Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Surveying Seattle

Thursday morning was mostly spent on the laptop, sorting out stuff for the rest of the trip. I also had a good chat with 3 chaps who were at the hostel for a game developer's conference and expo in Seattle taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These were two Finnish guys and their British employee, working on a game called The Swapper which is mostly finished and they are in the process of drumming up interest and launching to potential users. As one of the winning 10 independent games in a recent competiiton, they had free entry to the conference, though clearly they were saving their budget on accommodation!

The game is atmospheric, based around the concept of having a team of clones, between which you can transfer your conciousness, allowing you to surpass obstacles which would otherwise be inpenetrable. The visuals are very good indeed, and even more impressive is the fact that all the models in the game were created first in clay and then photographed using a special technique. The trailer for the game shows gameplay as you explore a derelict space station - please have a look at the website here:

I then set out on the bus to go to the North of Lake Union. It is worth mentioning at this point Seattle's amazing public transport system. As well as having a good bus service to all other parts of the city, which is free to ride during daylight hours in the central zone, there is something calld the 'transit tunnel' running under the middle of the downtown area. The transit tunnel looks like an underground railway station and is home to the electrified light rail link which goes all the way to SeaTac; however buses can also use this tunnel system, since the train tracks are laid into the floor and the buses just drive along over the top, stopping at the platforms just like a train would. Thus buses, upon leaving the transit tunnel, can then continue the rest of the journey using the normal roads. An excellent double-use facility! I thought it was very interesting.

Anyway, I digress (as usual). My intention was to go and find a bicycle hire shop and ride around for a few hours. I did find a bicycle shop; however at $30 for a full day's hire when I only wanted a few hours, I thought it was a bit expensive and declined. So I took the bus back towards town and then another over to Discovery Park - a natural Park on the end of one of Seattle's many peninsulae. I wandered round this Park for a couple of hours - it was very pleasant, I skimmed some stones on the beach, ate blackberries when I got hungry, and spotted wildlife including mouse, snake, dragonflies and woodpecker. Living the life of the solitary traveller :-)

Ate Blackberries.


Enjoyed the View.

On the way back to the Hostel, I was still able to use a transfer ticket from my first bus ride, so the whole day's transport cost me merely $2. Not bad.
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