Jul 4, 2011

LA Noire, the uncertain future and flying

So I picked up L.A. Noire the other week, unfortunately I have not spent a lot of time with it. It is definitely a game I wish to spend some more time with, even if it doesn't quite live up to expectations.

I haven't had a lot of experience with the Noire genre but I can see how it can be the base of a compelling story. I can also see how you don't find a lot of games in this genre. L.A. Noire brings something new to the table to try and make it work though. The animators hook up actors to facial mapping tech. I don't know much about it but it works bloody well in bringing fluid motion and a lot of expression to the characters faces. THis is supposed to be used to help the player figure out if a witness is lying, telling the truth or trying to hide it. Subtle facial hints like looking away, hunched shoulders, worried looks and their general mood are all supposed to help you tell if they are telling the truth or lying. It doesn't. I don't know how many times I have picked either doubt or lie when they had shifty eyes - only to have the wrong one and have the line of questioning stricken from the list! Don't let NPC's have shifty eyes when they are telling the truth!

Most of the time you are doubting the witness because it just looks bad for them, and then they get the shifty eyes going and you think you have caught them out. You more or less call them a lying SOB and then it all goes to hell. Seriously awesome mechanic, but its poor acting. Maybe I just suck at reading people, but I have heard similar things from others I know who have played it.

I really love the game though, it has a lot of flavour and it keeps you playing - it is just plain different from other sandbox games. Most of the side quests I do end up with bad guys in body bags though. I wish there was a way to control the outcome of them a little more. It seems to end out shoot the bastard running, shoot the bastard shooting at you or shoot the bastard holding a gun to a bystanders head. Then the bodybag scene. It is fairly standard with sandbox games to have repetitive side quests. But like I said- I enjoy the game.

Four years ago, I was a high school dropout working a crap job in a bottle shop and doing nothing with my life. Now, I am close to finishing a Commercial Pilot's License but still far from the goal of being a professional pilot- a CPL lets you work but it doesnt get you a job. At the moment I stand on a set of forks in the road, I have no idea which way to go. To stay with my current job, working towards my goal of becoming a professional pilot or to apply for a job in aviation but on the other side of the fence- government regulation. Working for CASA as a PA to one of the senior managers in the Operations Division. I don't know where it will take me, I don't know if it is worth asking for referees from my current job to apply for the new one - if I do not get the job with CASA, I cast doubt in the minds of my managers about how long I plan to stick around.

The move to the CASA job sounds like a pretty straightforward one- better pay, chance of networking within the aviation industry, a better understanding of the governing body of Aviation in Australia and just a change of pace from my job. I would be an overglorified secretary when it comes down to it but it would be an experience. What stands in my way is that I have not had any experience as a PA and they want someone who has experience already. For an entry level job. I perform similar duties just in the day to day of my current job but it isnt the same. So it will be a gamble to apply for it from the get go- and I need referees from my current workplace to be able to have any chance at all. At the end of the day I need to nut up or shut up. Indecisiveness is a folly of mine at times. Where will either decision lead? Take the safe road and just keep working where I am or go out on a limb and risk it?

On a less introspective note, I have completed the command time component of my commercial pilot's license. It was an awesome flight. Took a mate of mine up with me. Checked out the sinkhole at Inskip Point, up over Fraser Island and Hervey Bay, Gin Gin, Mundubbera, Dalby, low level over Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams and then back to Redcliffe. Some rubbish weather around but for the most part it was clear and fine. 8500ft for most of the way out west. Fought a stiff headwind for some part of it but it was smooth and clear which made it a great. At the end of it, found that I had hit the 70 hours PIC milestone and was pretty stoked. I only have 4 hours or so of instrument time then I have to demonstrate my abilities to an instructor to give me a reccommendation. I am nervous about it because I still feel rusty, each of the flights I have done so far have jogged a bit of my memory of what I used to know right off the bat while I was at Avondale. But I will find out what they think I need to improve on once I go for a nav with an instructor. It will be the end of a chapter of my training, and the start of a new one. Again another choice- check out FlyTigerWorld down in Torquay in Victoria and see if they are still employing and if they are get my tailwheel, aerobatics and jump pilot qualifications to apply for it. Or on the other hand knuckle down and start on a multi engine instrument rating. It is a tough choice and one I will have to make soon.

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