September 1, 2008

I see a glorious future...

I've been thinking a lot about my life lately, about what the Guildhall has given me and what its taken, about where I am going and where I am, about my path through life. I think at the end of the day there are things that I am unhappy about right now, probably most notably my lamentable social situation, but I think I am on the right track. I mean, all the stuff that bothers me about my current life is stuff that will go away as soon as I get out of this place, and as far as jobs go I don't think I could imagine enjoying anything as much as I enjoy this.

The hardest thing about the Guildhall really is the whole work-life balance thing. In what I will call the "real world," you have your job, and when you are at work you are committed to the job, focused on the task at hand, and when you are at home you are "off the clock" so to speak. You may have some long nights, and even have to work the occasional weekend, but generally, you are able to keep your work from invading your personal life. The problem with the Guildhall is you never really come off the clock. Everything you work on can always be improved, and you never know which piece is going to land you that dream job you've always wanted, so there's a lot of pressure to keep working, so when you actually do decide to take some time off, the things you should be doing are always on your mind.

Take this weekend for example, I got a reasonable amount accomplished both in school and my personal life, but it wasn't nearly the amount I had planned for. Every now and then as I was just playing games or watching TV to relax, my schoolwork was always floating around the back of my brain keeping me from truly enjoying my time off. Now, the way to fix that would usually be to finish the work so you don't have to think about it, but as I stated previously, there really is no way to "finish" this work. Not that that kept me from taking some time off and enjoying it, just something to consider. Also, I'm not trying to overstate things, just voice opinions and realizations I've only recently uncovered.

The truth is the Guildhall really doesn't let you have a life, and that's something that we all just accept, and I guess I'm getting a little tired of it. I am ready to get out of here and get back to my real life, which I think will be much improved with this new career choice. I am ready to get back to having nights and weekends to do with as I please, to go out with friends, participate in hobbies and activities, meet people, maybe even have a date now and then. As I said at the beginning of this post, I recognize what the Guildhall has given me, and I am grateful for the training I've received and the people that have made it possible, but I am ready to move on.

Anyway, I guess that will end my rant for the day. The last few days I have done little to no school work and I've played a lot of games. I finished Too Human and R&CF: Quest for Booty. Too Human is fun but ultimately I think the plot takes a backseat in the game which is sad for a story-centric studio like Silicon Knights. From the original Legacy of Kain to Eternal Darkness I have always loved their stories and the way they tied the player into the plot. Too Human felt more like a bunch of important (though oddly disconnected) things were happening and the player just happened to be around to see it. Still I've enjoyed my time with it and co-op is a hoot, so I'll probably keep playing it when I need to blow of some steam, at least until I max out my character.

Quest for Booty was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I think well worth the money I paid for it. I'm not sure how long it was, but I think it felt about right for $15, maybe a little on the short side... They did some cool new things with the wrench, though I would have liked to see a couple new weapons for the new adventure, or at least the option to somehow acquire my old ones from the original R&CF: Tools of Destruction. I can understand the balancing nightmare of letting me bring in my other weapons, but it still would have been a nice extra. I do, however, appreciate the addition of the hard difficulty setting, which definitely challenged me in a number of places. I definitely died on the last boss at least a half dozen times. Good stuff...

In addition to finishing those games, I picked up Mercenaries 2 for the 360 yesterday and I've been playing the crap out of it ever since. I loved the original Mercenaries and as far as I can tell they've basically improved the game in every way possible. The missions generally seem far more involved and interesting, each of the factions has their own stores and items so you really need to work to keep them all happy with you, and the new stockpile system really makes you think about what you want/need before you go out tearing up the countryside. All the great stuff from the original Mercenaries is still there as well in some form or another. The ability to call in devastating ordinance from artillery shells to a nuclear bunker buster (haven't gotten this yet, but I've seen it in previews), the opportunity to approach missions from a number of different directions depending on player skill and style, and just a fun, large, open world environment with LOTS of stuff to destroy. Maybe I'm just a sucker for big, fancy explosions (which is probably true to a certain extent), but I am loving it so far, my only concern is my quickly rising completion meter seems to indicate the adventure will end sooner than I would like (though the lack of any in-game timer makes it difficult to tell how long I've already been playing).

With all this gaming I haven't really gotten nearly as much work done this weekend as I would have liked. I managed to revise my thesis proposal for final review and do a little more work on my DFS/thesis whitebox, but not nearly as much as I had intended. I don't think this should put me too far off the pace for any deadlines, but it may require a few long night to recover. Anyway, I'm not going to sweat it right now, there are a lot of hours in the day and I don't think I'm that far from accomplishing any particular goal I have. As for right now, I need to decide if I want to try to cram a little work now at the end of my day or write the day off as a loss (at least for schoolwork) and play a game for a little bit before getting to bed. Oh decisions, decisions...

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