Computer Games


Can you imagine a game that combines Guitar Hero, Trackmania, Wipeout and some surreal media player style music visualisation? Well if you can’t then you could just download Audiosurf to see just what that would look like. Combined with Steam this game is just all kinds of awesome.

In addition to the fantastic visualisation techniques there are also two important things going on here. There’s the social networking aspect of who is playing what music and how well they are doing. There is also the extreme personalisation as you are listening to your own music.

As a tech note, if your game keeps saying that the demo has expired when you have actually purchased it, just restart the Steam client.

It is also another example of how well Steam Achievements can be used to set challenges and keep people playing. I expect all games to ape HL2 E2’s achievements strategy in the coming years.

Macbook, Software

Music for the Mac

When I switched to OSX I was surprised to find that the “just works” system had no support for Ogg or FLAC. I also missed the simplicity and power of programs such as CDEx and MusikCube. I have had a look at all kinds of replacements but recently I was delighted to find a two programs that fill exactly the same niche on OSX. Max is a ripping program with a more elaborate interface than CDEx, this makes simple ripping a little more involved but it is possible to set up different encoding outputs for each rip so that once the track has been ripped it can then be encoded to different formats. You could produce a lossless FLAC version and a radio quality MP3 version for a small flash player. I haven’t been able to produce different encoding settings for the same output format and I am not sure that is supported.

Of course having encoded the music you also need something to play it on and finding a decent player on OSX is hard due to the smothering presence of iTunes. Cog is a player with a lot of features and decent format support that has a clean and simple interface. It is now my player of choice on the Mac and I would highly recommend it.