I’ll be substituting for three classes at Art Institute of California (San Francisco) this week. It’ll be my first time teaching in a formal classroom situation at an accredited school, so it should be a lot of fun. Since I’m more like a guest speaker than a teacher, I’ll try to impart as much useful information as possible that’ll prepare the students for a career in CG animation or video games. I generally feel that some schools blow too much smoke up the students’ asses and many students leave school totally unprepared for a job in the industry. This is definitely one of the things I’ll address during class.
Any of you use storage containers? I’ve had my stuff in storage for the past five years (I use Door-To-Door), so I’ve bled thousands and thousands of dollars holding onto all my crap. I admit, I’m a pack rat by nature, and so is Elena to a degree, but I seriously didn’t know what to throw away. I mean, I have expensive stuff like my Clavia Ddrum4 system, my $5,000 (at the time) computer setup, some nice furnitures, airsoft guns (all upgraded) and gears, then cheaper stuff like my laserdiscs, DVD’s, CD’s, novels, magazines, art books (extremely heavy, and very expensive–some cost well over $100 per book), game consoles, video games..etc. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to throw things away, and it would be a nightmare to sell all that stuff on ebay (and I don’t much want to part with any of them anyway). So now, five years later, I’m about to be reunited with all of my crap (as soon as I settle down at a new job and a new place), and I hope they are worth the amount of money I’ve bled for them. I can’t wait to sit down at my Ddrum4 system again and bang out some funky breakbeats. I’ll cherish that moment when it comes.
I’m roughly past the half-way mark of Dreamfall now, and although I hate to say it, I’m not nearly as into the game as I was almost convinced I’d be prior to playing. I loved the first game–it’s on my top 10 games of all time list, and I was so sure I’d love the sequel. So why am I not into Dreamfall, you ask? Well, it’s one of those times when I hate to agree with the negative critics out there, but the ones that don’t like Dreamfall really nailed it with their reviews. For me, the main reasons are:
1) The characters aren’t very interesting this time around, and their relationships aren’t all that interesting either.
2) The loading time is ridiculous, and way too frequent. Someone at Funcom needs to get fired for that.
3) The animation is substandard for today’s games.
4) Although the designs are good, and the environments are pretty nice, the character models/textures are substandard for today’s games.
5) The fighting system is terrible. It’s pretty much a useless distraction and totally unnecessary. If you thought the fighting in Omnikron: The Nomad Soul was bad, you aint seen nothing yet.
6) Some of the puzzles are more annoying than fun, and they felt totally irrelevant to the plot development–as if they were put in the game for the sake of having puzzles.
7) This time around, the game feels more like an interactive graphic novel, and it’s really not even that interactive. I’m starting to think that Ragnar Tornquist should just become a writer/director and leave game design to someone else, because he seems more suited to being a storyteller and not a game designer.
8) Playing as three characters didn’t do anything for me, because none of them compelled me to really care about them–at least not yet.
9) The character controls aren’t very good, and the camera is annoying. I can’t believe you’re not allowed to look up–what’s that all about?
10) What the hell happened to our beloved April? (I’m hoping by the end of the game the old April will resurface in some way. We miss that perky and witty cute girl.)
Ok, I know I sound pretty harsh, and I don’t mean to. I really wanted to love this game, and who knows, maybe I still might when I finish it, but I think that’s highly unlikely. Oh well, I guess you can’t expect to hit a home run everytime. I do think it’s great that there are still developers out there who are passionate about adventure games, and I hope to see more of them (especially innovative ones like Indigo Prophecy). I’ll definitely finish Dreamfall, and I hope I’ll like it more by then.