Thursday, May 28, 2009

Made a Podcast

We stepped into a recording studio today to make our very first podcast. And it was terribly exciting. I've been wanting to do something like this for a while now, and I finally got a chance to.

My colleague and I chatted with a guest author who was doing his book tour for about 20 minutes, talking about his latest book, his approaches to writing and general outlook on everything else.

While it was work related, it is really exciting because it a whole new project that I've been trying to get going for a while now. Perhaps learning my craft here will be able to help me when I try to make a podcast of my own some time down the line.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

UFC 2009: Undisputed Demo First Impressions

Last Friday, I downloaded the demo of the upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship game: UFC 2009: Undisputed. And I was completely hooked for the entire weekend. There have been a number of games created from the UFC franchise, but I’ve never had any experience with them. So I can’t say if this is a better or worse depiction of the sport than previous games. But from what I’ve seen at various UFC competitions, UFC 2009 seems to be a good portrayal.

Fighting System: The fighting system so far seems to be quite detailed, and suggests a good level of depth. There are a variety of punches, grapples, throws and submissions, and they all seem well developed. Even though the demo only features two fighters, I have been able to approach each fight differently, and employ different tactics to win.

Instant KO: There is always a possibility for a one-hit KO, and I like that very much. It means I’ve got to watch my opponent carefully, anticipate his movements and defend effectively. It also encourages me to go all in when the opportunity presents itself.

Speed: The pacing in the demo has a methodical feel to it, which takes away some of the speed and ferocity you’d seen in a real UFC match. Perhaps this is only due to the fighting styles of the fighters in the demo.

My initial impression is quite a positive one. I kept hitting the rematch button just so I can try out different fight strategies. Like I said earlier, there seems to be quite a lot of depth, but its been presented in a way that is engaging and isn’t hard to grasp.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek & Bioshock

Saw Star Trek last night, and I really quite enjoyed it. It established a good balancce between introducing the show to a new audience, paying homage to the old classics, being an action flick whilst still maintaining a sense of drama and camaraderie between the crew members. The special effects were good without being overwrought. So overall, in terms of narrative, pacing, casting & production values, it was really a good movie.

But I just don't get the overlapping timelines. It seems like that's a common theme in Star Trek storylines, with alternate realities and something about the space-time continuum. So Kirk and Spock know that they are going to be friends because Spock from the future came back and told them about that? And then that ties back into the original series when Shatner and Nimoy portrayed those characters back in the 70s? Gahh...

I also finished Bioshock. It's was a really enjoyable experience, though the ending left a little to be desired. The city of Rapture was absolutely captivating. The stylings, the music, the lived-in feel... The whole atmosphere was unforgettable. But two things troubled me... the premise of the story and the way the ending is decided.

1) So Fontaine, posing as Atlas, manipulates my character, a person he had originally brainwashed and sent to the surface world. And some 20 years later, my character is involved in an airplane accident, falls into the sea and lands directly onto the entrance into Rapture. I am then tasked by Atlas to elimiate Andrew Ryan who is a rival to Fontaine. I find Andrew Ryan, who despite knowing the keyphrase to exert control over me, allows himself to get killed, thereby relinquishing control over Rapture, a lost, burnt-out, abandoned city, populated only by mutants to Fontaine. Sounds a little ridiculous? I think so...

2) I got the bad ending. Because I harvested one of the Little Sisters. And I get the "evil person" ending for that. My problem with that is the absolute nature of the choice... you're either a saint or a devil. Any decision can only have one of two possible outcomes. It attempts to elicite a moral response, but morality in Bioshock deals only in absolutes, black and white, yes or no, right or wrong. And in doing so, loses much of the impact that the games presents: That there is no right or wong, but only the will to do.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Life in Melbourne: Triple By-Pass Breakfast

There's a place called Greasy Joe's down at St Kilda where you can get what they call a "Triple By-Pass" breakfast. That's 3 eggs, 3 sausages, 3 rashers of bacon, 3 hash browns, grilled onions, french fries and a porterhouse steak.

Get ready for the heart attacks, people.