Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I should get elected just so I can deliver the joke at the end of this post!

No subheading here, because my inclination toward any given topic isn't really enough to justify coming up with a semi-witty remark about it, only to veer off track within the space of a paragraph or so. How 'bout them apples?

Speaking of Apple?

Actually, Steve Jobs seems to have been quiet of late.

Speaking of late, Arthur C Clarke

Unfortunately, neither magic nor sufficiently advanced technology was on hand to save him. Anyone get a tissue sample? I mean it! Overlooking the questions of nurture vs nature, and the fact that there's no way to salvage the original consciousness of the man, SOME part of the man deserves a place on Mars, in space, somewhere. In the meantime, I hope they buried him in a 1x4x9 black stone coffin. That would be EPIC!

Speaking of Epic, a lot of PC gamers were distraught at the notion that the Unreal engine is now being iterated with each new generation of consoles. What else are they supposed to do? Consoles don't get any better over their lifetimes in terms of hardware, and it would be economic suicide to screw over a large demographic by releasing a new engine they can't use for another three years. Also, the cycle is a decent fit for PC, because note that just recently have U-engine-3 capable computers come into the proper midrange price range. What SHOULD be bothering people are gameplay concessions to the consoles. So in a few years we MIGHT be complaining that UE3 is starting to show its age, suppose by then even entry-level PCs are capable of playing games based on said. That's a clear win for PC gaming, even if the elite doesn't see it that way. Besides, just 'cause cryengine 2 is PC-exclusive didn't seem to help Crysis...Bioshock (dumbed down from it's parent though it was) was still the better game!

Speaking of Bioshock, check out this article on a presentation by Ken Levine about the process of creating the story. What always gets me when I read about game development are the outtakes. It isn't the same as watching DVD outtakes, where you can see where the scene failed, and the lack of polish doesn't help either. No, it's a window into the brainstorming process from whence sprang the game you have come to love, and the lack of polish helps these raw ideas shine. You generally don't get to play outtakes, so you don't get the same understanding of why certain elements failed to entertain, so in the end you're left with what still sounds like a really good idea, one that should have been in the game. I think Bioshock might have been improved by the inclusion of some pre-and during-civil war gameplay, although fitting that into the experience of a SPOILER ALERT amnesiac genetically-modified mind-controlled assassin-baby SPOILER OVER who was never likely a member of Rapturian society would have been a monumental challenge. Perhaps as a more intense form of the "genetic memories" which in Bioshock manifest as ghosts? For more examples of this sort of thing, see Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, and for that matter probably any decently thorough book or PDF or what-have-you chronicling game development.

Speaking of development, I had to do a presentation on a paper I wrote about Edward Abbey (a noted opponent of development in his beloved American Southwest) in my first-year seminar today. A funny thing I noticed, and I can't tell which side this is evidence for, but in the novel I am reading - Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars - the position of those opposed to Terraforming is a very close match to the terrestrial philosophies of Abbey himself, and yet I have not seen any acknowledgment of Abbey in the novel or dedication or anywhere. Given the effects Abbey has had on people, notably EarthFirst!, or any of his biographers, or for that matter probably anyone who met him, it seems likely his influence would be noted. I suppose I should be happy, because I am arguing a position against his having fundamentally changed understandings of the environment (He affected people, no doubt, and he was an environmentalist, but he wasn't bringing anything new to the table, he was a King Ludd for '60's America, is effectively my argument).

Speaking of arguments...actually, I haven't really participated in any good ones lately, for that matter, I haven't overheard any either. Used to be that I'd overhear neat conversations on almost any given OC transpo bus

Speaking of buses, would the suburbs and rural communities PLEASE stop their bloody pissing and moaning about the transit service (or lack thereof)? We should not be giving incentives for people to splay bits of our city all about the countryside and pollute, pollute, pollute their way to work every damn morning of every day! With the stain of our childish and often tedious federal politics upon us, perhaps Ottawa will never actually be considered a "fun" city, but the least we can do is make it less unpleasant for ourselves. We need architects who understand aesthetics, for one, and we need city planners who make plans with nary a mention of the words "growth", "suburbia", and "strip mall"! Also, we need pride that isn't wounded by the likes of Winnipeg cockwagging at us about how theirs is longer. Unfortunately, we bought into the phallic hype of our own lengthy skateway, and cannot hide behind witty retorts such as - and this would have been a good comeback as a newspaper headline, I think - "Everyone Knows Girth Matters More!". At the very least we should take some proper revenge on whatever bitch MP decided it was worth bragging about the Winnipeg skateway in the Fucking House of Commons. Seriously, what the hell?

Ottawans, you know what to do, but seriously stay away from physical violence, and other similarly overt tactics. Write your MP, and see if he or she would be interested in dissing Winnipeg in question period, or something. Be creative in your suggestions. Better still, see if they'd be interested in dissing HER for it. Off the top of my head, I think you could go somewhere with some inverse-Freudian humour about "Canal envy". Ours gave birth to a town, theirs is rough and frigid. ZING!



Anonymous said...

There isn't anything wrong with Ottawa that couldn't be fixed by a few hundred kt of urban renewal... Fixes all kinds of problems.

GoldMatenes said...

Since there are already houses there, they may as well run buses to them.
Building further, they shouldn't do.
Abandoning those who they short-sightedly built further for in the first place - not really fair.

Loud said...

Yeah, I have to say the biggest problem is that we've already built the houses there, and you can't just evict EVERY SUBURB and somehow cram-a-lam everyone into new central high-rise development.

I guess what I bemoan is not so much that people live in the 'burbs and complain, but that they should have to do so in the first place

Star said...

As one who's lived in suburbs pretty much all their life I have to say, they're not that bad, yes it can be a b*tch especially when pretty much ALL your friends live much closer downtown, but my life is pretty evenly split between closer to downtown and here in the suburbs, I live, work and volunteer in the suburbs, and I work and go to school near downtown, not exactly a win-win situation by any means, but it ends up working out somehow, it also means that there really is no ideal place for me to be living because either way the other half of my life would be half a city away. That said, though the bus system can be terrible *cough**4**cough* I am greatful for the fact that it exists and am aware that I could have it much worse, I live pretty close to 2 local routes, both of which run every day of the week, most people would probably balk if they saw how much time I end up spending on buses, but I've gotten used to it and hardly notice at all anymore. So I guess living in the suburbs you just have to suck it up and deal with what you've got, not that that means I wouldn't *like* to see an improved transit system, I just know it's going to take a hell of a long time coming, if it ever does. Sorry for the length and possible incoherency of this, it's been a loooooooong day.

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