Monthly Archives: May 2006

Grasping for motivation

I woke up at 8am this morning. I worked until about 9, and then I had some breakfast. After that I worked until about 10, then I took a 15 minutes break and continued working until 12. Then I had lunch, and got back to work at about quarter to 1.

Well, I tried to go back to work anyway. I’ve been going all morning and I’m almost all of the way through my notes for this module now. Once I’m done I plan on tackling the three past exam papers I have, and then I will hopefully be feeling ready for the exam. The trouble is I’ve lost my motivation to work, the stuff I’m going over doesn’t all make sense to me, and I’m not really doing anything constructive either because I’m basically just reading my notes and copying the important bits. It’s really boring and totally uninspiring.

So I’ve spent the last hour messing around, and now I’m going to try and bury my head again and get on with it. The exam is tomorrow morning and them I’m done for the year, so I only have to put one last spurt of effort in today and it’s all over.

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Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey website

I am a fan of computer games. I enjoy playing them and consider them to be an excellent source of entertainment, and a great way to relax. Many of my friends do not feel this way, they see games as “geeky”, indeed sometimes games are perceived as offensive. The reason I mention this is because Dreamfall is one of those wonderful games which I believe could bridge this gap between gamers and non gamers. The game demands that you view games (or at least, this game) in a different light.

Dreamfall is not simply a game to be played, it’s a story that unfolds, it’s an extensive world which has been created for you to explore and discover. In many ways I could describe Dreamfall as an interactive movie, the purpose of the game is to tell you a story, and the means of telling you that story is through your own interactions with the world and all of the many people in it. The game is entirely linear, and there is little else to do within the game except progress the storyline, so the pace is very much dictated for you and the plot is not optional. In this respect, Dreamfall is very alike to films. The difference however, is a powerful one, and the reason I think this is a game that will appeal to “non gamers”.

First of all, unlike a film, Dreamfall is extremely long. My total playtime so far is almost 9 hours, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I have as much again to come. For this reason the game has to be broken up, you simply can’t enjoy all of it at once (unless you don’t need to sleep, eat, or work!). But by far the most important difference is that you actually have to do something to move things along. There are puzzles for you to solve, errands for you to run, people for you to speak with. And whilst these tasks are never too complex, they are engaging. The game requires very little skill, so it’s easy to access for someone who isn’t used to playing games, but the interaction which is required serves to immerse you in the world that is created in Dreamfall. This immersion which can only come from you taking an active part in the story means that you have an increased empathy for the characters involved, you have a strong desire to see what happens next, because it’s happening to you! This connection with the world and characters is something that can only be achieved by a game, no film can engage you in such a way because you have absolutely no control over a film, no say in the outcome.

Dreamfall as a game lacks any challenge, it’s linear and there is nothing that will tax your brain for more than a few minutes. But Dreamfall as entertainment is pure genius, it’s engaging and intriguing, the characters you control (there are three of them) have a history which you catch glimpses of. The whole world has a background which has been developed and thought about carefully (Dreamfall is actually a sequel to an older game), and the characters are believable and easy to empathise with (even though the world is fantasy). You care what happens to them, and in the few moments when you are faced with choices they are difficult ones. Do you trust this stranger who is offering you help? Do you set this prisoner free even though it will cost you your life? These decisions are important, and they depend entirely on who you think the character is, it’s your choice!

So if you aren’t a gamer, I hope you will consider checking this game out anyway, and if you are a gamer, take a break from shooting things and relax as this beautifully worked story unfolds on your screen.

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New toys!

PC Gamer had an article on maintaining your PC this month. Among other things they suggested some anti virus software and spyware removal tools to install. So I dutifully did so, and now I no longer have Norton running on my system, which is nice.

I now run Avast! for anti virus, ZoneAlarm as my firewall, and I have Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D to protect my from internet nasties.

As an additional geeky note, my new DVD burner arrived today. I’m still debating whether or not I should wait until after exams before I start fiddling with such things. I think I really ought to revise and get the exams done first, burning DVDs isn’t really that urgent!

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New Look!

So at dinner we were all eating and chatting away as you do. For some reason or other the subject of clothes shopping came up, and Dave declared that he would never ever buy anything from New Look on principal. We discussed this for a little while, including some other shops which are manly enough to buy clothes from. Then it occurred to me that I was wearing a new top, courtesy of my sister, so I checked the label and guess what, it was from New Look!

Of course, Dave being Dave he insisted that if he’d seen a nice top in New Look he would still leave and try to find it (or something similar) somewhere else.

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Workers flee explosive fries

Workers flee explosive chips

This reminded me of a rather good scene from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, where a large sea mine is discovered and detonated on the beach, in something of an amusing fashion. I’m not going to say watch it for that scene, because the film is far too excellent for that to be it’s crowning moment. You should definately watch it though!

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Yesterday was very, very long. I woke up at 5:30, spent about half an hour waking up and doing general morning stuff and then at 6 I left the house. It was a 40 minute walk (or thereabouts) to where I was being picked up, then in the minibus is was about 2 and a half hours to get to Catford (near London).

I was down in Catford with 15 other people from my Church for Front Edge, an evangelism conference put on by New Frontiers primarily for the New Frontiers churches in the south east, but somehow our leaders got wind of it and we went as well (for the record, Leicester is definately not in the south east!).

The day was part of a 3 day thing, on friday about 80 paid church workers were there to share with one another encouragements and ideas about evangelism, and also to be trained and prepared for sunday when there would be 44 guest services with a focus on healing. Hopefully we will hear how the services went next week, but I’m sure they’re going well today!

I will write about the conference later, once I’ve gone over my notes and let it all sink in a bit, there were 4 main sessions and a seminar, which is far too much to take in first time!

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A couple of piccies

I’ve just been browsing through some random stuff on my computer, and some old entries on my LJ, and I came across these:

I was rather pleased with them when I made them, and I still am. Playing with images in photoshop is really quite relaxing, especially when the results are worth the effort.

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Up and running, again

So my website is up and running again, after being offline for about a year and a half I believe. OK, so technically it isn’t the same address, I had before and this is, but everything on it is the same including this blog.

Just in case anyone cares, I have a livejournal which has lots of blogging goodness on it, I may cross post some things for the sake of my LJ friends but this will be my main blog from now on and everything bloggy will appear here.

If you use mIRC, then check out the main site, it has lots of scripting goodness, and more will be arriving (relatively) soon.

Other than that, I’m back and hopefully for a long while this time!

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