Friday, 15 June 2012

Glory Road

So the draft of Part 2 of WFTD is complete. And my plan for Part 3 is actually starting to come together. I’m tempted to jump in and start on it right away, but I think I’ll take some time out and focus on polishing parts 1 and 2 first. Part 2 in particular needs a lot of work as I hammered it out over the course of about a week or so. One morning alone I sat and typed out 12 pages from scratch until my fingers cramped up and my eyes began to bleed. Then I stopped for lunch.

Remarkably, Part 2 is not a completely horrible mess and I now have something to work with. Something I can edit, refine, rewrite and tinker with until it’s not total crap. Then I go through it again and again and again until I start to hate it. At that point, I’ll know it’s time to stop and continue on with Part 3. I would not recommend my process to other people. Not to sane people, at least.

In garden related news, the duck that stares through the window has now taken to perching himself on top of a bench underneath the window so he can tap on the glass. A robin must have seen this and figured he’d do the same, so he also now comes to the window for food, sometimes perching on the ledge outside and chirping to get our attention. And how can you ignore something that cute? You can’t! Feeding those bloody birds is costing us a small fortune in bread.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Now Playing: Minecraft

So I’m going to talk about Minecraft today because I’ve not actually completed any new games recently. Minecraft is one of those games I like to drop into occasionally, primarily to dick around with a friend on our creative server.

We’ve been building up stuff on it here and there for the last 6 months or so, but after growing bored with that, we turned our attention to experimenting with explosives and collapsing large areas of land.

Mainly we treat Minecraft as a glorified chat room, one where we can pour buckets of lava onto each others heads.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Work in Progress: WFTD

Okay, so I’d hoped to have a draft of Part 2 completed by now, but I’ve not quite finished it yet. I’m two chapters short. Still, that’s not too bad I suppose. I’ve been busy with a lot of garden work lately. In fact, considering the few weeks I took out for decorating and all the other things I’ve been up to, I should be pretty pleased I’ve gotten as much done as I have. WFTD is coming along nicely. I’ve estimated that Part 2 should roughly bring me up to around 45k words.

My only real concern is I’m still not certain on how Part 3 should play out. I’m pleased with what I’ve planned for the first few chapters, but beyond that it still doesn’t feel right to me yet. I’m waiting for something. Some idea. Something that feels right for the story and characters. I hope it comes to me soon.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Now Playing: The Dark Project

Thief is absolutely fantastic. Atmospheric, tense, challenging, creepy, great sound, an engaging setting and story with a great main character with excellent VA. It’s a game that requires patience and planning and one that rewards exploration.

You play as Garrett, a thief living in a steam-punk style fantasy world. In each level of the game you are tasked with retrieving a particular object or objects. You’re given a sketchy hand drawn map and a selection of tools to assist you. There’s no way-point markers telling you exactly where to go. You’ve got to explore, listen to the conversations of guards and servants, or find clues and notes to help you.

There are additional mission objectives depending on what difficulty the game is set on, including ‘no kill’ rules. You’re a thief, after all - stealth and subtlety are your weapons. While it may have dated graphically, that’s something you completely forget about as you immerse yourself in the task at hand.

Overall, Thief is an excellent, challenging, rewarding game to play. I’m eager to get started on the sequels, and I hear a Thief 4 is in the works, by the same team that gave us Human Revolution.That was probably my favourite game of last year, so I have high hopes for Thief 4.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

E3 Special 2012

So E3 is in full swing and, uh, yeah, it’s been pretty disappointing so far. But you know, rather than focus on the negative, I’ll just focus on what games I did like the look of -

1) Watch_Dogs
Wow! That was my initial reaction. Definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on. This could be amazing.
2) The Last of Us
I love the look and the setting. And is that a health bar I see? Oh my.
3) Dishonored
I pictured a mix of a Thief-like setting and stealth, with Mirrors Edge free running and Dark Messiah combat. That’s not quite what I got, but still, it looks like it could be pretty interesting. 
4) Assassins Creed 3
I really liked Assassins Creed 1 & 2, but I thought Brotherhood was...well, meh, and I skipped Revelations entirely. I didn’t have high hopes for 3, but what I’ve seen does look pretty damn fantastic.

You know, on reflection, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought. The conferences were really, really terrible though. Hopefully there will be more announcements over the next few days which will cheer me up even more.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Now Playing: Ben & Dan! & Monkey Island

You know, I used to like the old text adventures a lot but as the genre evolved I kind of lost interest. But I picked up these two games in sale bundles and gave them both a shot anyway.

Ben There, Dan That! is okay. It’s short, but fairly amusing in places. I used a guide for a lot of it because I’ve never had a lot of patience for games like this, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. And my enjoyment was largely thanks to the dialogue between the two characters.


The Secret of Monkey Island is also pretty good. I did play this years ago but never finished it, so it was good to go back and see how things developed. I like how this edition has its own hint system built in to give you a nudge in the right direction if you need it.

There’s quite a bit of funny stuff, dialogue and scenes that kept me amused. I thought it was pretty cool being able to switch between the original and the remastered versions at will, and seeing the comparison.


I’ve got the sequel for both of these games to play too, but those will have to wait as I move onto other things. Darker, sneakier things.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Forever War

You know, it’s really hard to clear a backlog when you just can’t stop adding to it. Most recently, Dead Space 1 & 2 went onto the pile, followed by Metro 2033 and Thief 1 & 2, which were recently re-released on Steam. I’ve already played Thief 2 (in fact, I think I still have a boxed copy hidden somewhere) but it was so long ago that I really need to go through it again. Plus the first game, which I’ve never actually played, and then Deadly Shadows, which I’ve played a few times but never finished.

I also recently got a beta invite for Global Offensive. I didn’t much like it at first, but it quickly grew on me, and I’ve gotten pretty hooked in. I never played the original Counter-Strike much, I spent most of my time with the Source version, although I’ve still only clocked about 45 hours since I got the game as part of the Half-Life 2 package in 2004. It’s one of those games I play in short bursts occasionally. I do okay, not great, but I’ve been doing surprisingly well at GO, so maybe that’s why I like it so much.

So I’ve got plenty to play. The question is, what next? In unrelated duck related news, one of the buggers has now discovered the window looking into the room where I write and has taken to staring at me through it until I feed him. It’s unsettling, I tell you. I think I might be developing Anatidaephobia.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Now Playing: Torchlight

Torchlight is an action-RPG released in 2009. Games like this have never really appealed to me, but a friend persuaded me to give Torchlight a try, so I picked it up in a sale and gave it a shot. I played it for about 20 minutes before losing interest and then it sat in my backlog for nearly two years. Well, I finally decided to give it another go, and this time I got somewhat hooked into it.

It’s got a detailed, colourful world and characters, a plot that, uh, does the job I guess, and some fairly engaging gameplay. It’s not particularly complex. Click, click, click, loot, loot, loot – but I guess that has a certain addictive quality to it. You progress though levels of a dungeon, level up, loot stuff, level up some more and watch your critical hits grow. I didn’t find the game very challenging, although I did only stick it on Normal difficulty. It wasn’t until about level 33 that I actually had to start paying attention to what I was doing.

I think I’ll try going through this again in the future, but on a harder setting. I get the feeling that’s where the game starts to become a bit more interesting, as you can pretty much sleepwalk through the thing on Normal.