"Bother" said Geek

The "Pound a Day Movie Project" has been going for 353 days so. I figured doing it for a year would be a nice round period of time. Unfortunately with barely a couple of weeks left, Amazon have changed their API in a tiny way that will nerf the project.

The change is that Amazon now limit their API searches to just 100 products. Which is fair enough - we don't want to overload them with requests etc... The problem for me, though, is that typically when I search for Blu-ray's I get around 200+ items. And they're sorted by price. But the API includes market place prices in that sorting, so the first 100 items are mostly market place items. Which aren't eligible for free shipping.

Bah. I'm going to have to scrutinise their docs to see if I can find a way to filter out market place stuff or sort by actual price not the stupidly low market place prices or something. I don't hold out much hope.

(un)Social games

This post has been brewing in my head for a while now, since I started playing the Sims game on Facebook. Prior to that I'd played a few so called "social games", but came quickly to the conclusion that there's nothing social about them. What Zynga refer to as "social gaming" is "repeatedly spamming your friends with begging requests for stuff". Whilst there is some form of social-ness in that you're all part of the spam-fest, I don't really feel that it's a good kind of social.

With the Sims, I'd expected something a bit different and for the most part, we do have that. Sure there are the quests where you have to collect X items, but you can just find the items by doing stuff yourself. Although I think there are some people who are still in the Zynga mindset and just send out requests straight away rather than spending the time to just collect things themselves.

But there still doesn't feel like there's any socialness about it. Your Sim never really encounters any other Sims. The Sims you meet are sort of alternate reality copies that only exist in your Sim's worldview. Like I could visit izzy_stradlin's Sim at the same time she's playing. But she won't see my Sim and I won't see whatever it is she's doing to her Sim.

There also isn't anywhere to visit aside from your friends' houses. So unless you add your friends, you'll be stuck with the one NPC Sim to visit. You can't pop in to some central location and meet new Sims there. Which is why on the forums and places where players can post messages related to the game, there are dozens of requests for people looking to find more people to add. If the game was actually social, these would be a feature of the game. You'd be able to meet new Sims and add them outside of them being your Facebook friend.

I wish I had an idea for a game that was actually social, cos I so could write it and let people lose at it.

Movie Review: The Mechanik

So this film is about a former badass military type (Dolph Lundgren) who has retired to raise a family and have a normal job, except some bad men kill his family. Insert some random excuse to go find the bad men and murderise them all in revenge and that's pretty much it. Unlike other films I've watched as part of this project that have been formulaic, this one is a pretty poor example of it's trope(s). There's not much meat on the plot and the action sequences are too few and watered down to make up for this.

And for a film shot in 2005, the blood effects are pretty rubbish too. It's almost like they had a budget for blood effects and ran out half way through, so had to send someone out to get a big bottle of ketchup. Cos there's some bits where there are bodies/people with what clearly looks nothing like blood pooled around them. And then other times they have blood gushing out and it looks (based on my experiences of such things) pretty realistic. Why they couldn't have used the same fake blood in both situations as it'd have at least made the film seem a little less crap.

(no subject)

Just had a very solid if very wet weekend. Friday night was a rather low-key poker game. I came 3rd. Which isn't an amazing result as there were only 4 of us playing this week. I vegetated for most of Saturday instead of doing anything interesting, like shopping. I managed to arrive in time to find the chemists being shut, so had to get my prescription sorted out by Boots. Then there was cream_horn's University game.

Which was very shiny and mighty. This game saw us being stuck in a time loop, being plagued by happy clappy brainwashed types, a T-Rex and by the end of it, lots and lots of running about trying to get to the cause of the time loop and stop it from happening again and again and again. Fixing the time loop was not helped by us having random selective memories of the previous times around or starting off brainwashed.

I'm really loving my character too and I think everyone does thinks my character is great as well. Or possibly inhuman and creepy, but that's the sort of expected reaction I was aiming for from the other characters, so that's good. It's a shame there's only a couple more games left, cos when it's over, I'll reveal what my character is about and then there won't be any mystery any more. Plus the games are awesome.

Played Mansions of Madness on Sunday and as is usual in Cthulhu based endevours, my character ended up dying. Annoyingly, if I'd not tried curing my sanity earlier on, I'd have possibly survived. Then we watched Iron Man 2 which is still an enjoyable experience. Looking forward to seeing how things end up with The Avengers.

(no subject)

So I went and checked out new phones today. It seems it was actually quite a good idea, as when (eventually) the phone shop guy took the back off my old phone to swap contact numbers and stuff, we found that the battery was at least 50% fatter than it should be. In that "OMG!! It's going to explode!!" kind of way. Possibly, since it's the same model AFAIR, the same thing that happened to M's phone.

So first question - anyone know how to dispose of a mobile phone battery *safely*? I've already taken it out of the phone and don't have any intention of putting it back inside.

Actually that's the only question. Just cos I know people will be curious, I've gone for the HTC Desire in the end. Surprisingly, it wasn't on the list of free upgrades I could get online, but was available in the store. Meh. It is pretty shiny and light, but not that much different to a Blackberry from first impressions. Just have to wait for the SIM to wake up and then I can start (not) receiving phonecalls.

(no subject)

Had a pretty solid weekend. Came 3rd in the weekly game of pokage despite still being totally crap at reading people. Saturday was spent doing very little except creamhorn's exciting new University game. I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to roleplay my character, but I think I did a pretty good job. He certain had some people guessing wildly about what he is.

Mortals was equally exciting and we defied expectations and didn't waste time faffing; instead got on with the plot and plowed straight through it so quickly that we ended a little bit early for a change.

ION I had one of those rare experiences of having dreamt (or at least remembering having done so). I think I had 3 dreams or maybe it was one long sprawling dream that went to lots of different places. I remember being in a library and getting up sheniagans. Possibly something involving forging some kind of official document. And some point later I was in a large sprawling mansion and decided to go to the loo (without my glasses on) at the same time as someone else, so I gave them a tour of where the loos were.

The last part that I remember is kind of unsettling, but not enough to give me too much concern. The bits I remember are being in a group of people trying to console/counsel someone who'd lost their children in a tragic accident. I'm not sure why, but I had her pegged as a famous actress from my teen years. I think we were still in the mansion and the room we were in had a body of water not too far away outside. Famous distraught actress lady starts getting dragged outside by unseen forces, kicking and screaming etc like out of some kind of horror movie. She's dragged despite our efforts to stop it into the lake. There's some kind of time-skip and we're quite a way from the shore and a container - for some reason my mind saw it as a pizza box - floats to the surface. And inside is the remains of FDAL who has clearly been dead quite some time, meaning that the person we'd been talking to was some kind of ghostly apparation.

It's dreams like that, that make me really wonder what is going on in my subconcious sometimes. What on earth is it trying to tell me? :/

Phones 4 Me

So I'm (amazingly for the first time ever) worthy of getting a phone upgrade. Normally I just go for a bog standard Nokia that can do phonecalls and send texts and that's about it, but I'm being offered a range of swanky smart phones to choose from too. So I'm hoping some of you might have some idea about whether any of these are OK or not? The options are:

  • HTC WildFire S
  • LG Optimus One
  • LG Optimus Me
  • LG Optimus
  • Motorola Defy
  • Motorola Flipout
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace
  • San Francisco (WTF?)
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia X8
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini

I have no idea what I'd look for in a smart phone (the perils of having a shiny new Blackberry given to me every year), except being able to call & text people. And be able to surf the net and read my email. Beyond that...I guess I'm pretty not fussed?

Weekend update

After an initial panic and fail at having no idea where the Requiem game was on Saturday, I decided to just head to the regular venue and my guess turned out to be right. The game was on the whole a bit meh. On the plus side there was lots of fun conversation with people, including some new players (or possibly foreign visitors). On the downside, I found out I'd been emailing the wrong email address with the results of the investigation stuff I'd been working on over the past few months. And that it was all resolved at the recent National and it looks like what I had found out was pretty incomplete and useless. Oh well. I'm going to the next National, so if I start working on dealing with the plot for that at least the effort won't be so wasted.

Other that and a few other bits and bobs, I spent most of the weekend playing games. LA Noire mostly, but thanks to Sony's recent FUBAR I've also got a couple of new games too; Dead Nation and inFamous. I also got James Pond 2 which is a massive nostalgia trip. But that I only got for a month unless I decide to keep my PS Plus upgrade.

Oh and there's also Spiral Knights which is a itty bitty MORPG (not yet massive ;) ) which has me grinding away at various semi-randomly generated dungeons. I'm quite impressed with the random dungeon generator. I'm guessing they've made a series of "chunks" or rooms or whatever that are built with a number of exits/entrances. All of which are setup so that no matter which one you come in by, you can still interact with the room properly. And then it picks a random bunch with weighting towards having certain types of room (like treasure filled ones), hooks them up with corridors and a start and end point and adds it to the pool for that particular level.

It's very heavy on the grinding because everything you do in the game costs energy. And there are 3 ways to get energy. You replenish up to 100 units a day (approximately). Or you can spend real world cash and buy extra energy. Or you can trade the in game cash with other players for energy. Except the costs for the latter method have skyrocketed, such that spending 100 energy grinding dungeons to collect cash doesn't earn enough cash to buy 100 energy.