I am well slept and recovered from the Bird & Bird summer party last night, a perfect way to celebrate a good IP & Commercial exam (though I don’t actually finish until Tuesday). It was held at The Eve Club, resplendent in its Moroccan themed decor although sadly a little too small for the rapidly growing firm, which must make these events harder and harder to arrange each year. The crowded venue meant it did not quite live up to the riverside Boat Club do two years ago, but it was nevertheless good fun with a chance to meet a few more future trainees to fill in most of the missing gaps. This year’s summer students were invited too, so it was odd already not being the “new kids”, though it was pleasant to know everyone was watching them and not us!
A trial version of the Creature Creator for Spore, the forthcoming game from Sims creator Will Wright, has been released and I recommend everyone tries it out. Although limited in terms of body parts, the ability to totally shape the body means the trial still allows massive scope for possibilities and EA have announced that over 300,000 creatures have already been uploaded by people in the last few days. My first creation was the gravitationally challenged DownLow on the right. The real surprise for me was how intuitive the editor feels, something you can only really experience by trying it out rather than watching Robin Williams playing with it.
Spore is essentially a game based around evolution so that you start of as a single-celled organism which you gradually evolve first as an individual then a tribe, and finally a planet-conquering species before heading out into the stars. With the Sims many people spent half their time just in the editor recreating friends and family, so releasing the creature creator for free seems like a bold move. However with Spore it seems much of the fun will be in seeing how they animate and interact within the game world, whether they work well or not. I suspect the DownLow, for example, may have significant balance issues…
So download, give it a spin and share what you come up with.
Posting stopped as I have been rather busy over the last couple of weeks. This may initially have had something to do with the release of Mass Effect and not very much to do with forthcoming mock exams, while last week I found myself doing the Christmas Party circuit. This included Bird & Bird’s at Dust Bar, the BPP crowd at Boardwalk in Soho, and a very Cambridge Christmas dinner in — well, you can probably guess.
In reverse chronological order, the BPP do comprised our “group” for classroom teaching. It’s a diverse but really fun bunch when we do all get together. I found the Boardwalk left a little to be desired with excessively loud music that made any form of communication difficult, particularly with such a large number spread over a long, thin table. The food was reasonable, but the highlight was undoubtedly the company and the exchange of Secret Santa presents. Lauren had decided to make this hideously difficult by imposing a £2 limit, a restriction that required much creativity. The best of the evening was a bright red, fur-trimmed Christmas cowboy hat given to Gordon, which fitted alarmingly well with his chequered shirt. The hat then proceeded to do the rounds. Lauren’s efforts in arranging the night were much appreciated, although unfortunately I could not stay later as some of the others partied into the early hours.
On Tuesday I headed up to the Bird & Bird event for future trainees with Rachel and Tor. I only realised just how quickly the last year and a half has flown by on seeing Chelsea, whom I had last seen during our vacation scheme in the summer of my second year at Cambridge. It was great to catch up again, as well as meeting several new and future trainees. I was also able to meet my trainee “buddy” (less intimidating than “mentor”, admittedly, but perhaps too casual a word since we had not managed to get in touch yet!). It is strange that what felt so far away when I accepted the job offer now feels just around the corner. I imagine there was careful (self?) selection of partners allowed to attend, since those there did not affect the mood (or banter) of the groups to which they were chatting. Dust is a great venue with wandering staff serving impressive nibbles in quantities more than enough to fill us all. Now we just need to make sure the 2008 intake arrange something ourselves to catch up before next summer.
Finally, the weekend before last I was up in Cambridge for a wonderful Christmas dinner mostly cooked by Angie, with several dishes provided by others. The journey took forever, though bizarrely it was getting across London that took the longest due to work on the central line. Arriving late, I had a plate thrust into my hand and headed upstairs to meet everyone and share stories about the couple of months since I’d seen them at the housewarming party. The food was great, accompanied by Sparkie’s home brew (sweetly palletable since he had added additional sugar in order to ferment it to a more alcoholic strength). Several shots of vodka with the medics later, I ended up walking back to theirs for the night since space at Victoria Road was pretty tight. This meant I was able to see TomTom the next morning who had missed the festivities. Much tea and Gears of War later, it was sadly time to head home. My camera, however, was more than full. As I gradually improve with the new camera, photos actually look good full size, so these should be added to the Gallery soon.