Happy Wii Day!

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/12/08/happy-wii-day on Fri, 08 Dec 2006

I have a Wii! Yay!

I don't have a lot to say, since this is time I could be spending playing on it. But so far it is awesome. I wish I had some component cables for it, but I can live without them ;)

How many of you have one so far? And how many of you are getting one? I'd love to share my Wii code, but I'm currently worried that announcing it over my blog will result in some sort of Wii spam :P So if you have a Wii code, let me know and I'll get it off you over MSN or Jabber or something!

Design is

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/09/18/design-is on Mon, 18 Sep 2006

Some people seem to know what design is, or at least they think they do ;) I have no problem admitting the truth, no matter how depressing it may be!

No Idea

DS Lite Released

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/03/14/ds-lite-released on Tue, 14 Mar 2006

DS Lite

The DS Lite was released in Japan recently. The white version came out on the 2nd of March, while the coloured versions (Ice Blue and Enamel Navy) were released on the 11th of March.

Nintendo have said that they can only ship 450,000 units in March. So far all versions of the DS are sold out in Japan (including the original DS). According to DS Fanboy Nintendo managed to shift 68,438 DS Lites and 49,118 regular DSs in the first week of March. That's over 100,000 DSs in one week.

The DS Lite itself is gorgeous. Cabel has produced two great videos showing the differences between the DS Lite and other handheld consoles. Definitely worth a look :)

Spore Video

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/03/03/spore-video on Fri, 03 Mar 2006

Mope gave me a link to this Spore video. The game looks amazing! Unfortunately it's not going to be out until the end of 2006 (at the earliest). I took a while to publish this, because it seems it was filmed at last years Games Developers Conference, so it's hardly a new video, but it's only been put onto Google Video [now youtube] recently.

You can download a more complete video (slightly less edited with more from Will Wright at the beginning and the end) from MeyerMike.com.

Looks good though, doesn't it?

You're the Hero of Hyrule!

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/02/05/youre-the-hero-of-hyrule on Sun, 05 Feb 2006

You're the Hero of Hyrule!

It took me a bit longer than the Mario painting, probably because I decided to zoom out and try to capture a bit more of the action, but it's done! BEHOLD! An 8-bit Link bashing Octoroks in the overworld!

It's-a-me! Mario!

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/01/25/its-a-me-mario on Wed, 25 Jan 2006

Let's-a-go!

Lindsey bought some canvases and paint the other day. Since I've been playing Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time recently, it seemed like a good idea to paint something Mario related :)

I want to paint something else video-game related, but I'm not sure what. Any suggestions?

Good news, everyone!

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2006/01/24/good-news-everyone on Tue, 24 Jan 2006

Fluff just pointed out that Billy West has confirmed that Futurama will be returning to our screens as 4 DVD movies! Man, I'm excited. It's just a shame that Fox had to go and cancel Malcom in the Middle recently. It doesn't make sense to me, even from a business angle. Do they think that they're going to get more viewers watching the Simpsons (when the show is basically just churning out crap these days) than they would from Futurama and Malcom? Maybe the viewing public don't care that the Simpsons is getting considerably worse with age...

The Third Game

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2005/12/24/the-third-game on Sat, 24 Dec 2005

Defcon in the Pacific

Introversion have recently launched their new website and with it announced their third game, Defcon. From the looks of it Defcon is battleships on speed. Using a computerised representation of the world, players will have to make use of silos, nuclear subs and battleships to defeat their enemies. I haven't found a lot of information on it yet, but Wikipedia seems to have quite a bit already, see the Defcon Wikipedia article.

Darwinia

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2005/12/15/darwinia on Thu, 15 Dec 2005

Darwinia

I finished Darwinia for the first time the other night. I've been thinking about what to write about it since then.

Introversion have produced a great game. I was a huge fan of Uplink, their previous release, and so I had been looking forward to their next game for some time.

In many ways Uplink is the kind of game you expect from "the last of the bedroom programmers" (which is how Introversion describe themselves, being 3 guys in a bedroom writing games). Uplink is a game with a fairly simple 2D interface in which the player assumes the role of a hacker and must complete missions to increase his rank and upgrade his equipment. While the game was excellent I was very aware that this game felt like a budget game. The gameplay never suffered, but if someone told you that 3 guys programmed it you wouldn't be entirely surprised.

Darwinia is a world away from Uplink. Firstly, it looks beautiful. The world in which the game is set exists inside a network of "Protologic 68000" computers. Dr. Sepulveda has toiled for generations to produce an artificial world inhabited by the Darwinians, populated by wireframe landscapes and fractal trees. The Darwinians are innocent little green sprites, who are threatened when a virus begins spreading in their world, destroying Dr. Sepulveda's work and with it the Darwinians.

So it's your job to make use of what little offensive tools Dr. Sepulveda has, defend the Darwinians from the virus and slowly take back Darwinia. The game plays a lot like Cannon Fodder or Syndicate, and it has the feeling of an "old school" game as you guide a squad around a level, blasting bad guys.

The style of the game is unique, as you would expect from such a small team of developers, but it is so well designed and implemented that it easily stands up against any big-budget title on the shelves at the moment. The game has just been released on Steam (unfortunately, those who've previously purchased the game won't be able to register their product on Steam) which hopefully means it will be able to compete more fairly with other titles worldwide.

Overall this has been one of my favourite games of recent times, and I can't wait to see what's going to come out of Introversion in the future!

How many database calls does it take to change a website?

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2005/12/01/how-many-database-calls-does-a-website-need on Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Websites are fairly static things. You might notice that there's a little note at the bottom of every page on this site telling you how many queries it took to build. Wordpress generally requires quite a few more queries than I'd like, but it's not a lot higher than your average CMS. Every time someone requests my front page (with an HTTP GET) Wordpress has to perform 11 queries. I could reduce this number if I altered some of the code in the template. For example, the list of links is taken from a table in the database and displayed by Wordpress in the way you see it. So that's 1 query that I could remove just by having the links pre-written in HTML in the EndOfLevelBoss design.

1 post = 1 insert

But even if I managed to reduce the number of queries so that there was just 1 query for every GET request, is that good enough? When I post a new entry, I submit a form which sends an HTTP POST request to the site, and then if everything looks good Wordpress updates the database with the new entry using an INSERT. Then when someone comes along to view the site, they send a GET request to Wordpress, which does a SELECT on the database to get the latest entries and then sends the page to the reader. The problem here is that often a number of different readers will request the same URL at around the same time. If 8 readers want to look at the same page at the same time, Wordpress does 8 SELECTS; 1 for every GET.

8 gets = 8 selects

This usually won't pose a problem, but what if 1,000 readers request the same URL at the same time? Does it really make sense to perform 1,000 queries when they're all going to contain the same information anyway? Obviously, it doesn't. While some information might need to be updated regularly, such as how many comments an entry has, etc., most information doesn't change regularly. Once an entry is written it's unlikely to be updated.

Many CMSs make use of caching to avoid unnecessary communication with the database. MediaWiki, for example, only updates the cached version of an article when the article is edited. There are plugins that allow caching for Wordpress, but I have had mixed success in using them.

The Wordpress team have recently announced details of Wordpress 2.0, and one of the features included is "Persistent Object Cache". This feature caches objects returned from the database, meaning that if 8 users request the same URL, Wordpress only really needs to carry out the query to get that entry once! Even though it probably won't make a difference to most blogs ( Ryan reports a difference of only about 1 or 2 percent) it will make a huge difference to sites that receive a lot of traffic or run Multi-User Wordpress.