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One of the birds flagged me down twice, but I didn't have any more food for them that day. That's rare that happens because I usually won't give out the rest of what I have that day till I see the flock begin to fly off to roost for the night. I don't know why, but I sometimes feel bad when that happens. Especially for this one because she comes right up to my feet. This particular bird is another easy one to recognize due to how her face and eyes look, and she comes much closer and for longer periods of time than the others now.

The males almost never want anything to do with me, and some will even ignore the food I give out. My first assumption was they just weren't foraging for food, but that isn't the case. Only one male has ever approached me after being conditioned to know I hand out food. This one though, has known me longer than any of the other birds around. I've been 'talking' to this bird for roughly 3 months. It usually only takes about 2-4 days to condition the females to know that all they have to do is stop and approach me if they want food. Now when I say 'approach', there is generally a 7 foot distance they won't cross over. There are plenty of birds that are the exception, such as the male mentioned. There was a younger male that would come close, but he didn't stay around for very long, as most of the younger males tend to leave the area quickly to join with a larger group of males.

The females are willing to go extra lengths to get food when they need to feed their young, but even the younger females that don't have young will approach far more often than a younger male will. The female mentioned 2 paragraphs ago is fairly young, as last week she was still foraging with the mother. I haven't seen her do that for the last 2 days though, so it seems she's finally broken off on her own. That hasn't stopped her from hanging by the mother fairly often. I try not to feed the younger birds as I don't want to condition them to think humans are okay to approach. Luckily I have yet to see any of them approach someone other than me, which is a nifty feeling, even if all they want is the food I have.

Expendables 2
Since my roommates and I saw the first one, we decided to see the second one as well. (Actually we never saw the first in theaters.) We weren't expecting anything amazing from either, it was one of those movies we knew would be fun to watch with friends. Our assumptions were correct, as both movies were enjoyable. The first was mediocre/bad, but the second I really liked, as did Jerry. Instead of going for a semi-dramatic approach like the first, the second went in a goofy comedic route, which to me worked much better for what it was. The action was better, (more on that in a moment) the dialogue was much better and felt natural. I found it's a movie that probably won't be understood by the next generation as it draws on and makes references to many of the movies the lead actors have been in, to the point of characters stealing famous lines from each other. That generation probably wouldn't be able to appreciate it as much as those who grew with these movies. The jokes were well done, the timing was great, and it was just hilarious when it wanted to be.

In case some of you want to see it and haven't gotten the chance to, I won't go into details. There was something very fundamental (at least I feel) that Expendables 2 did right. A certain scene about 2/3 the way through made me realize just what that was. While I was definitely enjoying the film before this point, it was this scene that really sold it for me. There's a scene where Jason Statham's character is in a fight in a church throwing knives to fend off bad guys. As I'm watching this, I'm realizing that I'm able to see all of the action and choreography that went into it. There weren't any fancy camera movements or unnecessary close ups, it focused on the fight as a whole and the actions that made up each part of it. This, I feel, is something that most action movies hasn't done well for the past decade. Specifically the Bourne series, where every action sequence is a jumbled mess of close up shaky camera movements and sound effects. In Expendables 2, every action scene, including some gun fights, were extremely well choreographed.

This, mixed with the fun atmosphere the movie sets, has put Expendables 2 as my favorite action movie ever. It's a celebration of old over-the-top action films and doesn't try to do anything more or less. It delivers exactly what it promises. For someone who grew up with watching the action movies the lead actors are from, it was a fun time watching them all in one film together. While Chuck Norris didn't roundhouse kick a mountain down like I was wishing, his hilarious entrance makes up for that.

This Blog is actually about video games
DT2's content update is coming along nice. The new levels and boss encounter are fully playable. For now, I'm finishing up Gate D in DT3 for the testers. All that's left is a boss encounter, which should be done by Friday evening. (I hope.) After that, I'll return to finish the rest of the DT2 update. Aside from the new levels, there is a bit of other new playable content added, but I'll leave that a secret.

-Nearly every level has been tweaked. I think 1-1 is the only level that hasn't been changed at all.
-The final level got the biggest changes of all. To sum up what happened there, it got nerfed quite a bit. I feel it needed it. Same experience, just heavily modified. The checkpoints throughout the level are far more defined. There is a confirmation notice when using 'Restart Level' if you're on the final level due to the possibility of losing progress. The ship section with the 'Mario Score' also follows the new scoring rules with a slight change. The section when Claire loses her dashing has been softened up a bit and there are a few health pickups throughout the entire ship sequence. In Section 6, the advancing wall of doom does not speed up quite a fast, the end is still the same though.
-----Note that everything past world 2 has been bumped up by 1. The desert level is now world 3.-----
-Level 1-2B and 4-1A had a few Bullet Bill launchers removed. Speaking of 4-1, due to the way energy and Blast Off are handled now, that level is way better to play. 4-2 had its colored zones enlarged.
-All 1 tile wide platforms throughout the game have been extended by 1 tile.
-The scoring rules have been tweaked, the new rules are listed in game. The tutorial level will now no longer repeat the tutorial boxes after the first visit. Those tutorial boxes can now be viewed, along with a few additional things, in the map menu.
The sand bombs in 3-2A no longer push Claire down. Instead they will deal damage, but some adjustments to size and how frequent they fall has been made.

For those that finished DT2, you may remember the Chaser sequence at the end. It now backs off a bit if it hits you. (Thanks to Shade for that suggestion.) When it's hit, the push back is more fluid and also results in giving the player a bit more leeway, which after playing it with that change, feels much better. That's a very minor change compared to something else though. The end sequence with the Chaser(Core) has been extended. No details there as it would spoil things.

Overall, DT2 almost feels like a new game. As said above, there's more playable content added than just a new world.

Target Times and Scores
If anyone was ever curious to how the target scores were decided on;
R=Raw point value of all enemies in level
G=Worth of all gems collected consecutively without retrying
N=Number of enemies in level

R + G + (N*20) + ? = target score
The ? means that I made slight modifications based on subjective observations.

The target times were a bit harder to come up with. They had an impact on the score, so they couldn't be TOO low, but it couldn't be too high. I usually just played the level a million times and wrote down my times, then threw those notes away and came up with what I felt was fair. The idea was if the player was going for a high score, the time would always impact the score a tiny bit. This way speed was always a consideration when trying to go for the absolute best score possible.

Bringing over old scores
Ano0maly gave the idea of having a little program that will carry over your old scores. I really like this idea and I'll probably do that, though with the gameplay change, you'll find it a lot easier to get better scores anyway. If this is included, keep in mind that it will not carry over progress, only your times and scores. A text file with instructions on how to use it will be included, though really it'll be as easy as running it and pressing a button. Some of the target scores have been changed, so if you were right on the threshold before, you may no longer have the goal anymore, or... you may have it. They've been pushed up and down. The biggest target change is the shooter stage.

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