Excellent week, my friends! I’ll get to my dissertation stuff soon, but first things first: I got a recliner on Tuesday and it is SOOOOOOO comfy. So much easier working now 😀 Beforehand my back would start to hurt if I sat too long typing in front of my computer monitor (i.e my TV) but now I can enjoy myself in maximum comfort! And with that said, a bit more fun schtuff:
Haven’t been able to watch much this week cause I’ve been busy. I’ll probably be busy next week too, but if I have some free time I’ll catch up on the next episodes of Berserk along with the Bloodstained Community Broadcast 😀
Not that much, since I’ve been working on my funssertation, but I have been crowdfunding some great games recently! Check em out:
Phoenix Point is a new game from Julian Gollop, the guy who made the original XCOM: UFO Defense, which was remade by Firaxis recently. I’m really excited about this, since it seems to have everything I ever wanted in an XCOM type game: Giant bosses with multiple parts, Lovecraft, and multiple endings! Threw down 95 dollars for the collector’s edition, IMO that’s reasonable, since I’m fairly confident in this project’s success. I’ve heard Fig can be suspicious and Mighty No. 9 and Yooka-Laylee were examples of less than ideal crowdfunds, but I’ve got some faith in Gollop, as he’s a VERY experienced project leader. 😀
The other thing I backed was Forsaken Castle on Kickstarter.
This one is a chancier proposition–it’s 2 guys with no previous experience. However, they’re making a simple 2D pixel platformer, and they patiently answered some questions I had for them on Twitter, so I pledged for 15 bucks as a way of saying thank you. Not much from my standpoint–if worst comes to worst, I’ll only be out the price of a single meal at one of the restaurants I go to, and if it all works out, I’ll get to play a cute, mildly amusing “nostalgia” game. And I’d say it’s worth it either way to have helped out some guys who seem pretty cool 😀
Nothin doin this week, since I’ve been dissertationan :p
The Dawn of War III novelization by Robbie MacNiven. Now, I have to be honest here, Robbie’s a buddy of mine from Tumblr. So you may think that this review may be a little biased in his favor. However, I can assure you that under any objective criteria, this is a fantastic read!
First, the merely okay: The basic plot isn’t worldshattering to anyone familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Essentially, 40 thousand years in the future, the galaxy is an endless nightmare of war where extradimensional entities (from another dimension called the Warp) fight with and against a dizzying array of dangerous aliens to destroy humanity. The only thing shielding us from all these horrors is the Imperium, the galaxy-spanning human empire that’s the most dystopian theocratic totalitarian dictatorship you can imagine run by the corpse of its God-Emperor. It regularly sentences entire planets and billions of its own citizens to death, but that’s still a better deal for mankind than being eaten by space bugs (Tyranids), consumed by Chaos (the aforementioned Warp entities), and so on.
Humanity’s most stalwart defenders are the genetically engineered Space Marines, and one of its most merciless adversaries are the barbaric Orks. The inscrutable Eldar also interact with humanity, sometimes as allies, more often as foes. All three of these races have landed on the planet of Cyprus Ultima–The Space Marines are led by the mighty Gabriel Angelos, the Orks by the cunning warboss Gorgutz, and the Eldar by the wise Farseer Macha. At first it seems they’re fighting over the riches of Ultima, but all of a sudden an entire planet, Acheron, emerges nearby from the Warp, and on that planet is a weapon supposedly capable of conquering entire worlds. All three factions attempt to gain control of it, but they soon find that the prize they seek may be a trap instead…
So yeah, not the most groundbreaking plot in the world, but this is a novel based on a videogame (Dawn of War III is coming out for the PC soon), so I can accept that. Additionally, the characters are okay: Gabriel Angelos is noble, Farseer Macha is farsighted, and Gorgutz is amusing, and there’s some reasonably compelling conflict between each character and other factions belonging to their races–an Imperial inquisitor wants Acheron’s secrets for himself while Lady Solaria of Ultima just wants to avenge her family, an Eldar leader is consumed by bloodlust, and Gorgutz, of course, fights with his fellow Orks as much as he fights against everyone else. They’re all distinct and competently drawn, but not especially original or compelling. Again, this isn’t MacNiven’s fault, as these aren’t his characters, just those from the game, and in-game they serve their purposes so much.
Given this somewhat less than enthusiastic assessment, you may wonder why I awarded this novel five stars. Three words: WHITE KNUCKLE ACTION! The novel starts off at 10 and just gets hotter from there. The combat is amazingly visceral, with tons of blood and gore (there are some very violent parts, which I liked, but other readers might shy away from), as well as incredibly well written, as if you can see and feel every swing, cut, and thrust. The choreography is great and keeping with the lore–Gabriel makes a couple of desperate leaps in his Terminator armor, but otherwise the superfast Matrix style moves are kept to the Eldar. I didn’t see a single backflipping Terminator XD XD Seriously though, it’s great, and there are sooo many awesome scenes: A mighty giant robot cutting its way through a wave of Orks, a crazy Ork slamming meteors down on the planet, Eldar slicing and dicing their way through the minions of the Warp, and a REALLY sweet climactic battle I don’t want to spoil, but rest assured, it is EPIC!
So yeah, I definitely got my money’s worth with this one and am extremely pleased. I really wanna see what else Robbie’s written…with his skill at writing battle scenes, I bet he’d do even better with his own characters and plots in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. I’m definitely gonna check out his other books, most notably Red Tithe. Alas, at the time of this review, it’s not gonna be out in the US for a while…I gotta wait. I bet anyone reading this would be eager to check out MacNiven’s other books too, but while we wait, the Dawn of War novelization ought to definitely tide us over. And get us eager for the actual game, of course…again, no spoilers, but the very end, the epilogue at the last page, has a super-cool teaser for a foe we might see in a future Dawn of War installment. The hype is real!!!!
Going through my dissertation! Here’s more or less what I said in my Dissertation Progress Report to my profs:
“Hi everyone, I’ve corrected all the minor grammatical errors, citation quirks, and so on in my second draft. I’ve also removed most of the parenthetical statements and found a nice place to divide my first chapter. But I was wondering, since Professor H mentioned I could use a bit more historical background at points, are there any specific parts any of you think could really use a little more context? I already have some ideas for spots to add some in, but I wanted to know if you had any specific pages or sections in mind you want me to concentrate on?”
I also asked for some basic procedural questions along with career advice. First, while I hope to get this dissertation done by the time my main prof leaves my uni, I have to be prepared for the worst, so I asked him and my other profs what the procedure would be for getting a new funssertation chair. Better to be prepared for the worst and have the best happen than not be prepared and have the worst happen, right? :p
I also asked if my dissertation committee would be the same guys who read my dissertation (99.999999% sure they are, but I just wanted to make 100% sure), and then I asked for some help aboot job huntan. Going on what I said above, if the best happens and I graduate soon, I might as well be prepared for that eventuality too, right? ;D
So yeah, that’s why this week was so relaxed. I didn’t really push myself hard to finish the whole thing ASAP cause I wanted to get some more input from my profs 😀 I have a bit of time to spare, until June 30th, so given how nice this draft was, I don’t think I should be too worried. And if worst comes to worst hopefully one of my other profs will be my dissertation chair, since Dr. H can still be on mah committee even after he leaves mah university 😀
So yeah, an excellent week all around! Next week will probably be as good, since I’m not gonna go hardcore full throttle on my dissertation until my profs get back to me, which should take a little bit. See ya then!