Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Looking For Group

Found a nifty comic today.

Well, a week ago. The art's good, the writing's great, and it updates twice a week. Usually you're lucky if you can get two out of those three.

It's loosely based on World of Warcraft, set in that world. It doesn't require that you have played the game to find it funny--I've never played WoW, and never plan to, and I'm recommending it. It probably helps to have a basic understanding of the world and the races, but the comic doesn't assume that you know much about the set up.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Finish the Main Quest Now!

So . . . yesterday's post doesn't really make much sense, now that I re-read it. Ah, well. Such is the internet, the immediacy of the medium. The points are all there, it's just that I didn't string them together very well.

Today, I'd like to write about why I think the main quest in Oblivion is so cool, because I've said it is three times now, without explaining why. Unfortunately, certain persons I associate with haven't finished it, so I can't write about the ending. And I can't explain why Oblivion is so awesome without mentioning the ending, because it features heavily in the awesome quotient.

By ending, I do mean the literal ending, the last thing that happens in the quest. The entire "end" is awesome, because basically what happens is that two thirds of the way through the game it goes all epic, and it just keeps getting better. Heck--as I was digging around in the editor, I half-expected there to be a script along the lines of "begin.awesome." Wasn't there, but I did find a few other neat things, like the exact mechanism for Martin's name changes, and exactly when it happens and what triggers it.

However. The ending is Truly Awesome. I haven't decided whether or not it's a good ending or not, story wise, but it's certainly cool.

And I really can't say any more, until certain persons finish the main quest.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Writing Oblivion

Hey, 50th post. Neatness.

Okay, so I promised yesterday, that I'd explain that long, rambling, not entirely rambling post, and what it has to do with The Artful Writer.

Basically, The Artful Writer has this post on Writing Oblivion. Found it while googling Kurt Kuhlmann, who I found while I was trying to find out who wrote the main quest for Oblivion. (Short answer: he did, but probably had some committee help.) It took entirely too long, because none of the writers are credited as writers. Instead, they're credited as follows:

Quest Design was done by Brian Chapin, Kurt Kuhlmann, Alan Nanes, Mark E. Nelson, Bruce Nesmith and Emil Pagliarulo.

Additional Design was done by Erik J. Caponi and Jon Paul Duvall.

Additional Writing was done by Ted Peterson and Michael Kirkbride.

That's a direct quote from the post, and I include it here because these people need to have their names in the ether, permanently attached to their work. The more websites that mention them along with the words "Oblivion" and "writer," the better. Because their work is really, really good.

The main quest kind of floored me, in terms of how good it was, and how fun, and how interesting. It's a good story, and it works much better as a game than it ever would as a movie or a novel, just from how it's set up. It has themes. Themes! In a video game. Have I mentioned just how awesome this game is?

That's what interests me about gaming: its application as a storytelling medium. It's hard to find games that have really good stories, because that's not where the focus is, right now. It's on the graphics and the simulation and the underlying doodads that make it all work. But I think that better storytelling, that really takes advantage of what you can do in a video game, is an area where the industry really could grow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

There's a Point, But I'm Not Going to Tell You What It Is

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting. There are several things that I could blame this on: lack of things to write about, homework, rediscovering the wonders of social interaction. I should blame it on general apathy, because there's no reason why I can't just StumbleUpon something and pretend it's relevant, like I always do.

What I'm going to blame it on is Oblivion, because it's the Best. Game. Ever.

I mean that. I really do. Normally, I'm not much of a CRPG fan. They tend to compare poorly with the tabletop experience. Wasn't impressed by Neverwinter Nights, wasn't even particularly impressed by Morrowind. (The Morrowind thing may have been a matter of perception and timing, a theory I plan to test this weekend by re-experiencing it.)

I'm not even much of a gamer. I've played Sim games, but those don't really count. Diablo 2, Jak and Daxter. SSX. That's about it. I dabble, mostly because I have friends who are gamers. I tend to be bad at them, so it takes real effort for me to get into one. (You ever hear the Jak 2 MISSION FAILED screen? Every five seconds? For twenty minutes? My gaming experience in a nutshell.)

And then I played Oblivion.

I've actually wanted it, badly, since I first heard about it, way before it came out. It just sounded cool. It was going to have erosion, for crying out loud. (Don't think it actually does, in the release, but this was pre-game buzz.) Then it actually came out, and it turned out that my video card was about a million years too old to play it, and then it turned out that to get a decent video card I'd need to get a new motherboard, and if I was going to get a new motherboard . . . well . . . my computer was really okay for everything I already did, and I wasn't much of a gamer, anyway.

So then, I got the laptop, and one of my first thoughts was: must have Oblivion now. (My actual first thought was: I never need be away from the internet ever again.)

So now I'm finally playing it. And it's awesome. On so many levels. I've spent the entire weekend playing it, I've got several friends who are playing it, and anytime my brain has thirty seconds of downtime I'm thinking about it.

I spent a few weeks playing it semi-casually, fiddling with it when I had a bit of spare time. Then I started doing the main quest, and that really grabbed me, in a way that I've only been grabbed by a few things in my entire life. (One of those things was DragonballZ, but we're not going to talk about that.) And now that I'm out of that, I'm playing the game "as it was meant to be played," by wandering around at random, doing things, and I'm having an unbelievably good time doing that.

Now, I had a point to all this. I found me a new blog. Yes, indeed. And I really should explain why all that was relevant, and link to the part of that blog that I'm actually interested in, and talk about why Oblivion is so awesome, and what's so cool about the main quest, but, y'know, it's late. And this post is long enough as it is.

So instead of writing about all that now, I'm going to do something incredibly lame. I'm going to promise to post about that, tomorrow. Or quite possibly the next day. Because, really, what this blog needs is a few good cliffhangers.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Last Question

I like questions. I like coming up with them, I like pondering them, I like bothering people with them. (My parents know that last all too well.) And in my life I've learned that there are two kinds of questions: there are good questions, and there are Great Questions.

Good questions are things that I'd like to know the answer to, i.e., "Do I have any socks left?" or "What is the meaning of life?" They're perfectly good questions, but they're either easily answerable or completely unanswerable, and entirely without consequence. Not quite the stuff of great conversation.

Then there are Great Questions. These are questions that are actually interesting, that you can actually get somewhere thinking about. They may have answers, but the point isn't the answer, it's how you get there.

So why bring this up? Because I have just been introduced to a Truly Great Question: Will It Blend?

This, friends, is a question for the ages. Thousands of years from now, when the internet ur-being is purging its memory banks, it will stumble upon this website and it will trigger a revolution in post-robotic thought. This question will be enshrined for our descendants in the hallowed halls of Awesome, shouted from the mountaintops of True Enlightenment, and end the wars with the mutant bug people.

It's just. That. Awesome.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rube Goldberg Domino Video

This guy has an absolutely absurd amount of time on his hands. If I ever feel the need to learn the Oblivion editor, something like this would be close to the top of my to do list.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Military Humor & Belated Resolutions

This is better than Catch-22: 213 Things Skippy Can't Do.

I need to end more sentences with the words "in accordance with the prophecy."