Monthly Archives: August 2010

From a game mod to another game: How I found a music track by accident.

So when I’m not playing games or browsing the web, I listen to music. Various types of music. I always thought I had eccentric tastes in music, since I’ll listen to mostly anything if it sounds good.

About two years ago, I was doing a myriad of videos for Half-Life modifications to celebrate the game’s tenth anniversary. One that is considered highly praised by the mod community was Poke646, a mod made by a guy as a college project. The end of the game featured a catchy, yet haunting piano tune as its credits music. The music track was later remixed for the mod’s followup, Vendetta. I had thought it was a track made specifically for the mod, which was somewhat common back in the day to have original compositions. Either that or recycle music from other games and films.

Cut to now. I was playing Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, and while I was dying a lot due to trying to be stealthy rather than shooter-y, I got to a point in the game where a cutscene played, featured here. Notice that this spoils one of the crucial plot points in the game, so if you haven’t played it yet (and you should, it’s really good), you might want to skip ahead to the next paragraph.

So I scoured the credits once I finished Conviction and found out it was an existing song: “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt,” by DJ Shadow.

So the one track that I thought was an original composition for a game mod was a famous mashup track by a DJ. Funny how I find these things out. And it perfectly fits, since I’m a fan of mashups and DJ mixes. Sometimes they craft these masterful creations that sounds pretty awesome.

This has been your silly bit of trivia for the day. I’ll write something more interesting at a later time.

Of kids and their informal writing skills.

You know, I realize my writing isn’t perfect. In fact, if a newspaper or website editor were to skim through my blogs and other written articles, (s)he would likely find many problems in it. I’m willing to accept I’m not perfect, but at least I write like a competent human being. I’m welcome to improving my work and the way that I write. That being said, I have to get something off my chest.

I was browsing Sony’s Gamer Advisory Panel, which is basically a PlayStation focus group/message board. I’ve been a member since 2005, when the Xbox 360 launched, so I’ve seen my fair share of bad typing and logical fallacies. Hell, one blog I will remember until the end of time is somebody copying an anti-Xbox article by Maddox and adding “Buy Sony” at the end of every paragraph.

But then I saw this blog titled “Does It Really Do Everything?” I figured it would be another blog on how the PlayStation 3 couldn’t play PS2 games, or that you couldn’t install another OS like Linux on it. And after I read it, I found out I was correct. Now, I believe that losing features on a console, such as card readers and legacy SIXAXIS support in games is unfortunate, but not every idea a console maker comes up with is a bat out of the park. But this guy’s blog was a paragraph-long rambling without any spell or grammar checking. Another user there called out his flawed arguments, then this guy would post sentence-long replies, one of which stuck out to me:

Its a blog not a NEWSPAPER ok, I don’t care

That’s when I had to step in. I hear this a lot from people who write incoherently like this. “It’s not a term paper, I’m not in school” is something I hear a lot. That’s not a valid excuse in my eyes. You should write the same way no matter what the subject matter is: for a school paper, for a business report, for a blog, for an email with your friends. I understand people who text message are used to that 160 character (or however much) limit, but even I can be verbose with my messages without resorting to using “2,” “u” and “eva.”

Granted, anyone who reads what I write on Twitter, IRC or AIM may notice that I don’t always write formally there, but my reason is that I’m not writing a blog, thus I think it’s okay to be more casual with my text in those formats. Much like you might ditch a suit and tie for a nice t-shirt and jeans after a long hard day at work; I’m willing to save my more formal writing for when I’m actually writing something. But kids these days have a very annoying attitude of doing this equivalent of textual diarrhea all the time.

Seriously, how hard is it to take your time and make sure that what you are about to type makes any sense? This leads me to excuse number two: “I was in a hurry!” If you don’t have enough time initially to post that, then save it for later! If you have a bad memory, write it on a post-it note and slap it on your monitor or something. I can understand not everybody can type fast, hell, my dad is still a hunt-and-peck guy and he’s been around computers longer than I have; but take your time. It will be there when you come back.

And yet I will still hear these excuses constantly: “im not in skool so i can talk howeva i want plus i wuz in a hurry.” Yes, you can write however you want whenever you want, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t belittle you for it. Type like a normal human being with proper spelling, grammar and cohesiveness, or don’t bother typing at all. The more and more I read these excuses, the more I’m concerned that the events of Mike Judge’s film Idiocracy will someday become real because people will have gotten too lazy to write like normal human beings. Granted, I’m exaggerating here, but I seriously get concerned about people’s writing. The less I have to see nonsensical walls of babbling text, the better I can sleep at night knowing that yes, our children is learning.