Of wine and work

I haven’t had a lot of time lately to post messages on the blog, but I figure the least I can do is chronicle the good time I’m having while I’m working my tail off. So here’s a picture of a mob of us at the chef’s kitchen table at Delmonico, in the Venetian in Las Vegas. Can you tell that we like wine?
This evening I’m busting through pages of Game Programming Gems 5. The most important sections for me to read through (the front matter and the audio section) just arrived today, and I need to get feedback to the publisher this evening, basically. Yikes! So I’ve got some tunes going (no vocals please), am burning some nag champa, and am sprawled out on the rug surrounded by pages marked with red. It’s fun. 🙂
I’ve been playing a lot of LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth lately. It’s strangely addictive. It’s a PC-based RTS, where you essentially follow the story arc of the movies. However, the battles you fight don’t tightly correspond to the movie battles, and frankly it’s a little difficult to follow the storyline based on the cutscenes. It feels like one of those games that the developers spent so much time on that they convinced themselves the storyline flowed well. That happens to me a lot when I’m writing; that’s the point when you need someone else’s fresh eyes to have a look and tell you what you’re missing.
Anyway, the single-player campaign is designed as a series of short RTS missions, similar to the “Conquer the World” campaign of Rise of Nations. So it’s quite easy to jump into the game, play a mission or two, then pop back out, after an hour or so. Which is perfect for me right about now. It’s a great reward after working hard on something for awhile.
The RTS itself is a much simpler RTS than perhaps you’ve ever played. There are a fixed and limited number of positions where you can build buildings; there is basically just one type of resource; and each building can only create perhaps two types of units. So it’s very thin in that regard. However, the simplicity doesn’t reduce the enjoyability of the game at all. In fact, it gives me more time to concentrate on the characters (Frodo, Sauron, etc). Being able to point my army of 100 horsemen at incoming armies of orcs and tromple them is quite satisfying. *grin*
So anyway. That’s what I’m up to. 🙂 I hope you’re all having a nice week!