From The New World

Which could have been more about my trip, but is really about Shadow Hearts: From the New World.

I got it for Christmas this year and this is from around 9 hours in.

For those who know the Shadow Hearts series the game plays very much like the old ones. The game is still set in an alternate take on the real world, this time the US ca. 1930. There is no immediate connection to the last game, but it does seem like the “Malice” released in the end of Shadow Hearts: Covenant does have a role to play.

The general feel of the game seems to me to be even more wacky than last time. Only 3 of the main characters can be taken to be anything close to serious and that is only if you take a native-American wielding dual pistols and fighting with GUN-FU or the semi-naked -big-breasted native-American princess with a tendency to let whatever precious little left of her clothes drop everytime she needs to transform into the avatars of various spirits that she has previously formed alliances with, in any way serious. I can, but I tend to be a little weird in that way.

But even so, once you get into it the story is interesting and while I find it difficult to take the characters seriously, there are enough fun moments to keep playing. The voice-acting is also generally passable, with only a few voices that truly annoy me.

Finally, the Judgment-Ring and combo systems has been expanded a bit and helps keep the many battles fun and engaging.
All in all, I like it so far.

Smooth

I hated it on Linux and I still hate it on Mac (And I think that Vista does it as well now). Text-smoothing. Or as I prefer to call it: text-blurring.

I think some people like it. I assume that they do, because it would be silly to build an operating system with a feature that no-one, including the designers, like. Actually, come to think about it, that doesn’t really sound that unrealistic…

Anyway, I don’t like it and I can’t make it go away.

Search And You Shal Finder

A thing that I haven’t been able to solve to m complete satisfaction yet is the fact that Finder blows chunks. Or, as I prefer to put it, It’s just not very good.
True, Windows’ Explorer isn’t great either, but to me it is still ahead on some important points. I like the way Explorer’s tree view works. You have the tree on the left and the files on the right and you can navigate around with the arrows or press the first letter of a name to skip ahead and tap around between the tree and the files.
Finder has something similar but instead f having the files seperate from the folders, they are in the same tree. This means that if I want to go to the bottom of the files, I can’t. It also lists all folders together with the files (as opposed to at the top, like in Explorer) wich means that it is a lot slower to navigate through just folders than in windows.
And since there is no right-click button on the keyboard, I have no way of doing stuff like “open with” without a mouse or without using the brilliantly simple keyboard combination ctrl+f2 then E then arrow down then O then arrow down then arrow left.

I hear coverflow is new to finder in Leopard an while it looks impressive when browsing images, it is pretty useless in every other way.

So that’s why I have turned to third-party Total Commander-like solutions, or more specifically: muCommander. It works pretty much like Total Commander except that I can’t find a “copy in background” feature. This doesn’t sound so bad until you have tried it and then has to live without it.

Also, I haven’t found a batch-rename function, but then again, I haven’t looked that hard. Since iTunes insists on managing it’s own file-structure, I don’t really have that many files to rename yet.

Oh, and iTunes is another program that I haven’t found a good replacement for yet. It is not that iTunes is bad per se, but it’s non-existent handling of wma and ogg files, among other things makes it, again, less that optimal for me.

Lasty, I should mention Spotlight. It is one of those features that I overlooked to begin with because the similar feature in windows is slow and only usefull in certain situations. Because Spotlight is so damn fast however it seems like it might be a lot more useful that that and could be used as a way of navigating to specific files or launching applications. Give it a try, if you are like me and have just recently switched.

Hi, I Am A Mac

This is actually the primary reason why I wanted my blog up and running right now. Two weeks ago I got homw from the US and waiting for me was my new 2.2GHz Macbook Pro. And I want to talk about it. So this is the first in a number of posts about my experiences.

I am a long time windows user. I don’t have a particular religious reationship to my operating system, but I am geek enough to actually use phrases like “my operating system”. I was also getting a little fed up with it and wanted to try something else. I installes Linux a while back but as you can read, it wasn’t a great success.
The it happened that my dad was getting another chance to get a employee-pc from his work and I got offered if I wanted it.

I did.

Long story short: I could only select between 8 preconfigured systems and since I wanted a laptop there were only really 2 choices; the Macbook and a Dell “mobile gaming” machine. I don’t like the screens I have seen on Dell’s recently and in adition that package also came bundled with so much fluf that in the end the Macbook was almost as powerfull as the Dell. So I thought ‘what the hell, I can install XP on it if all else fails’ and I went for it.

First impresions when I got the box were very good. The machine looks good in brushed aluminum and the design is very classy. It also has a lot of slick features to impress a new user, like the automatic dimming of the screen to fit the lighting conditions in your room, the softly lit keys and the remote control.
Of course, It turns out that the light sensor is right where I like to rest my hand when not using the keyboard, rendering the auto dimmer virtually useess. But hey, It was fun when it lasted.

There are also some things that I am less impresed with: There are only 2 USB ports (my old machine had 3 and between a wacom board, 2 external harddrives and various other paraphenelia it wasn’t uncommon for me to use them all). Also, all the connections are at the side of the machine because of the way the screen folds back. I feel it would have been better to put some of it at the back. I like to have my mouse next to my machine. Not a bunch of cables.
There is no flashcard-reader (again, my old machine had one. When I got that I never thought that I would actually use it, but it turned out to be really convenient when emptieng digital cameras.)
The keyboard seems a bit small. I am missing my page up, down, home and end keys and the enter key is also a bit small. Why, for instance, is the Caps Lock key larger than my enter?

The I booted the machine up, and that is when I realized that I had a lot of learning to do.

Movable Mess

That is, my site will be in a temporary state of moving mess. It might last as long as the rest of the year. I had originally planned to leave my old blog in place until I had this one ready to go, but I am reasonable sure that would only make the move take even longer and until I finished my main blog would be completely dead. Granted, that wouldn’t make it much different from what has been going on (or not, as it may be) for the last three months. And so, since my move to wordpress had been so easy so far, I decided to just go ahead and do it.

They should make that a catchphrase. Just do it!

There And Back Again

So I got back to Denmark again a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I should write something about my trip. I am not really going to though, because there is so many other things to do and write about. What I am going to do instead is to take everything that I have written already, elsewhere, and jumble it together into a mash.

I went to California for 3 months. More specifically I went to San Rafael near San Francisco to do my internship at Telltale Games.

San doesn’t mean city by the way. It means Saint. I just learned that.

Preparations to go there were quite annoying, so I will not go in much detail. This is in direct contradiction to the rules of narration where adversity is always most interesting. Well, direct might be saying to much. Anyway.

I got there on a Sunday ready to work, but as it turned out Monday was a holiday so I got an extra day off right there. Good start.

When I did gt to work and had been settled in and all that, I began by animating a walkcycle because there wasn’t anything much else to do. At the time, they were wrapping up episode 1 beta (out now by the way. Get it before that thing at the place with the thing happens. You will like it. It’s Christmassy) and starting the animation list for episode 3, so there wasn’t that much ready to do, animation wise. I also played Sam and Max season 2 which wasn’t out at the time. That was fun. I like being in on the secret :)

After that things got started more regularly. I got started out by doing some various gestures and some object animations and from there on it was steady work on gestures for the characters on Sam and Max. Both old and new ones. I also got to do some preliminary work on a new top secret project that they might do, but I am, of course, not allowed to tale about it. Hell, even saying that might be to much.

Lastly I got to do a cutscene for Episode 4. Well, I am doing it right now, as a matter of fact. Also, not allowed to talk. Mums the word and all that.

Say, this is a bloody good excuse for a lazy guy like myself.

I didn’t experience that much of Halloween. I went by the mall on my way home from work and it was packed with kids in costumes all running around. The stores had apparently been giving out candy just before I got there, and since there are so many in such close proximity to each other, and all indoors in the warm, it is no great surprise. This might also be part of the reason why there weren’t many knocks on the door for the rest of the evening.

Then there were Thanksgiving, where Mai and Diane* had invited me along to one of their friends house. It was not as impressive as I had been led to believe, but then again, with the some of stories of excessive eating that I have heard it would be almost impossible to live up to. There was a lot of food and there was a lot of eating of the said food going on, but I still needed to eat the day after which I was a little disappointed about.
That being said, there was good food and it was a good evening all together.

Then I went shopping. Everything is just so effing cheap over here, that I had a very hard time not buying stuff. Last Saturday I went to San Francisco and bought $150 worth of comic books and artbooks.
Add to that the Nintendo Wii that Telltale gave me as a farewell present, Super Mario Galaxy, an extra Wii controller, The Orange box, half a dozen movies and I had to buy another suitcase. The good news however was that I got through customs and all that without a hitch.
Lucky for me I anticipated my buying frenzy by not actually bringing very much with me to the US to begin with, so even with the additional suitcase I was still under my max. Luckii!

And that is what I had to say about that.

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*Mai being the wonderful woman who gave me a ride to work every morning and Diane is her girlfriend.