About Me

My photo
Christian. (That means that I know that Jesus is Lord!) Programmer. Gamer. Weak 3D artist. Geek.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Can't be bothered to read my blog?

If you really can't be bothered to read my blog - if you find it hard to keep track of your friend's blogs or blogs that you would like to read..

You can use the RSS feed that I've provided at the bottom of this page, in the column on the right - just drag and drop that feed into your RSS reader application and you're set to go!

OR alternatively, you can subscribe via e-mail by submitting your e-mail address into the little 'Subscribe via email' box, also at the bottom of the right-hand column of this page.

Hope that helps!


A personal update, post Wi1C

I guess, I looked at my blog this morning and thought to myself "There's not really much about me and how I'm doing is there?"

So, this is an update.

Well, this week I've been involved with Christ Church/Bridge Chapel's joint project 'Word in One City' which was a great joy, great fun for me!

I loved being able to spend my mornings being educated from the Bible, Andrew Evans gave us us all an overview of the book of Revelation, Steve Palframan gave talks on 'The Doctrines of The Cross, The Bible and The Person of the Holy Spirit'. (It was very helpful to have re-illustrated to me from the Bible why I believe what I believe!)

Afternoons were spent, basically, telling people the gospel, trying to explain to people who Jesus is and why He died on a cross.

It's interesting that isn't it? When I grew up at school, we had the Christmas and Easter stories drummed into us - but not once did anyone tell me why Jesus was born or why He died on a cross! How crazy!

I met a lot of interesting people between Tuesday to Thursday, if you're reading this and are a Christian, please, pray that I would see those people again and that we'd be able to talk some more.


Today is Friday and I'm having a day off. This doesn't mean it's going to be as exciting as I'd like though..

Because I've been rushing in and out of my flat for the past week, it consequently looks like a bomb site. I have a list as long as my arm of people I need to call or e-mail (though this is much better than being lonely!) - so, sorry, if you're one of those people but I'm getting round to it I promise! Today, I also need to contact some more recruitment agencies in my search for a new job (I finish with Christ Church on August 26th) and work on my PlayStation 2 demo too.

I guess it doesn't sound too bad - I just wish I was spending the day with Laura - that would be nice :-)


Speaking of whom, I haven't mentioned Laura on my blog really as of yet..

Laura and I have been going out (or 'dating' if you're American) for 3 months and 1 week and 4 days. She is studying to be a doctor and is currently really busy working on her Special Study Module, which is something to do with CPR, ageism and the resuscitation debate.. I am looking forward to reading it though.

Tonight is Friday and we'll be reading through our next chunk of the book of Acts, which I think is Acts 6/7 - the choosing of the seven and Stephen's speech/stoning. I do love Stephen's speech though:

"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him - you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."

That Stephen, he was one bold chap!

Anyway, yes, Laura, for my friends from home/America/anywhere else in the world.. Laura is a beautiful, red-headed Northern Irish girl, petite and with a beautiful smile. She is very quick and intelligent, sharp to keep me in-line and to rebuke me (a necessary requirement in a girlfriend I think..) and a fast learner as to challenge me in my thinking about almost everything - which is a great encouragement for me, she forces me not to be lazy and to sharpen my arguments and to look at my Bible more. She is also lots of fun, easy to relax with and a brilliant cook :-) (Food goes a long way.. ;-) ) Above all, she is a great friend to me.


Well, I did start writing a longer sub-section to this post but have decided that I'll finish it up properly and post later in the day (if I get time!)..


Thursday, 26 July 2007

Halo 2 on 360 problems

Xbox 360 was released in Europe on November 2nd 2005 (I checked bbc.co.uk for the date..) but still there are some annoying problems that are waiting to be fixed.

Like these:

See those shadows on the walls and floors? Those shadows that are there where there shouldn't be shadows?

Exactly. Because they shouldn't be there..

This is called 'ghosting' apparently - this where parts of geometry that have been loaded into the game earlier are still effecting the scene, even though they're currently not in use.. Weird.

I wish that Bungie/Microsoft would just come out and say whether this is a 'Halo 2' game issue or a Microsoft Xbox emulator issue - but even then, I really don't care - I just want it fixed!

I see that lots of people on the Xbox.com forums are having this problem - so why isn't it being addressed?

For a game that is supposed to be very important to Microsoft, they're not doing a great job of looking after it..

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Communiques with Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb

After my recent decision to run with Xbox 360 over PS3, I admit, I've had my doubts.

PS3 has PS2 backwards compatibility, Metal Gear Solid 4, the whole range of the coming Final Fantasy XIII games..

I've found some comfort in remembering that 360 has Halo 3, Halo Wars, Blue Dragon, Crackdown, a better unified online service, Live Marketplace, the ability to play my friends over Live (that's obviously 360 specific as none of my friends have a PS3), Final Fantasy XI in HD, Virtua Fighter 5.. online(!), the list goes on..

I also need to remember I already own quite a bit of Live Marketplace content:
All 'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion' expansions and content
Street Fighter 2
All the 'Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter' content
Most of the 'Perfect Dark Zero' content
Geometry Wars
Some of the 'Call of Duty 2' content
Texas Hold 'Em

Again, the list goes on.


Though, we all need that little extra push every once and a while.

So for comedy value I thought I'd ask my (lie) good friend (/lie), Major Nelson, for a helping hand. (Only a lie because I don't actually know him..)

Major Nelson is the Head of Microsoft's Xbox Live Programming and runs a blog/podcast over at http://www.majornelson.com - Major (real name: Larry Hryb) is an extremely busy man and I've never been able to get to truely chat with him and pick his brain. (Which, Major - if you ever read this - contact me - I want geek chat about XNA and 360 architecture!!)
Anyway, I sent Larry a message explaining that if he sent me a message over Live I would buy a 360 and not a PS3. Simple as. That's all I asked for - and to be honest, knowing it was a little lame and silly I didn't expect a reply.

This was Major's response:

Whilst not the most detailed reply, no worry Major, I'll keep my word. I'll be buying a 360 again this week.

Good timing from Major though - as annoyingly, my Live Gold account has just expired. :/ Typical. :-)

David / RagingAvatar

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Why I'm moving back to 360 (or 'Why I've chosen 360 over PS3, again..')

Well, all the major E3 conferences were held yesterday and I remain severely disappointed by all the main exhibitors.

For me, Nintendo don't even factor in - I can't play a great online FPS game as Nintendo's online infrastructure is a joke, lacking modern/basic features such as a unified log-in id, the ability to know what games your friends are playing etc.

Microsoft lacked any new hardware/feature-set announcements and merely showcased all the games they had already announced - there wasn't anything new/ground-breaking for me to see there..

I have no desire for a (frankly gross looking) limited edition Halo 3 360 and the 'Messenger kit' (a keyboard attachment to use messenger on) is old news. (Though I wonder, can I use this to type in FFXI?)

Sony did impress me however.

Their showcase of MGS4, as usual, looked amazing. Phil Harrison showed off 'Home' to be a 3D world incorporating the best features of Xbox 360's dashboard and the arrival of NCSoft's MMORPGs means there's some great games coming to PS3 in future.

But a good E3 showing, does not a great console make, Sony..


These are essentially the reasons why I'm going to go back to 360:

1. I miss Halo.
2. 'Virtua Fighter 5' with achievements? Online matches? Are you kidding?
3. It's a *lot* cheaper than PS3 - and £3.33 per month for a great mature online service is worth it.
4. According to vgchartz.com, 360 has sold over 7 million more units than PS3. Unless PS3 can ship *lots* more units, quickly, game developers will be jumping onto the larger user-base in order to get their game to more gamers. I want a console that gets the good games.
5. My all-time favourite game 'Final Fantasy XI' is playable in HD on 360 and I already own it.

PS3 plus points:
1. I have beta access to PS3 games..
2. The PS3 architecture is infinitely more interesting to me than 360's - though this might prove inconsequential anyway as I can't develop anything on either at the moment..
(EDIT: I've just realised that this, of course, isn't true.. Anyone can make an Xbox 360 game using the XNA development kit.)
3. PS2 backwards compatibility.. Though this is being removed from the latest models and I would have to buy a US PS3 in order to play my US PS2 games. Which means I would have to quickly buy a US 60GB PS3 before the 80GB model is released without the hardware emulation - I can get one for £500. That's a *lot* of money..

My decision to move back to 360 is hampered by the notion that I know I won't get many great RPG games.

However, this is helped by considering this thought, these are some of the PS1/PS2 RPGs I haven't even started:
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dark Cloud
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy VIII

And anyway, these are the Japanese-style RPGs coming to 360:
Eternal Sonata
Blue Dragon
Lost Odyssey
Un-announced Mistwalker-developer 360 MMO
Cry On

And these are other RPGs I like the look of on 360 (some are already released):
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Enchanted Arms
Phantasy Star Universe
Mass Effect


So, the plan is this...

Get a 360. Beat Monkston's butt every chance I can get at 'Gears of War' and enjoy lots of co-op 'Crackdown' action.

Continue with 'Final Fantasy XI' - as if I really have a choice..

Get (J-)RPGs as and when they come available (though I played 'Blue Dragon' yesterday at Monkston's place and thought it rocked - I just had that 'I don't want to get started now - I can't save it!'-feeling).

Enjoy all that 360-media-streaming-goodness of getting videos/photos/music out of my surround sound and TV. (And it has been pretty rubbish not having a DVD player for the last few months..)

Get my Tactical RPG fix on my soon-be-purchased PSP.


So, how are you going to do this David? How are you going to get the money for a 360? Didn't you already sell yours because you couldn't afford it?

Yes, I did sell it - but I can get the money now. Easy. I'll sell my guitar.

UPDATE: Guitar has sold on eBay. Result. Buyer has collected it. Transaction complete.

David / RagingAvatar

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Clovien update

As I recently posted, I've restarted Final Fantasy XI again.

I've played the beginning of this game probably 3 times before now, each time starting as a national of the nation of Bastok.

This time however, I decided to mix it up a bit by joining the San D'Orian ranks.

This was probably the best move I could've made..
I'm not overly familiar with the city or it's surrounding areas, so starting as a San D'Orian has given XI a whole new lease of life!

This time around I really have made choices I wouldn't have made before - I decided to play as a WAR for my main job which means fast levelling (at the moment), huge HP and great use of weapons (parrying, shields etc..) but obviously I have no MP so can't cast any spells..

These are the new shots of Clovien and some include his recently purchased armour. I love it!

David / RagingAvatar