in short, a City Hall committee disregarded a staff report that essentially said the Jarvis bike lanes are working well, and recommended to remove said lanes without any public consultation or even consulting that ward’s councillor, at a projected cost of $68,000. Begun this Bike War has.
Pinboard, the service I use to collect links and publish them here, had its server taken in an unrelated FBI raid. It’s working, but still at reduced capacity, so the RSS feeds this site slurps aren’t publishing. If you go to my pinboard page, however, you’ll find everything I’ve been liking this past week.
I haven’t bought it yet, but will at some point. The internets are aflame with upset Final Cut editors – “pros” who see FCPX as a dumbing-down of the program. It brings necessary updates (64-bit, background processing of renders etc.), but eliminates crucial pro workflow features (XML, EDL, tape support, dual monitor support, 3rd party hardware support etc).
Fair enough. But really? Since when do pros update on the first day?
Granted, the fact that it can’t even import old projects is pretty crazy. And the way the Mac App Store works isn’t helping, as people can’t try a demo or anything, so some must have paid $300 just to discover a crucial feature is missing. The obvious answer is that FCP 7 still works great, and the solution for now is to use both, whichever one works best for the project at hand. But Apple screwed up by pulling Final Cut Studio from their stores, making it hard for some to do just that.
I’m very happy with the new direction though. Even though the Final Cut we’ve all known and loved for over a decade brought lots of welcome innovations that Avid is still trying to copy, it was nonetheless based on a tape-to-tape / film editing metaphor. That metaphor needed to get chucked – the whole interface needed to be rethought. Who better to do that than Apple?
At this point, I buy one game a month. That I bought LA Noire this month indicates that I wanted to like it. A few hours in, I was really into it. But now, a few cases from the end, I have no desire to even finish it. What went wrong?
Now that is a mystery I can solve.
LA Noire has a great story. It draws on hard boiled crime fiction both old and new (it owes a particular debt to Ellroy’s Black Dahlia) as well as the filmic corollary film noir. There’s a rich back story having to do with WWII, a string of murders, civic corruption involving the police, and a hard-working yet flawed and unlikeable protagonist. The characters are well-drawn, if not exceptionally detailed. The remarkable motion capture technology, which renders facial expressions with a liveliness not yet seen in games, is to be commended.
On the surface this looks like Grand Theft Noir – free roaming, large city, lots of car travel. But in reality it’s not that sort of game. It’s got one central mechanic that really works: the crime scene investigation mode. It’s a cross between third person and point-and-click adventure game. It’s well-balanced, fun, and most importantly represents something this game is adding to the noir tradition. It’s a reason why this is a game and not a movie.
Unfortunately, the other central mechanic, the interrogation of suspects, is a disaster. I’m not sure exactly why this mode fails so badly. Maybe real human interaction cannot be simulated when one party has only three stock responses to everything. Perhaps the facial animation isn’t quite good enough to pin a mechanic upon. Maybe the acting or writing wasn’t consistent enough, maybe it was but needed a tutorial. Maybe the lack of challenge makes something uninteresting – it’s near impossible to fail this mode, perhaps a tacit admission that the mechanic doesn’t work.
But the game cannot survive a core mechanic not working. The interrogations become glorified cutscenes that take up half the game, the other gameplay modes can’t compensate and the whole thing starts feeling like repetitive drudgework.
I am definitely excited by what LA Noire represents. It’s an adult game in the “real characters, real storytelling” sense rather than the swear words and gore sense. I am excited by the technological advance of real facial animation. I hope for great future things. I just don’t want to play it any more.