Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Where did August go? It's gone by really quickly and then sort of fizzled out in to nothing. Only four months left of 2011 and so much left to do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just In Time

Been busy finishing of a website at short notice and almost lost track of the time. Can't have that! One minute before midnight doesn't give me very long to think about anything to write though, sorry.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bank Holiday

Minor public holidays are strange for me. I always end up working like it was just a normal day. The only difference being I get less phone calls from clients. I don't know if that's good, bad or irrelevant but I needed something to write about this evening. I'm afriad that's all I've got. I need to make something interesting happen this week.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


After a completely average Sunday my mind is totally blank. I've been staring at the screen thinking about to write but have come to the conclusion that it's one of those days when there really isn't anything. Therefore am I now going to play more of The Witcher instead.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Let's Kill Hitler

The Doctor is back! In an episode which turned out to be nothing like I expected. With an episode title like that I'm sure a lot of us where expecting more Nazis and adventure than complicated timelines and robots. I suppose that's the point though, to subvert your expectations. I was surprised by how little Hilter actually featured. It was just a random location really. I liked Rory's reaction to it all though. The Doctor and River and the Ponds must have the most complicated timeline ever devised. I'm not even going to try on comment on that any further right now, that's a whole other post. It did seem a little odd to me that there seemed to be very little effort going in to finding Melody. Even though the Doctor left them stranded on a space station at the end of the last episode, all of a sudden Amy and Rory are hapily waiting on Earth for the Doctor to do all the work. Even at the end they left her leave very easily and are straight back to "ok, so what's the next adventure!". I guess it's a resonable way to skip the childhood but it felt a bit quick. Minor niggles after the fact really. I was sweapt along for the ride and enjoyed the episode.

Friday, August 26, 2011


A new experience, although not a particularly pleasant one. It was one of those quiet moments late at night, you're reading something on the Internet and you're sat completely still. The only thing moving is your scroll wheel finger. There's a little tickle on your arm, you presume it's a fly and move your hand to brush it off. It is at this point you discover that it's actually a hornet which doesn't like to be touched. Next thing you're stood bolt upright with a sharp pain in your finger wondering what just transpired. It takes a moment but you realize that you've just been stung.

In 32 years I don't recall having been stung before. Although probably not the worse thing that could happen, I could easily go another 32 years with out it happening again. That's a lot of pain to be concentrated in one small place. Hornets are the worse of that type of sting according to the Internet. At least I had ice handy, would have been worse without that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Impressions: The Witcher

The Witcher is a 2007 RPG from CD Projekt RED STUDIO. It's a game I've been vaguely aware of but it's never been one that#s been high on my list of games to play. I think that's for two reasons. The first being the fact it's from a lesser known developer of which I don't have previous experience. The second reason would be some of the mediocre reviews it got at the time. However earlier in the year The Witcher 2 was release and I became slightly more interested in the series. Since the original release a new "Enhanced Edition" of the game was relase with many updates and fixes including new textures, updated UI and more animations. This is the version I am now currently playing.

So far I've played through the prologue and begun chapter one. I have to say I think I'm liking it so far. The graphics are great and the controls work well. Normally it's harder to get in to the story where the player character is fixed and you have no input in the creation. However that's been less of the case here, which is cool. It's an interesting world which is close to standard fantasy but with some interesting twists. I look forward to playing more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I did eventually win my game of Civilization. Although in the end I had to switch from a cultural victory to a space victory. Two of the AI players were close to a space victory and another was close to getting a diplomatic victory. There wasn't enough time for me to finish my culture objectives before those players. I had plenty of production capacity so the which to space was simple. I've never won a game with culture before and I've done space wins before so that was a little disappointing. It was a different achievement though, it was the first time I've managed to beat the "Prince" level difficulty. I've been trying to do that for quite a while now. Although I will admit I was geographically lucky with my starting placement, making defence quite easy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sucked In

I should know by now that there is no such thing as "A quick game of Civilization"! That wasn't my original plan for this evening. It's a fun option though even if it doesn't leave time for other things, like long blog posts! It looks like I might be on the way to a Cultural victory with Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Elder Scrolls Evolution

This screenshot shows a compilation of all the races from the different Elder Scrolls games for comparison. It's a great example of how computer graphics technology has improved over the years. That's 2011 on the top row followed by 2006 then 2002. Then the bottom three rows are 1997, 1996 and 1994. So that's only 17 years! November and the release of Skyrim cannot come soon enough.
(click for big)

Sunday, August 21, 2011


It's not often you celebrate an 80th birthday but today was one of those days. It does make me wonder a little whether I will still be around come 2059 and what the world will be like. Will we finally have flying cars? Will I have an artificial pancreas? Will we have made first contact? Will I still be writing a blog post every day? I wonder.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Future of MoG

I'm thinking that it is time for a change when it come to Moments of Gaming. I've been making these videos for a while now and it would take over two and a half hours to watch them all in one go. Looking back at my favourite videos it's the ones with a specific theme which turned out the best. There was the War Never Changes video (August 2010), there was the BioWare special (September 2010), there was the Mass Effect 2 video and now I've just done the Jade Empire one.

I really enjoyed doing the Jade Empire video. I took my time to find some good music and then took my time with the editing. That gave me chance to make sure all the cuts were in good place and added in a couple of fancier screen splits as well.

With a proper theme in mind it gives the videos much more cohesion. I've enjoyed what I've done so far but not a lot of people really watch them. I know from my stats that no-one is subscribed and waiting for each new video. The majority of my viewers come from general searches not from any of the links I post around the Internet.

So I've decided I'm going to change the format a little, drop the monthly aspect and do some more of these special videos. That means the schedule isn't going to be monthly any more and will be much more erratic. Hopefully that will mean even better videos in the future, although there will probably be less.

I hope that this can take my editing to a new level. Some of the more recent entries have been squeezed in to just an afternoon and it was verging on becoming a chore.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Completed: Jade Empire

I've been waiting until I finished the video to write about this. Until now it had been the only BioWare RPG that I had not played. I don't really remember why I never played it when it was first released but the fact it started life as an XBox exclusive probably didn't help. Also the ancient China setting wasn't the most appealing to me, so even when I picked up a copy on Steam it still took me a while to get around to trying it. It turns out that was silly as I really enjoyed the game.

I ended up playing the game in three parts. It started with the initial burst, I played though chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 but was then distracted by something (the release of Fallout: New Vegas I think). That was at the end of last year. It wasn't until last month that I picked it up again and played to the end of chapter 2. Then the final session started the first weekend and this month as I mentioned yesterday and was a marathon session spanning from the very end of chapter 2 all the way through the end of the game (chapter 7), now featured in the latest MoG. Although the chapters are not of equal length so that really isn't a very accurate account of time spent. I must admit I'd forgotten a lot about the story in the long gap between the first two sessions. I eventually got back in to the world and that led to the mammoth final session. RPGs to tend to better when you let the world suck you in and become part of it, but you can't do that with a six month gap in play.

I think part of the problem was my initial skepticism about the setting. It wasn't until chapter 3 that I really understood the world and what the actual purpose of the story was. Once I'd got to that point it was hard to find good places to stop. For a five year old game the graphics still hold up really well (more the environments than the characters though). Still when you've got a good story that matter much less. It's interesting how much of BioWare's history you can see in the game. Built on the engine used for Knights of the Old Republic you can see the similarities and what has been improved since then. However playing it after Mass Effect and Dragon Age you can also see the new things they were trying that would eventually become major parts of their game play.

I'm glad I finally played the game. At the end I didn't get the feeling that I should play again right away as a different character like I do on some RPGs. I just didn't get the feeling it would be much different. Still very much worth the one play through though. I would recommend it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moments of Gaming (A Jade Empire Special)

It was the first weekend of the month and I started playing some Jade Empire. This turned into a bit of a marathon and ended with me completing the game. I'd been recording footage throughout that time and completely filled the drive I use to store it and more. That is more footage than I have used for any episode of MOG before, taken in three days rather than a month. I didn't have any room for anything more, so the answer became simple. I would have a special edition of Moments of Gaming featuring just Jade Empire. When I was complaining about finding the perfect music last week it was for this. I been taking my time to get things right and I'm pretty pleased with the result. Unlike when I did an entire episode with Mass Effect 2, I had a definitive end to work towards. So there's a lot more structure to this one. I don't know how much that will show for some who has not played the games but the scenes here are (for the most part) in chronological order.

Also in another change the video is now available in HD. If you want you can select modes up to 720p instead of the basic 360p.

Watch the video here:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Get things done

So I'm having a "get things done" week and clearing out lots of small and overdue tasks that have been piling up from various sides of life. However none of it is particularly exciting to write about. If there's time then tomorrow evening I'll go to the cinema so that should be something. Until then...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Double Rainbows

The Internet still likes double rainbows right? If not it's tough as I took some photos of one and I've got nothing else to post today. Stupidly I forgot to check if it went all the way. I do like though that it's really close, if you look carefully you'll see it's coming in front of the trees.

More Here:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Google Games

So Google+ has games now. I guess it was inevitable but some people were saying that the lack of games was one of major benefits of Google+. For now at least, they seem to be going for quality over quantity, unlike Facebook. Also it seems they are keeping it all to a separate section and keeping all the notifications and updates away from your main news feed, which is good. There is only one Facebook game I've ever played and that's Dragon Age: Legends which is now available on Google+ too. I don't really need to be playing two copies of that so I've been playing some City of Wonder instead. It's a sort of Civilization Simulation type game and it seems kinda cool. I presume most of the available games are also to be found in other places (like Facebook), I know DA:Legends and Angry Birds are, but I'd not heard of City of Wonder before. The whole situation of games on Google+ will be interesting to watch as its reach gets larger.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Much to do

Lots of things on the agenda this week. Hopefully that will make up for the fact that last week felt like such a failure. If all goes well then along with the usual work related things there should be time for a trip to see Captain America and also a new You Tube video release. Not much has been going on this weekend unless you happen to be interested in sales leader boards for Click Bank products which I imagine you're not as that's boring work stuff.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This actually happened a couple of weeks ago. You may have seen me mention it on Twitter and Google+ but I never posted about it here. I was trying to think of something to post this evening and opened up Picasa to see if I had any interesting photos to post rather than a long text post. There was a fire in one of the blocks across from me, it was probably only a chip pan but as it's a big tower block there's always a huge response. I've seen it before a couple of times but never at night. So many flashing blue lights!

View Photos Here

Also a short video of all the lights!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Non-Week

It's been a strange week. Looking back I don't feel like I've really achieved anything of note. Work has been slow, other projects have had little work done and my blog posts have been getting shorter again. All no good, something must be done. I don't actually know what needs to be done, but it should be something. I shall endeavour to figure out the answer this weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well sort of, coming soon. It's actually still months away but things have been finalized today and I don't have anything else to post about. At the end of October I'll be spending some time in London for a few things including the London International Technology Show. I've been away for a few weekends but usually that's Friday to Sunday. This time it will be Thursday to Monday. So not including visits to family at Christmas, it will be the longest time I've been away from home in many years. Sure it's only London but it will include proper hotels and everything so it's almost a real holiday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Can we just skip today? I've got other things to do and nothing interesting to write about, sorry.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


A short post this evening. I'm glad to see that Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire have had the sense to not start setting things on fire yet. Although the same cannot be said for my home town of Manchester, for shame! In the meantime I've got some video editing planned so I'm going to get on with that. There is little else going on for me today worth mentioning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

WTF London?

I just don't get it. When is violence, theft and property damage ever the answer? I guess I'll never understand the criminal mindset. What kind of person thinks that kind of behaviour is okay? Sure it's actually only a small percentage of people but it still makes a huge impression on the news. Why are common sense and courtesy not more desired traits in people? I do wonder about the future sometimes, it's kind of bleak. Why are we not trying to better ourselves? It's also sad how much technology is being used to organize these things, surely there are better uses for the Internet! Times may be tough but we should be working to fix things not to break it down.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finding Music

I've said it before but as it's what I've been up to this afternoon that's all I have to talk about now. Sometimes it's really hard to find the right music to go with a video. When you've got a specific idea and feel in mind it can be tricky to find the correct match when browsing through the creative commons music selections. I've still not found anything I'm happy with for this current project. Sometimes I wish I could compose my own music, but even though I can play some instruments a little I proved a long time ago that I wasn't good at composition. Also that would be another entire hobby itself and my time is full enough as it is. I need one or two tracks totalling a play time around 10 minutes that build to something powerful with a slightly eastern feel. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's a Miracle

Spoilers for Torchwood: Miracle Day episode five! Stop now if you've not seen it.

We're at the halfway point now, so time for a quick update on things. I've enjoyed the series so far, more than I expected to after the first episode actually. There are two parts to the story. On one side we've got the new Torchwood team investigating the cause of the miracle and on the other we've got Oswald Danes evangelizing and promoting the miracle to the public. So far those two threads haven't really intersected much. We've got big actor Bill Pullman playing Danes but it's like he's in his own separate show, so far he's only had two very short scenes with John Barrowman. Though there were a couple of hints here that things will be escalating soon. I'm sorry but I still don't really like Rex. He's mellowed a little since the fist episode but his character doesn't feel very consistent and just seems to bug me. Also his relationship with Vera seems extremely forced for plot reasons, I don't buy for a second that that would have happened. Of course maybe I'm just jealous because I liked Vera, but no that didn't feel right. Also yes, I used the past tense there because Torchwood is up to its old tricks of killing characters again. Even in a world where no-one (except Jack) can die, I don't think there's any coming back from that. You'll be missed Vera.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Collector's Editions

You probably know by now that I like to buy the collector's editions of games. I do pick up a lot of Steam special offers but for a major release or a favourite franchise I'll nearly always go for the special edition. It seems like there are a lot more of them being released in the last couple of years than before that. I suspect it's a reaction to increased digital sales as you can't download a statue or a book over the Internet (yet). I already know what the next two I buy will be and I have my pre-orders in, even though one is not out until November and the other doesn't have a date yet.

The first one is of course Star Wars: The Old Republic. The set was announced a couple of weeks ago and look really nice and comes with lots of extras for both in game and real life.

The second one was announced today at Quakecon and that is for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This one looks good too and I'm really looking forward to the game, but there is a catch.

The problem is with the price. Normally I'd expect to pay around twice the price of the standard version, £60-£70 rather than £30. However for these two the price has jumped to £120 each! I'm not even sure why.

You do get a lot of things with The Old Republic set including:
  • Exclusive Gentle Giant Darth Malgus statue
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic game disks in collectible metal case
  • The Journal of Master Ghost-Dural annotated by Satele Shan
  • Old Republic galaxy map
  • Custom Security Authentication Key
  • Exclusive Music of Star Wars: The Old Republic CD
  • High-quality Collector's Edition box
  • In-game Flare Gun: Fire flares into the air.
  • In-game Training Droid: Hovers at your side for combat assistance.
  • In-game HoloDancer: Project your own holographic dancer.
  • In-game HoloCam: Keep visual records of in-game adventures.
  • In-game STAP: Sleek and unique in-game vehicle.
  • Exclusive In-game Mouse Droid: Spunky droid to join your adventures.
  • Exclusive In-game Collector's Edition Store: Unique in-game vendor with a dynamic assortment of items.

Yet for Skyrim the bonuses are:
  • Alduin Statue
  • The Art of Skyrim' Official Art Book
  • The Making of The Elder Scrolls v: Skyrim' DVD

That seems a bit unbalanced to me considering they are both going for the same high price. Although that Dragon does look nice. Still like I said, I've already pre-ordered both. I'll just have to be careful with my savings when they get closer to release. I do find myself wondering about the future though. It this trend continues then collecting these will start to get very expensive. Also there is only so much shelf space I can devote to gaming statues.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spike: After The Fall

It's always a good week when I get my Amazon gift certificate payment for my affiliate work elsewhere. You've probably noticed lots of new things over the last few days. The final thing this time around is another trade paperback comic compilation containing issues 1-4 of Spike: After The Fall.

This is a spin-off from a spin-off. The Spike: After The Fall comic tells the story of how Spike got to where we find him in the Angel: After The Fall books and how he became one of the Lords of LA. The first thing I noticed here was the quality of the art. It really isn't up to the same standards as the Angel or Buffy books. Except for a few key pages it really lacks detail. The story though was much better. It felt like a good continuation and was true to the character. There is great back story here but it is softened a little by the fact it's a prequel and that we already know the outcome from the main Angel stories. As a one off special though it is good to fill in the time while waiting for volume three of Angel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dark of the Moon

I've been meaning to go and see the new Transformers film for about three weeks now but other life stuff kept getting in the way and I repeatedly postponed the trip. Finally I made the time on Monday evening to see it as it's not going to be on for much longer and there are another five films coming within the next month I'd like to see.

The film was much longer than I expected it to be, I was surprised by what time it was when I left the theatre. I never looked at my watch during the film though. It kept my interest and I came out entertained. The film has been getting slammed by critics and yet it currently stands 9th on the list of highest grossing films worldwide. It seems like there is a mismatch here somewhere. I guess that the kind of people who choose the job of film critic just don't overlap with the kind of people the film is aimed at. Although even on some user based sites the average is coming in around 5/10.

It does seem though that most people can agree that the film is a great technical achievement. It is the best example of 3D I have seen since Avatar. Of course it is one of the ones that work well because it was the director's intention to use 3D and it was shot (in part) with 3D cameras, none of this post-conversion rubbish. All the robots are looking good as well, great work from ILM (and others). So while the plot may not be the deepest, the action and visuals are excellent. Michael Bay has become known as a fast paced action director, but that's for a good reason, he is good at it. It has been a while since I last saw the first two films, but I think that this is actually my favourite of the three.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moments of Gaming (July 2011)

This has very much been a non-standard gaming month. It began in the first week with a wide assortment of games all compressed in to a short time for the Steam Summer Camp event. The majority of the remainder of the month was taken by The Old Republic testing, but of course I am not allowed to show you that. Even the act of recording was barred. That ended last week and since then I've picked up my Jade Empire game again. I still had plenty of footage to use but this month cutting it all down to seven minutes seemed harder than usual. I feel like there is more I wish I could have found space for than I have in previous months. The end result is okay, but due to the amount of games you only get a tease of some of them. Also due to the amount of games I've added game labels with the You Tube annotation feature again for the non-gamers out there.

Watch the video here:

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Unforgiving

The last of the three new albums I bought turned out to be my favourite, The Unforgiving by Within Temptation. This one is a different style to the others, calling themselves Symphonic Rock which of course it little less aggressive than some melodic death metal. It seems I picked up the deluxe edition without even realizing, it arrived with a bonus DVD contain videos and behind the scenes information, also a poster of the cover. I've not looked at any of the bonus content yet, but it was a nice surprise. I understand that this album, along with its music videos and comic styled booklet, is all supposed to be part of a single story. I'm afraid though that I have no idea what the story is. I just don't process song lyrics like that. To me the vocals are another instrument creating a sound, my brain doesn't process the meaning. I can even sing along with no real knowledge of the words coming from my mouth, yet I couldn't recite them without the rest of the music because to me they are one. So, no idea what the songs or album are about, but it sounds great.