Saturday, November 27, 2004

OK, so I have been in this country for about two and a half months now and yesterday I went ahead and shot some guns. Real life, kill a man, bullet firing pistols. Hey, we had a few days off for Thanksgiving, so we were just sitting around doing nothing... why not find a shooting range? I found one on the internet just around the corner so Chris and I called up some friends and let some lead fly. I shot a .22, a 9mm and a big bad .45 Colt. I'm a perfectly fine shot with the .22 but I'd need a bit more practice with the bigger boys... they had some kick.
Also, as I have mentioned, the day before yesterday was Thanksgiving itself and we were both lucky enough to be invited round some people's houses that were cooking. We got a free meal and had a laugh with some people. Thanks for that, those that hosted.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I've just updated this site so it is finally centered, both horizontally and vertically, and resized things so that it should fit within a browser window maximized in 800x600. Things have been tweaked quite nicely. I just need to edit some of the themes now.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The second month of Full Sail is over and I seem to have come through unharmed. Programming 2 and Linear Algebra await me starting next week, with a harsher schedule including classes ending at 1am and a broken up weekend. But that's the price of accelerated learning I suppose.
The year is drawing to a close, at least in gaming terms since the big titles are pretty much all released now in time for the "Holidays." Metal Gear Solid 3 is the latest one, and the Nintendo DS is out tonight, (at least here in the US.) But life is not all rosey in the land of the Title-of-the-Year Contenders...
Halo 2 has reportedly got a few bugs in it, but that didn't stop me and some friends having a 7 hour marathon, multi-systemlink session yesterday before moving on to a party, (thanks Joe for hosting and good work Duke on the party, great turn out.)
The Halo bugs are not too bad though in comparison to the Half-Life 2 situation. Steam has been throwing its guts up over the past few days under the weight of registrations from people registering their store bought copies. At least I can play my downloaded version, even if it does have a crappy stuttering-every-few-minutes bug. What is ingenious though is Valve releasing a warez copy of the game soon after the retail release with a trap in it to destroy your Steam account if used. So if you happened to pay for any titles over Steam you can no longer use them. Seems fair enough to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So one of the most anticipated games ever has landed on my hard drive this morning. Actually it has been there for a while through the magic of Steam, but at midnight last night Half-Life 2 was finally unlocked and playable by the world. It is a beautiful game, but it has had a few glitches on my system, including one almighty crash that filled the class room I was playing in with the screams of Alyx, a gorgeous side character. My main problem though is with the distribution model. Once you unlock the game online once, that should be it. But you are made to do it each time you boot the game, which sucks. Seems I'm lucky that I got it working this morning, (I did the final unlocking at 8am before class, then left Steam open and hibernated the laptop,) so I could play it during the day. But I don't really want to have to go through that every morning. It wouldn't be so bad but Full Sail have blocked the ports that Steam connects through, so that is where one of my major problems comes from, (but it is just the same as being away from an Internet connection.)
Despite buying the game, I would consider using a crack to circumvent Steam, and that's just crap. I would rather have bought it on DVD and have something tangible rather than the download, but its only on 5 or 6 CD's in the USA unless you go for the $90 collectors edition. Stuff that. (But even if I did, you still need to install Steam and validate each time...) At least they have put in a "Backup files" option into the Steam client now.
Anyway, so far the game rocks. Just remember this simple formula:
HL2 Single player > Halo 2 Single player.
Halo 2 Multiplayer > Counter Strike: Source (which is a cop-out anyway...)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I'm watching an incredible tv show right now while I'm working. Richard Branson: The Rebel Billionare. It's a reality show where he has 16 people (all yanks which pisses me off, and you'll see why,) which he jets around the world to do challenges, eliminating them when they fail. Fine. But eventually the prize is Branson's Job! They will OWN VIRGIN! All of it!
So 1) Why yanks? (Its a British company with a british owner, why is he doing this show in the USA?)
And 2) How? (How can he give this away?)
There must be a twist in there somewhere. They are doing some crazy stuff. This is the first episode, a 2 hour special. He has had them climbing out of hot air ballons and planes and have been to England and Hong Kong. They are having to do a business task now - do something for the Virgin Airways Upper Class cabin. They have to do something to improve the service on an Upper Class flight with $500 (or something like that...) within 24hrs. But then half way through he makes them take difficult choices such as offering them a trip to a national monument in Hong Kong. But that's it. So do they go, or not waste the time and keep working on the challenge since they have a time limit? Is it an important choice? Not really if they get the work done, but it makes them over analyse the situation.
One team decided it is what Branson would do and have gone thinking it may become a cultural advantage. The other team wanted the time and didn't go. It's quite interesting, and we have no idea what Branson is thinking, and they are all too preoccupied thinking about that in my opinion, but it must be hard in their position.
This is just crazy, that's all i can say!
(It eventually turns out that the group that goes on the trip makes an inferior product and loses the challenge, so Branson says perhaps they should have spent more time on it. But then if they had done the work it wouldn't have been an issue to him I'm sure.)
But more importantly, I picked up Halo 2 last night. EB had a midnight opening launch to celebrate so I got to the mall at around 11.15pm. After paying off the rest of what I owed I was given a number (104) and invited to a Ruby Tuesdays restaurant around the corner to play some Halo to kill the time. I was getting beaten down. As midnight hits people start going back to get their copy of they game as they are called, but in the restaraunt Halo 2 gets put into the 3 networked consoles. This was my chance to shine and I preceeded to pwn everyone. I ended up coming second by a couple of kills and fell in love with the game during that time. There is so much more in terms of tactics. Halo was essentially a choice between the pistol, shotgun or sniper rifle. This one is a choice between any of the balanced weapons, whether to duel weild (but lose the ability to throw grenades,) or carry the baddest of bad ass - the Covenant sword, (close range, but instant kill.) I'm just annoyed that I have had a load of homework today so I couldn't start the single player campaign!
Oh, and I've fixed the crappy bug that made the text bold and blurry on this site in IE.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Today was a fun and active day. First I went swimming (in November in an outdoor pool. Florida sunshine is the best!) and then Chris and I went paintballing with a few people from Full Sail. That was all rounded off by a shooting session at the LAN Party. So now I'm nice and chilled. This weekend we are going to host a party so that means I can have a beer without worrying about how to get home!
25 hours and Halo 2 will be in my XBox. Another week after that and I can finally start playing Half-Life 2 (I signed up for Steam yesterday.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I didn't realise it has been quite so long since I last posted. Time really does fly here! We've been learning more in a day than you would in a couple of weeks of normal school, at least. We finally have our laptops - they are 3GHz, 17" widescreen beasts - so we could actually take part in our Programming 1 class, which has been going really well. Calculus is a bit more challenging since I'm trying to remember stuff that I learnt during Maths A-Level, and it was pretty tough back then! I should be ok, but I'll have to get back to my studying now...
By the way, I have no idea why this site is being displayed in some sort of blurry bold typeface, and why the frontpage is showing an old post as the most recent, but this site needs updating anyway. It will probably be a few weeks before I can get to it, (although I already have it all mapped out.) Oh, and Halo 2 on Tuesday! Woo!