Since my last travel post, we have been on a few more short holidays.
First a couple of friends from London came to visit for a couple of days. Certainly long enough to experience Kuala Lumpur, but not enough to properly leave the city. We still managed a couple of trips to greenery inside the city itself – including a hike in Bukit Gasing, a Batu Caves visit and walk around the Bird Park.
We then made a weekend trip to Singapore for a friend’s pre-wedding lunch (the actual ceremony was in London, but many friends/family lived in Singapore). The city is far larger, greener and more open than I expected.
Christmas was spent near Cherating. We arrived just after the east coast floods subsided. Our hotel informed us we were the first booking they hadn’t had to cancel after the property was inundated! As a result the whole area was deserted. We also drove up the coast to Terengganu and had excellent stuffed crab at Tong Juan in Kemaman.
Lastly, I spent a few more days in Hong Kong. My opinions of the city have not changed.
I have combined some of the best photos into a short slideshow, available here.
Did you think I forgot? Or, perhaps trying to hide the ugly truth. Last year I wrote that my only goal for 2013 was to “finish or nearly finish Concealed Intent to a saleable level.” Failed. Not even close. An alpha version was sent out to friends in August and the feedback was “too complex”. Since then the game has been largely rewritten to make the gameplay mechanics more straightforward. Only now is it returning to the “early alpha” level of 6 months ago. To be honest, even if the feedback was positive and no rewrite was necessary, Concealed Intent still probably would not be finished by now, but it would be close.
Thus my goal for 2014 is just a copy of last year’s goal:
- Finish or nearly finish Concealed Intent to a saleable level. I want to complete the game to at least public beta where it just requires some fine-tuning and bug-fixing. The aim is to sell the finished game and at least break even.
Even my minor goals will be repeats from last year. Previously, I said I would like to post around 3 blogs/month and exercise 3 times a week. I achieved both of these (apart from when ordered not to exercise after surgery). So my “nice to manage” list is:
- Blog on my personal website at least 3 times a month, but less than 4 times a month. Post at Jarrah Technology at least once a month. Also try to be more active on other online media, eg Twitter, Facebook (which is huge in Malaysia), etc.
- Exercise. No specific target, just try to improve my fitness levels and continue weightlifting (which I have started in the last year). Try to stay injury-free.
It has been some time since a restaurant review post. This is not because there isn’t great food available in Malaysia. Quite the opposite actually. It is just that most of the best places I have eaten here are streetfood vendors or other places westerners may be hesitant to eat as they look a little dingy. Also, while the dining is excellent, the service is often lacking (to be polite) – the money is all on the plate, or banana leaf. Not that meals cost much. There is a joke here that the quality of a restaurant’s food is inversely proportional to the number of walls it has (ceilings optional). There is even an informal rating system from 0 walls (the best) to 4 walls (the worst). As in “this is a good place, I award it 1 wall” or " the food was awful – a four waller".
I’m not sure the same system applies in Hong Kong. We had good and bad streetfood, as well as good and bad food from restaurants. Although one place particularly stands out: The Pawn. Admittedly this serves British cuisine in an Asian country, but I can’t remember the names of any of the excellent Dim Sum places (as they were largely in Chinese characters), so I haven’t written about them. The original intention was to try 22 Ships based on a recommendation. Unfortunately, that place was full and had a waiting list of at least an hour. Being too hungry to wait, a quick walk around the corner led us to The Pawn.
Settling into the English pub decor and devouring the provided excellent bread and oil (a rare sight in Malaysia), we perused the refreshingly small number of menu options. I had the 24 hour pork belly and my companion ordered the Wagyu steak, both sharing a side of “greens”. In all restaurant ordering there is a winner – and this time it was definitely not me. While the pork belly was very good and melted pleasantly in my mouth, the steak was exceptional. Perfectly cooked, the few bites I was allowed convinced me I had ordered badly – probably the best steak I have tasted. We finished by inhaling a dark chocolate and Guinness cake – also very tasty. Service was good (far, far better than we have become accustomed). While at around HK$1000 (with a glass of wine) it is an order of magnitude more expensive than Kuala Lumpur, it roughly matches the UK gastro pubs it clearly aims to emulate.
D&D has just turned 40 years old. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson released the first ever published tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) on January 26th 1974. This means the game is roughly the same age as me.
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This past weekend I took part in the Global Game Jam here in Kuala Lumpur. At over 480 locations around the world, people got together in small teams to create a game from scratch in 48 hours. With Yang and Kyle, we created Gripversion, a simple puzzle game. The game requires the Occulus Rift and Razor Hydra to create a virtual reality experience. Here is a video of a tester playing the second level of the final game. On this level the hands are inverted (the left controller moves the right hand and vice versa). The aim is to pick up the red box and drop it through the hoop.
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