Like I did after Sony’s event a few months ago, here are some thoughts on the Xbox One after a day of digestion.
What’s in a name?
The Xbox One successfully gets us mentioning Microsoft’s “all-in-one” entertainment box vision and for that I commend them. It’s a confusing name when I’m discussing the Xbox’s legacy but we’re far enough out that it’s not going to be an issue.
Ironically, the Xbox One is backwards compatible with the original Xbox — they both support the x86 instruction set. It’s up to Microsoft to enable backwards compatibility with their origins though.
I’m still wondering what people are going to settle on as an acronym. XONE? XBONE? XBO? XO? X1? XBONER? I’ve been using XONE but XBONE is amusing to say aloud. I guess we should chalk one up to the marketing team for making this a discussion topic as well.
It’s been awhile since I had some time off. I took an extra day (May 21st) so I could just do nothing.
I wish I had a weekend project to work on but the one thing I want to work on (new home server) isn’t possible at the moment. So what will I do? I already spent a day at a wedding and I suspect one of these days will be spent charring meats.
The game(s) of the weekend will probably be God of War: Ascension and Mechwarrior: Online sprinkled with some Luigi’s Mansion 2.
I guess I’ll continue working on my Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon review and perhaps that Unreal Engine 3 feature.
You know what? It may also just be filled with Star Trek: TNG episodes. The important thing is I’m earning money and not working.
I’m finding a lot of enjoyment from NetFlix — even in the so called “limited” Canadian version. I have not even considered looking into changing IPs and connecting to the U.S repository yet.
The shows I’m currently watching and re-watching include:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
NetFlix’s gamble with original content like “House of Cards” worked; they lured me in with fantastic original programming and now I’m continuing to give them a monthly rate. I’m going to continue paying for it until I’ve exhausted all that they have.
I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon though. I still have the often praised Mad Men to watch and much more “shows” that I’ve been skipping on because I was too lazy to invest in. As it turns out, I will gladly consume content if it’s as easy as watching a YouTube clip.
My latest muse is Twin Peaks. I’ve heard many good things about it but I had my reservations. I finished House of Cards UK but there were signs from its time that were a bit jarring. Twin Peaks, on the other hand, holds up remarkably well. I’ve only watched the first episode but I can see all the cultural influences at work here. I look forward to watching more of it.
I had an Evernote page filled with links of possible solutions to my VMWare ESXi hardware compatibility problems. I found posts detailing how ICH8 and Marvell onboard NIC compatibility issues were addressed with custom oem.tgz files for ESXi 4. I was hoping to adapt them for ESXi 5 but unfortunately that didn’t pan out at all.
I discovered ESXi 5 introduced a new driver format; drivers now need to come in a VIB format. Unfortunately due to the age of the hardware, no one has bothered to provide VIB support for ICH8 or older Marvell chipsets.
So where does this leave me? I could get everything working with VMWare ESXi 5 if I bought a new compatible PCI-E storage controller and a new gigabit card. The downside is that I have to spend over $125 to get compatible hardware and I’m not willing to spend more money on this server. I already gave it more RAM and a Core 2 Quad Q9300.
From a software standpoint I could install Windows Server 2012 and just use Storage Spaces or FlexRaid. However, I’m weary about using Storage Spaces and FlexRaid costs $60 for a complete license.
I could also go down the Type 2 hypervisor path and use VMWare Player/Workstation or Oracle VirtualBox on top of Windows Server 2012. Then as I was reviewing virtualization solutions, I recalled Microsoft had its own: Hyper V which is apparently a Type 1 hypervisor like ESXi.
Windows Server 2012 supports Hyper V so there’s no additional cost on that front. It also supports UNIX guest operating systems running FreeBSD 9 or above which means NAS4Free should work just fine. I wish I could test it on my current homeserver but I cannot even install the role due to the lack of VT-d support. I will need to wait for the Q9300 processor and new home server before I could proceed.
There will be more waiting before this home server solution is realized.
The next brand new title on its way to me is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon courtesy of AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded program. It will be the third and final freebie title that accompanied my Radeon HD 7850 1GB.
Now that I wrapped up BioShock: Infinite to much satisfaction, it’s time to check the backlog. I revisited Rayman: Origins again in order to wrap up some missing trophies but I want to play something new as well. I’m juggling Super Mario 3D Land and MechWarrior: Online as well but what’s the next big game?
God of War: Ascension? Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? Those are still considered “new releases” right? I also have Persona 4: Arena and Golden sitting on my shelf, not to mention Luigi’s Mansion hiding somewhere around here as well.
Here is the evolution of Unreal Engine 3.0 as told by Epic Games’ very own games themselves. Who else could wield the engine better than the creator themselves?
The Next Generation Emergency Day
The seventh generation of consoles officially began in 2005 with the release of the Xbox 360 but many feel that the true start date was on Emergence Day and the release of Gears of War.
Gears of War was not only a new property from Epic Games, it was also the first major release powered by Unreal Engine 3.0. It successfully cemented a class of shooters for the generation and for awhile every third person shooter that came after it was dubbed a “Gears of War clone”. Gears of War also marked the beginning of another reductive phrase: “the Unreal Engine look”.
I’ve been spending more time exploring in games as of late; more than these games usually demand from a player. I spent most of that time exploring and soaking in the work of Crystal Dynamics and Irrational Games. Walking around, piecing together clues and deciphering puzzles are just as engaging as the action pieces of those games.
I have yet to complete BioShock: Infinite but I’ve spent enough time in Columbia to know that it is a fascinating world through and through. Unlike Tomb Raider where my fascination was over natural habitats and relics from the past, my intrigue with Columbia comes from cultural and political artifacts. Not since Deus Ex: Human Revolution have I engaged in such exploration.
There are games like Skyrim or Fallout which are filled with relics but I don’t spend nearly the same amount of time in those games. Or if I do, I don’t enjoy it as much. The key difference between Bethesda’s offerings and those from Irrational and Crystal Dynamic is simple. The time between something interesting is minute compared to other games. I don’t spend time wandering aimlessly hoping to run into something meaningful.
Interesting worlds make for fun explorations. Whether it’s somewhere exotic or some interesting time period, games of this nature allow me to absorb these experiences on my own terms. Here’s to hoping 2013 has more of these games in store.