Sunday, November 25, 2007

Well, That Was Not Fun

Yes, the Seminoles got smashed by the archrival Flori-duh Gators. They're still a bunch of clowns at a second-rate university... And at least our boys broke Tim Teabag's hand. I hope it hurts... Oh, sorry, was that mean?

Moving on to happier things...

Mysteries of Westgate
Has anyone noticed how quiet things are about this? I've heard next to nothing... One poster somewhere claimed a release of November 27th? That's a poster on the Bioboards, so I wouldn't trust it too much. Anyway, hopefully it's by the end of November as promised. Let's play the game already!

Well, you guys play the game. I've played it a dozen times already. Suffice it to say, for me there are no more "Mysteries" in Westgate...

The Maimed God's Saga
Since my last post relevant to TMGS, I've written 17,132 words in the conversation editor covering 28 dialogs. I had originally estimated those same 28 dialogs would take 3620 words, so I'm just a little tiny-bit off.

The reason for the discrepancy is two-fold. First, new ideas have come forward as I've been writing. In many cases, the town NPCs will ask you questions as they get to know you. My goal has been to make a town full of interesting individuals with no one named "Commoner." As such, they each have to have at least some semblance of an individual agenda.

Secondly, I've moved some conversation around, so some of the dialogs I've yet to write will actually shrink. One example of this is in The Hall of the VanGhaunts, which I will post a picture of eventually. Anyway, there is a room in the mansion that contains several statues and pictures of the members of the line of the VanGhaunts. Originally, I was going to allow Jellica to take the PC around and give the player an overview of each if they desired. This would have made Jellica's dialog substantial. Now, however, I have moved her individual comments to the actual statues themselves. So each statue was supposed to be about 50 words, but they are now in the 500-600 word range. Meanwhile the 500 words per statue will now be removed from Jellica's dialog. All the painting and statue conversations have been written whereas Jellica's has not, hence the large overshoot at this point.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Tribute to Timmy Teabag

Before I get to the main thrust of this post, check out the latest "interview" on the MoW forums. My fellow designers, Mat Jobe, Alex Hugon, and I provided the answers to the story-related questions posted on the forums a week or so ago. For once, us design-monkeys took central stage, but I don't know if that will continue with the current companion-related questions or if Luke Scull will take those. (He was busy when it came time to answer this last round, so we all got to be substitutes.)

Some Good Old-Fashioned Hate!

Warning! If you're a Gator fan, turn back now!

Even if you hate college football, this might have some funny stuff to it... or it might be humor that doesn't translate well to the non-fan. Do as you will. A Maimed God Update will be posted in a few days.

Now, in the southern USA, there's a saying that college football is an exercise in good old-fashioned hatred, and at no time is that more obvious that rivalry weekend, the Saturday when 95% of the college football annual rivalries are played.

Unfortunately for the Seminoles, we have two rivals: The Miami Hurricanes and The University (sic) of Florida Gators. The Gators themselves, in addition to the Seminoles, have rivals in the Miami Hurricanes, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tennessee Volunteers, the Auburn Tigers, and more recently, the South Carolina Gamecocks and Louisiana State Tigers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Gators are hated by everybody.

Anyway, the 'Noles lost a humiliating game to rival #1 a few weeks back. This week, it's time for the Gators. Now let me be clear; I have no illusions that we will win. I estimate that we have something like a 95% chance of losing this weekend, and I'm not happy about that. Nevertheless, I will not let that spoil a perfectly good opportunity to do some "hatin'."

Timmy Teabag
Target #1 on the hate parade is a tool named Tim Tebow, who fans of all the schools that hate the Gators have nicknamed "Tim Teblow" or - my favorite - "Tim Teabag." This is often changed to "Timmy" because (1) he's the "special child" of the Gator head-coach, Urban Meyer (more on him later) and (2) he reminds us all of Timmy from South Park.

It is clear at this point that Teabag is truly thought of as Superman by the Gator-faithful. Every trailer in Gainesville (more on that later) is decorated with a blue-colored #15 jersey, and you can't talk to a Gator anywhere who does not think "Tebow" is the solution to any problem. Yell "Timmy" in the South Park voice, and you have a reasonable facsimile of a conversation with a Gator fan.

This same line of thought is true to a lesser extent of a player named Percy Harvin. I mention this only by way of explanation for the upcoming picture. Suffice it to say that other than Teabag and Harvin, the Gators don't have much. Some ridiculous percentage (like 95%) of their plays go to one of these two fools. In a game like football, in which injuries are a weekly occurrence, to rely so heavily on two players is idiocy, but that only means it makes perfect sense for the Gators! (Incidentally, it cost them one loss against the Georgia Bulldogs already this year when Teabag had his shoulder mangled). It is with this in mind that one of the many people who despise the Gators photo-shopped the poster for the movie "Unbreakable" into the following spoof.

The movie poster is only moderately funny, but there is something about that middle image of Teabag, arm in a sling, clutching the football and limping down the field that just causes me to crack up. The sad thing is, I think they'd ALMOST run him out there in that condition.

There's No Crying in Football
Tom Hanks' immortal line in "A League of Their Own" was, of course, about baseball, but if it's true for baseball, it's DOUBLY true about football. However, that didn't stop Teabag from crying a river when the Gators lost yet another game against LSU. Of course, the fact that national TV picked it up led to a non-stop barrage of photo-shopped goodness.

The next picture is a rip-off of the awesome posters, which are themselves rip-offs of crappy motivational posters you see in every office building in the US. Two such posters, I like are:

So put all that together, and you have a photo-shopped poster illustrating the good work of a LSU fan who desired a way to memorialize forever the scene following their historic ass-kicking of the Gators.

Urban "The Cryer" Meyer
Last year, the FU (Florida University (sic)) Gators got to play for the the National Championship. This was due mostly to a heck of a crying job on national TV by their head coach, Urban Meyer. (And, btw, what the hell kind of name is "Urban?") Since then, he has been nick-named "The Cryer" or "Urban Cryer." Incidentally, some of us also call him "The Pope" because some people in Gunsville seem to think he's the direct pipeline to heaven...

Anyway, this sparked yet another photo-shopped movie poster.

The Gunsville Rap Sheet

Gainesville, the (let's be generous) "town" in which the University (sic) of Florida is located is often just called "Gunsville." Why? Well, that would be because of the ridiculously long list of felony counts attributable to Gator football players. In just the last off-season, the Gators were responsible for 17 arrests. In their defense, only 85 scholarship players are allowed on the team, so that's only 20% of the team arrested in a 6 month period...

Here's a blog entry that more clearly outlines Florida's attempts to overtake the thug image the Miami Hurricanes abandoned a few years back - right before they also abandoned winning. But I digress. This is, after all, about Gator-hatred, so let's get back to it.

Looking over that list of offenses on the referenced blog, I have to argue with one of the entries in that rap sheet. That blogger states:

Guard Ronnie Wilson was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for an April incident involving a gun in a parking lot near campus. Wilson was suspended indefinitely.

What that doesn't make clear is that the so-called "gun incident" was actually firing an AK-47 into the air, ostensibly to frighten a man who had followed him home after they had been in a fight already that night at a local night club. With just that one sentence to examine, let's see if we can count the number of offenses attributable to one player in only a single night... Sorry, but I can't count that high... and I'm an engineer.

Hence the revised name "Gunsville."

By the way, if you want to look up any of the Florida Gator football players, I'd start here.

I'm Not Saying All Gator Fans are Tools, But...
Earlier this year, the Gators lost to the Auburn Tigers in thrilling (for me and everyone else who hates the Gators) fashion. With the game tied at 17 and on the verge of overtime, the Tigers lined up to kick a 50+ yard field goal that would hand them the win. For those not familiar with football, 50 yards is a long way, ESPECIALLY for a collegiate kicker. Anyway, the ball was snapped and the kicker belted it clean through the uprights... AUBURN WINS!

Only not. You see, Urban "The Cryer" Meyer (Gator head coach) had grabbed one of the refs and literally sat on his ear until he sensed the ball about to be snapped and then he called time out, so the kick didn't count. The video footage showed him with his hand on the ref's shoulder licking his lips in anticipation of calling time out right before the snap. And the stupid refs let him get away with that crap! Anyway, get all the celebrating Auburn players off the field, bring the 21 year-old kid who just thought he made the amazing kick of his life back on, and try to settle him down to do it all over again.

Thirty seconds later, the play is run again, only this time... the kid drills the ball through the uprights a second time! Amazingly, he made an extremely difficult game-winning kick twice in a row.

With this explanation of the series of events, check out this YouTube video of a Gator fan watching the final moments of their loss to Auburn. The sound is a little off, so you'll need to turn up the volume a bit. Other than that, I'll just leave you to decide (1) how much of a super-tool this guy is and (2) if he has ever known the touch of a woman.

Again, Not All Gator Fans are Tools, But...
Here's another YouTube video of a Gator fan doing a cheer. Any words I type will simply not do this justice.

OK, Maybe They All Are Tools...
A final YouTube video. What is left to say?

Priceless... The Cycle of Hatred Continues
Yes, the Mastercard "Priceless" commercials have been worn about 15 years past their welcome. Nevertheless, clever Gator-haters can still get a smile or two out of them.

And That's It
The regular season ends with the tilt against the Gators this Saturday, and the 'Noles will finish either 8-4 or (more likely) 7-5. Of course, I'll comment now and again during the bowls (post-season), but for the most part, NWN2 matters will get my undivided attention

Until then...

Go Noles!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

All Good Things...

Well, I knew it was too good to be true. I normally wouldn't post after a loss, but I made such a big deal after the win... Anyway, never let it be said that I only post good stuff. A week after upsetting the #2 team in the nation, the 'Noles hit the road again to try to down the #11 team. Unfortunately, they couldn't get it done this time. Despite losing their starting quarterback in the first half, the 'Noles held the lead early in the 4th quarter before the inexperienced backup began making critical errors. In the last few minutes, the whole cart came unglued, and the Virginia Tech Jokies (actually Hokies) defeated the forces of light and goodness to the tune of 40-21.

*Sigh* Actually, I'm not too upset with the result. I still saw some fire and fight from our team, despite a ton of injuries and a crowd that was so classless that they apparently cheered when our players were injured. Anyway, despite the loss, I'm still optimistic the team is heading in the right direction... at least offensively. The defense suddenly has some serious question marks, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

On to...

Mysteries of Westgate
I just noticed that there's a neat pre-release screenshot posted on the Vault. I've bragged about our area designers, and this will give you an idea of one of the seedier districts at night. Click here for the goodness. Notice that there's clearly an ogre walking down the street and an orc standing off to the right a bit. As has been said on the forums, Westgate is a cosmopolitan city that accepts riff-raff of any type... Should be interesting, right?

The Maimed God's Saga Update
Over the past week, I finished up the two interior maps of the VanGhaunt mansion. By interior map standards, they are incredibly complex. The player will spend much time here, and there are two major sidequests rooted here and several more that will lead here along the way. In addition, the house chapel and guest suite will form the players' "home base" where they will rest and recover spells. Beyond that, there are just a great number of details (relevant and irrelevant to the main quest) that can be uncovered about the family's and town's pasts. My goal was to make several interactive objects that should keep the player interested as they explored some rather large interiors. As a reminder, here are the original plans for the mansion floors. That's 16 ground-floor rooms and 18 upper-floor rooms that all have to be filled with meticulous detail. The library on the second floor took forever, as I wanted to make it a place crammed from floor to ceiling with books in a stereotypical Victorian mansion feel.

But that was the work of the last couple weeks. This weekend, I completed two rather intricate exterior maps and made up all my item blueprints. Pictures of everything will leak out slowly at this point... I've got only so many maps and several weeks/months to fill!

It's been a while since I've posted some real metrics on my progress. I still need to finish up Act I to incorporate the comments I received from my testers. I was waiting until MotB came out, but obviously I can do that whenever... As for Act II,

I have determined I will need either 19 or 20 maps. The 20th would be for a specific sidequest that I am still debating. The truth is that I'm not 100% happy with the current plan, but I need to have something. There are two branching paths through Act I. In each path, as the PC approaches Navatranaasu, they will be able to thwart one of the many schemes the enemy has put in action. Based on which operation is put out of action, the enemy will have to adjust their regional operations to make up for it. Of course, in Act II, the player can deal with the adjustment as well, but it is one of these two adjustments that I'm not happy with. So I've decided to put this section on the back burner while I work on things that I am 100% happy with. Hopefully, in the interim, inspiration will arrive.

In short then, I have completed the 19 maps I'm sure of, which incorporates 9 exterior and 10 interior maps (counting the upper lighthouse as exterior). I am sure that I will make minor tweaks to all of the maps as I continue working, but the vast bulk of the work on each is done and there's certainly enough to allow me to start pulling in all of the other pieces. Therefore, if the final map count is 19, I am 100% done. If it ups to 20, I'm only 95% done. I'll split the difference and say 97.5%.

Several dozen of creature blueprints have been completed as well as about two dozen item blueprints and a couple placeables. That brings me to 99% finished. The 1% remaining is a creature blueprint that still doesn't exist. Therefore, I will either need to change a minor detail of my story or hope that the community eventually makes up for the needed creature model. For now, I'm just going to use a dummy creature and look again at the available haks as I get closer to completion.

I have completed nothing in the toolset, though I have several thousands of words written in a Word document. I have no reasonable way of determining a percentage, but it's pretty low. Without anything better to go on, I'll say 5%. This is really my next major thrust.

Progress Matrix
I've already explained it, so here it is.

TMGS Progress Report (in %)

Act I Act II Act III
Area Design 98 97.5 0
Dialog 100 5 0
Blueprints 100 99 0
Scripting 100 0 0
Journals 100 0 0
World Map
Intro Movie

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mask of the Betrayer

After the last post about the one-week resurgence of the Seminoles, I hope I don't have to eat my words this coming weekend. The new coaching staff already paid huge dividends last week - last year we'd have never won a game like that - but now it's time to have a little consistency, and boy do we have a chance to prove that coming up. This weekend, the 'Noles again hit the road to battle the #11 team in all the land, Virginia Tech. I think we can win; we just need the "good" 'Nole team to show up. If the bad one rolls in to Blacksburg... well, I don't want to have to think about it.

Mask of the Betrayer
Allow me to continue the sports-themed commentary while I note that Obsidian really hit a home run with the first expansion pack. I've made no secret that I hated the NWN2 OC probably more that the NWN1 OC for a number of reasons. One, the first act was essentially nothing but dungeon-romp filler, and it wasn't even good filler. It was essentially the same encounter trigger over and over until I just wanted to shoot myself. Two, the companions were generally bland and under-developed with the exceptions of Khelgar, Neeshka, and Sand (all of whom were obviously one of the designers' "special projects"). Three, there was a total lack of sidequests. Now this is certainly a viable strategy, but only if you're going to provide a tight central story... which there wasn't. It seemed only to be a conglomeration of locations thrown in so that different tilesets with blah encounters could be thrown into the same campaign.

I don't write the above simply to get off trashing other people's work. It was merely to show what I don't like so that, in comparison, MotB can be seen as the jewel it is. Everything Obsidian did wrong with the OC, they did right with MotB.

Oh, and fair warning. I discuss many spoilers about MotB here, so stop now if you are still playing.

First, my PC
A build that I first played around with when testing Mysteries of Westgate was a Dexterity-based Rogue 3/ Fighter 4/ Weaponmaster X character with maxed out Parry and feats including Whirlwind Attack, everything needed to get there, Advanced Parry, Weapon Specialization in rapier, Power Criticals, etc. The character premise was to use him alongside a high HP and major damage (i.e. Greatsword or similar) meatshield tank. The two charge in. If the enemies focus on the PC, I switch to Parry mode, making me almost impossible to hit, riposte when able, and allow the second tank to switch to Power Attack and take them down fast. The moment, the enemies switch focus to the second tank, I switch out of Parry mode, flank, and allow the +2d6 sneak bonus from my rogue levels, and allow my weapon-of-choice rapier to carve them up. I really fell in love with the concept, and so I brought it forward to MotB.

Therefore, my starting character was a Rg 3/Ft 4/WM 10 tielfling, so I was -1 level adjustment away from the 18 levels. I did switch my weapon of choice to shortsword and added a Weapon Finesse feat. I ended (I believe) as a Rg 5/ Ft 13/ WM 10 and had long since abandoned the need for a second tank to join me on the front lines, though Gann did accompany me in quite a few battles for old-time's sake.

So now let's discuss what MotB did right.

Good Stuff

1. No Over-Long Dungeons. OK, I'm a bit obsessive here, but I hate dungeons that can not be completed with one full-days' use of party resources augmented by a reasonable amount of one-shot items (potions, scrolls, etc.) with "reasonable" defined by the economy of the module. Nothing kills the immersion for me faster than having to rest (ostensibly sleeping, eating, and memorizing spells for eight hours) right outside the dungeon boss' door because - let's face it - after rampaging through a dungeon full of his minions, he probably wouldn't notice a group of four camped outside his bedroom, right? For the record, for anyone who thinks my bosses in the SG series were light-weights, this is the reason. You were supposed to face them with the tank "half-full."

Anyway, the OC did a horrible job with this (the githyanki compound anyone?), but I didn't notice this once with MotB. It made for a much more enjoyable game.

2. Companions. OK, light years better here. Again, Safiya and Gann were obviously the favored characters, as they were central to the main story, but even Kaelyn and Okku were integrated in well and had plausible rationales for both aiding and opposing the PC at various junctures. I especially enjoyed the (surprisingly) complex characterization of Kaelyn. After meeting her, I thought I had her pegged as the typical cleric and was pleasantly surprised to find several layers to her character centered around a non-selfish, yet nevertheless raging ambition. Plus, Obsidian just plain did a better job of having the characters interact with the PC. They spoke up in conversations where appropriate, disagreed with PC actions on occasion, and made several interjections in areas where they were more expert than the PC.

For completeness, I should mention that I don't generally go for the "freak" companions; Deekin pissed me off, for example, but this group didn't really feel like the freakshow to me. My party was a tiefling PC, a human, a half-celestial, and a hagspawn, so that was objectively a freak circus roaming Faerun, and it would have been worse had I added a bear-god or (dear me) One of Many.

Finally, the voice-acting was also pretty good for the companions I took with me: Safiya, Kaelyn (before the little wench betrayed me!), and Gann.

3. The Story/Sidequests. There weren't a ton of sidequests in MotB, though there were a few. But what few there were (such as the farmer's crazy daughter) were pretty well-integrated into the main story. And where MotB really shined was that story. It was first-rate. Not only was it "epic" without being a "shake the multiverse" story-arc, but it tied in a well-thought-out historical tragedy that combined the all-too-human elements of pride, betrayal, vengeance, mercy, and love. Two souls trapped by a dead god in an eternal torment that ensnares the PC, sending him (or her) on a planar journey that allows the hero to (1) save him/herself, (2) forever lay to rest the doomed lovers, (3) shatter the power of a vengeful god, and (4) end the "curse" that had been stalking the Rashemi wilds for generations. A pretty epic storyline without many of the traditionally epic fallbacks. To Obsidian and whatever writers/designers came up with it, I can only say bravo!

Maimed God (Potential) Part 2 Spoiler Follows
However, I have to say that I really grrrred when I saw the inclusion of Myrkul. It doesn't mean anything for Maimed God 1 which I'm currently making; I already have a specific deity in line for that one. But I have a 1-2 page story outline for a potential second part in which a king, returning from an adventure into the depths of Faerun, had suddenly gained the power to prophesy the death of mortals. Creepy enough, but when he prophesied the death of Helm at the hands of Tyr, it was a step too far. The hells themselves break loose, throwing the church of Tyr (and the PC) into action.

Who was the villain deity slated for that adventure? One able to grant the power to predict death? You guessed it! A not-quite-dead himself Myrkul! And it would have involved a bit of dream-scaping too and an attempt by the god's remains to re-establish his own life! What a pisser!
End of Spoilers

4. Spirit Eater. I have not the first idea how canonical this is. I suspect the answer is not at all, but what a great idea it was. It was both meaningful enough to require thought and planning but not so omnipresent as to be frustrating.

5. Area Design. Outstanding. The Astral Plane was a true work of art that was a real highlight of D&D games all time. Beyond that, Mulsantir was a well-designed town, though it, like the original Neverwinter, felt a bit sparsely-populated. (I think we did a much better job of making Westgate come to life, but I digress....) Finally, the shadow plane was a fabulous use of toolset lighting.

6. New Creatures and Tilsets. This is more from a builder's perspective, but the addition of treants, new dragon models, big cats, and more was greatly needed. Several new placeables and two new tilesets, especially the estate tileset, and new snow texturing were all welcome additions. I am already having to redo much of my previous Maimed God work just to take advantage of the new content.

Bad Stuff
Compared to what I liked about the expansion, what I didn't like will really be nitpicky.

1. Epic Non-Epic Monsters. What do they feed gnolls in Thay to make them such bad-asses? When I was a 1st-level pipsqueek in West Harbor, thank all the gods that those gnolls didn't attack! And really, with an army of foot-soldiers like that, how can Thay not conquer the world? Especially when you note that every one of the students in their academy can spam Horrid Wilting spells! It takes the PC an epic adventure to defeat the King of Shadows to learn spells of that power, but apparently every apprentice in Thay can fling Meteor Swarms at a whim.

Seriously, one of the things that turns me off of "epic" adventures normally is stuff like that. A well-done epic adventure requires a lot of creativity to frame challenges appropriate for the PC without doing stupid stuff to the monster manual. In my opinion, it is a sign of extreme laziness to just up the power of monsters so far beyond what they should ever attain. I could buy into a "hero" boss gnoll just like the PC is a "hero" human (or tiefling in my case), but a veritable army of them? Mercifully, this was rare in MotB.

2. Love Interests. It's not that I'm against them; it's just that they're so rarely well done, and MotB didn't do any better than most. It felt like the whole game, I got to say a couple nice things to Safiya, and then at the end I had earned enough goody-points and so she professed her undying love. I assume Gann is the same way. Needless to say, I'm hoping to better these "romances" by several orders of magnitude in TMGS.

One comment on the Bio-boards was also unflattering in this regard; the poster asked how, after surviving many encounters and near-death experiences together, the fact that I said something Safiya didn't agree with suddenly caused her to hate me. It's a good point. One would think that battling alongside one another would naturally build trust that would survive the occasional philosophical disagreement.

So I'm rethinking the way I'm going to track (hopefully more subtely) my own goody romance points. I'll further outline my thoughts later after I've thought through them a bit more, but the gist of it is that I'm considering a two-axis tracker similar to the spirit hunger bars from MotB. One axis will be "trust," which will build over time as obstacles are mutually overcome, and the other will be "romantic interest," which will be much more action and conversation-dependent. If just the first is high, friendship will develop. Both would need to be high to progress through the romance.

3. Music. This wasn't really all that bad; it was just blah. I actually listened to the music in the toolset as I worked before I actually played the game. In-game, I didn't notice it at all, but in the toolset, I just thought the tracks were... well, uninspired.

The negatives in MotB I think are all minor. By and large, I loved MotB. I loved it so much, in fact, that I've started it again (an aasimar Favored Soul 8/ Battle Priest 9), and second play-throughs for me are very, very rare. I'm looking forward to bringing Okku in lieu of Gann and joining Kaelyn in her crusade against the wall this time. If I was using the Vault scoring system (the new one), I don't know exactly where I would rate it, but it would be at least a 9 and maybe higher.

Of course, Mysteries of Westgate would be a solid 10, no doubt!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Sorry, NWN fans, I was planning on putting my write-up of "Mask of the Betrayer" in this space, but I'm going to hold off a day. (Hint: it will be very positive.) However, right now, I am positively STOKED, so I'm going to diverge this once into one of my other favorite hobbies. Yes, I mean American Football.

My favorite collegiate team, the Florida State Seminoles, has been down so long that my morale had frankly begun to flag a bit. Ten years ago, as I said a few posts ago, the 'Noles dominated college football as has never been done before or since. For 14 consecutive years, they were one of the top 4 teams in the country, averaging 10.9 wins per season, winning 9 conference titles (out of 9 chances) and 2 national titles in the process, and sending dozens of players into the NFL.

Then, staring in 2001, they began a precipitous fall that led them all the way to 0.500 last year. I don't need to go into the whys of it; let's just say that nepotism is a bad thing - a very bad thing. Last year, the head coach's inept son was forced out along with several assistant coaches, and a revamped staff was assembled. Now, I have faith in the new staff, but the turnaround has been a bit slower than I had hoped. Things came to yet another low two weeks ago when we lost to our arch rival, the Miami Hurricanes, in humiliating fashion. It wasn't just the loss, but the absolute ineptitude of the team that was astounding. Unfortunately, such has become all too common anymore.

Until, that is, last night. For the first time in a long time, the echoes of past glories were reawakened. For the first time in at least two years, I was proud of the team. Yes, they traveled all the way from Florida into a tropical storm-drenched 40 degree (F) Boston into the stadium of the #2 ranked team in all the land and crushed their dreams of glory to the tune of 27-17! It wasn't just that they won, but the manner in which they dominated the line of scrimmage, hit Boston College in the mouth early and often, answered BC's counter-punches with counter-counter-punches, and generally played like the teams of old.

So I include two pictures of the 'Noles beating that BC ass! In the first one, tailback Antone Smith (#6) busts it to the outside and tears upfield as the BC defenders pursue. In the second, wideout Preston "Playmaker" Parker (#5) is helped up from the endzone turf after making one of the most beautiful TD catches I remember.

Way to go, 'Noles! Now please don't drop the ball next week against VT!