Delta Engine Blog

AI, Robotics, multiplatform game development and Strict programming language

Seattle - MVP Summit 2009 - Day 7 - Getting back to Germany

While it was fun staying in Seattle for a week and meeting all the MVPs and Microsoft people again, I was happy to finally return back home. I missed my computer :D

I took some more random pics of the streets of Seattle.

It took almost 30 minutes until the bus to the airport came, but I still had 3 hours left, more than enough time. I also met up with a German Windows Mobile MVP, which was pretty much pissed about Windows Mobile 6.5, which did not has any new useful features and just can't compete with the iPhone.

As usual, for me it is always fun to take pictures of people taking pictures.

Heading to the Seattle airport.

Arriving at the check-in gates. Still 3 more hours to kill.

Oh no, self-service check-in computers. This will end horribly as usual! This crappy thing did not detect mine or that other MVPs guys passport and due to all the back and forth it takes like 3 times longer just to get the boarding pass. I also only did get the boarding pass for Seattle to Amsterdam, more on that problem later.

I think I saw this crazy thing before last year at the Seattle airport ..

Waiting in line for the security check. Always fun to have some Asian guys in front of you that did not understand the security officer very well and made everything wrong they could do (not taking off their shoes, not keeping their passports in their hands, not removing the laptops from their bags, etc.). But I have to say getting the boarding pass and going to security is taking less time every year. Some guy had a T-Shirt explaining Geeks to us, which is helpful to know ^^

This thing is strange, buy a DVD for $ 5.99 and you can only watch it for a day because the DVD has a protective film on it and once to remove it for watching the DVD will be unusable after a day or two.

After walking around in some shops, but not finding anything useful (no good books or other stuff I wanted), we could finally board the ship, erm, plane. As you can see it was raining outside, same weather conditions as in Amsterdam and Hannover.

Seattle is getting smaller and smaller ..

For most of the flight we could not see much, it was very cloudy in the beginning, then we flew through the night from Thursday to Friday and in the darkness you cannot see anything either (not much going on around the North pol area anyway).

After about 10 hours it got bright again. I could not sleep on the plane as usual. Now it is Friday and we are flying over the UK right now.

And about an hour later we finally landed in Amsterdam, where it was raining too. The airport is really huge, I'm always amazed when landing there.

A last look at the plane that got us here so far.

Now I'm quite confused. I do not have a ticket to Hannover yet and I thought I have to get my luggage and then check-in again for my boarding pass to Hannover. This happened to me few years ago, but I had a lot of time between the flights, not just a little over an hour.

So I headed over to the Luggage Drop off just to find out that all the luggage is transfered to the next flight anyway. I took a closer look at the first boarding pass and on the back there was a little sticker telling me just that. Warg, let's get back to the gates.

But security would not let me through the other way. They said I had to go through Customs, then to the Arrival area, up to the Departure area and then check-in there again, go through security and so on. OK, I did that but in order to get through security you need a boarding pass, which I obviously did not have. So I headed to the self-service check-in area to one of those stupid computers. I tried to get my boarding pass and the computer freaked out. My first attempt was aborted and then I tried it again just to get a random error and the computer telling me I had to go to the custom check-in area. Some guy came and told me to try it once again, same thing happened. Then I had to wait in line for about 25 minutes to finally get my boarding pass from the custom check-in area. But the boarding time to that plane to Hannover was just 5 minutes away and I still had to get to security and then head to that gate. I rushed over there with some girls in front of me at the security gates, which similar to the Asian guys in Seattle did everything wrong they could (not taking off their jewelry, not unpacking their bags, etc.). But I arrived just in time at my gate and got on the bus to the plane. Pooh, this is just too much stress after being awake for 18 hours ..

After about just 1 hour we arrived in Hannover with this little plane. The stewardess was a little bit annoying not letting me hear some music from my mp3 player, because that could crash the plane. Yeah, sure .. just leave me freaking alone ..

The Hannover airport is not very big, but a lot of people probably arrived here this week because of the CeBIT, which I will attend to tomorrow as well. My brother already told me about some cool things from there.

I probably have photographed this model of the Hannover airport before, but I was too tired to remember. Looks cool though.

And this was my train (S-Bahn) getting me home. I could stay away by hearing very loud music, which probably annoyed some people in the train, but I did not care at that point :)

I took a little nap and headed to the office in the evening just to test out if the US-Version of Halo Wars works with my 3 year old Xbox 360. And yes, it does. Great! Good thing most games to not use that stupid region-code anymore these days.
Halo Wars itself is nicely produced, the cut-scenes and videos are top-notch. It is probably also fun to play for Halo fans and RTS newbies. But this game is in no way comparable to any PC RTS game. It is more like playing shooter or simple role playing game from above. The controls are pretty much the same as in Lord of the Rings and C&C Red Alert 2 on the Xbox 360, which is pretty much crap and highly simplified. The game is also way too easy, I just have played the first 3-4 missions, but you spend 90% of your time to press LB (selects all units you have) and then X to attack or move. The rest of the time you go back to your base with the horrible move control and build the very simplified base and some units, which is even annoying because you can only build when you have enough money, you cannot queue anything up for later. Last but not least the graphics are not very good, after watching those very high quality cut-scenes you will be thrown back to reality with the poorly lit scenes in-game and the horrible shadow-artifacts and very low polygon models (which does not make sense since the Xbox 360 is usually fill-rate limited, not so much vertex-limited). Also I would like to mention that I really hate the fact that every single Xbox 360 game says 1080p on the box and none of them support that mode, they all just render to 720p and scale everything up, which just looks horrible! Especially if you are used to Full-HD and much higher resolutions on the PC as I am every day.
It will probably sell well anyway as all Halo games have. But do not expect this game to be released on the PC ever. It would just not work and probably require much different controls and be way too boring and easy for PC gamers. Also Essemble Studios is no more and Microsoft will probably not want to port it to PC anyway.
But it is very cool that US Xbox 360 games work just fine in Europe. NTSC/Pal issues are non-existant anyway because for HD TVs these formats are not used (and would be supported anyway).

This trip was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoyed my pictures and comments. My webserver crashed several times in the last days and was not able to handle all requests (its running on a 1mbit dsl line, which pretty much sucks). I switched to another 1mbit dsl line, which seems to be more stable (but is still slow). I will have to switch to a real server next week, this is just too much for my little server at the office. Luckily I have access to some other servers. I just was too lazy in the past to setup my blog there (and clean it up a little), but now it makes sense since I'm blogging again, yay!
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