goodbye blues

pasted from t'other blog. t'other blog that's mine.

And now business. 180 degrees, spin 180 degrees till you find me. I’ve had a successful weekend that’s going to lead to a hopefully writing packed week. I should be getting some new apps to review this week and you can expect to find them at www.persiancatpress.com by the end of this week/start of next/end of next week/THE FUTURE.

In terms of my own writing I recently finished up a brand new draft of the IGN I’m co-writing, Solarized. Early signs are that this draft has gone down well. I’ve got Alan Moore’s drastically outdated book, Writing For Comics coming in the post and hopefully I can get that read and slip into a more graphic novel style of writing and thinking about how things should progress on the (iPad) screen/virtual page. By the time this first episode hits I’m hoping I’ll have expanded my writing skills greatly so that I could contribute to other similar projects.

Shorts. I don’t wear shorts, I write them.

Alexis, a very hardworking producer down in London has managed to get an ex-BBC type person onboard to direct The Green Guardian, an upcoming animation about the world’s first carbon neutral superhero. This has real potential that I’ve actually failed to realise until now. It terms of comedy there’s an endless void of jokes just waiting to be written, there’s a semi-serious message buried under all the funny stuff and it could really be big. It could be a web series. It could be the making of me.

Features.

The Last Summer is my third ‘currently redrafting’ feature. It’s a coming of age road trip film about two friends desperately trying to deal with love and loss as they embark on a grand trip from Manchester to London. I’d previously submitted it to Vision and Media, got some good feedback and a couple of useless points (largely because I was either going to cut them out of the script or it was praise). I’m sounding shitty and pretentious but I don’t need telling I can do certain things well or that I can write in an industry standard and professional format, that’s a gibbon. What I need and crave are cold hard truths. Characterisation is a mess, too plot driven, too expoisitoinal and so on. Things that will help me break down the script (which I did over many fustrasting weeks and many warm beers) and build it back up so I’m actually communicating my original vision of the script. It’s no good keeping ‘the good stuff’ in my head. If I want to be a writer and be taken seriously I have to prove that I can damn well write.

Rant over.

For The Last Summer I redid character biogs, scrapped the piss-poor hybrid genre nature of the script, realigned the theme, made it more character driven – this is the big one. My characters, the two best friends, when possible will drive (a car) (and) the story forward at any and every opportunity. For me that’s been the dilemma, the hardest thing.

I saw Tinker Tailor over the weekend, it was a real slow burner but expertly acted.

I’m currently re-reading Hamlet.

I’m about to watch Doctor Who.

I bid thee farewell.

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Late Goodbye (Call It What You Will)

List/blog/call it what you will.  
 
Something just sprung to mind in my infinite tipsyness as I drift off to - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDflVhOpS4E - literally the best the thing I've ever heard. 
I was thinking about games I started but never finished, either because I gave up or because they were too hard (most of these will be from my childhood). So here is a list that really should be an actual list but instead its a blog (that's fucked up). 
 
Games I never finished nor saw the end of: 
 
Sonic 3 
Final Fantasy VII 
Final Fantasy IX 
Counter Strike: Source 
Peggle Nights 
Doom 
Heart of Darkness 
Abe's Exodus 
Munch's Oddysee 
Any and every Tony Hawk game 
Sonic 3D or whatever the fuck the Americans called it. (It's a MegaDrive) 
Fotonica 
Beneath a Steel Sky 
Broken Sword 1 
Broken Sword 2 
ilomilo 
Dice XY (now I'm reaching, you don't even know what that is do you?) 
Silent Hill 
Resident Evil 
Resident Evil Code Veronica 
Resident Evil 4 
Shenmue (to my shame) 
Jet Set Radio 
 
  
The list, as you expect, goes, exponentially, unremittingly, unflinchingly, like Max Payne, driving, into the night, it's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye.

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Racing Sleep

So it's almost 9pm and I can barely keep my eyes open so I'll quickly say some things, or type some things but I'm saying them in my head if that helps. 
 
Got Bastion! GB has given that game some coverage which is fine although I have to admit as interesting as it was seeing that game develop it never really interested me. It seemed far more appealing to listen to Greg and co. talk about making the game than it was to actually watch the game being played. Initially I wasn't going to buy it... and then I played the demo and despite almost being bankrupt, I bought it straight away and I love it. I'm a stickler for any game that tries to tell a story or finds a useful narration method, hell the best part of Black Ops is the spiral narrative (Rashomon anymone?). 
 
Anyway Bastion is awesome and if I want to race through it but I also want to savour it like a savoury, something. 
 
In other news....just about to fire up Terraria, bought Old World Blues and I'm loving it, next to Point Lookout its shaping up to be one of the best DLC packs for either (new) Fallout games and its more interesting than the majority of stuff that happens in New Vegas. Granted the nods to Christine and Elijah (particularly his bomb collars) are solely reliant on that god awful Dead Money DLC I bought and completed (although there were things I really enjoyed about it). 
 
Something, something, something still writing scripts, still making films, still not making any money, still falling asleep like an old man at 9.03pm. 
 
Goodnight cruel world.  
 
EDIT: Just played Terraria that game fucking rules! Never played Minecraft and don't ever intend to and I know they are very similar but I've found my new thing.

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As If By Magicka

So I have an hour before I have to go to my local pub and drink. I have to. I don't want to but needs must. 
 
I just have time to spin my bullshit, like I always do and talk about me, both my least favourite and most favourit-ist subject. Last weekend down in London, a short film, based upon my script was shot. It's a comedy and I hope when it finally sees the light of day people will actually laugh. If you want more information and want to watch a nice video where people say nice things about me, head over to  http://www.sponsume.com/project/love-blind-0 
 
Apart from that I'm still writing plenty of stuff. Been approached by a nice lady director to re-write a script that I thought was terrible (because I'd written it). I'm still pimping Make a Move which I'm hoping will be shown at a few more festivals before year's end and maybe, just maybe win one more award. 
 
And games! I'm in love with my laptop, I bought far too many games in the Steam summer sale, most of which I've played but still on the list are: 
-All Your Magicka DLC
-Lara Croft and the Subtitle 
-Counter-Strucken (I'm playing the German version) 
-Terraria 
-Cities XL (cause I'm a big boy). 
 
All these games and my slow, slow grasping of WASD controls have made me realise that I need a good desktop PC, or at least one that can run Magicka in an acceptable resolution.  
 
That's it, all I have to say, I'm very boring so stop reading and go away.

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The Weak in Revue

As far as weeks go in which I remain unemployed, this one just gone has been pretty interesting. I finally got round to making my new (yet feeble) laptop something more than an email and Final Draft device.

But before that I’ll wade in the PC. There’s Child of Eden which I quickly finished (joke alert), I would have liked to have spent more time with it but it was a rental so needs must. I dabbled with a controller and Kinect. The controller is definitely the way to go with that game but even in the menus using Kinect, the increased fidelity (over other Kinect games) is immediately apparent. Hell it did, at times, make me feel like I was composing/conducting/like I WAS THE BLUE/PURPLE RETICULE. The final level and credits sequence moved me somewhat. It was a really poignant moment that reminded me that games aren’t all about saying ‘fuck’ and delivering one shot to centre mass.

Then there are the PC games I dove into. This is a segment I’m calling ‘Games that a GB Quick Look sold me on because I’m a sheep and buy things on a whim’. Last night I persevered and blasted through the last hour of VVVVVV. I’m not a fan of those types of sadistic games but coupled with the music and cutesy charm that game oozes I found it hard to stop playing and again the ending felt like something really special.

Magicka next. My laptop can just about handle it, it chugs in places but it’s completely playable for the most part. Again, charm is something I adore in games and between the music, the ‘simlish’ dialogue and Vlad (who, although has vampiric traits, isn’t a vampire!), Magicka just had me gripped. Weirdly enough the comedy reminded me of Borderlands, I don’t know why.

Spiral Knights is free to play, I freely played it for about five minutes, its okay I guess. Team Fortress 2 is a game that I don’t like, as sacrilegious as that sounds, it’s just not for me.

And finally, Gemini Rue is awesome. I love point and click games with style, not a fan of the shooting and the voice acting is suspect in places but it’s cool.

Outside of games (and let’s face it, there isn’t much). I finally got round to writing the first draft of a comedy pilot. A few weeks ago, an up and coming (but who isn’t?) producer had heard (through the grape or hoevine) that I liked to write comedy. He pitched me something and it instantly grabbed me. I don’t want to say too much about it in case it totally backfires and the pilot never gets shot but it’s going to be like The Thick of It meets Studio 60 (my favourite ever TV show). It’ll be a mix of those two only nowhere near as funny because I’m not marginally talented

Well that’s it. Ramble over, ramble on, ramble away! To the skies!

Oh and I need to save up for a ‘gaming’ PC, it’s about time.

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Game Pitches Vol 1

I present to you my latest attempt to pitch a video game. 
 
Assassin's Creed: Animus Trainer   
 
With Assassin's Creed: Animus Trainer, exclusively for Kinect,  you are the Desmond in this fun, active and engaging fitness game from the fine people that brought you Learn Italian with Ezio and History: A Templar's Version of Events. Run, jump, duck, dive, run and free run inside the Animus with a wide range of activities and routines. You know what they say: Exercise and an Apple of Eden a day keeps the Templars away! 
 
To spice things up you can enter the 'Combat Arena', shouting "Hidden Blade on" not only sounds fucking cool but you'll be able to test your strength against a varied array of enemies from previous Assassin's Creed games. Cameos include, the dude on a horse from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Generic Guard 7 from the original Assassin's Creed.  Titling your head violently and awkwardly from side to side activates Eagle Vision, the perfect tool for scanning your surroundings. Get handy exercise tips from Subject 16 although you'll have to solve a series of inexplicably difficult puzzles first.  
 
Assassin's Creed: Animus Trainer is the perfect way to have fun and stay in shape because let's be realistic, you're not going to beat the Templars sitting in a chair all day, are you? 
 
Also coming soon: Subject 16's Photo Hunt Adventure.
 

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Have you heard of the Arctic Monkeys? A Brief Look at Indie Games

(NB - wrote this for a friend for his website and aimed at people who are new to indie games, so if it seems a little pandering I apologise)
 
To avoid this turning into an ill-informed, half-arsedly researched essay I’ll assume you know what video games are, specifically ‘Indie Games’. Born out XNA software, XNA games (later rebranded as Indie Games) are bite size, cheap stabs at making it big by getting your game out there. Fire up your Xbox, navigate through a thousand menus and you’ll eventually find the Indie Games channel. You’ll want to immediately turn it off and shout of me for saying you should do that. Indie Games are marred by rip-offs (and not even good rip-offs), useless ‘games’ featuring YOUR avatar and of course zombies, lots and lots of pissing zombies. You give people an inch…

Never the less, the saving grace for Indie Games is that they are cheap, anywhere from 80-400 Microsoft moon points. You can also get your fill of any bad game with the generous thirty minute trial (the best part is that it’s free!). Like short films being the incestuous cousin of feature films, Indie Games also have the ability to launch a developer’s career. Take (pause while I look this up on the Internet) (Firefox just crashed) (I’m looking it up on my Xbox).

Ok, take Arkedo for example who have made a series of games handily called Arkedo Series. 03 Pixel is the best one, featuring the adventures of a white pixelated cat as it travels through a treacherous neon blue wonderland. Coming out of E3 2011 was the news that Arkedo have picked up to work on something big, so big breaks do happen.

So in order to help you navigate the minefield of zombie-themed snooze fests and Silver Dollar Games (please don’t ever buy or play one of their games), I’m going to run off a few of my favourites to date. Note – I used an overdraft from a well-known high street bank to pay for all these games.
 
Dark

( Andrew Russell/80 MSP)

This 2009 platformer is strange. You can finish it in half an hour, you collect stuff that has no bearing on the game and it looks exactly like XBLA smash-hit, Limbo but it came out years before it. Regardless, the minimalist sound design, striking visuals and haunting music prompted me to write down Andrew’s email address from the credits, email him and tell him how much I loved the game. He told me he’s currently working on something new. Stay tuned.
 
Decay Parts I-IV

( Shining Gate Software/240 MSP per episode)

A throwback to days go by. This first person point and click is divisive to say the least, across all four parts you’ll encounter fiendish puzzles, nonsensical plot twists and jump scares that made my literally hand the controller to my girlfriend and force her to play for me. Parts 2 and 3 are really where it’s it but for the full experience it’s worth playing them all.
 
Word Soup

( Fuzzy Bug/400 MSP)

It’s fucking Word Soup dawg.
 
Pocoro

( raytaller/80 MSP)

A pint sized puzzle game with infinite amounts of charm and soothing music. Go see this one for yourself, I tried explaining it in my head and it didn’t work.

There’s plenty more fun to be had and I might do a follow up cause I’ve got many more awesome Indie Games sitting on my hard drive but you’re dying to go so I’ll let you be on your merry way. Honourable mention goes to radiangames for their amazing line of twin-stick shooters (Geometry Wars knock-offs, maybe, but great all the same).

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Inception Review

 For a film supposedly ten years in the making, writer and director Christopher Nolan delivers a complex and engaging sci-fi/action film that's original as it is epic.

The premise is complicated but easy to understand, its a heist movie at heart but instead of criminals breaking into in a bank, Leonardo DiCaprio is breaking into people's dreams by the process of extraction. DiCaprio heads up a stellar cast of award winners and Hollywood heavywieghts including the handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine.

DiCaprio is Dominic Cobb, an extractor, who specialises in subconscious security. Aided by his pointman Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), Cobb and Arthur break into a subject's dreams in order to steal their secrets. The film opens with a botched extraction of businessman Saito's (Watanbe) dreams. Saito has an alternative offer and employs Cobb to perform inception. Instead of stealing information, he has to implant information in a subject's mind, a complex and near impossible feat to perform.

After the brief set up, the film settles into its rhythm, exploring Cobb's past, his relationship with his deceased wife Mal (Cotillard) and the nature of subconscious theft. Cobb assembles of crack-team to infiltrate Fischer's (Murphy) dreams and implant the idea that dissolving his father's massive empire is a good idea.

The majority of film deals with the actual inception and the complications that arise from creating a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream. Despite the slightly convoluted nature of dreams, Nolan carefully weaves in layers of philosophy and narrative complexity. Inception is never overly difficult to understand and comprehend which serves it well but it also never reveals the full picture which kept me hooked from start to finish and constantly had me wanting more answers.

The film's gun play and action is well choreographed and always exciting to watch. Coupled with sublime editing, gripping music from Hans Zimmer and superb direction and vision from Nolan, Inception is one of the most interesting and exciting films I've ever seen. It's visually rich and beautifully shot.

Looking back at the film its hard not to slide into sensationalism and hyperbole when trying to describe Inception but the best comparison I can make is to The Matrix (and by extension Ghost in the Shell). I remember the first time I saw The Matrix and the way it drew me in with postmodern questions about the nature of the 'real' and how it candidly boiled down complicated subjects. Inception outstrips The Matrix in terms of narrative fidelity while the philosophy is still there but it isn't so overt and it seems less pretentious for it.

Ultimately Inception is one of the best films I've ever seen and it certainly is the best blend of sci-fi/action out there.
 
(Originally posted on grimmfest.com) 
(oh and for Ryax, Clubvodka (me) is JD Douglas-Walton (Me), also known as Me.

JD Douglas-Walton
Writer & Networker for Grimm Up North. 

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The Sunny Hour


The sun is shining which is damn rare for Manchester. 
The plan for today is to finish my dissertation essay, plan out the chess game in my latest short script, play Phantom Crash and watch some Iplayer stuff. I've got Ashes to Ashes, Doctor Who and Jonothan Creek downloaded (super excited about that one). 
 
Oh and I need a job in the media but can't bothered looking.... I am so lazy.
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Script Pitches # 56


As I do all the time (it annoys my girlfriend so much, especially when she's playing Persona), I pitch her script ideas (its what I do as an aspiring writer). 
 
So here is my latest: The Queen's Gambit. I haven't really thought too much into it but so far I've got: 
 
Casper and Bishop, two best friends. Bishop's got a wife and Casper is sleeping with her. Over the course of a tense chess game, Casper is going to reveal is secret. 
 
Now the premise is there all I need to do now is write some short character bios and get a chess board and plan the moves. 
 
Note: This is a short, I'm aiming for 5-10 (that's what they all say). I'll probably show it to a director 'friend' of mine and he'll say make it 3 times as long (its happend before). 
 
So #56 - A chess drama thing! 
 
Eat it up.
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