Good weekend. The missing hour totally blows; I'm still jet
lagged. Might be jet lagged because of the Harry Connick
Jr. concert last night.
How come Advogato doesn't allow <dl> tags?
Went to go see Big Trouble on Friday. It
really as bad as everyone seems to be saying. Some parts of
it were pretty silly, but it was humorous... written by
Dave Barry. I think the timing of the release (with respect
to when it was originally meant to be releaed) will probably
kill it off quickly, though.
Went to the Dog
Beach on Saturday. It was the first time I have been
there at low tide. It's remarkably different at low tide.
(These pictures there are of high tide, from a previous
visit) At low tide, these really unusual mossy-green rock
formations are revealed, and the beach itself becomes
enormous. It was pretty cool.
Then we took the dog to a "Do-It-Yourself" Dog
was an adventure. Then we went to go see Van
Wilder. Must've been corny-movie week. It was pretty
bad, but there were some funny parts.
Somewhere in there, on Saturday, we went to Best Buy
bought myself a copy of "Dungeon Siege" and a copy of "Jedi
Knight 2" (I forget JK2's subtitle)....
Dungeon Siege is a fun game, an RPG of the
breed, but in my opinion better done in a number of ways.
Their engine is an excellent one, truly 3D and looks
gorgeous. The art itself isn't quite up to par (by which I
mean to say that individual elements of terrain, fauna,
flora, etc. aren't themselves that great) with what one
might hope for in a genre where the bar has been set so high
by Blizzard, but the engine compensates by displaying a very
detailed and textured world, leaving the player with a very
immersed feeling. The camera controls are a little goofy,
and perhaps the game doesn't really do enough to automate
the camera, so you find yourself spending a lot of your time
just aiming the camera usefully. The camera might be
slightly better if it worked a little harder to keep your
party and immediate opponents in view; fortunately most of
the time you'll be grouped closely enough not to care
(except when your packmule runs off into the darkness of
some dungeon while you're surrounded by angry giant-spiders.)
There's a LOT of hack'n'slash in this game; it might be
moderated by slightly smaller "dungeon crawl" sessions in
between plot/town visits, but the dungeons themselves are
interesting, and the monsters are pretty cool.
The combat system is very cool; far less
carpal-tunnel-inflaming than the systems found in games like
Diablo (I was crippled for days after an evening or two of
the original Diablo: *clickety clickety clickety*) or even
Diablo 2. The combat system in "Dungeon Siege" allows you
to select individual stances for each of your characters
which describe fairly thoroughly all of the possible actions
you might plan for them to take during your next fight. For
example, you can configure your fighter/tank types to charge
into the fray fearlessly, while your archers and mages lay
back, staying just close enough to use their ranged attacks.
Generally this works exactly the way you'd want it to
unless you get surrounded. :)
The skills system is very limited (or is it elegant? I
haven't decided for sure). You can improve your skill in
melee combat, ranged combat (archery, basically), combat
spells, or nature spells. That's it. You have three stats,
Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. Your stats will
progress relatively slow, most of my characters, for
example, cannot make use of a large portion of the loot I've
run into, because the armor and weapons that depend on stats
require stats higher than my characters have.
The other inconvenience in the game was the
unfortunately small shortcut bars provided for players.
Only 4 "weapon" choices, one of which is melee, and one of
which is ranged, leaves your casters with only 2 free slots
for spells! Switching between spells is a real pain, so
having an attack spell, and a heal spell in those slots
leaves you having to change spells after combat if you need
to transmute items or do some other post-combat spell-casting.
Overall it's a pretty decent game; good graphics, decent
art, and very good gameplay. It may be slightly lacking in
breadth, and very slightly hampered by overly ambitious
level-design (it seems like it's been ages since my party
has returned to a town, mostly because it would take me a
half-hour to walk all the way back to town... I've been
hoping instead to get to the _next_ town -- which means I've
been transmuting a lot of my loot instead of loading up the
packmule and heading back to town); but otherwise it's quite
good, with some very unique and well-designed combat mechanics.
Haven't played Jedi Knight 2 very much yet. The single
player game seems remarkably hard and I don't much like the
"twitchy-ness" of the Quake3-based engine. There is a lot
of combat. You can't sneak through levels as you might have
in early volumes in this series. I like sneaking. Having a
blaster shoot-out with stormtroopers is only really cool the
first couple of times, and then it's just frustrating
watching the 'troopers dodge back and forth (becoming almost
impossible to hit without wasting huge amounts of ammo).
Luckily, they still have artificially horrible aim. :)
Went to see Harry Connick Jr. in concert last night.
was an excellent concert! I'm not even a Harry Connick Jr.
fan; the wife dragged me to it. But it was really quite
good. A good deal of the concert was spent high-lighting
the really talented trumpet/trombone/sax/guitar players in the
big band by giving them a lot of free reign to improv.
Overall, great fun! So much fun, I was torn between
enjoying the concert and regretting that when it ended I
would have no way of ever seeing it or listening to it
I'm still the first "Krelin" in Google. :)
Man, that there was a long diary entry.