March 2008 Archives

I've been a fan of Sony Ericsson's phones for a number of years.  I've stuck with them since I bought a Sony Z7 flip phone.

My last phone, a K700i lasted me nearly three years.  It was dropped many times and showed it with plenty of dents and scratches, but it remained functional right to the end (the dodgy joystick finally stopped working altogether).

Anyway, back on topic.  I bought a W880i recently, and have found it much more responsive in general than my previous one, except for one thing.  It was really slow to unlock the keypad.  I'd press the key combo to unlock it, and the phone would seem to freeze for several seconds before giving me control.  This was getting annoying, so I decided to do a bit of debugging to work out why.  After playing with the settings a bit, I finally tracked it down to the Orange Homescreen - a set of "quick" menus accessed down the side of the screen with the directional buttons.  I changed it to the Sony Ericsson Homescreen (just a time and date with no menus down the side) and the delay was gone.

I've no idea if this problem is specific to Orange, but the phone supports (and presumably other models also support) an operator specific homescreen so it could happen to anyone.  The delay was probably caused by the Orange Homescreen being overcomplicated (probably doing something stupid like parsing an XML file each time just to work out what to put in the menus).

Contrived Game Design

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I encountered a completely mad bit of game design in Lost Odyssey last night.  Don't read on if you don't want a (minor) spoiler.

At one point in the game you get locked up in a prison cell.  To get out, one of the characters in your party throws a magic gem at the guard which makes him lose his memory.  You then persuade him to let you out, which he does without much resistance.  Far fetched (why didn't the guard go and ask someone?), but just about plausible.

Then you have a section where you have to sneak past guards and cameras without being seen.  If you get caught you're sent back to the cell, where the amnesiac guard then spots you and says (paraphrasing)

"Oh dear, you seem to have been locked up again, I'll have you out in a sec."

He then lets you out to try the stealth section again, seemingly oblivious to the fact you've just been bundled in the cell by the other guards.  Since I'm rubbish at stealth this happened about four or five times, which just became preposterous.

It totally breaks all immersion when stuff like this happens in games - I'm ignoring the fact that the other two characters in your party disappear when you're exploring the world and then reappear for battles, cut scenes and plot points.

Game designers - STOP IT!!!

Lost: The Video Game

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...or Lost: Via Domus as it appears to be called (poor latin and everything) elsewhere in the world.

Before my foray into the JRPG genre I played the Lost game (with Katherine watching closely as she's into Lost too!).  I hate to say that like most licensed games, it's a simplistic rush job of a game with lots of minor annoyances.  However, it does have a half decent plot to it and fits in with the mythology of the TV series fairly well.

Basically, I wouldn't bother if you're not into Lost, but if you are it's worth a look, though not essential by any means.

Movable Type

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I've decided to change my blog software from Wordpress to Movable Type.  The main reason for this is that I was finding my blog to be running rather slowly.  Wordpress regenerates every page view from the database, whereas Movable Type generates static HTML pages when anything is published (be it a post, comment, etc) which should make things a lot snappier.

I've imported everything from my old blog (a surprisingly easy process), and put in a redirect on the server to the new page.  This will mean however that people will need to change their RSS/Atom feeds to point at the new system.  It also means my facebook profile has reimported all the posts, but that's not really a major problem.

Lost Odyssey

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I've utterly rejected the JRPG genre for years, dismissing it as a pointless exercise in grind and random battles, so imagine my surprise (if you will) at finding myself rather addicted to one of them. I was given a copy of Lost Odyssey for free from work (one of the advantages of working in the games industry) and put it into my 360 expecting to tinker about with it for half an hour or so and then never play it again.  In actual fact, it's drawn me in and I'm really enjoying it.  A deep plot (which does take a while to get going), some wonderful writing, great production values and even the random battles are fun as there's a lot of depth and strategy to them. I'm pleasantly shocked and intend to play this one to completion. I'm currently somewhere in disc one of four, so I expect it to take a while.  There are a few niggles, as with everything - it's too sentimental in places, too cheesy in others and the long time between save points is evil in its purest form, but I am finding it difficult to put the game down.  I can heartily recommend this as a good intro to the genre.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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