random thoughts to oil the mind

Month: December 2008

Playing the Game


It’s about coming up to another one of those birthday events soon, the kind where you get together with a few close friends, have a meal, a few beers, perhaps watch a movie, before whiling away the rest of evening playing a board game. And as it’s in the UK, you only need a few guesses before you’ll stumble upon which game that will be.

Now I don’t claim to be any kind of expert in the field of board games, but that serious lack of diversity in most UK households makes most games evenings feel like you’re stuck in the same old rut again. Take a look at Wikipedia’s list of popular games, and you might see what I mean. Ignoring those that aren’t easily or commonly played in groups, there’s Cluedo, Monopoly, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. And let’s face it, if a household has anything, it’s probably one of those. Of course, there’s plenty of fun to be had there, but to be honest there just isn’t enough variety in what’s usually available.

Return to Team Fortress

Team Fortress 2After playing Valve’s last flagship multiplayer game, Team Fortress 2, on and off over the past year, I’ve had some of my initial thoughts change since my post earlier this year. A raft of modifications, patches and packs have tweaked the game’s dynamics and bolstered its features such that the game now exudes a certain amount more polish than previously. My earlier speculation that Valve would not have the time (or eventually the inclination) to produce ‘service packs’ for that other classes in the game, after the length of time the original Medic pack took to be released, seems to have been disproved, with two further releases in the intervening period. These packs not only added achievements and unlockable weapons to two further classes, the Pyro and the Heavy, but also added extra game modes and maps.

I had originally written this post, long lingering in the limbo of the drafts bin, pointing out a number of weaknesses with the game as it stood. The most recent patch has done much to address those problems, and is a welcome and rather unexpected update, given Valve had denied there would be any releases for Team Fortress 2 until 2009 on account of the amount of work going into their latest release, Left 4 Dead. I’ve gone through and added some comments or changes where necessary, to reflect the recent update, though on the whole this post retains its original state.

WordPress 2.7 Update

True to form, the WordPress team have brought out another much-improved version of their popular blogging software. Having just updated the blog, it’s clear to see the amount of work which has gone into this release, and how many feature enhancements and bug fixes have been rolled out over the course of last year. Whilst it’s normally difficult from an end-user perspective to see how much work has been done on the backend, this release provides such a clean, intuitive and flexible interface that it’s easy to see how WordPress can now move forward with other things. All of the project members and contributors should be rightly proud of their achievement.

To coincide with the update, as promised in a previous post, there’s a new theme compatible with the various comment improvements in WordPress 2.7, and I hope to do a bit more tidying and rearranging before the New Year, including posting a few of those unpolished drafts that are starting to gather dust.

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