Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Pottermore, the muggle Hogwarts

I came across this muggle game the other day. It's called Pottermore. Apparently, the muggles have created some form of a virtual Hogwarts using the source that is written by that genius witch or a relative of a family in the magical community.

As they say, curiosity killed the cat but the cat was extremely satisfied so, I had to create an account there. Just to compare with the real Hogwarts, no harm done right?

Anyway, so I've registered for an account and selected an username (which I am not going to reveal) and there I was, at the beginning of the story. Privet Drive. I suppose, muggles love a good story and Harry's story is magical (even by magical standards).

The way the story is being told to the muggles is very similar to how we tell the kids at home, how we managed to defeat one of the biggest threats in our magical community, the second wizarding war. Some have feedback to that it's one of the most interesting history lessons that Professor Cuthbert Binns could have taught. To be honest, I'm glad he finally has a story interesting enough for students to pay attention in class. Don't tell him I said that.

Anyway, I was following the story line and have gotten to the sorting ceremony. This certainly brings back memories of my sorting ceremony but I have to say, I was hesitant. Mainly because I didn't know if the muggle version of the sorting ceremony would be accurate. Turns out, the muggles uses a quiz to sort the individual. Quite interesting I must say and thankfully, I am being sorted into my own house. Cheers to Slytherin (We are not as evil as the rumors say).

It's interesting watching the muggles, what's that called, role play as students in Hogwarts and interact with other muggles. Role playing is something like pretending as a character, kind of like acting I suppose, only, these muggles act as students from Hogwarts and I have to say, the color scheme in the common room is quite similar to the actual common room. A great job to the designer of this muggle game.

There is also a great hall where students can interact with other students from the other houses, it also shows the progress of the current house cup. It seems that Slytherin still needs quite a bit to catch up to the rest. That's rather different from the real situation at Hogwarts, I can tell you that much.

But, it's rather assuring that we've won the cup the previous year (or however long the muggle house cup equivalent runs for). There is a potions class and a dueling club where students are able to brew potions and duel with spells. It's quite an accurate representation actually. I'm really impressed but there isn't the potion smells one has to deal with, the minute and minuscule details of potion making plus the smoke and recoil of spell casting. No sense in giving away our magic secrets to the muggles anyway. We've got to hold some things back.

I have to say though, overall, it is done pretty well. A close representation but I'll always prefer the real Hogwarts over this. -winks-

As always, leave me a comment and let me know what you think, or just say hi!

Lord Severus

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fallen Earth (game) - My thoughts

This is what I have been up to. Was hooked onto this muggle game for quite a while although it was released a while ago (okay, a really long while ago). Am still hooked to it actually.

What is it about? This game is set in an apocalyptic world in the future. We have progressed and regressed at the same time. Technology is advanced and yet it is primitive (to a certain extend at least). You go about your way as a clone. Once dead, the clone technology called LifeNet will reproduce another clone, downloading your memories from the collar into the new "body". The collar stores all your memories and is thereby the major indicator of clones.

The format of the game is similar to the Godfather or Grand thief auto. There is a main story line that happens but you do not have to follow it if you don't want to. There are many side quests and missions to complete for items, knowledge, money. The currency in the game uses chips (as in poker chips), and you'll get a certain amount when you are first introduced into the world. Sell items you've salvaged or harvested around the area to earn chips.

There is a crafting system in which you craft items like armor, clothes, weapons, food,  and more. The knowledge that you gain from some missions or purchase through merchants will "unlock" the ability to craft the items. Besides that, you'll need to improve your skills in order to be able to craft those items. So, it's not as simple as it sounds and yet it isn't that difficult. As you can see in the picture, these are the cooking recipes. The cooking skill determines the skill level for example 36 in this case, allows you to craft the Grilled Chicken (if you have the correct ingredients, shown at the bottom) and the Grilled Goat. You are unable to craft the Grilled Rabbit and the Kingman Kebab (both does sound delicious to a certain extend, or maybe that's because I'm hungry now).

Muddling around the world for a while, and you'll be able to get help from the "help" chat and if you're lucky enough, you might be able to find some helpful players willing to help out those who are struggling. It does take a while to be familiar with all the controls and the shortcuts to certain interfaces but once you are pass that, this game can be quite fun.

There are also fractions and clans for one to take part in. It is after all a multiplayer game (a game where multi players are playing at the same time. So you're not only interacting with the computer players, you're interacting with real life players from around the world).

The picture illustrates the different fractions available in the world. There are many subfractions but we shall not touch on that. The top half of the circle are fractions supposedly wanting the world back in order, the "good" people. The bottom half of the circle, wants the world free, the "bad" people. The words on the red lines show the main goal or ideal that the fraction. For example, the enforcers believe in order while the Chota believes in chaos. The red lines also tell you which fractions are archenemies. The surrounding fractions are allies. An example is, the enforcers' allies are the light bearers and the techs, they are also arch enemies with the Chotas and so on.

The open world concept of allowing a player to chose whatever they want to do and living with those choices, among the world of enemies is challenging and yet enjoyable for those who love such games. It is an engaging game that sucks you into a world of fantasy where your skills and sociability are tested.

I can see why this game might be so popular to muggles. As a wizard, I sometimes find myself wondering about what it's like in other worlds. I guess this is a good indicator of the type of games I find fun. Perhaps some of you might want to check it out. Let me know and I might share my username.

As always, leave me a comment and let me know what you think, or just say hi!

Lord Severus

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The taste of freedom.

As the rain lashed upon the windows of my room, the thunders bellowed in the sky and the winds howling and gnashing at all in it's path, I was suddenly taken back into time. Not literally, but my mind traveled back, to a time stored away, deep inside the depths of my memory. 

It was a painful childhood, that I could tell you. The many occasions of being forced to do things you never wanted to do, be with people you never liked, behave according to how society dictate. The feeling of oppression was ever present, like a shadow, lurking behind my every move. 

The hunger and taste for freedom was always there, beneath the exterior, bubbling within my soul. It was at this thought that I remembered the first time I tasted the sweet and lovely taste of freedom. 

There was supposed to be a black and white dinner party hosted at the manor. Needless to say, I was forced to attend and help. The house elves were busy cleaning and preparing the food for the guests, changing the decoration, using the finest silverware, pulling out all the stops. No stone was left unturned. No stone, except me.  

As the time for the party drew near, I let myself out onto the balcony overlooking the garden. I've always loved standing on the balcony in the evening. The peace and quiet, the silence, the breeze, going wherever it wants to go. The house elves knew that I will be on one of these balconies and one of them apparated beside me, informing that I was to be at the entrance, greeting guests as they arrive in a couple of minutes and offered me a glass of wine.

Dismissing the elf, I peered into the horizon, sipping wine as I await for the rest of guests to arrive. The muffled sound of conversation squeezed though the double doors, hell bent on interrupting my enjoyment of the evening breeze. Letting out a sigh. I thought to myself, "it won't be long now".

Defying my parents, I stood there on the balcony, willing time to slow, procrastinating the sound of a cracked whip, indicating a house elf being sent to retrieve me. I was beginning to despair as the sounds behind the double doors increased. I knew that it indicated the influx of guests, and while pondering the distaste for social interaction, the darkening skies tells me that it's about time to head down and mingle.

I was about to move from my stationary position, when the thought of going through yet another evening of mindless, superficial, pompous mingling felt suffocating. Loosening the bow tie I was wearing, a sudden brilliance flashed into the depths of my troubled mind. I could escape. There would be too many at this party to realize that I'm gone. 

"This is madness" I told myself, and yet the sudden adrenaline coursing through my veins, the alertness that I felt, the excitement of escaping from it all made me feel alive. The strange feeling of being so free is something that was extremely new to me. I laughed silently as I tore off my bow tie and laid it upon the barrier, the barrier to freedom. I smiled, closed my eyes and...


Friday, 2 August 2013

A flashback.

Listening to the racket outside the courtyard as I stood looking down into the faces of the first years laughing, screaming, talking, playing around and generally excited to be here at Hogwarts, I am brought back to the time when I was a first year.

The excitement of finally arriving at school and being away from parents, the feeling of making new friends that would not judge me by my background, the sense of starting a new journey.

It was the beginning of a new life, and I was feeling good.