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Keeping the journal alive

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I've made a longer post about the not-very-exciting and not at all game developy things I've been up to in the last month over at my website. Basically my time in the last month has been:
  • editing my PhD thesis dissertation
  • Procrastinating, mainly by following the U.S. election on-line
  • Catching up on video games (now I have access to an Xbox 360!)
  • In the last week, giving up coffee: which has meant I haven't been good for much other than the prior point


I'll get the Xbox 360 bit out of the way first: it looks like a fine gaming system, but it a bit loud for my tastes and the cheap DVD drive ate my Fable 2 DVD. Luckilly it could be replaced. Fable 2 is the only game I've played so far (finished the main quest as a mostly nice guy) - I liked it, but like it's predecessor I think it play best if you mostly ignore the personality modifiers that everything is festooned with and just play to whatever archetype you have in mind. I picked a gunner type with swords secondary (little to no magic); nicknamed my guy "Captain Horatio Sparrow" and played him as a sort of cavalier buccaneer type. Then he morphed into a sort of eighties pop rock reject about halfway through with surprising little change in costume (basically just swap the hat for a bandana). There seems to be a lot of interesting content after the main game, but the game throws a bunch of tough choices at you at the end and unfortunately while I tried to act in character it means the after the end bit mightn't be as fun. Sometime later I might replay as the female hero but with a more neutral agenda - motivated by vengence and with a grudge against aristocrats would work as a nice balance. I could replay it sooner (I'd like to try more magic), but there's a lot of other things to try out, like Mass Effect.

But I'm also feeling a bit guilty I've been relaxing a bit too much in the last couple of weeks. Admittedly in the last week I've been trying to get my coffee consumption down from waaaaaay too much to zero, and for some of those days I was only good for video game playing. However I've let my game development skills slide over the last half year as work pressures built up and I need to get back to it.

My modest goal for November is just to get things sorted so I can get back to work in December and beyond. I've got a lot of planning to do for 2009 which involves serious amounts of game development. While I'm not going to get anywhere if I slack off, I'm also not going to get anywhere if I burn myself out. The next month might be more about me writing plans and redesigning my office than actual game development, but I feel it's necessary to avoid complications later on.

Plus I've also got about two years worth of movies to catch up on. Not to mention Mass Effect, Portal and a bunch of other games. It's surprising how much material can back up over a short time.
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He lives! Excellent to hear from you again, TZ.

I know exactly where you're coming from in regard to the comment about games piling up. I've been without a decent system for a good few months now, and I already have a list a mile long of interesting titles that have shipped which refuse to run on my video card. [grin]

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It's not just the raw PC power issue. My Windows PC has been packed away since January when I bought an iMac. I'd love to replay some of the classics I've collected over the years, but right now I can only play DOS games in an emulator. Which play surprisingly well on the iMac I might add. Then there's all the indie titles I should be trying out for research purposes. There's at least half a dozen of those I've got jotted down.

The good thing about this is that there's so much I need to catch up on I can wait until new games like Mirror's Edge are discounted.

This reminds me: I probably need a complete new PC in the next year, as mine is long in the tooth. I'll at least need a test-bed for Vista, so I should consider getting new computer alongside with it. Something normal consumer-grade should be fine.

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