Archive for August 2004

Multiple Choice!

Let’s say you’re at GoodLife, doing the standard weight machine circuit[1]. You just finished on the lat pulldown machine, and are setting up the shoulder press. Some guy goes up to the lat pulldown, turns to you and the ensuing conversation goes like this:

  • Are you just doing the circuit? (does a circular waving motion at the machines in the area)
  • Yup.
  • So you’re done with this one?
  • <nod>
  • Cool.

He then proceeds to quickly do maybe 6 reps on the machine and skidaddles, meaning he’s done before you’re even halfway done with the shoulder press. What’s the first thought that crosses your mind?

  1. What a nice guy, he would have waited and let me use the lat pulldown again if I wanted, even though he was done so quick.
  2. He was probably just trying to make conversation.
  3. Was that a pickup line?
  4. Crap, he wanted to know exactly how much longer I would be here so he could go break into my locker and steal or vandalize my car in the parking garage. I have 6 machines left, should I go to the change room and check? He could do a lot of damage in the time it takes me to finish these 6.
  5. Other (specify): ________________________________

Guess which one went through my mind?

[1] The circuit consists of about 15 weight machines that you’re supposed to follow in order, doing a single set on each one.

Doom 3 and Nvidia

Doom 3 came out last week. It looks really nice, gameplay is the same old, and the multiplayer is laggy as crap over broadband. Its release has wider implications though. The short of it is that now looks to be a good time to pick up NVDA shares.

Remember a couple years ago, how Nvidia was the darling of the video card industry and ATI was the red-headed step child? Now remember how those sentiments reversed themselves practically overnight when the NV30 (GeForceFX) cards were released? There’s no consumer loyalty in this industry, and being made up of predominantly teen and pre-teen males, they are strongly succeptible to peer pressure.

It was hard for anybody to understand how Nvidia could charge so much for a card that was late, an underperformer, took up two slots and had a cooling solution as loud as a vacuum. It got so bad that their marketing people even released an unofficial video making fun of themselves.

Well it all makes sense now. Turns out that John Carmack requested certain Doom 3 features be implemented in hardware, which Nvidia agreed to do, architecting the NV30 with his requests in mind. They were then left holding the bag for about 18 months, the length of time that Doom 3 was late coming to market. I guess you could say NV30 was ahead of its time.

Well it’s paying off in spades now. You see, Doom 3 should really be looked at as a technology demo for its game engine. Since Quake, id has been licensing their engines to third party developers, and Doom 3’s engine is no exception. Their only other real competitor in this respect is Epic, with their Unreal Engine 3. However, the first game based on UE3 isn’t expected to be released until 2006.

Which means that the majority of “next-generation” games that will be released in the next couple of years will be based on the Doom 3 engine. Good for Nvidia, bad for ATI. Just skimming review sites and forums, I already feel the rumblings of the tide turning against ATI, which is why I picked up some NVDA shares on Monday @ $9.55. We’ll see how that goes.