Monday, July 28, 2008

Cool and not so Cuil


Two upcoming games - 'Mirror's Edge' and 'Dead Space'.

I'd mentioned Mirror's Edge previously, and development seems to be coming along nicely. It'll be nice to have another action adventure in the spirit of Prince of Persia. The first person perspective looks sweet.

'Dead Space'...looks like Hostel or what video game version of Event Horizon might be. Early footage released indicates that weapon fire is more realistic in that hit placement determines enemy take-down effectiveness. Meaning: if Mr. Tentacle-Stomach slaps you with his various hurtful probiscii, then bust a few rounds into the appendages that secure him to his perch on the wall.

The game also introduces a mechanism to push the pause button on adversaries. The 'stasis field' tells creatures to chill, so you can regroup and reload.

'Mirror's Edge' comes out sometime in 2008, while 'Dead Space' has a firmer October 2008 shelf date. Both should be good diversions needed until Diablo III is released...which looks like some time in 2009.

Not so Cuil:

A new search alternative launched today. It's called 'Cuil' (pronounced 'cool'). Why Cuil? Based on the page logo, it suggests that they're trying to put the COOL around the I(nternet), but that's just my internal marketing voice pitching ideas to the imaginary VC board. A former Google employee and her husband started the resource with some VC money.

Anyway, being that I work in search I of course peeped it and found that it returned some very odd in...what the hell does that have to do with SFGate?

An article on CNet details how the engine performs:

"...traffic has spiked beyond their expectations. In other Web 2.0 launches, a traffic spike would slow down or crash the service, but in Cuil's architecture, the spike affected results, not speed....Each of Cuil's search appliances is specialized to a particular subcategory of results. There are machines that understand and index sports; others are experts on medicine, etc. As these search machines get overloaded, Sollitto said, they drop offline for some queries, and the machines left online return less-than-relevant results that then appear at the top of users' pages."
Weird. So if the cluster of machines that's working on Entertainment-related queries is overloaded, then results from the Science cluster will backfill as needed? Hmm....doesn't sound like so much of an 'alternative' as it sounds lame. But, this is launch day. It looks promising: clean UI, straightforward result delivery...if they can get the results to be relevant, and optimize performance to avoid traffic spike result leakage, or perhaps re-architect how results are seeded to complement others, it could be good. Otherwise people will go, of course.

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