Posts Tagged ‘process’

Finally, a fresh title to sink my teeth into. I am speaking of Dishonored of course, a game that I finally had a chance to clear in the past month or so. I had been waiting for Dishonored for a long time, and basically bought it when it first came out and managed to play it while I was in my dorm room in Urbino. Unfortunately though, while I was Italy, I discovered that it was the game that pushed my laptop over the edge and would make it overheat. So I finally managed to sink my teeth into it when I got back and managed to get a cooling mat for it. After the first couple chapters I put the game down, as I do with many of my games, and switched to a different one to see how that one suited my fancy for a while. However, in the past month, I made a pact with myself to clear all of my games that I have that I never really cleared (at least the ones with clear endings). So now I only keep five games on my laptop at any time, four games that I dive into, and one for casual play. Thus, Dishonored was reinstalled, and completed finally. WARNING: SPOILERS.

First off, I would like to comment on the beautiful environment that was created in this new world. The city of Dunwall came to life with the distinct architecture though out the entire city, the citizens that had motives, character, depth, and the way that The Outsider spoke to me. The world is huge, allowing you to take multiple paths to the same goal, making it so if I couldn’t sneak past a guard and into the lighthouse, I could scale another building and blink between roofs, and hide in dumpsters to get there. Now, I ran a “no kill” run for my first play through for a few reasons: one, my friend who had seen the game seemed skeptical of an assassin game that could be cleared without killing a soul, two, I wanted the challenge of being the city’s crusader, and three, I read some of the repercussions of killing people and decided to leave that to my “kill everyone” play through.

Going through the game, I noticed that the atmosphere stayed relatively constant: you have a person to murder or not, and you are wanted for killing the empress so you’ll be killed on site. Things were dark and grimy, just the way you’d expect a city in downfall would be. The game doesn’t get too dark though, you never have to murder your sainted mother or anything, for the most part, you are just killing people who are either A, evil or B, part of the evil machine. The environment does all of the work, and a couple of characters add to it, like Granny Rags and The Outsider.

The mechanics work like a dream, never really breaking stride in the game, allowing you to seamlessly blink across a roof, possess a rat, sneak into the building, hit a guard with a sleep dart, steal a safe code, and make it out through the fourth floor window. However, that sequence happened about the six time that I tried the mission. I give the game points for definitely being challenging when trying not to kill people. However, now that I have tried playing by killing everyone that I see, I have found the game much easier to get through. Now, that same sequence goes more like this: kill the front guard, take his key, kill the guard guarding the safe code, and walk out like a boss.

I’ve also started to experience the difference in high and low chaos now that I have started my “kill everyone” run. Playing the first assassination mission showed more rat swarms to start off with, which I know is just the beginning of the mayhem that is going to ensue. Overall, I give the game a high rating, and I’m waiting for the Knife of Dunwall DLC(s) that will be coming out (though depending on price, I may not get them, we will see).

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

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A squeal to a game series that I have been waiting quite a while came out, DmC. My background with the series was having the first three games and never getting more than a couple hours into any of them. So when I saw the trailers and gameplay of the new one and saw that they were basically rebooting the series, I was kind of excited to give it a try. Now though, I wish I hadn’t bought the game and all of its lack of content.

To start off with, the night that I got the game, I put it into my XBOX and started drinking while playing it. As I played and became increasingly more impaired, I found that the game was too easy, so I bumped up the difficulty every time I beat a level with an S rank or higher. Well in no time I was playing on the hardest difficulty first available to you without beating the game, still getting S and SS ranks on all of the missions. Then, before I knew it, I beat the game. No deaths, all S rank or above, while heavily impaired at the end.

So here is the critique: the game sucked. I bought the game a few days after it came out, so I still had to pay full price (used wasn’t available yet, but it’s only $5 cheaper now). The game was not worth full price for how much I actually got out of the game, and this is the thing that really irks me about current gaming. It seems that developers think that just playing a game again on a higher difficulty is what replay value is about, beating the score you made last time, honing your skills, and adding your name to a leaderboard. This, however, is not replay value, this is a copout. Replay is wanting to experience the unique game for all of its greatness, reliving the story, and partly for some nostalgia. I frequently replay The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, because it has a great plot, cutting grass is fun, and it’s still the best adventure game I’ve ever played. I have made multiple character profiles in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to try out the different character builds and different side quests and stuff. I’ve thrown open a new file in Fire Emblem because I want a good challenge. DmC has none of these traits. It is short, typical hack and slash, no challenge.

Now as I said before, I was excited for the reboot of the series because of the prospect of the challenge and plot that would just take me in (and the fact that Dante got impaled by a freaking sword and lived, but got killed by puppets). I saw that they reworked the combat system, made it more fluid. Great! I like being able to throw a guy up, blast him with a shotgun, throw his friend off the stage, and then cut the head off the last guy in one fluid combo. What I don’t like is making certain weapons, again, useless. The scythe you get is awesome, but so weak that I only used it when I needed a large combo, or for the enemies that had to have it used on them. Once you get past the fluid combat, there are no other redeeming qualities. Story is flat, boring, and just kind of annoying. You see all of the different things they talk about, and want to know more, but never get it. There are plot twists that you see the second you start the game. The characters have little motive to actually do much. It is very frustrating.

To conclude, this game had potential, so much, but fell flat on its face. It could have been a longer, more challenging game, but instead it is a short, easy, overpriced, generic game. Unfortunately, this is the last Devil May Cry game that I will most likely be purchasing for quite some time. DmC, I bid you farewell.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

Sunday evening I started unfriending people I don’t talk to or never have talked to, and also started looking into my travel plans for the Thanksgiving break. While going through my friends list and pruning I came to realize so many things about people, one of which was that anyone who was in theatre was just fucked up afterwards.

Dawn of the whatever day, 40 days remain. That’s right, I only have a bit more than a month left in Europe before I make it back to the states and start my next chapter. Though we must now continue to analyze Europe and all of its effects on me and how I relate that back to western society. Our first history and theory class with just Daryl was today, and we looked at an author who was neither an architect nor a scholar, and thus was an annoying pompous ass in all of our opinions. Once we managed to get through the discussion and Daryl pissing me off about roman numerals (he wouldn’t let me see the damn numbers long enough to read it and said mean things to us for not knowing them [I was the only fucking person who could get the damn thing!]) we made it to lunch and then on to measuring the site for our exhibition project. While we were measuring the site it began to rain, but Daryl just pulled out his umbrella and watched us freeze to get the ruddy dimensions. Afterwards I managed to grab a cappuccino with him and discuss part of the future Rome trip. Once we made it back to the studio we all got together to discuss our form diagrams that we were working on and get a sort of grasp on what we were trying to accomplish for our project. After we made it through class we all went to dinner and then I spent the next 6 hours talking to Tori, and finally going back to my room at 1am.

I found some extra blankets last night to keep me warm because it has become near freezing here (not kidding, last night was 37°F) and in a room that has spiders and cracks between windows, walls, and doors, you kind of need them. So I finally rolled out of bed and got dressed in time to make it to my watercolor class where we sketched and rendered the library below our studio. The process was alright, and of course my render didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve produced while being here. I’m started to feel a bit alienated from the rest of the people, and I think it’s because I’ve been having some fairly intense moods recently. Cecilia is still an annoying bitch, Sofia’s views confuse me, Britta is a quiet neutral party, Dane is always nice, Brent is more of a sarcastic ass than usual, Justin is quiet as always, Camelo is less talkative and social than he was before, Matt still has an annoying personality, and I keep having extreme moods that persist for the entire day. I am either antisocial and get annoyed and mad at everything everyone does, or I’m light of heart, but quiet, or I’m apathetic to everything around me. And then while I was applying shadow to my drawings I came to the thought that my father is getting older and may not be around to see the man I become and the accomplishments that he would be proud of. I guess I’m just starting to doubt everything that I’m doing and if I can actually get it done for it to matter the most to me. Pair that with the constant cigarette smoke clawing at my will power and we have a great cocktail at the moment for me.

Midway through the week and my mood is still like a yo-yo at the moment. I’ve been stuck with my designs for the exhibition space we are supposed to design for the city, so I’ve been going crazy. Besides that I’ve been trying to not be as mean, but failing at that, and talking to a few people online.

Thursday was mainly a work day, except for the fact that we all went out and drank in the city. This made me confirm the fact that I am not a party person and going out on the town is definitely not for me. After I went back early I posted on Facebook that I did not enjoy my time out, and this then sprung Cecilia taking it upon herself to “correct” it and make sure the future people who come don’t get the wrong impression. This mostly boiled down to her saying I’m not fun and am boring. Well she needs to mind her own fucking business and quick harping on my personality and mood at the moment or else she’ll finally hear all the shit that I keep back out of courtesy.

Today was mainly sleeping in and doing a bit of studio work, but we also managed to go to the cemetery to do some much needed sketching and relaxing during our studio time slot. Other than that, I think my anger is getting away from me, I’m going to need to find some kind of physical outlet or things might not go well for the rest of the time that I’m here.

Today was the day of the hike that everyone else took, so I was able to stay at the studio and get some much needed “me” time. I got some good design work done and now I have the overall concept statement for my project: The Floating Room. I think it’s going to turn out really well if I can manage to get the floor plans to work out. I’ve also been talking to another girl, and she seems really cool. We like a lot of the same things and she doesn’t give me stupid three word responses. It’s actually really brightened up my mood, which is good for the rest of the studio as well, that way I’m much less of a dick. Besides that I just kind of relaxed and ate oreos for most of the day.

Continued conversations with Sarah today, things seem to be going really well. I really like talking to her, she has something to say about all of the stuff we talk about, making it much easier to keep the conversation going. I’ve also had a long day or working on my project; I am starting to fix some of the problems with the design, but I don’t know what all I’m going to show the architects tomorrow for my critique. Things seem to be getting more focused as we start getting closer to the end of the semester, and it’s beginning to make posting harder because I have less to think about or talk about because I’m getting tunnel vision for my project.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Another long time since my last update and there is plenty to get out there for everyone to read. Since my last post, we have been working on a contextual building for the city of Urbino off in one of the back streets. I basically finished it today, but that is without adding the shadows to it because I think it would just mess up the whole composition of the work. I really enjoyed how my elevation render turned out for this project, the windows really make the project pop off the page and come alive. The rest of the drawings are alright, the plan came out fine and so did the detailed elevation drawing, but the perspective did not come out the way I really wanted it to, but that’s partly because I don’t have the skill and partly because the technique I tried didn’t work with my skill level.

We went on a week-long break and all travelled around Europe hitting Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan for the most part (one group also went to Munich). We first had a seven hour delay in Bolonga where we just kind of looked around the city and then went to the airport to get on our really cheap flight to Brussels. Once we made it to Brussels though, we had to rent a car and drive to Amsterdam, which was our original plan, but it turned out to be more complicated when it came time to return the damn thing. After getting into Amsterdam, we all explored the city and picked up a few rent-a-bikes and then broke off into two groups: one would go have fun, and the other would teach me how to ride a bicycle. After that day of fun, we broke off again and I went out into the city on my own and just explored the place, which was really cool, until I stumbled into part of the Red Light District, at which point I turned around and went back the way I came. It was just kind of depressing there. Our last day in Amsterdam was spent shopping and trying to recover Camelo’s phone, which he had lost on one of our tram rides.

After Amsterdam, we took a train to Paris, where we met up with the guys and talked about our travels thus far. While we were in Paris, we stayed at some guy’s apartment that he lets travelers use some times. It was a really nice place, with a kitchen and working wifi which was really helpful whenever we needed to figure stuff out. While in Paris we hit all of the typical tourist spots, which were all amazing in their own special way, though some were better than others. We met up with some people from Rice that had spoken to the girls in Italy once and wanted to meet up, though they seemed slightly surprised when they saw Camelo and I there. We all had a really nice dinner while in Paris with them, which felt great because we hadn’t had a real sit down meal since our first night in Amsterdam. Before Camelo and I headed out of the city to go to Milan next, we hit up a local bakery by our apartment and got a lot of bread for the upcoming train ride. I got a bunch of croissants and a cookie before we ran to the train station.

Our train to Milan was a sleeper train, which was a new experience for us, but was one with mixed results. We made it to Milan around 5:30 in the morning, but during the train ride we were woken up by customs asking us what our nationality was and we didn’t get to see the Alps while we were on it. Milan was a beautiful place, and we had so much time to explore it all, though most of the buildings that we wanted to see either weren’t open to the public or didn’t exist anymore. We also did a small amount of shopping while we were there and to keep us away from our hostel. The hostel was interesting, it was run by a bunch of Chinese people who had at first lost our reservation, and then after half an hour found it. You also could not plug anything in to charge if you wanted to still have the lights on, and the shower could not be controlled, you had scalding hot water for bit, then freezing cold water for a bit. Camelo and I left on Saturday so we could have Sunday to ourselves and just relax and regain our strength after the long trip.

We made it to Pesaro in just enough time to catch the second to last bus to Urbino, which meant that we could get dinner at the cafeteria and not have to pay for a meal for once! We also caught Emily and her friend getting on the same bus, apparently they had been in Pesaro all day and were just heading back, so it was nice to have someone besides the usual group to talk to about stuff. Once we made it back to Urbino, we spent the rest of our time sleeping and using the internet, just relaxing and enjoying our time to ourselves.

I have been using eHarmony for a while now and things are looking just kind of subpar at the moment. I had been talking to one girl, but she stopped replying, and then I was talking to another girl, but she doesn’t seem to give the kind of responses that I’m really hoping for, but she did say she was shy, so we will see what happens with that. I also got a message back from Vicky, which was nice, I think it means that she doesn’t completely hate me, I think. And to finish things off, I think I might quit Facebook. Partly because I don’t give a crap about 99% of the things that go on there, partly because the people that I do talk to are only a text away, and partly because my ex-girlfriend is on there and she is still happy.

Every time I see these kinds of things I start to feel that I want to just start new, fresh somewhere else far away from here. Somewhere that no one knows who I am, and what I’ve done, somewhere that I can forget my past and just have a good life for once. I think it’s still because I need to find the person that will help me get over everything, but also because I hold onto things too much. I really need to be able to get over things and just let go of all of this crap, but of course I’m always more invested in things than everyone else is so it’s harder for me to just be free of everything.

I am still The Exile, in a foreign land, trying to gain greater vision into society and the human condition, but the exile is still a man. A man with feelings, desires, hopes, dreams, and ideals. The Exile is a hard position to be in; I must be impartial to things, look from the fringe of society and nature, endure what no one should have to endure. I can be thought of as the Giver, the one citizen who is chosen to take on the hardest part of society so that everyone else may live peacefully. I see the difference in societies, between borders, classes, races, creeds, and other bounding elements that persist. And within the society, there are smaller societies that exist, making up the larger, but with their own unique traits. Italy, as a society, has a unique feel to it, what with its more laid back personality traits and overall contentment with life. The smaller societies, or the cities, have their own feelings. Take Venice, for instance, a tourist city with generally unhappy residents because they live in a place that is so frequently visited by tourists. This constant flow of foreigners is a constant irritation and disruption to their daily lives. If we look at another society in Italy though, for this instance Urbino, we see that they love foreigners and are overjoyed to have them in their city, sharing their lives and history with everyone that comes to visit. The society, of a country, is interesting to peel apart and examine the subtle nuances and traits that they all have within them.

Again, I am The Exile, The Architect in training, The Lover with no love, The Traveler with no destination, The Man with no soul. I say to everyone out there, to be an architect is a joy and burden, one that a person does not choose lightly.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

It has begun, my journey has started. It began when I first started with the plane rides with my professor over to Rome where we met up with the rest of the students. When we first got there we had to wait for another plane to come in with them on it, so John (my professor, he asked us to call him John) and I went and had a cappuccino at the bar (bars are different here). It was the most glorious thing I have ever tasted, the milk was steamed properly, and the coffee was just beautiful. They really do have a totally different culture here when it comes to coffee, I have been experiencing it every day since I got here. After a while the plane came in and we all grouped together to get our train ticket to go to the bus depot where we would then catch the four hour bus to Urbino. During the trip I told the story of my relationship to Cecilia and we had a nice conversation about what laid before everyone and how it was going to help and change us all. Once we made it to Urbino, we went to the university where we got dinner and our dorm rooms. The room is alright, it has the essentials: bed, desk, chair, shower, and toilet. We all ended up in the studio after everything so we could all use the internet and contact our loved ones and family. Well part way through Camelo plugged something in wrong and basically blew up the internet. I’m not kidding, there was a loud pop when he plugged it in and it just killed the whole socket he tried and the internet, all in one go. So after that we all started to fade and drift off back to our rooms to sleep for the night.

The next day consisted of a lot of tours around the actual city of Urbino, guided by John and Eugenia (one of the providers) and her husband Mirko. This introduced us to the hill we would be going up and down most of the time we wanted to do anything in town. It is a steep, slick hill that does not lend itself to high heels, and gets really annoying after the first billion times you have to go up it. We looked at the art store in town first so we would know where we could get supplies and stuff for our classes to come. They took us around the city to see what all there was to do and what the city had to offer us. For lunch they took us out to a local restaurant where they served wine and pasta and just so many amazing dishes for us to enjoy while we talked amongst ourselves. After dinner we continued touring the city and finding out so much about it and seeing all of the different amazing buildings that the Duke was a part of. Once we finished our tours and everything, we were left to our own devices. We ended up having gelato in the main piazza, which is just beautiful might I add. The day ended with us having dinner together in the cafeteria and going to the studio to once again mess with the internet. It’s interesting to see how much we all depend on it, and it is a little depressing that we depend on it so much now.

The next day we went on more tours (we were starting to get tired of tours at this point, and because our feet hurt so much) of the city except with a woman who may be giving us Italian lessons later on so that we can better understand and talk to people. We took a break in one of the bars to have a cappuccino, though I had an espresso to help keep me going. There was a woman working in the bar who wanted to practice her English and basically told us about when people go out in the city, which is Thursday here, and how they would love to see us there again.

Well we actually went out on Friday because we had been too tired the previous day. This was my first time actually going out and drinking socially with friends, and to go out with drinking at all with people, so it was an interesting experience. We started off at the bar in which we encountered the woman who told us about going out during the week. I started with a nice glass of scotch, but after that we had what they told us was “Tequila Boom Boom”. This was basically just a bit of a mix of tequila with something else to lessen the strength. It was also my first time doing tequila shots, but it went well for the most part. Once we finished up at that bar went looking around for another and ended up in one that was just across the piazza. I tried to order a scotch and soda, but they just couldn’t get and I couldn’t help them, so I caved and just got a gin and tonic. After a bit I started to loosen up and talk more to people about things that I was thinking and feeling. I ended up telling Sofia that I wouldn’t mind getting to know Britta more, but that I figured I didn’t have a chance for two reasons: one being that she was twenty-seven, and two being because she was vibing up another guy in the group. Once the night was basically over we started to head back to the dorms, but on the way there I just instantly sobered up and became really self-conscious about everything I had said and done while out with everyone. So I hung back for a bit and then just walked at the end of the group not saying much until we reached the dorms.

Now we come to the weekend! John took us to Pesaro and basically just stuck around long enough to show us the beach and how to get on the train if we needed to or wanted to so we could travel. After that he helped us figure out hotels so we could get that taken care of before we went off to the beach. So once John parted ways with us we all grabbed a bite to each at a local café, this time it was a café, though it did seem pretty close to a bar. We had an amazing meal there of some sort of penino or something, which had uncooked ham, cheese, and tomatoes on it. Afterwards we walked along the beach until we found the free section of it and set up camp for the day and play in the water. It was so beautiful there and so much fun. The water was perfect, the sand felt amazing, and everyone was having a blast. There were parts, though, where I just kind of sat and thought about life and where I was going and where I had been. I was a lot quieter than I had been the previous night because I was still self-conscious about it all. I decided to stay the night with a few people that were staying, which was an alright choice. The next day we went shopping in the market they set up each weekend in towns to sell things. Here markets are different, they sell EVERYTHING, from socks, to vacuums, to cars. We wandered around while a couple of people went to the beach. We ended up not getting much of anything, though I did get the most amazing donut thing ever created by human beings, it had a lemon taste to it and was covered in sugar. It was so delicious. After a while Sofia, Cecilia and I headed back to the bus depot to grab a bus back to Urbino so we could relax, have lunch, and start on our homework for the first day of class (which confuses me, but whatever). The end day descended into my usual indulgences, a warm shower, and dinner with everyone in the cafeteria. I finished up my summary homework right after dinner, and rewarded myself with some well-deserved internet time.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

By the time this post is posted I will be in Italy, but not only that, I will have been there for a day already. If you hadn’t noticed it yet, all of the posts were posted two days after they actually happened. This post is mainly to explain my final feelings before actually leaving the country. With this journey ahead of me, I will be taking the role of The Exile so that I may better understand not only architecture, but the world as a whole. The person separated from everything and can see things from an unbiased point of view.

The journey will take me from the shell that I am now, to the full being I will become at journey’s end. I will explore myself as an individual in a new world, myself with respect to other people, other people in respect to me, and to explore everything else that comes to mind. I will be making new friends while I am abroad and creating new bonds. Hopefully through everything that I will experience I will grow to be the person I want and need to be for the future, because I think I’m going back to karma, fate, and maybe a little luck for what happens to me.

To everyone who has been with me through all of this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope you will stay by me because I have a feeling the future has a few twists and turns left for me.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Wednesday didn’t start off well because I kept on waking up in the middle of the night. I finally just gave up and showered and checked out earlier than I had really planned to. So I hit up the downtown campus and checked out the new Starbucks that we have down there. It’s not bad, but there are going to be traffic issues for where they placed it. After that I killed some time by questioning fiscal services about an email saying I owed money, but that I seemed to have a credit on my account instead. It turned out alright. It was finally time for my meeting.

The meeting went well, covered all of the things that needed to be covered again. Talked to the two girls that I know that are going. Brit asked how I was doing since she saw my relationship change. Sophia asked how my ex was doing, so I had to inform her of the change. After that we talked about all of the things we would do in Italy and how excited we were for it.

The meeting finished around noon, so I sat down with Erin again for a brief lunch before her next class and talked about her teachers and just kind of capped every topic before I left. Afterwards I hit Herwick’s to pick up some more supplies that I needed for the trip. I’m taking a dozen different sketchbooks that I’m hoping to fill up by the time I get back. Once that was done I hit the road and went back to Houston.

Talked about everything that happened with my parents when I got back. We also talked about living accommodations for when I get back. I would prefer to have my own place now that I know where Overton lives because I’m not a fan of the half hour to forty-five minute drive to the campus. We’ll see what happens, because I’m also not much of a fan of living alone. I don’t like being truly alone. When I lived at the dorms I could seclude myself in my room, but if I ever wanted to socialize I could just knock on Jake’s door and have a conversation about whatever. Another reason why I like being in a relationship, or at least one that has progressed far enough to have staying over be an option. I would be closer to the downtown area if I lived by myself, and could bike and enjoy the life there. The only reason I would be living alone is because most of the people that I could tolerate/enjoy living with didn’t work out that well. Not their fault, just the situation of things.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect