Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Twice a year Eve Online gets a major new expansion and they change the subtitle. So this week Eve Online: Incarna became Eve Online: Crucible. There have been lots of little fixes and updates this time rather than one major new feature, however the most obvious changes have been in the graphics engine. After the introduction of the Minmatar Captain's Quarters last time, now we have specific quarters for each race and so they finally match whatever station you're in rather all being the same. They've added new starfields and nebula effect which makes all of space much prettier. The stargates even point to actual stars now. Various new visual effects have been added and updated as well including the engine trails and the warp effects. It's all looking very swish now. I've not been playing a lot in the last month or so due to everything else going on but this is tempting me back again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


As you may remember, I've been reading Dark Horse's Knights of the Old Republic comics this year while waiting for the new game. The last volume I read was number four. However finding volume five was more complicated than expected. There was no listing for it on Amazon, they skipped straight to volume six. After a little research I found that was because it was part of a special crossover called Star Wars: Vector. At the time Dark Horse were running four separate Star Wars series set in different time frames. So Knights of the Old Republic volume five is actually contained in Star Wars: Vector volume one along with Star Wars: Dark Times volume three. I suppose crossover events are a staple of the comics world but it sometimes makes it tricky to follow the stories from volume to volume unless you're paying attention. The problem here is there are nearly 4000 years of time in between the two series here and so the link between the stories is pretty weak, involving a Sith artifact and suspended animation. The KOTOR part of the story seems a little forced and not really part of the ongoing story while introducing a new character only for the purpose of crossing over. There are some good moments but it is not the best entry in the series by a long shot. Although I'm still kinda interested in how the story of Carrick turns out but this series is in danger of losing me again. The second part of the story is much stranger. Having not read any of the rest of the Dark Times series it's all about characters I've never met before, other than Darth Vader of course. It's also much shorter than the first part and so doesn't feel like much more than an epilogue, 4000 years later. I was left a bit underwhelmed. I'll give the KOTOR series another chance of course as I enjoy that era and the fact it doesn't have to worry about fitting in with the films too much, also I'm already invested in the continuing story even if it isn't the greatest at the moment. As for the second volume of Vector, I don't think I'll bother.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day Off

Short post this evening. The last two weeks have involved a lot of video games and although I'm not really the kind of person who craves contact with others all the time, it has been a while since I've seen any of my friends face to face, Of course many of them have been playing Skyrim too. That's finally going to change this evening but it means I'm out of time to think up a more interesting blog post today. I'll be back tomorrow, possibly with something that's not video game related for a change!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gameplay Videos

It's a rare occasion when one of my You Tube uploads gets more than twenty views. Yet for some reason that happened for my Skyrim Journeys videos, I was not expecting that. I'd made those videos simply with the idea that a few non-gamers might like to see some of the world and scenery we're all talking about. I figured that would only have a small niche appeal. After looking at the analytics to see how people were finding the videos I found out something I had never considered. It turns out some people are using those videos as directions for how to get to places, as if the in-game maps and signposts were insufficient. Of course that never occurred to me! So seeing as they're proved to be a little useful and as they don't really have long term appeal I decided I'd do some more. I recorded a couple more during the week and uploaded last night along with some The Old Republic video which I'll talk about in a moment.

Skyrim Journeys - Solitude to Markarth

Skyrim Journeys - Winterhold to Windhelm

As I mentioned yesterday I've not played a lot in The Old Republic test yet this weekend but I did record a lot of that game play. As Bioware have obviously lifted the NDA this weekend in order to get some free promotion from users uploading screenshots and videos online I decided I would do my part. I've put up three game play videos which are just raw footage with little editing. If you're interested in the game but haven't been able to secure a testing spot then you've probably already seen a lot of these but this will show you my experience of the current version.

SW:TOR Test - Jedi Knight - Arrival on Tython

SW:TOR Test - Jedi Knight - Gnarls Cavern

SW:TOR Test - Jedi Knight - Jedi Temple

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Old Republic

It's been a while since I last played The Old Republic. Even though the NDA has been dropped on testing groups now I won't get too deep in to comparisons as it probably still applies to the old tests. I'll just say this, the core is still the same and nothing major has changed. However there have been lots of minor fixes and it feels like a much more polished game now. I've not played a lot yet this time around, they're letting people on in waves and I was in the Saturday afternoon wave. I'll put some more time in tomorrow. My biggest problem was deciding what character class to play. There are eight classes to choose from, four on each side (Republic/Sith). I've played four of them before in a previous test so I didn't want to play those again just yet. Also I don't want to play too much this time knowing that the characters will be deleted before than final release of the game. With the release less than a month away now I wouldn't want to repeat myself so soon. I still think my first character at release will be a Jedi Consular. So based on what I just said I probably choose the wrong class today, I opted to play a Jedi Knight. That's a different class to the Consular but they start on the same planet. I can post screenshots and video now! Videos need to render and upload, so that will be tomorrow. Until then here's a screenshot of Aren the Jedi Knight with a Mohawk.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sky Sports F1 HD

This is a continuation of yesterday's post. Things have been officially announced now and a website has appeared.

Now we have more information for example they promise there will be no advertising breaks during the races which is good. That's already better than it was at ITV. They've got online and interactive content planned which is also good. I often watch the BBC coverage via iPlayer along with the driver tracker and live timings running on other computer screens. It certainly sounds like they're taking it seriously. On the downside the channel is only free to existing Sports or HD subscribers. So I will need to upgrade my package but only to HD rather than full Sports. That's not too bad, as upgrading my whole setup to HD is something I've been wanting to do for a while. I was thinking about doing so this year but the time seems to have slipped away and now March 2012 seems like such a short deadline. So long as I can still have something like this it will be okay.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

F1 for Free?

As the season draws to a close this weekend more news is coming out about the TV coverage deals for next year. As you many recall from a few months ago the coverage in the UK is moving from BBC to Sky. A lot of fans were displeased with this news. However I've just read something interesting which if unconfirmed at this point. Apparently for each race weekend Sky will be putting on a special dedicated F1 channel for the three days. I suppose this is so it doesn't interfere with the football or any of the other existing Sky Sports programming. The good part is this will apparently be free to basic Sky/Virgin customers, no need to subscribe to Sky Sports. Freeview customer will have to pay extra though. That's pretty much perfect for my situation, so long as the coverage is any good. It currently sounds like from the BBC team only Martin Brundle is making the move to Sky. Seeing as the championships were sown up weeks ago I expect this will be the major talking point in Brazil.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'll be splitting my time between Skyrim and other worlds sooner than expected. It's just under a month now until I head to a galaxy far far away for The Old Republic. However before that is another test this weekend. Only a weekend test this time so there won't be much to do and I won't want to complete too much only to have to do it all again at the end of December. It sounds like they're wanting to get as many people back from previous tests all in one go in order to stress the servers with a much larger population. I will be interested to see what has changed since I last played and how it performs with a full population. Also the NDA has been lifted for this test so I can post screenshots and videos this time around. Should make for an interesting weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Open World

Yes, sorry, this is another Skyrim related post. There's a video blog about 3D glasses if you'd like an alternative. I suppose this does actually apply to all open world role playing games. It's the thing that makes an open world sandbox so fun to play, the emergent game play that arises and the bond people form with their characters. Even though everybody is playing the same game we all have our own unique tale to tell. That time your horse died because you didn't know there was a cliff there. Or the time you saw a mammoth fighting a dragon. Or that guy who dragged Lydia's corpse up a mountain for a proper burial. Hearing other player's tales can be as fun as the game itself. It's a single player game but with a huge community experience more than you'd ever get from an online multiplayer shooter. I was thinking about this last night as I was having a non-standard session of play. Not the most interesting of tales but I spent two hours playing the game without killing any monsters or completing any quests. Instead I travelled from town to town buying all the ingots and leather I could carry and then did some intense training on my smithing skills and made all sorts of armour and weapons. Now I'm a master smith I can finally make things from the parts of the dragons I've killed. The end result? Dragonscale Armour!

Monday, November 21, 2011


You never really notice how many film posters are similar until you see them all put together like this. I was surprized. There's a whole page of them here: Have a look!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I've been getting behind on a few things including this blog, I've been posting very late recently. I need to skip a day and catch up and continue fresh tomorrow. Sorry about that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fallout 4

After a week of Skyrim I find myself thinking about Fallout 4. Bethesda used the engine from Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion to create Fallout 3 (later used by Obsidian to create Fallout: New Vegas). So it seems highly likely that the new engine built for Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim will be used to create Fallout 4 at some point. In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if they've already been working on it for a while. There have been no official announcements yet but I'd put money on it being revealed at one of the major gaming events in 2012 (E3 being the most obvious choice). I wonder where it will be set, time to leave the continental US maybe?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Trailer

Sorry I'm a bit short on content again today due to too much Skyrim. There is of course a video blog you could go and watch, although that's about Skyrim too. Instead here today how about the new trailer for Christmas Doctor Who.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mash Up

I found this on the Internet the other day and thought it was cool. Enjoy instead of a longer post today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Skyrim Journeys

I managed an entire three days without talking about Skyrim again. However it's still the thing which is taking the majority of my free time and so I have little else to talk about today.

I've been thinking about videos and the fact I haven't done a gaming one for a while. So far though I've not thought of any good presentation ideas yet. I think for now I'm going to concentrate on the video blog side of things. However I did record a couple of game play videos from Skyrim. No editing in these, just recorded and uploaded. There are quite a lot of Skyrim related videos on You Tube at the moment of course but I added a couple more. Simple rides from town to town just to show off the scenery while moving rather than just a screenshot.

Skyrim Journeys - Riften to Whiterun

Skyrim Journeys - Whiterun to Falkreath

Also Skyrim is the most northern province of Tamriel and it seems when you go to the far north you get some great aurora in the sky at night. Of course I ended up taking some more screenshots. Oh and I bought a horse as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Along with the latest Angel comics there was also the latest from Astonishing X-Men, another series which I'd almost forgotten about due to the slow release schedule. Here we have unexpected mutant babies turning up in Africa which mean we have a Storm heavy story. I've never been all that keen on Storm so that's not a great start but there is still enough from the rest of the team so it doesn't lose me completely. The story is fine and is partly an extension of the previous volume but mostly stands alone. The one issue I had was with the art. Artists change and that's fine, if not expected in most comics. While the last three volumes (15 single issues) have all been written by Warren Ellis, each volume was drawn by a different person, in this case Kaare Andrews. As someone who can't draw it's hard to justify the criticisms. I wish I could draw that well. However I just don't think that exaggerated style works well for the X-Men, it just doesn't quite feel right to me. If you've been following the series there is no reason you shouldn't pick this up but if you're new this is not the place to start.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Doctor in Film?

Odd Doctor Who news today which I first saw on IMDb and then later backed up by the BBC. David Yates, director of the last four Harry Potter Films, is developing a feature film version of Doctor Who. It's still early days and no writers, scripts, cast or production people have been hired yet. However they do say this is to be a new and separate continuity. I'm not convinced that this is a good idea. I'm not a big fan of reboots and remakes in the first place, but to have two continuities going at the same time just doesn't seem right to me. Although of course that is assuming the TV series carries on for another three years or so. One other thing that these articles are forgetting to mention is that this has been tried before. In 1965 Dr. Who and the Daleks was made starring Peter Cushing as The Doctor with Roy Castle as companion. That was followed in 1966 with Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. when Bernard Cribbins got his chance to be a companion. Although they have their moments, neither of these films are particularly great. The main problem is is just doesn't feel like a Doctor Who story due to all the slight differences. So I'm not getting excited for a new film version yet.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

After The Fall: Volume 3

While browsing Amazon for Christmas and other gift exchange related reasons I noticed that the next volume of Angel: After The Fall was finally out in trade paperback format. These come out so infrequently that I'd forgotten it was even due. I've read it and I've enjoyed it but I'm having trouble thinking of anything in particular to say about it beyond that. The art is good for the most part and the story is good too. We have the conclusions to many plot threads and the start of new ones, it's very much "end of part one" territory. That's all well and good but there's no point in me trying to explain anything as so much wouldn't make sense unless you'd watched the TV series and read the other comics. So while I enjoyed it a lot, I can only recommend it to existing fans and they've probably all read it already!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Views from the Frozen North

A few more screenshots from Skyrim for my blog post today as there has been very little else going on here. I discovered some interesting new places today, including a strange underground glade. I will post about something other than Skyrim tomorrow, don't want to go overboard!

Edit to Add: A couple more after realizing I titled this post "views from a frozen north" and then failed to include anything with snow in it. And Skyrim is probably nearly 75% snow covered!

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Impressions: Skyrim

What else could I post about today? Not a lot as of course playing Skyrim has been taking up most of my free time. I received my delivery of the collector's edition without any hassle for a change. If you've not already seen them, there are photos of me opening the package here:

The games looks great and the story so far has been interesting. The only problems I've had is with a control interface. For some reason they've chosen to use some none standard key patterns in the UI. Why doesn't ESC close the inventory? Oh it's TAB, right! Lots of little oddities like that. Once your brain gets used to them it gets better but it was very strange to start with.

One odd thing about the new huge open world I've been exploring. I find myself wanting to take photos (screenshots) just like I would if I were visiting Tamriel for real. So just like I would if I'd just returned from holiday I offer my impressions by posting a bunch of pictures (click for big). First meet Marcus the Nord.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Day To Go

Sometimes pre-orders arrive a day early. That didn't happen this time for my copy of Skyrim. So no quick look after midnight tonight for me. Hopefully it will arrive here tomorrow without incident. As least deliverability has improved slightly now the building has finished and new signs are up. Only slightly improved though, so fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Origami Wednesday

I was sat thinking about future ideas for videos on my blog channel when I noticed a book I recently bought on origami. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases while in the Design Museum gift shop when I was in London. I've been interested in origami for a long time but I haven't actually made anything for many years (not including making snappers out of pub flyers). The book tempted me with lots of clear instructions along with nice paper to make the models with. The Sea Turtle I made came out a bit flat, but today I made a seal which came out much better. However before I made the seal I realized it could be a video project to record myself making them and so Origami Wednesday was born. There are 40 models in the book of which I've now completed 2. So for the next 38 weeks my Wednesday video will be origami and music. This take the pressure off thinking about enough video ideas and creates a nice continuing series to go with the channel. Also it's pretty quick to film and edit which is a bonus.

Watch episode 1 - seal here:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Completed: The Witcher

With Skyrim on the way I realized that I should spend this weekend making an effort to finish the RPG I was currently part way through playing, The Witcher. I knew I was past the half-way point and my weekend workload was low, so I set to it.

The world of The Witcher is a bit of a strange one. On the surface it seems like a pretty typical fantasy setting but as you get deeper in to it you find the are a lot more differences and complications. Also there are the higher levels of sex and violence which further differentiates it from the Tolkien-esque stuff. I had never really heard about this game until after The Witcher 2 was released earlier this year. After that got good reviews I decided I'd look in to the series. Turns out it is based on a series of polish books. I'm reminded of a time when I was discussing games made from books which weren't a film in between. At the time I couldn't think of an example, but this is one.

Original out in 2007 and then polished/patched and re-released in 2008 the game looks great as it's not too old and with a modern machine it can be run with full settings. I normally don't like RPGs with fixed player characters as much as ones with a free character creation system. It takes longer to become attached to the creation of someone else and the different limits that puts on the storytelling makes the games feel slightly different. In The Witcher though, I started to enjoy playing as Geralt of Rivia pretty quickly. It had all the elements, interesting story & characters, good graphics & voice acting and some great music as well.

There were a couple of wonky interface issues but nothing you couldn't get used to. The one major problem I had was with the quests and related information. I didn't feel like they were organized as they could have been. I often felt like I had far too many quest lines open at once and was often unsure what to do next. At times you are wondering what you should do next in a quest, only find you actually needed to do something in an unrelated quest to trigger an advance in the other plot. I had to look up a couple of quests in the walkthroughs in order to figure out what I was missing.

Those issues aside the rest of the game is really good and it forces you to make some very interesting decisions, with consequences. It's also one of the better examples I've seen of using AI to create enough random townsfolk that the places felt like they were alive.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Grahams

More live music tonight and I've got to post early and make sure I'm ready on time as it's actually the first support band I'm going to see. My friend's band Chronicles Of Graham have picked up a the local support slot at Corporation tonight, it's probably their biggest gig to date I think. This will be the forth time I've seen them live which technically makes them second in the list of bands I have seen more than once, second only to Iron Maiden of course. I've seen Maiden seven times so if this rate continues then The Grahams will probably top the list sometime next year!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

5 Days To Skyrim

Anticipation is building now. People are getting order shipped notifications, myself included. Everything about the game is sounding great. I've avoided a lot of the media coverage for the game so I can enjoy as much as possible first hand. I already enjoy The Elder Scrolls series and trust Bethesda as a developer, so I don't need previews and demos to convince me. Still I can't help but feel the hype. Both online and in real life, it seems everybody is counting down to the Skyrim release date (11/11/11).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lacuna Coil Live

Yesterday evening I went to see the band Lacuna Coil live at Corporation. They now have the honour of being on the very short list of bands I have seen live more than once. The show was great and seemed better than last time, the crowd seemed much more involved as well. There are a few photos from the evening which you can find here:

Also I did something I don't usually bother with. Normally I prefer to enjoy the show rather than stand and record video, but I was interested to see how my new camera would cope with it so I recorded one song towards the end. You can see that on You Tube here:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hobbit Technical Details

It's been a while since the last one but today the forth of Peter Jackson's Hobbit video blog was released. It's quite a technical story this time talking all about cameras and 3D, all very interesting to me.

See the video here:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video Failures

I obviously picked the wrong time to attempt to start video blogs again. I've not done a particularly good job in keeping to my planned schedule so far. However seeing as I only have two subscribers on that channel (and one of those is my own other account) I doubt many people are missing me. I do hope to fit something in tomorrow though. Also I never meant for it to be so long since my last gaming video. I've had a bunch of footage from The Witcher sat on my hard drive for a while now just waiting for a video idea. However I never felt like I had a good idea and so never found the drive to get started. This evening I started to look at some of the footage only to find that for some reason all the audio was of a really poor quality. Ah well, it seems like that project was never meant to be. It's likely now that my next gaming video will be about Skyrim, only 8 days to go now! Perhaps November will turn out to be a better month for videos.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Britain In A Day

You may remember me talking about the documentary Life In A Day in the past. It's available on DVD now by the way (and back on You Tube at Now the same production team (with a different director) are going to do the same but only for the UK rather than the whole world. I've no idea if they'll be able to create quite the same feel a second time, I guess it helps that a lot of the same people are involved rather than it just being a copy. If something interesting happens on November 12th I will probably record some footage. Although just like last time I don't expect it will be interesting enough to be included.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Episode four of Dragon Age: Redemption has just been posted so I thought I'd make another quick post about it. We're already two thirds of the way though after all. I've been enjoying it a lot so far. However I do have one issue. It kinda feels like not a lot has actually happened. The sets, locations, costumes, makeup, actors are all great. The problem is the story feels like it's barely gotten past the introduction and there is only to episodes left. It seems like I'm going to be left wanting more, but no more has been announced. I guess that's the one problem with low budget web based shows. It's the same with The Guild, Mortal Kombat or SOLO for example, on one side they're fun and creative. Being outside the traditional studio system lets them try new things, but the lower budgets makes it feel like there is never quite enough of it. Still as the format gets more and more popular I guess that means there is still hope for the future.