Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maps Done!

The title says it all. 53 out of 53 done. It feels pretty darned good to have such a massive piece of the module done for once and for all. The final map is of a small village built into some hills. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Progress Matrix
It's been a while since I updated the progress matrix, but with this milestone now out of the way, it makes sense to take another peek. I'm going to hit the Act III blueprints next. I have a list of 100 creature blueprints and a dozen or so item blueprints I'll need, and, given the number of hours I seem to be working lately, I estimate that'll take me about 7-8 days to finish off. After that, I have a list of 18 to 25 loadscreens I want to make up. I've never done my own loadscreens, but the process doesn't seem too hard, so I'm hoping that will go fairly quickly as well.

Wrapping those up will allow me to "check off" the two boxes with red zeroes in them, and then I can hit the Act III dialogs hard. I've only got about 13.2% of them done in the toolset, but I probably have another 20% - 25% done in MS Word format, so that portion will go quickly. The rest, however, still need to be written from scratch.

Doctor Who: The Poison Sky
Well... another finale that keeps an adventure from being a true classic. I guess the writers just don't know how to get out of the jams they get the characters into without resulting to "magic wands." At least this wasn't as bad as previous attempts.

And what is it about Helen Raynor that makes her want to write the Doctor with a death wish? It was outright pathetic in "Evolution of the Daleks" when the Doctor literally begged to be killed. Only slightly less pathetic was the Doctor's desire to commit suicide in finishing off the Sontarans. As Luke Rattigan asked, why not put the device on a sort of timer? I know the Doctor in the most recent series has to be shown giving everyone a chance to act right and leave, thereby justifying him when he finally destroys them. Normally, I'm OK with this. However, with the Sontarans, it is outright lame. It's as if he's never met one before! Hell, by that point, he had even met that specific one before... not that it matters, of course. They are all clones of each other bred within the same society under exactly the same circumstances. They are therefore likely to give exactly the same answer. Is it too much of a stretch to think the Doctor would just assume the answer when the alternative is sacrificing himself?

But the real pisser is that even if he just had to give the Sontarans their chance, there was a communication device in the Rattigan Academy. We know this because it was used by the Sontarans to communicate with Luke in the teaser to "The Sontaran Strategem." Did no one think of this? Bah!

Hey, Doctor, if you just absolutely have to die, put a gun in your mouth and be done with it.

That's not to say the episode was without merit. The three principals acquitted themselves well, and Tennant was a bit less hammy than normal. There were some nice family moments with Donna, though it is now clear that three companions in a row have had a shrewish mother. Russell Davies simply has to get some new ideas here for companion #4, whenever that is.

UNIT was handled relatively well also. Colonel Mace makes a worthy successor to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and there's even the briefest hint of pain (?) on his face when the Doctor let's slip that he's no Brigadier and Mace admits that "Alistair is a fine man, probably the best." As I said before, the Sontarans were well characterized, though slightly less so than in "The Sontaran Strategem." I thought their plan of rendering the copper-coated bullets useless was quite clever - unusually so for the current crop of scientifically-challenged writers, but I swear those nifty suits of armor they wear are next to useless if steel bullets can pierce them. I mean, even humans have Kevlar vests that take the punch out of bullets. Can a race capable of interstellar travel and maintaining a 50,000 year war with the Rutans not stop a bullet? As with so many other episodes in the new series, there's a lot that's good, but there's just enough for me to regret what might have been.

Next Up: The series takes on a long-standing question in "The Doctor's Daughter." Though some have since tried to discredit their relationship, it seems clear from interviews with the original creative team that Susan was meant to be the Doctor's biological granddaughter, so he must therefore have also had a son or daughter at some point. I'm not so sure how thrilled I am that the series is "going there," but we'll see what's in store.

Interestingly enough, the role of the Doctor's daughter seems to be portrayed by Georgia Moffett, another complete unknown here in the States, though she has some modest fame in the U.K., having appeared in, among other series, The Bill. Georgia Moffett is the daughter of Peter Moffett... who's stage name in the industry is Peter Davison. A clever bit of casting to be sure.

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