Anyone who’s been watching my G+ or Twitter will know I’ve been getting all excited that Myst developer Cyan pitched a return to its roots last month with Obduction, an oldschool surreal adventure in the vein of its best-selling classic, and now it’s achieved its $1.1 million Kickstarter goal. In fact, the final total reached $1,321,306, meaning that the first stretch goal – Oculus Rift support and localization in French, Italian, German and Spanish – will be implemented.



Billed as a “spiritual successor” to Myst and Riven, Obduction will be a first-person real-time affair built using Unreal Engine 4. Like Myst, Obduction will place the player in the role of a silent protagonist who’s whisked away to an unknown land for no apparent rhyme or reason. As always, it’s your task to find out why you’re there and what to do.

I’ve backed it to the tune of opting for the boxed version of the game. Now, all I and more than 22,000 backers who contributed to help make the campaign successful have to do, is watch Cyan’s updates on progress until the planned release date of October 2015 when we can all be Obducted.


Ingress – Google’s new global game

Google’s new global game, Ingress, is a stunning piece of work.  Not only is there all the programming that makes it work, there’s a great deal of back story content that has been painstakingly created to give the game some depth.

Have a look through the two websites dedicated to the game to see what it’s all about. There’s also a catch-up and a Wiki for the game here: http://www.niantic.schlarp.com/ and straight-forward Google support page for the game here: http://support.google.com/ingress . (It describes what you’re able to do with the App on your phone, when playing the game).

For players, there is also a web page where you can keep a ‘helicopter view’ eye on the game as it progresses globally.  It’s at http://www.ingress.com/intel but you have to have a login to see what’s happening.  Rumour has it  November 30th is the planned date for the game to become fully public, but there are still a few glitches in the system.

Google say it should take from 12 to 18 months to play out across the world.  I think it’s possible that in the final days of the game, it may end with thousands of people physically converging on major landmarks in major cities, literally “battling it out” with the game app on their mobile phones trying to win supremacy for their group.  (For ‘group’ read ‘Tribe’ in psychological terms).  Personally, I wonder if they might come to actual physical blows? Now there’s a thought.

This is MMORPG on a grand scale but taken out into the ‘real’ world – well sort of real, in that you play it out in the sun or snow or whatever the weather hands you out there – but unreal in that the view of the world is shaped by your phone camera and screen so you can see and hear things others can’t – unless they’re playing the game as well of course!

A phone like mine has more processing power than the entire American Government had before 1980.  Only today’s phones could play this game; it needs, Internet, GPS, Compass and a lot of processing power.  It’s that quad-core power in the pocket that makes this sort of thing possible – and we’ve only just started on this online, connected, socially networked, virtual/augmented reality world we’re now only just tip-toeing into – and it fascinates me.

So the only remaining question is, will you be one of the Enlightened or are you joining the Resistance?

Update 1:

I have now received my beta test access code which has brought the mobile app to life and also given me access to the online system.  It’s an amazing piece of work.

The graphics and sounds in the app are nothing short of amazing and the programming extremely clever.  For example: there is a built-in messaging system, that allows participants to text-chat with each other.  In the online version you can restrict the chats you see to the area covered by the map onscreen (which comes from Google Earth).  This is using global positioning in a sophisticated way, as obviously every individual piece of ‘chat text’ has a location attached.

This allows groups to communicate across local areas to work together to “attack” the opposition and try to win territory for their side.  Basically, it encourages people to get out and about, meet each other and cooperate to play the game.  Not  a bad idea!  See Update 3 below for an example.

Update 2:

I just spotted this article – interesting!

Update 3:

An interesting article from the ‘Chicago Resistance’.  They say:  “To any random person walking down the street it must have been an odd sight. A random group of people who included different genders, races and professions taking an erratic path across The Loop in a huddled mass. Occasionally stopping, seemly at random, to tap on our phones furiously, almost in unison. But to us, we weren’t just wandering around the city. We were strategizing, hacking Portals, and meticulously planning our route in order to reinforce weaknesses in our defenses and to conquer enemy strongholds. That is what Ingress does.”  –> Read more.

Goodbye to the Fairway Driver / 95 / FX4

As you know Sheila and I have a Fairway London Taxi.

The LTI Fairway Driver 95 - last model of the series

The DVLC have recently launched a new website – http://www.howmanyleft.co.uk.

The graph of the numbers of classic original, Fairway (FX4) London Black Cabs is interesting.

When the Fairway ceased production in late 1979 (and the TX1 took over) there were over 26,000 of them on the roads. In the third quarter of 2011, the last few of these were still plying their trade but most of them had retired.

It’s right now – January 2012 – that the very last of them are being retired; you won’t see any more “FX4s” on the roads as working taxis from now on!

In Q3 2011 there were just 3,879 on the roads, but I suspect by Q3 this year, that figure will be significantly lower again as it will be only people like us who will keep them running.

Welcome, Claire!

ClaireA while before Christmas, my daughter, Claire, said she fancied writing a Blog. Being a supporter of personal expression, especially by my children, I bought her the domain name clairebell.co.uk for Christmas.

It will take her a couple of weeks for her to get it set up to her liking, but keep an eye on it and maybe subscribe to her updates, should you feel so inclined.

Welcome to the world of Blogging, Claire!  :-)

Enter the The Rolyats – stage right . . .

What? . . . You mean your family doesn’t dance around the garage in costumes at midnight on Christmas Eve?

I love these guys.  Shoudn’t every family laugh and play together like this? I really think the entire family should come over to Worcester for Christmas – I bet they’re really good fun to be with – after all, what sort of family just happens to have a purple TeleTubby costume lying around?  :-)

Brilliant, Rolyats! You put a lot of work into learning that routine!  Hope the video goes viral for you – I’ve done my bit.  :-)

P.S.  Thanks for your comment Kristen, let me know when you’re on Letterman!