Project Spark Beta signups now available

Games

project spark logo

Project Spark is an ambitions game creation tool that has been in the works for two years. Being a Microsoft first party title, it appears to draw comparisons to Sony’s Little Big Planet. But those familiar with Microsoft Research will instantly recognize Project Spark’s roots, Xbox Live Indie Game and PC release Kodu.

You can sign up for early access to Project Spark through the beta program at JoinProjectSpark.com

Project Spark is coming for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows 8.

Watch this video of Project Spark to understand more of what it’s about.

CastleStorm Review

Game Reviews, Games

CastleStorm - gameplay - 2013-05-25 04-48-48

As a gamer, it’s nice to have developers that you can count on for creating great games and content.  Quite often, developers become known for a certain game series or genre.  And so it becomes easy to think of DICE as “the Battlefield guys”, or Bethesda as “the action/adventure RPG guys”.  Likewise, it would have been easy to think of Zen Studios as “the pinball guys”.  And sure, their most notable work, at least the most prolific, has been Pinball FX and it’s spawn.  But today, Zen Studios carves a new notch into its development record with 2D physics-destruction tower defense action game (it’s hard to put this one into a specific genre) CastleStorm.

CastleStorm has several modes of play including Versus multiplayer and Co-op modes.  I suggest playing through the campaign first as a sort of tutorial and to unlock other modes and features.

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Thief reboot confirmed for Xbox One

Games, Uncategorized

Thief 4 LogoIn a press release from Square Enix, Thief (formerly Thi4f, and Thief 4) has been confirmed for realease on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Windows PC in 2014.

Pending pricing announcements from Sony and Microsoft, the title may also refer to those that lurk around corners behind Gamestop hoping to nab next-gen systems at a “discount”.  Buyers, beware of water arrows fired from the shadows.

Star Wars Pinball Review – Two Lightsabers Up!

Game Reviews, Games

Star Wars Pinball LogoStar Wars Pinball Review

I am not the Star Wars geek that many (most) of my friends are, but I do respect the characters and the franchise as a whole, plus I had the O.G. Star Wars bed sheets when I was a kid.  My own kids use them now, so we are still a Star Wars family to a degree.  When I first learned of the Star Wars Pinball tables, I got pretty excited.  But now that the first pack of tables is here, is it worth your credits?

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Should we be excited for Bungie’s Destiny?

Blog, Games

destiny_more_than_a_disc_in_a _drive copy

Bungie has announced Destiny, a persistent, online, Massively Multiplayer First Person Shooter.  It seems a bit early to announce a game that won’t be available for at least another 10 months and probably a year, but Bungie felt it was the right time.

I have my doubts, even this early on, about whether Destiny is something to even pay attention to at this time.  I strongly feel that rather than get pulled into the hype cyclone, gamers should take a “wait and see” approach even considering a “trusted” developer like Bungie.

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Presonus forces legacy users out the door? Goodbye Presonus.

Blog, Music, Tech

presonus-vs-windows8

In addition to occasionally writing for fizmarble.com, I play in a band.  I write, record, and produce music.  I depend on my various PCs for this and also among other things, an audio interface.

For years I used a Presonus Firepod (Later called the FP10) generously donated by my friend Jaret.  It originally cost quite a bit (450-600 dollar range), and so I didn’t hesitate to pay the $100 repair fee when it eventually crapped out.

It took me from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and eventually Windows 8 on the same desktop PC.  It worked beautifully on Windows 8 by the way, but the desktop was ~6 years old by this time, and a failing hard drive and old hardware beckoned me to upgrade to a new PC, a PC with *gasp* Windows 8.

My unsupported Presonus Firebox and Firepod
My unsupported Presonus Firebox and Firepod

Of course I didn’t think twice about the Presonus Firepod’s compatibility with the Windows 8 PC.  After all, I had been using the Firepod on Windows 8 for several months on my older, upgraded PC.  Why would the new PC behave any different?

Ahh, poor, poor ignorance.  Little did I know that the “great” minds at Presonus would be so cunning, so conniving.  Whereas my Firepod worked fantastically with Windows 8 when it was upgraded from Windows 7 with the Firepod driver already installed, installing the driver on a Windows 8 PC was a different story altogether.  No no, poor ignorance, Presonus had behind the scenes altogether blocked their driver installer from even running on a Windows 8 PC.  So, if you had the driver installed first and then upgraded to Windows 8, you’re golden.  If on the other hand you ignorantly try to install the Firepod/FP10 driver on Windows 8, you will receive a popup from Presonus telling you that the driver is not supported on your Operating System.

Gee Presonus, if you wanted me gone, why didn’t you just say so?  This is how you support your customers?  By forcibly blocking the driver installer from working on a modern OS.  This ensures that customers need to upgrade.  But if you think this customer is going to upgrade to another Presonus product, you have sorely miscalculated.

Instead, a reasonably priced and very stable audio interface now sits on my desktop where once sat the Firepod/FP10.  Now, an Avid Fast Track C600 processes my audio, including the recordings of Twiztid praising the demise of Presonus in a chorus unfit to print here.

WP_001477
Cheaper, and with a smaller footprint too.

If you are in the same boat, check out the Fast Track C600.  Amazon has them for a pretty sweet deal (duh), and Presonus can say they have taken my last dollar.  Now, let’s make some music!

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B005LG0XRS” locale=”us” height=”84″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41G7ZMfkbpL._SL160_.jpg” width=”160″]

Update: Reader Alex has shared in the comments section a workaround to the installer issue.  Follow his method if you want to keep that Presonus pumping out the jams.  He writes:

1. Download the “FireBox Installer v5.13 – PC” from their website (http://www.presonus.com/support/downloads/firebox)
2. Right click on the downloaded file “PreSonus_FireBox_Installation.exe” and choose “Properties”
3. Click on “Compatibility” tab
4. Check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and select “Windows 7″
5. Click on “OK” and run the installer again and it should work this time and install all the drivers flawlessly

Thanks, Alex!

Star Wars Pinball is coming soon.

Games

Zen Studios has announced Star Wars Pinball for pretty much all major digital download services.

Star Wars Pinball will include three tables including Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  You had me at Boba Fett.

This may be the first of multiple packs as the wording in the press release calls this “The initial three-table pack”.  Star Wars Pinball is heading to a star system new you February 2013.

May the silver ball be with you!

‘Guinness World Records 2013: Gamer’s Edition’ impressions

Games

guiness book of world records gamer

Writing a review of Guinness World Records 2013: Gamer’s Edition would be a little unfair, and perhaps disingenuous.  Guinness is the finest collection of world records in print today.  They have made world records a serious business, but with their Gamer’s Edition, they have proven that they know how to have some fun too.

So rather than post a “review” of the book, we will give our impressions.  Here are our thoughts on everyone’s favorite records book, done gamer style. Continue reading