Christmas Eve T-364

Did everyone have a fun Christmas Day? Mine was pretty good. As ever we had all the relatives over. I don’t get on with my uncle so kept my head down until he left, after that I managed to relax properly. Present-wise I got a mixture which was great. I simply gave people the address of my amazon wishlist, so I had no idea what to expect. My sister even managed to find me a Fisher Space Pen, which I’d spent hours trying to find in York & Solihull earlier in the year.

I also got Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which I’ve been playing today. I hate to be a downer, but why did they bother releasing this for the PC? It’s nigh on unplayable on a keyboard. Like Broken Sword 3, the character moves relative to the screen. In BS3, the demo anyway, you’re moving around in a methodical way, so although the movement system took some getting used to it wasn’t a problem. In PoP, however, you’re having to do things quickly, and it’s just not do-able with the keyboard due to the camera’s continual adaptation.

Case in point: you’re trying to cross a floor being crisscrossed by spike-laden poles. They’re moving fairly fast and you have to run around them. However, as you cross the floor the camera spins. With only left, right, up and down you simply cannot move in the direction you want to go, and even when you do go the right way the camera spins and the character turns, so it’s merely an exercise in frustration. Sure, you can ‘control’ the camera with the mouse, but it’s very limited, not particularly responsive and doesn’t work in a fair few areas where there’s a static dramatic perspective. A Max Payne like system, where you move relative to the character, would be perfect for this game (which seems great in every other area) but at the moment I can’t see myself playing it. It’s such a shame!

Beagle 2 has so far failed to make contact. It’s disappointing, but there is still hope. If nothing has been received by the end of today it’s unlikely anything will be before January 4th, when Mars Express passes into an area where it could communicate. Communication between Beagle 2 and Mars Odyssey has never been tested, and if it’s operating in a very low power mode the Jodrell Bank Observatory may not be able to detect it either (it’s only the stregth of a mobile phone signal at the best of times). It has been tested with Mars Express, so until Jan 4th there is still the possibility that it’s landed ok. I’m crossing my fingers…

Anyway, I hope everyone had / is having a fun boxing day!