Played through the HL2 Lost Coast download. It defaulted back to easy - so it was a little too trivial difficulty wise - but still very nicely put together adrenaline-wise. Going through on Normal was tougher, but the surprises were gone. The 'chappel' area with the volumettric lighting was beautiful, with the glass distortions and the adjustments after you break the glass etc. It did take me a little while to work out how to get past that room though - seems so obvious once you do it :-)
The whole level design is breathtaking - the scenes, textures, models, transitions, pathing, characters - everything. It really is the pinaccle of this sort of thing that I have played. I also liked the 'gun' firing over onto the village and the sound/shaking that went along with that - a nice way to introduce some urgency and stress in the player.
I popped into WoW again briefly - though I didnt achieve much but for a quest handin really. I like that the tower quest is repeatable, could make for some fun for several levels to come. Still not 60 yet though.
In looking at the new online character view tool Blizzard have made - I feel rather under-powered in comparison to the 62 lock in the guild. Can 3 levs make that much difference?? The idea of the site though is very clever - linking better the game to their web presence.
DAZ - well I bit the bullet and fired up DAZ Studio for the first time since I ran through the built-in tute (which was uber-basic). It took me a while to get the hand of things again and though I was only working with the free downloads I have had thus far I did end up making a little render. Some of the tools work kinda-strangely or are in tricky places to find. My pallet of plug-ins is very limited - so all that is present is Aiko3 with a skinmap and the setting from the tute. All I really did was the pose, lights, camera angles, shirt material and little things like eyes and hair etc.
I watched a bit of Shrek (before I needed a sleep to rest my knee :-). Obviously a ream landmark in the whole 3D animation genre. It dates of course - some of the animations are stiff and marionette-like compared to what is done today.
I read through the tutes on digital painting by Theta on Renderosity. The idea of using SMUDGE for everything is a nifty one and I will have to give it a real try for my next one. No fear of me achieving the results he does at my first go though...
[lovely photoshop-painted obiwan by Theta - see links for tutes]
[journeytime = 4.5 hours]