Gunpoint Preview: Best Indie Game Of 2012?

I’ve been beta-testing a new game recently and it’s too good not to share – you know, in a quick review, that is, not the actual game.  Gunpoint is a “game about rewiring things and punching people” according to creator Tom Francis. Which actually sums up the cunningly simple idea behind this superhero spy game that equally rewards thinking and aggression.  Not to mention it gives one a peek at the wit baked into this indie game.

So here’s the premise: you are spy tasked with retrieving vital info from a secure data terminal.  You are armed with your basic Spiderman spy gear that lets you leap and fall great distances as well as climb walls. Cool but the fun part is that you also get a crosslink device that can rewire lights, security doors, elevators, surveillance cameras and more.  As an example, you could wire the elevator door to the lights on a level with a guard so that your arrival kills the light and send the guard over to the light switch while you slip by undetected…  Or sneak up to pounce on him from behind and punch him in the face! The choice is yours.

Here’s another example from fellow beta-tester and reviewer Will:

I’m standing at the window of a building. Across a small alleyway stands another building, with a guard, above me, looking out. I’m safe now, but when I move my cursor into the space between the buildings, it turns red, telling me that I’ll be seen as soon as I step (or leap) outside. He’s in pouncing range, and I’ve upgraded my leap enough to propel me through the window, but there’s no chance I’ll cross the distance before he puts a bullet in me. I could shoot HIM, maybe, but I’ve still got objectives left in the level, and no time to clear them before the sniper shows up, blocking the exit.

I slip into Crosslink mode, look at my options. I’m in luck! The switch behind me is on the same circuit (devices on different circuits can’t be linked together, usually) as the lights on his floor. I hook my switch to his lights, exit Crosslink, and flick it. Lights go out, he turns around to turn them back on, and as soon as his back is turned, I pounce, crashing through the window and slamming my fist into his face. Awesome.

But those are simple examples.  You can chain together several devices to cause some pretty creative mayhem.  Think rube goldberg machine and you get the idea.  The great thing about Gunpoint is the number of “i wonder if…” ideas that actually work.  Spoiler Sentence: Watching a guard raise his gun at my head only to trigger a door that knocks him unconscious instead of tragically ending my illustrious spy career: priceless.

Pricing and release date have yet to be set, but trust me: you want this game.  It achieves an excellent balance of clever puzzles (for you) and traps (for them) with enough superhero action to feel like a real spy.

UPDATE: After many delays, Gunpoint is now available for just $9!

Scott Occam’s Protocol

Since I have maxed out my Bowflex’s 310lb rods on 3 of my strength exercises I need to do three things along taking the best workout supplement According to River Front Times 1) order the 100lb upgrade,  2) update my progress, and 3) start a cardio workout.

Below is an update of my previous strength chart with my actual set and the associated 1 rep max estimate along with a percentage increase from the original.

A few disclaimers:

  1. “Bowflex lbs” are not as difficult as free-weight (real) lbs because of the progressive bow-like resistance (I prefer it as it is much safer for maxing out without a spotter).
  2. The accuracy of 1 rep estimators tend to decrease as the number of reps increases.

In this case, even if the lbs listed aren’t “real” and the reps are high, they are similar in number – allowing for accurate relative strength comparisons.  So while I don’t believe I could bench over 500lbs just yet, I have gotten considerably stronger with less effort than I previously thought possible.  Stay tuned for my full write up on the simple workout that achieved these great results.

  July 6th October 6th Nov 21st Feb 6th
Close-Grip Suppinated Pull-Down
(Machine Chin Up)
80 lb x 12est max: 115 lb- 130 lb x 11est max: 180 lb+56% 155 lb x 12est max: 223 lb+94% 190 lb x 11est max: 263 lb+128%
Machine Shoulder Press 45 lb x 12est max: 65 lb- 100 lb x 13est max: 150 lb+130% 125 lb x 15est max: 204 lb+214% 150 lb x 12est max: 216 lb+332%
Machine Squats 120 lb x 11 150 lb x 30 190 lb x 30
Kettle Bell Swings 25 lb x 75 25 lb x 110 45 lb x 90 45 lb x 105
Machine Slight Decline Bench 70 lb x 9est max: 90 lb- 105 lb x 16est max: 180 lb+100% 155 lb x 15est max: 254 lb+182% 185 lb x 14est max: 290 lb+222%
Reverse Drag Curls 55 lb x 10est max: 73 lb 65 lb x 15est max: 106 lb+45% 105 lb x 18est max: 199 lb+272%
Slow Shoulder Rolls 50 lb x 40 80 lb x 40 105 lb x 40

UPDATE: Since posting this I have learned that a 2 “bowflex lbs” = 1 free weight lb.

What Apple Needs In The iPad 3

Rumors are starting to fly furiously as the iPad’s impending launch approaches. With possible launch dates ranging from Feb 29th to March 7th, the wait is almost over.  But this launch is unique from past years as Android has finally produced an actual rival for the tablet space.  While the Amazon Kindle Fire is in many ways not in the same league as the King of the tablets, it did make an appreciable dent in Apple’s holiday sales to the tune of over a Billion dollars.  So what does Apple need to do in the iPad 3 to stay the dominant force in 2012?

  1. Retina Display – The time for a HD display has passed and Samsung is trying to beat Apple to the punch with it’s own retina resolution tablet. I can attest to the eye fatigue induced from too much iPadding and with their latest play for the textbook market this is a no-brainer.
  2. Graphical Power – 4 times the pixels in a retina display demands 4 times the graphical power just to stay in one place.  With ever more demanding games becoming a cash cow, expect this to increase by at least a factor of 8 or more.  A faster CPU is in the works but a modest bump here is all that is needed to keep things snappy with an adequate GPU.
  3. Softer Edges – Literally. The tapered edges that make the iPad 2 seem even thinner dig into one’s hands rather quickly.  Something that couldn’t have been lost on the majority of Apple employees using this product.
  4. Real Office Software – Look Pages, Docs To Go, Quickoffice and the like are merely passable.  While the office software has improved since the original iPad, it is still sorely lacking.  The first company to get this right will not only make a pile of cash in the student and enterprise market but will lock in users to the ecosystem of their choice.  Oh only has to consider the history of Microsoft to see the importance of this issue.  An iOS exclusive would put a boot on the neck of Android while the reverse could quickly break Apple’s near monopoly of the tablet space.

Finally a few things that would be great, but I doubt we’ll see from Cupertino.

  1. Matte Display – I realize the new Apple campus looks like a spaceship, but surely they have fluorescent lights in their current one.  Is anyone else tired of being able to read their own hip T-shirt in the even the slightest of glare?
  2. iPad Specific Keyboard – I realize the standard Apple bluetooth keyboard works with the iPad but many of the OSX function keys at the top don’t.  And really is it so much heresy to want functional arrow keys?  Sometimes you just want to move the cursor a letter or two without playing tap-tap revolution on your screen to get it there.  Seriously, when it’s easier to delete the last two words to just typed than to reposition the cursor to your typo – you have failed on the much vaunted “ease of use” mantra.

Again, I realize I’m tilting at windmills here, but I can’t help it.

Strength & Speed Benchmarks

Since I have maxed out my Bowflex’s 310lb rods on 3 of my strength exercises I need to do three things: 1) order the 100lb upgrade,  2) update my progress, and 3) start a cardio workout.

Below is an update of my previous strength chart with my actual set and the associated 1 rep max estimate along with a percentage increase from the original.

A few disclaimers:

 

    1. “Bowflex lbs” are not as difficult as free-weight (real) lbs because of the progressive bow-like resistance (I prefer it as it is much safer for maxing out without a spotter).
    2. The accuracy of 1 rep estimators tend to decrease as the number of reps increases.

 

In this case, even if the lbs listed aren’t “real” and the reps are high, they are similar in number – allowing for accurate relative strength comparisons.  So while I don’t believe I could bench over 500lbs just yet, I have gotten considerably stronger with less effort than I previously thought possible.  Stay tuned for my full write up on the simple workout that achieved these great results thanks to Meticore.

  July 6th October 6th Nov 21st
Close-Grip Suppinated Pull-Down
(Machine Chin Up)
160 lb x 12

est max: 230 lb

260 x 11

est max: 360 lb

+56%

310 x 12

est max: 447 lb

+94%

Machine Shoulder Press 90 lb x 12

est max: 130 lb

200 x 13

est max: 300 lb

+130%

250 x 15

est max: 409 lb

+214%

Machine Slight Decline Bench 140 lb x 9

est max: 180 lb

210 x 16

est max: 360 lb

+100%

310 x 15

est max: 508 lb

+182%

Before Cardio Benchmark

Since I have been experiencing such great results in my strength training, it has (finally) inspired me to get back in to reasonable cardiovascular shape.  To track the effectiveness of a new interval training that I am trying, I had to have a baseline to compare with as I progressed.  Which meant a long, painful run.  (Did I mention I hate running?)

I planned out a 3 mile run that looped around a park containing level areas along with slight and moderate hills.  Apparently this was overly optimistic, as I experienced significant cramps in my 2nd mile forcing me to walk until I recovered and then flaring up again in the 3rd mile motivating me to quit while I was ahead.  Below is my beginning benchmark data:

“Before” Run – Nov 20 2011
2.5 Miles in 26:57 (10:54 pace)
1st Mile 9:12 pace
2nd Mile 12:41 pace (cramp)
Last 0.5 Mile 10:08 pace

 

How Far We’ve Come: 35 Years Of Processing Power

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the speed of our computing. While MIPs isn’t a perfect benchmark, as it doesn’t account for the efficiency of the instructions, it will do for our simple comparison.   To put the difference the years have made into perspective: 1 second of processing by the current i7 champ would have taken the best 1985 computer over 4 hours 29 minutes!  Another fun comparison is that the new iPhone 4S clocks in at about 5,000 MIPs which is faster than a computer from 1999.

Year Chip Millions of Instructions Per Second
1985 Intel 386DX 11 MIPS at 33 MHz
1992 Intel 486DX 54 MIPS at 66 MHz
1996 Intel Pentium Pro 541 MIPS at 200 MHz
1999 Intel Pentium III 2,054 MIPS at 600 MHz
2003 Intel Pentium 4 9,726 MIPS at 3.2 GHz
2008 Intel Core i7 920 82,300 MIPS at 2.66 GHz
2011 Intel Core i7 3960X 177,730 MIPS at 3.33 GHz

Here’s another fun comparison: an old 8MB vs a new 8GB (8000MB) memory card:

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