Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. It was Thanksgiving here in the States last week, at which point every single American decides to go to the airport or the motorway to try and get home for a turkey dinner. I managed to avoid most of the travel problems and headed to Antigua for a couple of days to meet up with my parents and Louise who had been there for a week. It was fantastic to see them but it was all too short. Luckily its Christmas holidays soon so I shall be back in (freezing) England to see everybody in about three weeks.
A couple of days before that trip the Xbox 360 was released here and I was one of the lucky few to snag one on launch day. I've been tempted to put it up on eBay, but the profits are not that great... and I really want to keep it anyway. I only have Perfect Dark Zero right now, but it is a lot of fun, especially in multiplayer. Last night me and some of my friends here at Full Sail got together along with someone else who managed to get a 360 and played 7 man multiplayer system link (we were short a controller...) for hours on two huge HDTVs. It was really good fun. I just think I should pick up an extended warranty since I move the console about so much. I think I have only played it at home twice!
Speaking of warranties, my laptop has died, (well the screen has,) so that is in for repair. Rumours are flying around the school that HP will not be able to honour all of our warranties since they have acknowledged this laptop model is terrible and has been discontinued. They have been running out of replacement parts, (mostly motherboards,) and don't want to help us out. When mine failed, it was one of three laptops in our class that hadn't broken down. That leaves two of nearly 70. Apparently Full Sail are now getting lawyers involved and are trying to get all of us affected upgrades to the next model. Time will tell if this is all true, but some people in my class have been without their laptops for more than 3 months while waiting for repairs.
Since Console Development has been removed from the course, we are in Engine Development and Networking this month. ED seems like it could be a waste of time, but it is a chance for us to work on a personal project for 2 months. I am going to try and work on something useful for final project and either do Skinned Mesh Animation or create a Launchpoint Exporter from Maya and render the results in a 3D world. At this point I am leaning towards the second, despite the fact I have found a decent amount of info on skinned meshes online. Networking seems simple enough, (after just one class,) but the teacher throws it at you fast and there is a lot to take in! I'd best get back to it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I finished F.E.A.R. last week and was very impressed for the most part. I didn't appreciate the terribly slow trickle of story until the very end, but it climaxed well. I gave Half-Life 2: Lost Cost a try too. Unfortunately the HDR lighting wouldn't work with my laptop's graphics card, so it kind of defeated the point. But having "directors commentary" within it was a novel concept. I watched the extras on the F.E.A.R. DVD too and it was interesting to hear what the developers had to say about the creative process. I'm giving The Matrix: Path of Neo a try now. It has some really dated graphics, but you do get to pull off some impressive looking moves.
In just over a week the Xbox 360 will be debuting, and I am one of the lucky few with a confirmed pre-order. EB Games called me a couple of days ago to tell me that they were only going to be receiving 40% of their expected allocation of 360's (and that the same was true of most other stores too including Wal-Mart and Best Buy who are official partners of Microsoft for this launch.) Luckily I had gone in to the store about two or three weeks ago and added some games and accessories to the order which helped bump me up the list. That and the fact I think I ordered back in June!
School is still going well but I am looking forward to a break. This month has been OK since we have had days off, which we used to play some sport and actually get off our arses. The class is AI which has been interesting too. Next is Computer Networking I believe, which brings us near the end and gives us just about all we need to know to make a game. Hopefully in my next post I can put some more in here about real life rather than just about games though.