And so term two begins, in earnest this week. Time table has never looked so crammed with juicy knowledge. Its going to be great, if it doesn't kill me. Ah well, I asked for it.

Avatar came out over the christmas holidays, once again reviving the plot versus spectacle debate in my mind. But my god the spectacle... I read a really inspiring article about the absurd amount of detail and technology behind pretty much every shot of the 142 minute film. whole digital forests, 60,000 insects in a typical shot, procedural generated foliage, a special kind of rendering that strategically discards geometry, but maintains outline, as an object recedes into the distance in order to economise on processing and time.

Also 3D, gimmick or enhancement? To be honest I enjoyed the 3D but feel it could really be put to good use in gaming. Maybe.

Toy Story was on in the stannery for sunday lunch. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed seeing that for the first time in years, it was almost encouraging to see how dated it looked, that the kind of perfection I thought Toy Story to be now looked vaguely achievable. It amazed me how much stuff they had accomplished, even at a low level: water, rain, smoke... crazy particle stuff for the time? I loved how cartoon-like the performances (extreme poses with fast movements between) were which we coupled with the coice actors made for these characters to truly come alive. This is shown best in Woody and Buzz's brawl in the petrol station. "Buzz,buzz,buzz lightyear to the resuce" as Woody bashes the buttons on Buzz's chest.

We started modelling today, nothing to show for it yet but I'm excited at the prospect of creation. We have a backgrounds project to do which I know will be a challenge but hopefully I can relish it as I do enjoy designing environments.

We also did our first flash tutorial, fun, but i still don't warm to the aesthetics of that program. It's all colour, no texture. And tweens are horrible, give me a bezier curve any day...silky smooth.

This spring is like the season to end all seasons for gaming. Here's what I know is coming out in order of preference:

Heavy Rain, Bioshock 2, Red Dead Redemption, God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, Gran Turismo.

A mind bending number of huge franchises, three of which are PS3 exclusives. Then The Last Guardian comes out later this year from the studio behind Shadow of the Colossus and Ico.  Crazy. I'm so, so excited for Heavy Rain, a new direction for gaming. a better direction.