Archive for January, 2011

Or rather, very early morning shift (6am, to be precise), even though it’ll be 11am by the time most of you read this. Although, time zones being what they are, it’s always night somewhere. This is something I used to do over at Strategy Informer, where for a good few weeks I’d find myself working on late on one thing or another, and so I’d engage in the community aspect of our site and just blog about something.

Since it was night time, I usually called it the ‘Night Shift’. That just made me want to blog properly though, which lead me here. My sleeping patterns have been weird this week… saying that, it’s mainly me playing games for far  longer than I should, and then trying to deal with the aftermath. Ended up with a lot of late-for-work guilt this week… same again happened tonight, but instead of trying to ‘deal’ I decided to just power through the night and catch an early night Friday. It’s my weird way of trying to ‘reset’ my sleeping habits… although I should probably work on my gaming habits too.

Around trying to play Magicka (poor thing is still ever so slightly buggy), I’ve been getting stuck in to Sword of the Stars. Feel free to switch off here as it’s a very hardcore space-based 4X Strategy game, with both Real time and Turn based elements. The ‘4X’ part stands for “explore, expand, exploit and exterminate”, and basically applies to strategy games that have empire management in them, although it goes a bit beyond that. Basically a lot of depth, and a lot detail, but if you like that sort of thing it can be a lot of fun. The phrase was coined in 1993 by Alan Emrich, who was a games designer but who also wrote about videogames as well.

At the recent Paradox Convention I told you about, they were showing off the sequel – Sword of the Stars II, so I thought I’d do some ‘research’ so I could better appreciate where the game was coming from. Considering it’s only four years old, it could have aged better, but it’s a very enjoyable game. Talking with the lead designer was really fascinating – the vision he has for his game… it’s going to very micro-management heavy I think, but to be honest so long as it’s not frivolous then I don’t really mind.

The original has some frivolous micro-management in it, unfortunately. One of the great things about this game is that you get to design your own ships using interchangeable sections and weapons, as you get new/updated tech, you get to update the designs or create yet more. It can be a bit tedious thought to upgrade all your ship designs simply because they can now have a slightly more powerful laser. If I wanted to swap that laser out for something else – fine, but considering it’s an upgrade of an existing weapon, I’d kind of like the design to update itself.

Anyway, that’s what’s kept me up all night… I should get me one of those ‘life’ things everyone keeps going on about, I hear they’re fun.

Until next time.


That Guy

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Non-Gaming, Other
Tags: , , , ,

Program Editor: What did journalists do before Google?

News Editor: Journalism.

You know that guy? That guy who’s always linking to things around the internet that, whilst sometimes are actually kind of [Funny|Interesting|Amazing|Quaint|DeleteAsAppropiate], really only reinforces the fact that he, or she (Girls can be “that guy” too, you know) really is incapable of having an original thought and must rely on others in order to preserve the false perception that they are interesting. Don’t you just hate that guy?

On that note, here’s a [Funny|Interesting|Amazing|Quaint|DeleteAsAppropiate] that the internet found for me whilst I was working today. If you’re quite sensitive to these sort of things, don’t worry, he doesn’t die. You just have to wonder what kind of person thought that this was a good idea (probably “that guy”).

I think my favourite bit is at 0:46/47 where, having just looked behind him to see if the coast is clear, he does some kind of hand gesture/shrug that seems to say “What? I’m still alive? Is that all?” I originally saw the video here, although it’s just a blog post about how much of a nutter this guy is. Some of the comments though are quite funny, if you like other people’s comments.

Until next time.

I know, I know. I’ve been back since Sunday, I’ve been tweeting, the photos have already gone on Facebook… I should have posted something by now. If not about America, then just about something, anything. I’M SORRY. DON’T HURT ME!

But as  I said, all the way back at the beginning, I was never going to force myself to post. That’s where I went wrong last time – you force yourself to post, things get messy, you start to resent it, and it either comes through as crap writing or you just run away and pretend you don’t have a blog. I like it here, I like you guys (except you, Marco) and so I want to keep this up.

Problem is, the price of an all expenses-paid trip to New York is that I now have content coming out of my ears. Not to mention the several events I went to before NYC, as well as several new developments that occurred once I got back. Between round-up, previews, interviews, transcriptions, embargoes…. shit got real, basically. I’m probably going to have my keyboard glued to my hands for the next couple of days. I’ll try and get some stuff up, but again no promises.

Hmm, linking to my old blog made me go through some of my posts from back then. Man I was so up myself. In the mean time, enjoy a selection of photos from New York (if you can’t see them on Facebook).

Until Next Time.

So, last day… I would update you guys more as to what I’ve been up too and everything, unfortunately we have to check out soon as I’m not sure when I’ll next have access to the internet. Catching a flight this evening around 5, and going to wind up back in the UK about 8 in the morning Sunday.

Things to ponder whilst you wait:

  • Steak Gorgonzola is amazing.
  • Baileys Coffee in a wine glass, with a dessert spoon, is also amazing.
  • Waging a stealth war against the waiters is priceless.
  • Vickie Natale is a bit of alright.
  • Oh yeah, I saw some videogames didn’t I? Yeah, they were ok too I guess…


Well, this post was supposed to be done and up last night, but I ran out of time. I’d finish it now… but I’m hung over, slightly, and there’s free breakfast downstairs.

Quick update though: Yesterday was long, but good. Saw 11 titles from Paradox, and I’ve got a nother 4 or 5 left to see today. It’s going to be a good year for those guys I think, especially with their new online portal Paradox Connect driving new IP’s and franchises (and some old ones for them). I’ll post a proper round-up soon.

Last night was also very fun, we went to a local bar, took it over, and pretty much just hung out and chatted all night. I thought about trying to hit on one of the female developers, but every time I looked over they were just surrounded by guys who apparently had the same idea.

There’s not a company quite like Paradox – on the one hand they’re a videogames publisher, and I think on some levels all videogames publishers act the same way due to the fact that they have the same goals. But Paradox is definitely one of the more open and friendly publishers you will ever come across. CEO Fredrik Wester is also a legend, and it’s always a pleasure waiting to hear what he’ll say next.

Until next time.

… which is a lie, actually. I’ve been to America twice before in my life – once to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and once to Indiana, both of which are ‘further’ away from home than New York. I just wanted to use that Kaiser Chief song for a title. Still, I almost don’t count my previous two trips to the US. In Indiana I was just visiting family, and the California trip I was like, 12? 13? Couldn’t really enjoy the finer points of the place, so this marks my first trip to America as an adult.

I’m here for the next few days to see Paradox Interactive, a Swedish-based videogames publisher who specialise in niche PC titles, mainly strategy. They’re holding their annual conference, and as a change of venue from Stockholm they decided to go to New York instead – result! Had to get an early flight from London Heathrow to Dublin, and then from there to New York so I’ve been traveling/in transit for most of the day.

Almost ended before it started mind… we traveled in a group, and one of our number lost his boarding pass and the muppets at Heathrow kept sending him here there and everywhere. Ended up him and the PR guy in charge not getting on the flight and having to wait for the second one, whilst the rest of us went on ahead. I also had this kid behind me on the plane to New York who I actually wanted to punch in the face, he was so bratty. The fact that he had an American accent just made it even worse!

Anyway… not sure how much you’ll see me over the next couple of days. I’ve got to actually cover the event and write up content for Strategy Informer, as well as socialise and generally have fun. Hopefully I’ll have some interesting stories to tell when I get back.

Oh, and seriously: BEST. HOTEL ROOM. EVER. I mean this place even has a sofa!







Until next time.