mandag, januar 30, 2006

Heroes V Public Beta (PC game)

These impressions have not been posted on the official forum as most of these issues have already been discussed. This is simply my impressions of the beta.

First of all I would like to thank Ubisoft for the public beta. And I would put a finger on all the people who complain about the beta.

a. not having a single player option
b. Having copy protection

For all Ubisoft let all of us play this game before its out for free. Of course in the interest of making the game better and more popular, but still – it’s a gift that is not too normal in the gaming world. More public betas of games!!! More!

Copy protection. Yes I don’t like this protection much either. But again – copy protections have been around almost as long (or longer?) as viruses. So why complain about it?

Now to the game itself.

Graphics are gorgeous! The 3D is so nice, I almost rock myself over. The graphic is dedicated to give the HOMM feel. The only problem with the free 3D design is that it is easy to miss certain items or armies on the map. To solve this with partial transparency or leaving this as is to keep the player more on the edge with exploring? I don’t really know – the option to choose would be nice?

Impressions of sound are not much as they are not well implemented in this beta. But I expect sound and music to be really good in the final game

The game plays were tight to HOMM 3 game play. When they made HOMM 4 they changed the game play a lot by adding and changing core game elements and adding new elements. These elements came from other evolving games that in fact did these “improvements” very well. Mostly the team does not need a hero, or can have several heroes.

In HOMM4 the heroes universe got a whole new feel. Personally I don’t think it was too bad. The major issues with HOMM4 was that the game was not well enough balanced and that the new graphic was too much trying to fanzy 14 year old girls with its “My Little Ponny/Barbie Girl” look. And of course it was not Heroes as we knew it anymore.

The decision to go back to HOMM3 style is probably a good one. However I do feel that in this beta a few of the tinkering has been removed as well so we truly get a less is less or more game. Not that much tough and all the new graphics and redesign of interfaces will make up for it. And there will be plenty of time for expansions.

Many of the people that came up with the wrong ideas for HOMM4 are the same people complaining about stuff this time around!

HOMM5 plays like a charm, yes it requires a good spec PC and this does kill all the lo spec players. But hey – Windows Vista is around the corner – time to upgrade to a decent 3D card anyway!

Since many of the HOMM gamers a people with low spec machines and it is also one of the few games that attract girls. Ubisoft will probably loose some costumers by making the spec so high and not having a low end solution (software renderer or something)

Trying to play the game in multiplayer with a low time limit gonna make the game a pain as you hardly will have time to do anything. On the other side – the wait for the other players is a drag. And I mean Drag! In hotseat it is ok as you see and interact with the other players. Online its plain boring. To compensate for this Ubisoft plan to implement something of a ghost mode. For what I have heard of it – it’s a way to interact rather dirty on the other players. So I would strongly go against this mode.

To look into a game that did simultaneously moves extremely well (as well as balancing and implementing other interesting elements) is the original Age of Wonders. I recommend Age of Wonders for all of you – if you can get hold of it nowadays. Do not go for the shitty sequel.

The other way to cut down waiting time would be to let the player plan next move, or look at more options, or even cooler – play (plug in based!) mini games during waiting. Space invaders, Tetris, a game of cards or anything you want!

There has been a rage about the size of the battlefields. I must disagree with all the people that say that the battlefield is too small. Making it bigger will only make us players waste time for moving the monsters to get to the other side. I strongly disagree with the people that has gathered together and forced the game to be redesign with a bigger battlefield.

I just hope it will not ruin the game.

The battlefields are using squares instead of hex-diagonal fields which I feared would be shitty. But indeed the new squares work just as well, and that is an excellent achievement.

One real concern in the end: Resource management seem to be really tight maybe too tight and this will lead to less options in freedom of playing styles as well as a “small” mistake in the beginning of the game will lead to instant death 5 hours later.

And I hate games that compensate this with the “pretend to add more gamplay by adding a marketplace” option. No no no! Resource collection is good but not when its too tight and Marketplaces sucks!

After all this gibberish talk: HOMM5 is a charm. Its beautiful, addicting and ready to waste plenty of hours of our lives.

onsdag, januar 25, 2006

Surferosa (Concert)

Being arrogant. For me Surfer Rosa has always been an album by The Pixies so I have never really bothered listning to Surferosa at all. This all changed when my sister invited my for the concert.

In fact Surferosa had been begging Felix for half a year to play there. I bet the reason must be somewhere in the Lillehammer Party life. Of course the competitor “Bingo’n” was not all too happy about it.

So there I went with no expectations at all. It hit me like a surprise. It was a good concert with a good band. And a totally crazy and refreshing lead singer. A good concert and a good band that deserves some listening!

Life (and how to…)

In the new year we do of course expect more fun than usual and so one has to use the weekends the best it is to party! And have loads of fun. The weekend before it was to show old heights by emptying gin like water to drink this Town unsafe. Then last Friday driving up to Lillehammer – it was a drag because of all the snow that fell down and all the car accidents.

In Norway we don’t have speed limits – but the signs actually tell the only allowed speed. No matter if its day, night, rain, summer or icy – this is the speed we have to drive. Naturally the speed has to be adjusted for shitty weather so when we have good driving condition most people will drive too fast….

……if they can afford it. Our insanely high speeding fees is just one of the totally “fair” ways for our Government to tax the wealthiest citizens. This systems keeps justice on the road as long as you can pay – you can drive faster. Since speed limits are crazy – everybody wants to drive too fast.

If high prices was not enough: To destroy this fair system they (Government) has also introduced a point system – where after you get caught to many times for not keeping the right speed – you will loose your license. In turn this means people are forced to drive slower and get more and more stressed of boring driving and keep eyes up for speed cameras. And of course less tax paid.

The tax rate had to be kept up. To compensate for this the speeding fees has been increased by 26% and rising.

Sometimes one has to give respect to Germany and the fact that they still have no speed limits on parts of the Autobahn.

In turn this also turns into craziness when we have snow like last Friday. It is not only Government fault because people tend to “forget” how to drive carefully on bad conditions – in turn turning traffic into total chaos and many sad collisions appear.

In Lillehammer the hysterical people that is in charge of traffic security has introduced some rather dangerous solutions. Red light in the ground – looks like a UFO has landed in the light cross. (This might be awsome if your a 13 year old kid that reads to many 60ies science fiction books!) Small sharp dividers in the middle of the road – To let you destroy your car without hitting anybody else.(Again this is probably awsome if youre a 16 year old kid on a scooter)

Some other time I will post pictures of this hysterical “traffic security”

Not to mention that Lillehammer is the place where they have the “tests” of measuring average speed limits. Average Speed Limit cameras which have been found illegal has is being sneak/forced legalized by using the word “Test project” and of course it was (my) Lillehammer that hosts this gallant test project. For some reason I have a feeling that the Government tax income will not increase by these actions but in turn lead to new strange habits among drivers. (ex. Driving really fast in between cameras for just before next camera stopping completely up and having a snack break or other rather silly stuff)

To sum it up: I don’t urge people to drive like insane. Just that there must be a higher accept for driving after actual always changing road conditions – this will in make the driver a better driver.

torsdag, januar 19, 2006

Fable (PC and Xbox game)

There is no excuse

I have played it on both platforms as I just could wait (the long and winding Microsoft wait) for the PC version. This is certainly one of the best adventure games out there – that without trying reaches up to the beauty of the Zelda series – but only reaching.

Of course we could not expect anything else from Lionhead. And to be honest – this is a game everybody needs to play – whether you like adventure, RPG or just action. Even if is a game put in a fantasy scenario – the style of the game is very realistic to a normal world – and most of the quest resemble things you would actually meat in a normal world – in this world. Basically all magic and fantasy could easily be substituted into non magical items and the game would still stand on its own! This is not something one can say about a lot of games – but shows how robust and well done a game from Lionhead is!

There is a lot of smaller things to do – like the expressions one can do – or getting married or brag about your deeds. Even though these things are not really important things for the game play – they add up to give you the feeling of a free world that always has something more to offer.

The choose a path between good and evil is not something new – taken inspiration from such games as Black and White and KOTOR – it works pretty well but I do feel it can be taken even further. In fact most of the things in this game can be taken further – way further. Lets just hope (and pray?) that they will make a sequel! And what also would be cool is if they licensed this engine to others – I certainly can enjoy more games like this.

Another standard in RPG games is subgames – often with cards – Fable has plenty of sub games all well done, enjoyable and even surprising.

PC conversions often suffer from console interface but fable has in fact one of the best interfaces made ever. Never been so much fun to slash through hordes of evil beasts. The only bad thing is the equipment system that is straight XBOX all the way through.

There is no excuse for not playing this game…..

The Constant Gardener (film)

It’s a trick. You think you are going to see a B-movie but instead you are served a quite well made and deep movie. The second trick is that in the beginning the movie tries to make you think it’s about something else – and then flashes up a quite deep and intriguing story – sidelining the medical industry with the weapon industry!

Unfortunately at this point most of the story is revealed (in big lines anyway) but the rest of the movie tries to keep unfolding the mystery like reading a Agate Christie book and knowing who the murder is – here the movie would have gained in having a harder thriller aspect.

The director and actor have done a marvelous job making all scenes as authentic to the reality as possible. Much more than one can usually see in a movie. In such a style it sometimes looks like it would be real footage. This enormous work to make scenes look natural has the odd side effect that it makes scenes with happenings that are not normal turn out rather silly – incredible to see this. This is added by progressive camera handling – with various results. While sound is also good – the musical effects can be rather shitty though.

One can see through the movie how they have really put an effort into showing a piece of Africa with great care. Even if the story is not true it pinpoints several important things, also through sub-plots.

For it small shortcomings this is a beautiful movie. One that’s worth to watch!

fredag, januar 13, 2006

Sintef - releases info about 220 norwegian womens sexlife

The women goes forth in the main norwegian tabloid papers with names and picture to complain. The subtitles say: None had more than 5 sex partners.

Nice way to complain about confidential information about your sexlife being "published" - they could just as well show up on the front page and scream: "Baise Moi"

mandag, januar 09, 2006

Movies and stuff

The Movie school started up again today and we are starting to finish off the theory and the technical stuff and we are progressing more and more into the manuscript phase. And then we will progress to the shooting. However the first day of real shooting (after the schedule) is when I am in Maastricht celebrating Carnival 2006. Its not so cold nowadays like it normally should be – in fact many places it’s rather “hot” compared to what to expect – I am just waiting for the cold to strike back. I also have progressed half the way in reading The history of bestiality and unlike I did so bluntly said that it would be good times – its more dead serious and down to truth times – and this time around – the third time I read it – is the first time I really am able to cope with it.

onsdag, januar 04, 2006

The Godfather Trilogy (film)

Part I
The first time I saw this I didn’t quite get it – I actually found it rather boring and in many ways I still do. I know that it’s against normal popularity – but I’ll just say it anyway. The Godfather defines the Mafia genre – however it is not as much a Mafia movie but more like a grand family drama. So in turn all Mafia movies tries to be like The Godfather and they all end up being more or less successful family dramas. So in many ways The Godfather did not only define the genre but also destroy it.

Here we see Marlon Brandon as the Family (God)father that has good values and has protected these values with a hard hand. However he is getting old and new interests wants to get in. This time around (as well as many other times) its called drugs – and when Marlon Vito denies drugs things starts to get nasty. Al Pacino on the other hand is the only one of the family members with a brain enough to take over family business – but Al Martin rather wants to something completely else.

But of course he stands up and take’s over business and becomes the new Godfather and kills all competition.

Part II
There is something true in that no one is ever able to take over the creation of someone else. Martin does a good job – but however the strain is though for him and in the fight of preserving his fathers values and taking care of the family – he instead looses touch of his family and even ends up killing his own brother. No that’s what we call pride.

During the movie Martin gets darker and darker and turns out to be a mere shadow. The weight of his responsibilities is too much. However he manages to bring the family wealth and influence to heights his father Vito could only dream of.

Also as often happens in sequels is that no suddenly Martin talkes Italian really good while in the first movie he spoke English even when he was in Italy. Maybe his dead wife thought him some tricks.

We also see a young Robert De Niro playing Vito’s early years – and while girls love it for being Robert – most of the happenings are mere waste of time and only building up to the last moment when Al Pacino and Robert almost meet’s (as we know we have to wait for the coffee scene in Heat for it to really happen). The other thing we learn here is that in his early years Vito liked to do the dirty business himself and over the years he did not only turn into Marlon but also let others take over the dirty parts of business.

This is definitely the darkest of the movies. It shows more locations and also has a lot more beautiful shots.

Part III
This is in fact my favorite because 6 hours of movie history is finally summed up in another 3 hours extravagance. Of course Martin needs to increase his power and wealth even further and what is more natural than Europe and all the way up to the Pope. This side story is even less interesting here and at times pretty useless and confusing. What we really want to know is – Who is going to take over business and will Vinny mange it?

Time has passed and Martin is old. Its 1971 about the same time as part one was made. No matter how much Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s action has been blessed in the earlier parts they have both become much better actors in time (and not just look) and its just much more enjoyable to see how much better Al acts Martin this time around.

Martin sees death is coming and is starting to regret his earlier faults – he seeks redemption – a chance to correct it – but how do you correct the murder of your own brother?

One of the things is to not repeat story and let his son do what he wants instead of taking over the family – however hard they make the choice seem – Tony doesn’t have the character to do it anyway so the choice is actually quite easy.

Francis Ford Coppola has a slow paste to tell all these things on – some people find it so that he crams loads of stories in this time – but in reality he tells things dead, dead slow and then suddenly (again it seems sudden because the increase in paste) changes happen really fast, then again to slow out. Together with the emphasis in family drama I think this paste changes is the key to Francis incredible success.

Again where did Al get this love, affection and of all knowledge of Sicilly from? Again like his Italian from his short hideout in Corleone?

When all pieces is laid together we are presented with a long fast paste ending with another dramatically and sad ending. The shots are more modern but still grand and beautiful – but maybe not as good as in part II.

In all it’s a pretty sad tale from beginning to end. A tale about family values and even more about pride.

It is said that this story is so good it would be something like this Shakespeare would have written had he lived today and I guess that’s a pretty medal for Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo! But again as you see in my last post – I don’t care much for Shakespeare.

Shakespeare in love (film)

I will repeat this. I don’t have much over for Shakespeare. And I don’t really have much over for this kind of movie – trying to milk out some extra cash out of the Shakespeare name.

The movie is made hopelessly romantic and theatric. However I have to admit it is quite well done in all aspects and probably worth a look even for me – but probably only with a date.


Jan and feb is the coldest months of the year- Its freezing here. Although not as much here in Oslo as some other places here it’s still freezing – even inside. Sleep underneath two blankets at night to feel warm and cozy.

Driving in the winter is of course loads of fun. The ESP is constantly trying to readjust the wheels – or you simply turn of ESP to have max effect of sliding almost into other cars. Being in the Netherlands for so long I am not used to the crappy road standard in Norway and there is some funny situations.

Also the The Netherlands has quite some fun. Specially roundabouts with traffic lights in them – what is that all about – and the roundabout in Eindhoven where the cars in the roundabout have to stop for all passing traffic. That’s just plain madness! In Belgium they have fun with driveoff’s from highways on the left as well as drive-in from both left and right at the same time. As well as some crazy intersections on highways.

I only drove in Naples once in 2001 when we went for a Saturday trip to Pompei. When we went back I had no idea how to get to our destination but I had Mike in front of me that had sort of an idea. We got the bonus round all across town. All the wrong lanes – all the illegal roads. It goes ultra fast to get the hang of the idea of always driving on red light as well as stop on green (to look if your brother might be coming on your right) – there simply is no choice. I would never have found the way without the help from Mike.

And then of course we have the US 4-way stop which I find hilarious – everybody has to wait for the others until one (or more) takes the initiative and drives first.

Being cold - I need to acquire something to get some more heat in here.

søndag, januar 01, 2006

Feliz año nuevo - Godt Nytt år

2006 is here with all its pride and hope.

I wish all friends the best of days and loads of fun.