5/29/07 -Tuesday: GREETINGS...
After almost 2 years of blog writing, I am without a doubt, running out of ideas for titles. Plus, for all of the people who have just recently started reading this blog, you missed the times when I had a new update everyday from about Aug 2005 till around Oct 2006. Hell, I couldn't keep that going strong for too long, before having to fallback to what we have now. Meh, it is what it is.
On the lifestyle change front, I have added one more thing to my regiment of exercise... things... My girlfriend bought me a bike for Christmas, and I just got around to dusting it off, and trying it out. Guess people weren't lying when they said you could never forget how to ride a bike:) Seriously though, my legs were sore as hell after a few minutes of riding. It's crazy to imagine that this was my main mode of transportation as a kid, and now, I can barely go up a hill. It's actually a good challenge for me, as I now have something to work towards. Besides working out my legs, it will be another way of doing cardio, without having to go down to the gym. All I need is a arm band holder for my iPod, and I will be in business.
On the video game front, things are going quite well. I have defeated 7 of the 16 collosi in Shadows of Collosus , and as expected, it has been a fun ride. Metroid Prime continues to be fun, though I haven't been able to put as much time into it as I wanted. Obviously, I have other things in life that are of a higher priority than it (i.e. Ossian Studios), so I will just have to be patient.
Speaking of Ossian Studios, I am happy to report that... Ha! Who am I kidding? I can't report a damn thing! MUA HAHAHAHAHAH, errr...
With regards to Rose of Eternity, I would be lying if I said I didn't have the itch again. Over the weekend, I received an email asking me for some information about this song. The person had even linked directly to said page, reminding me of its existance. Yes folks, I actually forgot I did those music pages. Anyway, I proceeded to listen to all the tracks, and hell, I just started to have flashbacks of everything I had done with the series, from the first day I cracked open the toolset in April 2004, till the day I close the toolset in November 2006. Listening to Clopon's Theme, as well as Aloia's Theme really made me sit back, and wish that I could tell people about what happens to them in the future games. Hell, I even thought of how much fun I would have building them. Then reality sunk in, and I realized that I am already at the bleeding edge of things I have going on in my life.
Truth be told, I would actually like to cut out some things, but I really don't see that happening. The main issue is my commute. I lose close to 4 hours a day on the train. Something is going to have to give very soon... We'll see...
Anyway, because of all the things I have going on in my life, I have had to turn down many interesting things. My old manager is working with a college on a 3d MMORPG engine, which will have realistic physics involved. She wanted me to come on board as an advisor, but I had to decline. Well, I didn't decline really, I told her I would get back to her. Then, there are various contract jobs from ex co-workers, ranging from building one time downloadable BREW (just a platform for mobile application development) applications, to outright new job opportunities. It's like a whirlwind, and unfortunately, I can only take in so much before I get overwhelmed.
But as you all know, video games are my life and passion, so Ossian Studios will continue to get 100% of my attention. It is what it is, and I don't see that aspect of my life changing anytime soon. Well, one bit of change would be good. It would be great if this part time night job I love so much would turn into a fulltime day job. That would solve many issues instantly.
Finally, I have some very long and overdue interviews to grant. Steve Savicki actually sent me a questionaire back in February, when things started getting really busy for me. You know, it's funny. When I received my first questionaire from him back in 2005, I filled out that damn things so fast, my head was spinning. I was so happy and proud to actually have an interview on the Vault. 5-7 interviews later (Vault, Bioware, Poughkeepsie Journal, Daily Townsman, San Jose Mercury Sun, etc.), it just isn't a big deal, and nothing that I even think twice about, hence the reason I have forgotten about it over these past 4 months.
Even still, I do owe it to him, so I will strive to finish that up this week. I also have received an email from Hall of Famer Bruce Nielson about getting interviewed by the NWN Podcast folks. That should be interesting, since it is an actual live interview, where I actually interact with REAL people, not just fill out generic questionaires.
Okay, enough from me for now. Getting tired, and the train will be arriving in Manhattan in about an hour, so I want to get as much sleep as possible.
No pitiful excuses for why I haven't updated this thing, so let's just move on.
RESIDENT EVIL 4
Finally beat this game a few weeks ago, and hell, it was a great ride, clocking in around 30 hours. I tend to explore everything, which may account for that time, because I think average time was around 20-25 hours. The dialogue was very cheesy during the ending sequence, and the final boss was easier than I expected, but all in all, definitely one of the better games I have played in the 21st century. Right up there with Twilight Princess, and that is saying a lot, trust me...
Right after completing Resident Evil 4, I went to the mall to look for some new games off my list, and while I was only expecting to get Shadows of Collosus, I saw this in the used bin for $5.99, so it was a no brainer. Now, I know the game came out in 2002, but DAMN, that's cheap!
Anyway, I had actually played a little of it at my friend's house back in 2002, but didn't think much of it. Now that I have been able to sit down and spend some quality time with it, I can see why Gamespot ranked it a 9.7, and why it won game of the year (2002) in many gaming magazines. Yes, the game is played from the 1st perspective, but trust me, it's all Metroid, and not Halo. In fact, when Nintendo called the genra Frist Person Adventure, instead of First Person Shooter, the case was closed.
I have only got about 2-3 hours into it because of another little game called...
SHADOWS OF COLLOSUS
There is only one thing to say about this game: INSPIRING! This was the game that won all the awards at the Developer's Choice Award, the same place where yours truly made an ass of himself on stage accepting the award for Rose of Eternity.
The concept is quite simple. You are to fight and kill 16 collosi throughout the game world. No more, no less... By limiting the gameplay to these boss fights, they were able to focus the majority of their energies on the actual design and implementation of said collosi.
Let me tell you, this is a totally unique experience. Never in any other game have you realized such a sense of scale. These things are freakiing HUGE, and you actually have to figure out how to get ON IT, in order to bring it down. In one example, I had to wait until one of them tried to strike me with their sword, and then after the sword got stuck in the ground, I was able to jump on it, and start crawling up its arm. And the crawling part is no easy feat, since as soon as you get on a collosus, they begin to thrash around, trying to knock you off of them. There is a little meter that you can use to gauge how soon before you lose all your strength, and will be thrown off, so it is important to keep an eye on it.
While crawling up their arm, back, head, etc., you will notice little insignias in their skin, which are basically their weak points. After stabbing them a few times, sometimes they die, sometimes, the weak point moves. For example, on Staurday, I was fighting a flying collosus. I admit, I was fighting it for an hour, before I even learned how to even get on the damn thing. I basically had to provoke it so it would fly low and try to attack me. At this point, I would jump up on it's wing, and hold on for dear life, as it flew around this huge ass lake. Whenever it was changing direction, or elevation, it's wings would flap, and I would be in danger of falling off. Whenever it was just gliding around, I could use this to my advantage, and run around it, looking for the weak points. It ended up having 3 weak points, which was annoying, since I kept getting knocked off it when it made a hard turn. When I finally defeated it, the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. If only all boss fights in games were this involving!
Finally, I just have to mention one of things that really brings this game alive... Yep, that's right, you guessed it... MUSIC! While there is no music while you roam around the lands, looking for your next collusus to fight, once you start fighting one, the soundtrack truly makes things feel epic. I actually recognized a few of the tracks, as they used to pop up on RPGFan Rado (which was shut down!).
All in all, a very inspiring game, and worth of the awards it has received the world over. I wish other developers would take risks like this, and not just keep pushing out the same BS...
HEALTH AND SUCH
Still going strong on this front. Still doing cardio at least 6 times a week, still eating right, and still lifting. By the end of this week, I will probably have lost 25 lbs. Going from 220 to 195 in a little over 3 months is great for me. I also think I have figured out the secret to keeping the weight off. Now, most people go on diets, eating shit they don't really like, so when they do drop the weight, they just go back to the same old habits. I'm looking further than that into the future. I am willing to have my weight loss take a long time, while eating foods I like. Because, when I do get down to what I am happy with (180-185 would be fine), I will still be eating the same foods that I like. The only way I will gain the weight back is if I go back to snacks and McDicks, and I honestly don't miss them at all. Or, if I stop working out, and that won't happen, since I am still working on getting back my nice abs I had before Rose of Eternity crep into my life:)
I guess another reason I won't go back to that other stuff is because I actually want to live to see my grandchildren (yes, I definitely have eaten VERY bad for like.... 26 years.... Oh yeah, and I am only 26 years old!). Yeah, I think that is a good reason as well:)
ROSE OF ETERNITY
So very silently, it looks like Obsidian put in the fix so that the player GUI is taken away when you call the method, SetCutsceneMode. I haven't had the time to confirm that cut-scenes work the same way they used to, but if so, I may contact Gestalt, and see if he plans on converting his old cutscene scripting libraries.
On the design front, I continue to listen to music, which inspires me to flesh out the various details that need fleshing out. Everything else going on in my life keep me from any actual implementation... Such is life...
I have also been thinking of Rose of Eternity, the way I envisioned it, before being corrupted by NWN:) After getting back to my console roots, the original vision has been slowly creeping back into my mind, so I thought I would share that with you guys. Unfortunately, my battery is dying now, and I won't have a new charger for a few days, so you will have to wait until then. Sorry!
5/9/07 -Wednesday: SITE SITUATION...
So, some of you may have noticed that the site was down since last Wednesday, up until yesterday. No, I wasn't trying to give up Rose of Eternity! It turns out, when my bank changed my Debit/Credit Card (which changed the account number in the process), I forgot to update my account with the hosting service I use. That still doesn't excuse the fact that I took my sweet time trying to do something about it.
Meh, there is so much stuff going on in my life, that I just never really have the time...Between the train ride to/from work, actual time spent at work, time spent at the gym, and time time spent playing Resident Evil 4, I just haven't had much time for anything else. I know it's all about priorities, and unfortunately, this falls far below everything else. Now, if I had tons of info to report on the development of Chapter 3, I would be living on this blog. But, I can only say how much I am enjoying life post Rose of Eternity so many times! :)
On a good note, I finally got that Rose of Eternity dev team map that Todd made framed. Sucker cost $140, but it looks great. Now, I just have to get some time to clean things up so I can hang it. I'll probably just delegate that task to my girlfriend, since she likes to do things like that:) Oh yeah, for those that don't know, this map is a map of the world, with little pictures of everyone from the dev team, placed by their corresponding mother country. It's amazing to look at sometimes, realizing that I was dealing with people from all over the world for 15 months... From Singapore, to Israel, to Sydney, to Spain, to America, we were really all over the place:)
So, as far as Resident Evil 4 goes, it is damn near the top of my list of favorite games of all time. That's saying a lot, as it isn't an RPG or fighting game. I believe I will be able to finish it this week, and move on to something else. In fact, it looks like the decision has been made. One of my best friends who lives in Baltimore has been harassing me with phone calls everyweek, telling me to get an XBOX 360, so we can play games online, and relive our childhood memories of playing gams together.
I have been trying to resist, but he is a persistant bastard! Plus, since his Police Academy is almost over, he won't have much time for that sort of thing at some point, so I guess I will indulge him. I guess I will get one this weekend, along with Gears of War. I haven't really thought about the other games I will pickup, but I am sure I will come up with at least 2-3.
The plan is to only get games that I can play online, or for short periods at a time, so I can still spend most of the time playing the longer and more involved games for the older systems (God of War, Metroid Prime, etc.). We'll see how well that works...