The more I think about it, the more I cannot accept my fate. I should be on a business class flight to Dallas this coming Friday night! It was SO close. I had all my documentations done. I had my vacation plans laid out. I had all the approvals needed to fund this trip - I have to fight through all the bureaucracies in the company... only to fail at the visa area! And there's nothing I can do about it! Nothing! I can't influence the decision nor can I call to check on it! So near and YET, so far! :'(
This happened to me exactly 5 years ago. I was scheduled for a training in Japan. I had my visa and my flight ticket. One week before the trip, the economy crashed due to alleged money market manipulation by George Soros. That was in '97. The markets in Asean, HongKong and all around this region crashed! The class was cancelled. I was left stranded, unable to do anything!
To take my mind of IT, here's why Thief (and on a smaller scale, Hitman) is a successful stealth games vs other stealth wanna-be-s:
- The levels are open ended. Players are free to do what they want. Hitman is also open ended and that is why Hitman is a success too.
- The AI is not scripted. They react based on the player's actions. Unlike Splinter Cell, no matter where you throw the Coke can/bottle, the AI will move a pre-determined (read scripted path)
- Replayability. Most of the AIs are simulation based. That means, if you replayed the same levels again, it may be a different game because of the unpredictable nature of the AI. Also, open ended levels will enable players to try out new tactics and new ways to achieve the mission objectives.
- Engrossing story.
- Undeads - not many people like the undeads/Haunts in Thief. After thinking about this for some time, I am convinced that Thief success is due to the undeads. The undeads don't die. They resurrect after you kill …
What a depressing Monday morning. I have not heard from the Embassy. Tomorrow is a public holiday. I don't think I will be able to make it to Dallas this weekend. Perhaps next week? I am still hopeful. The girls had it easy. TT, who is going on a vacation to USA (and not even on a job sponsored by the company), received her visa a few days after her interview. So did SW who is going on a vacation too.
On a more positive note, today is another peaceful day at work. Only one secondary call. I will probably end up trolling ttlg.com or looking up on anything Freelance related.
I have just finished the "oil rig" level of Splinter Cell. I hate to say it but I am not impressed with SC at all. Sure, it has all the cool moves and such but in terms of gameplay, it wasn't as awesome as I hope it would be. I guess it lacks the sophistication of a PC game (it being designed for a console game). Enemy AI was script-based as compared to simulation based. I dislike the linear level design. I want more freedom to explore and execute my moves! Speaking of level designs, can anyone tell me why all areas are poorly lighted? Even the CIA HQ at Langley is shrouded in darkness. These places screamed "break in".
I think I'd rather spend more time playing Freelancer.