Who'd have thought the Vikings would be winning both polls... Eh, we'll see when May 1st rolls around.
Lots of Maimed Work
I had a fantastic day of work today on TMGS... FINALLY! Tomorrow looks to be equally promising, and I'm going back again after I post this update. I completed and revised several maps, and I can now say that I'm 100% done with the maps for Act III. That's 19 of them. I had originally planned 21 for Act III, but one of these was a generic road where a chance encounter would take place. There are no other suitable maps already in Act III, but it so happens that I have a perfect map already in Act I. I was trying to have each Act be its own module in the three-module campaign, but I'll port the player back to the first module briefly to avoid increasing the size of the files further with a one-encounter map. The final map I had planned is for a sidequest that would extend off that encounter, so I'll also add that into Act I so the player is sent back to Act I module briefly, handles the sidequest, and then comes back to the Act III module. Done.
So I also started revising all my maps from Acts I and II. There are a grand total of 53 maps in the entire campaign, and I learned a ton going from 1 to 51 (two more left). I learned several lighting techniques, I think I'm much better now with blending textures, and there was the whole tileset coloring and texturing issue. Suffice it to say, the VanGhaunt mansion is about to get a visit from an interior decorator... Fortunately, the required rework is going very quickly, and I should be done in relatively short order. Then there's the map I talked about just now that needs to be added to Act I, I still have to finish the one sidequest map from Act II I talked about in this progress report, and I remembered that I have a couple walkmesh issues to handle on two Act II maps.
Yay For Zach and Alex
I am a bad Ossian-friend. A very bad Ossian friend! I'm weeks late in congratulating both Zach Holbrook and Alex Hugon for their Module of the Year finishes with Zach, obviously, pulling the top prize. Just goes to show how I lose track of stuff when I have no dog in the race... For the record, I did log into the Vault long enough to vote for Harp and Chrysanthemum. It was clearly the best user-made NWN2 module I played all last year. Actually, it was the only one I played... but it was damned good. Congrats both!
Is this the First Classic Story of the New Who?
I don't know. I waited a week after "The Fires of Pompeii" to say anything because I didn't want to post in the heat of the moment. Suffice it to say, TFoP was very good, but I really can't say it rises to the level of "The Talons of Weng Chiang" or "The Brain of Morbius" from the original series. I keep waiting for the magic episode of the new run, and while some have risen to the level of really good ("The Girl in the Fireplace"), none has been a true classic. Maybe I'm just romanticizing my youth...
Anyway, "The Fires of Pompeii" was pretty dang good. I thought there were a minimum of "magic wand" moments - what I call the times the Doctor waves his sonic screwdriver around and makes all sorts of "magic" happen, the costuming and acting was generally good, few cringe-worthy moments of dialog, only about one or two plot holes...
As an aside, I've never heard of Catherine Tate prior to her joining Doctor Who, but I understand she's a kind of "love her or hate her" personality in the U.K. Frankly, I neither love her nor hate her, but I think her character, after a rather daft start in "The Runaway Bride," is a breath of fresh air. I'm so tired of the "little girl pining for the Doctor" companion. And Catherine can really nail the horrified overwhelmed-by-the-enormity-of-it-all moments. In one episode, 20,000 people are about to be blown up by a volcano. In the next, she realizes millions of Ood are enslaved by the Human Empire. In both, she really brings home the vastness of the horror, something that has been rare in Doctor Who, both then and now.
Next up, an episode I've been waiting for for a while: "The Sontaran Strategem." The Sontarans, believe it or not, were my favorite enemies from the classic series. Maybe it's because they were introduced in one of my all-time favorite stories: "The Time Warrior," which took place in... medieval England! It took four years of waiting, but they're finally back.
Finally, it's time to say it. This is David Tennant's final season. I know what's been said in the media, but they're practically slapping us in the face with the signs. I forget what it was exactly, but something in one of the first two episodes clearly pointed to an impending regeneration. The final episode of the season is called "Journey's End" (compared with Eccleston's final "Parting of the Ways"). The Ood foretold in this episode that "the Doctor's song will end soon." Add to that that the average stay for an actor in the role is three years (this is Tennant's third season) and both Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper swore up and down they were going to stay longer than they did (so I don't believe a damned word that comes from press releases anymore). And, of course, both Liz Sladen and John Leeson are supposed to be returning as Sarah Jane and K9 for the final story. There's something big happening... I'm mixed with my opinion of Tennant in the lead role, but I really will be sorry to see him go.
The only alternative, which I pray does NOT happen, is that "Journey's End" refers to the fate of Sarah Jane. I'll be pissed if they go there.