Sunday, 26 July 2009

1 Year later

Well Its been a year since I left Bradford to come live here in Breda, and its been probably one of the best, most relaxing, most life affirming, exciting years of my life.

I'm living in an incredible town, in a wonderful country, largely away from the economic problems of the rest of the world, with lovely people, great job, and to top it all off I can get pork scratchin.....oh no..I mean Bina is here with me and loving it every bit as much as I am. Even Jodie, is starting to get a feel for the place, though not quite ready to admit it.

When I first took the job I was very uncertain. Moving to a new country, changing careers etc, these things are huge changes, but I realize now I needed those changes to give my life some meaning and content. I feel happier and more confident in the future than at any time ever.

I had originally thought I'd give it a year or 2 and go back to the UK, but now I honestly can't see me leaving here..if I lost the job tomorrow (not too likely I hope) I'd find something, anything else to stay here. Its just that amazing.

Its hard to pinpoint, really you can't, because you just end up detailing all the faults that the UK has and thats not productive. The Netherlands has faults too, but I just find myself accepting them easier than the UK.

The sense of social responsibility is probably the biggest plus for me, people still have and respect manners and there's a sense of moving forward for the good of all rather than self self self me me me.

Anyway...gotta go, am down to the last 30 bugs on my project and hope to complete them tonight. Bina's coming back from the UK tomorrow and I want to have the decks cleared so we can enjoy our 2 or 3 weeks by ourselves while Jodie is in the UK with her Dad.

tot ziens.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Press Release from The Chaos Engine

The Chaos Engine (TCE) is my favorite game developers forum, its full of (sometimes) like minded developers who discuss everyday things from developers point of view and on occasion there are strong and heated debates about events in our industry.

There's around 7500 members on TCE, though not all are regular participants its a good melting pot of game industry geeks who want to discuss what bugs them, and also to offer help and advice to others.

Recently as I noted in a previous blog, the issue of Tim Langdells actions has been generating considerable numbers of pages of debate all over the internet, but also more especially on TCE, almost all negative towards him and more specifically his actions of trademark trolling.

For the 1st time, this random scattered bunch of geeks, have banded together as one to stand up against Tim Langdell and have issued a press release to that effect and have made moves to start a fighting fund to help MobiGames in their fight against Langdell.

The release is here and the donation button is

Developers Rally Round Colleagues Besieged by "Trademark Troll"

In an unprecedented show of support, members of the game development community from several countries have come together in support of French independent game developer Mobigame. Mobigame is involved in a legal dispute with former publisher Tim Langdell, who conducts business as Edge Games. Langdell has a history of confrontation with game companies using the word "Edge" in games titles.

Dispute Between Langdell and Mobigame

On July 15th, Langdell forced iPhone platform-holder Apple's hand to block the sale of the award winning and triple IGF award nominated iPhone game 'EDGE'. Langdell's claim was that the product infringes on his trademark of the word 'Edge'. Initially, when Mobigame voluntarily removed the game from the store they were receiving several emails per day from Langdell; some of which even went as far as threatening to sue the owner of Mobigame (David Papazian) personally, stating that it could cost David "millions of dollars".

Mobigame actually own the trademark 'EDGE' in France, and the registration is on-going in Europe. Despite this, Langdell threatened to sue unless they remove the game from the AppStore entirely, even in the regions where Mobigame own the trademark. On May 14th, Mobigame proposed renaming the game to 'EDGY' for the UK and the US market, stating that their trademarks could co-exist since Mobigame will have the trademark in Europe, and they would rename the game to 'EDGY' for the UK & US markets. Langdell refused to accept this, and on May 16th he applied for the trademark 'EDGY' in the US.

As a small company, without access to substantial legal resources, Mobigame was keen to avoid a protracted legal dispute, and have tried on many occasions to reach an amicable solution. Unfortunately, negotiation with Langdell proved fruitless. Mobigame is currently evaluating their options, but are denied the income they were depending on from iPhone game sales.

Langdell's History of Threats and Litigation

Langdell has a history of similar tactics with other small companies. He lists credits for games containing the word 'Edge' on his website, and claims credit for their development. In reality his involvement is limited to demanding money for the use of the word 'Edge'. His legal relationship with renowned British development magazine EDGE is unclear, but claims that he "spawned" the publication were recently removed from his website. Even after the outrage among the international community of developers began to rise, Langdell applied for a trademark on the phrase, 'Edge of Twilight', days after Australian company, Fuzzyeyes Studio announced they were soon launching a game of that name.

Community Reaction

Game developers around the world have taken a dim view of Langdell's actions, as trademark disputes have a far more profound effect on small game companies with limited resources for legal support.

To try to combat this, members of The Chaos Engine, a game industry professionals' think-tank have started a fund to aid Mobigame in what could be a lengthy legal dispute, during which time sales of EDGE are being restricted. There is also a Facebook group set-up to show support for Mobigame and EDGE.

"We think it's important that Langdell not be allowed to bludgeon small companies with esoteric trademark laws," says Paddy Sinclair, CEO of Proper Games Ltd. "Games may be a fun and light-hearted product, but this is still a professional industry. There's no room for schoolyard tactics to extort money and claim unearned fame."

Finding no support from their professional association, the IGDA, developers have taken the case into their own hands - organizing creative ways to help Mobigame with their plight. They hope to see industry luminaries speak out, and are galvanizing all their supporters to stand up against this unethical use of trademark law.

"Langdell needs to be stopped and anyone else who thinks it's okay to take advantage of small game companies needs to know we're not isolated, easy targets," said Yacine Salmi, an industry veteran and current IGDA member.

IGDA Controversy

In further controversy, Tim Langdell is also a board member of game development advocate body International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Here he has a hand in guiding the professional association's policies on aiding small game companies and improving the industry for all developers. IGDA members have started a petition to have Tim Langdell removed from the board. So far the IGDA has officially taken no action and made only a short statement saying they don't see a need to act.

"Just because Langdell managed to bluff his way onto the IGDA board doesn't mean we as members support his unethical strategies, and we're doing what we can to have him removed," said Corvus Elrod of Zakelro Studios, an IGDA member and part of a small game company himself. He has started a petition for IGDA members to sign, calling for a special meeting where Langdell could be voted out of the IGDA board.

The Chaos Engine is a virtual community of game developers from around the globe. Launched in 2003, it has grown to include 7,000 game developers representing views from across the industry.

Press Contact:
Richard Hill-Whittall

The Chaos Engine Website:

Facebook Group:

About EDGE
Develop your telekinetic strength by pushing a Cube within a geometric universe. Platforms, enigmas and reflexes combine to make Edge a rich and very comprehensive game.
“Milthon Award for Best Mobile Game”. (Festival du Jeu Video). Awarded at the International Mobile Gaming Award in the “Excellence in gameplay” category. Triple finalist in IGF mobile 2009. Named by Apple as one of their 30 "Favorite Games" on the App Store's first birthday.


Sunday, 19 July 2009

Douchbaggery in the IGDA

Since I basically have 3 readers who come here direct, and the rest of you probably come via The Chaos Engine, the following blog will not be news to anyone. But on the off chance you have decided to come here from another game developer site....hi... and are a member of the IGDA....very unlikely...I urge you to sign the online petition to call for a special meeting of the IGDA to vote on the removal of Tim Langdell from the board.

Now...most game developers will know what this is about...for the others..mum, Bina, and Wallace Adbrook, 29 Acacia Ave, Southport...I will explain.

The IGDA stands for the International Games Developers Association. It is as you might expect an association for international games developers :)...only it isn't really, its a farce, a total waste of time and money which does very little and is not taken very seriously by many actual international games developers.

Students love it, and a few large companies have affiliate memberships (which means their staff are members) because when all said and done the games industry actually does need such an org...Only this one is broken...and its getting more broken and it needs fixing.

It's been broken for a while, really. It has high ideals and lofty aspirations but as a volunteer based operation its pretty inept at actually taking a stand on anything that actually matters to game developers..

Its Quality of Life agenda has been in limbo for some time, and recent controversies over a now departed board member who didn't actually believe in the QoL program badly hurt its credibility. They did do something once...about...something, but I've forgotten.....oh yes...credits..something about credits in games...woooo

That credibility has been further undermined by a certain Mr..sorry Dr Tim Langdell.
Who if we are to believe his own press and claims of direct contact with multiple projects, invented the games industry single handedly all by himself..or something, well thats what his wife said on his wikipedia page, before someone noticed it was his wife (who claimed not to actually know him) who wrote it and it all got deleted.

Tim swept to power as a member of the board of IGDA on a by now expected, wave of apathy and low turnout which didn't even reach a required quorum. But never the less he did indeed secure a position on the board...good for him and all that.

But...only a few weeks into the job, certain details and facts started to emerge about this business activities and claims of inventing the internet and pretty much writing every game made in the 80's all by himself...or something, and his now deleted press which made it clear he had seriously misrepresented himself and his achievements.

Worse than that though, is that he "claims"...actually he probably does but thats not the point, to own the Trademark on the word "Edge"...(do I have to pay for using it?)

Indeed in the 80's and 90's Tim did indeed own a company which he renamed Edge and did indeed apply for trademark status on this work.

Whats up with that?

Well nothing...unless you happen to be a small French Iphone game developer called MobiGames. who spent around 2 years perfecting a really cool little isometric puzzle game called...Edge.

oh...thats the trademark word.

Yes it is, now here's where Tims shenanigans start to get interesting. Edge (the game) has been around for some time, it won prizes at exhibitions and was quite well publicized...Tim, said nothing.

Encouraged by their positive feedback, Mobigames, went ahead and put Edge (the game) on to the Iphone app store and proudly waited for their sales..

What they got though...was a phone call from Timmy this crucial point in the games life, he wanted them to pay him for using the word Edge, or he would sue them silly.

Mobigames, attempted to negotiate with Timmyboy but to no avail, so they decided to spend a few days reworking the title and rename it Edgy...that would avoid all problems. They told Timbo this and hoped that would be the end of the matter.

Except Timbo, the very next day...took out a trademark on the word Edgy

You see where this is going

Now...there's nothing illegal about this, but clearly it's snide and underhand, and the timing of the cease and desist order was intended to cause maximum harm to MobiGames in order to force them to make an "arrangement".

MobiGames are not the only ones to have this unwelcome attention from DrT. On his website Tim proudly explains his other ill gotten gains as spawned by him......exactly what he had to do with Antony Hopkins and Alec Baldwins film The Edge, is anyones guess but look...on his site..he's taking some credit for it.
Film studios are well aware of the relationship between cost of delay and giving a trademark troll what he I think we can guess what happened there.

Indeed research has shown this is Timmy's standard MO, wait for someone to use the word Edge in some context, pick a good time to attack and bang...file some cheap papers in the court to tie the poor EDGE offender in red tape...which Tim will extricate them from for a small fee/credit/chance to promote himself.
Then, using standard legal delaying tactics like saying...I have no access to the internet to file...yes ..he really does use that one.. To allow extensions after extension.

Its possible to tie this up in red tape for several months at very little cost to Timster, and as such a lot of companies, pay up or reach some settlement that allows Timmy to allocate a credit to himself for the product.

In the rare occasions when its actually gone to court, Tim usually doesn't even bother to turn up and the cases are dismissed..oh well, can't win em all.

But the time that takes can be crucial to a sales period of the Edge related item and paying up can be easier than 5 or 6 months of no sales..

its quite a sweet scam really isn't it? I'm going to trademark the words "Tim Langdell is a total cunt" and wait for the money to roll in from all the blogs and forums out there who are using it! I'm going to be I tells ye!

Legal...yes, blackmail..possibly, moral?

Now remember the IGDA...the body which is there to represent Game Developers...This man, now sits on the board of the IGDA and is screwing any and all developers he can ensnare with this legal blackmail. The very people he is supposed to represent as a board member of the IGDA.

Its wrong...pure and simple, that and his pretty astonishing misrepresentation of his achievements just make the whole idea of him being a person of good standing sat on a board to represent the game developers he clearly views as prey, null and void.

I could list details of more incredible acts of douchbaggery and shenanigans but its easier if you do a bit of research yourself..heres a good starting point

Now...many of us in the development community at large and the IGDA feel this is not in the spirit of the IGDA, and it goes against what the IGDA stands for, even if the IGDA is a bit of a chocolate fireguard, it has the potential to be something good and noble....well it used to have.
A massive debate (byt IGDA forum standards) has been raging about it for weeks...yet the board of the IGDA, does nothing, despite many direct requests for action from more members in a week than usually bother posting in a year.

Initial open talks with the new Executive Director of the IGDA to arrange for access to the members to call for a vote to remove Timster, were promising, he said he would facilitate a membership wide communication and a statement would be wasn't.
When pressed where the statement was, I was informed due to "Legal advice" they won't comment further..... since then the communication lines have closed.
In other words, fingers in ears and shout lalalala

So the board don't listen, won't discuss and refuse to comment further, and the members now need raise a petition, to force a special meeting to discuss and call a a vote on the issue.

The petition can be found here it is open only to registered IGDA members...please vote.
If you have IGDA status and are a game developer, this is genuinely important.This mans actions bring not only IGDA into disrepute but the entire game development community

I also ask that after you read the links, you email bob at igda dot org and tell him what you think.

Bob has refused to call a special meeting, something which as chair he has the authority to do, that may be something he'll realize is very wrong. Member opinion against Tim and the board, due to their handling is now very negative, and forcing them into the difficult process (due to simple practicalities of scale and inactive membership) is seriously misjudging the mood of the members.

Thats it...go read, make up your own minds and head over to the IGDA forums and have your say.

(does this count as my longest ever post while being unable to sleep?)


Saturday, 18 July 2009

on me own :(

Bina and Jodie are in the UK, Bina for a week and Jodie for 3 weeks or so staying with her dad. So I have the place to myself for the 1st time in months....odd..very odd sensation.

At long last the DS project is in the final stages, the bug list has stopped growing exponentially, and it looks like a couple of good days can clear out the last few bugs and see it gone. So I'm taking the rare chance of being able to sit around in my underwear and work for 20hours at a time to get it done..After all I don't want to miss out on the summer by coding all the time. Its either that or I'm going to go out drinking every night....hmmmm

Weather here in the Netherlands has been amazing the last couple of weeks but today we finally have some rainy weather which is quite pleasant after days and days of sweltering.

We have a cooling system here in the apartment, basically the underfloor heating system will pump chilled water rather than hot to act as a cooler..but its useless, really, and we pay for this, so I've written to the company asking to have this service terminated as its useless.

In truth I'm just hoping they will send someone out to explain to me the very complex control system they have..I mean I'm a computer programmer, I work with complex hardware all the time, but my heating system...oh its like one of those new videodisctaperecorder things........oh dear..another symptom of age...maybe I should go find a 5 yo to explain my heating system.


Saturday, 11 July 2009

that was odd

Logging into my blog there for some reason my password failed, I had to reset it...hope its not been hacked I'll have to have a look through and see if all my little comments and thoughts have been altered.

So...not much to report this week. We had a few meetings at uni to close up the academic year, followed by a couple of BBQ's and drink sessions, was all very nice.
Now officially starting 6 weeks of paid holiday...:D yes...6 weeks. Academia is awesome.

The DS project is giving me absolute hell, a seemingly simple issue with the eeprom system on the carts simply refuses to work, and the longer I spend on it the more the bug list is growing and the deadline looms ever closer. I'm losing motivation but must keep going as we're very close to the end.

I had my 1st Dutch lesson this week to, Bina asked a lady from work who gives language lessons to come over and break us in was hard. I mean really hard, the precision of pronunciation is just mad. And Dutch is one of those languages that sounds nothing like it is written.

We're going to struggle with this I fear, but we are quite determined to acquire some basic skills so we'll push on with our weekly lessons and homework. At least its the 3 of us trying, it would be too easy to give up if it was just one.

We were going to drive over to Cologne today, we had a weekend away booked and theres a festival of lights there culminating in a big firework display that Bina really wanted to see. But finances have taken a bit of a hit after paying for the Turkey holiday we have booked in August, so we're going to stay at home...which for me is just as well I have to get this eeprom issue fixed and I'd have been fretting about it all weekend if I had gone.

Anyway....better crack on...eeprom bugs won't fix themselves.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Last week

This is it...the last week of the school year.
No students, they pretty much finished last week. So I just have to check and send in grades, attend a few meetings and go to a couple of BBQ's and I'm done.

Then its the holidays...of course the great thing about academia is the holidays, 6 weeks of chillin' (DS project deaththrows notwithstanding). Can't wait.

We've got a few things planned, such as a trip to Cologne for some firework thing that Bina wants to see, a bit of exploring The Netherlands and 10 days in Turkey, so lots to look forward to.

But mostly just time to sit back and relax a little.

Also gives me to time to look back on the last year, most of which I had no clue what I was doing and refine my courses for next year.

I've enjoyed it immensely, and once I've got rid of my DS project I can put much more time into developing the courses and also the console programming course which was very restricted last year, since we didn't actually have any consoles to work on.

This year at least we have a couple of PSP dev kits to play with, courtesy of Sony's Academic program. Nintendo sadly won't even answer my emails about starting a similar course...expected I suppose, but disappointing. I'm planning to write a small article for one of the UK dev mags about the mess that console makers have made of their approach to Academia.

Anway, better got finish up the grading and get on with clearing off my DS project

Oh I can name it now, its called Squeeballs, a fun multi game project based around some toy characters if you want to see some info


Friday, 3 July 2009


make the pain go away....mummmy


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

From Barrel to 6 pack in......well this lifetime would be good!

Yup, its that time..the midlife crisis has hit, I'm looking at Harley Davidson's and thinking more about how comfy they are rather than how fast. I can totally see the sense in buying a 3.5litre 2 seater Porsche, and I've joined a gym.

Well we all have actually, both as part of the getting to know people and to deal with the fact I can no longer see my knob when I look down...Yes that point has been reached..despite being blessed with a tree trunk* of a member the old beer barrel is in the way...So I have to aim from memory when I pee (luckily, I have a good memory and practiced peeing a lot in my youth) time to fix it.

Oh that and Bina's constant nagging about how chubby I'm getting has prompted me to finally take the plunge.

We started tonight by having a go at the local badminton club. New rackets and trainers were purchased and off we cycled up to run around for an hour or so chasing a shuttlecock.

Now the funny thing is, that having been here nearly a year now, and getting in lots of cycling..I'm actually pretty fit, despite my lack of knob visuals, and occasional WC floor splashes, and it was Bina who was suffering from exhaustion and had to take a break every 10 mins just as I was warming up.

Ha...and I thrashed her in the 2 competitive games. I roooool.

Tomorrow will be different though..we have to do the assessment session at the gym to work out our programs...I of course want to have a body of a Greek God in 2 weeks, I don't think I will have the patience to wait much more than that...Also if they can supply that in the form of a milk shake or 1 off injection, I'll be right there.

oh yes....this fitness lark...I'm going go sail through it........probably.


* well maybe a Bonsai?