Monday, November 26, 2007

What's Really Good?

I was going to go for four in a row, but since I've gotten to the point where I'm adding NPCs to Velprintalar and the general layout of the city is done I thought it'd be a good time to post some screens out this piece. So what's really good?

Basically what's happening is this area is huge, so what you're seeing there is all from the same area in a lot of different corners of it. What you're not seeing is the vast majority of it. The entire exterior of the city will be comprised of three areas, though this is easily the largest of the three.

I devised a simple system of spawning random NPCs (out of a possible 16) at random waypoints throughout the city. I believe there's between 20 and 25 spawned when you enter the area, and all deleted when you exit it (I'm assuming this helps with performance. Whether or not a few NPCs walking around in areas you're not in makes a big impact is up for debate, really, but I figure every little bit helps), and it still feels really empty so I'll need to add some that just stand around with no point. I'm a little loathe to do that, however what's supposed to be the largest city in the country should be a little bit bustling. Maybe I'll just increase the number of random walkers instead and still add fewer that stand around. I haven't decided yet.

But yeah, I think it looks pretty cool. The design is interesting, a lot of hills and height variations, if not unconventional. According to the sourcebook, Velprintalar has a distinct elven flavor to it, which basically translates into I have to throw in a few of those illefarn statues where there's like a dozen variations but they all kind of look the same and a lot of plants. There's really not much to work with in the toolset that's elven, and dwarven is even worse, but I did my best. I have dozens of buildings to add random things in, which I won't utilize every doorway but it's nice to have options. There's not a whole lot of minute details, however there's a lot of color because I made it for the fall season and a ton of plant life (there's like 30 different kinds of trees in there. I stuck to the five seed rule on it, though, so theoretically performance should not be impacted. It hasn't so far, it's actaully getting much better FPS than I would have expected, but we'll see when it's all said and done and all of the NPCs are there...) so that should keep the eyes entertained.

I'm happy with it. Over the next week or so I'll be working on the other two parts of the city, and then it's on to actually building the quests, and I'll add interiors as needed until I'm done. Finishing the city will be another huge milestone, then it's the ending areas to wrap up the Chapter. I may make a summer release if things keep along this smoothly.

I'd also like to take a moment again here to thank everyone who has been doing the ongoing testing. They've been really diligent with offering suggestions and pointing out things I missed, and playing the same thing multiple times can be tedious but it's really important to know things are working as you move along and taking the time out to help...I don't know, I appreciate it is all. So thanks.

But, let's talk about the History Channel. There's a few channels on TV that are the "boring" channels, and really the only one worth watching most of the time is Discovery (and maybe the Science Channel), but even they have their fair share of crap like American Chopper or American Hotrod or American Air Compressor (tricking out a compressed air tank with flames = awesome and patriotic!), and I also think How it's Made kind of blows but there's some educational value there if you can stay awake through the boring narrative about how to make a bicycle seat cover. But Mythbusters, Future Weapons, MF-ing Survivorman, and Dirty Jobs are all dope, plus I really like the random specials they have like Planet Earth or the six part series on the ocean. The one on the Abyss, the deep part of the ocean where the sunlight doesn't reach, is an absolute must see. It's better than most movies, there's things down there that range from bizarre to frightening, and it can all kill you. That's why I won't set foot in an ocean, I don't care what I'm missing. I'm not trying to get jellyfished or stringrayed or eaten by a shark, you know what I mean? I'ma stay right here in the midwest, thank you very much.

But the other two, The Learning Channel and The History Channel, are mostly garbage programming. The Learning Channel I have less beef with. It's just it kind of turned into a subsidary of Oxygen and Home and Garden TV, all they play is house remodelling shows and how really, really fat people lose a full person's weight and are still fat and then die from being fat shows. I don't mean to sound non-PC, so if you're a little chunky don't be offended, I'm talking about like 800 pounds+ that can't get out of bed, literally no BS here, without a forklift. I don't understand that, who is feeding these people? It's not them that disgust me; I really can't blame them at that point. If you're bed ridden and somebody keeps bringing you fried chicken, what else are you going to do all day but eat it?

Point is there's not much that's watchable on that channel.

But the History Channel really trips me out. There's a lot more there that's watchable if you're into World War II. Personally, I'm not a big fan of history in general outside of the Roman Empire which I find fascinating, but the rest not so much. I'm also not sure that it should get as much play as it does past middle school. I understand the value of learning from history, but unless you're in a position to really capitalize on it like a world leader or some such, I don't see the value of it in every day life besides winning a game of Trivial Pursuit...which I'm not even sure anyone even plays anymore. I don't even think the Civil War was over when that game was written because the entire medical pie piece is about blood letting with leeches.

It ain't even that though, it's that they air so little that has anything to do with history. For real, like half of the shows are about the Bible, Nostradomus, and the Paranormal, and the other half is World War II documentaries. I just don't get where the first half fits in to all that. I don't buy in to all that, psychics and future predictions and whatnot, mostly because it's entirely fake but partly because even if it was real it'd be explained scientifically in time anyway so it wouldn't be exceptional anyway. For instance, today there was a marathon of this show called Monster Quest, where they get a bunch of otherwise intelligent people to try and prove things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster are real, where they end up not really doing anything and interviewing assorted "experts" (they're heavy on the kryptozoologist, which is sort of like a zoologist but no formal training is required and it's not actually a field of science...), "witnesses" (which are just people who think bigfoot is real), and actual experts (who disagree with pretty much everyting), and overlay it with creepy music, half assed CGI (because, obviously, they don't have any actual footage of fake things), and ominious narrative for an hour, then a big "alright, we didn't really do anything, but maybe it's real...or is it?" at the end and call it a day.

It's awfully stupid. Not quite as stupid as those ghost hunter shows where they bumble around in the dark with night vision cameras and scare themselves, but very, very close. But shows like that are like half of the History Channel's programming. Or, should I bring up "UFOs in the Bible" as further evidence of what they'll play? They also aired Loose Change once, which I won't link to out of fear of sullying my blog's good name (heh), but you've probably heard of it anyway.

Basically, it's a real disappointment that the History Channel has to sink to that level, you know? I'm assuming that in order to sustain a big enough audience to keep the channel running they have to air Sylvia Browne-esque (I will link to this, I even bought the T shirt! Don't think anyone is going to get the reference, though) shams to the "true believers" at the expense of distributing actual knowledge and truth, which begs the question is there too many people like me? History just does nothing for them? Because it's a shame that their prime time programming is based around a bunch of lies and the real stuff is stuck during soap opera hours.

Alright, till next time, stay with it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Three posts in a row, no screens

That's a little unusual for me, but I'm like half done with what will be a very large and looks to be impressive city area, and I don't want to spoil it.

Yeah, I'm done with the Palace section of the mod. This will probably require some revisions and additons later as the side quests start to come out, however a huge portion of it is done. Came out to 5 areas and over 25,000 words of dialogue, so there's a lot of cutscenes and optional info to advance the story. Perhaps the most fun part about the banquet is that your decisions in Chapter 1 and up until that point, including what you did in the Palace and during will all impact what faction is willing to take you in out of a possible 6 (as well as your reward). Of course, that will remain optional, however it will play a major role in what you'll be doing around town if you decide to stick around and do the open ended sidequest deal. I'm thinking about throwing in an "evil" ending in there as well, that will turn out badly but it's there. Been helping out Red Wizards and generally being a bad guy? Well, Aglarond won't be a big fan, but perhaps one of the more "revolutionary" anti-goverment factions will...

There's a few odd sidequests as well, combat optional in all of them. I don't know, I think it's a cool area. It also needs to be tested thoroughly, so if you're interested in doing that head over to the Citadel and give me a shout out, or here.

So yeah, I started to work on the city itself. It's been a few days in the works but it's coming together. Most of the buildings are in place, the terrain is done, and so are the textures, but I need to do some mad detailing work on it. When it's done, I'll have some screens.

Dude, anyone been following Barry Bonds? I don't really care for, or about for that matter, baseball at all, but man, that guy is getting screwed. He's looking at like 30 years for using steriods! For real, I knew this dude that used to use steriods, except he didn't work out or anything, he just thought he'd get ripped by taking them. I guess it doesn't work like that, I wouldn't know. I took steriods once, but it was in this anti-fungal creme for my foot and I didn't get any bigger or crazier. Just got rid of the athlete's foot, and then it came based on all of my first hand steriods experience I'm not really too keen on the stuff myself, far as I know it doesn't even work, but 30 years in prison is a bit harsh.

It looks like they're just trying to get him to roll on the steriod users in the MLB and turn him snitch. I don't think they're going to go for it, and honestly I don't think they can get a conviction anyway. Try to find a jury that doesn't already know Barry's been juicing for the last decade and you'll have to look in like the Phillipenes or somewhere where they don't even have bed sheets, let alone cable. Even then you know they're walking around in Bonds and Vick jerseys.

Matter of fact though, if they're going to sweat somebody over steriods, why not make it Carrot Top? You seen that guy lately, dude could bench press a mini van. And what's the greater offense? Barry Bonds breaking the home run record, or Carrot Top on stage? Last time I saw Carrot Top was at the Flava Flav roast, and I spent more time figuring out why he was even there than laughing at his clock props, he didn't even roast the guy he just played with some toys for about 15 minutes. And I don't even know when the last time I saw Barry Bonds, because aside from Berliad and my grandpa Stan (who, I kid you not, for my birthday when I was a kid got me a full team roster of the Cubs on Wonderbread trading cards wrapped in celaphane. We didn't even live in Chicago. Of course, year before that he bought me this sweet Pennzoil remote controlled Indy car that I ran into a curb and broke the wheel off within twenty minutes of opening it and my mom was all "don't tell him you did that or he'll hit you on the knuckles with a fork", which he would have so it was good advice.), I'm not even aware that anyone watches baseball, so your guess is as good as mine (about when the last time Barry Bonds was seen, probably forgot what I was talking about). So who cares if he breaks the record? Not me, I attribute it more to a work ethic than anything, steriods can give you an edge, but if I started shooting them in my ass would I be able to even hit a baseball? I'd probably end up freaking out at my keyboard and busting it on my monitor when a script didn't work right and get acne is all that would happen.

But you've got to respect Bonds, it's all green to him. All that guy wants is his paper, and I think that's whey he gets shitted on so badly. He's not the humble "aww, shucks America" guy next door, he's straight business and isn't ashamed to say it.

So that's what I think, they just don't want to see the record broken by a guy that doesn't "love the sport". But the minute you started paying more than I make in a lifetime to a guy that can hit a ball with a stick really well, that's what happens.

Reap what you sow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Explain: Jean Claude Van Damme

First off, the poll is about half way through now. The results aren't too encouraging as to whether or not I'll be using any Mysteries of Westgate content (which depends entirely on how that content is available anyway), because it looks like not too many people will be buying it.

Not as many impulse buyers as I would have thought either. I certainly am, but it's pretty lame to vote on your own poll so I don't count.

Anyway, I finished the large banquet cutscene, weighed in at over 6000 words...and you have to read most of them! So it's pretty long, not Trial in Neverwinter long, but none-the-less pretty long. There's also another lengthy cutscene to follow, not as long, but lengthy, that needs to be finished, and all of the post banquet dialogue needs to be done for everyone in the Palace. But I've made a lot of headway and am nearly ready to move on to the next area.

So that's the news there.

Anyway though, I know I've brought this up several times on my old blog, but for those of you catching up I have the Showtime/Encore movie channel package, which sucks. They get the scraps of HBO/Cinemax/Starz (and if you're doing worse than a network that uses a 'z' in place of an 's', you've got problems), so they basically get the worst movies possible. For instance, they've pretty much been marathoning The Hillz, of which Paris Hilton is the main character. I think. I haven't actually seen this movie, but since there's a 'z' where there should be an 's' there's really no point in even speculation on the possibility that this movie isn't God F-ing awful.

Anyway, point is Showtime and Encore both suck as movie channels. It's saving grace is that they're not really that picky about what they'll play, so a lot of older "classic" movies. I'm using "classic" pretty liberally here, as you probably won't catch any Citizen Kane or anything, but HBO doesn't play those kind of classics either because...alright, as a work of art, yeah, cool, but as an actual entertaining movie that you'd want to sit down and watch, you could do better. Honestly, I thought Stanely Kubrick's 2001: Space Odessey was a pile of crap when I saw it, and said so aloud in my film class, and was publicly scolded. Whatever, have you ever actually watched that movie? It's sucks, I don't care.

Again, anyway, you'll see a lot of classics. I'm talking like the Ghoulies, Puppet Master, Hellraiser, Critters, The Thing, Conan the Destroyer, Gymkata, Master of the Flying Guillotine, Ong Bak (which has an awesome soundtrack btw), well, you get the point. Movies you probably forgot about that were awesome at the time and you still dig. Nah, but you have to wade through monumental piles of crap to find them and their original programming sucks aside from Penn and Teller (incidentally, they also play crappy casinos out in Vegas, what's wrong with them two?), but if you're patient and have an iron will, you will succeed where most have failed.

So that's what I did when I caught Universal Soldier, starring Jean Claude Van Damme, who was huge in the 90's but now probably most famous for beating his wife and going to jail, and Dolph Lundgren most famous for a scene in which Brandon Lee, floudering where his legendary father had infinite success: the Action genre, took a role in which one of his speaking parts was complimenting Dolph's penis and then got killed in The Crow which also wasn't that great of a movie but people love kind of like Scarface. Also he played Ivan Drago and beat the chit out of Stallone for like an hour.

Fun Fact: That entire paragraph consisted of only two sentences, one of which was a blatant run on!

Anyway, JCVD was huge in the 90's, and Universal Soldier is often cited as his best movie, aside from perhaps Bloodsport. After seeing it the other day, I'm wondering how did that dude get so big? It's not that good of a movie! The barely coherent plotline is full of more holes than the giant Germanic barbarian slave in Gladiator in the opening sequence (or, if this is a better reference, the ear necklace Dolph wears throughout the movie), the acting worse than the acting of the giant Germanic barbarian slave in Gladiator, and there's no kung fu or JCVD doing the splits (though he stands around nekkid a few times...ladies! Nah, but every since he beat his wife, I don't even think the gulls like him that much), which is pretty much the entire point of casting the guy.

Nah, that movie is not good. I wouldn't say it sucks, but it's not good. Doesn't matter though, because you could easily call that his best work and still have to explain The Quest (which is just Bloodsport except it sucks), Time Cop (which just sucks), Streetfighter(!), Double Team (which is just that Jackie Chan movie but it sucks. Well, more.), Lionheart (which is just Bloodsport but it sucks), Kickboxer (which is just bloodsport but it not as good, but not sucks) Cyborg (incidentally I also caught Cyborg 2 later that same day which stars a young Angelina Jolie (which I also caught Hackers a few days before, which really deserves it's own post about the portrayal of computers in movies, but also stars a young Angelina in a see through shirt and Goth looking), but doesn't star Rosario Dawson who is, IMO strictly as a married man, way hotter), etc., etc., etc. you've got to wonder, how did this guy get famous? This guy messed up worse than Segal somehow, and yet he never should have had that option because he only made crappy movies whereas Segal was the joint during the same time but much less recognized. Far as I know though, JCVD didn't even get fat so there's really no excuse.

Anyway, all this has given me the inspiration to go to Blockbuster this weekend and rent the entire Hellraiser series and watch them all. Because if I'm going to watch crappy movies, it may as well have Pinhead instead of JCVD's naked ass.

The end.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You know, sometimes being a parent is hard!

First of all, let me introduce you to my two new new screens. Screens, reader. Reader, screens.

Now that you're acquainted, let me give you a little background. Aglarond needs mounts for it's aerial calvalry for the seemingly inevitable war with Thay, but they can only breed them so fast. So they've turned to less traditional mounts, wyverns. Of course, they're having a tough time cowing them into being ridable. Maybe you could help? Or perhaps screw it up badly and kill all of the young wyverns? It's really up to you.

Yeah, that's the newest sidequest, a little ranger/druid time to shine, but not steal the show. There's like 4 ways to solve it, each with different outcomes, but they're all pretty similar. I don't know, it filled up a room.

Now, I only have one more room to go before I begin the actual banquet sequence, and the in palace post banquet activities before I submit that as an addition to the ongoing beta test. I figure when that's finished, probably about two weeks, I'll be around the 50% mark, which is pretty significant.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. You can tune out now if you don't care about my personal life.

So I went and picked up my daughter from preschool the other day. This is a pretty multiracial area, so she was sitting there at this table playing with some kind of purple goo; sort of like silly putty I guess, but I don't think they make that stuff anymore. But anyway there's a lot of kids there of different ethnic backgrounds. Matter of fact, my wife is half Mexican, and I'm pretty much a white guy (more on that later) so she's...I don't even know.

But anyways, one of the parents comes in to pick up his daughter, a black guy. So my daughter goes "Daddy, that's a black man!"

Ruh Roh!

So I had no idea what I'm supposed to say. You know how some people are sensitive about that stuff, plus I'm sure the last thing the preschool teachers want is for kids running around pointing out each others race. I ended up going with something like "yeah, that's a black guy." I don't know, what are you supposed to say?

The whole race relations thing is kind of awkward to me, because I'm not particularly sensitive about that. When I was a kid, it wasn't all that serious. We knew better than to use racial slurs, and my parents never did either, but we didn't really tip toe around stuff either. Obese was fat, little people were midgets, african americans were black, and crackers were crackers. Pretty simple stuff, and I keep it that way, that's just my philosophy. But I'm not sure if I should be emparting my philosophy onto her or teach her to be really, really PC, you know? Who knows what tomorrow will bring, hopefully it'll just be people chilling the F out.

Like I said, I don't really get all of the racial relations stuff. There's certain words certain people can't be saying, reparations, who stole what a few hundred years ago from who and how we owe their ancestors, and I'll tell you why. I've personally never owned a slave, stolen somebody's land, or massacred a civilization. I was genuinely curious about this so I made a few calls to family members, but it only reaffirmed what I knew before that time: Most of my ancestors came to the US before the civil war and lived in the North and fought for that side, and my great grandpa Felix was a Mohican Indian (which explains my love of gambling and small pox - hey, they're my people!) so not even my traceable ancestry had anything to do with it, at best they were standers by, at worst victims themselves. I guess I owe myself reparations? And my daughter can be traced back to refugees fleeing Nazi Germany from Poland and to an unidentified guy from Mexico, if you want to bring that stuff up she's been persecuted from almost every angle and is owed land in both New York and Texas that was stolen from her. I mean, when you know all of that, who really has the right to point fingers? It's way too confusing to even matter.

Also, if you're curious as to how I found all of this out, my method was to call my sister who plotted out the family history. If you don't have a sister who did that, I'd suggest getting one, thought it may be too late.

So, obviously, I don't really get the point in bringing all this ancient history up and being all worried about it, because you could probably literally point to anyone and say "your people did something to my people a really long time ago!", but where does that get us? And half of the people doing the pointing probably don't even know the truth about themselves, let alone who they're pointing at.

Which is why I'm pretty sure just saying "yeah, he's a black guy" was the right answer.

Whatever though.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Been on my Hustle

I guess that would be the best way to put it. I have to tell you in all honesty that it can be tough when working on a project this ambitious it's hard to keep on your hustle with it. Sometimes, you just don't feel like sitting down for a few hours to chip away at a boulder, so to speak. But every time you don't, that's those extra hours on the back end which adds up. I think that's my motivator, though. Like if you don't sit down and get things done, it's not going to get done, period.

I'm also not the type to sit around and think about things. Thankfully, my thoughts frequently come on the fly while I'm working. So really, the harder I work at this the better it comes out in the end. Seems kind of obvious when you see it written out, right? But I know that some cats have spreadsheets and extensive design docs and months of planning, which is good for them. Me, I keep a rough outline and wing the details, and work with inspiration when it strikes.

Case and point: For the last couple of weeks I've been working on The Simbuls Palace. As of earlier today, I have two floors completely done pre-banquet. They were supposed to be small with a few fun diversions. Well, I got a few ideas when I was working on it and it's probably turned into a good hour (or more, depending on how much time you're willing to experiment with one quest if you don't get it immediately from the clues! Or I suppose technically much less if you skip it all.) 2 extensive sidequests (one has two solutions, the other five) and one smaller one (technically two. I scripted in preparation of another quest that takes place in the castle, but I need to lay a lot of the groundwork for it in other areas first so that doesn't it wasn't that hard to do) that can lead to a quest chain (if I decide to even include it at all, no guarantee, but it's nice to have options and, let's face it, I probably will) depending on how you choose to handle it, all with non combat solutions, and 16,000+ words of dialogue. And I've still got two floors left.

And that's all just on the fly. That's why I like to run with things when I get the idea, that's a pretty significant addition to the module and only diverted a few days time, mostly due to me testing the scripting for them. All three had some scripting, but the two extensive ones had quite a bit, mostly visual effects for cutscenes. Because really, what's the point in closing a portal to the elemental plane of fire if there's no boom?

But I think the most challenging part of this particular segment is the writing. I've got no illusions that I'm some type of master wordsmith, I can barely talk coherently, but I'm good enough to get by. Which is the problem here. Basically what I've got going on is there's a banquet of nobles who are there to congratulate you on saving Glarondar from the attack that took place in the first chapter, among other things. However, they've all got their own agendas and they want to use you to their own ends, some good, some bad, some in the middle, but they're too polite to say it out loud. It's some classic politic stuff, you have to read in between the lines to see what's really going on. Thing is, I don't know that my writing ability is up to the task there.

I gave it a shot, though. I wrote a little dialogue where a somewhat important female NPC gets "forward" with you (aka she's hitting on you), but it's all in the subtext. Is she hitting on you, or isn't she? That kind of thing. You get to play along, or not, if you say the right things (and if you don't a dialogue skill might bail you out if you make the DC, or you can completely blow it on purpose). Then it's explained she was testing you, but that's the kind of subtext and subtlety you need to use if you're to be successful in impressing the nobles at the banquet. What you say and what you mean are two different things. Like a really weird tutorial.

I think that one came out OK, but this banquet is going to be challenging. It's going to be one of those things that people will either love or hate, I think.

Well, that's about all I got. No crap this time.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Up yours, Obsidian

Not really, I like them cats. Most of them, anyway. There's been a dev post or two that have rubbed me the wrong way, especially if you bring up Atari. They don't like you bad mouthing Atari, that's for sure. I don't know why, I mean, can they really be happy with them as a publisher?

That's what I'm saying. Blizzard has it right, you know? They do it all from the ground up, so if something's not ready they don't hesistate to push back release. One one hand, I suppose that, in a way, has got to be ticking off players. Look at how long we (well, you, I could give a F) have been waiting for Starcraft II? What, like a decade thereabouts? But I guarantee you when Starcraft drops, it's going to be hot (well, for you. Again, remember the afforementioned F). On the other hand, though, they don't have anyone to share the blame when the bugs start crawling out. I mean, like when people hated the ending of NWN 2 OC (which I still haven't seen because much of the middle is pretty tedious) Obsidian is just, if you read between the lines, holding their hands out and saying "Atari." Or how no skin from neck to the wrists and how they changed the Warlock outfit, again, they're pointing a finger.

Speaking of censorship, I just ordered by copy of The Witcher, which looks pretty hot (and like MotB, has been post release betaed by Europe already so I don't have to deal with the BS). Unfortunately, I found out later that there is a censored US version headed my way instead of the real game, which is a kick in the teeth. Now look, you might have noticed that I kept Subtlety of Thay pretty PG. I don't necessarily think that a bunch of nudity is appropriate for every game out there, and mine was one of them. I working on tackling some mature subject manner, like racism and politics, but none of that requires a bare breast hanging out. I don't know, one thing is I'm getting awfully tired of using the same clothes over, and over, and over, and over...

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm against that either, which is why I was disappointed by my ordering the wrong copy. I wanted to play that joint like it's meant to be played. I'm an adult, so whatever.

Funny thing is a lot of cats are blaming America (or AmeriKKKa if you prefer. Also, stop reading my blog if you spell it that way, please.) for that. And to a certain extent, they're right, because there's no other weird cersored copies floating about. Basically the gyst is people think that Americans love violence but fear sex. Patently untrue, we love our guns and ammo as much as our hookers and strippers. But seriously, y'all cats have to understand that it's not us, ol' average American guy just trying to get by, but old Republicans and Christians we've never even met, and Walmart, that are making us all look like bloodthirsty prudes. I swear on my life, I don't know anyone who even knows what the Witcher is, let alone if it does or does not have nudey collectors cards in the game. It's the Jack Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Al Sharptons, uh, Sam Walmart(?)s of the US that are behind all that. But I didn't vote for none of them, and prolly come next year only one of the listed will have public support of any kind. I don't really know the specifics behind it all, but for some reason those people are allowed to make decisions about video game imports.

So, yeah, just so we're clear: It's the F out of our hands what gets censored and what doesn't. I'm kind of sick of it too, but I don't even know who you're supposed to vote for and where to stop that from happening, and I have a feeling no one else does either. Besides, the government is all messed up anyway (oh, you all foreigners aren't any better off, real talk), so for the forseeable future that's life.

So, you've forgotten why I said "up yours, Obsidian" by now I'm sure. I'm in Act III of MotB. This may just be an ego stroke, but my area design is better than theirs across the board, and that's real. Of course, I think they have a better writing staff and I was impressed with many other aspects of the game, but I beat them out there no question. In two places it realy dawned on me: The first is where you fight the Ice Hag, that area is terrible, easily the worst in the game. The second is the Thayan Academy, which was really bare and non-sensical. I also thought the puzzle quests there were uninspired as well. That area was just really disappointing overall, which is unfortunate because it's the only time you get to explore Thay in MotB and I think a lot of people are going to walk away from that one with the wrong impression of Thay.

Say what you want, that's real talk. Want proof? Alright, go check out the Thayan academy that uses the estate tileset, and mine own for a couple of screens.

Alright then, I'm back to it. I've got insignificant NPC dialogue to write and sidequests to script!