Friday, May 25, 2007


Yes the blog entry where you gain a much to disturbing view of how my brain works is back for part two. I still have a list of things I wanted to cover so we’ll just have to see how far I get.

First of all I wanted to formally mention that my first game review has been published at Strategy Informer. I really had a lot of fun writing it up. I had done a first take of the game UFO: Extraterrestrials on my blog and in the process of writing up a full follow up I realized that I’d basically written a review. Since my friend ~J had asked me once about writing a review for publication I sent it on to her instead of posting it here. The rest, as they say is history, and now I’m a published author. I think I’ll put that in my resume.

When I got to work today there was a gorilla (well technically, I THINK it was a person in a gorilla suit) standing by the door to my building. He was holding a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts with a sign that said “Gorilla Marketing works”. (Tangent within a tangent: Krispy Kreme doughnuts are just not as good as everyone seems to think. They are mostly air and to sweet for my tastes. I like good solid doughnuts made out of real potato flour instead). I hope he’s here to pitch his services to my company instead of enacting an elaborate plot to kill someone with poisoned (yet light and fluffy and very sweet) doughnuts.

Have you ever had the experience of seeing something out of the corner of your eye that really surprised you? Yet, on second glance it turned out to be nothing startling at all. Well something similar to that happened on my way into work this morning. I saw Cthulhu driving a red Honda this morning. He was headed south on I-15 just like me. I was pretty surprised by this – but I don’t think I lost any SAN points. On second glance it was just an extremely hairy and unkempt person driving a red Honda. I think maybe it was Cthulhu who just learned the secret oriental powers to cloud mens minds just like The Shadow did.

Speaking of freeways I have a huge complaint about them. I’m a somewhat analytical person (as long as the subject to analyze is quite irrelevant to common sense or real life I think I’m pretty good at it – when it comes to being normal or figuring out relationships or something like that I’m hopeless) and the human brain is VERY good at identifying patterns. In fact brains are so good at pattern recognition that we will find patterns when there aren’t any patterns there to find. (Try staring at the static on a TV tuned to a dead channel some day to find out.) So I’m sure that I’ve identified a recurring pattern on my drives – Why is the lane I’m in always the slowest one? Whenever traffic comes to a stop I take note of the cars around me. Invariably the ones in the other lanes will soon be so far ahead of me that I can’t see them anymore. Changing lanes doesn’t solve this problem – it just makes the new lane go slow – so clearly I’m the common element in this pattern. I see no way to fix this so:

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Just don’t drive in the same freeway lane as me if you need to get anywhere fast. My lane will be easily identifiable by being the slowest one.

I’ve been running Windows Vista and Office 2007 for the past week and I like them a lot. Vista is waaaaaay faster than XP Pro was. It boots faster and the IE7 engine is noticeably faster than it was before. The only problem I ever saw in Vista so far was that my mouse cursor disappeared when I attempted to run City of Heroes. Poking around the internet a bit showed me that I needed to add the following to the command section of the shortcut for CoH: -compatiblecursors 1. After adding that it worked just fine.

Second Impression of CoH: It’s OK. It’s definitely better with friends than it was in the training missions. I find the game world to be fairly jarring though since it’s filled with thugs just standing around tugging on purses and taunting passersby. But I do like the quest system. You can just pick up random quests from the Police Radio or go to one of your contacts and pick up something more scripted. The groups can be fairly large, and that helps by allowing many of my friends to play all together. The combats are fairly confusing – it’s hard to keep track of all the good guys and bad guys since everything moves so fast. I usually just try to stand in the middle and debuff some bad guys that I hope will live long enough to keep my debuffs working for a while – and then spam the AOE healing spell I’ve got until I see someone has killed the target I debuffed. (Tangent: Although, my debufs are AOE they are targeted so once the bad guy I cast them on has died, the debuffs fade, and they need to be recast.) I haven’t created any alts yet – which is apparently a flaw of mine since everyone else has about thirty or forty different characters. I don’t think a single group night has had all the same characters show up yet.

Second Impression of UFO:ET: I love it even more than ever. The game was either intentionally designed to be easily modifiable or it’s just a fortunate coincidence of its development process but most of the (minor) flaws that bothered me have been fixed by modders. I think my opinion of the flaws is flawed though, since in this case flaws = stuff that was different in X:COM. The mod community is pretty darn impressive. I’ve only picked one mod to add to my game (but that isn’t strictly true either, I’ve picked one mod PACK to add to my game. There are several packs listed on the message boards to pick and choose from though). But I’ve very much enjoyed the changes that they have provided to me. The mods include bug fixes as well as game play balance fixes and changes to make it more X:COM-ie. All in all the list of changes with just the one pack are very impressive. Almost all of which changes I’ve found to be great improvements to the game.

And that is the rest of the list. I’m sure I’ll have more tangent laden posts in the future but for now… enjoy.

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