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Microsoft moves forward its pawns…

Yesterday, September 4th, 2013, Microsoft announced the acquisition of the mobile division of Nokia.

Nokia connecting Microsoft

Nokia connecting Microsoft

Here we are, it is made… So far both entities worked jointly on Windows Phone, now the Finn integrates the American Publisher to strengthens his division “Device” and appropriates the “trademark” Nokia (as well as Lumia). But this acquisition raises numerous questioning:

  • The future of the “brands” Nokia and Lumia ?
  • What about the “low-cost” Asha and the classic telephones ?
  • What reaction of the other manufacturers (HTC, Samsung) ?
  • An impact on “light” tablets (Surface RT) ?
  • “fan” of Nokia are going to follow ?

On one side the other manufacturers of Windows Phones are kept (in a way) by agreements of patents concerning Android… To leave Windows Phone would have an impact on their margin… On the other hand, for the users also, it is better to have the choice so much at the level of the price, of the size, the characteristics (and of a possible attachment in a brand). Finally, this commits only me ūüėČ

Source (FR): MonWindowsPhone: Microsoft acquires Nokia

For the moment, we have the beginning of answer on behalf of Nokia (Fr): MonWindowsPhone: Nokia what changes

 

Without counting the risks of losses of skills at Nokia (voluntary departures of staff as for Sun during its repurchase by Oracle), this acquisition is not made without game of musical chair at the hierarchical level. These were quickly cleared up by Steve Balmer (a good thing):

  • Stephen Elop returns at Microsoft to take care of a division specialized in the hardware beside Julie Larson-Green.
  • Juha Putkiranta handles the integration of Nokia within Microsoft.
  • The marketing will be centred a brand and a strategy of advertising unified (Tami Reller and Mark Penn).

Source (Fr): MonWindowsPhone: Microsoft Nokia changes

 

Microsoft and Nokia are going to have a lot of work… Especially as Microsoft has already begun a big internal restructuring to open up its divisions and favor the collaboration and the research.

Humor: Entreprise Organisations

Humor: Entreprise Organisations

Roughly, its the end of branches (Windows, Windows Phone, Office, etc.) divided up and with their own structures of management, Microsoft is reorganized in 4 poles: OS, Applications, Cloud and Devices, and transverse functions (Marketing, Finances, R&D, etc.). Nothing on “Green It”… But the Twitter feed of “Microsoft Green” still active…

As synthesizes it Steve Balmer, the company groups together around a unique strategy (One Microsoft).

Source (Fr): Developpez.com: Microsoft restructuration

 

Conclusion:

 

The medium and long-term impact of these evolutions on the Windows ecosystem and especially the impact for us, developers, in term of longevity of the technologies, the products and the technologies remains to see. Especially for the “rich” period: Surface 2, debates on Windows RT, the Xbox One release, Windows 8.1 update… I can’t wait that things settles that we see clearly there a little more ūüôā

XNA, continuation… And free wheel until replacement.

As I said it,¬†it was¬†artistic vague about XNA…

 

Now it’s not¬†any more really:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/185894/Its_official_XNA_is_dead.php#.URAnNnrLSHt

On the other hand, with Windows 8, its Windows¬†Store and its novelties, it is certain that Microsoft turns to ” the future ” (next Xbox, more and more PC turning under Direct3D11, multi-platforms Xbox Play…)

Well, XNA “still works” (i.e. we can display games on¬†Xbox Live) under Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8… Still works under PC and apparently we have at least one year of visibility.

But that makes a small plucking all the same… It¬†was an attractive Framework. Later it’s not as if we were not used to baby’s thrown with bath and bathtub on behalf of Microsoft ūüėČ

Personally, it’s not going to prevent me from pursuing my projects on this Framework, while looking what takes place on the side of¬†C ++/ Direct3D¬†or C#/XAML in Windows Store. I would think it over when the successor will be known (or not).

 

Wait and see.

Door, monster, treasure…

A little French 3D ¬ę Hack’n slash ¬Ľ ūüėČ

Title : Darkstone.

Genre : Action ‚Äď Role playing game.

Date : 1999.

Developpers: Delphine Software.

Between two Diablo, that many consider as the reference of the “Hack’ n slash”, brings out this very nice little game. As usual, the world is in danger and only the player is capable of saving it… There’s wil have dragon to the menu this evening;-)

Darkstone

Darkstone

In this case, we are fighting a necromancer, Draak who sows the terror in the kingdom of Uma. Obviously, the latter can transform into dragon. The player is thus in charge of overcoming it by getting back 7 crystals to reconstitute the  Orb of Time. Of the classic for the regular customers of the genre “D&D ” (Donjons & Dragons)!

Darkstone - The village

Darkstone – The village

The village is the center of the adventure. We get back the quests there, we buy and we sell of the equipment, the potions, spells, etc. To note that his state changes with the progress of the main quest. Small killing detail: by giving a room to the band onto the central place, it interprets you the “Soundtrack” of the game ūüôā

Darkstone - Le groupe de musique

Darkstone – Music band

The hero is not alone in its quest and the adventure is made with two characters, in the choice among 4 classic classes of the medieval – fantasy: warrior, magician, thief and priest. The combination both allows to adopt various types of play, what is very interesting for one “Hack’ n slash” whose ” replayability” one of the main characteristics is.

Darkstone - Petit combat en extérieur

Darkstone – Outdoor fight

The basis of the game is relatively simple. We strike, we launch spells, we pull arrows, all this to exterminate the troops of naughty monsters which populate the various levels and the donjons. Of the classic for the “Hack’ n slash”.

Darkstone - Encore un combat!

Darkstone – Another fight

The player controls a single character at the same time. It is thus necessary to watch the second because the artificial intelligence is not what we make of better. To note that it is possible to play several in network, what is relatively pleasant ūüôā

Darkstone - Etape d'une quête

Darkstone – Quest

The player will thus have to chain 7 quests to reconstitute the Orb of Time. These 7 quests are randomly selected among 24 possible. Difficult to make two identical adventures in these conditions ūüėČ Well, it is always a question of collecting objects or of killing monsters, but from time to time it is also a question of activating mechanisms of opening!

Darkstone - L'inventaire

Darkstone – Inventory

The inventory is classic: protections, weapons, potions, jewels, backpack, characteristics (and yes, we take up levels, as in every “D&D like ” who respects himself). Level equipment, the principle is also simple as Diablo: we always look for the best and the most adapted to its class. Here also, “loots” (equipment got back on monsters) is generated in a random way.

Darkstone - Un sort en 3D

Darkstone – 3D spell

All in all, it is of Diablo, less fervent at the level of the clicks. But where we distance ourselves most from this illustrious model, it is the 3D. Here it is very well done, even if the models are little detailed. The effects of the spells are very nice, but especially the management of the camera is “with first-class attention”. We can give her the angle and the zoom adapted to the situation in a rather simple way. Very pleasant ūüėČ

 

Conclusion:

A very good 3D “Hack’ n slash” which really brings something compared with the 2D games of the same period. Balanced well, dynamic and funny, the aspect hero team is not insignificant one. Simple, effective and stable. In brief, a very good entertainment.

 

See you soon for new adventures!

DAoC, need for a “no life” break?

You will take a last a blow of MEUPORG (these french journalists… Whether it is on paper or on-line, role-playing games, it is their thing ūüėČ )?

Title: Dark Ages of Camelot.

Genre: MMORPG.

Date: 2001.

Developpers: EA Mythics.

I caught the virus MMORPG¬†in 2002 further to a contagion in my circle of acquaintances, and there, it’s the drama! The dumping in Dark Ages¬†of Camelot¬†( DAoC) will last 2 years.

DAOC

DAOC

Who made this attachment? At first, what was determining, the aspect medieval-fantastic role playing game and the enthusiasm of my joint roommate ūüėČ Then, the community, that it’s on-line or in my circle of acquaintances. Finally and as usual in my case… One of the kingdoms was stuffed with knights:-)

DAOC - Ecran d'entree

DAOC –¬†Start screen

The game is built around the confrontation of three kingdoms:

  • Albion, the kingdom of the Knights of the Round Table;
  • Hibernia, the kingdom of the Celtic and the druids;
  • Midgard, the kingdom of the warriors Vikings.

Every kingdom¬†have a zone dedicated to the game “player¬†versus environment ” (or PvE), while border areas are dedicated to the game “realm versus realm” (or RvR). Finally, the last zone, Darkness Falls, accessible to the three kingdoms, opened only to the kingdom with most forts under control in RvR zones.

DAOC - Camelot

DAOC – Camelot

Thus at the beginning, we choose her kingdom, we build her character by choosing its race and her class (profession) among one of very numerous available. then heading for the adventure. Of course, my first choice concerned to Paladin, prototype of the “tank” and light group support.

DAOC - Malrick le Paladin

DAOC РMalrick the Paladin

Ah yes… In all directed MMORPG group, every character has a role and a very precise speciality:

  • The “tank” attracts and occupies the opponents while taking the knocks;
  • The “damage dealer” concentrates on a target by making a maximum of damages (contact or distance);
  • The “support” worries to keep her group alive;
  • The¬†“crowd control” manage the ennemies via paralyses or effects of embarrassment.

According to the games and the classes, a role can be distributed on several classes either a class holds a single role…

DAOC - Table Ronde

DAOC – The Round Table

The three kingdoms are very different. Albion is green and rainy. Midgard is dark and covered with snow. As for Hibernia, it is bright and green. The weather passes by according to a cycle in the daytime, there is bad weather according to the seasons (rain, snows, fog, etc.). Every kingdom is very “alive”.

In the kingdom of its choice, the main part of the adventure lay in the fulfillment of quests and in the expeditions in group in donjons or open zones corresponding to the level of the characters. We travel a lot ūüėČ

DAOC - Albion

DAOC – Albion

Most of the time, it is necessary to be several, what means finding or forming a group. It is generally simpler when the caracters are of the¬†same “guild” (grouping of players, sharing a blazon, a communication channel), etc. Guilds and alliances group the main part of the social relationships of the game.

DAOC - Golestand

DAOC РGolestand

At high level, it is necessary to leave in several groups to face immense enemies or reach the inmost depths of a high level donjon to acquire equipment and raw materials to make weapons, armors, etc.

DAOC - Shinind sword...

DAOC – Shining sword…

The small business sector (or craft) is an important aspect of the game (at least in the period or I played) to obtain a homogeneous equipment allowing to be the most effective possible. Next to it, were introduced artefacts or objects more powerful than all that the craft could give.

DAOC - Chateau

DAOC – Castle

The big key point of DAoC, it is the RvR (for whom it was outdone as better MMO PvP and RvR of decade, in 2011). The players of the various kingdoms are so in confrontation in border areas.

The RvR is basically a castle conquest game. To conquer it the largest number allows to open Darkness Fall to its kingdom (rich zones) and to weaken the defenses of castles containing the relics of the kingdom. To capture the relics during confrontations of hundreds players and to return them in his own camp allows the kingdom to obtain bonuses not insignificant.

Furthermore, to overcome opponents in RvR allows to acquire additional capacities, making more powerful the player.

DAOC - RvR

DAOC РRvR

Furthermore, the RvR¬†leans on the conception “Rock, Paper, Scissors” classes. Each is strong against an other but weak in front of an other one. The construction of a group must be thus “balanced” if we want a minimum of efficiency.

The team game is very technical, each having its role to be held. At high level of control, a team of 8 good gamers (8 being the maximum¬†group size) can¬†overcome in a few minutes of a “bus” of about forty less experimented players (not optimized groups).

DAOC - House

DAOC – House

One of the big strengths of DAoC have been to supply regularly new contents and objectives for the high-level players (50 being the maximum).

DAOC - Avalon

DAOC – Avalon

Donjons and additional territories with new extensions, with new skills, with new classes, with new capacities to acquire, the possibility of developing its own house, the revision of the RvR game, the graphic revision, the progressive balancing of the classes, etc.

DAOC - Charger

DAOC – Charger

In the end, the player finds regularly something new to make, of new challenges to find, whether it is in PvE¬†or in RvR, so allowing the coexistence of several players’ genres (roleplay,¬†crafts, RvR, etc.).

DAOC - 5eme Anniversaire

DAOC – 5th Anniversary

Except the big events (relics, “raids” on powerful donjons¬†/ monsters), events were also set up on the servers. Bringing nothing permanent in game, they allowed the players to live a little bit of particular story.

 

The game was not exempt from defects:

Numerous bugs, imbalance between races, classes and kingdoms bringin¬†bitternesses as in many MMO and as in life. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ūüôā

The most irritating part of the game, except the cheaters, it is certainly the behavior to exclude certain classes of the groups just because they were not useful or not optimal…

 

Conclusion:

DAoC¬†allied rich PvE¬†to high level and intensive RvR… And enormous possibilities in term of adventure. All this allows to meet people, to share experiences of game and possibly to meet close by.

Moreover, I would never thank enough Kunn, Kortac, Uranium, Crawl, Wolfine, Angix, Laen, Thuwan, Nycau, Gastel, Gwenda¬†and many others for all the good moments which we shared during two years in Albion’s Kingdom, on the¬†Orcanie server ūüôā

 

See you soon for new adventures!

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