Archive for June 2005

Halo Story Page updated

June 2nd, 2005

Jillybean has posted a small update to the Halo Story Page. I don’t particularly agree with the theory presented, i.e. that the Halos work by teleporting the Flood to nearby planets and (somehow) forcing them to consume all sentient life so quickly that the Flood overpopulate and cannot survive.

The main flaw in this theory is that it assumes that the Flood cannot spread further from the target planets, i.e. that there is no FTL technology there. If there is, then the Halos have helped the Flood spread – potentially beyond the range of any Halo. This would appear to be counter to their purpose of preventing the Flood from spreading.

The second flaw is that the Flood have not died off in the time it has taken for the Covenant and Humans to develop sentience. They have remained in stasis for over 100,000 (local) years on the first Halo. Perhaps this was something that the Forerunner could not predict. Regardless of how the Halos actually work, this basic fact – that the Flood have not died out in the millennia since the Halos were fired – is a significant flaw in the Forerunner’s strategy to stop the Flood.

Perhaps the fact that the Flood are confined to the Halos is the best that they could achieve, and the Galaxy has been given an opportunity to regenerate itself – much like a forest fire helps the new saplings germinate and grow. 343 Guilty Spark’s comments at the end of Halo 2 would seem to indicate that the Forerunners had run out of options, so maybe they reckoned that the best that they could do is minimise the threat of the Flood as much as possible, with the hope that the Galaxy would come up with new sentient beings that might find a way to truly neutralise the Flood. And if they too failed, then the Halos still remain to do their job, like a galactic reset button.

Except that we broke one….

Ars Technica continues their inspection of the Xenon CPU

June 2nd, 2005

In the second part of their article on the Xenon CPU that will power the XBox 360, Ars Technica delve into the technical details of the three cores within the CPU, discussing the potential impact their design will have on the performance of games written for the next-gen console.

The article highlights that the design of the Xenon, while great for streaming media, has potential pitfalls when it comes to code that requires more branches, such as game control, AI, and physics. It will be in the hands of the programmers to optimise their code much more than with the original XBox, though with a great deal of control of the low-level performance of the CPU, they will have the tools to do so. This will take some time to happen, and the first few games for the XBox 360 are unlikely to take full advantage of the Xenon’s potential – apart from the graphics that is. So, expect games that are great to look at, but not so hot in other categories.

Silent Cartographer level added to HBO Halo Cutscene Library

June 2nd, 2005

HBO have added the Silent Cartographer cutscenese to their Halo Cutscenes Library. Personally, I’m having trouble downloading a couple of the hi-res QuickTime versions, but I’m sure Louis will have this sorted out soon 🙂

Update: Sure enough, Louis has fixed the problem. You can now download all the cutscenes, plus there’s a new mirror site too!

Red vs Blue new website up and running

June 1st, 2005

Red Vs Blue have updated their website to a new look and feel, and apparently there’s some new functionality in there too. They are progressing well with production of the DVD for Season 3, which should have lots of extra features in it.

Arsenal’s official statement on the Cole affair

June 1st, 2005

In their official statement Arsenal state that they believe the hearings were fair, that the punishment will act as a deterrent to other clubs approaching players illegally, and they reiterated their support for Ashley Cole.

David Dein had this to say about Ashley:

“We don’t want Ashley Cole to leave. We expect him to respect the two years remaining on his current contract, and look to extend his contract and hope that he stays longer. As a Club we did not want to see him punished. 

With regards to Ashley Cole’s position, it is not untenable, everyone makes mistakes.”

So, it looks like Arsenal are prepared to forgive Ashley Cole for his part in the affair, which would seem to imply that he did indeed have some hand in approaching Chelsea. Dein’s further comments take a swipe at the role that agents played in this case, and it would seem to imply that the whole thing may have been driven by one or both of the agents involved.

The fact that agents typically get some cut of the transfer fee paid for their clients naturally makes it in their own interests for players to change clubs as often as possible, and for as large a fee as possible. It is easy to understand why they would be tempted to contravene the rules, especially when the penalties involved are not likely to be serious enough to deter anyone at the top levels of football. In this case, Ashley Cole’s commitment to Arsenal has been weakened somewhat, and when the dust clears, there’s nothing to stop him going to Chelsea anyway at some point in the future, and thus the agents will get their cut sooner or later. Perhaps one outcome of this whole sorry affair will be a review of the role of agents in player transfers, and what measures can be put in place to prevent agents flouting the rules.

Of course, it must be said that the agents can only wield influence, and in the end it is the players and the clubs that also contravene the rules. In this particular case we cannot say definitively what actually happened, so perhaps the agents were not at fault. The findings of the commission seem to make no mention of the agents, and perhaps this means that it was indeed Ashley Cole and Chelsea who instigated the meeting. But I can hardly imagine their respective agents saying “No, this meeting won’t happen, it’s against the rules, and I don’t want to get a large slice of £20 million”. Can you?

Commission finds all parties guilty in Cole "tapping-up" inquiry

June 1st, 2005

The independent commission looking into the details of the alleged “tapping-up” of Ashley Cole by Chelsea has found that Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, and Ashley Cole guilty of contravening various Premier League rules. They are taking statements relating to mitigation before issuing details of any sanctions, and all parties have 14 days to appeal, so we don’t know what, if any, sanctions are to be applied.

This result is curious because Chelsea have been found guilty of approaching a player without their club’s permission, but Ashley Cole has also been found guilty of approaching another club without the consent of his own club. So who approached whom? Surely someone had to instigate the approach from one side or another, and the other party was simply responding to that approach. It is highly unlikely that both parties spontaneously approached each other, happening to bump into each other in a London Hotel!

In the end, this is a fudge by the English FA and their commission. With everyone being blamed, no-one can be singled out for particular blame. There’ll be fines all round, and that will be the end of it. The level of the fines is hardly likely to bother Roman Abramovitch, Jose Mourinho, or Ashley Cole. And there will have been no real result other than Ashley Cole being unsettled, and unknown consequences for his future at Arsenal.

I hope he will still remain at the club, since he is one of the best left-backs in the Premiership. Perhaps once the sanctions are announced and dealt with, Arsenal and Cole can put things behind them, sort out a new deal, and go into the new season having cleared the air.

The full text of the official statement can be read here.

Arsenal give details of their pre-season fixtures

June 1st, 2005

Over at they have published details of Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures. As usual, they are playing some matches in Austria, facing up to Weiz on the 20th of July, Ritzing on the 24th of July, and FC Utrecht on the 26th of July.

This is followed by the Amsterdam tournament, which will see Arsenal face Ajax and Porto on the 29th and 31st of July respectively. Then it’s back to business as usual, with the Community Shield against Chelsea in the Cardiff Stadium on the 7th of August.

Thankfully, this means that there’s only seven weeks until Arsenal get back in action 🙂 Hopefully these pre-season matches will allow us to get a feel for any new signings that Arsene will make during the transfer window. While he has indicated that he is not planning on spending big, if the right person comes along, then he’s prepared to dip into the kitty to get them. Myles Palmer thinks Robinho might be coming to Arsenal, but no doubt Arsene will find some gems at knock-down prices.