans since the ancient times.
flying saucer ancient Egyptian monuments Hieroglyphics
(8) The hieroglyphic depiction of the ancient light bulb makes it evident that ancient Egyptians had developed the technology of how to generate electricity and work with electric light bulb. The hieroglyph at the Dendera complex shows that with support from some super intelligent extraterrestrial support, ancient Egyptians had made such objects.
Temple of Dendera in Egypt ancient aliens
(9) The strange appearance of the various Egyptian gods that are seen in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs certainly point out that these gods were unearthly and they were extraterrestrial visitors. Sphinx, Anubis etc. is examples of beings that are thought to be aliens in reality.
alien Egyptian gods hieroglyphs
(10) Various hieroglyphic panels bear images of humans interacting with beings that do not like humans. These beings are mostly characterized by large craniums and large eyes and look more like those green men that you would get to see in the sci-fi movies of these days.
alien green men Egyptian hieroglyphs

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Alien CXPAC5 genes

A new genetic study suggests a lineage of Egyptian pharaohs were subjected to willful genetic manipulation by a technologically advanced civilization. Some would call this definitive proof that the builders of the pyramids had a strong connection with beings that originated elsewhere in the universe.
Stuart Fleischmann, Assistant Professor of Comparative Genomics at the Swiss University in Cairo and his team have recently published the results of a 7-year study that mapped the genomes of 9 ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. If proven correct, their findings could potentially change the world’s history books.
Fleischmann and his team subjected the precious samples of ancient DNA to a process called Polymerse Chain Reaction (PCR). In the field of molecular biology this technique is often used to replicate and amplify a single copy of a piece of DNA, giving researchers a clear picture of someone’s genetic fingerprint.
Eight out of nine samples returned interesting but typical results. The ninth sample belonged to Akhenaten, the enigmatic 14th century BC pharaoh and father of Tutankhamun. A small fragment of desiccated brain tissue had been the source of the DNA sample and the test was repeated using bone tissue but the same results were obtained.
One of the culprits was a gene called CXPAC-5, which is responsible for cortex growth. The anomaly is visible in the image below.
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The right section shows the prevalence of the CXPAC5 gene in a normal human. On the left we have Ahenaten’s DNA sample.
It appears this increased activity in Akhenaten’s genome would suggest he had a higher cranial capacity because of the need to house a larger cortex. But what mutation would have caused a human brain to grow? We have yet to discover such a technique despite years of breakthroughs in genetics. Could this 3,300 year-old evidence point out ancient genetic manipulation? Was it the work of advanced extraterrestrial beings?
Is the mythology of ancient Egypt more than a collection of allegoric tales? Prof. Fleischmann explains:
Telomerase [a genetic enzyme] is only expended by two processes: extreme aging and extreme mutation. Genetic and archaeological data suggests Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten lived to about 45 years of age. That is not nearly enough to consume all the chromosomal telomerase, leaving behind one inconvenient but possible explanation.
This hypothesis is also backed up by the fact that electron microscope analysis revealed signs of nucleotidic cicatrix, which is a telltale sign of the DNA helix healing after being exposed to strong mutagens.”
Does this suggest that Akhenaten, one of ancient Egypt’s most mysterious pharaohs, was subjected to genetic modification during his life? If anything, this allegation supports the theory that ancient aliens once visited the civilization that lived along the banks of the Nile.
Another interesting piece of evidence provides backing to this hypothesis. The image below shows two microscope photographs of osseous tissue sampled from the skull of Akhenaten and that of a different mummy of the same age.
c3sc51731d-f3
The bone tissue on the left is far denser and fundamentally different at a nanoscopic scale. Could this increase in strength of the skull bones be an indicator of increased brain development?
This is an exciting finding, to say the least,” Fleischmann told press. “My team and I have submitted the papers for peer review and we’ve done and redone the tests enough times that we’re confident they’re accurate.
I don’t know the full implication of our findings but I certainly believe they should at least point the scientific community in a direction that would have been immediately dismissed just a few decades ago.”
If this study is correct, it could trigger an unprecedented paradigm shift. If aliens were actively involved in the life of the most powerful individuals thousands of years ago, does that mean they’ll return? Perhaps they never left at all.
But the most important aspect would be the existence of individuals, direct descendants of ancient Egypt’s royal lineage, that still posses the alien genes implanted in their ancestors’ genomes.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

bought nes classic edition

I loved Super Mario Bros. 3, Legend of Zelda, Kirby's Adventure. The emulation is better than Wii U's NES emulator.