Want Want Want Want
Posted on November 10, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 152 Comments
Occasionally I vent on these pages about the things I want in this life but don’t have — generally physical things, mind you, not existential things, like happiness. I’m pretty happy. I just don’t have some things. Here’s the latest edition of things I want:
1. I want one of those teeny netbook computers. Because I’ve been doing a buttload of travel in the last year, will be doing a buttload of travel in the next year, and my current laptop is, well, beefy by modern standards. Now, strictly speaking, there’s no reason I can’t have one of these, since I can afford one, and there are lots available for the picking. But that’s the problem: There are lots available and I’m doing that “paralyzed by choice” thing that happens to people. And there’s also the fact that while my current laptop is beefy, there also nothing wrong with it: it’s actually a very nice laptop which at the moment doesn’t need to be replaced. So I feel guilty about wanting to spend money on a thing I don’t really need. But I’m not writing about need; I writing about want. And I want one of these little boogers.
2. I want a Blackberry Storm. The Storm is what you get when you want something iPhone-ish but don’t want either the iPhone or to be shackled to AT&T. So instead I’ll be shackled to Verizon! That’s freedom, people. The nice thing about this particular want is that I’m indeed going to be getting one, for two reasons: My current phone is just about to die and I’m at that period in my contract where I can upswap without penalty. Also — and this is my rationalization engine kicking in — I figure the Storm may be full-featured enough to quell my insatiable need for a netbook. Thus I can square away getting something that’s ridiculously overpowered for what I generally need my cell phone to do (i.e., send and receive calls). Clearly, I have a practicality issue, which is at odds with my technolust issue. The real major problem here, however, is that these things won’t be available for another couple of weeks. Stupid release dates.
3. I want to write a video game. Because, you know what? I think I would be good at it, and I think it would be a ball to actually get inside a world I’ve sketched out, and, having done so, blow up all sorts of crap in it. Clearly, the video game I’d be writing would be a first person shooter, because, dude. First person shooters are where the fun is, in my not-so-humble opinion. My major impediments here are time, because it’s not like I don’t have enough going on anyway, and the minor detail that I don’t happen to have a game development team handy. Or, you know. The millions of dollars required to build a AAA video game title these days. But if I did, man, would I have a game for you. Related to this:
4. I want someone to update Descent. Because I would totally buy a new joystick — one with two hat switches! — to be able to play a new version of that game. I heart that game with a hearty heartness.
5. I want an asteroid and/or an animal species named after me. This is a repeat want, since I’ve mentioned it in previous “I want” entries — and yet, look at me, still without an asteroid or obscure species of blood tick to call my own. Life is full of adversity. I must struggle through. Seriously though, astronomers and/or biologists, I don’t want to bribe you or anything, but there’s a character in one of my upcoming books just looking for a name. And it’s a cool character, too — not one of those that meets a humiliating death, or can’t get a date, or anything like that. Unless, well, that would amuse you. What I’m saying is, there’s options available. Come talk to me after class.
These are my wants at the moment. Got any of your own?
I thought everybody had an asteroid named after them… Phil Plait, PZ Myers, Mike Stackpole & Rebecca Watson, just to name a fews. And no, I don’t have one named after me.
Let’s see: An SGI Tezro. Purple. Lots of ports. Geekasm in silicon.
A BreaBox ARM pc. The size of a credit card. Totally geeky.
An autographed John Scalzi booik to give to the SO for Christmas, because, you know, that would be uber super awesome.
I’ll buy your old notebook from you, assuming it can run Lord of the Rings Online.
And I’m sure there is a beetle species somewhere, just waiting to be called Languidis Scalzified.
I want a tiny laptop, too. But I want one with state of the art gaming capacity.
And, for what it’s worth, I was able to satisfy my iphone desire with an HTC Mogul (I was already beholden to Sprint, so this was okay). It’s clunkier, but it has a nice size slide out keyboard. The touch screen is nice and it has some of the features I liked from Palm, like the ability to input data by writing on the touchscreen with the stylus.
I want Guitar Hero and Rock Band hardware to be compatible, and I want a Carpenters expansion that I can sing along with. But I’m not counting on those.
I want a chauffeur and a gardener. In that order. Please?
The 901 is a lovely thing. It’s small and light enough that you don’t have to think about whether you need to take a computer out with you – you can do it on the off chance.
If you’re looking at a traveling laptop I’d suggest you look at a Toughbook that’ll take a beating.
But I wouldn’t give up my MacBook Pro for most anything else on the market.
I think you already have a strong basis for a computer game. You’ve already developed an intergalactic war themed universe. You could pitch the OM’sW universe to a game developer and let them do the coding while you develop the storyline.
ID could modify the Doom 3 engine for a FPS. I’d rather see Rockstar Games develop something based on a GT4 line. D3 is in 3D, but you’re stuck on a single track. I’d rather have an open playing field to achieve missions how I think best. Or maybe something like “Rainbow Six” so you could control the team instead of going at it alone.
Something along the lines of StarCraft would also be great for a military game, but that doesn’t seem to be the sort of game you’re thinking of.
“Starship Titanic” started as a book, but Douglas Adams struggled with it until he realized that it wasn’t a book but a game.
You’ve got a fan base and a largely guaranteed sales block already. I’m sure some developer would love to hear your pitch.
soo would you make an OMW video grame or something else?
On the subject of FPS games, did you ever play Bioshock and if so what did you think of it? I thought it was one of the best games I’ve played in recent memory in terms of the storyline and the “wow this is messed up and totally awesome” one too.
I want a netbook too – though I know which one I want. Dell Mini 9 running linux. ‘Cause that is how I roll.
I’d like a garmin gps deal for my car. They are stinking useful and I expect to be travelling more. Enterprise will throw one in for $10 which means all I need to do is show I’d do that for more than 15 days and it would be cost effective to just buy one.
I think that’s it. I’ve got too much stuff in many ways and I’m trying to simplify but those are two things that would be really useful for me to have.
There are enough folks out there making games based off tools like the Unreal engine that you could probably find some folks to make a fan game that is officially Blessed By Scalzi, especially if you wanted to base it on Old Man’s War (although if PNH was leary of giving that IP away I’m sure a creative fella like you could come up with something else).
Seriously, draw up some design docs, and talk to a few of the teams that work on total conversions.
I want the whole entire Adobe CS4 line of products, as well as the entire comprehensive font libraries of Adobe, Font Bureau, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Veer, and Letterhead Fonts.
I want to ride in a blimp. Because I’m from Akron.
I want to produce a movie, but I’m $99,998,000 shy of my ideal budget, have no experience and I like to sleep.
And I want to trek the old Silk Road. Without getting killed, I mean.
A book contract.
Gadget-wise, I’m with you on the Netbook, even though I *don’t* travel a ton, and it would most likely only be a cool toy.
I guess my needs are covered sufficiently, because if you handed me a $2000 Best Buy gift certificate right now, I’d actually have to think for a while about what I’d buy with it. And that’s not an altogether bad place to be, I guess.
I want a job :(
Bored of being a man of leisure now, I want somethign to get my teeth into.
Scalzi: Well, at least you’re not aiming too high.
I auditioned for a speaking part in a video game….didn’t get it. John, if you make a video game, can I voice a character? Pretty please?
I want to contribute to a great work of reference.
I also want a netbook. Covets really hard.
And a google phone.
And a new leather shoulder bag, because my canvas one is dying.
For writing, I want something about the size of a moleskine pocket notebook but stores my writing in files that I can move to my computer. Yes, this might be a Blackberry Storm or equiv. It’s probably not a netbook since they don’t fit in pant pockets. I’m a little worried about how I enter text into such a small thing though. I currently scribble into my moleskine. My handwriting isn’t terrific.
That reminds me. One question I’ve had about netbooks is how good the keyboards are. Small devices imply small keyboards. How small, obviously, this varies from model to model. I think a few of them have practically full sized keyboards. However, if your main use will be entering and editing text, testing out their keyboards might help you with your choice induced paralysis. (Of course, getting the opportunity to test all of them out might be hard.)
*gigglesnort* Apparently it’s never too early to start the Xmas wish list.
My bratling has talked me into getting him an Asus similar to the one you’ve got pictured. Stylish and sturdy and very user friendly for my 7-year-old. And cheap, so even if he does demolish it, I won’t be tempted to toss him off the cliff. It keeps him away from my larger and decidedly more expensive laptops and PCs.
A house. Owned free and clear.
I’ve got an eee 901. I already posted a review of it after I had experience working with it, and followed up with another review after I had experience trying to customize it. Bottom line – it’s pretty nice, as long as you have medium to smallish fingers and you want to do office type stuff.
I want you to reply to my email. Just sayin’.
That will NEVER HAPPEN, Jon. EVER.
Also, yes. I will send you one.
Having done a little of the in-the-trenches part, which is sheer hell, I humbly suggest that what you really want to do is DESIGN a video game and not code it or create artwork for it. I suspect you already guessed that, since you refer to not having a game development team (translation: the people who do the grunt work) around.
I’ve never quite given up on games, but every time I look into what it would take to realize one of my ideas even with a set of commercial tools and/or game development kits of various kinds, I think, “Wow, maybe some day if I can manage to not need a day job, but I don’t have time for that right now.”
Also, I miss Descent tremendously.
Well, thank god for closure. In that case, I’m all good.
@MRK: Get the Google Phone. You want the Google Phone. I am loving loving, LOVING my G1.
I want a nice cello.
I also want the nearby library to stop trying to shelve things by genre and to buy more new books. Alternatively, I want a lot more disposable income to spend on books and a wall of bookshelves to hold them all.
I want to be able to take the half-formed story idea that’s been sitting in my head for the last three months and actually turn it into something readable.
John, I can’t help you with the whole millions for a game that will make Assassin’s Creed cry thing, but if you just want to write game, there is still a whole little strange community of people doing text adventures games. It’s kind of all writerly and stuff.
The Craft of Adventure
John, I got the Acer Aspire One, and I can only say that it’s really boosted my productivity thanks to its portability and easy access. I can throw it in my gym bag, carry it as easily as a paperback, use it in the living room, on a train, whatever. The battery life is not so great, but otherwise, I am one happy camper. Best of all, the thing was cheap! Netbooks rule!
I gave in to the “want want want” and got one of the tiny cheap EEE 901s – under $300, though just barely. In linux, though you can get them with XP, and with the itty-bitty 4gb solid state drive.
I adore it. It is about 2lb and has nearly 4 hours of battery life. It would never be my only computer – the screen isn’t big enough for graphics work, nor is 4gb very capacious.
As hardware goes, the screen was surprisingly nice – clear and bright, and fairly legible even outdoors. The speakers were remarkable, much better than those on my full-size laptop. I dislike the trackpad, though apparently there are better XP drivers that aren’t yet available for linux. I wanted this primarily for writing, so I spent some time in the store typing. The keyboard is big enough for me to touch-type on, though just barely. The Acer netbook has a better-feeling keyboard, but lacked some other things I was interested in. About 12,000 words later, I’m fairly happy with the keyboard’s usability.
The included linux was setup to be easy for a novice, but also didn’t take me long to tweak to my own satisfaction. I can write, listen to music, email, blog, read PDF files. The wireless reception is also better than in my laptop.
I actually like the small hard drive, as it prevents me from installing time-wasting crap. It takes SD cards for extra memory, so you can have quite a bit of material with you.
Best of all, I’m actually carrying it around and using it heavily, so it wasn’t a want-want-want that is now accumulating dust on a shelf.
I can’t do much for you on the animal-name front, as I’m a botanist. How do you feel about plants?
As for want-want-want of my own: a new computer cutting plotter. One is coming out now that will cut 0.040in styrene, and other cool things beyond the capacity of my current one. The current one does everything I actually need, but WANT. And cutting plotters are wildly cool toys anyway.
And want-want-want about three weeks of vacation, starting five minutes ago.
Scalzi, your request for more DESCENT is more than a want, it is a humanitarian plea!
I think this requires a LOLcat – “can i haz moar descent?”
I want you to write a video game, because that would demonstrate a viable path from science fiction novelist to video game writing … person. And you know the only thing stopping me from writing my own game (I’d go with one of those eye-in-the-sky games since I suck at FPS and how pathetic would it be to get pwned by my own game?) is that no one has blazed the trail.
Before I get a Blackberry I want to be important enough that I must read every e-mail sent to me immediately. Because having a Blackberry and not needing one? Sad. So sad.
Well, Call of Duty 4 has demonstrated that you can ship a FPS with a great story and have it sell GTA numbers — over 10 million copies — *and* great metacritic. Also you need to put in an awesome multiplayer component.
Hmm. Could you do a 6DOF Descent-style shooter on a console controller without it feeling like garbage? It needs to feel like Descent 1/2 — the claustrophobia is essential to the experience. D3 failed hard, despite having shinier graphics.
Phiala @ 31: I’ve got a 901, too and I agree with you 100%. I’m running XP, and my experience is much the same as yours.
I found the trackpad harder to use than the one on my Dell laptop. I went and got a Bluetooth mouse which improves the experience immensely.
Ask and ye shall receive.
I want a sabbatical from work. 3 months would be adequate, six months would be spectacular. I have been working nonstop with no more than 10 days off, pretending to be a responsible adult since my second child was born in 1992. I think this is a reasonable request! Doggone mortgage payments.
I want to take my family on a trip to the UK and Europe. The economy keeps tanking and the exchange rate is never favorable, and this one is a big investment.
I want an interesting car. I detest my stoopid minivan. My kids are both driving and there is no reason to drive a boring car any longer. How about a Mustang? Or a Jeep Wrangler? Or if I were to be more environmentally correct, a Psion?
Brendan @35: There are new drivers available from Elantech that are supposed to _greatly_ improve the trackpad.
My EEE is for writing, and so far it hasn’t been worth it to me to carry around an extra accessory (mouse).
Oh! And I want built in bookshelves installed in my home. Everywhere. I want my home to become a veritable library.
I want 20/20 vision.
My brother is dyslexic. He thought I set him up with “Descent” to be nice. In reality I did it because I knew it would make him ill.
Just once I want my son to be able to call me Daddy. (He is autistic and non-verbal)
I want 20/20 vision without having to wear glasses or contacts.
I’d also like a robot car that drives itself so I can have more time to read/knit/whatever.
Sebastian @35: I’ve played Descent 3 with an Xbox controller hooked up to my PC. The left stick works for sliding up/down/left/right, right stick for pitch/yaw, Y/A for forward/reverse, B and A for cycling weapons, Right trigger for cannons, left trigger for missiles, and the bumper buttons for flares/prox mines. It took a little getting used to, since a joystick is still FAR superior, but it was workable!
The original Descent is available from Good Old Games in a form playable on Windows: http://www.gog.com
I want nap.
Grr… My lack of “a” in that comment is, I am sure, entirely due to my want of a nap.
Thanks. I’ve actually got them through GameTap. But my point is, I want a new version.
I want a Martin HJ-38 Stefan Grossman signature model guitar, sitka over Madagascar rosewood . . . Oh, the pain, the pain of GAS. I just got a new MacBook Pro for work two weeks ago instead. Stupid practicality.
I have very few NEEDS and far too many WANTS. That being said, I recently upgraded my ancient Treo to a Blackberry 8330 curve (because I WANTED it, AND because I could get it for cheap) and am very satisfied with it… it does everything I wanted, has bluetooth, media player, web browser, GPS, AND it’s a phone!
As for other WANTS, I WANT you to write a video-game! And I’m a big fan of first-person shooters as well, but let me throw out another idea for you… a FPSRPG! Check out Fallout 3, if you haven’t already, to see what I mean… a sand-box style FPSish game with strong RPG elements (character building, skill choices, etc) with a very engaging story. Yes, I said story. I’ve been playing it for a week and can’t wait to get back to it and see what happens next!
The good news: You’ll have an asteroid (okay, a solar sub-planetary object) named after you.
The bad news: It’s going to land on Ohio. On Ohio, not in Ohio.
Me? I’d like my two front teeth back, please.  Oh, and a pony, just for form’s sake.
 You can keep the ability to spit between ’em.
In decreasing order of want, and (not coincidentally) increasing order of likelihood:
I want my friend David back. This is unlikely, however, since he died on Friday.
I want not to need a new hip.
I want to fall in love with someone who loves me back, live with him and get along fine, have our two families each like their son’s new partner, and get married and have it recognized by the Fed and all 50 states.
(Tie) I want a better chocolate tempering machine and a confectionary guitar cutter, so I can make more and better chocolates for my friends and loved ones.
Failing my second want, I want to get the new hip and have it work and never have any trouble with it again, and not get slammed to the floor at the airport by TSA goons before I can explain that hey, I’m gonna set off the metal detector because…no, it’s not a gun in my pocket and I’m NOT happy to see you, the wand is detecting my hip! MY HIP IS TITANIUM DAMMIT!
Well, that’s going to happen before the end of the year. So now that we’ve crossed into the realm of the possible, I’ll stop there.
There’s 3 desktops and 2 laptops in my house, just got a new phone and I have space left in the “new and improved” bookshelves, so that part of things is pretty well covered. All of my families health is good so no needs or wants on that front.
I WANT an Audi A6… but would settle for a Passat since I’m not in a spare no expense mode of life right now.
My “96 Taurus is doing fine, 158K and counting, but an A6 would be marvy 8D
I want an updated version of “Rise of the Triad”. Best FPS ever. The music and costumes changed on major holidays. The guys you hunted would explode in spectacular ways so eyeballs would fly past your head and their innards would slide down the wall. In God mode you’d yawn and release a energy sphere that would chase people down, even around corners, and obliterate them.
Glad to know I’m not the only Descent fan left. That, what $30? game cost me hundreds in video cards to squeeze out the last bit of frame rate. It makes me want to dig out the old discs and see if there is any chance they run on my new Vista box…
Oh yeah, and I want about $30K in spare cash and 3 months of spare time to finish the restoration on my 1949 Piper…
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I’ve been told that I’ve got an advance coming this month pending delivery of copy, so I’m angling for one of these.
My current widget is a rebranded MSI subnotebook that would still be a workhorse if not for the craptasticness of its marketer (and their depot agreements, at last report under investigation by the CA AttyGen’s office) and the fact that I’ve had a Mac for close to a year.
Other than that, very happy.
Wants – win a WSOP event.
With regards to the Blackberry Storm, my only concern would be screen real estate and the browser.
I don’t know if you remember it, but there was a cell modem accessory for the palm V that made it into a sort-of-usable internet connected device.
Let me just say the Blackberry is what I fantasized the Palm+modem would be; a device with ubiquitous internet connectivity that completely integrates that net presence into everything it does.
The Blackberry’s address book is second to none — and when you combine sending e-mails, photos, address book entries themselves seamlessly you have a device that is incredibly functional for a traveler.
You can get around some of these limitations by using Opera instead of the native browser, but nothing makes the screen bigger.
A netbook on the other hand has no internet connectivity unless you are near a wifi point or buy a pricey always-on data plan.
I too rejected the iphone solely on the basis of going back to AT&T as my cell carrier, but the iphone seems to span the gap between the blackberry and a netbook with an EVDO modem.
When the T-Mobile G1’s kinks are worked out, I may switch to it but even the Android-based systems and their legions of developers are going to be hard-pressed to replication something as good as the Blackberry.
Well, I wanted an iPhone. Got it.
Wanted to develop games for iPhone. Started doing that– 2 releases, 3 in development.
Want a bestselling game on iTunes’ App Store. Still wanting that.
yes, pleeeeeaaaaaaassssseeeeeee new Descent.
Spooky. You like Descent AND Ultravox. What other obscura do we have in common?
I am so with you on the need for new Descent. But I’m actually more leaning towards a new Descent: Freespace. Frakkin’ cliffhangering games leaving me hanging, then companies not existing any more. What is up with that.
Incidentally, I’d also like the promised follow-up to Advent Rising. Loved the concept, gameplay needed work.
John, I can’t help you with the whole millions for a game that will make Assassin’s Creed cry thing, but if you just want to write game, there is still a whole little strange community of people doing text adventures games
Old Man’s Infocom? Great…
>You are in a cemetery.
>You have: grey hair
a birthday card
a bunch of flowers
incipient testicular cancer
>You see a gravestone.
KATHERINE ANN PERRY
>PUT FLOWERS ON GRAVE
>You have: grey hair
a birthday card
incipient testicular cancer
>You are outside the cemetery.
>To your east is a CDF recruiting office…
JustMe @# 42: Keep faith. In the last four or five years, I’ve seen our neighbor’s child go from very uncommunicative (although not entirely non-verbal) to hugging his mom good-bye and saying “I love you mommy” in the morning and calling, “Hi Mister Lewis” out the window to me. Obviously every child is different, but there are cases where there is improvement.
I want enough time to work on all the projects in my head that have been churning around in there and can’t get out.
Oh, and a notebook computer powerful enough to run Second Life and EVE Online at a decent frame rate. And with enough disk space to store all my music, so I can use it to do live DJ’ing.
And a new dryer and vacuum cleaner, because those would help Sabrina out a lot.
Guess I don’t want too much these days…
Thanks for the kind words. He’s 8 now so it’s very unlikely he’ll ever talk and he’s pretty far down the scale as far as cognitive ability goes. We’re having a rough time of late and I guess it’s wearing us down. (Sorry, I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer).
I bought an Eee 701 as a temporary replacement when my laptop got stolen earlier this year. Once I got a new computer I gave the Eee to my mom (with Windows 2003 installed, not Linux). She carries it everywhere. When she visits her dad she leeches the neighbours’ wireless like a pro.
A new laptop. Because mine is litterally falling apart these days.
Oh, and an asteroid would be nice, plz!
I want every short story I currently have on the market to every pro-pay, SFWA-approved publications, to sell this afternoon. No questions asked.
I want to attain Warrant Officer rank without having to endure that hell in a very small place, known as Fort Rucker.
I want every moderately to highly attractive female in the U.S. to undergo federally-mandated breast augmentation using FFF-cup saline devices. We can print the Obama rainbow symbol on the saline devices, just so women can feel like they’re doing it for a worthy cause.
I want my full head of hair back, to not have to regularly buzz it off for the Army, to lose 10 pounds of muscle in my belly and gain 20 pounds of muscle in my arms and chest, and to not have to worry about my blown knee, my blown college career, or my blown reputation on certain blogs.
Yep. Sounds about right.
“I want every moderately to highly attractive female in the U.S. to undergo federally-mandated breast augmentation using FFF-cup saline devices.”
Because you have something against their spines?
Seriously, that’s just weird.
ajay @ #64: OMG, hahahaha! That takes me back.
Ahh, the days of text-only RPGing.
Yes, yes it is.
But as long as we’re using this thread as a “wish for the moon” thread…..
I want shelves to hold all the stuff I already have.
74: I admire that sort of modesty…
There’s a Calvin & Hobbes strip where Calvin asks: “If you could wish for anything at all in the world, what would you have?”
“A tuna sandwich.”
“WHAT? I’d have a trillion dollars and my own space shuttle!”
Next frame, Hobbes is eating a sandwich:
“Well, I got _my_ wish.”
I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for TIE Fighter. If they made another one of those games, with the nice long single-player mission mode, I would totally buy a decked out joystick.
I’d probably buy one for another Descent game, too.
It’s funny that just last night I was reading the New Yorker article about “CliffyB” and thinking about what the hell happened to my crazy desire to go into the video game industry. Then I decided I’d try to spend a couple hours per week making a first person shooter by, essentially, making maps with the HL2/Source level editor.
I know what you mean about free time, though.
Matt @ 33 – Douglas Adams blazed that trail, no need to wait on Scalzi. ;)
But I’d buy a Scalzi video game. And an updated Descent.
More “I want….”
I want my old Nintendo NES back, along with my cartridges for “Castlevania” and “Super Mario Brothers.”
I want my old Commodore 64 back, along with “Legacy of the Ancients”, “Stuart Smith’s Adventure Construction Set”, and all the old D&D products from SSI. Oh, and “Gunship” from Microprose. That was badass.
I want to go back to my youth, when politics was a distant, foggy distraction from having fun.
I want the current Ares-Orion program to not only succeed, but usher in a complete commitment by the U.S. to erect and staff a permanent lunar base by 2020.
I want my daughter and wife to be able to avoid all forms of breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer from now until they both die of natural causes, at comfortable and ripe old ages. Because seeing any of the above happen to either of them… No, don’t wanna go there.
Chris @#2: “Let’s see: An SGI Tezro. Purple. Lots of ports. Geekasm in silicon.”
With IRIX, more like a religious experience.
And: good lord, me too! (Though I’d settle for an Onyx3 deskside and the best gfx that will fit inside it.)
(Sigh. SGI: proof that there was a God.)
#3: go retro.
Low polygons are your friend. Less is more. It grows more fabulous flowers in your imagination.
#4: Update an old, perfectly functional game?
Just look what they did to Doom.
Also, want. (At least it’s more accessible to me than the Onyx3.)
Though I’m a tad morose now. The note about asteroid names reminds me that the Blue Collar Scientist is no longer with us.
Man, I can’t stop!
I want Disney to release an update for the TRON 2.0 first-person POV game. Call it TRON 3.0 and throw in an endless supply of add-on packs.
I want the Utah Jazz to take the NBA title in 2009.
I want to go back to 1997 and 1998 and find a way to surreptitiously deflect even a few of Michael Jordan’s shots in those Finals.
Short of that, I’d like to go back to 1995 and convince Michael Jordan he really does have a future in baseball.
Short of that, I’d like to go back to 1994 and assassinate Michael Jordan.
Some of the replies to this almost made me cry. I do have wants … I want for all of my sweeties to not live so far away and the ability to spend as much time with them as we each need … luckily, I don’t really have unmeet needs right now.
After some of the other replies, though, I think I want for their wants and needs to be met first. (Not that I’d turn down a new pancreas, mind you!)
I agree with you 100% on Descent, John — that game rocked! I’m not even going to try to calculate the number of hours I lost to Descent I, II, and III (along with its Wing Commander-style spin-offs, Descent: Freespace and Freespace II). It was a wonderful time-sink!
Another one I’d like to see revamped is one called “Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri.” It was a great game: good graphics for the time (1996), immersive storyline, and white-knuckle action. Best of all, in the game, you ran around in honest-to-goodness Starship-freakin’-Troopers style POWER ARMOR!!! Complete with jump-jets lasers, missiles, and railguns.
For $40-$50 when it came out, it was the ultimate in Mil-SF nerd wish-fulfillment.
I want to dye my hair purple.
Rob @ #84: Howindahell did I miss all this??
I never even heard of Descent before this thread.
Must have been too busy playing Mechwarrior in its various incarnations?
Which reminds me: I wish I had an additional 5 hours at the end of every day, after the wife and daughter have been tucked into bed, during which I could do nothing but play video games, like when I was a teen in the late 80’s.
#20 – pwstain – a house free and clear?
Funny enough, I have a friend giving one away:
Well, not quite giving – it’s $49.95 to enter the contest, you have to move to Veneta, Oregon ( which is a nice little town near Eugene ), and people have to vote to give it you. But, there you go.
Jon: As for a 1st person shooter? An “Old Man’s War” FPS or one in the “Android’s Dream” universe would be awesome. I’d buy that, and for more than a dollar.
And I thought I was the only one who wanted another Descent.
Example of someone just writing a game (what you described is game design ala Cliffy B):
I’m typing this on an Eee PC 4G Surf (it has the 7″ screen). As others have mentioned, meet one in person and try out the keyboard. I’ve got about as big of hands as one can have and use the keyboard comfortably (I’m also deft, which helps, a lot). The two biggest pains on the keyboard are the escape/tilde location and the right shift key/up arrow location. I’m a Linux power user and vim partisan, so I use escape and tilde all the time, and they’re a pain. Right shift is more generally problematic, since everyone uses it. The up arrow takes up the near half of the space that should be shift. I ended up remapping both keys to be right shift (so I could have a full sized shift key), and moved the up arrow to fn-k (which will only make sense to vi users). Something to be aware of. Also, the trackpad can be frustrating. I’ve got Slackware installed on mine and I love it. Definitely a worthwhile machine. I’m able to use it for writing and programming.
As for science fiction writers moving into game writing, anyone ever heard of this little game called “Halo”? I hear it’s pretty popular with the cool kids these days. Eric Nylund snagged a job with Microsoft a few years ago writing for the Microsoft Game Studios division, and doing a lot of work on the Halo projects (besides the three novels he wrote set in the universe). I met him shortly after he’d finished the first of those novels, and he was very happy with the position. So, there is precedent for moving into game writing.
I guess I’ll finish this up with wants:
Doom3/Quake4 engine + OMW setting + Linux Port = I will play it. Oh yes. I would love another Quake4-like single player game.
Also, I want an awesome car: Factory Five Racing 65′ Roadster, ’75-’78 Mustang Cobra II (V8), ’05-’08 Mustang (I wouldn’t turn down a GT500), or 99-04 Mustang (especially an ’03-’04 Cobra).
I think I am most likely to get one of the Cobra IIs, as that has the best affordability/desireability/wrenchability compromise (next is the FFR Roadster). But not anytime soon I think.
What constitutes an updated version of Descent? Why does it need updating? A buddy of mine was playing Descent yesterday and I commented that the nice thing about Descent is that it absolutely still works great. No need for new graphics, the graphics of the original have their own wonderful style. What would you improve?
Personally, I want to write an AI for Descent in the spirit of programming games. An AI that would fly the PC’s fighter through single player missions. Holy hell that would be a badass thing to create.
John, you’re a cool guy. Cool guys own Apple products. So, you don’t really want one of those cheap PC things – you want a MacBook Air. And, you don’t want a Blackberry, you really want an iPhone 3G. You just don’t realize these facts yet.
I should probably clarify what I mean by “programming games”. I mean games for programmers, not the act of creating games. Games where you create some piece of code, which is typically in competition with some other piece of code. Usually these are AIs of some kind, which exist in a sandbox world as tanks or what have you.
The idea of a single player programming game, where you write an AI to complete a single player game, is very interesting to me, because in the process of creating such a thing, you must analyze and understand how you, as an intelligent agent, get through the game.
I want this bicycle. If you bought me this bicycle, I would wear your company’s logo on every jersey. Hell, I would get a jersey that had your face on the back with a caption that says, “I am totally awesome because I bought this guy this bicycle.” I would get your name tattooed on my legs in some interesting way so as to make a simple animated cartoon that shows off your awesomeness as I rode.
I’m with you, Ora (#13). I want a job – preferably teaching history, and as long as I’m dreaming I’d like the contract to be longer than a year this time.
Because I like to eat. And I could buy more books. Not necessarily in that order.
I want one of those little netbooks too, it would be great for writing on the go. Unlike you, I can’t afford it right now, so I’ll be saving my pennies over the next few months for the Acer Aspire One. I saw it in Staples the other day, and it’s the smallest, nicest looking thing I’ve seen – and it runs XP too which is a plus – and it’s not even that expensive.
John, would you write your FPS masterpiece in the OMW universe? The TAD universe? Or something new and original?
Sounds to me like you want an iPhone, but you just can’t bring yourself to jump on that particular bandwagon. Because even though you’ve said you have nothing against the cult of Apple/Jobs, deep down you actually do. And I get that, I really do — the whole “Apple fanboys are smug and sanctimonious wankers” schtick, and you just don’t want to be one of those guys. The problem is that, when the rubber hits the road, nothing else even comes close. RIM and Google are doing their best to play catchup, but the iPhone is just a revolutionary device. By the time their competitors come up with a comparable smartphone, Apple will have moved on to something even more innovative. So while I appreciate your efforts to resist the hype, in the end you’re only punishing yourself by settling for a gimped wannabe iPhone clone. Sometimes you just have to make your peace with giving in to the dark side. Your choice, obviously.
On the other hand, AT&T really does blow white-hot chunks. But the device itself makes it more than worth it, to me.
Descent was great, but I’d love to see the old X-Wing and Tie Fighter games updated. Used to go through a lot of CH Products and Thrustmaster sticks playing those.
Shorter Scalzi: “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”
I wonder how well Descent would work on an iPhone.
As for a netbook – don’t get one with Linux, get one with Windows. You’d probably get up and running faster.
Oh! Job teaching! Totally. My high-school was partially staffed by people on teaching leave from their respective employers.
Learning how transistors worked and how to design logic gates using them from an IBM fellow was one of the coolest things that could ever happen to a bunch of geeks like us.
In a perfect world I would teach computer science to the end of my days and be happy.
I want to win the lottery and use the winnings to pay off all my loans.
I want an A in my math and physics classes.
I want peace on earth.
I want to write a commercially successful country song.
I want to be able to sit down and write a novel without interruptions. I want to win NaNoWriMo this year.
I want fruity snacks.
Only the last one is possible, of course, but it can’t hurt to wish!
Well, I have a MacBook Air so there’s that out of the way. But I want an iPhone G3 with a passion so intense it’s probably what’s melting the polar icecap. Alas, my current contract isn’t up until May. But oh, baby. Come spring I’m *there*
Ah, tech lust. I know it well.
I have an eee 701 which I love. It was extremely helpful when I was regularly visiting nearby Big University Hospital with my mom for her medical treatments and, ultimately, major surgery. And it never failed to elicit all sorts of comments, questions and sometimes, little crowds. I wrote down the model number and price points so often, Asus should have paid me a commission.
My mom doesn’t have internet access, so the open wireless signal in her building means I can visit her now without going into internet withdrawal. The eee has awesome wireless detection. My two sisters’ notebooks (one Mac, one Dell) did not pick up the wireless signal as well as my eee.
I hear Dell keeps pushing back the shipping dates on their subnotebook. Dunno about Lenovo.
I would buy another Asus in a heartbeat. Mine has Linux, but they now have XP versions available.
I cant believe all the Decent fans here. wow. I only played the original Decent, but loved it. And none of my buds thought it was cool like Doom (at the time), so I thought I was alone in my love of the 6D rotating game. Now, can anyone tell me if they updated 3D tetris?
I for one would love to see a new Descent, but only provided I also receive a brand new Microsoft Sidewinder joystick to play it with. There ain’t no joystick in the world as beautiful as the Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro. My current flight stick, the Logitech Extreme 3d Pro, is nice and all, but it’s just not the same.
I also would like some sort of mobile internet device, but I don’t really have any idea whether I want that to be an internet-enabled smartphone or an internet tablet or what. I have been lusting over the HTC Touch Pro for a while now, however…
A FPS based on The Androids Dream would be fun. Press the “shift” key for “taunt alien.” Brrrapp!
I’m jonesing for a really nice recumbent tadpole trike, much like this one. It’s only $2500 (plus shipping from the UK) and I promise I won’t ride it in the house. PleasePleasePleasePlease?
The other option is to find a local welding class and learn to build my own frames. A different type of fun, which would require finding someplace where I could do such work (the apartment manager objects to oxyacytelene on the patio).
S Belisle @107: While the Precision Pro was good, you have obviously never tried the Logitech Wingman Interceptor. I was using it up until this past Fall, when I finally switched to a motherboard without a gameport. That stick was solid, and had 3 hat switches and enough buttons that made it so I rarely had to use the keyboard. I picked up a used Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 to replace it, but it still doesn’t feel quite as good. I still can’t bring myself to sell the old Logitech, though!
I want a few more people reading my LJ. Just a few, and it would be nice if they left some indication that they were reading.
John, get a step closer to resolving item 3 by attending & networking at the Game Developers Conference in March.
If you are inclined to speak rather than just attend, speakers’ attendance fees are waived.
Funny you should mention netbooks. I just got an email from Amazon.com that my spiffy new ASUS Eee PC 1000H is shipping today. Looking forward to installing Ubuntu on it and maybe even trying to install OSX too just to see if it will work.
Actually moving from an old Thinkpad R40 to the Eee. The good old Stinkpad is still working great but I realized that what I mainly want in a laptop is battery life and portability. The Eee with a 6 cell battery fits those criteria better than a full sized laptop.
I probably wouldn’t even be considering it except I borrowed an Acer AspireOne for a trip to DC a few weeks ago and fell in love with the netbook idea. The 1000H seems to fix the things that I didn’t like about the Acer (goofy trackpad and no Bluetooth) so I went with that.
1 and 2) to each his own. Not for me at the moment.
3) I can’t stop writing parsers. It’s a disease or something.
5) Ya’d think “scalzi” would be a good root word for something. The scalzi rhinovirus. The scalzi antidote. The scalzi antivenom. The scalzi syndrome.
Hm, maybe it could be used to name a nice, slappable species of fish..
1. Either to win enough in the lottery or someone to randomly give me money to pay off all of my current debt so I can start fresh.
2. A new regular laptop.
3. A new netbook where I don’t feel like a freak using the keyboard because, frankly, my hands aren’t *that* big, and, thanks to my mother’s insistence we all learn keyboarding in high school, I’m incapable of doing anything besides touch typing. I like my 60 wpm speed quite well and hate having to type slower based on an insufficiently sized keyboard.
4. A way to get cool new phones like Blackberries and iPhones without having to expose myself to the allergen known as cell phone contracts.
5. A way to afford to comfortably live near all of my family.
I’m typing this on my Eee 901 (XP o/s). It’s my first laptop, and I love it. Except for the keyboard. which is a little flaky. But we manage ok.
I want a Honda Fit car. I also want a motorcycle with a sidecar, so I can take one of my dogs with me when I ride.
Y’all can all have my share of games. I’m content with the occasional flash puzzle. And cellphones hold no great appeal for me. I have the most basic phone and service possible. However, if my income was larger and I could afford a data plan, my opinion would probably change.
I’ve been pondering a netbook for a while now. Not that I actually need one, but I’m thinking that the need will arrive once I have bought it… It’s a chicken and egg thing.
I was hoping that the next generation netbooks would arrive this spring – dual core Atom CPU and a proper, low power chipset instead of the old 945. Add a SSD to that and it would be a sweet little thing with decent horsepower and awesome battery life.
But now it looks like a new chipset will not arrive until the fall of 2009 and that is a little late. Ah, well – maybe I’ll get one anyway or it will be a 2009 Christmas present to myself.
Good netbook guide here, showing most models: http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/15414
I’m trying to do some research with a company that makes a blood substitute. What’s it worth if I could get them to market is as SmartBlood?
I WANT to win the lottery so I don’t HAVE to keep trying to find a job. (been out of full-time work over a year so kinda need the full time job)
If I win the lottery, I WANT a house at the beach, I want a car, and want plenty of time to work on my quilting, the latter of which has languished way too long.
I want to get a passport and travel to interesting places outside the US.
I WANT a german shepard. I miss having one.
That about does it for me.
John, thank you for posting you wanted Descent… it just filled me with so much nostalgia that I want to give you a hug… a great big group hug for all the Descent-fanboys. (as I explode a mega-missile in the middle)
those were good days.
Loved Descent. Of course, I had a mouse that could do x, y, and z movement (and tilt).
I am also a Descent Disciple. I used to love making my friends motion-sick by having them watch me play.
I used to have the full Thrustmaster HOTAS setup with the pedals because I was a combat flight sim nut. I played so much that I learned how to “sphere-strafe,” where you orbit whatever you’re shooting at as if you were attached to the surface of a rotating sphere centered on that object, using the hat switches and pedals to control all the motion.
Earlier this year I heard that there is indeed a new Descent game in the works, but I haven’t heard anything since – given the recent spate of layoffs and game cancellations in the game biz (including my own, I’m unemployed now, boo), it might get shelved again.
I recently got Descent 1 running in WinXP under Parallels Desktop on my Intel MacBook Pro (along with Command & Conquer, Doom, Microsoft Arcade and XWing/TIE Fighter, heh). Just need to get the HOTAS setup again! :D
Speaking of TIE Fighter… any Emperor’s Hammer vets here? :)
I have to second #3 and #4. I’ve got over 20 years of game experience not counting about a decade of arcade gameing. I also have two games pretty well worked out in my head. Ones a pretty cool trivia game and the other is a new mix of FPS, RTS and MMOLG.
Seems to me that you could license an FPS engine and create an OMW game. Write a story line and then hire some artists to fill it out. The hard part would be getting the brainpal to “work”.
The brainpal would have to be a pop-up or side window deal since direct interface ain’t happening yet.
If I remember correctly only one of the original group in OMW had a nice name for their brainpal. I agree with them. I’d name mine “Jeeves” as I don’t feel any need to demonize the voice in my head.
It’d be cool to have though. We could drop all of this discussion about mini-notebooks or 3g phones and just listen to the voices in our heads.
Not that we don’t do that now…
I want to have enough free time to do all the things I have waiting for me in my little seldom-used workshop.
I so want a rebuild of Descent. That’s something that would convince me to buy a game console….
You might ask Walter Jon Williams how he wound up writing the dialog and some situations for Spore; you might be able to find a video game company who’d love to have you on the script.
Mr. Scalzi, I recall you some time ago wanting a car. A specific car.
Have you abandoned that wanting or have you bought it, though I don’t think you would do that without sharing it wit us.
Sometimes someone already said it better. In this case Patrick M @ 56.
There’s only one thing I want, everything else I can get by without. So, of course, that odds of that happening look to be negligibly different from zero…
I want someone to update Descent.
What, you mean like this?
I want someone to update Descent.
What, you mean like this?
I want … some kind of honest-to-goodness cure for my anxiety disorders, so I can get on with my life. I want the time and energy to do the things I want to do with it after that.
I want world peace (and I’m willing to settle for the sort that glows in the dark and is uninhabitable for the next ten thousand years, because I’m misanthropic that way).
I want a computer that can play Spore at the highest graphics settings without lagging like British Rail on PCP.
I would quite like a girlfriend.
But I’m willing to settle for a copy of /The Graveyard Book/, whenever it comes out in New Zealand.
I want a laundry fairy who will take away the mess in my basement, my husband’s company not to go belly-up, 5 days in London, a cure for autism, and 2 more snow-free days to tidy up my back yard.
I want the university to quietly, sequentially sponsor (and fund!) me for a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in every scientific field it offers.
Failing that, I want a Bookeen Cybook Gen3 e-paper reading device.
Oh, and I want a world government based on cold, rational calculation and goodwill; whether I’m at the head of it doesn’t really matter. (But if I were, I’d change my name to Nicolae Carpathia just to piss off certain folks.)
My phone want is directly opposite yours. I want a cellphone that is a cellphone, and only a cellphone. No Internet. No texting. No IM. No camera.
I’m entirely with you on Descent. I loved that game. I recently loaded a bunch of old DOS games onto my seriously-behind-the-times laptop just for the fun of it. I’m currently playing the original version of Populous, and the Star Trek 25th Anniversary game. I think I’ll dig out my old Descent discs as well. Thanks for the idea.
I still want the “where the hell are my keys” fairy (for my wife) that we talked about back on September 16th in the “Name Your Personal Fairy” blog.
Seriously, since I put that comment online its only gotten worse!
I though you were working on that for me John…
That paralyzed by choice thing? Abulia. I get it all the time, when faced with decisions about what kind of cheese to get, or what kind of cracker for that matter, nevermind choices about various technowants. It’s a disease.
As for my wants: 20/20 vision, no mortgage, hips and knees that don’t ache, and a trip to Ireland.
If you want to shell out a couple bucks, you can get a star named after you, no problem, at starregistry.com or the like.
I would like the time and equipment to play video games.
I would like the self-control that would let me put a game down and walk away from it for a while. Since that’s not going to happen, wish one isn’t going to happen, either.
I would like people to buy crazy quantities of my book when it comes out next year.
I’m typing this comment on my new Dell Mini 9 (aka 901). I’ve had it for a couple weeks now. The main selling points for me were SSD and 4 cell battery (it’s main competitors had one or the other, not both, though I believe there might be a very new eee PC that does, maybe it’s the one you put in this post). I love the portability and having it so light and small makes it very easy to tote around. The screen is small, but really, I had to expect that (it could, in theory be a tiny bit bigger, as there is a wide plastic frame around it). My only real issue with it is that in revamping the keyboard to make the keys as large as possible (a nice thing), they put the ‘/” key down by the space bar, which is a touch irritating and requires getting used to.
I am very happy with it otherwise and highly recommend it for surfing the internet and writing short works or emails. (Have not used it for my heavy duty writing, which, this being NaNoWriMo month, is pretty heavy duty. Speaking of which…)
Oh man, I have a MacBook Air – the dinner plate of laptops – and I’m totally wanting a tiny Netbook because I think my Air’s too big! I’m so jonesing for one I turned my obsession into an article for my column, Technolust, at my school paper this week: I give thee specs in attempts to quell your lusting for the moment!
There’s a link in my last comment but the CSS is hiding it (in an attempt to turn the lusting into a frenzy no doubt) so here’s the address: http://fiusm.com/articles/slug-techno-lust
S. Belisle #107
I’ve had an HTC Touch for over a year now, they came out sooner in Canada.
While I love it and am finding more uses for it all the time it does have an annoying drawback. It runs Windows Mobile 6.1
Now, I’m not a Mac fangirl. I live in a Windows world. But frankly the combo of MS and HTC is seriously annoying me right now as they are playing ping-pong with a fairly big error that is preventing people from syncing their Outlook calendars on more than one machine.
If you don’t do this it isn’t a problem. However, the fact that both MS and the OEM are playing kickball with the problem should be a warning to you for how future problems will be handled.
Kevin Drum wants a netbook, too. His commenters are helping him with the choice; maybe they can help you, too.
Brian Reynolds is a video game developer. He’s also an old friend of mine, and yesterday he was brainstorming new game ideas. First person shooters aren’t really his company’s thing, but who knows? Maybe there’s an audience out there for Scalzified blowing crap up. Drop me a note and I’ll connect you.
Can’t help with the asteroid or the species.
It might be too much to hope that a comment this far down gets noticed, but as Descent remains perhaps my all-time favorite series, I thought I’d pass along that there’s a guy still updating Descent 2, making for a vastly improved experience (that works in Windows XP, et al.) without losing the feel of the original engine. I mean liked D3, but there was something about the originals…
For some reason the website is down when I check it today, but the Google cache from November 6 is here: http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:lIX7Vv_Zn4MJ:www.descent2.de/d2x.html+d2x+descent&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us.
A Google search for “d2x descent” would turn up other DL options, should anyone be interested.
I have the Asus EeePC 701. Way too small of a keyboard. I also have the Acer AspireOne, with a 120 GB HDD, running WinXP. Best. Netbook. Evar.
WANT – Another OMW-verse novel or an OMW movie. Possibly starring Ed Asner as the original Perry. He just seems to fit for some reason.
I love the eeePCs. I have an older one, and it’s awesome. The keyboard is a bit small, but it’s so nice to have something so small and light. I’d say either get one of those, or an MSI Wind. I’ve used both at work. Or, if you really don’t care about money, get a MacBook Air. Ignore the hype, and try one yourself. I love it.
As for the computer game, I would definitely pay money to fight Rraey and Consu.
And I want, and I want, and I want, and I will always be hungry….
(If you think the lyrics are creepy, try listening to the entire song in a competely dark room with properly configured surround sound.)
Netbooks? Either the MSI Wind, Asus 1000, Samsung Nc-10 (I think it is), or Lenovo S10 (I think it is).
What a guide? By a real expert (not me!)?
Free eBook: Ultra Mobile Computing Buyers Guide
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