You know, it’s not half bad

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I finally put some time into playing Horizons last night (and this-morning), and I feel compelled to state publicly that I’m impressed. It’s far to soon to issue any kind of long term review of it, but I can see why my friends have been deserting EQ in droves to play it. The trade-skill engine… Read more »

I finally put some time into playing
Horizons last night (and
this-morning), and I feel compelled to state publicly that I’m impressed. It’s
far to soon to issue any kind of long term review of it, but I can see why my
friends have been deserting EQ in droves to play it. The trade-skill engine is
rich and entertaining, combat is fun and has a deeper tactical element than EQ.
The graphics are nice, bordering on very nice and the design work is really
first-rate.

The really great thing about it is that the areas feel like real landscapes,
hills roll believably, mountains tower and deserts stretch as far as the eye can
see. The whole thing really gives the impression that more thought has gone into
what a landscape should look like than what texture to put on the cookie-cutter
zone layout.

So far I’ve also seen a minimum of monster-level-craziness. One of the things
that always bugged me in EQ was the way a zone would be designed and filled with
appropriate monsters (apparently) before a level range was decided for it. So
you’d end up with walruses (yes, seals with big teeth!) on Velious being
significantly tougher than giants on Antonica. Absurd. I know it doesn’t affect
the game mechanic at all, but it really destroys any sense of continuity the
game might have had.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more about it. For now I’m tentatively giving
Horizons an eight out of ten.

The next guy

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Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later (although I must admit, I’d expected it to be somewhat later), my (recent) ex and a guy I know have become “an item”. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my reservations about the speed and circumstances of this, but it’s not my place… Read more »

Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later (although I must admit, I’d
expected it to be somewhat later), my (recent) ex and a guy I know have become “an item”.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my reservations about the speed and
circumstances of this, but it’s not my place to comment any-more and
neither of them have asked for my opinion. Aside from what I hope are purely
objective common-sense objections, I wish them both the best, and hope they can
make each other happy.

In the middle of the night…

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Well, last night was very instructive for me. For the first time in the year and a half I’ve lived here I went for a bit of a sightseeing walk. Of course it was midnight when I left, so I didn’t see a lot of the sights, but I do know more about what’s around… Read more »

Well, last night was very instructive for me. For the first time in the year and a half I’ve lived here I went for a bit of a sightseeing walk. Of course it was midnight when I left, so I didn’t see a lot of the sights, but I do know more about what’s around now. I didn’t go too far, just though the woods down into Little Sandhurst and then out onto the A321 back into Crowthorne, but due to my dawdling pace and the fact that it was night-time in a forest it still took me a little while.

I now have a much better idea of how the whole area fits together; the woodland, the towns, the golf-course (which I hadn’t even known was there!) and the schools (there are at least two that claim large sections of woodland as their grounds.) The thing that strikes me most is how small the wild area actually is, no more than a square mile or two, I’d guess. The next most striking thing is how much bigger than that it feels. I guess it being midnight and my having seriously impaired vision helped that illusion, but I think the heavy forestation must also help to hide the fact that you’re never more than half a mile from reasonably dense urban areas.

I also found Ambarrow Court which I had never even heard of, much less been to. This despite driving past it every day I get a lift into work. The whole area there is beautiful, with much thinner tree coverage than the woods nearer Wildmoor Heath and a long gentle incline away from the road, sharpening up to Ambarrow Hill. The ground is that fantastic springy forest-floor material, with minimal vegetation; it helps make the whole area feel more like a wood and less like a tangle of tree and undergrowth. Also, it was too dark to see much so I don’t know what flowers there were there, but the whole area had a fantastic smell – like a tropical arboretum or something. I understand that Ambarrow Court was a rich Victorian house and that they did import exotic plants. Perhaps some of them are still there now? In any case it seemed odd to be able to smell flowers at 2am in the middle of February. The area isn’t huge, and probably wouldn’t entertain for an entire day, but it is well appointed with 2 car parks, paved paths and good access for those with limited mobility. There are a variety of natural habitats and it’s all extremely beautiful. I’d recommend anyone who lived in the area take the time to visit, even if only for an hour or two one afternoon.

Being out walking for a few hours also gave me ample time to think (which was the main reason I went — although I did end up enjoying the walk on its own merit,) and I came to some important realisations about my life and what my priorities aught to now be. All a bit personal for publication really, but I hope to swing myself away from all this negativity I’ve been spewing recently. Don’t panic, people: The Real Will is on his way back!

I actually had a good day at work today!

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Today at work was entirely taken up by the “Solaris Technical Conference”. This was an all day even, featuring presentations by some of the Solaris group working in Sun UK. I’m pretty sure that I can’t mention much of what was discussed in a public place like this (or at least if I did, I’d… Read more »

Today at work was entirely taken up by the “Solaris Technical Conference”. This was an all day even, featuring presentations by some of the Solaris group working in Sun UK. I’m pretty sure that I can’t mention much of what was discussed in a public place like this (or at least if I did, I’d have to examine my apache logs, hunt you down and kill you), but it was all very interesting and informative. There was the odd subject that wasn’t new to me, but most of it was an education.

Of course it did highlight to me that there are actually people in Sun doing interesting, new development. And I’m not. The project I’m currently working on did originally have the promise of some interesting development work, but now it’s looking more and more like all the fun work is going to be done by other groups, leaving us as nothing more than glorified project managers again. If it does end up that way, then I may well start to seriously look at getting a transfer into the Solaris group. Platform work could well just not be my cup of tea.

Yesterday I made an inappropriate post.

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It was about the specifics of some bad news that it’s not my place to make public. I think it’s quite enough for a public forum like this to say that yesterday my ex had some extremely bad news, which upset her a great deal. Needless to say this was very difficult for me. By… Read more »

It was about the specifics of some bad news that it’s not my place to make public. I think it’s quite enough for a public forum like this to say that yesterday my ex had some extremely bad news, which upset her a great deal. Needless to say this was very difficult for me.

By way of cheering ourselves up we ordered some pizza, and ruined my diet, and my attempt to give up pizza. Both start again today.

Let there be voice!

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I finally just managed to get my teamspeak server up and running, so hopefully I’ll be able to chat to people while gaming soon. I’m not sure what the bandwidth use will be like though, so I’ll have to experiment a bit. Hopefully it won’t be too bad for games I’m hosting here. Since the… Read more »

I finally just managed to get my teamspeak server up and running, so hopefully I’ll be able to chat to people while gaming soon. I’m not sure what the bandwidth use will be like though, so I’ll have to experiment a bit. Hopefully it won’t be too bad for games I’m hosting here. Since the primary purpose of this is to allow communication while playing Neverwinter Nights with my flatmate in the other room, I don’t anticipate a problem. If anyone else wants in on the voice action then I guess we’ll have to see what their bandwidth can do.

The other potential problem is a slight glitch in my firewall which means I have to the play some silly games to get it to work at all. I hope to get this sorted in the next couple of days.

The detritus of finished lives…

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I’m finally making progress on sorting my room out the way I want it to be. It feels odd to talk about my room, or my bed, after so many years of these things being shared, but I supposed I’d better get used to it. While I was moving all the junk from one end… Read more »

I’m finally making progress on sorting my room out the way I want it to be. It feels odd to talk about my room, or my bed, after so many years of these things being shared, but I supposed I’d better get used to it.

While I was moving all the junk from one end of the room to the other, making room for a bed that might arrive sometime this side of doomsday, I was left with a small pile of things that I couldn’t think of a place for. While I stood there, looking at them, it occurred to me that the reason these things had no place in my room was because they weren’t mine. They had belonged to me in the past, but somehow I’d left them behind with … everything else.

So, standing there in the middle of my room, miserable as sin, I decided to make a bit of a ceremony of it. I fetched a bin-bag and for the first time in my life threw out things that weren’t concretely identifiable as rubbish. It was an odd collection of stuff, but two things stood out as notable because they had been birthday presents. One (a pair of gag sex-toy dice) from an ex felt like something no-one I even know would own. The other, from a more recent ex (a picture frame that still contained it’s promotional picture: an image of York), was something that had no-use to me beyond sentiment (she bought it for me one year when she had no money, and thought that a picture of my hometown was better than nothing. She was right), and I realised that I had no right to such sentiments anymore.

Once I’d put my little time capsule in the bin I stood there for a while more, looking at it; unable to understand why such an odd little pile of things should have such a hold on me. While I was standing there, the title of this post popped into my head and I suddenly had the urge to keep a blog. So here we are. Having resolved to keep my thoughts here, in the public domain, the items (the detritus) in the bag lost all their meaning because, of course, their only meaning was as a link to my past, a crutch for my memory of happy times and hopefully as a reminder that happy times will be back.

The ceremony, of course, didn’t help at all. I’m still miserable. But at least I have a little less junk lying around that I can’t bring myself to throw out, so my room is somewhat tidier than it was.