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If you have work to do today, please consider doing that work before installing Angry Birds.
May 11, 2011 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Angry Birds beta, free for Google Chrome. Previously. Conan.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (121 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The $20 a month Chrome notebooks seem somewhat more newsworthy, but I realize how this place works.

Will they start back-porting Angry Birds to make it the most ubiquitous video game ever? I would probably work fine on old 8-bit systems.
posted by GuyZero at 11:44 AM on May 11, 2011


Between this and Google Music Beta Google's really on the cutting edge this week /rolls eyes
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm waiting for someone to make a different version: Angry Hipsters.
posted by twsf at 11:52 AM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


This let me play it for free, and I still don't get Angry Birds. But Pomplamoose's version of the Angry Birds theme has made it on to my playlist.
posted by straw at 11:52 AM on May 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I really, really don't get Google's strategy sometimes.
posted by mark242 at 11:52 AM on May 11, 2011


I really, really don't get Google's strategy sometimes.

Throw birds at pigs and see if they explode.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:54 AM on May 11, 2011 [81 favorites]


> I really, really don't get Google's strategy sometimes

This gets people used to launching apps from Chrome, and thus become incrementally more entrenched in their cloud model.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:55 AM on May 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Sorry, we don't support your browser just yet. You'll need Google Chrome to install apps, extensions and themes.
Download Google Chrome"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Throw birds at pigs and see if they explode.
posted by nzero at 11:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I know, I know but...c'mon...that one is funny)
posted by nzero at 11:57 AM on May 11, 2011


This doesn't work in Chrome on a Mac, but it works well in Firefox. Now if only they did Tiny Wings.
posted by nutate at 11:57 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, weird - doesn't work in Chrome, works in Safari.
posted by ignignokt at 12:00 PM on May 11, 2011


Quick data point: works fine in Chrome and Chromium on Ubuntu Natty Narwhal.
posted by nzero at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It worked fine in Mac Chrome for me - have you updated lately? I'm on Chrome 11.
posted by GuyZero at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This doesn't work in Chrome on a Mac, but it works well in Firefox. Now if only they did Tiny Wings.

This works fine on my Mac.
posted by birdherder at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't get Pomplamoose.
posted by solmyjuice at 12:02 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It worked fine in Mac Chrome for me - have you updated lately? I'm on Chrome 11.

I have 11.0.696.65. I think it's up-to-date.
posted by ignignokt at 12:04 PM on May 11, 2011


It works in Chrome on a Mac, but my Mac is slow.

On the other hand, the link http://chrome.angrybirds.com/ seems to work everywhere, and the installation into Chrome may be just installing a bookmark to that site.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:05 PM on May 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Works great. I love it .
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:05 PM on May 11, 2011


My Chrome goes to eleven.

Worked for me. I've just never been really into Angry Birds. Why them birds gotta be so angry!?!
posted by LoudMusic at 12:05 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, weird - doesn't work in Chrome, works in Safari.

In Safari, I can't install the app saying I need to use Chrome. How were you able to install it on Safari?
posted by birdherder at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2011


this works fine on my computer at work, which i will not have access to after i play angry for 90 hours straight and get fire, then divorced...

stupid angry birds.

god i love angry birds.
posted by chasles at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Safari, I can't install the app saying I need to use Chrome. How were you able to install it on Safari?

Just goto http://chrome.angrybirds.com/ and bookmark it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:07 PM on May 11, 2011


Yeah I hear music but don't see anything, on Chrome Mac, latest ver. Works fine in Firefox though.
posted by danny the boy at 12:09 PM on May 11, 2011


Worked in Chrome/Mac for me, but ran like ass.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:10 PM on May 11, 2011


It's working fine on Chrome on my mbp.

It's weird playing it using the touchpad, with which I am primarily right-handed. When I play this on my phone, my left hand (the thumb) sees all the action. I can't be the only person who uses their phone/ipod primarily with their non-dominant hand, can I?
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on May 11, 2011


Ah, OK. It works in Safari, too. Oh, and Firefox as well. It runs at decent speeds on my 3-year old MacBook Pro.
posted by birdherder at 12:12 PM on May 11, 2011


Angry Birds is the worst, the single worst, destroy-the-tower-type game I have ever played. The control is fiddly and imprecise, and results seem arbitrary. I really cannot wrap my mind around how popular it got.

There, I said it.
posted by penduluum at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


Burn the witch!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:15 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


What the fruit. How could there be so many different results on so few variables? Like, how on earth did you manage to get this to work on some Chrome Mac installs, but not others? Say what you want about walled gardens, but they are pretty much guaranteed to at least work.
posted by danny the boy at 12:16 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was all done in GWT (2.3.0)? Does anyone work with GWT daily? How painless is it to come up with this? I'm sort of surprised they didn't stick to native Javascript, it tells me that despite all the great things people say about Javascript, for any sort of large application you're going to need managed code.
posted by geoff. at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burn the other witch too!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It kind of works if I refresh the hell out of it. But it's nowhere near as reliable as a flash or native app, or even one of those proof of concept HTML 5 games you can find from individual developers who want to push the envelope.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:20 PM on May 11, 2011


All good on Chrome on Crunchbang Linux.
posted by chmmr at 12:21 PM on May 11, 2011


Maybe if you replaced the birds with plants and the pigs with zombies and then involved some sort of monetary system to plant your plants and had to defend a yard from the attacking zombies, then I would understand why Angry Birds is so popular.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on May 11, 2011 [23 favorites]


Amazing how it doesn't run particularly well on a 3.2ghz dual core PC. Which, yes, is oldish and less impressive even than my other half's quad core but really should be well in excess of what is required to run a terrible physics engine and some irritating noises.

I have angry birds on my ipod and I hate it there, too. Stupid random pointless time-wasting global phenomenon.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:23 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record, I'm on OSX Snow Leopard on a 4 year old mac, I think I have the dev build of Chrome (which I use for Google Cloud Printing because I hate configuring printing between Snow Leopard and 7, which was a pain last I checked), which I would think would be more reliable.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:24 PM on May 11, 2011


Burn me too.
posted by blucevalo at 12:25 PM on May 11, 2011


For example, this actually works. More like that, Google.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:27 PM on May 11, 2011


Yeah, cover me with gas and set me on fire. I don't understand why I see people playing this everywhere I go.

It's not that great of a game, people. Is it because it's free?
posted by item at 12:28 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, linked to the wrong page. This one.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:28 PM on May 11, 2011


I really cannot wrap my mind around how popular it got.

it's not just that you don't need a strategy to win, you actually can't formulate a strategy at all. My guess is that it appeals broadly because it presents no challenge other than just trying stuff randomly over and over.
posted by GuyZero at 12:28 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Angry Birds is the worst, the single worst, destroy-the-tower-type game I have ever played. The control is fiddly and imprecise, and results seem arbitrary. I really cannot wrap my mind around how popular it got.

I really like destroy-the-tower games. I love Crush the Castle. Until this, I didn't have a way to play Angry Birds. I just played the first few levels and, as far as I can tell, Angry Birds stinks on ice. It's the Blue Moon of tower-destroying games. Sure, maybe it's better than Bud Light, but I'd still rather have a G&T if it's the only choice.

I'm pretty sure that analogy is airtight.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:29 PM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Haters gotta hate. I've said it before: just because you're not good at it doesn't mean that it isn't an awesome game. That said, I kind of hate this version of it, because it's not as easy to skip the intros and reload as on the iPhone.
posted by norm at 12:31 PM on May 11, 2011


Here's the thing about Angry Birds: the gameplay itself is okay, but it is so appealing on a graphics/sound (though the sounds are so obnoxious I have only listened once) interface satisfaction level, and a round can be played in 90 seconds, that it's a satisfying play for people who are not hardcore games. Like me. Can't be bothered, I wish I was, but I'm not.

Angry Birds fits just right in "my head needs a break GODDAMN IT STOP LAUGHING AT ME YOU FUCKING PIGS" sort of way.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:31 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm really enjoying the Chrome Store's url system. Normally there's just a bunch of boring numbers, but with the chrome store I have an added bonus game of trying to pronounce the 32 random letters of the product code. Do I want a aknpkdffaafgjchaibgeefbgmgeghloj or a apfkepiiddolifkgjmfdgpnipgnfejab? Maybe I'll just play safe and get the mbnfkccbgkpneighofmeciblmfdbfdib.
posted by eykal at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Haters gotta hate. I've said it before: just because you're not good at it doesn't mean that it isn't an awesome game. That said, I kind of hate this version of it, because it's not as easy to skip the intros and reload as on the iPhone.

Just because you're not good at this version doesn't mean that it isn't an awesome version.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:37 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know, maybe it is some kind of vestigial "not hardcore" thing that's keeping me from liking Angry Birds, but I really doubt it. I love (LOVE) Plants vs. Zombies, as shakespeherian alluded to earlier.

It's more like Angry Birds just isn't very good at translating the input I give it to a reliable, repeatable, predictable response. It's arbitrary in a really frustrating way. It's entirely an issue of gameplay. I totally get how the aesthetic is appealing, but that totally disqualifies it for me as a game I want to spend any time with. It just precludes fun, for me.
posted by penduluum at 12:44 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aha! This + Music Beta + Chrome Netbooks from Samsung and Acer. It all makes sense.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:46 PM on May 11, 2011


Why do they give you more than one bird?

*brushes off shoulder*
posted by JimmyJames at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


What is interesting is that you are presented with the obfuscated source code for the game. I've already picked out the dot and cross product in the code, and I'm working on making it 'More Interesting'.
posted by The Power Nap at 12:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I smile every time Conan's on the blue.
posted by V4V at 1:00 PM on May 11, 2011


Here's the thing about Angry Birds: the gameplay itself is okay, but it is so appealing on a graphics/sound (though the sounds are so obnoxious I have only listened once) interface satisfaction level, and a round can be played in 90 seconds, that it's a satisfying play for people who are not hardcore games. Like me. Can't be bothered, I wish I was, but I'm not.

Angry Birds fits just right in "my head needs a break GODDAMN IT STOP LAUGHING AT ME YOU FUCKING PIGS" sort of way.


The point is that the gameplay is not okay. It's downright bad. And there are better, equally polished games that haven't gotten the share that Angry Birds has (e.g. Doodle Jump or Tiny Wings, or even FlightControl). The one thing those games don't have that Angry Birds does is a level structure, where you're constantly seeing new content, but that point fades away a bit when you have to play the same Angry Birds level 50 times in a row.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:03 PM on May 11, 2011


Tweak to get all levels
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:03 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a shame there's no thread about the new Chrome notebook scheme. That's today's interesting development.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:08 PM on May 11, 2011


Never quite understood the appeal. (I know it's been discussed ad nauseam), but why it is better than Crush the Castle?

Also, why a Chrome app (opposed to standalone Flash game)?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:10 PM on May 11, 2011


It's a shame there's no thread about the new Chrome notebook scheme.

New notebook scheme announcement.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The $20 a month Chrome notebooks seem somewhat more newsworthy, but I realize how this place works.

Maybe you don't. If you think it's newsworthy, then you have it in your power to link it.

Will they start back-porting Angry Birds to make it the most ubiquitous video game ever? I would probably work fine on old 8-bit systems.

Nope:
1. Angry Birds depends on sprite rotation for its very nature, which no 8-bit system I'm aware of has graphics hardware capable of. It'd either have to be cheated or use lots of processor-intensive calculations. Most 8-bit systems only run at 1 mHz; even arcade 8-bit systems in MAME seem to rarely break 4.
2. Even cheating rotation (by having lots of pre-made versions of each sprite in each possible rotation, trading ROM space for processor time), the physics calculations (from what I understand) are hard to do in real-time on such a limited processor. Maybe at 4 mHz, but at 1 the machine has a hard enough time just positioning all the sprites each frame. On my low-end laptop, which runs at 2.2 gHz, the game stutters a bit after launching a shot. Of course there's a lot of overhead between the game and the core, but still....

Angry Birds is the worst, the single worst, destroy-the-tower-type game I have ever played. The control is fiddly and imprecise, and results seem arbitrary. I really cannot wrap my mind around how popular it got.

The most angering thing about A.B., I think, is that there were plenty of versions of the idea before. Hell, Stephen Spielberg presents Boom Blox on the Wii was popular enough to get a sequel, and is exactly the same kind of thing only with many more levels and modes, and oh also it's 3D. Elebits, which came rather before S.S.p.B.B., has a similar kind of physics engine and is also quite nice.

Much of A.B.'s success comes from having a sufficiently charming story (although one that gets out of your way) and being among the first to do the engine on iOS. The App Store is filled with so many weaksauce games and apps that players were crying out for a game that actually took some processor muscle to pull off. Although the idea was used before, it doesn't change the fact that it's hard to implement a decent physics engine.

And there's a bit more to it than that. The game is almost all level design, and many of them are actually put together pretty well, ramping up the difficulty and the implications of the various pieces very well. And I'm not with those who say the game is too random; I have been able to devise strategies that get me through most levels with one to three tries in this preview. The slingshot is part of the game; it is not true that all games must precisely map player intent to game commands, there is still room in game design for purposely challenging controls, ala Marble Madness, to survive.
posted by JHarris at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


There so many Flash games that run better than this. I don't think this is exactly the web app Google should showcase the app store with.

I think they should work on that NaCl stuff to the point it's safe to enable on everyone's hardware and see if they can get something to work that's as polished as a downloaded full Popcap game. Ideally, an actual popcap game. Or, heck, go hardcore and put Quake on the App Store.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:13 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tweak to get all levels

Well that works.

What bugs me about Angry Birds is likely what bugs a lot of gamers. Although your success is certainly not "random," there's a lot of muddling through. I much prefer games with logical solutions

Or, heck, go hardcore and put Quake on the App Store.

I doubt Quake Live is going in the Google Chrome store. Why limit yourself to one browser platform?

I'm still curious: why Chrome app opposed to standalone Flash game?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2011


Also, is part of the appeal of the game that building elements defy gravity?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:28 PM on May 11, 2011


. And there are better, equally polished games that haven't gotten the share that Angry Birds has (e.g. Doodle Jump or Tiny Wings, or even FlightControl).

DoodleJump kept my interest for about 10 minutes. It's just so samey. FlightControl I don't understand the appeal at all. So fiddly. Tiny Wings is better, and awesome, and deservedly is generally ranked #2 on the sales charts.
posted by smackfu at 1:29 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The game is almost all level design, and many of them are actually put together pretty well, ramping up the difficulty and the implications of the various pieces very well.

IMO, the key is making levels that have the right balance. 3-4 plays to get 1 or 2 stars and move on, 15-20 plays to get 3 stars. When they do get this wrong, the levels become well known as too hard. There are only a couple of those in AB, which suggests how good a job they did.
posted by smackfu at 1:32 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: chrome apps vs flash game, chrome app shave a way to work in offline mode. In theory, once you "install" an app, it will work whether you're connected to the 'net or not.

1. Angry Birds depends on sprite rotation for its very nature, which no 8-bit system I'm aware of has graphics hardware capable of. It'd either have to be cheated or use lots of processor-intensive calculations. Most 8-bit systems only run at 1 mHz; even arcade 8-bit systems in MAME seem to rarely break 4.

So we could always simply skip sprites for anything but the flying bord, which simply wouldn't rotate. Everything else could be drawn as a poly which is a lot cheaper than doing bitmap rotations.

2. Even cheating rotation (by having lots of pre-made versions of each sprite in each possible rotation, trading ROM space for processor time), the physics calculations (from what I understand) are hard to do in real-time on such a limited processor. Maybe at 4 mHz, but at 1 the machine has a hard enough time just positioning all the sprites each frame. On my low-end laptop, which runs at 2.2 gHz, the game stutters a bit after launching a shot. Of course there's a lot of overhead between the game and the core, but still....

Yeah, the physics might be a bit much. Still, I'd wager you could build a game with very similar gameplay on an 8-bit system.
posted by GuyZero at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2011


Nice post title.

Goodbye global productivity.
posted by zarq at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2011


In theory, once you "install" an app, it will work whether you're connected to the 'net or not.

Holy crap, welcome to the 21st century.
posted by mark242 at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The point is that the gameplay is not okay. It's downright bad. "

ya but there's little pigs in helmets

sometimes they sit in the helmet and it's like PIG UR DOIN' IT RONG!

soooooo...........
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:46 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was able to install the app on my Windows machine using Chrome, but once launched, I got a warning that Chrome was out of date and I needed to click to update. But when I tried updating, first I was told that the update server was down, then that I had the latest version and didn't need to update. It still launches and it still doesn't work, while helpfully telling me "Still having issues? Just visit this [article] at the Chrome help center."

Literally that: [article]. Not an actual, clickable link to an article. Just [article].

Thus, Google wants me to keep playing Tiny Wings forever, which is glorious and everchanging and joyful. Amen. (And I still say the Venerable Bede would have been all over it.)

Yes, the Mac OS is Catholic, DOS is Protestant, and iPhones are built for agnostic lapsed Catholics with Windows desktops.
posted by maudlin at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2011


So we could always simply skip sprites for anything but the flying bord, which simply wouldn't rotate. Everything else could be drawn as a poly which is a lot cheaper than doing bitmap rotations.

What you're ignoring is that line drawing and filling is much more computationally-expensive than displaying a sprite, which is usually done by hardware. At 1 mHz you can actually see lines as they're being drawn on-screen, even at the low resolutions of those systems. There's a reason so few games on the Commodore 64 made use of hi-res mode for anything other than title screens. Even though the system could display bitmapped graphics, manipulating them in real-time is costly. Algorithmic bitmap manipulations are costlier still. (That said, I think I can imagine a way this could be done. One could do the "bitmapped" graphics in tiles/characters. Make a character set containing all possible combinations of 4-pixel blocks within that 8x8 space. That'd be just 16 characters, leaving 240 characters for other uses. Then you could effectively create a makeshift 80x50 screen resolution that could be updated quickly. It's a poor resolution, but on an 8-bit machine it's a wonder the dog speaks at all. This is a graphics idea I had long ago, in the waning years of my Commodore programming career. I'm happy I've managed to find an excuse to put it on the internet somewhere.)
posted by JHarris at 1:52 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


As someone who has 3 stars on all Angry Birds levels (including the seasonal and Rio levels) I will say to the haters: If you can't get consistent results from the physics, then you don't knowhow to play it. Once you're dialed in, everything is 100% predictable and consistent, and awesome.
posted by crickets at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


penduluum: "It's more like Angry Birds just isn't very good at translating the input I give it to a reliable, repeatable, predictable response. It's arbitrary in a really frustrating way."

I keep reading this criticism, and I keep wondering if we're all playing the same game.
posted by brundlefly at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The robots have learned to play Angry Birds.
posted by cashman at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


A couple of technical notes...

I believe the point of this app is it's an HTML 5 demo showing what Javascript can do. There was also a mention of WebGL in the announcement, presumably for faster rendering of the 2d graphics. I haven't fully pulled the app apart but it loads and caches a whole bunch of assets, like this pig and bird sprite sheet. It's also using local browser data store, and lots of JSON data files (like Level1.json). What I couldn't quickly find was the game Javascript code itself, unless it's this 390k of GWT-compiled code.

Chrome's app store "web apps" are fundamentally just bookmarks. The packaged apps allow more complex caching and local storage options. More details on a blog post I wrote awhile back.

I'm not a big fan of the game Angry Birds either, but you can't argue with its market success. The fact that it's been ported to Javascript and a web browser is a pretty great proof of concept. It even seems to work pretty well in IE9, a testament both to Roxio's technical skills and the value of open web standards.
posted by Nelson at 2:07 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really, really don't get Google's strategy sometimes.

Throw birds at pigs and see if they explode?


A GAME WHERE PEOPLE THROW BIRDS AT PIGS AND NOTHING IT WHAT IT SEEMS /homer
posted by Sebmojo at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2011


Oh, Google, you got so close to building a pure HTML5+JavaScript version of Angry Birds, but the logs... the logs never lie. Just a smidgen of Flash was needed still!

Scheme: HTTP
Host: chrome.angrybirds.com
URL: /angrybirds/gwt-voices.swf
Body: 2,144
Content-Type: application/x-shockwave-flash
Process: chrome

posted by rh at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


for any sort of large application you're going to need managed code.

On behalf of anybody who's developed an application that wasn't written in Java or .NET, allow me to wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. I've also witnessed enough managed code clusterfucks to know that it's hardly a panacea.

On the other hand, if you want to argue that developing a game in pure JavaScript sounds awful, I'm all ears. Still, there's something that just doesn't feel quite right about compiling another language into JavaScript.

NaCl also doesn't feel quite right -- like we're repeating all of the mistakes that we made in the past re: Plugins, ActiveX, Flash and Java Applets, all of which were fundamentally broken, even if you disregarded the security implications (which the Native Client claims to be immune to). This entire debate feels like it should have been settled 20 years ago.

I guess that all of these things were passably tolerable for standalone applications, although they fundamentally "broke" the open and semantic nature of the web when they were mixed with or used to present actual content (ie. flash-only websites and videos). I am unconvinced that "Managed Javascript" (ie. A language within a language within a language within a language) or NaCl (ie. we promise this probably won't blow up in our faces like ActiveX did).

The whole point of the web is that "Everything works everywhere." Needing to maintain a mish-mash of proprietary plugins has never been a popular strategy with users, and there are damn good reasons why folks are excited about the built-in A/V capabilities of HTML5 (and why folks are upset that HTML5 didn't dictate an open codec along with those capabilities).

If anybody should "know better" than to introduce things like this into the wild, it would have to be Google, given that it has the potential to make pages extraordinarily difficult to index/hyperlink properly.

In other words....I'm baffled.
posted by schmod at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


oooh, nice find RH. That looks to be gwt-voices, a shim to do cross-browser audio. I don't know anything about it, but I'm guessing in some environments it will work without Flash. Real-time audio has been one of the last weak points of Javascript, not too surprised to see a bit of Flash to help that along.
posted by Nelson at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Real-time audio has been one of the last weak points of Javascript

Google has a proposal to add a lot of desperately needed audio functionality to JavaScript. The <audio> tag is extremely primitive and the lowest-common-denominator support across browsers is very limited. I built a Tenori-on + Conway's Life mashup using JavaScript, <canvas>, and <audio> and the sound was by far the most difficult part. File format incompatibilities, caching issues, a limited number of channels, and bad mixing were the main problems.
posted by jedicus at 2:25 PM on May 11, 2011


I really really enjoy Angry Birds, although they need to release more levels.

When you're stuck at a parent's house for Christmas, having to repeat a level 50 times is a feature, not a bug, trust me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't get Pomplamoose.

It's like The Bird and the Bee with more instruments.
posted by nzero at 2:39 PM on May 11, 2011


It's on my 23" monitor now, not my iPhone screen, can you please let me see the part of the screen I'm aiming at without having to zoom out to the point where everything is too small?
posted by IanMorr at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really, really don't get Google's strategy sometimes.

Yeah...we all have our limits. You and I apparently don't hit the "smart enough to be self-made billionaires part" down...yet.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:47 PM on May 11, 2011


It's a shame there's no thread about the new Chrome notebook scheme. That's today's interesting development.

Back in the dot-com days, one could rent a PC for about the same price (along with a dial-up contract, which was the catch).

This is nothing new or noteworthy, really, in that it has been done before, and the business model was not very successful then, and probably won't be this time, either.

There seems little really compelling about renting a PC for $20 that has a non-standard, non-desktop operating system, one that doesn't run apps that most people would need to run, who are presumably in the target market, e.g., students.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2011


GuyZero, you might like these screenshots of a early 90s angry birds
posted by pixie at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2011


I found this analysis really interesting, for those struggling to understand why Angry Birds works on them Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience (or indeed, for those of you who don't like it, to consider some things you may be reacting negatively to).

A small derail: Regarding Pomplamoose, I initially found their music fun and catchy. As I listened more, I detected no emotion, and it bothered me. The performances have no affect, not in a Gary Newman/Kraftwerk "I am a robot" way, but more "I could potentially display an emotion, but have decided to go another way." The videos are unwatchable. When they got their tv ad it freaked me out.
posted by artlung at 3:11 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've already picked out the dot and cross product in the code, and I'm working on making it 'More Interesting'.

You should add curl.
posted by bonehead at 3:25 PM on May 11, 2011


16 bit could handle this relatively easily, though, right?

Or even then would it need a trick like the chip in Yoshi's Island?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:42 PM on May 11, 2011


Stupid Zombies is heaps more fun.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:50 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is nothing new or noteworthy, really, in that it has been done before, and the business model was not very successful then, and probably won't be this time, either.

Lots of business rent computers today. Except they're usually servers and it's called leasing. And, come to think of it, lots of businesses lease desktops too. How is Google's program any different from calling Dell financing to arrange a desktop leasing deal?
posted by GuyZero at 4:12 PM on May 11, 2011


I have lifted a quote of Blazecock's from the closed MetaTalk thread on the chromebooks - hope you don't mind BP.

Businesses can't run Office on these thin clients, so they are of little use there.

As valuable as Office is to many businesses, there are a lot of people out there who use salesforce.com as their one and only computer app all day long. There are similar people for other SaaS apps like Netsuite, etc. Yes, some people need to use Office enough (and not the online version) that this is a deal breaker, but more and more people can live without thick-client MS Office.
posted by GuyZero at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2011


The rental model seems pretty great for school usage, especially at the younger ages. Kids writing book reports don't need heavy duty MS Office stuff... and even in case of hardware crash, little Jimmy won't lose any of his work (and presumably can access it from his parent's full-fledged home computer so long as they download chrome.

Don't have a need for a Chromebook myself, but (much like the iPad) I can see it being extremely appealing to certain kinds of users.
posted by modernnomad at 4:23 PM on May 11, 2011


I can see Google making deals with universities, which then require them for their entering students. A $80/term requirement is less than the cost of a single book for a student. It's a great deal if that's an alternative to printing course packets.
posted by bonehead at 4:26 PM on May 11, 2011


I signed up for a cr-48, never got one of course. I can see these being perfect for certain classes of business users. I wonder how the Chromebook would handle Office Live.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:34 PM on May 11, 2011


I can see Google making deals with universities, which then require them for their entering students.

This is how and why I got my first computer, in the fall of 1984. It was an Apple.
posted by rtha at 5:11 PM on May 11, 2011


I can see Google making deals with universities, which then require them for their entering students.

I doubt that.

I have 1 or 2 professors every. single. semester completely freak out and lose their shit because I take notes on a little tiny netbook.

I don' t mean "I'd like you not to use that." but outright saying things like "There are no computers allowed in this room." (language prof this semester) or "I will not pass a student who uses a laptop to take notes." (philosophy prof last semester)

(I do it anyway because I have a diagnosed disability that means if I don't take the damn notes on the damn netbook I CANNOT take notes that make sense, and so I have a sheet from the DRC that tells them where to stick it, but that doesn't help the 29 or so other people in my classes)
posted by FritoKAL at 5:24 PM on May 11, 2011


In fairness to the profs, most people "taking notes" on their laptops are actually on facebook or WoW or something. I don't think you're the actual problem.
posted by GuyZero at 5:26 PM on May 11, 2011


Kids writing book reports don't need heavy duty MS Office stuff...

Let me expand on that for you. Nobody needs Microsoft Office.

Let's start with Word Now onto Excel Powerpoint Access Ergo, nobody needs Office. Attempts to "clone" Microsoft's office suite such as OpenOffice are seriously misguided. We need a new paradigm — not a poor imitation of a set of tools that's already broken.

And this comes from a guy who actually liked the ribbon toolbar and Office 2007. The negative backlash against it was emblematic of the suite's identity crisis as being the jack of far too many trades, and master of none of them. Office was fucked long before the ribbon came along -- "refocusing" the suite was simultaneously necessary, and guaranteed to alienate a significant portion of the users, no matter how it was done.

Anyway. How 'bout those birds?
posted by schmod at 5:51 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


16 bit could handle this relatively easily, though, right?
Or even then would it need a trick like the chip in Yoshi's Island?


When we're using such an artificial determinant as the "bitness" of a microprocessor, putting in an awesome graphics chip is a relatively minor thing. For the graphics, I'd think that a SNES could handle Angry Birds, no problem.

The math I'm less sure of. The SNES' chip is not really that huge of an upgrade over the NES, basically just a 16-bit version of the venerable 6502. It doesn't even run that much faster, it still runs at around 1 mHz. The Genesis runs at 7 mHz though.

In the 16-bit era... it's possible, but I'm not sure of a single home machine I could point to that could do it. A smart programmer might be able to find a way.
posted by JHarris at 5:54 PM on May 11, 2011


My sister loves this game. I have it on my iPad now, but don't really get that into it. It's annoying to have to do the same level over and over. I guess I'm doing it wrong.
posted by garnetgirl at 6:20 PM on May 11, 2011


For long or scholarly documents, it's a kludge. You should be using something like scrivener or LaTeX if you're doing serious writing.

In my field, LaTeX is 99% of the time not acceptable for journal submissions. 99% of the time, Word documents are expected, usually mandatory. The journals expect them. Reviewers expect them. I am one of a handful (like 3) people I've ever worked with who experimented with LaTeX / Bibtex. Everyone else. Everyone else uses Word and Endnote.

I've been searching for a replacement for Word for years, believe me, because there are so, so many things wrong with it. But institutional inertia is so great that it is simply not going to change. As I said, I tried LaTeX, then promptly gave up when I discovered no-one wanted the documents I was producing.
posted by Jimbob at 6:49 PM on May 11, 2011


Why screw around with a toy like LaTex, if you are serious use XPP or or Arbortext.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:05 PM on May 11, 2011


Angry Birds is the worst, the single worst, destroy-the-tower-type game I have ever played. The control is fiddly and imprecise, and results seem arbitrary. I really cannot wrap my mind around how popular it got.

I read somewhere that the game once contained a quickly-patched bug that supports your suspicions. On one of the levels, the pigs' tower was built a few pixels off of the ground, so when you started the level it would fall just a bit. About ten percent of the time, the whole tower would crumble and you would win without doing a thing. This shows that the physics is non-deterministic. And that ruins the whole game.

There's no such thing as being good at Angry Birds. There's just being persistent. Whenever you spend a bunch of time trying to line up a perfect shot, you're not really doing anything that involves skill. You're just waiting for the random number generator to smile upon you.
posted by painquale at 7:21 PM on May 11, 2011


To show how under a rock I live, I never heard of AB before two months ago. We were in a bar in Savannah with the Ranger brother-in-law and another ex-Ranger, and various other Army dudes drift by the table. One guy comes up all tatted and says "check out my new tattoo!" and pulls his sleeve up to show us an angry new Angry Bird tattoo on his arm. Ex-Ranger says, "I'll bet that's SORE" slapping the shit out of the new tattoo when he says "sore" and the other guy is jumping up and down in pain, but he can't do shit, because the ex guy outranked him.
He proceeded to tell us how obsessed he is with AB and how this is the first in a series of AB tattoos and he's going to have more birds going across his upper torso to pigs on his other arm, and how he posts so much on the facebook page they asked him to slow it down.
I guess that's the extent of my Angry Bird experience. I thought it was odd.
posted by Red Loop at 7:55 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Angry Birds on chrome? Oh look in the first level you shoot the birds over a shark to destroy the pigs!
posted by lilkeith07 at 8:00 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's no such thing as being good at Angry Birds. There's just being persistent. Whenever you spend a bunch of time trying to line up a perfect shot, you're not really doing anything that involves skill. You're just waiting for the random number generator to smile upon you.

I can't agree. Like a lot of games, it's a mixture of skill and luck. I've played through all of the original and most of Seasons on an Android phone, and like many physics puzzlers, it has the annoying feature of not letting you line up the exact shot you want every time. Working out what the shot you want is, then being able to more or less get it mostly - sometimes with better and sometimes with worse results than you expect, is where the whole thing of this game is.

The prototype of this kind of game predates computers. It's called pool. There's such a thing as being good at pool. I'm not, but I know people who are. I still like a game of pool - for every straight shot I fluff there's a hard one I don't expect to get but do, to say nothing of the times that my fluff turns out to give me better results than I could ever have planned for. Angry Birds provides something similar.
posted by motty at 8:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read somewhere that the game once contained a quickly-patched bug that supports your suspicions.

That's the kind of thing I'd like to see a source for. I'm not necessarily discounting what you're saying -- it'd be nice to find a site that notes stuff like that, heh.

BTW, for the people upthread who were complaining about not being able to see enough of the playfield at once, try using the mousewheel.
posted by JHarris at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2011


Okay, so what happens when you hit the Chrome logo on 18? My aim is too bad to get it but I'm curious.
posted by NoraReed at 8:31 PM on May 11, 2011


The Chrome logos unlock levels in the Chrome level collection.

And at least one of the levels had half the structure shaking and collapse on its own for me, supporting painquale's suspicion.
posted by straw at 9:38 PM on May 11, 2011


This shows that the physics is non-deterministic. And that ruins the whole game.

I don't understand this claim. It sounds like you're saying that any game which has certain conditions which are random are ruined. I'm not sure what "ruined" means in this context.
posted by artlung at 9:46 PM on May 11, 2011


Lots of business rent computers today. Except they're usually servers and it's called leasing. And, come to think of it, lots of businesses lease desktops too. How is Google's program any different from calling Dell financing to arrange a desktop leasing deal?

Apparently, Google has changed their terms. Now it is $28 per month, with a three-year minimum lock-in. Pretty risky bet for an enterprise or a student in an educational institution, when the application offerings are so thin.

On those terms, where the platform is right now, I'd make a friendly wager with you over a $20 bill that this venture fails to gain traction within a year, and Google ends up pulling the plug in deference to a "desktop" version of Android.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 PM on May 11, 2011


And this comes from a guy who actually liked the ribbon toolbar and Office 2007
posted by fullerine at 12:55 AM on May 12, 2011


myself: Make a character set containing all possible combinations of 4-pixel blocks within that 8x8 space. That'd be just 16 characters, leaving 240 characters for other uses. Then you could effectively create a makeshift 80x50 screen resolution that could be updated quickly. It's a poor resolution, but on an 8-bit machine it's a wonder the dog speaks at all.

Or........

Okay, let's take that a step further. What if each character cell contained a 4x4 grid of dots? Then the C64 could have an effective 160x100 graphics mode, that could be updated roughly four times faster than the main bitmap mode!

The problem is that gets to be a huge number of characters. Four possible dots yields 16 possibilities. Sixteen dots means 65,536 characters, and the C64's character set is only 256 characters in size.

But the C64 also has raster interrupts, which let us change where the graphics chip gets its video memory in real time. So how about this:

Create a character set with every possible combination of eight dots, in a 4x2, duplicated twice in each character cell, top and bottom. That's 256 characters, or the whole character set. Use two 1,000-byte regions of memory to use as video memory. Use raster interrupts to switch so that the first bank is used when the scan line is drawing the top halves of each character, and the second bank when the scan line is drawing the bottom half. Don't touch character set memory.

The drawbacks: setting raster interrupts every four lines is a bit of processor overhead, although it really should be minimal; all each interrupt would have to do is set up the next interrupt and switch screen pages. Also, it's been a long time since I coded on C64 hardware, so I don't actually know if the VIC-II chip can do this the way I'm thinking. I suspect it can though.

What is my point in all this? Er, I don't have one. Um.
posted by JHarris at 3:14 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have 1 or 2 professors every. single. semester completely freak out and lose their shit because I take notes on a little tiny netbook.

Which is definitely counter to the overall trend of universities requiring students to have laptops, and even providing one as standard equipment, to be returned when you finish up.
posted by smackfu at 7:16 AM on May 12, 2011


Ok, I feel like an idiot for asking this, but what's the strategy to get three stars on 2-5? I can only seem to get 2.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2011


thanatopsis, I'm loathe to go back and check each of those (especially after I whined about how "this game sucks"), but in 2, note the bank behind the structures? You can clear them in one bird. Similar with other levels, although sometimes it's not about fewer birds but about doing more damage to the structures (higher point scores) with the birds you have.

Although, generally, having more birds left at the end of a round is good.

(Speaking of which: Does anyone else feel like this game is kinda sick? I mean, it's like blowing up the little Lemmings, except that you still get to go to the next level if you kill all of your protagonists!)

And as has been pointed out, even if you've got pixel perfect repetition in your bird launching (taking note of which tip of which blade of grass your mouse is on before you release is your friend), you may get different results each time, so if you really want to get three stars on all of 'em you'll be mashing that "restart" button a lot.
posted by straw at 5:42 PM on May 12, 2011


straw: 2-5 is the level with all blackbirds and 3 brick structures housing 4 pigs. There's no bank at the back. I can try exploding a bird on the first structure, and trying a domino effect, but I've only managed to get 3 pigs, which only nets me 2 stars after having to mop up with a 2nd blackbird.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:07 PM on May 12, 2011


Oh, sorry, I thought you meant levels 2 through 5. Uh... Yeah. I'm not sure how I did it, but I did it. I think it involved two birds and sufficent damage to get 80280 pts.
posted by straw at 6:14 PM on May 12, 2011


Yeah, first shot with the mouse pointer at the base of the stem of the fern, to land between the house and the left tower. Kills three pigs. Second shot from the tip of the bottom left-most leaf to kill the pig in the remaining tower, and destroy as much rock as possible. First shot scores circa 39k, second shot another 20, remaining two blackbirds kicks it to just over 80.
posted by straw at 6:20 PM on May 12, 2011


When I got my new EVO recently, I downloaded Angry Birds because it's free and I wanted to see what the big deal is. I guess it's a cute little game, but my interest evaporated almost instantly when I discovered that I could play motherfucking IndestructoTank on my phone.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know how to get the seventh Chrome sign? I realize that attempting to break seven signs is dangerous territory, but I'm a completist in castle-smashing games, I guess.
posted by Kattullus at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2011


ooh, IndestructoTank is great for phones. thanks, UB.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:51 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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