Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wings of Liberty

I found time today to play a lot more Starcraft 2, particularly more of the story campaign. I was surprised to find that it was limited to the Terrans as I thought it would be. As Blizzard decided to split the game into three parts, one per race, I thought that the Zerg and the Protoss would only be playable in multiplayer and skirmishes. Turns out that's not the case, although the Terrans definitely have the focus. I think I might go and play some more now although I do need to find some music for the next Moments of Gaming as well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Life In A Day

The people behind it describe it as a historic global experiment to create a user-generated documentary film shot in a single day. To be directed by Kevin Macdonald and executive produced by Ridley Scott it sounded like a very interesting project to me and an interesting way to use You Tube. I'll let the director himself explain:

July 24th for me was mostly about celebrating a friend's birthday but the majority of my footage ended up being taken from the bus while I was travelling. It feels pretty boring to me but I've done that journey many many times. I bet it doesn't get used but it was good to simply take part. My video is in two parts (thanks to the You Tube 10 minute limit) you can find them on my channel or directly here: Part 1 & Part 2. Beware it's raw unedited footage and might be a bit boring! I don't envy the editing team's job on this, there is going to be a lot of footage to look at.

Visit the Life In A Day page for more information.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not Enough Minerals

I've played a good bit more of Starcraft II now and I'm still enjoying it. Of the three races in the game I've still only played with the Terrans so far so I'll not do a full review quite yet. I've played a few more of the story missions as well as some skirmishes verses AI. I've beat the medium level AI without a problem so far, next time I'll give the hard level a go. Here's another screenshot from one of my skirmishes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We Require More Vespene Gas

I've not had a lot of time yet to play Starcraft II so I'm not going to write anything extensive about it yet. I've played the first couple of single player missions and I've not touched the multiplayer yet. What I have played I have enjoyed. Here's a screenshot from the end of the first mission. I'm going to go and play now rather than thinking of anything else to write!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Delivery Issues

Parcel Force made 'The List' today. As has happened many times before a delivery driver failed to find my address correctly so I had problems receiving a parcel. I can't decide if the drivers are relying on technology too much or not enough. When you enter my postcode into a GPS device (or Google maps as well) the location it gives you is slightly off which sends drivers who don't know the area to the block of flats across the road from me rather than to mine. Obviously the normal daily postman understands, as do many of the drivers I've met from other couriers such as City Link, UPS or HDL. A few times City Link have gone to the wrong place but I simply had to call them and explain. At which point they apologized and sent the driver back. However Parcel Force simply dumped it at a Post Office and left it at that. If I hadn't been watching the web tracking I'd never have known. When I called them their phone system was extremely frustrating and it took ages before I could actually speak to a real person. When I did get though they were unhelpful and tried to get rid of me as quickly as possible. The operator said she'd transfer me to the local Rotherham depot to make a complaint and proceeded to do so without even waiting for my response. I ended up back at the beginning of the button pushing system I'd just been through three times. It was at that point I hung up in anger and uttered the phrase, "All right, Parcel Force, you just made the list!", there's a Simpsons quote for everything!

The Post Office they'd left it at wasn't even the closest one to me and required a short bus journey, but I did eventually get my copy of Starcraft II. Click here if you want to see some un-boxing photos. I have to say it's probably the nicest special edition game I own. I've not had chance to play it yet, that will come later. I have been listening to the soundtrack CD while I've been working but it wasn't all that brilliant. There were some interesting parts but nothing amazing. However that's not what this game is all about and I have no doubt the actual game will be great.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Things and Stuff

My copy of Starcraft II didn't arrive early, which is a bit of shame, but had it shown up I'd have probably been to busy work to properly devote any time to it anyway. I was out and about a lot this weekend which meant I got behind in answering my emails and I've been catching up for most of today. There's a You Tube thing I want to mention but I'll leave that for another day and it's own post. I've pulled my shoulder at some point over the weekend and now it aches. Now I'm going to watch the German Grand Prix which I missed on iPlayer while I finish dealing with my emails.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Starcraft II Week

I got an email from Game today saying that my order of Starcraft II Collectors Edition has been dispatched! Which means there a pretty good chance that it will arrive tomorrow. Yay! It may not but pre-orders generally do arrive one day early as they send them out in plenty of time to arrive in the far off places that take two days to get too. I expect a lot of my time this week will be Starcraft related.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Comic-Con 2010 & You Tube

Yay for You Tube footage from Comic-Con, two great panels with Joss here.

Joss Whedon & JJ Abrams - Visionaries
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The Joss Whedon Experience
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Friday, July 23, 2010

Short Post

Today and probably the rest of the weekend will consist of short posts. Visitors to entertain, computers to fix and a friends birthday to celebrate this weekend so I'll be off my usual schedule.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Beach

I have a bad habit of setting all sorts of films to record on my Sky+ box and then never getting around to watching them. Sometimes they're films I missed for some reason when they first came out and other times I've never heard of them and I was simply enticed by the title or perhaps the EPG description. This of course led to the situation I found myself in a few days ago, where the hard drive was full! I figured it was probably time to either watch or delete some things hence the more film oriented posts of the last few days.

Last nights film was The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Danny Boyle. It's tricky to look up DiCaprio at the moment and avoid spoilers for Inception, I must get out to see that soon. Danny Boyle on the other hand is someone I know a lot more about without looking him up. I've seen many of his films and enjoyed them all. Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, 28 Days Later..., Sunshine & Slumdog Millionaire are all great films in my opinion and The Beach is one I'm happy to add to the list. Also after a quick look at IMDb I'm now looking forward to 127 Hours too.

I noticed a couple of IMDb reviews complaining that the film wasn't as good as the book but that's pretty typical of IMDb reviews and I've not read the book so it doesn't really matter much to me. As it is I enjoyed watching the film and there doesn't really need to be anything more to it than that. It had all the beats you need, questions & answers, adventure & excitement and highs & lows along with a satisfying ending.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

In complete contrast to yesterdays post last nights film of choice was Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, another film I've been meaning to watch for ages. That title holds so much potential but unfortunately it just doesn't live up to expectations. The low budget really shows throughout the film. The CG work is very low quality and there's not even a lot of it. The film is mostly just people talking about what is going on. Nearly all the good footage is in the trailer. Too much of the climax is just military types shouting orders and staring into the distance. There is nowhere near enough shark vs octopus action. Often a film like this can be redeemed by some outrageous violence or some gratuitous sex scenes but this film has neither. Although a couple of the shark/octopus fight shots did look a bit more like humping than fighting! The film almost makes it into the category of 'So bad, it's good' but it doesn't quite get there which just leaves it to be rubbish.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This film has been sat on my Sky+ box for a while waiting for me to watch it and last night I finally did. It's a bit of tricky film to describe. Four 90 minute single takes all shown together on a screen split into quarters in real time. Have a look at the trailer if you don't get what I mean. I enjoyed it a lot. It's a brilliant technical achievement with the cameras, actors and stories all interweaving. It must have been quite a feat of organization, direction and choreography to arrange. Apparently they shot the film 15 times and choose the best one at the end. It's just a shame that the actual story itself gets a bit boring at times otherwise it would received a lot more recognition. Now it's just an interesting experiment.

When I started watching I knew about the quarter screen aspect from the EPG description but I didn't know about the real time single take part. Once I realised the editor in me started looking for places where they could have put in a sneaky edit without people noticing. There were a couple of points with fade or a whip pan which could have been used. I don't know if they were and I guess only director Mike Figgis will know for sure.

When I saw the name Mike Figgis I thought he sounded famous to me. I'm not really sure why that is as it turns out the only other film I've ever seen by him is Leaving Las Vegas but he has been nominated for 2 Oscars. It was cool to see Kyle MacLachlan in it. He always pops up in the oddest places but he'll always be Paul Atreides to me. Julian Sands too is another actor who pops up in a wide variety of roles, from Stargate & Smallville to Arachnophobia & Naked Lunch. In this he was really funny.

If you have any interest the process of making films you should have probably watched this at least once, otherwise you're not missing much.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Comic-Con 2010

Of course I'll not be going as I'm on the wrong side of the globe but it's something I might like to do one day. Still it should be an interesting week for film & TV news, also comics of course. I'm not entirely sure yet what I should be looking out for. I know there's a TRON: Legacy event and that Bioware will be showing some more Dragon Age 2 stuff but that's all I knew in advance. I've just been looking at the schedule online and there are lots of interesting looking panels. If I was actually going I've no idea what I'd actually go to see. Some tough choices to be made as you can't see everything. Instead I shall wait for the badly filmed You Tube footage of the panels to surface!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work, Dragon Age, Top Gear

Not much going on today for me except what I've mentioned in the title. Keeping an eye on support is never the most fun weekend job but someone has to do it. At least it's been pretty quiet today. Not the quietest ever as we did get a lot a new users this week but it could have been worse. Back to Ferelden now I think until the next question comes in.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Completed: Machinarium

This game was huge amounts of fun. Amazing hand draw grahpics, great music and crazy puzzles. Some of the puzzles were downright frustrating but still managed to be entertaining. The game acutally turned out to be shorter than I expected it to be. I'm glad I got it half price in the Steam sale. I don't think it's quite enough to justify the full price tag. It will lack replayability as now I know the answers but I'm definitely glad I finally got around to playing it. I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure/puzzle distraction.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Hundred Million Dollars

There has been a story out today from the Wall Street Journal reporting that Starcraft 2 has cost over $100 million to make! I wonder what they've spent it on. Apparently that's only the development cost and does not include advertising expenses. However considering the original has sold over 11 million copies and that players in South Korea play professionally and have fan clubs, I expect the sequel will make a profit! One of the previous highest costing games is Gran Turismo 5 at $60 million, that's a racing game and I presume a lot of that cost went on licensing fees from car companies. I'm still not sure what Blizzard could have spent $100 million on. A lot of staff for a lot of years I guess, but that's a lot of money.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Starcraft II Collectors Edition

It's less than two weeks now until the release of Starcraft 2. I've been a bit to busy over the last couple to start getting excited about it but then Game reminded me. Obviously I pre-ordered this game quite a while ago but for some reason (I don't remember why anymore) I only ordered the basic version. This week Game sent a mail out asking people if they would like to upgrade their order. I think the reason I didn't order it in the first place was the price but my product launch this week has gone well and I've been feeling the need to splash out. Game couldn't have timed their mail out better! I totally upgraded my order. It does look like a nice set though with a 2GB flash drive containing the original game, a comic book, soundtrack CD, behind-the-scenes DVD, a huge art book and some in-game bonuses. However I may not have enough room on my shelf!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Write Like Dan Brown

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

According to a random website anyway! I saw this site tweeted by @Film4 of all people, the guy posting it wrote like Douglas Adams apparently. The site asks for some text that you wrote and then analyses it before giving you an example of who has a similar style. I had a moment to spare to I plugged in some of my recent blogs posts. The majority resulted in the Dan Brown result. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I've never actually read any of his books (only seen the films) but I get the impression that he's not considered to be particularly sophisticated. A couple of my posts did get Stephen King and Charles Dickens but again that's no-one I've read, only seen films. Not enough dwarfs and dragons or spaceships and planets for me!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Final Frontier

About an hour before my own product launch Iron Maiden released their new music video to the internet. It seems they didn't anticipate the demand and the main Iron Maiden website crashed while the copy of the video on Myspace wasn't loading. Why they would use Myspace as a video host when they've got a perfectly good You Tube channel I have no idea. It was probably due to a pointless business deal rather than a consideration of the technical needs. When will people learn to ask the tech guys their opinion?

I did eventually get to see the video and it was really good. The problem is it was too good in terms of looks. I found myself really enjoying the visuals so much that I wasn't paying attention to the music. The track just isn't exciting enough. The free single (El Dorado) was great, I enjoyed that one. I'll still buy the album of course (I have all the others after all). However this track was a bit disappointing. Maybe without the video it will be improved. Watch for yourself here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Expendables

Not a lot of time to post today but I thought I'd give a quick mention to The Expendables. I've known this was coming for a while and I know it's got a lot of stars in it but I don't actually know what it's about! Still I saw a new trailer for it today which had a great ploy rather than the standard style. This film looks like it will be good fun despite the fact I still have no idea what it's about. Check out the trailer here:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Launch Coming

It's been a bit of a big work weekend as we've got a big product launch coming this Tuesday. I'm not going to talk much about it here as it's mostly boring other than to mention that's the reason I've not done anything else interesting to post about.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Curse you Firaxis

Is my Civ addiction not enough? For those that don't know Firaxis are the developers of Civilization V. The game is due in September and it's one I am looking forward to a lot. I was preparing to buy the digital deluxe version available on Steam but then yesterday they announced there's going to be a $100 special edition box available. The set includes the usual art books, soundtrack and behind the scenes stuff along with some nice looking miniatures. It's just the sort of thing I can't resist for games I'm looking forward too. If it becomes available in the UK I'll totally be buying copy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

More on Dragon Age II

There has been some more Dragon Age 2 information released today and I have to admit this time it's got me slightly worried. Apparently this time the character you play will always be human and called Hawke, the only customizations available will be class and gender. Also this time the player character will be voiced. Now in general this is not necessarily a bad thing but it's a very different way of doing things compared to the first game. We've gone from of choice of 6 origins, 3 races and 3 classes down to a choice of 1 origin and 3 classes. That's quite a cut! It's sounding a lot more like Mass Effect than the "spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate". Now don't get me wrong, I love Mass Effect, but I love the way Dragon Age works too. Sometimes having lots of character choices makes a game extremely re-playable. That's why I enjoy the D&D based games such as Neverwinter Nights so much. I still have faith that Bioware will come out with a top notch game but if the game play is moving closer to Mass Effect style then that leaves room a new game to take the D&D-esque spot.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dragon Age II

It was announced by EA a while back than an unnamed Dragon Age project was in the works. Many people, including me, presumed that would be Dragon Age 2. Today Bioware confirmed that with the first official announcement and the release of some basic details on it's new website. The first thing of note is that they've gone with the name Dragon Age 2 (for now). After Origins and Awakening I sort of expected another sub title.

It's going to be a brand new story set in a different part of Thedas with the player in charge of a new character. I've seen signs on the forum that some people are disappointed that you won't get to continue your old character. Personally I see it differently. If you look at past franchises you see that it's actually not at all typical for that to happen. I think we've been spoiled a bit with how well Mass Effect worked out. I'll agree there are some unfinished story threads I'd like to find out about such as [SPOILER ALERT]Morrigan's Baby[END SPOILER] but I don't feel like that needs to be with the same character.

I've been playing Dragon Age: Origins again this week after the release of the latest DLC campaign, Leliana's Song. That's probably why they decided to announce it now while it's fresh in people's minds again. There are a couple of nice bits of concept art to see and apparently there will be a teaser trailer next month but other than that there's not a lot to know. I'm definitely still looking forward to this one though.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Almost Famous

Well not really! Allow me to explain. I was randomly visiting some old sites in my bookmarks during a bored moment. One of those links happened to be to my lighting system entry at The Neverwinter Vault. I got a nice surprise from the page. It's been a while since I checked the site as I've not been very active in the NWN community recently. What I found was that I've been inducted into the Hall of Fame! That basically means it's been downloaded a lot and people have rated it on average 8/10 or more. It's actual score at the moment is 9.49. Now I'll admit that the NWN mod community is an extremely small niche of the internet but within it that is a major award. I suppose that's more reason than ever to finish some of my other NWN projects.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Work, Blog & Eve

Well yesterday will qualify as my shortest blog post so far. I was busy with work and couldn't find the time to write a post before the deadline. I do sometimes wonder why I keep forcing myself to write one post per day when sometimes I have very little to write about. However I suppose if I give myself that excuse it will start to be longer and longer in between each post until the point where the blog dies.

I did eventually finish my work and spent some time playing Eve. I bought myself a new spaceship which I've been saving up for recently. It's my first battleship, a Megathron, which is the largest ship I own in the game so far. I took some screenshots while I was flying about picking up equipment for it and this morning while I was less busy I decided to make them into a wallpaper. I've added it on my website and you can click the preview copy below for larger versions. In the top left you can see the ship next to a Hulk. I also own a Hulk and that was previously my largest ship. All my other frigates and cruisers are at least half the size of that. So you can see that's quite a size difference for my new battleship. The only thing it doesn't have now is a name, but I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wolfenstein 3D

I'd like to thank Steam for an excellent summer sale and giving us gamers more reasons to avoid direct sunlight. I've picked up some nice bargains over the last two weeks, one of which was the iD Super Pack. This pack includes almost the entire iD Software back catalogue, featuring Wolfenstein, Hexen, Doom & Quake along will all the expansions and sequels. If you've watched Moments of Gaming you'll know I've been playing Wolfenstein 3D recently. The game is a classic in the history of PC games and is the oldest in the pack (not including Commander Keen). Although I understand it was not technically first, it was the first FPS game to be popular and is considered the origin of the genre. I decided I'd make my way through the pack in chronological order, it will take a while be it should be interesting. The sequel, Wolfenstein: Spear of Destiny, is one of the first games I remember playing on PC after my Spectrum & Amiga days. I'm not sure when I first played the original but it will have been later. The game is split into 5 chapters of 10 levels each and I just started chapter 2 yesterday. What surprised me was that it was completely unfamiliar. Zombie Nazis with guns in their chest! I'd remember those I think. It seems that even after all these years I've only ever played chapter 1 before. So an 18 year old game can still bring something new!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Primae

This week the nice folks at Outer Ring Excavations [ORE] gave all the capsuleers in New Eden a brand new space ship free of charge, the Primae. It's designed to work with the new planetary production systems, but it's flawed in two ways. One is that it doesn't have as much cargo space as a top level hauler such as the Iteron V which I already fly. The other problem is it's unique so you can't buy a replacement if it gets destroyed. So like an expensive car I don't expect I'll ever actually undock this one. Still nice to add to the collection.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Almost forgot to post anything today as I was distracted by playing some Machinarium. This is a great little puzzle/adventure game which I've been meaning to try for a while. I finally got around to buying it this week as it was 50% off in the Steam summer sale. It's really engrossing, I only meant to have a quick go but it was suddenly and hour and a half later. Whoever designed the puzzles in the game must have a really strange mind. I don't know how you'd come up with such things, although I did manage to solve them (so far). The animation and the soundtrack are brilliant too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moments of Gaming (June 2010)

June's Moments of Gaming has turned out a little different than my first two episodes. The first two episodes consisted mainly of footage from the games Mass Effect 2 and Just Cause 2, but neither of those appear this month. In June I seem to have played a much larger number of games covering a wider variety of styles which have an even larger age range. Overall there are ten games featured this month ranging from Alien Breed: Impact which is barely a month old all the way back to Wolfenstein 3D which was first released in 1992. In addition to the large amount of games I seemed to have a lot more footage available too. I must have had more time to play this month and when I did I must have pressed record more often. My first two episodes started off quite slow and then built up, I decided this time to try for a more consistent feel. Having more footage to choose from certainly helped with that. Also I decided I'd try to incorporate some more fancy effects with transitions and multiple video tracks rather than straight cuts. Too many wipes can look a bit cheesy but I think I've got away with it, at least if I call it experimental! You can now view Moments of Gaming (June 2010) here: