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Tycho / on Wed, Jul 19 2006 at 9:19 am

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Do You Hear What I Hear

  Most of the recent flights we’ve taken, I’ve turned to prescription anti-anxiety medication in order to make those experiences something less than psyche-shredding death jaunts.  I meant to discuss it, but it never came up, because the time that I would usually employ describing a harrowing flight in soporific detail was spent thinking, man, about how each human civilization really is like a lighthouse.

You know.  In its way.

The reality is that the product in question doesn’t actually keep you from worrying.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was definitely something a little more turn-key.  The way that it works is that you feel every ounce of the terror you always did before, it’s just that now you don’t actually care.  I find this a little unnerving, although certainly not while this strange elixir is in effect, when a man could saw off my arm and I would declare in an even tone that this was not an "optimal outcome."  So I decided to try it without, a course of action I regretted almost immediately, as I was again seized by the skyfear.   

I’ve tried to figure out what that means, capital M Means, or maybe even means - and I think it means that I do have principles, but that they disappear immediately upon the first moment of adversity, challenge, or even mild discomfort.  Even tickling might be sufficient.   

We spent the better part of the day setting up the booth, which was number 1237 last time I looked at it, and after celebrating Kara’s birthday with what I would call enthusiasm we returned to the hotel lounge, where the plan was to utilize the laptop I’m typing on now - supposedly a Tablet PC - to create sketches as we’ve done them for several years running.  The machine appears to have retained the PC portion of its functionality, while the suite of abilities we associate with Tablets has gone missing.  So, we took a picture of the drawing, there on the table with the artifacts of our moral decline and we have presented it for you to do with as you wish.  A lot of people tend to simply view them, but it may be that you have other plans and of course we here at Penny Arcade endorse that.

I saw over at Evil Avatar that the Team Fortress 2 trailer went up, and I’m glad, because I have tried to write about it on no less than three occasions and come up with nothing.  I’ll tell you what I kept getting stuck on, and you’ll think I’m ridiculous, but here it is:  at five seconds in, the Heavy class fires his signature weapon, and the muzzle flash on it is also cel-shaded.  I couldn’t surmount it.  It’s something that really needs to be seen, and in high resolution.

While I was glad of that, it was also easy just to change the tf2 in the link to portal and get the high-res Portal video - it’s also available here, if Valve’s servers begin to think the better of it.  There’s a lot of "diagram humor" in it that comes across better at 720, and there’s all kinds of extra information there about techniques when you can pause it yourself.  It also has a story apparently, which hasn’t been communicated by the trailer, but it takes place in the same continuity as Half-Life itself.  I’ve heard the ideas it presents dismissed as ripping off Prey, and if there is a more ignorant statement to be made regarding these two games it has yet to be discovered.  Prey’s portals aren’t user created.  What’s more, they’re used in a completely different way:  Prey is a first-person shooter, while Portal is clearly…  something else.  It’s a puzzle game, or an adventure game, or a platformer.  You tell me.     

I wasn’t aware that it was based on a game called Narbacular Drop until Chris said so, but apparently that’s old news - that first link is broken right now because the entire gaming world descended on their equipment for an early taste of what became Portal.  It was a DigiPen student project apparently, and what I heard (but don’t know) is that Valve picked up the whole group of them and set them to work on the concept using Source.  It doesn’t look like Source though, not the Source we know - it’s using some depth of field effects on the weapon itself, and it has that motion blur Next-Gen titles like Perfect Dark Zero use when you look around.  No doubt that stuff will make it a better fit on the next-gen consoles its destined for.

(CW)TB out. 


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