Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm Alive!

I suppose it's not good form to write a post with the big bolded title "I'm Sick!" and then disappear for several weeks. Could have been a bad sign, I guess, but the truth had more to do with extreme business mixed with a healthy dose of procrastination. However, today I'll be different. I'll do my blog post before I sit down to work instead of waiting 'til the end when it's easier to push it 'til tomorrow.

Maimed God Update
My lack of blogging does not indicate a lack of progress on TMGS. As a matter of fact, I've made quite a bit of progress on the Act II blueprints, and I'm done with 14 out of the 20 maps I need for Act II. In addition, I've written several thousand words of dialog in Word, though none of them have been transferred to the toolset. Finally and most importantly, I've ironed out all the final details surrounding how Act II will work. I had the plotline for months at this point, and I'd ironed out many of the back-details a while ago as detailed on this blog. The final step was figuring out all the variables I'd need to pass, the exact conditions that would need to be set in order to progress... in short, all the algorithmic-type stuff.

It has occurred to me, however, that my ability to post pictures is going to dry up soon. Until now, I've basically revealed nothing that won't be known within five minutes of the campaign's beginning. While the player will not reach Navatranaasu for a good hour and a half, the name will appear quickly, so there's no harm in showing pictures of it.

However, some of the things I'm detailing now will not be known for quite a while. As a result, I would consider them extreme spoilers that may ruin the essential experience of the module. On the one hand, anyone who checks this blog may be making a choice to learn more about the module. On the other hand, I mean this to be more NWN2 musings than just my humble effort, even if that dominates my posts... This second argument wins out with me, so I think I'll tend to curtail more specifics about the campaign as time goes on and discuss more of the features I'm implementing instead.

However, I still owe pictures of the lighthouse interior, which I'm going to push until next time, and the VanGhaunt manor interior when it's ready. .. Oh, and the occasional screenshot without commentary.

Yeah, it's frustrating. What can I say? Well, the answer is nothing, of course, including any speculation as to what the hold-up is. And it would be mostly speculation on my part. You see, I'm on a "need-to-know" basis, and I don't need to know. So we're all in this same boat.

However, I've a twinkling suspicion that the suspense is about to pop, so keep a sharp look-out. And if I'm wrong about this time, I pledge 100% not to even mention the name Ossian until it finally does.

Lots Going On
I'd be wrong if I said my lack of posting could be laid entirely at the feet of procrastination. No, there's a lot going on too. Yes, work is part of that, but that's boring. Moving on...

It's Time for some Football!
And by football, I mean the real stuff, not soccer. Oh, relax, you 12 non-Americans who read this. I like soccer, especially with the new fad in head-butting that's coming in, but let's face it. Soccer ain't football...

However, my football team... well, I weep when I think of it all. A decade ago, they were the greatest dynasty that has ever been produced in the sport at the college level. Year after year of utter domination. National titles, regular drubbings of the mere peasants... Yes, they were practically football gods. Now...? Not so much. They are but a pale shadow of their former glory.

Last week... another loss. I wish I could say it pains me now; that would mean it was a rare occurence. Losses used to feel like kicks in the groin, which is to say "less than pleasurable," but alas, it is all too common anymore. Of course, this doesn't mean I can find no solace in a bottle. In fact, hold that thought. I'll be right back...

Elizabeth: The Golden Age
OK, I saw this movie. Regular readers of this blog I'm sure will be amazed that it would attract me. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go see what the film was all about.

According to the wikipedia article, Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune said "... as a pseudo-historical fable, a romantic triangle and a blood-and-thunder melodrama, the film can't be faulted... This isn't historical fabrication, it's mutilation." Wow. I'd love to know who this Colin Covert is, but he sounds like yet another pretentious film critic who thinks trashing films makes him sound cool. Well, move over Colin. On this blog, only I get to sound pretentious!

First things first. Let's get my background out in the open. I like medieval history. I specifically like medieval English history, but the Tudors aren't considered medieval. This period (1585) is about 100-250 years after my true specialty, so I wouldn't say I'm a bonified expert, but I know enough to be dangerous. And while I'm certainly aware of some minor and one major historical inaccuracy, I'd hardly call it a "pseudo-historical fable." That's a dude trying to sound cool, and he actually sounds like a snob.

I'm no film critic, but I thought the acting, costumes, and sets were pretty good, and the dialog was suitable. The music had a few nice soaring themes, but for the most part I didn't notice it, and that's a good thing. I can see how people with less familiarity with the history could be a bit confused by the rapid development and lack of exposition on a few topics. On more than one occasion, my wife had to lean over to ask who various characters were and how they fit in. So if you're not all that up on the who's who of Elizabethan politics, a short perusal of a couple Wikipedia articles might be beneficial before going.

I do wish they spent more time with the actual battle with the Spanish Armada, not for the cool battle sequences, but to expand on just what an amazing and frankly freakish victory it was. I think it would be easy to come away with the impression that the English navy just whipped that Spanish ass. Unfortunately, the era of English naval superiority was at least 150 years away and probably closer to 200.

In fact, the English navy did well to hold the Spaniards off the English coast, and the crucial role of fireships to break the Spanish formation was admirably depicted, but the role of the weather in forcing the Armada around the north of Scotland and then into the Irish coastline was not made clear in my opinion. OK, there were a few shots of ominous waves crashing against the shore, but I don't think that quite depicts the magnitude of it all. I've heard a hypothesis that it was an incredibly rare (for that area) full-blown hurricane that wiped the armada out as they rounded the north of Scotland and headed south. While I doubt it was a true hurricane, it is clear that incredibly bad weather defeated the Armada far more fully than did the English navy.

And of course, the fact that Cate Blanchett portrayed the then 55-year old queen is rather amusing, but I guess we have to keep those flirtation scenes with Clive Owen's Walter Raleigh all titillating somehow...

Overall, the movie did a great job of depicting the religious tensions of the era, the scandalous affair and eventual marriage between Raleigh and Bess Throckmorton, Raleigh's relationship with Elizabeth, an abridged version of the Queen's Speech at Tilbury (amended to make it more suited to 21st-century sensibilities), the adversarial relationship between Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots, and the general political intrigue of the period. Yes, there were some minor historical inaccuracies, but a "pseudo-historical fable?" I think not.

1 comment:

Nadya said...

Whew, good to know you're alright, kinda worrying. Congrats on getting the Ossian announcement spot on this time!

Interesting review btw, I'm no history buff regarding that period, but if it has Clive Owen in it...