Bamidele O. Shangobunmi

JANG Speaks!: September 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?  Is it:
  1. The decked-out, customized Murcielago?
  2. The location its driver was visiting?
  3. All of the above.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forza 3 Demo impressions, from a different angle

If you haven't heard, the playable demo for Forza Motorsport 3 was released on XBOX Live this morning.  I just loaded it for the first time and ran 4 laps on the one included track (made top 5% on the leaderboards kthx), and I can sum up my impressions with a single cynical question:
"How am I playing Gran Turismo 5 when my PS3 isn't on?"
Honestly, I've never in my life seen such a big-budget, exceptionally executed, shameless copy of anything in the digital world, much less a game.  It feels like an April Fool's joke.  They copied the exact trademark camera movements and angles around a vehicle when you're choosing a color, and even the "accept" and "cancel" menu sounds are distinctly GT-esque, as are the background music tracks.  Once you're on the track, the lighting model, default control responsiveness, and overall driving dynamics are again Gran Turismo fare.  There is absolutely zero "Forza flavor" in this game.  No finite quantity of words can comprehensively describe the depth and breadth of my puzzlement and astonishment, and I'm not what you would call an easily excitable guy.

All of that said, though, I did just sell my copy of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue on eBay, and the chances that I will purchase the full version when it comes out next year are now very, very slim.  This is coming from a total Gran Turismo nut who lived & breathed GT4 before stepping up to a PS3 (which didn't play it very nicely).  I've been playing Forza 2 for awhile now, mostly because it was the best thing out there to tide me over until the release of GT5.  I've run & won all of the races, unlocked & bought all of the cars (legitimately), and tuned up some pretty decent multiplayer cars.  I like Forza 2's upgrade & tuning interfaces, and the custom paint & vehicle graphics features are downright awesome.  However, I've always found the driving experience in Forza 2 to be unrealistic, and tuning responses are sometimes quite inaccurate.  The concept of tire slip, for instance, seems to be either emulated or completely missing.  A vehicle with 20psi in the tires is no sloppier around a corner than with 100psi, the tires just warm up faster.  Translation of steering input is almost instantaneous, regardless of setup.  It's fun, but just not right.

Forza 3 has gotten it right.  The car I chose for my initial jaunt was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, and I can say with a great deal of confidence, that this thing drove like a real Evo X.  Mind you, I'm not talking out the wrong orifice here.  I owned an Evo VIII, and even raced it successfully.  A VIII is not the same as an X, true, but I've watched enough videos of the X and read enough detailed reviews from professional drivers who were intimately familiar with the previous models to have a decent enough understanding of how it drives.  Forza 3, I'll repeat, got it right.  The beautiful response to trail braking.  The weight transfer.  The understeer.  The overdrive oversteer.  It's all there.

Folks holding the reins at Turn 10, you should be ashamed of yourselves for what you've done, but what you've done is phenomenal.  Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are going to become better drivers thanks to Forza 3.  You've successfully brought the one & only true "driving simulator," Gran Turismo, to the XBOX platform where users can benefit from a thriving community and numerous online features that Sony's PSN & Polyphony divisions simply aren't going to match.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I have a homepage!

You would think that someone who has been doing online design work since 1993 would always have an up-to-date personal web site of his/her own, right?  Not in my case.  In 1996 I launched my first "homepage," but it was reallly just a sci fi-themed experiment in technology.  The following year I did a whole new one, but again, the site wasn't really about me, it was just about, well, itself, proof that I could do a lot of cool stuff for the sake of doing it.  In 2001 I got sick of looking at the same old thing, now hopelessly stale & outdated, so I replaced it with a very simple, flat, temporary screen with a handful of links to meager content pages.  That hardly grew over the years, and it was never something to be proud of in any way, shape, or form.

Today, after a little over a week & a half of part-time work, I have launched my very first proper, true homepage,  It's not at all fancy and not at all high-tech, but it has a significant amount of content that has sat in my head, in some cases for most of my life.  Basically, it accomplishes what it was built for, telling folks who I am, what I do, and bit about how I got to where I am today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bye bye, PayPal

Wow!  That's it!  It's over!  I'm done!  Earlier in the year I promised the execs my team would get us to 50 complete standards by the end of the year, and as of last week, we had 37 code complete and a further 14 UED complete and undergoing implementation.  That's right, we actually narrowly beat our numerical goal, but did it nearly four months ahead of schedule.

I do believe that's called "kicking butt."  Now it's time to finally catch up with the rest of my life for awhile!  Of course, for almost a decade I've been a PayPal user and that's not going to change any time soon.

Here's to the next chapter!