journal for 2002-06-21

back from the dead

Well, I haven’t been dead, just lazy. Or, more accurately, compulsively playing Golden Sun and Advance Wars. Both are wicked fun, but I am getting a little tired of the stock video game RPG. First of all, the description ‘RPG’ is something of a misnomer. I mean, how much role-playing is really involved in any of these games? In Golden Sun, I mostly wander around, fight, collect items, and occasionally witness cut scenes in which I occasionally answer yes/no questions—and my answer doesn’t affect anything, except (sometimes) the next line of dialogue.

Also, the constant raiding of people’s houses is nuts, as is the fact that after saving a village from dragons I still need to pay for my room in the inn. They should be happy that I didn’t charge them! Of course, maybe the agreement is that citizens don’t mind it when adventurers plunder their homes, because they know that eventually the few lost potions and coins will be repaid in the form of slain dragons. If I ever write my own video RPG—Riku no Gaiden—I will try to make it at least vaguely more realistic. I will also try to avoid the “sixteen year old kids who become Masters of the Universe by their seventeenth birthday” motif. Look at Lord of the Rings. The events of that story take something like two years, and by the end, none of the characters has gone from being a nobody to commanding vast world-altering powers. Sure, they get a little tougher and a lot more important, but that’s about it. In Golden Sun, my character was struggling to kill rats. Today—that’s a few weeks later, in game time—he summoned a meteor down to crush his opponant.

It’s possible that Neverwinter Nights will solve this sort of problem by making the gaming experience more modular—once you finish the bundled adventures, you buy more. I don’t know, though, and I won’t find out—Neverwinter Nights only runs on the dreaded devilbox “PC,” and I’ve discounted the PC for games, apart from chess, go, and the like. (Well, I’m also known to go back for some two-fisted StarCraft action now and then, too.)

Super Mario Sunshine is still nine weeks away; maybe I should lay off the GBA for a while to stretch out the games I have.

ice cream

On the topic of my life as fat, lazy geek: I finished my tour of flavors at the hedgehog by eating a cone of heathbar crunch. Now I can go back to ordering tiny servings of the same few flavors over and over—no more experimenting for me! Soon, my name will be on the plaque on the wall. I’ll try to get a pic.


What with the restructuring here at work, my boss now has a new boss. They’ve got the same name. This now means that in a department with eleven people, there are seven names to go around.

Anyway, the new boss will be permanently stationed in Wales, but he’s visiting this week. So far, he seems like a reasonable, personable guy. He’s really gung-ho about getting our ERP system on its feet, which could affect me in a lot of different ways. Ideally, he will decide that I don’t ever need to look at it again, but will not decide to make my job redundant. (The latter clause is the more important, here. My boss assures me that I have nothing to worry about.)


I’ve been able to work mostly on coding, lately, which is good. I switched my Active Directory (ech!) interface from DBD::ADO to Win32::OLE ADO, and it’s a lot faster, but still too slow. I might try implementing the XML-RPC AD bridge discussed on O’Reilly. I think the speed problems might go away, anyway, once I put this software on the server.

I didn’t do much else worth noting, mostly because I’ve been busy saving the world from these madmen who want to use the Elemental Stones to light the Four Lighthouses. You know how it is…

Written on June 21, 2002