The Phoenix Nest
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Week 1 wrapup

Okay, so after a long period of unemployment and sitting around at home playing games, last year I decided to do something productive with my time. Not that accumulating gamerscore isn't productive, but something that "normal" people would consider productive. So I enrolled for a Tafe course, Certificate IV in Multimedia.

This week was my first week of said course, and I'm having mixed feelings about it. The course isn't at all what I expected... I thought we would be working with mainly sound/video/graphics editing tools, because last time I looked it up in detail (back in '07) that's more or less what the course was.

The course has changed since then, it's now basically a gaming course. Not programming (whew!) but the art side of it. Now, I didn't really want to do this. Sure I like games, but I never want to work in the industry. That said however, this course does cover things that I would like to learn more about just for my own personal interest, not professionally. I've decided to stick with it - unless I manage to find a job in like... 2-3 weeks, I'm going to keep doing the course (because after that time you can't get a refund on your course fees).

The main things I was looking forward to was Art and Design, where we use Photoshop and stuff like that, 2D Animation, self explanatory, and Game Design, which from what I can tell is more the theory of games rather than the technical and visual aspects. Surprisingly, something that I wasn't really looking forward to that much, 3D Modeling, was one of my favourite classes this week, along with 2D Animation. We also have a Project class, where we are going to build a working game (working with the Diploma Multimedia and Diploma Programming students) so that should be interesting.

At the moment I don't really care too much if I pass or fail the course. Passing would be nice, but that's not my main goal. My main goal is simply to learn, and if I pass the course while learning, that's an extra. Having said that, it's not like I'm going to slack off on assessments or anything like that! No way!


In other, unrelated news, I started a 'cleanup' playthrough of Mass Effect 2 last week, after finishing the game with only 4 achievements left. Finishing this playthrough will leave me with 1 left - the one for completing the game on Insane difficulty. I was planning on doing this playthrough on Insane, but after dying about 7 times on the first group of mechs after the story mode, I decided to give Insane a pass for now, and attempt it after finishing this one.

Now this isn't just for achievements, nope. This playthrough is with a different character, imported from Mass Effect 1, with basically every decision in the original game the opposite of my first playthrough. I wanted to see just how much the story is affected by these choices. Also I wanted to be good instead of evil, see what benefits, if any, it brings.

Mass Effect 2

So for the past few days I've been totally absorbed in Mass Effect 2. It finally arrived from EBs online store... 6 days after it was released! For a pre-order, that's very poor... won't be pre-ordering from there again, I should have just dealt with the crappy salespeople. But whatever, it arrived intact and sealed so I'm not too annoyed.

First of all, I gotta say it is a brilliant game. All the reviews I've read have said it was a total improvement from the original, and it is. There were a few different things that I had to get used to, but after a couple of hours I didn't even notice those. The story is better, even though it is, at times, painfully linear. The character interactions were a surprise to me. I knew they would be in there, but it just seems like they are a gigantic step up from the first game. The characters themselves are also more interesting than the first game, and the character loyalty missions add more depth to them too.

The weapons system has been simplified... almost too much so. Now you only get 2 of each weapon, except for the few character specific weapons and heavy weapons. Gone are the weapon stats, finding new weapons everywhere and having to compare them to your current ones. I thought that only being able to change your weapons around  once or twice a mission would be a pain, but you never need to change anyway. It's disappointing, but it's only a minor part of the game overall.

As a whole: 10/10!