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Cracow, Poland
I'm just a typical university student, who has something to say.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Road quality

Yesterday I've stumbled upon an interesting picture. There is nothing to comment, I'll just leave it here.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bus Driver - review

I know this post doesn't exactly fit this blog's profile, but I feel like writing about it, so I'll do it.
 
Bus Driver is a driving game, a bus driving quasi-simulator developed and published in 2007 by SCS Software - a Czech company responsible e.g. for the 18 Wheels of Steel game series. It has received an update in 2010 and was renamed to Bus Driver Gold.
The player is a bus driver, whose duty is to pick up and transport passengers whilst obeying traffic rules and sticking to his time table. There are 12 (+1 added in Gold) buses inspired by real-life vehicles (I noticed some Neoplans, TEMSAs, a Setra, a Mercedes-Benz and the classic American school bus) to drive on 30 (+6 in Gold) very different routes in a fictional city designed to resemble a typical American city with various districts, such as an old town, downtown, suburbia, an airport, some ski resorts etc.. 

My opinion

The driver of course doesn't know the city, so there are directions on whether you should turn or not. It's a pity, that when you miss a turn there's no reaction from the game. It should at least say Wrong way! or You dumb twat, the turn was right there!. The stops are highlighted with a very bright orange box, so you won't miss any of them. There are also no pedestrians to hit as it is a game suitable for everybody able to hold a controller, bend a joystick or press keys on a keyboard. It's very pleasant to play, really. 
Missed it!
I'm very surprised, that buses feel different whilst driving. The urban ones are rather slower and stop quicker and coaches seem to be faster, heavier and harder to stop. Maybe it's just an illusion or maybe SCS really made some different physics for specific models. If so, hail them! One thing, that made me furious was the camera. I never saw what was right in front of me and guess what! I couldn't change the camera! The bumper view was introduced in Gold, which I haven't played until today. An inside view with a possibility to rotate your head would be perfect for this! The camera was especially annoying while I was driving a double decker. Just look at the screenshot!
Can't see shit.
Even though braking gently enough not to disturb the passengers was very difficult, but I think it was the most fun part of it. So was using blinkers to turn or change lanes, minding traffic lights and other vehicles. However... where the hell are traffic signs? They went for a walk. A really long one. None of them seen in the game beside lights. Damn it would be much more enjoyable if there were more rules! And the schedule: ever saw a bus, that was always on time? Me neither! In Bus Driver if you close your doors 2 seconds too early, you'll get penalty points, but if you do that 2 minutes too late it's perfectly alright! If all the passengers have already boarded my bus, I still have to wait for the exact time to come so I can leave.
 Variable time of day was awesome! You were never bored by seeing a street one more time, because it never looks exactly the same. The weather wasn't as dynamic as time of day, because some places were always snowy and some were always not. Where the road is covered in snow it can snow sometimes and where it's clear it can rain. Vehicle behaviour depends on those conditions and can be surprising. Well, not as surprising as other cars', because those can begin to turn in the middle of a junction or change lanes right into your sides, but that doesn't matter. Driving was still good.


The in-game point system isn't worth writing in detail, so I'll just say it's pretty fair. Sometimes it didn't notice you actually turned the blinker on or the light was as green as possible, but it was still okay.
Driftin' mah bus n' shit

Drift fail

Still driftin'
I like Bus Driver. It had its flaws, but it gave me about 10 hours of fun and it's still playable! It doesn't have multiplayer, but challenging friends to beat your score using a single computer can be equally enjoyable! So is beating your own scores by being a better bus driver. If I had to grade it, I'd give 7/10: +10 for being simply awesome, -1 for minor flaws, -2 for THE GOD DAMN CAMERA!

I didn't mention everything that can be found in the game, but apparently that stuff wasn't worth it.

All screenshots although made by me belong to SCS Software as Bus Driver's author and copyright owner.
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My first online review! Tell me if you like it (you can use the interesting/uninteresting buttons below), because I have another game to write about. This time it's a real bus simulator, that is a hell of a complicated one!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Public transport pt. 2

As some of you might remember, I have already written about public transport, but something made me write another post.
An extraordinary thing happened earlier today. I was travelling by tram to the city centre, but suddenly we stopped. The driver left his cockpit and told all passengers, that we can't go any further, because the tracks bulged due to the heat and a substitute bus will arrive at the nearest stop. It all happened in Cracow, on Wielicka street.

Me and my girlfriend went to the nearest bus stop and waited for a bus. It arrived shortly, but there's something pretty unusual about what was going on. Passengers that just left 2 3-car trams and a 2-car one were to board a single 12-meter bus. We felt so squeezed, there was no need to hold on to anything. The people-mass was holding itself just by being so packed.

Some people tried to board the bus at few next stops, but they didn't succeed. A few moments later I decided to take my phone out and take some photos. The first one was everything I could see in before me, and the second one is everything I could see behind me.

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't 33°C outside. The bus was an old Jelcz M121 MB, so there was no air conditioning and it was smelly and boiling hot inside. After I took the pics my girlfriend decided to take a photo from her perspective, so take a look :D

A few stops later we got off the bus, but there still was more to happen. It was the Plac Bohaterów Getta stop and we saw a 6 tram, which shouldn't even go this way. We boarded it anyway and it got on it's proper track as soon as possible and it suited us quite well.
About 2 hours later, when we we're about to take a tram back home we saw a few of them, that were as full as the substitute bus.
Imagine all the people...
All that reminded me of a song Polska by Kult. The translation's below.

Poland

Sunrise in the morning, sunrise in the morning
When I go along the sea in Sopot
On the dirty sandy beach
The Baltic Sea smells of petroleum
Morning sidewalks
When I go, I don't talk to anyone
How it is on sunday mornings
The sidewalks are puked all over
after the parties on saturday nights
Poland
I live in Poland
I live in Poland
I live here, here, here, here
Concerts in the afternoons
Full of brain-deads in security service
They are looking around, because their arms are itching
They love to beat more and more
Some imaginary adventures again
When I enter the stony stairs
Many of these drunken guys are trying to provoke me
Tomorrow they will meet at church
Poland
I live in Poland
I live in Poland
I live here, here, here, here
Night shops with milk
And I'm watching what's going on in front of the shop
The crowd puts its fists to someone's face
They demand capital punishment for him
Morning trains again
I stand still and look at the freaks in uniforms
Have you ever been at our train station at night
It is so dirty and ugly that the eyes are cracking,
the eyes, the eyes
Poland
I live in Poland
I live in Poland
I live here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here...
Source

There's no moral to this story, I just wanted to share an unpleasant experience. Or maybe there is one: when it's really hot, don't take a tram!

Monday, 9 July 2012

National sport

Every country (as far as I know) has a sport it considers its national. I think it's because every society wants to have something uniting them in a mutual cause. Americans have baseball and the sport they call football, which is very reasonable because they invented those sports. The Spanish and some Spanish-speaking nationalities have corrida (sport?) and some other bull related stuff, Canadians have ice hockey, Scandinavians have curling and so on... Everybody has a reason to call that particular sport their own.
What about football (the proper one)? Many countries claim it's their national sport. Poland's one of them, but why?

Our national football team has never had major successes instead of years 1972-1976 (gold the '72 Olympics, bronze at the '74 world cup, silver at the '76 Olympics) while they were trained by the legendary coach Kazimierz Górski. He's responsible for the famous achievement of the Polish team, which was a tie with England in '73.
That time is called the golden years of Polish football and it is a very accurate term, but outside of those years, there's little we could be proud of: bronze at the 1982 World Cup, silver at the 1992 Olympics.
Jakub Błaszczykowski - current team captain
phot. Reuters ; source

In the UEFA Euro 2012 we finished third in group A. A tie with Greece, a tie with Russia and a loss with the Czech Republic.  It gave us an advance to 54ST place in the FIFA ranking, but wasn't enough to advance to the tournament play-off.
In my opinion our team played better than I have ever seen in my life. They were fast, well organised and very cooperative. Thanks too all of that they were always ahead of their rivals, but suddenly everything changed in every match. Just after the break, they lost what they had. I can't even imagine a reason, that might cause something like that!


But enough about football. My favourite team sport is volleyball. I think it's superior to football in many ways, but this post isn't about that (I may however write about it in the future). Let's start with some facts:
the Polish team after defeating USA in yesterday's final
phot. Nikolay Doychinov | source

Poland national men's volleyball team's major achievements:


  • Olympic Games: 1976 gold
  • World Championships: 1974 gold, 2006 silver
  • World Cup: 1965, 2011 silver
  • World League: 2012 gold (yesterday!), 2011 bronze
  • European Championships: 2009 gold, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983 silver, 1967 and 2011 bronze.
More to that out of 8 individual prizes granted to most talented players during the whole World League 2012, 4 went to Poles!
The women's team also does great, but it's a story for another time.

Poles are best at volleyball and not so good at football, but they consider the second one their national sport. Why is it so? Maybe because everyone can play it whenever he wants using a pack of friends, some stones/sticks/anything, a little field and a ball. To play the other one you need a net and something to put it on, which requires a little bit more money and much more effort.
I say volleyball is much more of a sport we should call our national, than football.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Matura

Matura exam. Similar to the British GCSE and American high school finals is something we call the examination of maturity. Obviously it has nothing to do with being mature. Doesn't have much to do with what we had in school either.
The Republic of Poland, Certificate of Maturity
The header of a certificate of maturity which you receive with the results of your exam (WHAAAAT?)
Well first of all, if I had to describe what you need to know for a 100%-result on the exam, I'd use a chart like the one you will see below:
A badly drawn circle chart
That's how most situations look like. Sometimes there's a teacher who would actually screw all the school stuff for the exam stuff and that teacher is a real treasure. But out of about 10 teachers I had in secondary school, there was only one who did that.

But that's no all. Matura is divided to exams in different subjects: Polish language, modern foreign language and mathematics (which are mandatory) and 0 to 4 (or even more, can't remember) optional subjects. And the Polish language exam is what I wanted to get more into detail about.
What should a language exam be about? Understanding language, some basic grammar knowledge and writing. To some degree it is that way, but the most important thing is to answer like the mystical key. You have to know exactly what they want you to answer that particular question. Even if the question is What do you think about...?, How would you explain...? or even What's your attitude...?. You can't have your own opinion, you have to answer exactly the way they want you to.
Also you have to interpret a poem, or another short literary work and write a long form about it. However, you can't exactly do what you're told to do. You have to know from school, what the author meant, otherwise you'll probably get a lousy result or no points at all. Don't even try to interpret! You must know!
As a proof of how wrong it is, Wisława Szymborska (a famous Polish writer, a Nobel Prize winner) took a modern matura exam a few years ago (I don't know why) and faith decided, that she had to interpret her own work! Now guess what: she barely passed, because she didn't know what the poet meant! Yeaaaah! Matura FTW!

So let's learn what other people meant even though they didn't mean it and pass exams high! Woohoo!