19 October 2009

Rainy Weekend, How to Deal with ...

It was a very Scottish sort of autumn weekend, which is to say it was dreich, and by 4 pm Saturday I'd moved to that irrational mental space in which it has always been 4 pm, always been raining, and ever shall be both, world without end, amen.

It's been a depressing number of years since I lived in Scotland, but I reverted to dreich Scottish weekend habits with surprising ease, indeed without even really thinking about it. Plenty of tea, until it's time for whisky. Reading cookbooks (I am revisiting Joseph Wechsberg's The Cooking of Vienna's Empire). Making something warm and comforting for supper (lamb stew).

Not very much knitting: I am still cross about the dress for the doll and am letting it all be until I'm over it.

Some gaming: the Halloween holiday event started in Warcraft, so it was a fine time to push my paladin the last little bit of the way to the level cap; and Bioware has released a free download of the character creator for their upcoming fantasy RPG, Dragon Age: origins. I'm excited about Dragon Age -- I've been wanting a good single-player RPG for a while, and everything Bioware has shown me so far suggests that Dragon Age will be the sort of thing with which I want my bejewelled golden goblets to overflow.

(I am also signed up for the Bioware social networking site, as are increasing numbers of my WoW buddies. This allows us to share characters we create and, when the game is released, our progress through it. The options for setting 'how I know this person' are awkward. 'Acquaintance' is too cold. 'Gamer buddy' suggests we meet weekly for Xbox hijinks or to throw polyhedrons; we don't. 'Guild' isn't accurate since we're mostly members of overlapping alliances of small guilds. I went with 'secret organisation (evil).')

The character creator for Dragon Age is marvelous for people like me, who can spend hours in character creation mode. When the game is released, I'll be able to play right away, because I'll have spent hours in character creation mode already, and my characters will be ready to go. There is no customisation of body types, but the tools for customising faces are finely tuned -- if you can't make your character look exactly the way you want it to, don't blame Bioware. My only complaint is that I can't really see what eye colours I'm getting. They all look dark. That might be correctable, but I haven't had time to play with it.

Another great thing about the character creator at this stage: the ability to edit characters. If I make a character and am not happy with his eye colour, or her facial tattoos, I can go back and fix it, rather than having to delete the character and start over. Oh, and you can edit stats that way too, if that sort of thing matters to you. Pft.

And yes, computer games were a part of my dreich Scottish weekend experience. I had Castle of the Winds (ancient even then) and a Commander Keen game. All of it highly primitive by today's standards -- character customisation in Castle of the Winds was limited to deciding if your character was male or female -- and I don't suggest dungeon-crawling through pixel-castles as a great substitute for visiting real ones, but when the rain is coming down in buckets, a little escapism doesn't hurt.

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