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[22 Feb 2010|11:45pm]
I can't help it - I am utterly paralysed by hype for Red Dead Redemption. I'm digging up articles I haven't read, making sure I've scoured every scrap of media put out so far. This one's from December. I love it whenever I read something new about the game I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.

"[Rockstar should cut] the uncomfortably long burning deaths. When Marston burns his enemies, there seemed to be an extended period of time where they thrashed and screamed before falling down dead."

DO NOT CUT. Obviously this is just speculation, but I'm willing to believe some intern at Rockstar was actually tasked with researching how long it takes on average for an immolated person to stop screaming and die. I'm sure a bullet point like that pops up somewhere in hideous Nazi research, at least.
If it's uncomfortable to watch, maybe you'll think twice before you set a man on fire, you accidental sadist!

[19 Feb 2010|12:42am]
GS: Open-world games tend to live and die by the amount of content they offer up outside of the primary story missions. It's no small feat that Redemption seems to offer a lot of potential for side pursuits when you consider the mostly rural landscape between towns. Tell us how you went about populating this world with gameplay options when so much of it could have been barren Western frontier.

TC: Filling the vast wilderness between the townships and outposts was one of the greatest development challenges of Red Dead Redemption, and we're really excited about the results we have achieved. Unlike a city-based game like Grand Theft Auto, there are vast expanses of unpopulated open space, which we had to bring to life in a believable way, but was also full of cool things to do from a gameplay point of view. Of course, we started with a complete ecosystem and food chain with over 40 in-game animals, all of which you can hunt and skin.

In addition to that, more than any of our other games, there are countless ambient, completely dynamic events to discover. You might meet an official needing help apprehending escaped criminals that were being transported, or a woman being attacked by an unwanted suitor, or you might be attacked by a bear. All of these are contextual, depending on where you are in the world, the time of day, even what you may be wearing at the time (some outfits aren't just cosmetic and play a very important part in the way the world reacts to you). Luckily, the setting, the time period, and the subject matter, once we really got our head around them, gave us a huge amount of material to make into side missions, side characters, minigames, and things to see and watch.

All of these activities are optional, with their own specific risks and rewards. They make journeying from place to place more eventful, if you choose to stop and take part. But if you are in a hurry to move from place to place, you can ignore them completely, or just flag down a passing stagecoach. You can also quick travel to any town you have visited straight from your campsite. We really wanted to focus on giving the player a massive array of content and the choice to do what they want when they want, which we believe is at the heart of the open-world experience.


Good to know for those who, unlike me, don't like spending hours just riding a horse and soaking in virtual countryside scenery.
22 echoes|QUACK!

[07 Feb 2010|02:21am]
Mass Effect 2 - The Normandy Reborn

I thought it was a cool ship in the first game, was fairly fond of it, the idea of it being a stealth craft was appealing, and all the minutiae gleaned from defending it from that bootlicking Alliance inspector in the first game, all cool, no doubt.
But this scene and the music in particular somehow brainwashed me into loving the Normandy more than any other sci-fi ship, including Serenity. Obviously the SR2 is an entirely new and larger ship, but the profile is basically the same, so it has a kind of character continuity.
I suspect that's because it is essentially my ship, or the players ship to be more general (to say nothing of that meathead looking weirdo masquerading as Commander Shepard in this video), so the investment becomes much more intimate than say, worrying about Lando knocking the radar dish off Han's ship. :P

ShepardCollapse )

[27 Jan 2010|09:49pm]
So who will I be able to snatch the 15GB worth of files for Mass Effect 2 from once it drops in THIRTY EIGHT HOURS? I applied for internet with Exetel today, but the estimate on that getting set up is up to 10 days :(
Meantime I'm on this 3G mobile broadband stick, which has 12GB of pre-paid bandwidth on it.
4 echoes|QUACK!

[26 Jan 2010|09:20pm]
Hell. yes.
7 echoes|QUACK!

more facebooking [24 Jan 2010|05:14pm]
I'm all plugged in at Epping, running off a pre-paid Vodafone 3G stick which will give us internet until we set up a Naked ADSL2+ plan. Still some stuff to unpack.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, I'm not sure what I'm doing, but in an argument with my Liberal Party "friend" about his regular deletion of my comments has become slightly like my argument with Soul over deleting Charlie's comment, with Ross in my place and myself in Soul's :P
I've preserved his latest dumb status update below along with my ..fuckin' BURN comments, in case they aren't around for long.

What would W. do?

Jackson Probably fuck everything royally!!!

Robert I vote for Jackson's response. Alternate answers would be "grin like a doofus", "clear some more brush", or "make a perverse and ironic mockery of Enlightenment values of liberty and human rights in the pursuit of an amoral enemy."

Next question: what would Ross do?
My answer is: Say "Bleargh my name is Ross and I'm going to make provocatively insipid posts and delete comments I don't like when people react negatively for good reasons."

Brian bahahaha well played Robert

Ross I think you will find my censorship regime to be fairly relaxed when you compare it to all the crap I don't delete!

Robert thin-skinned and hypocritical are the words that spring to my mind, but okay, "relaxed" will do.

Ross Would you let me come over to your house and piss on your walls and shit on your carpet Robert? I just want to express myself.

Robert Your reasons for deleting my comments have not been cited as being comparatively offensive to spreading shit and piss over your property (and even if you had it would be besides the point - they have not been), your reasons, when given at all, have been as paltry as "these remarks are partisan" and as pathetic as "it's a certain time of day".
Meanwhile, as you've said, you allow oafs to beat their chests and act the fool on your Wall, taunting and insulting you and everyone else present for not being conservative enough. And you compare MY comments to property abuse.
The reason you let them stay, I assume, is that next to these people you appear far more reasonable. I should perhaps be flattered when you don't let me speak, then.
Acting as if my arguments were deleted because they were as offensive as shitting on your tablecloth is laughable.

-- (it continues)

Ross Your comments about Bush's CHARITY WORKS were offensive and inappropriate - as were some anti-Obama chest beatings you I deleted but you never seem to bring that point up either.
You are more than free to do bend over and accept whatever extremist profanities you like on your own wall but I simply prefer not to have it on my wall and facebook have equipped me with a delete button to facilitate that. When you're on my wall you are on MY wall.

Robert I made no inappropriate remarks about his charity work - I said he has no business organising money, and explained why. That comment seems to still be there.
What was deleted was my response to your objection of his increases to foreign aid as President. I specifically said in that comment that his generous foreign aid was an act greatly to his credit. What I then went on to criticise, because you had brought it up, was the manner in which he carried out this work as President - the notion of "compassionate conservatism" - as one of the dumbest political ideas ever, for increasing government spending while lowering taxes and then acting surprised when the country free-falls into debt.
I then made a point of saying that Obama had regrettably provided continuity to this fantasy governance by lowering middle class taxes with the stimulus.
In other words, you didn't delete my comments about Bush's financial ineptitude and inappropriateness for current charity efforts - you deleted my comments criticising political ideas you seem to like. Pretend otherwise in your private thoughts, do not accuse me of impugning charity.

As detailed in a further comment (which was also deleted by you), the anti-Obama comment you're trying to compare my Bush remarks to was an incoherent pile of falsehoods, barely rising above static. Whether nonsensical or demonstrably false remarks should even constitute "speech" could be an interesting question, but not for today. You seem to bring it up as if you only did it to try and claim a twisted fairness, or for the express purpose of insinuating a selfish indifference to other people being censored - in any case, trying to make a point of what I haven't said in a space where you can control what I'm allowed to say is ironic. For the record, then, you shouldn't have deleted his remarks either.


AAAnnd now the last three comments have all been deleted.


See, arguably it's a little different, because he is free to express himself by deleting my comments, but in this case he has allowed gratuitous and profane comments to remain, while my relatively cogent arguments have been deleted. This naked double-standard, to me at least, is somewhat more deplorable than my own actions, but as I said last night the perspective had made me feel guilty anyway.
11 echoes|QUACK!

[22 Jan 2010|01:59pm]
Signed the lease this morning, formally ending my lifelong residency along the axis of the Western line, and the Western suburbs in general. Got to check out the place for the first time, seeing my dad and I split up to inspect simultaneously open apartments, and only had iPhone videos of our walkthrough as reference - and it's a lovely place! Second floor apartment, each bedroom has a balcony and pleasant views, two toilets, nicely sized shower. All good.

SO, as you're probably aware it's going to be mecha-fucking-holocaust-oven-hot tomorrow. Such is January, the middle of goddamn summer. However, as a modern human I am not governed by the sun, nor the winds or the stars, and I still intend to move tomorrow, preferably with air-conditioners on full-bore, and hopefully with your aid, dear reader who commented on the last post about this!
Francis suggested last night that we try and get some moving done today, in the afternoon. I don't think it'll be much cooler, but I've welcomed the suggestion. Pike has offered to help too. Hopefully what that'll do is clear out most of my packed goods (books, documents, cds, clothing), so that tomorrow all I have to worry about is loading the main furniture onto the ute, and rounding up any loose stuff left over into a bigass garbage bag or two. I will post tonight and probably mass-SMS y'all about the need for cars tomorrow beyond the ute, if any, based on how much I can get moved this afternoon with Francis and Pike's help, assuming that goes ahead.
4 echoes|QUACK!

[19 Jan 2010|07:07pm]
Alright, duders. I will be aiming to do all my moving in one big haul this Saturday. My dad is starting to move his stuff on Friday more or less after signing the lease, so I'm keen to go ahead with Saturday.
The Marsh's ute will hold most if not all of my major furniture, which basically just leaves a large stack of containers and bags, and my electronic equipment (Computer and accessories, PS3, PS2, television). If you can make it to my current abode on Saturday, or if you can only make it to the other end to help unpack, I would greatly appreciate it (and repeat my offer of buying dinner)
I don't know how many cars I might need for optimal packing and ferrying of passengers from and to, but so far Bob, Francis, Pat and Pike have tentatively offered their vehicular assistance, with Tim and Belinda driving the ute. Please let me know if you're still available for Saturday. In any case, the more cars the more we can spread out the goods and not be crushed for the trip. How many cars did we need to fit Belinda's stuff? Was it 2 or 3?
I don't have that much, basically, but even after discarding reams of documents and personal effects, it's still not an insignificant quarry. :P
3 echoes|QUACK!

[16 Jan 2010|12:14am]
Capsule review of Mastodon's Leviathan, a concept album based on Moby Dick: It's like being digested and churned in the stomach of an enormous whale. ...But in a good way?

[14 Jan 2010|09:26pm]
All points bulletin! Who's up for helping me move next weekend if I need it?! No one? Anyone? I'll buy everyone Maccas in lieu of Charlie, or whichever fast food you would prefer. :P

So my dad's lease on his studio apartment down in South Sydney is almost over, his office is basically moving west to the Strathfield area, and his partner lives up towards Hornsby. I had been looking to move as well, but couldn't afford very much, and as much as I felt it was time to move on from my cushy and undeserved comfort with Tim's family, I didn't really want to leave just for the sake of leaving.. I didn't want to trade it for some slummy, rickety gauze door shit hole in the wall squatter hovel just so I could look in a (presumably cracked) mirror and say "well see, I'm paying for it!"
The bare baseline of comfort and geographical convenience started around $250/w, which I could afford, but barely. Those kinds of prices would have landed me a studio in Parramatta, or Blacktown. If I was willing to live a little more dangerously I could have also afforded to live alone in that hellish triangle of industrial gutters, Granville, Lidcombe, or Auburn.
Not to mention, my last two homes have been pseudo-tenancies at best, and I have no rental history, which would've made things a little more interesting.
Long story short, my dad and I decided to apply for some two bedroom apartments together - in Epping. And this Tuesday our application was approved for a $380/w apartment. :)
Why Epping? Epping is a nice halfway point between dad's new work and his partners place, it's very close to Macquarie University and Macquarie Centre, and it just looks like a nice place in general. It's in the federal district of Bennelong, John Howard's old seat, who was ousted by ABC journalist Maxine McKew, a Labor politician I won't feel disgusted voting for. It's a bit closer to Tim and Belinda, quite a bit further away from everyone else though, and a bit far out of the way to make late night lifts home feasible, which means hanging out at Jasons will become either a piddly early-leave or a sleepover situation for me. Or I could just parasitise Zoe and Soul and hide in their trunk when they come over, as Soul tells me our place is around a block from her place.
Either way, I'll live within 5 minutes walk of a train station, and thus within 15 minutes of Macquaries massive bus junction, so I don't think I'll feel nearly as stranded as I did in the middle of Seven Hills' suburban sprawl.

We sign the lease next Friday, the 22nd, and then we can move in. I will probably need to be on hand to help my Dad move on the Saturday, which means I'll need to try and move my stuff on the Friday night, or the Sunday (or both depending how it goes). According to WhereIs it's a 15.6km trip, a 23 minute drive from my place at Seven Hills to the new apartment, via James Ruse Drive and Pennant Hills Rd.

Now, the funny thing is I don't actually know yet whether I'll need extra help, because I haven't finished packing and don't know how much stuff I need to move. I've thrown away absolute reams of paper in the last few days, and I don't think in the end I'll have anywhere near as much stuff as Belinda did *pretend glower*, so yeah.. I don't know. But if you would be available and willing to help out, please let me know! :)
6 echoes|QUACK!

[12 Jan 2010|07:27pm]
Wives of Rockstar San Diego employees plot legal action

"Rockstar Spouse decries a corporate culture where it is "mandatory to work close to twelve hours a day including Saturdays,""

Seriously though I hope the folks at Rockstar San Diego are properly rewarded for their hard work when this comes out. Healthy bonuses and holidays and all that. I would hope they got some tidy reward for developing RAGE in the first place after it was used so well in GTA IV, which garnered so many bajillion sales.
3 echoes|QUACK!

[12 Jan 2010|06:28pm]
I'm seriously champing at the bit for some more gameplay footage from Red Dead Redemption..

[10 Jan 2010|07:12pm]
Australian mag/site PC World previews Red Dead Redemption

"Red Dead Redemption is the long-awaited sequel to Rockstar Games’ veteran PS2 shooter. Amazingly, it has been in development since the original game burst through saloon doors in 2004, and was the genesis of Grand Theft Auto’s RAGE engine. That’s right ladies and gents; the RAGE engine was actually designed with Red Dead Redemption in mind, not GTA IV"

This is exceedingly interesting. You'll note that Rockstar San Diego, makers of the first game, also put out the first game to use RAGE, "Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis", which was seen at the time almost like a preview of the tech that would be used to render GTA IV. They created the engine itself. The fact that it's been in development for almost six years is also fairly exciting.

"Much like the GTA games, Red Dead Redemption does not take place in an authentic America, but instead presents a ‘bastardised’ version of the Wild West. It comprises three distinct territories: ‘New Austin’ (a clear riff on Arizona and New Mexico), ‘West Elisabeth’ (which makes up the civilised portion of the West) and Nuevo Parasio (south of the Mexican border). The game world spans an enormous expanse of terrain, with vast swathes of land separating each district. All told, the landscape is significantly larger than GTA IV’s Liberty City and is bound to keep explorative gamers busy for hours on end."

Which gives us a similar breadth of wonderful Western palettes as Call of Juarez - the deep reds and oranges of Arizona/New Mexico, the greys and browns of Mexico and the well forested greens of the west coast.


[10 Jan 2010|02:35am]

Would anyone like the second last one? It's a Sony Cybershot DSC-T3. 5.1 megapixel, shoots video, model is about 5 years old. Includes dock with USB cable, battery and battery charger assuming I can find the plug for it. Think I threw away the manual.. but it's all fairly self explanatory.. >_>
4 echoes|QUACK!

[08 Jan 2010|07:28pm]
Oh man, dudes, I just got back from Thailand, had to resolve a messy liaison with one of their otherwise delectable prostitutes (let's just say she's in a number of garbage bags and leave it at that) and what do I find but some dastardly interloper from an alternate universe who had been masquerading as me for the past year! I have dispatched him, following a stern talking to, back to his own dimension. He was however sporting a pretty rocking goatee so I think I might try and cultivate one of my own.

Anyway ..what happened in 2009?
2 echoes|QUACK!

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