Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Rubygems on Ubuntu seems to break itself when you update:

sudo gem update --system

I've lost track of the number of times I've had to fix this (and inevitably forgotten how to do it each time) so for anyone interested here is the fix:

* Open a terminal
* sudo vi `which gem`
* under the line:
require 'rubygems'
require 'rubygems/gem_runner'

Job done.

I can't remember where I first saw this fix, but I know I've found it here at least once, so thanks for the help Nick.

Leaving Neverwinter

So I've finished Neverwinter Nights 2. Took a while - well over a year including the gap in which I (finally) bought myself a new computer. I chopped my way to the end of this RPG slaying giants, dragons and anything else that got in the way and finally defeated Das Uber Evil - the scarily named King of Shadows. Turns out he wasn't that tough after all. So now my hero, who has become a knight of the realm, ruler of a keep and a member of the Neverwinter Nine (the nine elite warriors who act as bodyguards and advisers to the Lord of the area, not that anyone I met ever cared...) can return home and bathe in the glory of being somewhat leet? Oh no, that would be TOO easy...

I don't know what it is about endings these days. People seem to hate the Happily Ever After ending. You'd think that after several days playing you'd be entitled to hear your chap headed off with the girl to be venerated and respected to the end of his days. But it seems that's too much to ask. Instead
you're politely informed that "whilst trying to escape after killing BigBad, the roof falls in and your party is never heard from again". Thanks guys - I guess this is an attempt to add some mystery to the ending? Maybe set things up for a sequel? Doesn't feel like much of a reward though.

It wouldn't annoy me this much if this game wasn't so close to being great. Storyline (up to this point) is interesting, plenty to do, characters are usual fantasy fare but not too bad for that, control is reasonably intuitive, even the graphics are good. Thing is, for every thing of which you approve there is a tiny niggling thing that makes you doubt the care taken. Mostly, it has to be said, it comes down to the characters. Dialogue is extremely weak. One great example is where you spend a passionate night with the love interest who then totally forgets about it in the next scene and gives you the same conversation options you've had since you met her. Then there is the choreography of the characters when they are speaking. Think back to Monkey Island, where the characters would stand in a room and wiggle their heads whilst talking about things all around them, never pointing or making any indication the object of their discussion was in their immediate vicinity. Now imagine that, but in 3d. Add some vague lip sync and there you have it. It divorces your character from the world they are in and manages to seriously damage the atmosphere the game tries so hard to build.

I'm now playing the expansion pack and I'd have to say the character interaction seems a much happier prospect so I'm tentatively interested in what is going to come next. That said, despite memories coming back from the previous game your character doesn't seem overly bothered his love has gone missing along with all the people he had been travelling with. God forbid the roof falls in again...