Relocation 
Proud, Thoughtful, Annoyed, Normal
User:Ashley (allsorts46)
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:relaxed
Music:Pandora's Box - It's All Coming Back To Me Now
Wednesday 29th of July, 2009
03:48 AM
Work lost out to sleep again today. On Monday I did actually make it in, but only did seven hours, so it looks like I'll be missing a few hours this week, having got off to such a bad start, and that the weekend will be consumed by moving. I had expected to be away in Romania this week anyway though, so I suppose anything is better than what I would've been doing. Oh, and speaking of moving, I realised that I forget to mention when in my last entry. We have to leave the house by the morning of the 7th, I believe, so we need to get all of our stuff out and the entire place cleaned before then. Like when we moved in, we're hiring a van between us, and Graham's Dad has agreed to drive. Saturday is convenient for him, and so that's when we'll be doing the bulk of the moving - my furniture and most of our boxes. Most of my things are going into storage, because the room I'll have at my parent's house is pretty small, and they don't have much free space to store anything. The storage isn't particularly expensive, and whilst it is an extra cost, it's a hell of a lot less than what I'll be saving by moving out. This house has been affordable, but only just - it's consumed almost all of our income, meaning I haven't been able to save anything at all. At my parents', I'll be paying only for what I use in electricity and water, and for my food.

In the months leading up to this, I've been alternating between wanting to leave and not wanting to leave. On one hand, the financial saving is not just a good thing in itself, but also a relief - if I want to take a week to see Diana in Germany for example, I'll no longer have to worry about whether I can still pay the rent - but on the other hand, I do like it here. It's a big change to go from living independently back to having a single room in a shared house. I know technically I share this house with Graham, but here I have an equal share of everything (except our bedrooms) - the kitchen is my kitchen as well as his kitchen, but at my parents' it's their kitchen and I'm just using it. The are family of course, and I'll feel at home (I have a big problem with feeling like a guest), but my personal space will be confined to one small room. Then there's the location - Market Close is extremely convenient, and I've got very used to having various forms of transport, a 24-hour supermarket, my bank, and numerous other useful things within a few minutes walking distance. I don't much like the area my parents live in. It's also further from work. I was planning to start riding my bike to work again like I used to, but I tried that for a few days whilst I was 'house-sitting' for Graham's parents in June, and failed spectacularly. Five miles to work used to be no problem at all, but it's been so long that I've become very unfit. Maybe I'll get back into it, but I won't enjoy it one bit. At least it might motivate me in learning to drive sooner.

Today I didn't get out of bed until about 7pm, and when I went downstairs Graham and Rachel asked if I wanted to go with them to eat at The Antelope. I've only eaten there once before, a few months ago, and had meant to write about it then, but as you know I never got around to updating for several months. I wouldn't normally bother mentioning going out for a meal, because it's been pretty common since we've been living here (since Poole is absolutely full of restaurants and cafes and sandwich bars and the like), but I decided that the meal I had was probably the best meal I've ever had in my life. The menu isn't anything special, they have the same things you can find in most establishments in the area, but it was the quality that impressed me. I don't think they could have got it more right, everything is just perfect, from the preparation to the quantity you get. If you live anywhere near here, I highly recommend eating there. I believe they're a hotel as well, but I can't comment on that.

I've been playing games lately. First of all, I bought Morrowind on Steam (even though I already own it - it came with a graphics card I bought years ago), beause it was cheap in some sale and I'd been feeling an urge to play it again. This time, I'm a naked cat. The main reason for that is I always tend to play the the same way, becoming skilled in long blade and light armour, and hacking everything in sight to death - it's just too easy. I tried replaying as a pure magic character a while back, but that wasn't really enjoyable. This time, I'm playing unarmed and unarmoured (unclothed, in fact). The way Morrowind's combat system works means that with a high 'unarmoured' skill, you actually resist more damage without armour than you do whilst wearing it, and it's not any harder to level these skills than it is to level blade and armour. I've been quite enjoying what is probably my fourth or fifth playthough, but it got interrupted because another game I wanted had a special sale price...

So I bought Fallout 3. I'd been wanting to for a while, but the price was still relatively high and the trailers hadn't impressed me at all, though I'd only heard good things from those who'd played it. It took me a while to get into it, but I enjoyed it once I did. I can see how people compare it to Oblivion, but I think it's a big improvement over that; most of the things that annoyed me most about Oblivion were gone, or at least changed or reduced. Its interface is still horribly 'console-y', but I guess we just have to accept that for these days; nobody seems to want to write with PC in mind any more. Actually, only two things bothered me about fallout: the first is something that really annoyed me in Oblivion and many similar games, and whilst is less apparent in Fallout 3, is still there: levelled enemies. I believe that different locations in the world should have different levels of difficulty, with the main plotline leading you smoothly from the easy to the hard. If you wish you go off and explore by yourself, you can, and if you find easy places you'll be okay and if you find hard places you'll get pwned. What these games do instead is level the enemies you encounter to roughly match the level of your character, but that just isn't realistic. It also means that the game never gets any easier, because as you get better, so do the enemies you face, which takes away a sense of reward for your hard work - it's a nice feeling for a player to see their character develop and become more powerful. You can still control progression and avoid the game becoming to easy by having later areas of the game be more difficult, but they should always be that difficult, even if that prevents you from going there early on. As your character grows, places that used to be a challenge should become easier naturally, because you're more powerful now. I do not appreciate places that used to be populated with say, scorpions, suddenly being populated with ultra-tough super giant ultra scorpions, just because I'm a higher level than I used to be. In Oblivion this was ridiculous; high level characters would often encounter 'bandits' or 'highwaymen' on the roads that used to realistically have average equipment, but suddenly were wearing high quality expensive armour and carrying rare and powerful weapons.

The second thing that bothered me was that it ended. Yeah, I know that's what games tend to do when you complete them, but this is an RPG by Bethesda, and being familiar with their Elder Scrolls series, I expected to be able to continue playing once I'd finished the main quest. Instead, I was surprised by... the credits, and then the main menu. For me this just makes me feel like I wasted my time. If it was a shooter, I would understand - you play through the levels, your goal being to complete them one by one and eventually to reach the end of the story and finish the game. However, Fallout isn't like that - it gives you a free world to explore, with hundreds of characters and locations and side quests. It encourages you to invest time in your character, and to collect special and rare items, to actually care about your relationship with other characters and factions. Then you finish the main story, and you have to stop playing. Any time you spent doing anything other than the main quest is rendered completely meaningless.

The other game I'll mention is Trine. Seeing Trine made me happy, because I miss 2D platform games - some of them, particularly the original Sonic games for the MegaDrive/Genesis, are some of my most loved games. Many of the old franchises that originated from 2D platformers went 3D in the late 90s, and in doing so, many people (including me) agree, lost almost all of what made them great. Trine takes the old genre, and adds more modern elements like up-to-date graphics, and physics (and a story, which I have to admit, most 'old' games lack). The levels are indeed beautiful, and though the game is pretty easy, it's quite fun, especially with the physics (the creators would say physics puzzles, but considering they take no intelligence at all to solve, I wouldn't go that far). The last level isn't easy - as I saw someone else saying in a review somewhere, there is a ridiculous spike in difficulty for the last level relative to the rest of the game, which can be very frustrating, but still not too much of a challenge after a few attempts. It's a bit short, I suppose, but I think that of all games these days. I know it's my fault because every time I buy a new game, I stay up all night an play it until I finish it, but still... the average game only provides me with about eight hours of play these days, some less, some more, and that's playing everything on the hardest difficulty (nothing else seems to be a challenge any more). The only notable exception to that, out of the games I've played in the last year, is probably Half-Life 2, which was superb.

Now would probably be the right time to sleep. I only woke up around 5, so I've been awake for about eleven hours. Assuming I go straight to sleep now, there's a chance I might do a decent day tomorrow. I need to call some companies and inform them of the move, and ask Abi for some boxes, as well as continuing my work on transaction support for the RAWR storage engines. We'll see...
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