Monday, August 11, 2008

Long Post

Since I am apparently unable to update in normal, regular intervals, it seems that most of my posts (including this one) tend to be fairly long. Not my ideal situation, but oh well.
I must say that I really enjoy Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. I suppose I'm not too terribly surprised, since I can't think of anything Joss Whedon has done that I don't like. I mean, I love Firefly (and Serenity, naturally), I remember watching and liking Angel for a time, although I only really saw the episodes somewhere in the middle of its run, since I got busy with things near the end of its run, and I'm sure I would enjoy Buffy at least somewhat.

As far as school related things go, the quals are coming up soon (2 weeks from today, actually) and I'm feeling quite nervous, although I think I can pull it off. My main concerns are E&M and Statistical/Thermal, those have traditionally been my weak points, and they still are. I think I can handle the Quantum, Math, and Classical problems, as long as they don't pull anything crazy. We will see how this goes.
Early next week my advisor should be returning from his trip, so that's something else I need to get working on, I really haven't spent nearly enough time on the work he gave me before leaving, although he did agree that the quals are my main concern. Still though, I think it would be nice if I could make at least some progress on the problem he gave me. I don't htink it should be too terrible. I need to determine the differential cross section for electron proton scattering, first assuming the proton is a point, then taking into account the fact that it is omprised of quarks. Of course, it would be a lot easier if I had done work on it a few months ago, when the material was still fresh in my mind, but oh well.

Every year as far back as I remember, my family has gone to the New York Renaissance Festival in Tuxedo, NY. Every Year, I go and see the knifethrowing show put on by Stewart & Arnold. Today I checked the schedule for this year's fair, and was quite saddened to not see their names anywhere. Even though they have the same jokes show after show, year after year, I still loved going and watching them. Ah well, I suppose I'll have to find some other show to watch, but it just won't be the same without them. Stewart and Arnold, I'll miss you.

Finally, read on for my (somewhat belated) review of Fable.

Now, Fable isn't really a new game, it was released for the PC in 2005 or so. However, I think it's still quite an enjoyable game. The game is a sandbox style action RPG, with a few minigames thrown in for good measure. The most interesting aspect of the game is its morality system. Throughout the game, when you perform good or evil actions you get good/evil points. The number of points you receive depends on how good or evil the act is. For example, killing someone gives you more evil points than stealing. The game keeps a running total and has a bar which shows you how good/evil you are. It's possible to go through the game and keep a somewhat neutral alignment, by balancing your good and evil acts, although trying to reach the extremes are more fun. This is due to the fact that when you are close to either extreme your character changes slightly. When you have reached the evil end (the one I chose this latest playthrough) you grow some good sized horns in your head, you have flies buzzing around you, and a red haze surrounds you. If you are a goody-two-shoes (my first playthrough, some years ago) you get a halo and divine light shines down on you (from what I can remember).
Another amusing aspect of the game is the attractive/scariness score. The clothing, tattoos, and hair styles that you choose all have attractiveness and scariness modifiers. Your total attractiveness/scariness can each go from -100 to 100, and they do actually affect your dealings with other people. For example, if you have a high scariness score, people will run, screaming, away from you when you come near them, while a high attractiveness will give you better deals on items from a merchant.
The graphics aren't too bad, especially considering the game is 3 or so years old. They're fairly cartoony, which I'm not usually a fan of, but I think it works fairly well here. The characters have a few peculiarities, such as their hands, which seem to be fairly large, and the main character as a child has HUGE hands. As far as the audio goes, I have no complaints. The music fits well, and the characters are fairly well acted, although the accents get annoying after you've been playing for hours.
The game definitely does not take itself too seriously, and basically aims to have fun. The chicken kicking competition is fun, and who can resist running around wearing a big purple pimp hat? The clothing selection in the game is very nice as well. There are many choices, from chain and plate, to dresses (even though the main character is always male, with no possibility of changing it) and assassin outfits.
Fable also keeps track of just about everything that you've done. The character info screen shows you a tally of the gold you've earned and spent, your records for the various minigames, the number of times you've had sex, etc. Yes, there is sex in the game. Kind of. Your character is able to have sex, but while he does, the player is treated to a black screen, with your partner commenting on your prowess ("Oh, you're so narty!" see above comment regarding the accents). Entertaining enough, but not enough to have a public outrage over, even after you're able to obtain the deed to a bordello.
The plot of Fable isn't the best or most original, but it's enjoyable enough, and the PC version includes an addon quest after the original game is completed, which is kind of nice, but does seem sort of tacked on. Also, once you complete the main quest, you don't have to stop. There are other quests that you can take up, or you can just wander the world doing whatever you want.
All in all, Fable is a fun sandbox style action RPG, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys RPGs, or who isn't sure but thinks he/she might.

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