Games User Research Blog


Good Grief! It's March

So it's two months later. It really doesn't feel like that much time has passed. Between Future Play, TAing, marking, class work, wedding planning, assignments, readings, and family emergencies I've had little time for anything else.

Overall, I am not keeping up. Things aren't getting done and I'm falling further and further behind. The current goal is to finish all current outstanding projects and commitments by the beginning of May, at which point I will shift full focus to thesis mode... I hope. :)

Recently, when I take breaks, I've been watching this:

It's friggin' funny. I highly recommend it. :)


error 80029906 and 80029941

Quick Fix Overview

Error 80029906 is a copy protection error, or a dirty disc. The error can also be due to outdated firware.
Update your firmware, and check disc for dirt. If you still get the error keep putting the disc in and taking it back out, allowing the system to attempt playing the disc. After a few attempts (about 20 for me) you should get lucky and the disk should play.

Error 80029941 is an undocumented error, but presumably is caused by the same problem as error 80029906.
Try the same as above.

In the past month I've had two horrible experiences with DRM one with iTunes, the other with Blu-Ray. In reality it's impossible to have a good experience with DRM, since its entire purpose is to inconvenience the consumer; preventing them from doing things that might seem completely normal.  Things like, oh I don't know, watching a Blu-Ray disc on you PlayStation 3.

According to Sony, error 80029906 is a copy protection error, or a dirty disc. The error could also be due to the player’s firmware being out of date, a problem that shouldn't even exist. If you get error 80029941, tough, that error isn't in the database so stop saying you got it, you're clearly lying. Now, if you find that your player is trying to play the disc, your best chance is to just keep trying. However, you will need to take the disc out and putting it back it, perhaps multiple times. If you just spent $30 on the disc I can appreciate that you would be mad. You've already opened the media so you can't return it; that's just too bad, at least the media company's copyrights are protected.

While I'm on the subject of DRM, it's absolutely ridiculous that we need to have our digital devices connected to the internet so that media companies can check that their legitimate media, that consumers have legitimately purchased, is being used legitimately. It's as insulting as the FBI warning I'm forced to watch on every DVD and Blu-Ray that I buy. How about, "thank you for supporting our work, and buying this disc" instead of " FBI Warning: we know you're a filthy pirate who only paid for this media so that you can pirate it for your filthy pirate friends". I just want things to work, is it too much to ask for a little fucking consistency?


The Weird and Curious Cases of Dr. Poe

Whenever I get a chance, I try to participate in the design challenges posted on game career guide. Not long ago I submitted The Weird and Curious Cases of Dr. Poe, a strange take on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe. I thought that it might be nice to post my submissions since I feel that they are rather good, (even if they didn't win).

I think that this submission failed becasue the gameplay wasn't really new or unique. It's basically described as 3rd person action adventure, which IS rather generic. However, I'd still play it. :)


The Weird and Curious Cases of Dr. Poe

Dr. Poe makes his living as a criminal psychologist and detective for the Boston police force in 19th century Boston. Dr. Poe has a secret, a secret that makes him the best at what he does; a secret that could be utterly destructive if luck fails him.  Dr. Poe has the power to see the world as his criminally insane quarry do, to see what they see, and experience what they experience.

Recently, a serial murderer has been prowling the streets of Boston. Almost nightly another victim is found, causing fear and panic in the streets. Curiously, the case is not without leads. For many of the crimes eyewitnesses come forward.  However, by seemingly strange coincidence, each witness has inexplicitly been driven insane.  For this reason Dr. Poe has been assigned to the case for the special ‘talents’ he possesses for dealing with minds such as these.

The Weird and Curious Cases of Dr. Poe is a 3rd person action adventure game where players take on the role of Dr. Edgar Allan Poe.  The game uses the works of Edgar Allan Poe and the personal stories of the eyewitnesses that Dr. Poe must question for details about the serial murderer.  To find these details Dr. Poe uses his power to see and explore the streets of Boston as his eyewitnesses have.  The result is a horrifying adventure into the human psyche where hopes, fears, dreams, nightmares, visions, and hallucinations manifest.

For each level Dr. Poe explores the streets of Boston while he investigates a different serial murder. Using his power to see the world as his insane witnesses do, Dr. Poe investigates the murders and determines what each witness truly saw. Dr. Poe explores the same streets, and crime scenes, of Boston he visits everyday, however, each level is twisted horrifically by the visions of an individual eyewitness.

While using his power, Dr. Poe must carefully monitor is own fragile mind. Dr. Poe must maintain the key parts of his mind, his sanity and his reason. At the start of each level Dr. Poe begins fully sane and reasonable. Via interactions with violent hallucinations and psyche manifestations Dr. Poe loses sanity, if he loses all sanity he becomes trapped in the psyche he set out to explore. Sanity can only be restored with personal reflection, and rational thought, powered by reason, but the practice is draining.  Reason must also be used to fuel his special physiological and deductive abilities. Abilities like detectives search, which allows Dr. Poe to see clues he may otherwise miss, and psychological clarification, which allows Dr. Poe to destroy hallucinations by shear force of will.  Unlike sanity, reason can be restored through the solving of puzzles and discovery of clues. However, each resource should be considered limited for any given level.

As Dr. Poe progresses his pools of sanity and reason increase, he also learns new skill, which will help him to catch the serial murderer.




Another Quick Update

It's been over a month since I posted anything, so I thought that it was time to put something up for my few readers. :) December was an incredibly unproductive month. I had about 9 projects that I wanted to rap-up and didn't finish a single one.  A family emergency at the beginning of December pretty much trumped anything I was working on; thus nothing got done. I'm now playing catch up in the new term. :(

I'd write a to-do list but it would be too depressing I'm therefore going to just work on the projects directly in front of me, and just start knocking them out.

More posts to come I promise. :)


Quick Update

I'm now working on Capsized, an indie game from AlienTrap. Available on xBox live and Steam sometime next year.

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