Toronto International Film Fest: The Aftermath

The Toronto International Film Fest. Wow! What an amazing experience, even if Bao and I managed to watch two films, we somehow are still talking about them. Okay, fine, maybe I'm still talking about it but the two films we watched deserved by 4 of 5 and 5 of 5 rating.

Bao and I attended the TIFF on Sept. 10th and watched "London to Brighton" at 3:00p and we managed to get rush tickets for "2:37" at 8:00p. I've never been good at writing reviews for films since I feel it's an artform that once you describe it, it loses its effect, but I'll try my best.

"London to Brighton"
LoB is a UK film, directed by Paul Andrew Williams. It's about a prostitute named Kelly, a young street-girl named Joanne, Kelly's pimp, and Kelly's pimp's client's son. Sorry, I'm terrible at names and at I must have missed their names but I'm sure I can look it up on IMDB. So LoB follows Kelly and Joanne's "escape" from Brighton since they're both being chased down by Kelly's pimp. Why are they being chased? That's where you have to watch the movie and find out! If I said anymore, I'd be giving away too much of the story.

2:37 is an Austrailian film about a group of highschool students who are three months from graduating and all their problems in life. There's a whole cast of characters, which unfortunately has long escaped me since I started writing this on Monday morning and now it's the end of the week. So again, without saying too much and potentially ruining the movie, the film title is the time in which one of these highschool students commit suicide. The morale of the story is that we can all become so wrapped up in our own problems that we become oblivious to other people's problems to the point where once their gone, they can be gone forever. Alright, so that didn't sound the way I wanted to but I'm not really in a philosophizing mood tonight.

Anyways, I suggested to Bao that we should volunteer for TIFF next year so that we can get free tickets for ourselves instead of spending $20 per movie. Hopefully we'll stick to that plan.


TV: The Brain Drain (...or is it?)

Whoa! It's been a long time since I've posted anything on my blog. Long enough that I've sort of forgotten when I last posted anything. Actually, I could go check when I last made a post now but somehow I'm too lazy and I'll just keep typing instead.

Anyways, Bao has mentioned in a previous post somewhere that Wen and I have been making show recommendations. I'm glad to know that we have good taste in shows :)

Recently I started watching a show that I should be torrenting as well: The 4400. The premise of the show is based on 4400 people who possesss supernatural powers that were given to them by people from the future. (You gotta watch the show to know more!)

Here's a quick synopsis of the 2-hour mini-series. I'll try my best to reconstruct what I remember since it's been a long time since I've watched the mini-series:
An apocolyptic sized asteroid is headed towards Earth and everyone is scrambling to find someway to stop it. It enters the Earth's atmosphere and instead of crashing and causing huge amounts of death and destruction, it hovers above a lake. In a sudden explosion of light, 4400 people suddenly appear on the lake coast, totally confused as to where they are and what happened. In the mini-series, these people are known as The Returnees and in the series they're called The 4400, hence the name of the show.

What do I think about The 4400? Well if you enjoy BSG for its human drama and for their infrequent use of sci-fi jargon, then you'll enjoy The 4400. The only reason Star Trek has survived this long is due to their casting of beautiful women; there was simply too much sci-fi techno jargon and the writers didn't change the tiring "story formula". (that was totally unrelated but that was my 2-cents)

So, check out The 4400!


Murder Mystery

It's been about a week and a half since our second Summerlicious outting and during the GO bus ride downtown, Bao and I started outlining a plot for a murder mystery adventure game that I can work on whenever I'm at home on the weekend. Should I discuss the plot outline and get opinions from people or should I keep it a surprise? The story wouldn't be much of a mystery if everybody knew about it but I also want to give the game a robust plot.

Let's say after watching Memento, it seems some of Bao and my murder mystery is inspired by certain elements from the movie...


My Room Is Shrinking: A Pack Rat's Curse

There comes a time when one realizes that one's room is getting smaller because of the continual accumulation of stuff.

My room is approximately 10 feet by 12 feet and it's starting to shrink as more stuff is piled up. Along the north and west wall is my desk which fits nicely into the corner of the room. For those of you who've never step foot into my room, my desk has a triangular section that fits flush with the corner and two table sections are along the north and west wall, respectively. A hutch sits on the west table and I always have textbooks, magazines, journals, and miscellaneous stuff piled there. On the north table is a laser print that takes up half the table space and I've done my best to keep the rest of it clean so I have some workspace.

Moving clockwise, beside my desk is my bureau. It's not the prettiest looking thing but it does a good job holding my clothes. Unfortunately, I haven't been keeping up with the "out with the old and in with the new" routine and the new keeps moving in and the old hasn't moved out.

Sitting snuggly between my north table and bureau is my aluminium tool briefcase. During my time at Ryerson, I've slowly accumulated more and more electronic components. Initially I started out with a small, tan-colored tackle box that I borrowed from my dad. Then I upgraded to a larger, dark blue, plastic, MasterCraft tool chest and I moved everything from the tan tackle box into it. But soon after that I "out grew" that tool chest and I recently upgraded to the aluminium tool briefcase. It's a heavy sucker since I have a lot of stuff in it but it's more convenient to carry and it looks professional!

Continuing to the east side of my room is my closet. And there are no skeletons in it, both figuratively and literally. From floor to ceiling, my closet is jammed with cardboard boxes of stuff, clothing that I should sort out and donate to Good Will and I should figure out what else I can offload. And my bed. Not much to say about it, other than I sleep in it and whenever I buy a new book, I turn on the small fluorescent lamp mounted just above my head and sometimes read into the early hours of the morning.

Beside my bed, on the south wall is a large, blue plastic bin full of clothes, which again I have to sort through and determine what I can donate. Sitting on the bin is my alarm clock which is conveniently beside my head.

Moving back to the west wall, I have a small Ikea bookshelf. Unfortunately, I have too many textbooks that I'm unwilling to part from, thus I need a bookshelf that's big enough to accomodate all of my present reading material and have enough free space for the future. As soon as my dad is free from other stuff around the house, I'll ask him to make me a new shelf.

As you can see, I have too much old clothing in my room that needs to be donated and I'm afraid that it'll take me a while to properly sort through my stuff and get rid of whatever I don't need. One possibility is converting the attic into storage space, which the entrance is conveniently in my room. But I don't think that's the best idea since I'm not sure how structurally sound is the attic.


AGS (Adventure Game Studio)

Before WoW, EQ, UO and other fantasy/sci-fi game worlds that supports millions of players, there were humble adventure games like Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Sam and Max, Beneath a Steel Sky, Monkey Island and other "classic" games.

Around the mid-90s or so, adventure games began to disappear and commercially released adventure games are pretty much extinct now. What happened? Were people lured away by hi-res graphics, billion polygons per model, lots of explosions and fast paced shooters? Did game companies lose interest in making adventure games? Personally, I don't know all the variables that contributed to the disappearance of commercially released adventure games and I don't really intend to change people's gaming preferences.

So what about the community that still plays "classic" adventure games? Do we stop and force ourselves to move on? Sure. But a better idea is to make our own games, especially for those who don't mind getting some grease on their hands.

Enter the Adventure Game Studio (AGS), made as freeware by Chris Jones. I don't know who Chris Jones is but here's what I think about AGS.

My Review

First off, AGS was designed to help people make 2D adventure games like the ones published by LucasArts and Sierra. So that means the artwork quality in the numerous indie games are measured by the artist's skill; awesome artwork if you can draw, if you can't draw you can still have awesome 2D artwork if you follow some of the community-created tutorials. This goes for sound too. If you have a good ear and a decent sound editing tool, you can have full voice and a musical score.

As a developement tool, AGS is very easy to use and anybody can crank out a very simple game in a day. This is possible because there are community members dedicated to creating art packages of characters, objects and background art. The complexity of the games are limited to the skill of the programmer; if you can't program for beans, you can hop onto the forum ask for help.

At the moment I haven't delved into AGS much but I'm sure I can whip up something simple and build for it.

Potential Stories

The worst thing that can happen to a writer is writer's block. Something worse than writer's block is when the writer loses his/her muse and is having trouble finding anything to write about. As a cry for help, anybody have suggestions for an adventure game?