Thursday, 3 January 2008

Day351 Holiday Bits and Bobs

PCPowerplay 147
Some more fascinating stuff in this mag, I am now very tempted to subscribe. Dwarf Fortress is something I will definitely have to check out - I love this kind of world where it feels alive and you play your part within it. Plus it has a definitive Nethackiness to it.
The big feature on the Unreal Engine and the host of games out and being developed using its juicy goodness shows how the FPS world is going.
The Dell 30" display looks simply inspired!
The gold Macbook Pro looks like a bit of fun for those with bottomless pockets as well...

[Dell concept display and Apples gold Macbook Pro]

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Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG
We got a bunch of these for Xmas and they are really neato! The Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG from Wizkids is great to build and fun to play.

We have already started to experiment with some kind of 'blockade' rule to stop it degenerating to a simple race of small high attack ships sent to attack objectives though. We have played a few games where you can have 5 stars worth of ships in 'blockade mode' protecting objectives. They can move into this formation in a movement phase. They cannot take part in home base actions once deployed this way but to Strike the defended objective the ship must be defeated first. So the Strike becomes a standard battle of sorts but the defender cannot play action cards. If defeated any remaining stars can be used to strike the now exposed objective as normal...

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The Golden Compass
Philip Pullman's book (and series) are remarkable and to bring them to the screen was always going to be interesting. The Movie (The Golden Compass) covers the first book which we know as Northern Lights. I dont know why this and things like the Philosopher's Stone get renamed for the Americans... That said It makes more sense as a title to match the series and other two books.



The film itself is very enjoyable and seemed to stick pretty closely to the novel, though as always we get a summarised version. It was a fun ride and was great fun to see peoples reactions at the end who didnt realise that this was but the first part of a much larger tale. There are a score if memorable characters and some neato casting brings them to life with the likes of Ian McKellen and Sam Elliot.

The special effects were awesome. The Ice Bears are simply stunning and make the whole things believable. The daemons are also very nicely integrated and there is a host of visual effects work to engulf all the characters in the environments and battles.

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National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The first National Treasure film is one of my favourites, it lives not just via the mystery but more powerfully through the awesome dialogue and character interactions. There some great scenes in the first one and the second brings back the main cast of protagonists with some new additions. The Book of Secrets stayed pretty true to the idea and I feel that much like the first it will grow on me a little more with each viewing.

The film isnt overflowing with special effects, I am sure that there are a bunch of scenes with digital effects, but they are very understated.

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The Sims 2
I feel like I am rather dragging the chain here in finally having a bash at the Sims - well The Sims 2. This little gem delivers a bunch of gameplay styles that are well outside most gaming fair. Though they may seem extremely dull and mundane from outside, once playing they are hypnotically addictive. Add to this the lure of creation in terms of their environment, looks and personalities and you can see why this is the biggest game of all time :-)

I will cover this game in rather more depth as I get a chance to play further.
Oh and the expansions look like fun as well...

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Other
I did bunches of sketches, drawings and other bits. Included were Avril TVs, insectoid wild west bits, dino wild west bits and other weird and wondrous experiments.
Dr Who S3 on DVD - simply awesome - perhaps the best yet!
Heroes S2 - got the last two episodes - great stuff again and still full of all those gasps we love to see. Cant wait for the Season 3 :-)
Watched A bunch of Goodies Eps as well - memory lane.
We went Horse Riding twice, nothing digital about it, but great fun.
I played around with importing music to iTunes when not online - that didnt go so well. When I am online it all gets worked out and all the details pop in there magically, otherwise I had to enter the details by hand - eek.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King is proving intriguing - I am only a little into book two, but The Gunslinger was better than I expected.

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