Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Art....Only More Macho

I have always been enthusiastic about video games that encourage user creativity. When the WWF (or WWE, if you're not into pandas) Smackdown pro-wrestling series invited me to "Create a Superstar," I obliged dutifully. When the Tony Hawk skateboarding series suggested that I "Create a Skatepark," I took that suggestion to heart. So it stands to reason that, when Forza Motorsport 2 vested within me the power to paint my cars, I responded with, "Just show me where the paint is."

On its surface, the paint mode of Forza 2 doesn't look that flexible. You're given a limited pallet of shapes, icons, logos and letters, with no way of importing your own images into the game. Upon closer inspection, however, one finds that each paintable region of the car has room for 1000 of those shapes, all of which can be moved, rotated, resized, recolored, sheared and given transparency. As a result, a gamer with enough time on his hands can come up with ridiculously detailed designs, despite the limitations of the shape pallet. Those pretty cars can, in turn, be auctioned off to the highest bidder for in-game money, so a player's ability to be creative with the paint mode can pay off, in a way.

Not wanting to be left out, I tried my hand at producing a design that my fellow Xbox 360 owners could get enthusiastic about. It's nothing great, but considering how quickly I slapped it together, I think it looks all right. Witness my Gears of War Sprinter Trueno:

It seems inevitable that I eventually use the paint mode to design a Chorus, Isolate, Confirm 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo, but until that time, click HERE for more examples of Forza Motorsport 2 as a medium for graphic design, apparently done by people who really enjoy anime.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Long, Rainy Weekend

Monday, July 16, 2007 is Umi No Hi (Marine Day), a national holiday. That makes this weekend a three-day weekend (or a two-day weekend for people like me who work on Saturdays).

Unfortunately, the majority of that weekend will be spent taking refuge from Typhoon #4, which has been dumping biblical volumes of rain on Miyazaki Prefecture all day long today, and is currently on course to do the same in Tokyo tomorrow. Hopefully this means I'll have plenty of time to come up with an interesting idea for a blog post this weekend.

FUN FACT: Rainy days are responsible for some of the greatest inventions in history. Among those innovations that sprung from inclement weather:

The umbrella (invented in China thousands of years ago; successfully miniaturized by restaurants that serve tropical cocktails)

The gollosh (a waterproof boot named after the delicious Hungarian casserole of the same name)

The rain curtain (invented by Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid)

The gutter (If it weren't for gutters, where would people like Edgar Allen Poe go to die?)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Portrait of a Badass: Elliott

Character: Elliott
Actor:Henry Thomas
Film: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Badass Moment: In a drunken rage, Elliott frees all the frogs from his biology class and kisses a young Erika Eleniak.

The Month of Fury known as June is over and now it's time for some more positively-charged blogging. The only thing that can correct my mood is a tribute to one of my earliest cinematic memories. E.T. is at or near the top of many people's Greatest Movies of All Time lists, but too few of those lists actually delve into the science of badass. Well, pull yourself up to a sitting position and take notes, brotha. Science class starts now.

Elliott is the middle child in a fatherless family. His older brother won't let him in on Dungeons & Dragons. His younger sister is a twisted firestarter. As a result of these disadvantages, Elliott harbors pent-up frustrations which occasionally leak out in the form of abusive language like "penis breath."

Doesn't sound very badass so far, does he? Well, pay attention because this WILL be on the test. One scene alone gives Elliott his badass status: The scene where E.T. gets Elliott drunk and his resulting subversion gets him kicked out of school. You might recall that I cited a similar scene in my Badass post about Donnie Darko. I guess, since I never did anything to get myself kicked out of school as a youngster, I find it especially gratifying to see someone do so in a film. Furthermore, that scene's final shot (of the girl's feet surrounded by escaping frogs in the foreground, with Elliott being led away by a teacher in the background) is probably my favorite bit of cinematic imagery ever.

Elliott, you are a badass. (Underage drunkenness is wrong.) We salute you.