Personal

Five things you didn't know

Darn, Damien has tagged me with one of those chain-blogging things that I can’t possibly ignore, save my online credibility be called into question. This one is dubbed ‘Five things you didn’t know about me’. Now, it’s of course really tempting to make stuff up. After all, if the whole point is that you didn’t know already, then given that you’re almost certainly halfway across the globe from me, and thus concrete verification is slim possibility, I can arguably get away with anything.

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Wii - Initial Impressions

Ok, so I’ve had a Wii for a week now (insert childish snigger here) and thought I’d post my initial impression. It’s difficult because due to the continuing extreme stock shortages, I’m still missing an extra controller and Zelda, but here’s my view on what I have, ie Wii Sports, Super Monkey Ball - Banana Blitz, and the online services so far. Firstly, it’s really quite incredible just how accurate and sensitive the controllers are.

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Wii arrives, although minus a few bits

So, it was finally my own personal Wii-E day today. When I got back from a doctors appointment this morning, the green light on my answering machine blinking excitedly at me, as if it shouting ‘guess what, guess what?’. The local specialist non-chain games shop had let me down with my original pre-order so I’d placed another one with Woolies, where a friend had pre-ordered a couple of weeks after me originally and still got one before xmas, much to my annoyance.

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Ready for Battlestar Galactica Season 3

I’ve been watching the new Battlestar Galactica series since it started and whilst it started off a little weak, it has more than made up for it throughout the first two series, ignoring the odd blip where they get away from the main storyline. I had missed the last 3 episodes of season two because of a video recorder breakdown, and hadn’t managed to get them from friends initially - in the end I got them on a home-burned VCD from a friend but initially had problems getting my DVD player to read it.

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Brains vs graphics

When it comes to game graphics, I’ve always had something of a mental dichotomy. Despite being obviously really keen on real time graphics (you might have noticed a hint or two to that end over the life of this blog), I’m also a very strong believer that in good games, graphics are far from the most important element. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to make better and better graphical subsystems, because as a graphics geek I love to do it, but at the same time I have my feet firmly on the ground as to the place of these results in the grand scheme of things when it actually comes to enjoyment.

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"Freebie" phones

My wife was in need of a new mobile phone recently due to hers starting to become unreliable so we took a trip into town yesterday to sort one out. We’re both on contract (rather than pay-as-you-go) but they’d expired so we figured we might as well just arrange extended contracts and get new phones at the same time. Mine was getting a bit crusty too - I bought the cheapest tri-band phone there was in a hurry 3 years ago so I could use it on a short-notice trip to the US and haven’t changed it since - so I thought I’d take a look too.

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Xmas Books

See that? That was Christmas 2006. Whizzed by again, if you blinked you might have missed it and pondered quizzically where the extra inches around your waist came from. 😀Hope everyone had a good one - I certainly did, filled as it was with food, family and festive gifts. I received a couple of books that might interest the OGRE users out there, namely Modern C++ Design, which looks like it has some great patterns utilising C++ templates in interesting ways in it, and Texturing and Modeling: A Procedural Approach which covers a lot of theory on generating content procedurally which is a subject I’m quite interested in exploring over the next 12 months.

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Pinkovision forces HDTV transition

So there we were last night, letting Auntie fill us in on the pressing news of the day, when our admittedly rather ‘mature’ TV decided that the colour scheme just wasn’t, well, camp enough. You know how most TVs / displays have that colour temperature setting you can play with - warm, cool etc - well, our TV decided to switch to an altogether new one that, if it had a name, would undoubtedly be called ‘Austin Powers’ - very, very pink, and pulsating slowly in a rather suggestive fashion.

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What has Pandora introduced you to?

As many people are already aware, the Pandora Internet Radio service rocks. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s the friendly end of some quite serious research called the Music Genome Project, allowing them to quite uncannily figure out what kind of music you might like, based on an initial starting point and some iterative guidance from you on which tracks you do and don’t like. It’s executed with some flair too, with a really nice interface, a streaming system that I’ve yet to get any lag on, and a much better selection than some others I’ve tried like Last.

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Nimble - The 3D Cloud System

Ok, so now you finally get to see what I’ve been working on during the last few weeks and being so obtuse about. I’ve been working for Windward Mark Interactive to create a brand new, totally volumetric cloud system called Nimble. Here are some shots for you (click for full size versions): Clearly there have been cloud systems before, so what’s special about Nimble? Well, for a start it’s completely volumetric - it’s not a prerendered skybox or 2.

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