Friday, 1 June 2007

Back In Action (Take Two)

The server didn't stay up for very long! Hopefully this time things will be different. The fan in the server now appears to be working properly, and we're back online.

It's been nearly two months since I last blogged, and my life has been positively hectic. And yet, thinking back on the last two months, I'm not exactly sure what exactly it is that I've been doing! I certainly know I haven't had time to take a look at any more XNA stuff, even though the first update was released a couple of months ago, and all the early subscribers like myself were given an extra four months' free Creator's Club time. One weekend I'll find myself at a loose end and I'll finish Gravsheep and move on to bigger and better things. Right now though, it'll have to wait.

Last weekend I played to a crowd of close to a hundred at the Cellar bar here in my hometown of Ryde. My band was first on the bill, and we couldn't have wished for a better reception. All eyes were on us for the entirety of our short six-song set (all originals), and we completely blew everyone away. All four of us have been walking around with big idiot-grins on our faces, safe in the knowledge that we pulled off our first public gig and it couldn't have gone better. We had a band meeting this week to discuss the way forward, which includes playing at least one gig a month and recording a 5-track EP by ourselves as soon as practically possible. The recording process should make for some interesting blogging!

On the work side of things, I've been doing a lot of AJAX using Microsoft's Atlas implementation for ASP.NET 2.0. I must admit, I don't usually get excited about technologies but after playing about with the community-made Control Toolkit, I'm hooked. I did start to plan out a side-project of a web-based IRC client but I've still got a few technical details to iron out before I can get it working. I've not been this buzzed about development since... well, since I started GravSheep I guess :)

Moving on to gaming... STALKER came and went and failed to impress me. I mean, I've been following the game since 2003 and as a gaming experience, it kind of fell flat. The atmosphere was top-notch, as expected. The detail in the world was astounding and I enjoyed the combat readliy enough. As a whole though, the game felt messy and extremely linear. Some patches have been released, but I've not had the heart to go back and try them out. It's truly a shame - if the world had been a little more seamless (rather than having borders and designated loading zones) and if the incentives for exploration were greater, I really would have spent a lot longer playing it. If it gets a release on the 360 at some point in the future, I might just check it out again!

Speaking of the 360, I've been playing a lot of Crackdown and Burnout: Revenge recently. I played the former in co-op with my good friend Qu_be, who helped me complete the main bulk of the game. We were mightily impressed with the add-on packs (both the free content and the 800-point expansion). Possibly the best paid expansion yet to be released (although Shivering Isles came close). Burnout Revenge continues to frustrate me. I've managed to perfect the first six ranks of the game, and the last four are really going to annoy the hell out of me. There's a lot of points waiting for me if I manage it though!

The Wii continues to sit unused on top of the 360, and it's likely to remain so until the first batch of Nintendo games are released. I'm not all that interested in Strikers, as I played the GCN version to death and even though it's the first Wii game to have online play, I'm not willing to fork out the cash for it. I'm guessing the next Wii game I buy will be Metroid Prime: Corruption, although I was tempted to go splash out on Elebits (Eledees is a silly name) after playing it at Qu_be's. I still haven't finished Twilight Princess, either!

That's about it for this entry - I'll see ya when I have something more worthwhile to blog about!

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