Damon's New Blog Post (Can't think of a creative title)

  08:35:00 pm, by Damon   , 314 words  
Viewed 3712 times since 02/14/14
Categories: Misc

While playing Baldur's Gate, I was contemplating what the revival of a character meant for roleplaying purposes, and I started to think a little broader than just the game. This has lead me to come up with several questions:

If we possessed arcane abilities and were capable of resurrecting a recently deceased person, should we? Does a spirit, for lack of a better term, remember their death and circumstances related to it upon being reunited with their body? Have we just agonised them with the simple act of using such arcane power to force their spirit from whatever afterlife exists in order to make it bind with its corpse again?

Honestly, it can be argued either way, and this comes across as being one of those many deep, controversial debates regarding ethics and morals. I, at least, feel like the ability to cheat death shouldn't be taken lightly, and is in essence no different than necromantic magic, no matter how honourable the intent is. 

While it could be argued that a cleric restoring life to the deceased to live their life as they wish is different than a sorcerer reviving the deceased to serve as their servant, looking at the processes, it's fundamentally the same. Without giving specifics on the process, since there is no way at all that man in its current state could know or possess such ability, what's the difference? A person or creature's spirit has been separated from their body, and willingly or unwillingly, depending on how such a process works, would be rejoined with a corpse that the performer has selected, typically their own in the case of a holy cleric, for example.

We are also looking at the cheapening of the experience of life. Why would life be experienced to the fullest and treated as the special thing it is when you can redo whatever you failed at?

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Rating Pilots: Doing TV Execs Jobs for Them

  05:52:00 pm, by Jeancey   , 540 words  
Viewed 4322 times since 02/12/14
Categories: TV/Movies, Web

Amazon Studios, which is the studio half of Amazon Instant Video, released 10 new pilots last week for everyone to watch, rate, and choose from. This is part of their new strategy to replace TV, but more importantly, replace Netflix as the hub of all original internet TV programming.  What makes Amazon's strategy different is that instead of having executives decide what the consumer wants, Amazon is letting the consumers decide for themselves. There are many issues solved by this, but also several problems raised as well.

The first issue solved by creating TV shows this way is that it is much, much more cost effective.  Instead of finding out that the show you spent millions of dollars creating is terrible and no one likes it as soon as it is released, Amazon can find out that no one likes the concept for just tens of thousand dollars, the cost of a single episode. Likewise, once it finds a show that people like, they can be assured that the show will then do well, as everyone has already commented on it. This will allow them to produce more popular shows than Netflix or any of the traditional TV studios.

The second issue solved by doing this is that it allows for more variety for the consumer to choose from. Because the cost of a single episode is so low, Amazon can produce many pilots when Netflix can only produce one or two full new shows in a given year. This means that if the consumer doesn't like one of Netflix's new shows, they are out of luck, but if they don't like one of Amazon's pilots, they have another nine to choose from. This variety could also allow for shows that traditionally haven't done well in prime time to find a place to come into their own and thrive. Genres like steampunk could find a home here. Also (and why this is somewhat relevant to the blog) video game based TV shows could be created, whereas in the mainstream TV world, they would never get passed the pitch table.

One of the problems that is newly created by this format would be actor availability. Let's say you shoot a pilot with Actor A.  That shooting takes place, a month later the pilot is released to the public, two months of ratings and commentings and then the pilot is greenlit as a full show.  In the three months since Actor A shot the pilot, he has now been cast in a large movie production and your star actor from the pilot is no longer available to shoot a full TV season. This can be mitigated somewhat by drafting a preliminary contract for the actor before shooting the pilot, but that would defeat one of the purposes of the pilot to the people format, being able to quickly and cheaply cut shows which don't do well without spending large amounts of money on them.

While these aren't the only issues solved by this format, nor is this problem the only one raised by it, Amazon Studios has certainly found an extremely unique way of getting its product to the masses.  You can read a review of several of the new TV pilots here.

Blog Update

  06:03:00 pm, by Daveh   , 175 words  
Viewed 6065 times since 01/30/14
Categories: News

As you may have noticed the blog has been given a minor, and long overdue, update:

  • Upgraded b2evolution from 2.x to 5.x
  • Minor changes to the default skin to make it match the UESP theme
  • Some setting tweaks

One thing I must say is that despite jumping 3 major versions of the blog software the update was the easiest and most straightfoward process of anything web-related application I've done...hats off of the b2evolution development team. Editing the skin was similarly trivial. I usually loathe upgrades as it seems even trivial ones can break terribly and leave you hunting forums in the depths of the web for the one person who experienced the same error as you. MediaWiki in particular is bad with upgrades turning something which should take no more than 30 minutes into a week long adventure.

Everything appears to be working but it anything is broken or there's more apps/widgets that should be installed let me know. The skin can be similarly commented on (I can give access to edit if anyone is particularly interested).

Runnin' low on ammo here, sir!

  11:54:51 am, by Damon   , 788 words  
Viewed 3293 times since 01/28/14
Categories: Welcome

So, a while ago, I posted why I felt like the story to Fallout 3 disappointed me. I know what the plot is, or at least have a really good idea where it's going (actually, I may have looked up online how it ended), and while the story as a whole was good, it felt too rigid in terms of roleplaying, despite Bethesda's excellent skill at making games appear open and roleplayable (indeed, most games they make are roleplayable in more ways than just one.

However, for the sake of the story, I decided I wanted to play the game with a fresh character and completely finish the story, just to give the game a fair shot over New Vegas, which I feel was a better game (and one I've actually completed... Many times). Here's a brief little observation I've noted:

Is it just me, or are caps and bullets in shorter supply in Fallout 3? It could just be me being a bad player with less time in F3, meaning I lack knowledge of where everything is at, unlike in F:NV.

Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, I mean. I feel it adds to the wasteland experience and the feel like you are trying to survive a post-apocalypse when you're short on money often, and you have to make every shot count.

Of course, on the other hand, the Las Vegas area was largely spared from nuclear armageddon, by House's anti-air defences, so the cities are still (somewhat) in-tact, and there is a feel of civilisation still (and gambling chips, NCR paper, and Legion coins as extra currency make it money in better supply, miserable exchange rates aside), and with that better hold on civilisation, there are additional services in the area like well stocked gun sellers, meaning that it makes sense that there can be everything in better supply, though it's still slightly less fun than having an ammo shortage.

There we go... I prefer Fallout: New Vegas over Fallout 3 generally, but this struggle to have money to meet your basic living needs in Fallout 3 does add to the feel of having to survive, which is more entertaining for me.

And, I have something else that's been bugging me. I saw on the Bethesda fora, specifically within the Fallout section (Duh, it's Fallout related), that numerous people complain that despite two hundred years of surviving the apocalypse, nobody had fixed up the buildings to appear as they would pre-war, opting to live in shanty towns on crappy roads...

I just want to point out that given that there were presumably at least two to three generations of people focusing purely on adapting and surviving the wastes, the art of paving roads with a machine probably fell off the radar, and when the people of Fallout 3 came along, they didn't know how to use the rusted, 200 year old pieces of machinery, nor were they necessarily functional.

For me, it makes perfect sense that less important things like roads would become less important when there are few cars (I say few, because I know that in Fallout: Tactics the Brotherhood of Steel shows they possess the know-how to rebuild and operate vehicles - presumably other people in other regions can too, though I don't know if that is demonstrated within any games), who have to use them, and the main focus is staying within your safe area and community to feed yourself and make a safe, permanent structure. Not to mention there's no guarantee the asphalt place even works, nor would the average joe know how to make it.

It's Survival 101, really. You don't exert unnecessarily calories and energy on a task that will not offer enough reward to make up for the energy output. While many appear to disagree with me and want to see a settlement completely perfect after 200+ years, judging from the forum responses to these various threads, I feel like there ought not be a solid settlement so soon, unless there were a particularly remarkable community somewhere, who happened to survive apocalypse, keep knowledge of pre-war technology, and were able to operate spared machinery that was saved and maintained... Meaning it's pretty much just the Brotherhood of Steel who could do it, though they've certainly got better things to do than help the common person... Selfish bastards.

Anyway, that's my random set of thoughts on Fallout.

And, here's some random fun facts: Using the Blog Archive button to look at old posts, I noticed that 2013 was the most prolific year for bloggers, with most of the year being posted during, save for May and June, and this month, January 2014, has more individual posts than the past months. Hooray for random facts!

I'm going now.

Sports! Yeah! You'll be good at them!

  06:18:33 pm, by Jeancey   , 327 words  
Viewed 5086 times since 01/19/14
Categories: Welcome

After watching the first of my two teams win the football game (GO BRONCOS!), I realized something. There are no sports in the world of the Elder Scrolls. Many games have some sort of fake sport that people talk about, but not in the Elder Scrolls series at all. I guess you could argue that the Arena in Oblivion was a type of sport, but I'm not sure that it qualifies.

I propose that for the next Elder Scrolls game, a sport be added. Not a real life, actual sport that people play, but a fake sport specifically designed for the Elder Scrolls series. Since it is my personal belief that the Summerset Isles are going to be the setting of the next single player game, I'm going to focus on the Altmer. I've always thought that the perfect sport for the Altmer would be golf. It is usually a quiet sport, it involved hills and greenery, which are abundant in the Summerset Isles, and the players are usually quite tall. However, this wouldn't be golf as we know it today. I picture the ball being much, much bigger, say the size of a basketball. The club, then, would also be much bigger. And near the hole, you would have your opponent (this being a sport where it is you against a single other player, in a match of sorts) who would be blindfolded with a bat of sorts. They have to try and swing and hit the ball away from the hole. However, they are not allowed closer than 5 yards to the hole, and are not allowed more than 15 yards away from the hole. I think this would be the perfect sport for the Elder Scrolls series.

Since I have another football game to watch, I'll ask this: What sport do you think they should play in the Elder Scrolls? Make one up, or use an existing sport, it is up to you!!