Thursday, October 30, 2008 Top XBOX Live Games for Week Ending 10/31

Fable II has climbed to the number 3 position and it looks like Fall sleeper titles such as Dead Space and Far Cry 2 are cracking into the TOP 13. Here is the list with #37 thrown in for good 1337 measure.

1. Call of Duty 4 (1000)
2. Halo 3 (882.25626957219)
3. Fable II (405.97582753177)
4. Gears of War (367.68549910712)
5. GTA IV (247.04314293848)
6. Saints Row 2 (205.56950231631)
7. Madden NFL 09 (199.09935557338)
8. Rock Band 2 (187.34956908823)
9. Guitar Hero III (180.6982582365)
10. Dead Space™ (140.75157224566)
11. FIFA 09 (140.01397551696)
12. Rock Band (130.39933745697)
13. Far Cry® 2 (105.35986956184)

37. Brothers in Arms: HH (34.38235979192)

Myself? I've been playing Fallout 3 as much as my crowded adult schedule permits. As a work of Bethesda, the game fixes much of what was broken with Oblivion in terms of gameplay mechanics and simply provides a better narrative.

Thank you all for your feedback and support.
don't pwn alone(tm)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Far Cry 2 is Far Cry

After a console detour that included a couple of linear titles that would have Jack Carver rolling in his grave. The new Far Cry 2 title takes the game back to its nonlinear roots in exotic Africa. Those console Far Cry in-name-only titles might have hurt the brand for the hard core, but the new game will make it all seem like a bad memory. It's good intense fun and I've already left the main mission stuff to raid outposts and let the savannah burn.

Unlike space stations/outposts, European towns, middle east, and Mexico, the African setting actually feels fresh -- at least until Resident Evil 5 hits the market.

don't pwn alone(tm)

PlayStation Network Woes

Sony needs to really pull it together. Little Big Planet is a spectacular piece of software, but the servers have been inoperable all weekend. At least Little Big Planet offers a completely sublime offline experience. The same cannot be said for SOCOM confrontation -- an online title that wouldn't work on the day you bought it.

I'd rather pay for something that works than be stuck with something "FREE" that doesn't. I think that Little Big Planet is quite possibly the definitive experience of this console generation. It's a shame that it's full potential is hampered by the reliability of the PlayStation Network.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Friday, October 24, 2008 Top XBOX Live Games for Week Ending 10/24

We're getting back in the habit of posting our statistics for the most popular games on XBOX Live. With our rankings, we include our popularity index that allows you to better compare and understand a particular title's actual popularity.

While the other guys stop at 10, we're going to give you the top 13. Plus, include the game in the #37 spot. Why? It's just more 1337 to do it that way.

1. Call of Duty 4 (1000)
2. Halo 3 (915.77677831101)
3. Gears of War (357.22003065404)
4. GTA IV (262.92117892409)
5. Madden NFL 09 (205.28153973718)
6. Rock Band 2 (186.47453453604)
7. Guitar Hero III (178.54719967838)
8. Saints Row 2 (150.229905274)
9. Fable II (147.57908490163)
10. Rock Band (137.57883363904)
11. FIFA 09 (129.07359481394)
12. The Force Unleashed (126.84992085228)
13. Rainbow Six® Vegas 2 (106.61071886228)

37. Burnout Paradise (33.279730646499)

Gears nearly fell out of the TOP 10 over the summer, but clearly excitement is building for GOW2 with people dusting off the title. Halo 3 will likely grab the top spot again when the new Call of Duty comes out. As with prior COD releases, gamers will split amongst the COD games until everyone finally boards the new title. Recall that COD4 didn't gain real traction until some major retailers overstocked the game and sharply discounted it post release.

EA's Dead Space is clocking in at #16. Liking the game, I was hoping that it might break the Top 10. There's so much good stuff landing in the next couple of weeks. I hope that folks might find time for it.

Of course, you can view the popularity of a title in our XBOX Live Friends iPhone/iPod Touch application by tapping on a game icon in the game detail page.

Thank you for your support.
don't pwn alone(tm)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Server Down/Failure (FIXED)

We have a down server that's knocked out the web site and the data feeds for our applications. Our hosting provider is investigating the issue.

The hardware issue has been addressed.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Minor Gamer Detail Tweaks

We've made some updates to the gamer details screen to improve performance with the new NXE-inspired layout. You'll also notice that the Send Message button now appears much more quickly. Be advised that we have encountered some encoding issues with avatars that can cause occasional crashing when or after viewing gamer details.

Avatars have been turned off until the release of the NXE. By then, those issues will be straightened out.

Thank you all for your feedback...
don't pwn alone(tm)

Friday, October 17, 2008

1337pwn XBOX Live Friends Application Now Supports Avatars!

We have updated the gamer detail screen of our 1337pwn XBOX Live Friends List AppStore application to reflect New XBOX Experience (NXE) features. You will be able to view a gamer's avatar along with their play history.

As always, we're working hard to improve our application. We welcome your feedback and comments. Send them in a message to borocouncilman on XBOX Live.

We've turned off the Avatar support for now until the release of the NXE. We can't wait!

Thank you and...
don't pwn alone(tm)

Avatar Images are Coming!

Our XBOX Live Friends Application or the iPhone/iPod Touch will support avatar images on Day 1 of the New XBOX Experience (NXE) in November. No upgrade/download will be required to view the avatar on the gamer details screen.

The application now supports avatars. Read more here.

Thank you and...
don't pwn alone(tm)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Major Nelson's (and other MS employees) Gamerpic Causing a Problem

If you have Major Nelson (or other MS personalities) on your 1337pwn XBOX Live Friends List iPhone/iPod Touch AppStore application, they may be using a gamerpic that is not a valid image file. This corrupt file (WRONG MIME TYPE) was causing the application to crash. We're now forcing his gamertag to use a default pic in the application. If the Major is on your list, let the application completely refresh the friends list and all will be well.

If the Major had appeared on your list without scrolling, you will have to uninstall and re-install the application. Use our functionality to save yourself retyping. Again, this is only required if the Major was causing your application to crash. Please send an XBOX Live message to borocouncilman if you have any questions or need help.

It appears that Microsoft employees using new gamerpics are causing problems for us. We've added exceptions for popular Microsoft personalities, but if you run into any other Microsoft employees, please let us know.

Not only did we fix the problem with a workaround, but we also incorporated Avatar support!

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
don't pwn alone(tm)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is Apple dropping the 17" MacBook Pro?

If you follow my twitter, you might have picked up that I really like my 17" MacBook Pro. For portable application development, it's tough to beat an LED backlit 1920x1200 screen that you can take with you in a package that's less than an inch thick. Oh, and it gets more than 4 hours of real run time away from an outlet. As portable hardware goes, it is a machine without peer and simply the best development laptop that I've ever used.

Yet, despite these attributes, it's not a great seller for Apple. Of course, there's the painful fact that the laptop retailed in my configuration for over THREE GRAND. That said, you get what you pay for and I'll be first in line if Apple decides to release an updated 17" MacBook Pro.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall/Winter Game Season Kicks Off

The summer game drought has clearly come to an end. With so many great titles in the pipeline, it's tough to make a decision on what to get and what to play. Here's what I ended up placing on the diabolical pre-order this weekend. In no particular order, they are as follows.

Little Big Planet (PS3)
While XNA has promised to be the YouTube of Games, LBP looks to actually deliver on that concept by providing a set of creative tools to the masses. It's not an anything-killer. LBP promises something completely new in a sea of Sci-Fi shooters and sports games.

Gears of War 2 (360)
I have played through the Gears of War campaign completely at least a half-dozen times on co-op. I can't say that about another game out there. Aside from that horrible vehicle sequence, the original Gears of War was a masterpiece. The sequel looks to improve on the winning formula.

Fallout 3 (360 or PS3)
Yes, Fable 2 looks incredible, but I only have so many hours to commit to RPGs. The post-apocalyptic universe of Fallout 3 looks genuinely awesome in scope and execution. I haven't decided on the PS3 or 360 version yet, but I'd be willing to go PS3 if it takes advantage of the hardware.

Dead Space (360 or PS3)
It's entirely possible that I will find Dead Space scary and stressful. From the gameplay, it looks like Condemned and Doom had a baby. That said, I've seen so much that I like. Early reviews indicate that this is a must-play.

Other stuff that interests me in no particular order...
SOCOM, Halo Wars, Rage, Halo Recon, Mirror's Edge, Resistance 2, Fable 2, White Knight... darn, there's just so much good stuff in the queue. Enjoy!

don't pwn alone(tm)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Little Big Planet Looks Amazing

Much has been said of little Big Planet's "build and play with anything" world and interface. One of the Beta users constructed an 8-bit calculator using the electric components available to the user. Watch the whole video for the amazing reveal as to how it works.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stuck in Review Limbo

Back in mid-September, created a simple application that provides a shortcut to add a friend via Nearly FOUR weeks later, the application is still in the "In Review" status at the AppStore.

The only communication that we received from Apple was that the particular application was taking longer than expected to review. We have received no further information or updates. It is a single screen application with a single text field -- yes, we're perplexed.

UPDATE: Frustrated, we have simply resubmitted the application with the hope that it may get a more timely review.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Blackberry Storm SDK

With the release of the Research in Motion SDK for the new Blackberry Storm and the Blackberry App Center, RIM is demonstrating that it's taking consumer mobile applications seriously. Having developed native Blackberry applications before, the team is interested to see what changes are in store.

RIM's change in strategy makes a native XBOX Live Friends List application an interesting proposition. It would also complement work we've already done for the iPhone and Android devices. We will keep you posted.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just in time Upgrade - has new servers

Our old server infrastructure could no longer support the volume of requests. The systems would crash hard within 5 minutes of being restarted. That's the bad news. The good news is that the new servers are online and should be available as soon as the DNS propagation makes the rounds.

The above is an actual picture from our hosting provider -- not a stock photo. is now running across multiple quad-core servers to give us the scalability that we need to handle the popularity of our XBOX Live Friends Applications. From the iPhone/iPod Touch to the Chumby, you should notice an improvement.

The constant crashing of the old servers, pushed well beyond capacity, made the start of October a challenging one for us. In little more than a month, we've added 200,000 users and are climbing to 750,000 unique active gamertags. The old systems couldn't take it and it was time to step up in a big way. We really appreciated everyone's patience as we sorted things out.

How much does it cost? Too much to make any logical sense to support a set of FREE applications. Fortunately, we're passionate and committed in what we do and will work to make the applications even better.

UPDATE: The new servers appear to be online and running all over the place. Please be patient as the DNS updates propagate. These new servers should bring us stability and performance after a rough week with the old setup.

Thank you all for your patience and support!
don't pwn alone(tm)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Server Migration will be moved to new Quad Core servers this week to improve performance and scalability. We appreciate everyone's patience as we hit the limits of the current hardware in the past week. The new servers will address those downtime hiccups as well as improve overall performance.

UPDATE: Our servers are being expedited to arrive tomorrow. We'll be working with them as quickly as possible to get them up and running.

Thank you for your patience.
don't pwn alone(tm)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Service Stability Improved

It looks like our provider was able to solve the issue affecting the stability of our feed data server for our XBOX Live Friends applications. With things stabilized, we can focus on our Mark IV infrastructure migration in the coming weeks. I want to thank everyone for their support and patience.

don't pwn alone(tm)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sorting Out the Servers

Our hosting provider is working diligently on our server stability issue. You may still experience moments of downtime for our XBOX Live Friends applications this evening. In speaking with the folks at our hosting provider, we expect to have the problem sorted later this evening. The problem affects iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, and Dashboard application users.

Thank you for your patience.