Blackened Skull

There is no gene for the human spirit

Archive for September 2012

WP7 was a bad experience

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I should never have swapped my iPhone experience for the weak OS that is WP7. But from my mistake there is a little silver Android lining and without trying different mobile OS I could never be sure if I was limiting my mobile experience.

The only mobile OS I have yet to try is Google’s Android OS. It’d be easy for me to return to iOS and the iPhone 5 but I’m looking for more than the rigid perfectionism that Apple have devised. So after a brief hands-on in a mobile phone store today(with a Samsung Galaxy S3) and reading this excellent piece on using the Android OS for 29 days my head was turned.

WP7 was frustration after frustration, once I saw past the live-tile interface. Little things like not being able to highlight and copy easily, very little chance to customise the OS to my liking, poor options and non-existent settings didn’t help when the best Twitter app, Carbon, decided on the 23rd Sept that they had enough of the WP OS. It left me with an app that I relied on heavily to suddenly stop working and leave too much of a bad taste in my mouth. It also didn’t help matters when I discovered the new home for Carbon would be the Android OS!

Tomorrow is the 26th Sept and it’s my birthday. Kinda handy that…

Written by David Osbon

September 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Mobile OS

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Writer at CSICON

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Just a quick aside away from my writing here, I have now joined the crew at CSICON and will be writing an array of posts; Music, Movies and Videogaming are the topics I hope to be involved with. I will continue posting here as my writing at CSICON will be mainly reviews and news.

Here’s a little about CSICON:

CSICON, The Committee for the Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal, is a site that focuses on the latest news and opinions regarding movies, television, gaming, tech, society, comics and other things that may or may not fall into the convenient umbrella term of “geek culture”.

You can find my profile of writing for CSICON here.

Written by David Osbon

September 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Blogging

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Environmental damage?

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I love a game world that allows interaction beyond opening a door or turning a handle. Lovely detailed cut-scenes and a well-told story are one thing but stale, generic interactions that matter little to the way a game is played always tend to be a turn-off for me.

If we look at a game like Borderlands, it has a total number of 17,750,000¹ guns that a player can possibly find and use. That’s a vast arsenal and one that I’ll never see in total but it’s there waiting. The sequel is due to have even more weaponry but I don’t discount the other props that can be handled or manipulated in-game. Even if the interaction is muted it is far better to have the hacks and audio diaries of a game like Bioshock than the static dull world of Call of Duty.

How developers re-imagine the interaction between game character and game world and what props to include in that interaction will determine if I enjoy spending my time within that world. While watching a gameplay video of Borderlands 2 with Randy Pitchford, a comment was made about damage a player’s character takes from falling. The consensus was that where would be the fun in fall-damage? If it allows the player more freedom of movement within the game then that is a good thing. I tend to agree with this point. If rules of gravity or natural law can be bent or broken in a way that fits the game world then developers shouldn’t be afraid to go with it. Games development should have the scope to look at the world differently and not have to represent a chronicle of historical conflicts as entertainment.

So how do you see it? Would you rather have more worlds like Call of Duty Halo or would you prefer developers take a few more risks with how they approach game worlds and the opportunities of player interaction with those worlds?

¹ Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2012 pg.43

Written by David Osbon

September 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

I’ll never forget my Claygate childhood

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I no longer live in Claygate and there have been times that I regret leaving the village after spending around 25 years there – from child to adult. With my old village being the backdrop to some recent unpleasant news, I’ve been muling over my feelings about the childhood I spent there.

Just thinking about the word Claygate drums up so much nostalgia for me. Bad things did happen while I grew up there, sure, but the main story would be one of a magical place that allowed me and my friends the freedom to run with our imaginations.

Claygate had and still has an abundance of woodland and open countryside. As a child living with a woodland behind your home – sitting at the end of your garden almost – I had endless possibilities for make-believe and adventure. Maybe the environment of fields, woods and the heavy scent of nature compounded a feeling of safety. Claygate always felt like a place outside of normal time. Violence and crime never seemed to be on anyones lips and there was a sense of freedom from the ‘big bad world’. The world seen through a child’s eyes? Possibly.

Let me take you through a few of the standout moments from my time living in Claygate;

Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 1977. Street party! Friends were easy to come by in the cul-de-sac that I lived in. We all seemed to get on, no matter what the age. The children from the street would play games of forty forty or it seemed that way. I remember winning second place in the fancy dress competition that day. Both my younger brother and I were dressed as red indians but I went up to collect the prize. I have a picture of me in the prizing winning costume somewhere and will think to get it scanned and added at some point.

AD&D and beyond. The foundations of my appreciation of what a good game is began back in the ’80s. Card and board games came and went but as soon as I experienced my first taste of a AD&D game at a friends, my whole perspective was changed. The friend in question had a games room that contained a snooker table that doubled for some table-top gaming. I think we had a small group of around five but that was an ideal number for my Cleric to get some tough adventuring. I loved that the DM spoke the scene and from the rolls of a trusty d20 developed the adventure with hardly any visual aids. Our AD&D group didn’t live long. It didn’t break any records but it was magical moment that I have not since recaptured. Of course computer gaming – thanks Elite – then came into my life but not before I’d had a good few years of PBM games like that of Crasimoff’s World and Saturnalia. I remember I use to hound our postman as I waited for each new turn to arrive. Some of the wonder of PBM gaming was the wait between sending your turn in and having a GM work out what happened and getting it back to you. A two week wait wasn’t unheard of and can you imagine today’s gamer having that kind of patience?

I feel there’s more about my childhood in Claygate that I have yet to put down in words. You may well see a further post from me on this subject but it really depends on whether you, dear reader. Would want to hear more about those wonder years?

Written by David Osbon

September 12, 2012 at 12:37 am

Posted in Childhood

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We built our own world

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My continued studying relies heavily on excellent soundtracks that I listen to (with headphones of course) to keep my mind focused on the task at hand. Music without lyrics helps to motivate me but it’s also a form of meditation that keeps unwanted thoughts and distractions at bay.

I prefer my soundtracks to have a life of their own rather than just be incidental to the movie. Both The Social Network OST and Inception are their own creation and don’t need the movie to fully enjoy the experience. Probably my favourite from the last few years has been Hans Zimmer’s Inception OST.  The way it builds, climbs and simmers is just wonderful to hear and I never bore of hearing it.

So October will see my nose back in the study books and I’m anxious to pick up a few new OSTs that can aid me through the next six months. I’ll possibly pick up the Prometheus OST very soon but I need a few more, any suggestions?

Written by David Osbon

September 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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