Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The impression of durability

A friend of mine in Norway shared some anecdotes of his stint in the Norwegian Army as a tanker. Some of his other friends were surprised by how fragile tanks really are; I wasn't. Tanks are a very, very specialised vehicle, and for the thing they're designed to do, they're excellent. That, however, translates into a lot of weaknesses.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A leg down

Hopefully, sometime around the posting of this entry, I'll be at my doctor's office having my left knee poked at. On Friday evening, something went wrong, and since then it's refused to cooperate. Putting too much weight on it causes excruciating pain, flexing it too much likewise, and the overall impression is of a knee that's given up. So, rather than improvising with painkillers, braces, and the like, I'll be taking it in for an inspection and possibly repair, depending on what's happened to it.

I've avoided needing surgery for over 30 years. That's a decent run.

And for once, I'm actually happy about my car having an automatic gearbox. Trying to drive a manual with a bad left knee would not be pleasant in the slightest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Compare and contrast...

Last Tuesday, the USA held its 2012 General Election. This was my first chance to vote in one, having been a US citizen for a little less than a year. It's instructive to compare it to the British elections I used to vote in.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pushing myself

This is, to some extent, a personal post and a discursive post rolled into one. I had an idea yesterday, the full details of which I'm not willing to disclose at the moment. The reason I'm not disclosing them is I need to talk with an attorney about them, and while the LA was helpful, it's not her area of expertise and so she recommended I talk with someone whose area of expertise it is.

But be that as it may, I had an idea, and I believe I have at this point an achievable goal in making a computer game. This will primarily be a self-education exercise, but if the legal side is sufficiently easy, it may see the light of day. And if it does, it may even be successful. However, I'll keep you updated with my progress, because that's a good way to keep me honest. It'll also be a good way to help me learn; nothing clears your thoughts up like trying to explain things to other people.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Why can't I use his medkit?"

Yes, it's another XCOM post. Last night, my Twitter stream exploded with frustration at the inconvenience and immersion-breaking of one particular mechanic that crops up a lot. My friend JPH has already written about it on his site, but I wanted to look at why it happens and why we expect it to behave differently. That frustration is caused by the inability to pick up and use medkits carried by other soldiers.

There's always a need for a medkit, because your soldiers in such a brutal tactical game WILL be shot, and if you don't keep their health topped up they WILL die. The trouble arises when your soldier with a medkit goes down, critically wounded, and needs to be stabilised. You need a medkit to stabilise a critically wounded soldier, but you'd expect that that would be no problem - after all, if the medic's down, they have a medkit you can use. Easy, right?