Proving once again that reducing something to raw numbers isn't necessarily the best way to appreciate its beauty: Kotaku commits journalism with a grand article about the Homeworld Remastered soundtrack. Also: useful Windows applications, encryption software, and sundry other gaming news.
Theme from the Castle of Death (Ultima III) by Dan Minut - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5EnSST8nM0
Gaming “news” site Kotaku took a break from posting articles about the history of dicks — penises, just so we're clear, not toxic jerks — in video gaming (http://kotaku.com/an-abridged-history-of-video-game-dicks-1692489201) and inadvertently published a truly excellent article (http://kotaku.com/how-we-overhauled-the-homeworld-soundtrack-for-a-new-au-1692665327) that examined the creation of the soundtrack for Gearbox's Homeworld Remastered. The quality of the article was probably helped by the fact that it was written by Paul Ruskay, who has been doing audio work for computer games since the mid-1990s and who helped shape the sound of the original Homeworld games...in addition to leading the effort to remaster that audio for the recent re-release of the series.
It's a fantastic look at the process by which the audio for the games was remastered, from the original backup tapes/hard drives to the final version. And it gives this podcast its title; that is how many sound files the remastered Homeworld games contain, and how many folders exist to contain all of them.
Homeworld Remastered, for its part, seems to be a truly excellent collection, based on available reviews. (http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-review/). And yes, the sound design — which really was, and remains, truly excellent and gives Homeworld much of its unique feel and atmosphere — gets singled out for particular praise.
Did you all hear about the Super Mario 64 tribute that popped up last week? (http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/27/super-mario-64-browser/) Unity developer Roystan Ross built a (what else?) Unity-based remake of the original game's first level — Bob-Omb Battlefield — and released it as a free, web-playable game that he called Super Mario 64 HD. If you didn't hear about it...you're now officially hearing about it too late; Nintendo issued a cease and desist order (http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/31/nintendo-squashes-browser-based-mario-game/). Mind you, I suppose that was kind of an obvious one.
There was also a bit of a meme floating around a while back concerning Link, the protagonist — though not the titular character — of the Legend of Zelda games. Basically, as I understand it, the meme centered around whether Link, the character, would work just as well as a female; I don't know if the discussion also focused on whether or not the character of Zelda would work well as a male, because I did not follow it that closely. I did, however, take note of TechRaptor's take on the matter (http://techraptor.net/content/cant-link-girl), which basically was to argue that Link can't really be reimagined as a female character...or, at least, that there would be no need for that exercise, because it already has a powerful female protagonist character: Sheik (http://zeldawiki.org/Sheik)...who just happens to be Zelda herself, albeit in disguise. Rather than envision a game in which Link is recast as female, TechRaptor argues, why not envision a game in which the player takes on the role of Sheik?
I've been called in for computer help by a couple of people in recent weeks. One of my the Kidlets' godparents asked for some help securing files and folders on her computer, and just last night I was attempting to help my sister-in-law deal with a rather nasty piece of rogue anti-spyware...via phone, no less. (She lives a goodly distance from us...over a thousand kilometres.) And this reminded me that I had a couple of lists of utilities in my Pocket queue that I wanted to bring up on the Codex at some point, as a kind of PSA. So here (http://lifehacker.com/top-10-incredibly-useful-windows-programs-to-have-on-ha-1584009886) is a list of ten highly useful Windows utilities, at least some of which can help you deal with malware and/or help protect you against same. And here (http://lifehacker.com/five-best-file-encryption-tools-5677725) are five handy tools you can use to encrypt files and emails, either individually or en masse.
And while we're on the subject, here are three Chrome extensions you should install if that is your browser of choice: AdBlock Plus (https://adblockplus.org/), Disconnect (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/disconnect/jeoacafpbcihiomhlakheieifhpjdfeo?hl=en) by Disconnect.me (https://disconnect.me/), and FlashControl (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/flashcontrol/mfidmkgnfgnkihnjeklbekckimkipmoe?hl=en).
Also, this may be amusing to some of you who know my...opinion of Linux. I recently came into possession of a trio of HP Mini 1101 laptops. They're woefully underpowered systems, to be sure, but in my quest to find a suitable lightweight Linux kernel that wouldn't require too much additional setup to make “kid friendly”, I chanced upon elementary OS (http://elementary.io/). This appears to be a stripped-down Ubuntu build that maintains a fairly light memory and processor usage footprint — certainly, it runs well enough on the gutless Atom chips in the Mini 1101s — but which does so without looking butt-ugly. Indeed, clean and (dare I say it?) beautiful design seems to be the guiding objective of the elementary OS project.
Finally, the recently-released Witcher 3 Map (http://www.onlysp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sna3kJe.jpg) — which was so gorgeous I just had to recommend it as the Wallpaper for the Week — is a really keen example of something that was discussed during the first podcast, namely the way in which a good fantasy map does more than just convey information to the viewer, but actually tells a bit of a story of its own in some way.
Always remember: if you'd like to recommend anyone for a shout-out, send an email to UltimaCodex@gmail.com...which you can also use to suggest podcast topics, offer commentary or criticism about podcast episodes, and/or to volunteer your time as either an occasional or regular contributor to podcast sessions.
As well, if you haven't already, you should totally sign on with the Ultima Dragons group on Facebook, or with the Ultima Dragons community on Google+ . The Facebook group is easily the larger and more lively, but that just means that the Google+ one needs a few more members posting content there on a more regular basis. Also, don't forget to contribute to the #udic hashtag if you're on Twitter.
As well, please consider Liking the Facebook page for The Ultima Series, following the Ultima Codex on Twitter, or encircling the Ultima Codex on Google+. And whatever social network you favour, please also consider sharing any content posted to those social media profiles with your own followers and friends; spread the word, spread the Ultima.
Finally, there's the Ultima Codex Patreon. A $1 pledge will get you access to Spam Spam Spam Humbug episodes the day before they go live here on the site, and you'll be helping me both maintain and — with sufficient funding — expand the server infrastructure of the Codex to better deliver all the things you come looking for thereat.
MagerValp, because his Ultima 4 Remastered (http://ultima4.ultimacodex.com/ultima-4-remastered/) might just be the best version of Ultima 4 out there, now.
And also Golem Dragon, who stepped in to cover the additional Shroud of the Avatar news concerning Release 16 this week.
Ultima - 'Haato no Jisyaku', MSX - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duaX_IHHdjQ