March 31, 2008


Here in Perth, we've finally completed our second cycle of Daylight Savings. Clocks have gone back an hour, assisting our transition into Winter. On the weekend it was bright and sunny.

Today it's raining cats and dogs. On steroids. Winter is truly here.

But what interests me is how we adults are affected by time. Time is, in itself, a very interesting "thing".

Time in nature exists as the following:

Sunrise. Noon. Sunset. Twilight.

Changing of Seasons.

Waxing and waning of the Moon and Tidal changes.

For us, time affects us like trees that get rings as they grow older - our body and appearance change as we grow older.

But beyond those things, time has no real "value" - its hard to quantify time from a layman's point of view.

Oh, we can look at it as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millenia, aeons, but those are all man-made concepts. Those are things we've created in order to allow us to record events that have happened and to date them.

From a child's point of view, time has no real meaning. You wake up, you eat, you play, you eat some more, you nap, you play some more and then you go to bed. At some point, around the age of seven, you become self-aware. At that point, time 'requires' meaning. You begin to realise that your working parent(s) is away some days and not away other days; those days being weekends. The adult world creeps into your child life and imposes values.

But what if those values didn't impose themselves? What if all concepts of time ceased. If there were no work days and weekends, if there were no clocks or watches to check timetables?

Would we 'miss' time?

March 26, 2008


Every several months, I get burnt out from playing World of Warcraft. Honestly, it's a great game but it's just repetitious to the extreme.

"Go kill 10 of these rats" becomes "Go kill 10 of these Giant Ultra-Elite Dragonspawns" until eventually its "Go kill 10 of these Ancient Dragons and bring back their ears".

Comparatively, Asheron's Call 2 was also repetitive but for some reason I enjoyed that repetition. Perhaps it was the feeling that around every corner there was something new waiting whereas in Azeroth/Outland/Northrend, its all the same.

Anyway, as you may have noticed from the title, I burnt out from playing my Level 70 druid. The guild I co-created is still thriving but I just can't bring myself to log in and get involved. So I'm busy creating a mage who is at level 33. I've tried levelling a mage before but got stuck around level 27 but I think I'll persevere with this one; she plays well.

In the meantime, I have finished Puzzle Quest. It's a good game and is a different challenge to normal crpgs. A decent 7.5 out of 10.

After that, I decided to finish off the Neverwinter Night expansions I have and am stuck in Hordes of the Underdark. But that too has become a bit repetitious so I wanted to try something else - a little bit different than your run of the mill crpg.

And lo and behold, I find Fastcrawl. A dungeon game that will last for around 30 minutes. I had a quick go of the demo and like it a lot; I may even buy it and give it a proper go.

And finally, my attention swings ponderously to Dungeon Runners, a free game made by my old friends NCSoft (they also make City of Heroes). Dungeon Runners is no World of Warcraft. It's buggy, slow, and even on my machine, runs like a dog. But its very much Diablo-esque, and a lot easier to jump into than WoW, even though its based very much on that Blizzard game. DR does not require membership subscription but if you do pay, you get to have equipment that's otherwise restricted. I probably won't pay membership rates but that's fine. I just want to play something a little different.

The other big deal is that I don't have anyone to play with. One part of MMO's that I don't get is that they're meant to be collaborative games. I wish they would make a game where meeting people was a lot easier...

March 17, 2008

E. Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008)

The man primarily responsible for the view of fantasy in the modern era sadly passed away on the 4th of March 2008. His name was E. Gary Gygax and he was one of the co-partners involved in creating, designing and publishing Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons was the first real game of its kind in the world. A system of rules to allow for collaborative improvisation in a fantasy setting. From humble beginnings, its now a game known worldwide and has spawned a myriad number of other roleplaying games, wargames and computer games that all trace their lineage back to that first set of simplistic rules in a pamphlet of a rule book.

I was first introduced to D&D back in 1979, when I was but 7. My brother had had the basic edition box set purchased for him by a family friend but he really didn't get into it. I, on the other hand, loved the idea and spent hours reading up on the rules and on the examples of gameplay. I finally could actually immerse myself in a fantasy world where elves were the good guys and orcs were the bad guys and where, most importantly, I could change the outcome of that.

These days D&D is most prominently compared to its online successor World of Warcraft. But WoW is not a proper immersive setting, nor do any of your actions change anything in the game.

For that alone, I think WoW is years behind D&D.

Returning to Gary Gygax, there has been a marked outcry from gamers around the globe on the best way to honour his memory. Some have made joking remarks such as "Roll for 1d4 minutes of silence".

But I think the best way to honour Gary would be to create and name a deity in his name. And so, in all my games, there shall be...

"Zagyg, the God of Gaming"

Pet Peeve #3 - Queuing

Australian's, please take note. This is how we Poms queue:

1. Discuss what your companions/relatives/friends want in advance.

2. Stand in line by yourself. Have money on hand, preferably correct change (this is why you were taught Mathematics in school)

3. Declare in a clear loud voice what you want. You are not allowed to change your mind half way through.

4. Take your purchase and leave the queue.

Congratulations, you have queued correctly.

Do not:

* Take your kids with you, all 4 of the little brats, letting them run amok.

* Look at the display or product and wonder to yourself what it is you want. If you don't know, you shouldn't be queuing.

March 13, 2008

Return from the wilderness

After two months of wandering around in the blog wilderness that is the Internet, I have returned.

It's been a fun packed two months and there have been at least one momentus life changing event.

Essentially, my marital status has changed. Yup, Elsha and I have got married.

It was something we had had planned for a long time that once we returned to Australia we would plan a wedding and get hitched. Friends and family were invited over, and there was plenty of merriment. Indeed, it was good to see Kalistro and TheNumNum in person, and it was equally bizarre but fun to have them check out Perth. We did some sightseeing together but ultimately we had to spend a fair bit of time on wedding planning. I have to admit that Elsha did a lot of this - I only helped on the finer details - and everything went off without a hitch.