Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Zero Punctuation

You know those info sequences from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy:

Well imagine that somebody did something similar and applied it to video games. And that is just what Zero Punctuation is. And just like THHGTTG it is incredibly funny.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PAX 2007 Omegathon Does Halo3

At PAX this year the final mystery game in Omegathon was Halo3. Not the limited multiplayer Beta Halo3 that came with Crackdown, but fully formed with stuff nobody has seen before now like the Halo3 Energy Sword.

Part 1

Part 2

And Mike Vs Jerry

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mass Effect Revelation (spoiler free) (Completed)

So I finished reading the Mass Effect Novel the other night and as a stand alone novel it a little short, but I really enjoyed it as a precursor to the game's plot.

I wanted to read because I wanted some background on the Mass Effect universe before the game comes out, so that when I start playing the game I feel at home. Which is something I like about playing Star Trek or Star Wars games, because I am already familiar with the universe the names of places and things in the universe like 'The Force' or 'The Prime Directive' don't feel like new or alien concepts to me and I can concentrate on playing the game and not worry about the details.

The plot of the novel takes place years before the game's plot does. The main character is a Lieutenant Anderson who is investigating a Human research base that is attacked and completely destroyed. Anderson is then trying to find the only survivor of the facility while they are both being chased by a hired Assassin. Along the way the reader is introduced to much of the Mass Effect universe. Things like the Contact Wars between the Humans and Turians, the legacy of the Protheans, the galactic council which is kind of like a galactic supreme cough with a big fleet of ships to exercise it's will and who aren't opposed to wiping out an entire species if it is in the interests of galactic peace.

The Mass Effect universe as a whole borrows a lot from a lot from different areas of Sci-Fi. But apart from the similarity between the Jedi of Star Wars and the Biotics of Mass Effect, the series reminds me a lot of Babalon5. There isn't anything specific between Babalon5 and Mass Effect that is a direct comparison, but the way the different alien races relate to one another feels very similar because in both series politics plays a big role in the universe and many of the primary characters are politicians and people of authority.

Something that did surprise me about the universe is that the Spectres (who in the game you will play as Commander Shepard the first Human Spectre) aren't like FBI agents or Men In Black that investigate to keep galactic peace and only use their authority when necessary. No, Spectres are people who get results by any-means-necessary. So if that means killing a bus load of school children in the interests of galactic security, so be it, because in the greater scheme of things fifty lives is nothing to trillions. This gives me the impression that the Spectres are more like BobaFett than Jack Bauer, but the Spectres have the authority to get results and you will discover that quite quickly if you read the novel.

Because of the trailers we already know that the badguy in the game is Saren who used to be a Spectre. Well in the novel he is a Spectre and is one of the main characters. So I certainly feel like I know his character better after having read the novel and I am really looking forward to seeing him in the game.

My only complaint with the novel is that the ending was too open, but then the followup is the video game.

In case you haven't seen the trailer yet:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vibrator Robber Jailed

Normally I hate reading local news as reporters always write about the same old rubbish, but occasionally local news turns up golden. Like in the case of the Man Who Robbed A Bookies With A Vibrator.

I am trying to think of something funny to say, but I am turning up blank.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Harry Potter Series (Completed)

I haven't actually read the whole Harry Potter series as I find it easier to go through books of that magnitude in audio format with a narrator doing funny voices for all the different characters. That is to say books that I am not prepared to read, but really do want to read. Anyway having finished the series I thought I might give some retrospective.

JK does an excellent job of creating a consistent feeling of anticipation for what is coming in the story. There is always something going on in a chapter that keeps the reader going, not to mention all the secrets in the series. And unlike some murder mystery writers who leave it up until the final chapter to decide who the killer was, JK has peppered the whole series with little nuggets that forward and backwards references very nicely, which means new discoveries can be had on the reader's part from a second reading of the series.

My only issue with the whole series is with the last book. Through the series each book has the Defence Against The Dark Arts Teacher take some special place in each book's plot and no teacher holds the post for more than a year, but in the final book the post is only mentioned. This shouldn't have bothered me, but it did. It also bothered me that we never discover wither Harry graduated from Hogwarts, wither Harry fulfilled his interesting in becoming an Auror or what happened to a few of the characters. So although I deeply enjoyed the series, it left me feeling a little confunded as it didn't offer as much closure as I would have liked. That all being said it is an excellent series and something in me says that we haven't seen the last of the Harry Potter Universe just yet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Team Fortress 2 Artstyle

I just seen this TF2 video where the development team talk about the art direction, visual queues, lighting technology they have been working on for the game and I was very surprised about the lack of promotional BS in their words.

Usually in videos where developers talk about their game things like 'innovative' and 'never done before' are said a lot and when everybody actually plays the game it is painfully obvious that it is nothing like how the team described (a certain Peter M certainly isn't the only one in the industry that is guilty of over promoted what they are selling). For example there is an interview about Bioshock out there where it is said that the Telekinesis power in the game hasn't been done before in an FPS, but most gamers will instantly recognise a similarity between the game's Telekinesis power and HL2's Gravity Gun. So anyway I don't like the general level of BS that comes from most people in the industry, but I found this video to be a nice refreshing change.

The team clearly knows their stuff and by demonstrating that I am more confident that TF2 is going to be a good game.

P.S. While on the subject of art-direction and Bioshock there is a free Bioshock Artbook that is up for download as of today on the official website.
The artbook is in PDF format so I would highly recommend installing Foxit as an alternative PDF reader to Adobe's bloatware reader.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rollerblade Man Suit

By way of Digg some crazy French-man has made a suit with wheels and taken it on a trip down some roads in the Swiss Alps.

If you want to see the suit a little better Here is another video of the guy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Some Interesting Film Trailers

For about the past year film trailers have be fairly, meh. For me the mark of a good film trailer it's ability for it to turn me from not knowing about a film, not caring about a film or just knowing of a film, to wanting to see it. The more a trailer makes me want to see a particular film the better it is because of course film trailers are just adverts, but there is certainly a much higher level of artistry behind a film trailer than any TVad for catfood.

So anyway I was looking at a trailer on IMDB for a film and they linked to a Blog called Movies For The Masses which looks like it is in Russian or some other language I can't read, but on there are trailers I haven't seen before because I use Apple Trailers to see what's up and coming. So I was a little surprised to see some of the stuff that is on there and I wanted to share:
  • The Dark Knight Teaser
    Teaser for the new Batman film. The last Batman film was so good that it's sequel is easily on my list of must watch.

  • Halloween
    I know, yet another Halloween, but this is directed by Rob Zombie so maybe it will liveup to what Halloween fans have been asking for since the first film.

  • Shoot 'Em Up
    It looks like it is filled with the same kind of inventive fight sequences that are present in The Transporter which wasn't a bad film, but Shoot 'Em Up has Paul Giamatti involved, an actor who I am taking more note of with each film I see him in.

  • Resident Evil Extinction
    I hated the last two, after finishing watching the second, knowing that their would be a third I said that I would refuse to see it, but after watching the trailer for it, I kind of want to see it. There is just something about a post apocalyptic wasteland that Brings Back Fond Memories for me.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fiction Plane

I have loads to blog about, but with a thirty hour a week job to goto now (still on trial) I have been struggling to use my time correctly. Not that I bother with such things as television or cleaning, but while listening to a recent episode of Digital Flotsam (awesome podcast if you don't mind months passing between episodes) titled 'Isn't Life A Dream', where PW talks about the Police, he plays some Police (the band) and some Fiction Plane. That being Joe Sumner's band (that's Sting's son). This surprised me as I didn't know he had a son that was into recording music.

I never got on with the Police's music, I recognise the awesome playing talent, I love Sting's singing (as well as his acting), but the music somehow never connected with me. Yet Fiction Plane who you can listen to on their MySpace Page connects with me. And I think it has something to do with the fact that their style although very Police influenced is a harder rock style than the Police's. So I would highly recommend checking them out, if you like rock that is.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Now Semi-unemployed

I haven't updated in a while because this week I started a work trial at a web services company. The work trial essentially means they get me working for them for free for a few months while they decide wither they want to keep me or not. The whole unemployment thing has been silly as I am very capable, and have a Degree, but not having worked several years anyplace specific means that employers have given me the cold shoulder, hence why I am now working for free (plus government benefits).

Not much else has happened, it's been hot. Might even need to put the air-conditioning on Saturday as the weatherman says the air temperature will reach twenty seven degreed centigrade.