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Jul. 7th, 2008

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Point n click

Spent some time on Saturday morning mapping GPS coordinates in West Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh for an mScape I'm attempting to plan.

It's strange some people's reactions to a guy with a PDA in hand wandering about.

Some obviously think GEEK!, other "enlightened" pedestrians stare in abject horror and begin frantically hunting for the toxic radiation spill I'm obviously scanning for, whilst muttering reassurances to their wide-eyed children.

Planning continues.

Jun. 29th, 2008

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17th Shard swines!!!

Wow, seems like an age since I last posted, work has been occupying even my spare time.

Today I managed to complete another mScape, but not without some considerable jiggery pokery.

As part of The Sky Remains ARG, I installed an mScape onto my trusty HP iPaq 4150 as the loaned HP Travelmate still refuses to get a GPS fix and I got tired farting around with it.  The game installed but wouldn't start up, after re-installing the mScape Player and Adobe Mobile Flash, still no luck, the mScape player locked up and required a soft reset of my iPaq.

It wasn't until I loaded the mScape into the mScape Builder Software that I surmised that the fact the game was Landscape Screen Oriented was causing a problem.  As an experiment, I deliberatley switched the game to portrait, repacked it, and loaded it onto my iPaq and it worked fine albeit looking a bit wonky.

Much digging, re-installing of the original "landscape" game and installing of 3rd party video drivers for my iPaq later and I was able to get the mScape to run, but only with very specific settings. If this seems like a rant, it isn't, I know my PDA is an old model I just hate being defied by technology.

The mScape was simple 'checkpoint' style game and I completed it in about 10 minutes.  Despite the aforementioned "startup" issues, the game ran smoothly and I was able to get the information I required.

Just a side note to mScape creators (myself a fledgling creator), ask yourself if your game REALLY needs to be in Landspace mode to fulfill it's purpose, if it doesn't stick with Portrait mode to allow compatibility with older PDA's that run older OS's, such as Windows Mobile 2003 (1st Edition).

Jun. 5th, 2008

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mScapetastic - TimeHole

Success, hurrah at last I managed to get an mScape working.


After my 2 previous failed attempts I  was a little dubious this would work, but after installing and firing up the TimeHole mscape I was pleasantly surprised.  Again I wandered to George Square in Glasgow and after a few moments got a GPS fix and was off eagerly settings my "Spirit Spaces."

My initial reaction was the game was a cool concept, but, as with previous mScaping, I did feel quite self conscious that I was wandering around with an expensive piece of kit in my hand.  The fear of either dropping/breaking it or having it pinched was prevalent.  I would recommend you have accident insurance for your PDA if your wandering around outside with it.

Once the "Spirit Spaces" were calibrated the game was easy enough to play, though I did forget where one of them was, so took a bit of wandering around to find it again.  I didn't have time to close the timehole, but played it enough to make a few observations:
  • Essential, you really do need an accurate GPS fix.
  • Walk slowly, if you don't have a decent GPS signal it takes a few moments for the game to detect you've moved.
  • Ensure you put a good distance between GPS nodes ("Spirit Spaces") or the game simply goes crazy playing overlapping media clips etc.
  • Once the mScape game detects that you've moved into an "interaction" area, stand still.  I found that, probably due to poor GPS, that I'd walk into and out of a "Spirit Space, but had to laboriously wait for the game to play through the "entering location" then "leaving location" then "entering location" media clips... annoying!  Perhaps building a "Skip" function into the media clip? Also, a "replay clip" function for important game info.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings, walking around staring at a PDA screen allowed me to nearly walk over an open drain cover, common sense I know, but when you're immersed in the game you may not notice.
  • Not sure when it's possible, but "Multi-player" games, would ROCK!!
  • Looking at the next release of the MBuilder software the ability to zero in on GPS bugs and other blue tooth devices, also ROCKS!
From an ARGing perspective, weekly/monthly episodic style releases spring to mind, in conjunction with the game, TV shows or movies.  All in all, I enjoyed playing the game and would be interested in purchasing full blown MScape games, provided they were of high quality and immersive enough to achieve lasting game play. 

Jun. 2nd, 2008

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After viewing the last episode of Lost Season 4 I noticed a weird advertisement that led me to the Octagon Global Recruitment site. Woohoo, looks like The Dharma Initiative are recruiting again, I missed most of the last Lost Experience ARG , so I've signed up for this one, hope there is some UK based action.

May. 30th, 2008

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New Gaming Mouse

Sleep deprivation followed by delirium (feels a bit like floating 4 inches above the ground... giggling) coupled with WAY too much coffee have just caused me to blow £60+ on a new gaming mouse and mouse mat.


What the hell was I thinking... DOH! but with a name like Razer DEATHADDER how could I resist, I don't even need a mouse mat, but due to my dilapidated state I was partially hypnotized by the sales pitch. Oh well!
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I'm so damned tired it's just not funny
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Neeeedd Sleeepp

So, I accidentally spent an epic 5 hours engrossed in the BoL/SiD ARG game I'm playing, it's now 2:30am, I'm cramping up and my eyes have gone a bit wobbly.  I briefly toyed with calling Norris Mcwhirter until I remembered...he's dead!

It's always good to be "in the room" when someone gets a solve as the prospect of frantically moving to the next stage of the game and stumbling one-up-manship lifts everyones spirits.

Lots of new info to digest which I'll leave until tomorrow due to concerns over my diminishing mental faculties should I stay awake any longer.  Ohhhh mannnn work is going to be rubBISH tomorrow :)

May. 29th, 2008

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Mscaping Again

At lunchtime, I decided to give MScaping another go.

After being accosted by a street performer with whips (no it wasn't kinky, more cack your pants frightening) I wandered to George Square in Glasgow again to have another go at The Tree Mscape.

I sat for roughly 20 minutes, in various parts of the square, waiting on the loaned iPaq TravelMate to get a GPS signal, but it just didn't happen. I reset the iPaq, I fiddled with the GPS settings, I wandered around, I cried (only a bit), I tried TomTom, but no, nothing worked.


Booo, looks like my second attempt was a bust too. When I get time I'll re-install the Mscape software on my old iPaq H4150 and try again.

May. 28th, 2008

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Squash THIS!

Spent 1 hour 30 mins getting my ass handed to me at squash again.  Memo to me, "Hit the damned ball, not the floor or opposing player.... the ball!?"

May. 27th, 2008

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Quick Unfiction Run

Spent time on and off (1hour all in) today reading through the games I'm following in Unfiction and Despoiler Forums.

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