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Posts Tagged ‘lag’

Earlier this week I lost my valuable Internet connection to what I can only guess was a borked router. I spent three days huddled alone in the darkness at home with only the light of my iPhone to provide me with access to my email. Why is this so bad? Well, aside from not being able to post for three days I was also unable to play a number of the games I have been recently because they are all on Steam.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Steam. The platform has taken more money from me since I started using it again back in December than I have spent in the past few years on video games. I sometimes shudder when I look at my list of 50+ games and think about how I’m ever going to get through them all. Regardless, the past few days I couldn’t even touch them because of my lack of Internet connection. This is where I see the problem of cloud computing coming to bite the gamer in the ass.

The biggest hurdle I see with getting cloud computing working long term is creating a stable system for Internet delivery. I’d like to think that our network is stable and could handle something like cloud computing, but if this past week has been any indication to me it shows me how easily the system can be broken.  Cloud computing just adds more parts the equation (modems, routers, ISPs, stream size, signal strength) on top of all the computer pieces that need to be in order before you can play your games.

I’m not going to stop using Steam (I’ve sunk to much money into it to back out now anyway), but I will definitely keep my consoles around for the days when my connection to the cloud keeps me from playing my games.

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As design for the values project I’m working on starts to get on its feet there have been some really interesting ideas and conversations thrown about the lab I work in. Bioethics is an interesting area to be focused in and one that I wish I had more time to devote to researching and studying. There’s some really interesting stuff that people are worried about which will make for some really interesting games.

One of the game ideas that piqued my interest involves the idea of over population caused by life extension technology. The game would operate very similar to a simulation game where you are given control of a small town with people that wander around doing things. The people a prone to task that create and sustain life within the town such as cloning the dead, procreating, and interfacing with technology that elongates their life. The player is charged with instructing the population on what to do with the understanding that more population is better.

Eventually, overpopulation begins to occur and without player intervention the town explodes. If they player leans the other way, killing off most of the population the same outcome (explosion) occurs, so the optimum state to keep the game in is one of equilibrium. While this is an interesting idea I think that there is potential in the idea to be much more interesting with the addition of one element.

The idea of letting the program run its course, continually creating more and more characters until it begins to bog down the cpu because of too many processes running really intrigues me. Normally, this would be an undesirable state, but when partnered with a game about over population the idea of slowing down a system due to over-congestion seems like a really powerful idea. As the system begins to lag, it would actually become physically difficult to get things accomplished emphasizing one of the major problems associated with overpopulation: carrying capacity.

I think it would be important to make the game actually lag the computer system rather than simulating the strain on the system because it would extend the experience beyond the game space. Not only would the game itself lag, but trying to fix the problem by shutting down the program would also be difficult and fraught with lag and slow response. This would be similar to what I imagine you would experience in the real world where an increasingly large amount of people and a lack of resources would stand in the way of someone trying to solve the problem.

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