A Magazine, a Game and a Girl I Know

Here’s the front cover of that hound I saw being sold at Clementi two Thursdays ago:

Top Gear

Yes, I was insane enough to buy it, and, for S$7.50, I got myself the April issue of Top Gear Singapore, along with a little red lanyard.

The Little Red Lanyard

The lanyard’s pretty neat, actually. It’s made from some kind of smooth, glossy material that makes you feel like running your fingers over it again and again.

As for the magazine…how shall I put it? The front cover is very nice, but unless you’re one who doesn’t mind reading a many-page magazine or are a car fanatic, you’ll probably tire of it after a couple of days. I’m not a car fanatic, but I like reading, so I carry it with me to NP everyday just in case I feel the urge to read something lengthy. I just read up on the Lotus Elise the other day, and am wondering how a cupholder could tarnish the car’s appearance by a little.

That aside, Top Gear is a very good read. It gives a lowdown of an outlandish number of cars, some more than others. While it delivered some light commentary on famous supercars such as the Bugatti Veyron and the Ariel Atom, the magazine also gave some several-page essays on cars closer to home, such as the Volkswagen Golf TSI, Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia RS, all of them cars which can be bought, or will be available for purchase, in Singapore, hopefully in the near-future.

Four days after I purchased my Top Gear magazine, I was in town, buying all the necessities I needed for my diploma in NP. Near the end of my trip (during which I spent S$176 solely on the necessities, including a Targus Pulse backpack because I couldn’t stand using sling bags), my sister asked me if I wanted a copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. I thought I did, so she bought it on the house.

I started playing around with it the next day, after I came home from school. To begin with, it was fairly difficult to get used to a completely new interface. You see, I played the original RollerCoaster Tycoon back when I was in primary school, and I managed to get my hands on RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, as well as its two expansion packs, when I was a few days short of fourteen. In these two games, the user interface was more or less the same. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, since both games were, for the most part, made by three people (Chris Sawyer did the programming, Simon Foster did the game sprites, and Allister Brimble did all the music). Come RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and everything changes.

Isometric view – which was the only view mode in RCT and RCT2 – still exists in RCT3. However, there are other, more powerful and flexible modes which make gameplay much more interesting. Then, there’s that CoasterCam feature, which allows you to ride or view any ride in the game. It doesn’t have to be a roller coaster; you can use CoasterCam on rides from the classic Merry-Go-Round to high-tech rides such as a Double-Deck Observation Tower. It does have a greater degree of functionality on rides which have more than one car, as you can then choose your seating.

RCT3 was also made by different people. Chris Sawyer does not play an active part in developing the game, being more of a consultant for the actual developers, Frontier Developments. John Wardley, a theme park concept designer and developer, also helped a little in the game’s production. Frontier has coded the game such that it can be run relatively smoothly on any computer which meets the minimum system requirements. It recognised my computer as a low-end computer and adjusted the game settings so that my computer would not be…uh, overdriven.

The Park Inspector getting in line.The Park Inspector sitting on a ride.The RCT3 Dune Buggy near Texas Gargant.

The CoasterCam on Texas Gargant.Clint Bushton on Empire ExpressPlaceholder

It\'s CoasterCam! On wheels!Another Go-Kart shot...A group shot of a peep group I made.

On-Ride photo of a merry couple

What you see above this text are ten of the (correct as of the time of publication) 121 screenshots of RCT3 taken from my low-end computer. Just imagine how nice the game will look on a computer that suits it.

For as long as I’ve been in the education in Singapore, I’ve known many people. Most are good and some are bad in general. However, there are some who tend to catch my attention fairly easily, and among this little group, there is one person – a girl – who stands out from everyone else.

I find it difficult for me to describe her accurately. She’s a quiet person, although she has her fair share of friends. She also has a liking for cats. While she normally doesn’t speak to anyone outside her circle of friends, once you get to know her, you will like her a lot. Beneath her facade lies a very lively, mature and optimistic girl who is responsible, dependable and honest. Seriously, you can count on her to get a good number of tasks done, albeit with some assistance her and there. I was fortunate enough to get to know her a little because of some strange circumstance which got the both of us (and our friends) forming a group during lessons. Equally strange is that disarming ad calming effect she has on me. I used to dislike group work and lose my temper once in a while, but after meeting and knowing her a little, I started to take things a little easier and try to view them from different points of view. I have never, ever regretted any moment I spend with her, regardless of whether it was group work or not.

She is now a full-time polytechnic student doing a business course, and has been chosen as treasurer for her class, a job which only the most responsible people should undertake or be chosen for. By coincidence, I was chosen to be the male class leader of my class a day after she told me this.

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New Mandatory Polytechnic Blog

I’ve created a new blog at WordPress.com. Click hereto view it.Bear in mind that it was never my intention to create another blog; this new blog of mine is a graded assignment in one of the modules I’m taking. It will probably be updated more frequently (at least once a week), although the stuff I put up there will probably be (in my opinion) more generic in content. While my posts there will occasionally point a remark at a certain company in a good way, I will never make a specific comment about anyone unless if it is needed. Those comments will be done here if I ever see the need to do so.

My new blog will also be a storage facility for all my module notes. This, again, is mandatory and graded. However, it’s a good idea to take a look, even though you may not be enrolled in a similar module. I’ve yet to update it with the first week of notes. Maybe I’ll do it after I finish this post.

By the way, I met Vivian last Tuesday in Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Canteen 1. She didn’t recognise me at first, but when I walked over to her table after I finished lunch, she did. I felt…quite happy talking to her, a fellow schoolmate of mine and a very good friend to an equally good classmate I know. I wrote the following text in a freewriting (write whatever is in your mind) session on Wednesday, and I’ll type it here: The only regret I have of coming to Ngee Ann Polytechnic is that most of my best friends aren’t here, save Vivian. I know I’m out of line trying to coax others to go to the same place I go, but I still long to have at least a close friend in the same course and polytechnic as me. As some of you may already know, I fear coincidence above anything else. Loneliness is second to that. You may take friendship for granted, but only when you are alone will you realise that the bond of friendship is perhaps the strongest psychological human force on Earth, second only to love itself.

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