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3361  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 08, 2010, 02:41:49 AM

Quote from: msduncan on March 07, 2010, 03:07:45 PM



I am still agonizing over which iPad to preorder.  

I've all but decided to get the Wifi only version.     Even though Jobs recently said 'No tethering' on the iPad.

But what size to get?    16GB is not enough space.     32GB might be enough space.    64GB you can never get enough space, but do I get this much knowing I'll probably upgrade to 2nd Gen in a couple years?

Really depends on your media and primary usage I'd say.  Are you going to travel a lot?  Put a lot of media on it?  If you like to have a lot of video on it (as I found recently on my iPhone, even just a few movies and TV shows will use it up all quick), probably a no-brainer to get the max.  Also consider we don't know what kind of games will come out in the next year or so, so it might be best to play it safe and go big.

Personally I think 16GB is enough for me since my primary usage will be at home accessing media from home servers.  But because of the X-factor of new games/apps I will likely get the 64GB.
3362  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 08, 2010, 02:34:14 AM
First TV ad aired during the Oscars, very sweet!

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/07/apple-airs-first-ipad-commercial-during-oscars/
3363  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Tablet PCs on: March 05, 2010, 10:05:03 PM
Here are 2 Windows 7 Based Tablets:

I've heard from reliable sources that the Lenovo X200 series tablets are excellent (1.4GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM).  But pricing starts at $1400 without an SSD.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=40613917C70A429B991D9A14A566FFAB

On the cheap end, Archos PCtablet 9 costs $550 using essentially baseline Netbook hardware (1.1GHz Atom, 1GB RAM), also no SSD.

http://www.archos.com/products/nb/archos_9/index.html?country=us&lang=en

- - -

And of course as was mentioned in Off Topic, Apple's iPad (1GHz A4 Processor) will be released 4/3.  But to make it clear, it's NOT a true Tablet PC, it's a... PAD thingy icon_razz

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/03/05ipad.html
3364  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 05, 2010, 07:20:34 PM
OK for the boys, only one of the Butchers remain, and sadly there is no powerhouse Korean voting block to save John Park.  On the ladies side, we lost Michelle (not really sure why) and of course Haeley.  Of course you might be tempted to play the racist card/theory after looking at this week's losers. 

Next week it's time to really shore things up.  I don't think my boy Tim can last another week, and the second butcher has to go.  On the girl's side, really tough call on the second one, but Pinkhair has to go.  Maybe Didi unless she can do a spectacular recovery. 
3365  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 05, 2010, 07:16:09 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 05, 2010, 07:03:41 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 05, 2010, 07:01:30 PM

I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one

No one needs one.

I actually do.  If I don't get one soon my head is going to explode.   saywhat
3366  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: March 05, 2010, 07:15:22 PM
Another fun ep - it's amazing to see just how good a "leader" Rob can be at challenges.  It seems to me like the whole villain tribe would have crumbled into dust without him and the whole show would have been pretty horrible.  Instead we get to see the "heroes" tear themselves apart which makes for pretty interesting dynamics.  I was sad to Cirie go (primarily for entertainment value), but for once it was definitely one of the smarter moves made in the game.  She seems to have some weird way of just sitting there chatting you up and then completely changing people's minds even if they were already made up.  I have no doubt Cirie could and would have taken out my personal favorite JT as soon as she needed to.  Of course now JT has thrown himself into a precarious position balancing between 2 alliances, and that does not bode well for him long-term.  I really don't see him having much of a chance sadly.  Between multiple alliances and all the scrambling he's done, not to mention being a previous winner, it just doesn't look good for him.  Then again, the season he won I kept thinking someone should get rid of him and they never did, so who knows.

On the villains side, I don't think Russell can last much longer.  I almost wonder if Rob would throw a challenge just to dump Russell.  And WTF happened to Crybaby Coach?  Dragonslayer?  It's more like TearShedder.  I actually find him incredibly amusing this time around.  The crying, the desperate begging for man-hugs and attention from Rob, good lord it's like having a 4 year old on the team. 
3367  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: March 05, 2010, 07:06:08 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on March 04, 2010, 06:38:22 PM

That's an interesting thought.  It also occurred to me that Sayid seems to be the only one they've shown so far that is consistent in both realities.  Except now he seems fully committed in the island reality.  His motives still seem good in both realities, but his actions...he's a killer. 

I was kind of cheering for smokemonster when he ripped through the temple, cleaning house.  The Others were a bit too overconfident about the rules.  They should have known that the rules had already changed.  Lockemonster even warns them about this via Sayid. 

Why didn't Kate tell Claire that her son was with her mother?  That seemed dumb.  Wouldn't that be the first thing she would tell her?  Claire, your son is with your mom!  He's ok.  Her explanation seemed like a convenient plot device to bring out the crazy mommy wrath of Claire.  Which of course I'm looking forward to seeing.

I made the exact same comment about Kate and Claire - you'd think that would be the most important detail.  I argued with a friend over this detail.  Still, I think the writers intended Claire to be over the top crazy so it wouldn't matter either way, but from a "detail" perspective it seems to me the first thing she should have said is he's with your mom.  I mean if I had a baby I'd want to know who he was with more so than anything else.

I likewise cheered for Smokey and Evil Sayid the whole time.  The Others have been way too smug from day one, and the whole capture/torture/branding thing really doesn't make me feel like they are the "Good" side.

On Sayid, yeah I think the whole point was really just to show, good or "evil" Sayid is a killer, regardless of how good or selfish his motivations might be.  It's just in his nature, and perhaps that's why upon judgment he tilts toward the evil side.  Of course if you go with this theory, it's hard to explain how/why Claire was taken to the dark side.  And I'm likewise not sure how that plays is both Sawyer and Kate decide to side with him.

At this point it's kind of sad because on the other team all they have is Jack, Hurley, Jordin Sparks, maybe Sun and Jin, Lawnmower Man, Miles (?), and Ben (?), possibly Jacob's ghost.  This is really not the Dream Team to save the world I would have imagined lol.  I suppose they only need one "candidate" to take over though to contain Smokey.  If I had to bet I'd say it's Sawyer who makes the ultimate heroic sacrifice and becomes the protector (Jack seems too obvious). Maybe he's playing a long long con against Smokey and of course still has to sacrifice for Kate. 
3368  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 04, 2010, 06:21:28 PM
Girl's night was weird for me.  There wasn't anything that stood out much good or bad.  I kind of liked everything, but was really not excited by anyone enough to bother voting. 

Crystal was great - I didn't know the song so it probably lost some points for me there but she definitely seemed like a frontrunner while performing.  The problem I see for her is that longer term if she isn't willing to compromise somewhat she may not be able to win the while thing.  Definitely one to watch.

Didi I thought really blew it with Lean on Me - I like what she was trying to do, but it just didn't work.  If she was set on going that route, she really needed to play it even more up-tempo and get the crowd more involved.  Lean on Me can be a real crowd pleaser but her version just wasn't.  I think she's in danger of being booted this week.

Katie made a move in the right direction but I thought it was still a poor choice for her.  Put Your Records On is actually one of my favorite songs, but it just seemed a bit weird on her.  I think what the judges are trying to push her toward is something like Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, maybe Taylor Swift.  There's a song on the radio playing a lot on pop stations called "According to You" which I think would be perfect for her.  I also think she could take a Taylor Swift song and maybe make it a bit more soulful or rockful; Taylor Swift is not a strong singer so someone with good vocal talent should be able to do a good version of one of her songs.

Pinkhair did a nice sweet version of Kiss Me but I think she may be about done.  Just nothing to stand out except for the hair.  I liked what Michelle(?) chose to do by turning a Creed(?) song into a Whitney-esque diva ballad, but ultimately I thought she failed to deliver any big diva-esque notes.  I also liked that Paige picked a Kelly Clarkson song, but sadly she chose one of her worst songs (clearly to brown-nose Kara).  It was just OK.  I can't remember what Lilly did but I thought it was pretty good.  I do remember the blond girl looked really cute and did a Coldplay song on the piano.  I think I fell asleep sadly during that but she did a decent job.  I thought it was interesting Simon asking her about the Natasha Bedingfield version, because it really seemed to be a clone of that.  The last girl (Siobhan) did a pretty awesome screech and I was impressed and scared by "the note" - I think that alone will drive her into the 12.  I think I'm forgetting someone but that probably doesn't say much for whoever it was I forgot.

All in all I can see why Simon seems to be getting more and more impatient and frustrated.  They spend all this time picking all this talent but once it gets to the competition it can all be wasted if the contestants continue to make poor choices.  I'm sure he can't wait for X-Factor where he can directly get involved and help choose the songs and arrangements, and really I don't blame him.  With some of these people you really wonder where they are getting their ideas on what to pick and how to arrange.

All that said, not really sure who will go tonight - probably Pinkhair, but other than not I'm not sure.
3369  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24, Season 8 discussion (there are spoiler tags for a reason) on: March 03, 2010, 07:10:27 PM
Yeah even though I'm still glued to the TV watching, I'd have to say thus far this season just seems like a patchwork mash of past seasons, and not even necessarily a good choice of things to copy.   I could swear they did the exact same "release fake news"/hospital set up in a prior season, with similar results.  The Scooby/Starbuck plot is horrible, they need to end it quick.  Maybe bring in Buffy to slay Starbuck (who is revealed to be a Cylon AND a vampire) and take Freddie off the show.

Oddly enough my favorite scene in this season was when the CTU head convinces Jack to "finish" the whole plotline.  And then Jack "symbolically" moves his patented man-purse strap from the side of his shoulder to crossover to the other shoulder, indicating he is IN.  Only Jack Bauer could make a man-purse seem so cool and use the man-purse strap in his "acting".  I actually ordered one from Amazon after that, I want to practice that move in the mirror so I can do that at work the next time my boss asks me to take a new assignment.   icon_razz
3370  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 03, 2010, 07:05:19 PM

Quote from: coopasonic on March 03, 2010, 02:26:46 PM

I can see why you'd like Tim, but he's useless to me and reminds me of Sanjaya.  saywhat

Oh he's clearly a mediocre singer with little stage presence, but that's what makes him fun!  Actually I think in this case Ellen was spot on, he'd do better in a show like Glee where he could just be cute and sing occasionally.  In fact maybe he should take a clue from that and sing "Don't Stop Believing" next week.  As for Sanjaya, I couldn't stand him, but sadly I think Sanjaya had a better stage presence than Tim, and it did make for great "train wreck" TV viewing.

Also agree with your comment on Garcia - the Straight Up thing is done, so either he was a one trick pony and needs to go soon, or he's saving gas in the tank for the long haul.  Will be interesting to see.
3371  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: March 03, 2010, 06:59:11 PM

Quote from: LoneStarSpur on March 03, 2010, 03:59:44 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on March 03, 2010, 02:33:11 PM

Opinions?  I kept saying "Poor Dogen, he didn't deserve that."  Also, Sayid finally goes down the path we expected him to, unfortunately.

I guess I'm going to be the last one saying "f the Others...they're getting everything they deserve!"  icon_lol

What really, really, really (really to infinity) irritates me is what they've done with Locke. The one guy who felt the Island was special, the cripple-turned-hunter, one of the greatest characters in TV history and they had him brutally murdered by a psychopath who committed mass murder because he was mad at Daddy. And now they've turned him into the face of "evil incarnate'.

That truly sucks and I can't believe the writers would do that. That's the main reason I'm holding out hope that Smokey has his reasons.

Oh, and my wife and I turned to each other and said "Bullshit!" about the teaser: "We and only show you two seconds because of all the questions we're answering!" I think we were right.  icon_lol

Anyway, it was a good episode. Do. not. fuck. with. Sayid.

Hehe, I was cheering for Smokey and the Bandits all the way.  Psycho Claire, Sayid, Lockemonster - this is the team to beat!!!! 

I think the writers still have big plans for Locke, I don't think you'll be disappointed in the long run, but I could be totally wrong.
3372  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 03, 2010, 06:38:23 AM
Weird night with Crystal's illness forcing (?) a switcheroo with the boys performing first.  Also weird is how many of the contestants look nervous and plead stage fright or inexperience.  After 2 years with the likes of David A and Cook, then Adam, Gokey and Kris, we've been accustomed to consummate professionals on stage.  Archie was shy but you never got the sense he was nervous while singing, it was all pro.  Contrast to this year's star boys who all seem like they are close to crying on stage.  It's refreshing in some ways but disturbing in others.  Onward!

Big Mike - opens the show well.  No complaints here though I thought the judges were a bit over the top with praise.  He's a sure thing for the Top 12 with a good voice, good stage performance, good nickname and good story.  After that, I think he can ride into maybe the top half of the pack.

Korean Guy - as much as I'd like to see an Asian do well in the competition, sometimes it just isn't meant to be.  I thought he did better than last week but his stage charisma just isn't there.  I hope there's a big Korean voting block out there to help him or I think he'll be toast before the Top 12.

Alex Lambert - I'm calling him my dark horse for this year in the Kris Allen spot.  He is absolutely adorable (mullet and all), has a very interesting voice and strong vocal talent, his shyness and nervous schtick feel genuine, and it would be a great developing story to see him blossom, gain confidence and get better and better each week.  He's almost like an anti-Glambert which is interesting since they share the same last name.

Jermaine and Rodrick - I wish both of these guys would go.  They keep butchering good songs with weird runs and bad vocals.  Please make them leave NOW!  I will nickname them the Butcher Twins.

Casey - loved his guitar work, but the vocals were just good on a song "I Don't Wanna Be" which seems to be sung every frickin season.  I love the song but enough is enough, how many ways can we hear it.  He's stiff on stage aside from the guitar play.  Should get him a pass and I think he'll make the 12.

Aaron Kelley - yet another rendition of My Girl, I'm not sure why contestants keep choosing this song.  He does an OK job with a few minor change ups.  I think the tweens will keep him going into the 12.

Andrew Garcia - is it me or does he get creepier each week?  I hate to say this but he reminds me of this tough lesbian friend of mine from way back.  Sadly this is not a good thing.  The song choice was poor and his singing was weaker than I remembered.  I don't know if he is playing strategically and saving his better stuff for later or what.  Because if this is his capability there's no way he can win.

My boy Tim - sporting a tight pretty pink shirt, I think he knows what audience to pander to.  Apparently Simon buys it too as he's the only one to give him praise.  It could be a reverse psychology tactic, though, as Simon has done in the past to VFTW contestants.  I thought he was pretty good all in all, at least better than the Butcher Twins.

Lee - he's still one of my personal favorites, and I now liken him to a blend of Danny Gokey and Elliott Yamin, but with prettier blue eyes.  Why is he so nervous all the time?  Is he faking it?  Something about it seems a little disingenuous, as I believe he's recorded songs before, which I gather to mean he's performed in front of audiences before.  Either way I'd like to trade him into the final in place of Andrew.

My ideal Final 6 boys: Lee, Alex, Tim, Casey, Andrew and Big Mike

and Ideal Final 4: Lee, Alex, Didi and Katie
3373  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Chuck Season 3 discussion (spoilers!!!) on: March 02, 2010, 06:06:32 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 02, 2010, 05:54:10 PM

At this point I'd just as soon they either let them BE a couple, and see where the storylines go from there, or just break them completely and push the show past the "Chuck and Sarah pining for each other, going nowhere" background plot, which I just don't think is going to keep working as the show's foundation if they hope to extend the show to 4, 5, 6 seasons.

agreed on this!  Given the way they've written the characters, it makes the most sense to just get them together and see where it goes from there.  As we've seen on The Office, you *can* put a couple together that fans want together and still write plenty of funny, touching, dramatic, etc stories for them.  Watching Chuck and Sam (not sure what I think about the name) navigate being spies and being a couple at the same time could be a pretty fun show.  They'd have all the problems that normal couples have, but amplified due to their careers and working together every day.  I think these guys can pull it off, but are just scared to take that step.
3374  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Netflix sent me the movie Gamer. I regret my actions. on: March 01, 2010, 07:05:26 PM
I thought I reviewed this somewhere not too long ago, but oh well.  I didn't hate it, but I'm a big fan of Gerard Butler so I'll pretty much watch anything he's in.  I also enjoy Logan Lerman (that's Percy Jackson) but he didn't get to do much.

This is another movie (like Surrogates) where I thought the concept was intriguing and the cast was good, but the overall elements were mishmashed by what felt like a bunch of different factions pushing the movie one way or another.
3375  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: March 01, 2010, 06:58:31 PM

Quote from: Aganazer on March 01, 2010, 02:03:58 PM


Quote from: Tals on March 01, 2010, 01:38:02 PM

do the quests work as intended to have consequence and meaning?

More than any game I have played. I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time accepting that quests will fail occasionally even if you're doing everything right. Those failures can lead to escalating activity in parts of the dungeon which can lead to town attacks that can eventually cause you to lose a town. Over the years we have gotten accustomed to only seeing failure when we are doing something wrong. That isn't the case in DC. Failure is a part of the game. I tried to get my best friend into the game, but the occasional failed quest turned him off so much that he stopped playing. It can make you feel rushed, especially at first when you want to take the time to explore the game mechanics. Its really just a matter of accepting that you might lose a town occasionally and that its okay to do so. The only real difference between a failed town and a saved town is that you get a chest full of loot at the end.

I think this is an area where the game could use a jolt of that elusive "polish" we were joking about earlier in the thread.  The failures don't bother me so much in and of themselves, but what does bother me is that as you mention there is a feeling of "rush" when quests keep popping and failing in the background.  Or when you happen on some guy in the middle of a level who has a rescue quest but also 10 mobs on him, so you're almost set up to fail (unless you have a healer in which case you have a chance to save him).  I've also come across a couple of boss kill quests where the boss never spawned on the level it was supposed to be at - unless it could possibly have moved to another level on its own?  That would be cool but... inconvenient lol.  In general when quests pop I just accept them until I'm full and then head in, I often don't even read the text similar to the way I play many MMORPGs.  All I look for is Kill X or get X and what level.

So while I appreciate the random nature of the quests, personally to achieve the feeling of "consequence and meaning" for an NPC quest or quest line, I think the overall flow needs to be slowed down, or perhaps more linked quests should be created.  I think ideally I'd prefer fewer overall randomized quests, but longer quest lines that lead into each other and give you more of a sense of attachment to an NPC or 2.  Like: Quest 1 you save NPC.  Quest 2 NPC asks you to Kill X to clear a path to the next level.  Quest 3 NPC asks you to save his beloved on the next level.  Quest 4 NPC asks you to collect 10x diamonds for his beloved.  Quest 5 he asks you to kill a boss who has his beloved's tiara.  Maybe if you fail Quest 3, he asks you to avenge her or something like that.
3376  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 28, 2010, 02:13:29 AM

Quote from: EddieA on February 27, 2010, 08:43:26 AM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 26, 2010, 06:47:41 PM

I liked it when Hurley told off the temple boss.  I'm a candidate, go back to your temple.  Essentially, I know who I am, you are dismissed. 

"Why don't you go back to the courtyard?"  - I loved that line smile  I also like how they have Hurley voice the viewers' thoughts, like when he commented about the skeletons in the cave, one of the favorite speculation topics for Lost fans.

We can already see the two realities merging, as seen by Jack's scar.  Despite having the appendectomy as a child, the scar was from the surgery performed on the island.  So far, they've set up everything off the island as opposite of what's happening on the island.  Jack fixing something vs. breaking everything, Kate and Claire as friends vs. enemies, and Locke accepting his situation and finding happiness vs. railing against fate and finding misery and loneliness.  It will be very interesting to see how the two merge.

I'm not convinced they are going to "merge" - I almost wonder if the "candidate" (most likely Jack, possibly Hurley) will have to choose between the 2 realities, knowing that if he decides to stay to protect the island, the other reality where things are "fixed" will never exist.  Otherwise it's not much of a heroic sacrifice?
3377  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Hawaii Five-O is returning on: February 28, 2010, 02:09:35 AM
I read the lead is Alex O' Loughlin (sp?) - the lead vampire from Moonlight.  He is absolutely a gorgeous guy, possibly the best looking guy on TV IMHO, but hasn't had much luck with his TV career as of yet, though it's obvious people love him considering how quickly he gets work.  He was recently on a medical show (involving heart transplants) that tanked.  Hopefully the producers will be smart enough to get him with his shirt off as quickly and often as possible because I think a lot of his fans lost patience with that medical show pretty quick.
3378  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 27, 2010, 05:13:36 AM

Quote from: Toe on February 27, 2010, 02:10:57 AM

I am amazed that katie is a front runner. I just am not seeing any star power in her at all. Maybe she will impress me in the next rounds, but so far I think she in the bottom half of the girls in terms of all-around talent.

I don't remember exactly why but the first time I saw her in the initial auditions I just thought to myself she seemed like a great candidate to win it all.  Not one particular thing but kind of the total package. She really reminded me of young Dawson's Creek-era Katie Holmes, but with a strong, controlled voice - all at the age of 17.  Every performance from then on she seemed to impress me less and less, but I still can see her doing well with the right song selections.  

- - -

In other random AI news, VFTW is pulling out all the stops for their candidate Tim Urban.  The one mistake in their article is that they should be attracting more than just the tween girl fanbase  icon_wink

http://votefortheworst.com/20100226/our_evil_plan_get_tim_urban_even_more_votes
3379  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 26, 2010, 11:19:02 PM
Holy mud bashing!  The "heroes" absolutely trounced and de-moralized our poor villains in the challenge.  I guess as long as it comes down to brute strength/physical force, the heroes will win.  This is kind of sucky as the producers can pretty much control it by their choice of challenge.  Still it was a blast to watch.  I was hoping for some dirtier play by the villains but they barely got to do anything before each one lost.

Not sad to see Randy go, but I don't like that Parvati is being targetted so early.  She's hilarious with her slutty flirting.  There's a couple villain girls I'm not familiar with, I'd sooner dump them first just because they are boring.  In an ideal show, I'd want Boston Rob, Coach, Russell, Parvati and Jerri all going to the merger just for more sparks.
3380  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 26, 2010, 11:14:18 PM
Last night's results show was hilarious.  The group number was absolute torture to watch.  The girls were OK, but watching the boys sing "I'm liking this American Boy" was just mean-spirited lol.  Some of the guys seemed awkward, others absolutely horrified and not knowing what to do with themselves.  Funny stuff if you like torture.

Results for the girls was a little weird.  They put Katie up with one of the dumpees - are they deliberately trying to mess with people?  Dialidol indicated she was the clear girl #1 and of the 3 I voted for hers was the only busy signal I got.  She seemed genuinely nerve-wracked, maybe the producers were messing with her in particular for some unknown reason.  And then in the second round they had Didi with the eliminated girl.  Now Didi I'm not sure about, was she simply #2 or was she actually near the bottom? Personally she's my favorite, but that really doesn't mean much.  I was disappointed the Landslide chick didn't go, but whatever.  Plenty of fodder this season.

For the boys, absolute hilarity ensued when my boy Tim Urban made it through.  He looked like he wanted to run down and tell Ryan there was a mistake.  He is the Vote for the Worst choice and he's pretty damn cute, I think that was enough to get him through this week.  But next week it's likely people will want to punish him if he still sucks so bad.  I was surprised to see the 70s dude go so quickly, I thought he'd make it to at least the 2nd or 3rd week.  I thought for certain the guy who butchered "Get Here" would have to go - either him or the one who butchered Since You've Been Gone.

If you believe Dialidol, Andrew Garcia and Katie are the 2 front-runners at the moment; that would actually be my guess as well for the finale, with Katie winning. 
3381  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 26, 2010, 10:51:52 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 26, 2010, 06:47:41 PM

I forgot that those images were just memories of Mr. Eko.  The trapped lifeforce idea was because of the occurance of ghosts.  But I guess we've only seen a couple.

I liked it when Hurley told off the temple boss.  I'm a candidate, go back to your temple.  Essentially, I know who I am, you are dismissed. 


I liked that scene too but it was kind of sad he needed Jacob to guide him to do it.

Speaking of which, what did you all think of Jacob's claim that he had to "handle" each of the different candidates differently?  On the one hand it seemed like a decent explanation, but on the other it felt like a kind of cheap way for the writers to handle inconsistent "rules."
3382  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 11:31:31 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 08:04:29 PM

It's not a question of will you, won't you or whether it's more convenient in one and not the other. It's a question of can you do it on one platform and not the other.

And I guess that's where we differ fundamentally on the topic, so there's not much more point in debating.  The OP was asking for a comparison between the 2 formats - for me that includes more than the fundamental question of "can you or can't you" or a list of possible features you can get to work - I want a practical measure of whether something is truly useful to me or not.  My best example was many years ago when I bought a cool Smartphone (prior to the release of the iPhone).  At the time, this had all the bells and whistles you could ask for feature-wise: internet browser, music, movies, etc - using whatever version of Windows 7 was out at the time.  The problem is I never used the features over the long haul because they were a pain in the ass to use.  Browsing was a nightmare, music was OK but not intuitive, the overall interface was crappy, etc etc.  The iPhone resolved all those issues and more.  To me having a device capable of even an infinite amount of features is completely worthless if the interface or presentation make it so I don't want to use them. 
3383  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Official Review] Heavy Rain - PS3 on: February 25, 2010, 07:19:50 PM
I got in about an hour last night and I have to say I really love the core concept, the dramatic feel and the basic engine of the game.  The music is incredibly haunting and the cinematography, attention to detail and environments thus far are top notch.  I wish it could have been done with a little more resolution in the character models (1080p) but that's getting a bit too greedy I think.  The control scheme is a little strange but it doesn't bother me so far.  As reviewers have noted, you really get sucked into the game emotionally even when not much is going on, and I think that's the biggest compliment I could pay the game.

All that said, I do have some minor nits.  I can see why some people might complain that the game feels too much like it's on rails, for lack of a better description.  It can be frustrating to see exactly where the plot is heading and really have no way to alter it significantly.  Maybe this opens up more later in the game but my guess is the story has to resolve/evolve in certain specific ways just to keep moving, in which case it could feel like your "choices" in the game really aren't that meaningful, and you might begin to question whether or not you are actually having any impact on the plot. 

On a similar note, the other complaint I'd have is there seem to be lulls built into the game, which you are expected to do something specific or the game just doesn't advance.  Maybe I'm wrong about this.  But at least twice I can remember last night I was kind of just wandering around with nothing to do but keep checking the clock to see if time was passing.  I guess time passage would be what triggered the next movement of the story?  On the one hand it's kind of nice to just kind of slow down and smell the roses, explore the area, etc.  On the other this is clearly a story/plot driven game, so if no plot movement is occuring I'm not sure what to make of it, or I feel like I am doing something wrong, or more accurately not doing what I'm "supposed to".

And lastly, I'm a bit leery of the save system.  I'm hoping/assuming every time I see the little Origami thing in the corner it's saving?  Because otherwise I have no idea if I'm going to have go back and "play" another section like I described above (standing around waiting) - and honestly that would break the immersion into the story for me.
3384  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 07:00:30 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 04:04:43 PM

Quote from: farley2k on February 25, 2010, 04:00:26 PM

What programs do you folks us?  I am not talking about alt-tabbing.  That is a limitation of the hardware but not of the app store.  I want to play MP3s, I can, I want to watch video I can, I want to play games I can.  I am wondering what people are doing that they can't do on the app store.


Let's say I want to stream Pandora while browsing the net, checking my email or any other task besides watching the Pandora app.  You can't do that with the iPhone (and presumably the iPad).  

I want to watch a show or clip on Hulu.  You just plain cannot do that.

Just two things that I can easily do on my netbook that I cannot do on my iPhone.

I want to read a book but I want to do it in portrait like a normal book.  I rotate the iPad and it's instantly in portrait.  Now I want to watch a movie so I rotate it back to landscape.  Instantly.

While reading, I want to hold the book up close to me in one hand while I'm lying in bed and flip the imaginary pages with my fingers for a more book-like experience.

I want to see the entire New York Times page at a single view in Portrait, then zoom in to a photo with a single touch.  

There's 3 things I can easily do on my iPad that I can't (or more importantly, won't) do on my netbook.  

The thing that I see people missing the most is just how dramatic a change in the size/shape/form-factor, coupled with a full and responsive touch screen interface can potentially be.  Most netbooks weigh 3 pounds or more, that's double the weight of the iPad, and with the open traditional notebook form factory you generally aren't going to want to balance/hold it with one hand while interacting with it using the other.  If you have a reasonably thick pad of paper, or maybe a relatively thin hard-cover book, pick it up for a moment and just try to let your imagination run free for a second.  Imagine the internet is at your fingertips in that pad, all your photos, your videos, your songs, tons of games, email, a library full of books - all there waiting to be accessed from a simple touch.  It's just not the same experience.  The thing with the iPhone (and presumably iPad), is in general it is designed to make most of these most common tasks feel easy and more natural; while you never "needed" these interface changes, you'll inherently *want* to use your device more because of this design.  That's the theory anyway.

Now I know a lot of people don't care about this type of "feeling" at the moment; I admit it is (no pun intended) a very touchy-feely kind of argument.  But my guess is if they actually tried it out and allowed it to become a part of their daily routine, they would quickly adapt to it and never look back.  This is the toughest part about selling the iPad - we can talk about it (specs, features, restrictions, etc) all we want but it's real selling point is when you actually pick it up and just start using it.
3385  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 25, 2010, 06:46:10 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 25, 2010, 02:09:33 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 25, 2010, 06:55:45 AM

On a side note, it is certainly interesting how the past 2 years there was a clear shift into favoring re-vamped versions of songs.  From David Cook to Adam Lambert to Kris Allen, all 3 took "risks" (calculated perhaps) by making big changes to songs.  

Well, techncailly they did not make the big changes to most of the those songs. They were doing covers of a cover of the song. I don't think Adam did anything original as a matter of fact, it was all covers that someone else had changed up already. I know most of cook's were also covers of covers (he would even give the artists whose version he was singing props if I recall).

Good point, same with Kris Allen's "Heartless" version (which may just have won him the competition).  Still it seems to be influencing this year's competition already, with people trying to create their own versions (and so far not doing very well) which have ended up sounding almost completely different from the original.  I think you have to be really good to pull this kind of stuff off.  I do believe David Cook's version of "Always Be My Baby" from Mariah Carey was all his own though, and personally I thought that was his best moment of the competition, as it really caught me completely off guard and I still remember it 2 years later.
3386  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 25, 2010, 06:55:45 AM

Quote from: Crawley on February 24, 2010, 06:44:30 PM

I hate to admit that I don't hate Ellen as much as I thought I would but there's still no need for a 4th judge when they're just going to mimic the others.

I really miss Paula's inane comments and dancing and drunken debauchery.  4 judges feels like too many when they are all for the most part so serious.

So boy's night: ranged from predictable to forgettable to boring to hideous.  Andrew Garcia is still the clear top of the boys but it was a bit of a letdown.  I think expectations for him to wow us were possibly too high, or perhaps he is playing strategically and saving some stuff for later.  On a side note, it is certainly interesting how the past 2 years there was a clear shift into favoring re-vamped versions of songs.  From David Cook to Adam Lambert to Kris Allen, all 3 took "risks" (calculated perhaps) by making big changes to songs.  While I liked how most of these arrangements worked out, so far this year you can already see how contestants may be trying too hard to do this.  Which can be a problem for lesser contestants, who may just not be good at that sort of thing.  Either way it's made for an interesting strategic dilemma - do you take the risk and possibly botch it completely, or sing it straight and risk being called boring and derivative?

Standouts for me: no one really, not in the way that Archie and Cook and Lambert were clear favorites/crowd pleasers from day one.  I have a few personal favorites but mostly for looks and not singing.  My personal favorite is Lee Dewyze, who I think I earlier called a better looking Elliott Yamin.  I was kind of disappointed in his song this week, but shockingly Simon gave him a ton of praise.  I don't see him being a winner though, maybe like Elliott a Top 3 or 4 at best.  I thought Alex Lambert sang very well and I loved his song choice, but as the judges mention he made me very uncomfortable; in fact I think I wasn't watching him most of the time as he was making me nervous lol.  Casey James was pretty good but I think they yapped about his looks a little too much, which may backfire on him in the long run.  Another one I don't see going the distance.  I thought Big Mike was fun but conventional, ditto on the dancing guy.  Good energy but not long range players.  The one guy who sang "Get Here" - I equated to sounding like 2 cats trying to kill each other.  It was absolutely horrible I had to turn the volume way down while he screeched.  The cutie who sang Apologize was terrible but at least he was cute and not loud enough to cause ear damage.  The Asian guy I thought sang well but made a weird song choice.  I think as one of the few viable Asian males he'll have a decent voting block to possibly get him into the Top 12 like Anoop, but he won't get much further (similar to Anoop).  I left out a few of the others (the 70s guys, the twinkie and someone else) - all of them felt like fodder to me but who knows.  

So far this year is not terribly impressive, but that could be a good thing.  The past couple years had such clear and early favorites that it got to be too predictable and boring.  So far this year I don't see a clear favorite, or even a few clear favorites.
3387  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Heavy Rain Impressions [Everything Spoiler Tagged] on: February 24, 2010, 06:43:31 PM
OK I will tag my first impressions with a *gay perspective* warning for those that don't want to read further.

- - -

Unfortunately I only had a very short block of time to play last night.  I ended spending the bulk of it downloading updates and installing and trying to put together the origami thing and failing miserably.  A funny thing happened during all this though.  My partner came home from work and was extremely tried as usual.  I had dinner in the oven cooking so we were waiting on that.  He plopped down on the couch and I was trying to explain the game to him (he generally takes no interest in my gaming).  Out of the blue, he asks "so is this game *gay*?" and I was like wtf are you talking about, but we both had a good laugh about the question, not for any particular reason other than it was so out of the blue because he was so tired.  So finally the game finishes installing (it felt like an eternity) and I get my first couple minutes in the game.  

Spoiler for Hiden:
So what do I see?  A hot guy in his underwear on the bed and I do the opening portion getting him out of bed and walking him around, and we both started busting up as we checked out his package, moved him to the shower and checked out his ass.  I was laughing the whole time and making lewd gestures with the controller, and then I started busting up even more when the game TELLS you to move the controller up and down faster faster faster.  OMG.  My partner turns to me and says "see?  I told you it was gay!"  I only spent about 5 minutes in the game and honestly I already felt like I got my money's worth.

I really like the bizarre control scheme and the motion feels very fluid, the attention to detail is great all around from what I saw.  Definitely a very different type of gaming experience, and I have to give it a thumbs up even based on only 5 minutes.
3388  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 24, 2010, 06:35:28 PM
Psycho Claire Rocks!  Jack Bauer eat your heart out!

Discuss!!!
3389  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 24, 2010, 06:33:22 PM

Quote from: Freezer-TPF- on February 24, 2010, 03:25:21 PM

The overall problem with the iPad is that 99.5% of the time I would rather have an iPhone/iPod Touch (for portability) or a netbook (for usability).  I only see the iPad being commonly useful for specialized purposes, such as clinicians, other kinds of fieldwork (data collection, inventory), etc.  

I think many people are simply missing the whole point of the iPad, particularly if you think it's only useful for "specialized purposes" - the clear intention of the device is to integrate completely, and seamlessly into your electronic life, eventually becoming as ubiquitous and convenient as a standard appliance.  

Let me give you a perfect example of where the iPad "fits".  This morning I was reading the newspaper and came across an article on Obama's appointment of some new Chinese-American judge.  Something was mentioned about an opinion piece the guy had written before.  My natural impulse was to want to pull that opinion piece up and read it right then and there.  But this is breakfast time - I'm not going to run to my room and grab my netbook, wait 2 minutes for it to boot up, and then try to use the clunky mousepad to navigate the web.  I could theoretically grab my iPhone and do it, but as much as I love the iPhone, when I want to read/relax and possibly eat cereal while surfing, it's not the ideal choice, it's just a bit too small.  Now imagine if on the kitchen table I have an iPad propped up (maybe in a dock) on the table.  I hit the start button, hit the browser, read my article, maybe check the weather while I'm at it - and move on.  Now let's move a few years down the line.  It's very possible there are no more paper newspapers, so I'd be reading the paper directly off the iPad.  It's a bit small for a newspaper but it's still a lot more readable (while eating) than an iPhone.
3390  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 24, 2010, 06:20:18 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 24, 2010, 03:34:54 AM

Well I thought that was a pretty weak show all around. I was disappointed in my girls Didi and Crystal. Both gave ho-hum performances I thought and picked rather weak songs. Crystal should not have tried to play the harmonica. She has so little time to actually sing, she needs to just cut to the chase and belt it out like I know she can (plus her harmonica playing was pretty weak). Those two should have no problem sailing through though cause there was some really bad performances from the other girls. Siobhan was the surprise of the evening for me. I definitely felt it from her. The judges weren't particularly impressed but I sure was. I thought Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly did ok as well. Not sure if they can step it up enough to bring down Didi and Crystal (and now Siobhan).

I still think Andrew Garcia is the one to beat this season though. I bet his performance tomorrow night will be far and away above any of the others (girls or guys).

For once I actually disagreed with the judges on a few of the performances.  I thought Didi was absolutely fantastic - her voice is perfectly suited to that song and I thought she did a bang up job of it live.  Again out of everything I've heard it's the only thing I would run out and buy.  I do agree that for an opening wow factor it probably wasn't a great choice of song though.  And in other bad news for her when I did call in I got in every time, whereas for my girl Katie it was all busy tones.  Speaking of which I also thought she did fine.  I thought she looked cute and sang very well - with proper guidance and song choice I actually think she has a shot of winning the whole thing.  I also didn't hear what the judges heard, I thought she sounded great.  I can see her taking a Katherine McPhee type of role, only younger - which may work to her advantage with the younger girl voters who haven't had someone good to rally behind since Jordin.  Given the current wave of Taylor Swift/Miley and clones popularity, I'd say if I had to pick she would be my favorite to win, or at least be the top female.

For all the talk of the girls being so strong this year, I thought it was pretty weak all in all.  I didn't think any one of them just blew me away and stood out as a clear frontrunner.  Crystal did a good job of the Alanis cover, but as they said it felt simply like an Alanis cover, harmonica included.  Crystal is clearly very talented but she is too non-conformist to win, and you can already see sparks of attitude ("we aren't allowed to sing original material...") that will not bode well longer term.  A lot of the girls chose poor songs or just flat out stunk (the cover of Landslide was excruciating).  The diva girl did a great cover of "Falling" but diva girls have never won AI so even if she is flawless she's at best a number 2 or 3 spot.  Lilly I thought chose too obscure a song IIRC.  The opening girl chose a weird rock song which didn't work for me.  The cover of Wicked Game I thought was interesting but I didn't like the low tone portion at all, it seemed a bit weird to me as well.  The Heart song seemed like it would be good but faltered in the chorus, there was no power to it.  Another bad choice.

Andrew Garcia will be interesting to watch.  I think he is far and above the most talented/original in a David Cook sort of way.  However he is kind of creepy looking so I don't think the tweens are going to rally behind him early on.  Particularly with a lot of throw away cute boys involved in the competition.  He's going to have to stand out really strong and I don't have the sense that he can win the whole thing.
3391  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 23, 2010, 07:02:29 PM

Quote from: KC on February 23, 2010, 06:24:51 PM

My wife's birthday is coming up in late-March and I was planning to get her a laptop or netbook so that she can surf the net throughout the house via wifi.  She does mostly email, research, streaming videos, and shopping.  She also does light duty word processing, spreadsheets and powerpoints.  At first I though about getting a cheap laptop or netbook, but then thought about getting an Ipad. 

Assuming that she can get over the lack of a physical keyboard, does anyone know whether surfing the internet on an Ipad will be just like doing so on a laptop or netbook?  Will sites load the same as on a computer or is the Ipad intended to surf mobile-friendly sites?  Also, does the Ipad have enough CPU and RAM horsepower for light duty office applications?

I would take a look at the main Apple site and watch the iPad demo video, that will give you a good idea of what browsing should be like on the iPad.  It's intended to be full-featured, full site (aside from Flash), and with Wireless N support so it should be great at home.  The multi-touch interface should be far better than a trackpad on a netbook, given what I know about the iPhone vs the netbooks I've owned.  Compared to a mouse, that may be a more subjective thing.

As for light duty office stuff, that's going to be the tough question.  They are releasing iWork (price not known) for the iPad and it is also demo'd so you can take a look.  Just how practical it will be to do real work on that interface is questionable in my mind.
3392  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (2/22) on: February 23, 2010, 01:02:15 AM
I got Forum-Effected and pre-ordered Heavy Rain, pretty much all based on the forum. 
3393  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 22, 2010, 10:05:13 PM
Ahhh yes I forgot about Andrew Garcia.  He definitely seems to be the most interesting and talented of the men.  But unfortunately he is not particularly charismatic or attractive.  Sorry! (Simon accent).  He's going to have to be really good early on because otherwise the tween voting blocks may not reward his creativity.  Hopefully he will be one of the cases where sheer talent pushes him forward.

Didi was my waitress favorite and Crystal was the one with the piercing, thanks!
3394  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 22, 2010, 07:18:25 PM
Anyone have any thoughts on the top 24?

The only 2 that made a really positive impression on me were the waitress (can't remember her name) and the cute girl named Katie (who reminded me of Katie Holmes).  The waitress I thought had a great unique voice and a really emotional delivery that registered with me for some reason.  I just remember both times I heard her sing I thought - I'd buy that.  And she was the only one who left that impression.  There was a cuter blond who I didn't think deserved to make it, and I do remember that girl with the pierced chin who played multiple instruments.  I wish she would take that thing out, it really bugged me.

Of the guys, I wasn't too impressed with anyone.  I thought that Big Mike guy was kind of a gratuitous add on; I would have preferred they keep that last guy they booted (the younger big fat guy).  He was OK but I can't see him winning and I was so sick of his newborn baby footage every 10 minutes (is this a singing competition or a baby farming competition?).  I do remember some cute twinkie that didn't sing great, a dancing guy and another one that looked like a better looking Elliott Yamin.  Oh yeah and the tall blond guy that Kara treated like a male stripper.  Other than that no one left much of an impression.
3395  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: movie - Surrogates with Bruce Willis -sci-fi on: February 22, 2010, 07:11:58 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on February 21, 2010, 08:31:58 PM

Yeah, I just watched this today and it had the potential to be a decent sci-fi action thriller, but several things they did made it pretty much suck.

It took me two sittings to watch it.  I fell asleep midway the first time, and almost fell asleep again the second time lol.  Conceptually it was a very cool premise, kind of a mix between Dollhouse, The Matrix, Avatar, Gamer and I Robot.  Basically everyone has an "avatar" which is a robot that you send out into the "real" world through a cyberlink.  You can make it look like an optimized version of yourself, or something completely different.  You can't be physically harmed (at the outset) so you can take risks, live your life to the fullest, etc.  But of course as always something goes awry with the tech and you have a murder, multiple agendas etc etc.  It's such an interesting core concept that it's a shame a better story couldn't have gone along with it.

Unfortunately almost all of the elements became kind of confused and jumbled, and I don't know if it was me falling asleep or what, but the twists seemed a bit confusing.  It felt like one of those sci-fi movies that had a bunch of different people tinkering with the original vision and concept.  Some people wanted more action, some wanted more effects, some wanted more twists, some wanted more emotional content, some wanted to portray a cautionary sci-fi tale.  In the end everyone got their two cents in and mish-mashed the whole thing.
3396  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 22, 2010, 07:04:01 PM

Quote from: godhugh on February 22, 2010, 04:43:15 AM

There was never anything awesome about Rupert. He was a bastard from the day he arrived on his first season of Survivor.

They did see Russell's season, it was apparently shown them prior to the start of this season.

Wow, surprised to hear that - I thought I read Jeff or someone saying no one had seen Russell play.  Interesting.  Either way I don't see him lasting too long this season, far too many "players" and his arrogance won't play well with that.

Rupert - it's interesting he's a "hero" - if you recall on day one he stole the other tribe's shoes or something like that, and was acting like a crazy pirate.  He's more of a "favorite" than a "hero" but whatever, either way I'm not a big fan.  Also Cirie - I don't recall her ever doing anything "heroic" other than lie and backstab a lot.  But a lot of her commentary is priceless so I'm not complaining.  I also thought she was a lot better at doing the puzzles (not just good but abnormally good), but maybe I'm remembering wrong and confusing her with someone else. 

Definitely agree with YK it's hard to get a lot of the "storylines" going with this deep of a cast.  I can't wait til it gets closer to merge and beyond, when things should start mixing up a lot more.  I actually am amused by the "new" Coach, particularly with Jerri it's actually kind of a cute coupling.  Neither of them is particularly irritating (yet); I'm almost rooting for them which I never would have imagined I would.
3397  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 22, 2010, 02:06:26 AM
I'm still a bit confused on how a town "concludes."  The first time I played it kind of ended abruptly, I don't recall anything I did in particular that triggered it, aside from having finished all the available quests.  The next time I played I have a 12 level dungeon of which I cleared pretty much all the levels, but new quests now keep spawning (on much lower levels), and a boss mentioned on level 12 never shows.  Maybe it's a bug?  Do I theoretically need to kill all the bosses to end a town scenario?

- - -

Another comment/complaint I have about the game has to do with all the side stuff going on (vendors coming and going, people needing saving,  town attacks, etc).   On the one hand, I absolutely love this conceptually, and it's something I've talked about in the past that I would love to see integrated (with more detail) into MMO worlds to make them feel more "alive."  My problem is that things are so randomized and sporadic (for lack of a better word), it's hard to care about them.  So what sounds great on paper ends up being more of a side distraction.  

Here's a quote from the official forums:

Quote
Real choices:

Bonelord has taken Airik hostage and demands a ransom to be paid. In a typical rpg, if you even have the choice of whether or not you pay, either direction is going to end up with you rescuing Airik, either because the choice is phony or you have to use save games when you fail. In our game, you really do have the choice and the choices lead to different outcomes. If you pay off the ransom, you will get Airik back, but Bonelord leaves with your money and is very likely to take another hostage now that he knows he has a sucker. If you refuse, Bonelord will attack and try to kill Airik. Airik is very mortal. If he dies, he really will be dead and you
might be without an important NPC for the rest of this adventure.

Consequences:

Two factions have been at war for a while, but now a representative of each is meeting with one another and trying to broker a truce. In a typical rpg, well neither of these things would probably be possible in the first place. In the remote case that they could, the two would sit in their location forever doing nothing until you killed them. In our game, they will only negotiate for so long. If they finish their meeting, they will declare peace with each other and possibly even declare war on the town now that they have the free time. If you can kill them both while they are still in the meeting though, their respective factions will think they have been betrayed and continue their war. And yes a war between two factions means they will fight and kill each other when they meet in the game.

This kind of stuff sounds awesome on paper, but in the game it's difficult (for me anyway) to register any of it, so I hate to say it's almost wasted within the engine to have these seemingly interesting things going on.  All I see are occasional messages popping up and generally it's because I'm too late to do anything about it.  Generally someone I was supposed to save died and I could really care less; I have no clue to whether there would have been some impact on my game aside from me missing out on some quest xp.  I don't know if the answer is to slow these things down or make them "deeper" or have less of them - I suppose this gets back to the "polish" issue brought up earlier.
3398  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 21, 2010, 06:31:17 AM
I played some more with my Warlock/Archer hybrid.  I can definitely see this being a combo I could really enjoy, as it compares well to some of the Amazon builds I played a lot in D2.  I saved up for the big pet (chaos lord) who I use similar to the Amazon's Valkyrie pet, as a decoy/tank while I slaughter everything around.  One funny thing about him is he'll get stuck trying to destroy rubble from cave-ins.  Funny stuff.

Now I've been experimenting with the different archer skills to see what works the best to complement the tank.  I like the fact you can use money to buy back your skill points to try different things.  What I don't like is that leveling feels slower than I'd like it to, or maybe more accurately skill progression feels too slow, or not as rewarding as I'd like.  As an example, the big pet costs 8 skill points!  So you have to level 4 times before you can get it.  To improve it, you have to level another 4 times.  Now I suppose what you can do is spend your points on other things in the mean time and then buy them back, but that's not necessarily satisfying either.

Another example.  Multi-shot takes 4 points which is not horrible.  But to upgrade it you need another 4 points (I think) and the upgrade apparently does nothing but increase the damage a little.  If leveling were faster, maybe I wouldn't notice, or if the reward for the wait was bigger (more arrows, faster arrows, pretty much anything), maybe it would make more sense.  I suppose this can be fixed via "polish" or balancing, but I don't get the sense that major skill dynamics are going to change.  For instance, in D2 you control the spread of your multishot arrows by the distance your cursor is away from you, a very subtle but cool feature.  The more skill points you invest, the more arrows that come out at once, and you see the improvements for every skill point you spend.  This is something that D2 did extremely well, balancing the importance of every single skill point.  DC could use some of that "polish" too.  The goal should be to make each subsequent level in a skill feel weighty and worth the time/energy it took to get there.  If I have to spend 9 points to improve my pet, there should really be something more than stat improvements on the pet, maybe a new ability or whatnot.  Otherwise reduce the number of skill points so it doesn't feel as worthless.

One cool thing for me; apparently I was playing at 1900x1080; I upped it to 1900x1200 and the game looked drastically better.  Very nice.
3399  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 19, 2010, 05:50:18 PM

Quote from: iloveplywood on February 19, 2010, 05:32:42 PM

Fun season so far.  Every show with Boston Rob in it I go in to the season wanting to dislike the guy, but I always end up rooting for him.  

Same here, he's pretty hilarious and his drama queen routine was awesome, but tempered with his comment about "crybabyitis."  I think Amber is feeding him too well at home (both literally and figuratively) so he's probably more spoiled than he was in years past.  Loved his leadership in the challenge.

That said, I was still rooting for my heroes.  As soon as the challenge started, I jokingly commented that the heroes were going to build a big lead and then F up the puzzle again.  But of course I was right.  This one they had much less excuse as the puzzle pieces were sitting there in front of them, AND they had a lot more brute strength; they should have been figuring out the placement instead of cheering.  I'm not sure if JT's placement was correct all along, I have a feeling he was screwing it up too, in spite of the "one voice" mantra from James.  Definitely felt bad for Steph as she was one of my past favorites, and James was pretty damn annoying and aggressive toward her.  Still you can't deny that she did hold the dubious record of having all her teammates eliminated in challenges one by one.  That season was crazy.
3400  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 18, 2010, 09:30:41 PM

Quote from: jament on February 18, 2010, 09:26:29 PM

What about Locke/Nemesis talking about how he was trapped - yet he can leave with the help of Sawyer - "together"?

So, Nemesis couldn't leave without Jacob's (or his candidate's) help?  Yet Jacob could leave the island and interact with others.  That would seem to indicate that Nemesis and Jacob aren't equals - like the white and dark rocks on the scale in the cave would indicate.  Unless Nemesis also left the island to do his own recruiting.

Maybe as long as the white exists on the island, the dark has to be there also, so Jacob could keep Nemesis there just by refusing to leave.  But with Jacob gone, the dark is free to leave as long as he does so before another "candidate" takes the white's place.  That could be his interest in eliminating all the other candidates.

Fun season so far.

Nemesis could just be lying to Sawyer - it would be cool to see a scenario where both these guys are trying to play each other in a "long con".  He could try to send the candidates off the island one by one by taking them to the Orchid and having them turn the wheel, for instance.

It does seem like Nemesis can't leave the island and that's why he's so bitter, I know some people are theorizing the island is his prison. 
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