Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

Politics, games, computers, philosophy, human nature, Australia, and general rabbiting on

Archive for July, 2004

Score One for Planning

This latest planning stage for the Hwarang project went more smoothly than before. We are honing our process now, which is good because we can have a streamlined system in place before the intensity increases. Nobody loves planning things out this carefully, but the alternatives are worse. Now that we are getting used to it, the overhead costs of the planning are going down, while the benefits are going up.

The Magical Art of Espresso

We got an espresso machine. We figured that given our propensity for drinking double-espressos every day without fail, it will pay for itself in less than a year. We almost got a fully-auto one, just put in the beans and push the button, but that seemed like a missed opportunity. I want to learn to make espresso manually! I want to fiddle with the dozens of minute factors that separate good from sublime brew! I want to be prepared if I find myself in an Italian villa full of supermodels! So far so good. I’ve been able to make something which is as good as what I’ve been buying, and I’ve now got a series of experiments before me to try to improve it further. It’s a trivial pursuit but at 7AM in the morning I’m not good for much else, so I may as well harness my desire for caffeine.

Australia 3rd on UN index

Australia is #3 on the UN living index. I’m interested in this because I think a lot about social progress and how to support my country (now Oz) in improving the quality of life for all its residents. At the same time I want to do what I can to bring up those countries on the bottom, for which there is no good excuse to let them languish there. Humanity will not be truly on its way to happiness and stability until its most unfortunate members are lifted up.

Bledisloe Cup

Kat and Dylan and I went to Robin and Penny’s house to see the first series in the Bledisloe Cup, which is a rugby match between New Zealand and Australia. We went for Australia while Robin went for NZ. It was great fun and though Wallabies lost to the All Blacks, it was a good match in the cold and wet and I think the next match will be a close one. Robin and Penny live in a nice section of Fig Tree Pocket, near Dylan’s school, and the suburban life was tempting, but I also love living in the city, walking to work, and being near the action.

 (Added 2007: The house we moved to a year or so later was in fact just a few km from Robin’s!)

Letter to the Editor

I read an article in the Brisbane Courier-Mail about a crime victim group’s protest against the game Hitman, and decided to write my first letter to the editor here. I wrote:

Monday’s article “Hitman game strikes nerve for crime victims” struck a nerve with me, because I care about social ills and I make video games for a living here in Brisbane. I want to defend my industry and art, which employs hundreds of skilled people in Queensland. As a father, I and most in the video game business strongly support the use of game ratings, and Hitman’s “MA 15+” rating is the game maker’s strong assertion that it is not to be played lightly by the young. Parents should monitor game playing just like TV watching and web surfing. Crime victims naturally want to find a cause, and it is easy to blame entertainment as the cause of crime. Unfortunately the solution is more challenging than suppressing works of fiction. Politics and misinterpretations aside, no valid study has shown that violent video games cause violent behavior. Past panics about comic books, cowboy matinees, and pirate storybooks similarly proved unfounded. Lastly, I plead the case that video games should enjoy the same freedom of expression as any form of entertainment. Violent video games often explore and provoke thought about themes of violence, crime, and lawlessness– not merely glorify it for thrills. These games are recreation and not of huge social merit, but they also are not the cause of violence. Let’s focus on the real causes of crime and not divert ourselves by blaming the mirrors held up to society.

What I’m Playing

If you’re the gaming sort, you may want to know that I’m playing Puzzle Pirates (as Stucco on Midnight Ocean). I’m just about to play in the Worlds of Warcraft beta, after months of resistance, since I’d rather not play a beta; but since my interest in City of Heroes has dried up (great game but lost my interest pretty quickly) I want a regular MMORPG, and my friends are mostly playing WoW. Puzzle Pirates is really entertaining but I may not play it for much longer. I expect I’ll play WoW a lot once it ships; till then the beta will have to do.

Brisbane Forest Park

Dylan and I drove out to the Brisbane Forest Park. It’s not far, maybe 45 minutes west of the city. I even avoided getting very lost on the way there and back, which is quite an accomplishment for me. Dylan and I had a great time. We went to lookouts and saw fantastic views of Samford valley. We ate sandwiches at Jolly Lookout. Then we went to a rainforest walking loop. Dylan loves the rainforest and we explored a bit. It was kind of spooky looking at the strangler figs swallowing up trees. Dylan also remembered and wanted to talk about my Alchemy game concept so we chatted a lot about that. It was a rainy day, which was perfect for the rainforest. It never poured on us except while we were in the car so the timing was good.

Gold Coast trip and State of Origin

I’m taking three days off to spend time with Dylan while he has his school holiday. Today we went down the Gold Coast. It was a fun trip. We stayed on the beach a bit though it was not very warm. Dylan made castles and got his feet wet; Kat and I hung out with Kira. We drove up to Mount Tamborine and it was beautfiul. A windy road through trees. At the top we stopped and walked a trail for a while. No dogs were allowed and it was sunset so we made it short. Dylan had a nice time wandering ahead; it was just his kind of forest. It really was extraordinary with a long view downhill through the trees. Went to see State of Origin at the Ice Bar with Greg. We had a good time though Queensland lost. It is such fun watching sport in Australia; everyone is quite friendly even if rivals, and lots of cheering and yelling at the screen and such. I feel patriotic about being a Queenslander.

I made my blog!

I’ve made my blog here on LiveJournal. I set it up so anyone registered as my friend can reply to my posts… so I think that means they can register as a LiveJournal user and then email me to ask for me to register them as a friend. I am not posting many details about myself, including my email, to avoid spam and such. My friends know all that stuff already. ;) My web page has all my background information so this blog can just do current events.

If you likie, why not sign up for more via feed or email?

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