The Pat Lawlor Interview On GameSetWatch

Here’s a short interview with the guy who designed a number of my favorite pinball machines, like Addams Family and Fun House. A worthy read about he design philosophy of pinball, and the current state (or lack thereof) of the pinball market.

GameSetWatch – GameSetInterview: ‘Rudy’s Father Speaks – The Pat Lawlor Interview’.

Every designer has differing goals for the “feel” of the game. Usually these goals are a result of the kinds of games the designers like personally.

Things to consider are, in no particular order:

1) Middle shots are easier for beginners.
2) How to mix stop and go shots with nice return flow shots.
3) How fast is the overall game? Very fast games are very difficult for beginners.
4) When a shot is missed, what happens to the ball? Is it a bad, clunky thing? Does the ball come back in my face?
5) Are these shots just “there,? or do they represent something from the theme?

Updates

A few rumblings of things going on in life.

– Coffee shops in Tacoma – I’ve got a number that I need to visit and write up and I plan on getting another one up here in December soon. Either the excellent Blackwater, one of the many many Forza Coffee Companies or possibly one of those new odd places like Cafe Muse on 6th a try.

– Blogging Quest – I know I need to continue. I’ve been distracted, and frankly lazy when it comes to continuing my quest to save the queen. I’ll work on it.

Cave Story for the Wii! – It’s coming soon! I’m very excited for this one. The people behind the port to WiiWare are working with Pixel, the original author, to design a graphical update, along with a bit of remixed music. They are keeping a blog with updates on what’s going on, as well as comparison’s of the updates! Like the update below to the enemy Balrog.
Balrog

The Software Behind the Phoenix Lander

I don’t tend to do link log type of things, but I found this fascinating, in that it’s an amazing interview with one of the software engineers behind the Mars Phoenix Lander. It recently landed atop the North Pole of Mars on a search for water. The developer talks about the limitations of the hardware, the design process and the safe guards they have in place to make sure it keeps working. It’s a fascinating read. Check it out here.

King’s Quest II – Day 1

So the story this time around is that Graham has been the prosperous ruler of Daventry for a year, but he’s getting lonely. He knows it’s time to find a wife, and create an heir for his kingdom, so it doesn’t end up like it was before he took over for the last guy. He holds tryouts, but none of the women/girls in his kingdom are good enough for him, and so he talks to his magic mirror. The mirror shows him the beautiful Princess Valanice, from the kingdom of Kolyma, imprisoned by the evil witch, blah blah blah. Graham tosses on his adventuring cap, instead of the crown and shows up on the beach ready to find her and make her his. How romantic.
KQ2 Start Point

Getting a tan on the beach is always a good place to start, soI took a stroll down the beach. A lot of nice new touches this time around. The little waves crash up against the rocks, to add a nice sense of immersion. As usual, wandering down the beach nets me a nice bracelet that looks expensive, and a sweet trident. Who’s the king of the sea now?!
The Trident on the Beach
Continue reading “King’s Quest II – Day 1”

Tacoma Coffee – Satellite Coffee

Coffee in Tacoma has finally found it’s champion!

It’s been a bit since I posted about coffee here in Tacoma. In the meantime, Kickstand Coffee closed down, and was replaced by One Heart Cafe who I’ve yet to try, but the certianly have an interesting decor. Forza Coffee Company seems determined to take over the south sound area, with franchises popping up everywhere (I’ve yet to try them, but Jess says they have decent coffee). And Firehouse Coffee changes their name to Origin 23? Coffee Roasters, but looks to be still serving the Firehouse roasts. And last but not least, that I’ve noticed in my small sphere here, is Black Water Cafe, who serve up coffee from The Mandolin Cafe’s Valhalla Coffee. I’ve been once and enjoyed a drink, but I like to make multiple trips before I finish any judgments about a cafe.

So after all of this, so enters my new favorite spot to get a drink in Tacoma, Satellite Coffee Co..

Satellite Coffee

Exclusively serving Stumptown Coffee, we now have incredible coffee being served up here in Tacoma. Apparently rising from the ashes of a place I never got to try, called Temple of the Bean, Satellite has fit itself up into a tiny little spot just off the corner of Wright Park. Great easy location to walk to, minutes from my place.

Using a beautiful 3 group La Marzocco, the owners and baristas are dedicated to bringing you a quality drink. It’s refreshing to watch the barista re-pull your shot a few times to make sure he/she is brining you the best they can. The owners have made sure that they and their employees take seriously this espresso thing, and you can see their training put to good use. The store is littered with evidence of their dedication – David Schomer’s espresso book (the one that I started my learning process with), SCAA and Barista trade magazines, and just many small tools of the trade that show they are going beyond the simple grind, pour, foam and serve routine.

Their milk steaming so far has been impeccable, creating beautiful lattes and kid’s hot chocolates, with the right amount of velvety foam that just begs to be sipped.

They pull out the French presses for their “drip” coffee, and will pretty much make your cup fresh when you order it. A small little selection of pastries, but the little rocket ship shortbread cookies are a great little treat. It’s a small space, but they make do with the space they have, with the atmosphere being very friendly and nice to sit for a bit, but if I had to do any work, I’d probably have to find another place where I could blend in a bit more.

So far it’s been an incredibly welcoming place, anytime of the day, patrons and employees alike. I’ve brought Ash, my toddler, in there with me many times over the weekends and they have been very playful with him and smile at the exuberance only a 2 1/2 year old can show. Big pluses there.

So basically, anyone else here in Tacoma is going to have a tough time topping Satellite coffee for the moment. I’ve still got a lot of places to visit and write about, but right now, it’s the top. Find your way there and once you do, having coffee anywhere else in Tacoma just means that you were to lazy to get what you really wanted – an cup of coffee, espresso or more that you will enjoy, without caveats.

(Picture credit goes to Tacoma Mama)

WordPress 2.5 Upgrade

So I’ve taken the plunge, and upgraded my Word Press installation to the new Version 2.5.

Supposedly some great new features to help keep Cinder Inc. running strong. Already I like the new dashboard improvements in the content managing side of it. Hopefully it’ll make updating even easier so I can keep Blogging Quest actually updated.

If you find anything that’s broken just let me know.

Blogging Quest – King’s Quest II Day 0

So I think I’ve realized why I haven?t continued with the end of King’s Quest 1 after all this time. I just didn’t want to go back and take on the same stuff over again. I will someday, but for now, I’m moving on with Blogging Quest. Welcome to King’s Quest II – Romancing the Throne. This time it’s for love.
KQ2 Title Screen

Released in 1985, it was Sierra’s second game to take advantage of their new AGI system they created for King’s Quest I. It grew the size of the game by 15% over the original, with 92 different rooms to walk to now, and a theoretically easier puzzle system, that left you a little less room to get lost. We’ll see about that.

My experience coming to this one is going to be a lot less than the first. I played the heck out of the first one, but my experience with KQII has all come from my play through of it on a Mac in black and white. Thank you Grandma. I know I’ve completed the quest for love and a wife once long, long ago, but my memories really only recall the fact that there is a trident on a beach, a basket of goodies in a mailbox, the batmobile, and I get to dress up like a vampire! This one could take a bit longer with its play through, as I will be making up my own solution on the fly. Sounds great!

Take a look here for the box art.
Here’s the original manual.
Here’s the Wikipedia acticle on it.
Finally Game Tap has a great retrospective by Joe Rybicki

Puzzle Quest Solutions and Lyle Maps

Cleaning up a few things, I was taking a look at what links bring people to Cinder Inc. from time to time. Two of the biggest are people looking for solutions to capturing Puzzle Quest monsters. The other is a map for Lyle In Cube Sector, a great platform game. So without further delay.

Puzzle Quest Capture Solutions via GameFAQ’s.

The Lyle in Cube Sector Map, click for a larger version. Via Speed Demos Archive Forums by LLCoodDave
LyleMap

Rolling Stone – William Gibson Interview

Rolling Stone has a new interview up with William Gibson. It covers many of the topics that Gibson’s writings have influenced or the way he interprets where we are headed. Check it out here, and check out a quote from it below.

People worry about the loss of individual privacy, but that comes with a new kind of unavoidable transparency. Eventually we’re going to know everything that every twenty-first-century politician has ever done. It will be very hard for politicians and governments to keep secrets. The whole thing is porous. We just haven’t really figured out quite how porous it is.

Now Reading

I’ve changed the look around on the page temporarily, and I don’t know how long I’ll stick with this template, but it was brought to my attention that Cinder Inc. was broken in IE, which I never knew as I have always accessed my own site through Firefox, Opera, or even Safari, but hadn’t visited with IE since before my upgrade to Word Press 2.2. Everything should work, but let me know if you find something that doesn’t.

Another new thing I’m glad to have around, and have been wanting, it the Now Reading plugin for Word Press, and you’ll find it off to the right.

Basically it’s a virtual bookshelf, where I can keep track of what I’ve read, am reading and what’s on my shelf to read. I can leave mini-reviews, and it’s a fun way to see what’s going on. I’ve always wanted to share more of the books I’ve been reading with readers and now I have a simple way. Problems with it? I now feel more of a need to finish a book so I don’t have a book sitting in my “Now Reading” part for long periods of time. Not a truly bad thing.