Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Xmas w/ family and friends

Back in Hong Kong for Xmas. Going to be short on time for the next few weeks.

NBA fans out there, check out The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today's Game.

Friday, December 19, 2008

No more invites SNS

What if...I created a social networking site with no such invite mechanism...

Okay, I know it's the semantic web. But let's think through why it would be cool.
The reason why Facebook is such a hit is because it helps people connect with one another. The problem I see, however, is that the barriers to connecting with your friends is primarily the invitation mechanism. Either you or your friend must invite the other, and the otherside needs to accept the invitation. That's quite a barrier...let me explain why.

Except for the few who enjoy going around searching for all their friends (a small population), I think most people don't bother inviting their friends. I think this is especially true after they have accumulated a proportion of their friends on the network. The problem is that when we have reached that stage, nobody bothers to invite each other anymore. For example, I know many of my friends are on facebook, but I don't bother to invite them (and neither do they).

This barrier is huge. If I were automatically friend-ed with all my friends (via photos, wall posts, etc...) and my friends are ranked based on my network and the amount of interaction between each of them and me, I would have more reasons to be on facebook. I would be truly connected with my network and there would also be more entry points for interactions between my friends and I.


I dislike competitive people who feel they have a need to outdo their social network.

Granted I think I was like that once upon a time (in middle school or something), those who feel like they need to 1up everybody around them just turns me off. Beating out your social network really doesn't do anything but make you feel better about yourself, there are simply too many people in this world to be wasting your time comparing. You will always be a loser.

I'm not saying I'm not a competitive person, but I'm only interested in competing against myself. I think the difference is that when you grasp such concept, you will learn that out-doing your social network is actually anti-constructive.

Life is like a game. I swear by it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Over the past 2 years, I suspect of having probably read/listened/watched every useful idea/concept/suggestion/advice about entrepreneurship out there. It sounds silly, but if you think about it, there are only a handful of useful/great ideas in circulation. Most of the rest is just noise or the same idea put in a different way.

When my next venture begins, I will want to run as fast as I possibly can. Unfortunately, according to the mistakes I made on my last venture, I'm not supposed to do that.

This reminds me my program is approximately 20% over. So get with the delivering.

Erik's Bookmarks

Finally converted to delicious. I probably ought to have earlier but finally I took the time to understand such a simple concept until after hearing my brother evangelize it for so long.

Please add 'echan00' if you are a delicious user. I believe the future of IT is being able to find what you want through all this bullshit.

Top 5 Gameplay Mechanics of 2008

From Gamasutra...

Braid (Jonathan Blow/Number None; Xbox 360)
Mechanic: time manipulation

Braid is not the first game to incorporate a time manipulation mechanic, but it is surely the first game to integrate one so crucially, permeating every moment and puzzle to a degree usually reserved for basic actions like running and jumping. And each world was treated as a gameplay variation on the theme of time, taking that central mechanic and expanding it in elegant ways.

The pervasiveness of that mechanical theme even extended to the game's narrative and protagonist, putting a gameplay property front and center in the kind of thorough way that remains surprisingly infrequent in game design, which makes it all the more impressive on the part of designer Jon Blow that the mechanic itself is so unusual.

Left 4 Dead
(Valve/Valve South; PC, Xbox 360)
Mechanic: cooperative player assistance, AI director

Cooperative play has been undergoing a welcome renaissance lately, and Valve's recent zombie-themed shooter has reached a new high in the balance between genuinely necessary cooperation and individual agency.

Some games simply drop multiple players into an otherwise single-player campaign, and some become cumbersome in their devotion to constant cooperative acts, but Left 4 Dead's simple player-to-player assistance interactions -- not to mention the inherent benefit of cooperation engendered by the setting -- make group coherence eminently rewarding and manageable, even with random online players.

To cheat another mechanic into this entry, the game's AI director -- which oversees item and enemy spawning based in part on player behavior -- is a brilliantly seamless method by which to not only promote replayability, but to feed into the intrinsically frantic nature of a four-player close-quarters FPS.

And after all, if you start to suspect the game is out to get you, the urge and ability to fight back is all the more intensified by having three comrades-in-arms on the other end of a headset.

LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule; PS3)
Mechanic: real-time level editing

LittleBigPlanet is as much about enabling gamers to participate in level design as anything else, which means its user design experience needed to at least approach the level of accessibility seen in more traditional gameplay.

Certainly, creating a LittleBigPlanet level requires more investment of time and creativity than playing a LittleBigPlanet level, but it is telling that the lines between the two can be somewhat blurred.

It is perhaps even more telling that, thanks to the game's intuitive, real-time nature of level editing, Media Molecule has shipped a creation mechanic that has proved enormously usable for end users while remaining standard issue for the studio's professional designers.

Mirror's Edge
(Digital Illusions CE; Xbox 360, PS3)
Mechanic: first-person parkour

The demo for Mirror's Edge generated considerable gamer hype based on the surprising fluidity and elegance of its central hook, first-person freerunning amidst a cleanly-defined urban setting.

Despite taking criticism upon full release for inconsistency and certain presentational elements, developer DICE nonetheless achieved an impressive feat with the implementation of the game's character control.

Combining a simple control setup with the immediacy of the first-person perspective, DICE translated a gameplay idea that had previously been well-explored in other formats into something extremely fresh.

Spore (Maxis; PC)
Mechanic: procedural character creation

Arguably the most significant gameplay feature of Will Wright's latest offering isn't even a direct part of what gamers would traditionally call its core gameplay, but Spore's procedural character creation mechanic can become an entire game unto itself.

Incorporating dynamic skeletal systems, animation, texturing, and more, Maxis achieved astonishingly robust results in an area of game design that in practice often ends up stilted and too-obviously artificial.

The tens of millions of diverse creatures and structures that have been generated demonstrate the diversity of Spore in particular, but the successful implementation of the technology should be encouraging to the development community at large.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So much to do in so little time

It's really not helping that it snowed today. I think I'm going to blame it on the weather -the drop in temperature has decreased my productivity lately.

–verb (used without object), -nat⋅ed, -nat⋅ing.
1. to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain other animals.

I have a lot to talk about, but I guess I'll have to cut it here today.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Great graphics and gameplay. This new iteration of PoP is probably one of my favorites this holiday season. I dig the overall package and game design tweaks.

Still my favorite Death Cab for Cutie album.

I haven't seen the DVD yet, but the trailer looks crazy. Justice live is another experience compared to the album.

Great book. Highly recommended along with the Jim Collins series. I put it off from my "read list" until recently because I thought it was one of those "lets talk about one idea for 300 pages" type of books. Quite glad to have been wrong about that. Now I want to add a book recommendation widget on this blog...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Like it or not you probably are...

a Kanye fan (in some way or another). I'll respect talent and good music.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


All my motivations for making the trip to the icehotel ( in Sweden got killed today.

It's -8 Celsius in Beijing right now, which according to my body, is the time to keep any and all skin from being directly exposed to the air when outdoors. Mentally, that would mean to stay home, stay home, and stay some more at home.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

hkbomber: Why so Serious?

Exams are coming up and professors do revision sessions to help students get through the exams. I am not being cocky here but while everyone is worried about their grades, I am overconfident to a point where I dont see the need of over studying.

Most of the people I talked to in this MBA thought our class and works are intense, but this is nothing new to me. This MBA is busy, yes, but it has also been a relatively easy ride for me, at least compare to the 4 years of hell I went through as a Biomed undergrad in JHU.

I have always told my parents this... "unless there is some other planet with living people, I graduated from the best biotech university from the universe and everything else in life will not be as challenging as that" Seriously, how do you top from being the best in the universe? This doesnt mean I dont treat my MBA course with the attention it needs... I just dont see the need of stressing over it, especially when its just an exam of your analytical skills (somethings you can train in 10 days).

Why so serious?
- hkbomber

Too tired to talk