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Journal Journal: Mass Effect 2 : Can you say 'Eye f@ck ' ? Dumbed down ? 5

Someone needs to teach the development team of Mass Effect 2 that changing camera angle every 0.5 seconds during dialogue routines does not make your game more 'cinematic' or 'artsy', it just fucks up the player's eye during dialogues and introduces nausea.

Imagine you are following a long conversation with many options, and the camera is changing its point of view on every 0.5 seconds on average. AND on top of that camera is set to look at very odd angles, like very close to someone's elbow looking towards their head. And add to that the conversation target constantly moving about here and there, trying to create a more 'cinematic' environment, and you can imagine the eye sorrow you will endure after 30-45 minutes of play.

Its like watching a low grade porn, in which the directors think that shaking the camera while shooting makes the film more 'art' than 'porn', ending up with neither art, nor porn in the end.

Not to mention that, the 3rd person camera mode makes you feel like you have climbed onto Shephard's shoulders and sitting there like a 9 year old in a football match, while obscuring roughly 20% of the screen at all times. It makes you feel like you are 'playing' Shepard more than you are playing the game through him. Doesnt matter even if you have a 32'' huge monitor, or a huge Plasma, or any weird, gigantic display setup - 20% of your screen will always be wasted on something which will never change - Shepard.

What is actually disturbing in the end is not these design mistakes, but how did bioware prevent you from changing anything to your preference. You cant change camera angle during combat, or out of combat, you cant change the 0.5 sec on average camera angle change during dialogues, you cant change pretty much any positioning/camera related thing in the game. This stems more from their desire to cater to consoles apparently, where you have little possibilities for changing anything related to camera. However it is appalling that they have ported the thing exactly like this to PC, where people have more ability to change to their preference.

Not that in its current state, the game would be 'rational' in regard to human eye capabilities even if on a console + TV setup though.

When we look at its other aspects, we see another design flaw - when you are using the Galaxy map, you are actually prevented from zooming in/ zooming out. What this means is, if you want to get out of a certain level of zoom (ie, in planet or system levels), you will have to actually fly your ship towards the edge of the system in order to be able to zoom out, spending fuel in the process. Silly. Still, spending fuel is not much of a problem (despite being insanely stupid - imagine, you are using a top notch spaceship, but you can only zoom out to see your ship's galaxy map projection if you get out of a system), however, the problem is having to fly towards places you cant see. There is no way to change this either - you have to suffer through this.

Game is also extremely dumbed down. Despite teammate ai working well and this being good, the RPG elements, customization of the game is SO dumbed down that you neednt look at what kind of weapon you are using, how many clips you have left, or upgrade them. Actually, you dont even need to pay much attention to character development of shepard or your team mates. Just pile up points here and there, and it will do just fine.

All the other stuff in the game is dumbed down too - picking up stuff, what you can pick up, what you can use for what, ANYthing is so dumb that you can just click space if you see a blue rectangle highlighting something, and it will be alright. The only thing that is rather distorting such an idyllic object interaction format is rare terminal hacking or case opening sequences. They are also rather simple.

Story also is weak. Its rather like Dragon Age's "Hey, a new blight has come, AGAIN, so lets get a team together and end it, until the next blight comes and Bioware has to put out a game in DA universe again !" format - in this case 'another evil' has come to the universe - and this time its a plague.

One thing ME2 shines, just like DA:O shines is, the execution.

The game's dialogues, graphic presentations, scenery, ALL the items except the big picture (main story) and user friendliness aspects are implemented SO well that, it makes the game enjoyable minus the eyesore it inflicts due to camera woes.

I dont know what hit Bioware in the head that they have started to include user unfriendliness in their games as a fundamental element, despite i can guess what caused them to dumb the game down, and come up with rinse-and-repeatable main stories for their games. However, in order to be able to make great, perfect games like they used to, they need to iron out these issues, asap.

Journal Journal: People of the DC Beltway, MBTP ALERT!

Montag Weatherwire
04 December in the year of our Lord, 2007

Snow is falling in Arlington, VA NOW! Hurry, get on the METRO, get to your cars, drive on the sidewalks, run over trash cans, BUY ALL OF THE MILK, BREAD AND TOILET PAPER THAT YOU CAN!

Then abandon your vehicles in the most disruptive locations possible, like major intersections!

This has been a public service of Guy Montag, humanitarian.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: LEEEAVE HILLARY ALLLLLONE!.....Please. 3

How friggin dare anyone out there make fun of Hillary after all she has been through. She lost her free house, she went through an impeachment. She has one friggin kid. Her husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now shes going through a political battle. All you people care about is..... readers and making money off of her. SHE'S A HUMAN! What you don't realize is that Hillary is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about her. She hasn't performed on stage in days. Her song is called "give me more" for a reason because all you people want is MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE. LEAVE HER ALONE! You are lucky she even performed for you BASTARDS! LEEEAVE HILLARY ALLLLLONE!.....Please. Paris Hilton talked about professionalism and said if Hillary was a professional she would've pulled it off no matter what. Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publically bash someone who is going through a hard time? Leave Hillary Alone Please.... Leave Hillary Clinton alone...right now! I mean it. Anyone that has a problem with her you deal with me, beacuse she is not well right now. leave her alone!

Original here.


Journal Journal: Unfair comments toward the Honerable Mrs. Clinton? 2

So, the Honorable Mrs. Clinton has been "swiftboated"? In my book, it means that a liar has been brought to-rights, but okay.

She also serially flip-flopped on the same ILLEGAL immigrant issue .5 dozen times in a few days? She was for it, before she was against it THREE TIMES?

Her underlings put on notice the next questioner, Wolf Blitzer, not to "pull a Russert"?

Mrs. Clinton is the Honerable John Kerry, in pants.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Letter to a Euro Surrender Monkey

Too much background to get into on this, but the letter should stand on it's own. A chick I went out with a couple of times, who went from a Euro Hawk to surrender monkey on a dime. Names have been deleted to protect the monkey.

I am doing fine, same as I was last I wrote.

Hope you work out that house thing and whatever else you have going on.

Perhaps those of us who take the world seriously will stop the attacks on civilization before the insurgents are at the gates of Vienna again, in spite of those who find it to be an inconvenience to their sensibilities.

Good luck to you and please send my love and appreciation to your daughter who is serving all of humanity in the most noble effort of our lives.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Assassinated by Nature

The DC metrorail crisis on 6 NOV 2007 was a stark reminder on how Nature is fighting back on human encroachment into her territory.

Nature made a valiant attempt at stopping the US Military Industrial Establishment by closing the Pentagon metrorail station through a primitive use of smoke. Yes, simple smoke, from the leaves of trees that were scattered across the electrified tracks in a coordinated effort with the wind.

Not since the assassinations of Senator Sonny Bono and a Kennedy in 1998 have we seen Nature express her displeasure at the violation of her most private regions as we have seen lately.

Even in a stump speech, Senator Hillary Clinton has noted the Assassination by Nature of millions in retaliation of the theft of oil from Mother Nature's most private areas.

Who does Nature have in her sights next? Greenpiece? NATO? London? It is anybody's guess as Nature is the most secretive of foes to annoy. One can not waterboard or drug nature into revealing her next attack, one can only wait and hope to survive.

Update 11 NOV 2007: Looks like someone else came up with this phrase a few days before my post.

Hardware Hacking

Journal Journal: Ultimate Segway Modification 1

Just saw this is "green week" or something and thought of the ultimate Segway modification: replace batteries with a Honda generator for the "ultimate" hybrid. Burn ethenol in it if you want!

The Military

Journal Journal: Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay has died.

Via The Corner at The National Review Online:

Refighting the Pacific War? [Mark Krikorian]

Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, has died. He "had requested that there be no funeral or headstone, fearing it would give his detractors a place to protest." Detractors? Protest? He helped win the war and -- oh, by the way -- saved hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of lives (both American and Japanese), but the left-wingers couldn't stand the fact that he wasn't a self-hater like them. Because, as he said, "I sleep clearly every night." You go on sleeping clearly, general.

Too bad he didn't go to law school, because I'd rather have a man like Tibbets on the Supreme Court rather than Justice John Paul Stevens, who recently told an interviewer that he was "troubled" by the fact there was "so little apparent deliberation or humanitarian consideration" before deciding to kill Adm. Yamamoto in 1943 -- the head of the Japanese navy and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. Humanitarian consideration? We're supposed to wring our hands before killing an enemy commander, on a warplane, in the middle of a war? I don't follow closely the sophistries of the Supreme Court, but if this is the quality of the man's reasoning, no wonder we're in such trouble.

11/01 11:21 PM

User Journal

Journal Journal: Did I write about this before? (Vietnam Era Vet)

Maybe I have thought about writing this for so long that I just think I wrote about it. Or I posted it on someone else's 'blog.

Lakeside Inn, Reston, VA

I was talking to two older guys, both Army veterans. One, who I had talked to many times, was a Special Forces guy in Vietnam. He always had some obscure thing to bring up and talk about, but he was tricky about it and there usually was an interesting lesson related to his stories. The other guy was just drunk and confusing.

So, the non-SF guy starts quizzing me about my background.


Me: "Huh? I have 20 years of service; have been in 3 different Officer Fields and two Enlisted MOSs . . ."


Me: "When I enlisted I was a 45N and then I was a 19E . . ."

He kept going on and on, as if he had never heard about anybody ever progressing past pot-scrubber and basically calling me a liar about my background. He also went on and on about how his time in the Army was the most traumatic time in his life.

Me: "When were you in?"

Him: "During 'nam, 1970 - 1972" (not sure if that is exact, but it was around then)

Me: "Oh wow, you must have seen some rough stuff. Most of the Vietnam vets I know don't have that attitude. Where were you stationed?"

Him: "Germany."

Me: "WHAT!? and what was YOUR MOS?"

Him: "Truck driver (he did name the MOS code too)."

Me: "Lemme get this straight. You are sharp-shooting me, with 20 years of service and the most 'traumatic' experience in your life was driving trucks around Germany in the 1970's??? AND you can't get over that experience???"

The conversation degraded from there. If I wrote about this in the past it was probably more accurate. All this PV1 Beauchamp stuff reminds me about that guy whenever it comes up, except PV1 Beauchamp is actually doing rough duty.

The Media

Journal Journal: Tim Rutten of the LA Times is a Retard

Drudge, New Republic battle over 'Baghdad Diarist'
October 27, 2007

In his account, Beauchamp described various ways in which the occupation of Iraq brutalized soldiers in his combat infantry unit. He described the ridicule of a disfigured Iraqi woman, attempts to run over stray dogs with Bradley fighting vehicles and the mistreatment of dead children's remains.

In his own reaccounting, he was not in Iraq when he met the disfigured woman, he was in Kuwait. Actually, not his accounting, but the supposedly by the other soldiers that The New Republic asked to back the story. He NEVER said she was Iraqi.
Also, in the readily available documents, he would not swear uner oath to have seen Bradley IFVs running over dogs or the desecration of human remains.

The writer's identity quickly was revealed and both the New Republic and the Army investigated.

Yes, his identity was revealed by his publisher, The New Republic as was that of his wife who was writing for them at the time, Elspeth Reeve. BTW, the Army was already investigating him for OPSEC violations in his weblog.

The magazine determined that the incident involving the disfigured woman was concocted and corrected that,

Not quite. They minimalized a serious error that undermined the entire premise of the story. Otherwise, you are on track. On the window track that you are licking on the short bus.

but also reported that interviews with Beauchamp's comrades substantiated his version of the other events.

Other than the fact that none of them backed those accounts up under oath. Neither did PV1 Beauchamp. The man has a title, you might try using it in your writing.

The Army's investigators refused to release details of their findings, but said in an e-mail that Beauchamp's "allegations are false, his platoon and company were interviewed, and no one could substantiate the claims he made."

The Congress has restricted what can be released as a part of public law. The parties to the investigation have protection under the law, no matter how much you do not like or understand it and public releases of information are not the data dumps that you might wish.

A report in the Weekly Standard alleged that, as part of the Army investigation, the private also had signed a statement totally disavowing his piece. When the New Republic inquired about such a statement, an Army spokesman denied it existed.

The Weekly Standard spoke out of school, at the time. However, the now illegally released record supports The Weeekly Standard's source. seems to be an unofficial source, subject to LEGAL (ever read that word before?) retribution.

Since then, Beauchamp has remained in Iraq with his unit and the magazine has been unable to communicate with him.

Other than 2 or 3 times as stated by Mr. Franklin Foer and a transcript from a 6 September 2007 telephone conversation. Did you know that you refer to the transcript later in this article? How could you be unaware of a conversation that you write about in this same article? Are you Fairbankising all the way through?

Both the New Republic -- still unable to determine whether its story was true or false -- and bloggers interested in the case -- enraged that the story had "defamed" and "dishonored" the U.S. military -- have filed Freedom of Information Act requests for release of documents produced by the Army's inquiry.

Yep, you got something correct. Funny how the raw, un-redacted version does not look so hot for Mr. Foer and his crew, huh?

The Drudge writer, whoever that may be, then went on to list four documents he or she had obtained. Two were transcripts of a Sept. 7 telephone conference call in which Beauchamp, with at least two military superiors present with him in Iraq, spoke at length with New Republic editor Franklin Foer and the magazine's executive editor Peter Scoblic.

You went through all of that crap when you knew about this!?

Oh, only one person in the room was a true "military superior", his squad leader. The PAO representative, while higher in rank (just by accident, PV1 Beauchamp would have been an SP4 if he could just stay out of trouble) was not in the Private's chain of command.

At a certain point in the conversation, the latter two telephonically included the lawyer the magazine had retained to represent Beauchamp. In the course of this conversation, Beauchamp repeatedly refused to confirm or deny the details of his diarist piece and professed his desire to devote himself entirely to fulfilling his duties as a soldier.

Seems you missed the part where the TNR reps. did the whole mob-movie-like thing hoping nothing bad happened to his wife Elspeth "Ellie" Reeve.

One of the documents is a kind of executive summary of the Army's investigation, concluding that Beauchamp's article was entirely false and recommending that he receive psychiatric treatment. The fourth document, according to Drudge, was "a signed 'Memorandum for Record' in which Beauchamp recants his stories and concedes the facts of the Army's investigation -- that his stories contained 'gross exaggerations and inaccurate allegations of misconduct' by his fellow soldiers." (In fact, signing such a document -- if it exists -- is not an admission of guilt, but merely an acknowledgment that the person under investigation has been shown the contents.)

It was interesting to note that Drudge provided links to the transcripts and report but not to the purported "Memorandum for Record."

Are you talking about the "Memorandum of Concern", a counceling statement, included in 2.pdf, that was signed by LTC (Tim, that means Lieutenant Colonel) George A. Glaze, on 1 September 2007? Or do you mean the "Memorandum for Record", contained in the same .pdf, signed by PV1 (that means Private, E-1) Beauchamp on 1 September 2007 at 2030 hrs? Yes, the latter is just a reciept.

No, he did not overtly "recant" his stories, a PAO was on record said that to Bob Owens some time before the Drudge documents were posted. However, he did swear to a set of facts that shred the basis of his stories. Should not be a big deal for you an the TNR crowd, where Kuwait is as good as Iraq for a "horrors of war" story.

Don't you know any of this? Did you come into this story right after an Anthropology Department keg party? Are you trying to get a TNR job or as a commentor on Ezra Klein's 'blog?

Read the rest yourself. This guy needs modern medication.

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