Service Outages and Retro Gaming

Two unrelated topics for today's post, but I want to cover them both.

First was that my web server was down for some maintenance earlier this week. I thought it needed a new power supply, and then was chagrined to find out that it needed a new CPU fan instead. I was even more chagrined to find out that Central Computing doesn't carry CPU fans for old machines like that. Ultimately I had to mail-order a part from Newegg, rush it out here. In the meantime I had to put the old fan back on and just deal with the fact that it was incredibly noisy. So if you tried to access the blog and was denied, that's why. Apologies. It's even remotely possible you got some sort of complainy message about my mail server not being available, and apologies there as well.

The other topic is that all of the "Starcraft II? OMG" coverage actually got me to reinstall Starcraft (and Brood War) and start playing through the campaign again. Notice that this is different from Bwana's playing of old games because I'm replaying them. I'm not going to complain if I see a spoiler about the plot of Starcraft. It's sort of a mixed bag, really. It's still a really tight RTS of course and the story is decent for such a game, but a few things are problematic. First off, although Starcraft exists for the Mac (and OS X) it is a separate product than the Windows version I own, so I have to reboot into Windows to play. On a more substantial note, the graphics of course suffer. It's stretched on my 16:9 monitor for one. For two, I was surprised to realize how much I'd gotten used to being able to zoom in and out in a RTS. For three, there are few innovations I didn't realize postdated Starcraft. You can't put a drone on patrol and have it automatically repair units nearby. That seems so basic these days. Lastly - the cinematics? Wow! I remember being impressed by them at the time, but today? the compression is terrible. 256 colors and big-ass macro blocks as soon as the camera moves. It's stunning to realize how much compression has improved since then. Still, I'm about halfway through the basic campaigns (I finished the Terrans and I'm halfway through the Zerg) and it's fun to sit down and play a scenario every week or so.

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