The Hess Report

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The demise of Shrimpo and other things 

Now that Shrimpo has met his doom in a landfill somewhere, it's safe to start writing again. I was worried for a while that he was going to extend his shrimpy voodoo influence over world events, but fortunately I was wrong. Oh, he tried for sure, but we were able to defeat him with our iron wills, a helpful hand from Mr. T. (you've not lived until you've heard T shout "Enough jibber-jabber!" at a psychic, telekinetic shrimp creature!), and a Super Soaker that had been modified to squirt cocktail sauce. Want to have a go at world domination again, Shrimpo? I've got gallons of sauce from Costco in my basement. Make my day.

In addition to defeating evil seafood, I'm at one of those points where I wish I didn't sleep at all. There are maybe three more projects I'd love to be working on right now than I have time for. At the moment, I'm working (i.e. 7-3 that pays the bills), editing a book for APress, coding with the Blender 2.5 Task Force, continuing a new book project, working on porting a Spanish translation of Essential Blender into wiki format and trying to get the hang of Guitar Hero III on the Hard level. There's a significant jump in difficulty between Medium and Hard on GHIII, and I'm finding it frustrating. Not only do you add the fifth button which is rough enough on its own, but the complexity of the note patterns goes way up. If this were a linear scale, it would look like this:

That's actually a gripe with a lot of video games I've played. Instead of a gradual increase in difficulty that keeps pace with (or, more intelligently adjusts its pace to) your progress, there is usually one or two skill gaps where nothing that you've done before prepares you for what you're doing now, and it's like banging your head against a wall. I suppose that's okay if you're thirteen and have limitless hours to throw away, but for the rest of us, the people with $ to spend on stuff like this, that's not cool. And it's poor level design.

Of course, if I cut out GHIII and Wii Williams Pinball (which is the next best thing to having a real table at your house), maybe I'd have the time to add one more real project into my list, so what am I complaining about? Oh noes -- mah video game is teh hard! It's not like I'm a starving kitten lost in the snow.

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