Homo ludens @Gamescom 2015 – Trade Visitors Day

This year’s trade visitors’ day was noticeably less crowded than the years before. The convention was much stricter with admittance, hence less visitors.

Entering Gamescom 2015:
Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Ready to play?

Gamescom 2015

Farming Simulator (Landwirtschaftssimulator) is back! Has become a staple over the years.

Gamescom 2015

Microsoft booth:

Mega Bloks spire at the Halo 5 Guardians entrance

Gamescom 2015

Halo 5: Guardians and most other games at Microsoft were playable with the new Elite Controller. The 150$ price tag seems steep but I have to say I really like it. Has a nice heft and exceptional build quality. For shooters like Halo the trigger locks are really a plus. Less travel until the trigger switches act.

Gamescom 2015

You can see the small green switches for the trigger locks on the top of the backside.
The four green dots below are the switches for the paddles. Unfortunately I did not see the paddels anywhere on any of the games.

Gamescom 2015

For Forza 6 there is a special 10 year anniversary D-pad for the elite controller:

Gamescom 2015

These controllers have gorgeous Forza-esque paint jobs. Those are “classic” controllers, not elite ones, though:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Forza 6 now has night races and rain. Played both and both really add to the experience. Car will react to puddles of water on the track. Best: everything now is 60 fps.

Gamescom 2015

Visitors playing Forza 6:

Gamescom 2015

Rise of Tomb Raider at the Microsoft booth. The game will be time exclusive on Xbox One before coming to PS4 one full year later. Usually you will then get the game with all DLC as some GotY or similar edition.

Gamescom 2015

FIFA 16 was also playable at Microsoft. usually entirely overrun on Gamescom I managed to play a match, even winning 2:1.

Gamescom 2015

Gigantic (by motiger) had a presence right in the center of the Microsoft booth. They have a marketing deal. Game will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10. Microsoft have been marketing the game as a showcase during their Windows 10 launch.
Gigantic and Fable will have cross-play and cross-buy between Xbox One and Windows 10.

Gamescom 2015

One of their ‘community coaches’ explaining the ins and outs to the players:

Gamescom 2015

Gigantic also had its own booth in Hall 8:

Gamescom 2015

The logo being too gigantic to fit the frame 😉 They used it as a projection screen. I generally liked the game design a lot and also the design of their booth.

Gamescom 2015

They have a central stage for competitive play:

Gamescom 2015

On the morning of trade visitors’ day there meren’t many visitors. That would change soon…

Gamescom 2015

Both the Xbox One and the Windows 10 version were playable.

Gamescom 2015

I had a nice talk to one of their character designers. Windows 10 and Xbox One version run off pretty much the same engine. Underneath it’s Unreal 3 with custom frameworks.

Gamescom 2015

EA have a huge presence (as usual). On the first day they will only open after lunch since they are running their press conference in the morning.

Star Wars: Battlefront was the big highlight this year. Easily recognizable by the big TIE fighter and ATAT models:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Catalyst is a successor to a game that won over critics more so than consumers. Happy to see a sequel.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Unravel seems promising. Some did comment it has a lot from Sonys’ Little Big Planet’s Sackboy character.

Gamescom 2015

Need for Speed. Another staple series with a new entry. Did not play it. As far as racing games go I am recently having more fun with the slightly more realistic variants, like Forza. Love to tune the car to shave off a few seconds. Maybe also getting old, easier to memorize a race track than an open world city.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

This racing setup (PC) looked really nice. I consciously chose to NOT test drive it. I fear I might buy one if I did.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

More racing game hardware at Logitech:

Gamescom 2015

Sony booth:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Horizon:Zero Dawn. Unfortunately only video, nothing playable, yet. Looks promising:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Star Wars: Battlefron was playable at the Sony booth. 2-player coop split screen single player in some kind of hoard mode. Liked the game a lot, feels like actually being in one of the movies. Stunning graphics. Controls a bit mushy, though. Hope this will be improved until release.

Gamescom 2015

A visitor testing Sony project morpheus VR experience:

Gamescom 2015

Street Fighter V on PS4:

Chun-Li watching Cammy battle a mere visitor:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Blizzard are sharing hall 7 with Sony and have a huge booth.

Gamescom 2015

More specifically they have a whole set of booths: Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Star Craft II: Legacy of the Void, World of Warcraft: Legion and Overwatch. Hope I did not forget anything.

I liked playing Overwatch quite a bit:

Gamescom 2015

Blizzard has life-sized (more or less) figures of some of the Overwatch characters:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Hearthstone booth:
Did not play it. i felt I could play enough Hearthstone on my phone while waiting to playtest another game.

Gamescom 2015

Some Murloc vs. play:

Gamescom 2015

Heroes of the Storm:

Learned right after taking this photo that I should not take any more photos, pity:

Gamescom 2015

So I took a few photos of some more life-sized figures:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Hammer time!

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Between the two giants Sony and Blizzard Guitar Hero makes a comeback. Guitar Hero and Rock Band were huge for a couple of years and then more or less disappeared from the lime light. Now they are back. The crew warming up before the visitors take over:

Gamescom 2015

PES: Another come back of a great series. They were always considered the ‘realistic’ football (I’m German, I will not call it soccer) game until they were somehow overtaken in this regard by FIFA. With the transition to PS3 and Xbox 360 PES fell behind while FIFA 08 and then especially 09 and 10 made great steps forward.

Gamescom 2015

Fallout 4:

When you go to Gamescom this year you will immediately notice those who played it. They get a blue T-shirt, in exchange for having their hair spray-painted Pipboy yellow.

Gamescom 2015

Dark Souls III is hotly anticipated by many:

Gamescom 2015

I did not play it since I never got into Demons Souls, Dark Souls I/II and Bloodborne. Due to work I cannot muster the required patience. There are so many games, I want to try them all rather than master one. This is just me probably, everybody else please enjoy Dark Souls!

Another thing I did not try was Oculus rift. This was unvoluntarily, I went to the booth too late. Will try to get a slot another day and will go there first thing in the morning.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Nintendo:

By contrast Nintendo have a really small booth this year:

Gamescom 2015

This is basically the entire booth. To the left were a number of Wii-U available. I played Zelda Triforce Heroes which was a lot of fun. You play with 3 players and have to cooperate to solve puzzles.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

All in all this years trade visitors day of Gamescom was great. Had many nice conversations and could play most games and systems with little waiting time.

Python on Windows 8.1

Recently I acquired a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and of course I installed Python.
It turned out that installing Python on Windows has its own caveats – similar to the particularities of Python on OS X.

Some sites (like SciPy.org or iPython.org) recommend going with a specialised Distribution like anaconda on Windows Systems.

I wanted to have a little more control and decided to install the packages myself, starting with Python from http://python.org/.

There are two important questions:

  1. Python 2 or Python 3?
  2. 32bit or 64bit?

You will have to answer these for youself, based on your particular requirements.
Help for you decision can be found on the python.org wiki site or
on this DataNitro blog entry.

I decided to install the 32bit version of Python 2.7 for compatibility reasons.
You can install Python 3.4 in parallel. It will install into its own directory and it will have its own uninstall entry in the system panel.

Like on Mac OS X I installed virtualenv to manage multiple Environments with different sets of installed packages.
A good Windows specific how-to can be found on Tyler Butler’s page.
He also explains how to integrate with PowerShell via the virtualenvwrapper-powershell package.
If you are using PowerShell for the first time he also Points out how to enable the execution of scripts (see this TechNet article in general and this help page on Microsoft TechNet in particular). You have to explicitly Permit the execution of unsigned scripts. You can list your machine’s policies with this command in PowerShell:

Get-ExecutionPolicy -List

My policies look like this:

Scope            ExecutionPolicy
-----            ---------------
MachinePolicy    Undefined
UserPolicy       Undefined
Process          Undefined
CurrentUser      RemoteSigned
LocalMachine     Undefined

The RemoteSigned policy for the CurrentUser scope means that in my user’s context the execution of local unsigned scripts is allowed (while remote scripts have to be signed).
You can switch to this policy by issuing this command in PowerShell:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Scope CurrentUser

If you follow Tyler’s instructions you should be able to use virtualenv. You can switch to an environment with the workon command and you can exit the current environment with the command deactivate.
For more information about working with virtualenv have a look at this virtualenvwrapper command reference.

After Setting up virtualenv I wanted to install some packages that I usually Need, in particular numpy, scipy, matplotlib, pandas and iPython.
Usually a pip install numpy should work. But here it did not but pip stopped with an error message.
The SciPy.org page again recommends a pre-built distribution.
Alternatively it points to the maintainers of the single packages.
At this point I used the binary installers (Python 2.7 32bit) for numpy, scipy and matplotlib. The main reason were the recommendations to use the binary installer for matplotlib, also since the build instructions for Windows require Visual Studio compilers to be installed.
All three packages can be uninstalled from the Windows Control Panel/Programs and Features.
They install into the site-packages Directory so that virtualenv is not used. Since I usually always Need one of these packages this seemed acceptable for the time being.

But note that with this set-up there were still some errors when I tried to use matplotlib functions.
The six and pyparsing packages were missing.
Six is also needed for pandas and installed automatically as a dependency with it so I tried pip install pandas. The Installation failed again due to the missing c Compiler.
Since I had Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 installed I investigated why the compiler is not being found by pip.
I turns out that the different Python versions are built with specific versions of Visual Studio and the according packages need the very same compiler version to work (Visual Studio 2008 for Python 2.7 and Visual Studio 2010 for Python 3.3). This information can be found in this StackExchange question. In the answers some people had success by linked the location of newer Visual Studio versions to the expected location of the required version.
For me SET VS90COMNTOOLS=%VS120COMNTOOLS% did not work. pip found the compiler but the Installation aborted with a compile error.

Reading the error message carefully solves the problem: It gives a link to an official Microsoft download for Visual C++. Microsoft kindly provides a Compiler specifically for Python 2.7 packages.
With this compiler the install via pip worked for pandas and also for iPython:
pip install pandas
pip install ipython[notebook]

Installing iPython package under Windows 8.1
Installing iPython package under Windows 8.1

In the screenshot you can see iPython successfully installing and starting.

Python on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

I upgraded my older MacBook Pro to a new retina MacBook Pro.
For a couple of generations I used to migrate everything over to a new machine with the migration assistant or in target mode.

This time I used the chance to start over new since the system was clogged with a number of environments that became problematic (Ruby and Python installs, which weren’t always easy under rechten Mac OS versions).

Also wanted to replace legacy Macports installs with homebrew.

Pawel Lachowicz shares his how-to for installing Python on Mavericks:
www.quantatrisk.com
In this how-to I will generally follow Pawel’s list of packages to install. But doing so I will note errors, mitigations and changes I encountered during install.

I also installed R which for some functions relies on TCL/TK. Which is outdated on Mavericks, do R brings it’s own TCL/TK install package.
Since is installs to /usr/local it can potentially interfere with homebrew (according to brew doctor).

So I would rather recommend to remove the TCL/TK install that comes with package R and use the homebrew TCL/TK libs.
So far I have not tried homebrew R.

To be able to uninstall and to install different versions of Python I followed this recommendation on hackercodex.com.

First, install homebrew:
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/go/install)"

brew install python --with-brewed-openssl
brew install python3 --with-brewed-openssl

virtualenv allows to install Python packages into different virtual environment. In turn this allows i.e. testing different versions of packages or different package sets.
Python packages can be installed with the older setuptools or the newer pip.
See here at hackercodex.com for advantages/disadvantages.
pip allows uninstall, so I chose pip.

pip install virtualenv

To make proper use of virtualenv one needs to create and activate an environmen, i.e.:
mkdir ~/source/virtualenvs
cd ~/source/virtualenvs
virtualenv quant
cd quant
. bin/activate

A virtualenv can be deactivated like this:
cd ~/source/virtualenvs/quant
. bin/deactivate

Then, go on installing the packages recommended by Pawel:

  • pip install mpmath
  • pip install numpy

The next package, scipy requires a Fortran compiler.
I did not have one installed. On my fresh OS X Mavericks install homebrew was the easiest solution. But is also possible to install Fortran from the Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) installer, see Jonathan Goldsmith’s post at github.

brew install gfortran

Then continue:

  • pip install scipy
  • brew install pkg-config
  • brew install freetype
  • brew install libpng
  • brew install ffmpeg
  • pip install matplotlib

Trying to install matplotlib yields another error:

With the version change from matplotlib 2.5.0.1 to 2.5.1 the header directory structure was changed (see here). This is known, but seems to not have been fixed yet in the pip package.

This solution from David at stackoverflow solved the problem:

sudo ln -s /usr/X11/include/freetype2/freetype /usr/X11/include/

Again, continue installing packages:

  • brew install zeromq
  • pip install pyzmq
  • Already installed in site-packages with homebrew python 2.7.6: pip install Tornado
  • pip install readline
  • pip install azure
  • Skipped: pip install curses
  • pip install cython
  • pip install jinja2
  • pip install pexpect
  • pip install pygments
  • pip install pymongo
  • pip install sphinx
  • Skipped, since already installed by brew via dependency: pip install sqlite3
  • pip install wx
  • Skipped, since already installed by brew via dependency: pip install zmq
  • pip install sympy
  • pip install patsy
  • pip install scikit_learn
  • Note: statsmodels requires pandas, so install pandas first.
    pip install pandas
  • pip install statsmodels
  • pip install ipython

Homo ludens @Gamescom 2012 – Day .5

Spending 1 hour at this years Gamescom 2012 in Cologne before they close for the day. So it does not really count as a whole day. Today the fair opened for the public until Sunday. Will go tomorrow, just stopped by on the way home.

Last year it was really (too) crowded. It usually is already quite full on Thursday and the last two years it got even more crowded until Sunday. Worst time is around noon. After 3-4 pm it gets a little better.
Arrived around 7 pm-ish to use the chance to take some pictures.

Swimming against the current. A steady stream of gamers flows to the train station.

P1070103

Staging area where they hand out the bracelets. Don’t be fooled, it will not be this empty tomorrow morning.

P1070106

Main entrance. At this time rather the exit. They learned something from last year and are opening another entrance at hall 11 for those who already have a ticket. The hall 11 entrance is right next to the main entrance.

P1070206

Some gamers queuing up for Borderlands 2. Thought the first one was a surprise hit. Release date: September 21st. Might be faster to just wait than to wait in line.

P1070118

Last year the Diablo III area at Blizzard was walled of. Now post release there is nothing to hide.
A rare sight to see no lines and only a few gamers actually playing.
Again, I do not expect it to look like this before 5 pm.

P1070120

Neither will the SC2 part of Blizzards’ booth be so idle:

P1070121

Nor the WoW expansion part – Mists of Pandaria:

P1070127

RaiderZ across the isle:

P1070119

This one gives an impression of how empty the halls are in the evening.

P1070123

Public transport simulations:

P1070125

EA manages to retain visitors’ attention even at closing time. Isles are already empty. But do not be fooled, there are really a lot of visitors around, slowly moving to the exits.

P1070128

EA brought some cars along for NfS Most Wanted

P1070130

FIFA ## never fails to attract fans

P1070131

Apart from the fenced-off part the area was empty. Not really sure about their motivation to wait in line for … what?

P1070133

More NfS hardware

P1070137

Of all sports title I had actually not seen a handball game before. Might try this tomorrow.

P1070140

If you squint you can read “My Body Coach 3” on the glass

P1070143

Body Coach 3 in action

P1070145

Have your picture taken – in defiance

P1070144

The “case king” or “caseking” (see above) ruling supreme over some contest.

P1070151

It.is.back!!! In 2010 I raised my brow ().
In 2011 Landwirtschafts-Simulator 2012 made it’s way to the 3DS.
Now it is not only back:

P1070155

They built a controller for it!!!

P1070157

This puts Steel Battalion to shame

P1070160

Strictly speaking you need to have one of those age indicating bracelets to play any game not rated “0” at Gamescom. They should be handed out here I was told at the info stand. But someone already had left his/her post. It was almost closing time so this is understandable. Would have saved the time picking one up tomorrow, one queue less.

P1070161

Nintendo and Microsoft are notably absent this year. But Sony is still around, wich is a good thing.
2010 and 2011 Sony had put up the best showing I thought. Many games, most could be played with reasonable queuing time.

P1070162

Also like the visual style of their (huge) booth.
Little Big Planet Karting:

P1070163

P1070164

Many beanie bags with PS Vitas to play around

P1070166

The move based games were popular. Some do not like move. It just does not make the gaming experience better for most “classic” games. When there are games where the concept fits, I actually prefer it to the controller-free Kinect. But I think I can count my move and Kinect games on one hand.

P1070182

Ubisoft and Konami booths. PES has a similar attraction level as FIFA.

P1070169

PES 2013

P1070171

Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs murals. Would like to play both tomorrow. But need to find out if there are playable demos or just video trailers before standing in line.

P1070173

More Ubisoft. I would really like Splinter Cell Blacklist to be good.

P1070175

Farcry 3

P1070176

Konami promising Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

P1070178

But I did not see it at their booth. Walked around it once. They do have their own broadcast studio, though.

P1070180

World of tanks seems to be getting some media attention lately. The booth was already closed apart from the large video wall:

P1070182

Next door: End of Nations

P1070185

Across: FireFall. Will try to play it tomorrow, both was already being shut down for the day.

P1070189

League of Legends was a huge hit last year. This year they moved to hall 8.

P1070192

Unobstructed view over some competition seats.

Spending 1 hour at this years Gamescom 2012 in Cologne before they close for the day. So it does not really count as a whole day. Today the fair opened for the public until Sunday. Will go tomorrow, just stopped by on the way home.

Last year it was really (too) crowded. It usually is already quite full on Thursday and the last two years it got even more crowded until Sunday. Worst time is around noon. After 3-4 pm it gets a little better.
Arrived around 7 pm-ish to use the chance to take some pictures.

Swimming against the current. A steady stream of gamers flows to the train station.

P1070103

Staging area where they hand out the bracelets. Don’t be fooled, it will not be this empty tomorrow morning.

P1070106

Main entrance. At this time rather the exit. They learned something from last year and are opening another entrance at hall 11 for those who already have a ticket. The hall 11 entrance is right next to the main entrance.

P1070206

Some gamers queuing up for Borderlands 2. Thought the first one was a surprise hit. Release date: September 21st. Might be faster to just wait than to wait in line.

P1070118

Last year the Diablo III area at Blizzard was walled of. Now post release there is nothing to hide.
A rare sight to see no lines and only a few gamers actually playing.
Again, I do not expect it to look like this before 5 pm.

P1070120

Neither will the SC2 part of Blizzards’ booth be so idle:

P1070121

Nor the WoW expansion part – Mists of Pandaria:

P1070127

RaiderZ across the isle:

P1070119

This one gives an impression of how empty the halls are in the evening.

P1070123

Public transport simulations:

P1070125

EA manages to retain visitors’ attention even at closing time. Isles are already empty. But do not be fooled, there are really a lot of visitors around, slowly moving to the exits.

P1070128

EA brought some cars along for NfS Most Wanted

P1070130

FIFA ## never fails to attract fans

P1070131

Apart from the fenced-off part the area was empty. Not really sure about their motivation to wait in line for … what?

P1070133

More NfS hardware

P1070137

Of all sports title I had actually not seen a handball game before. Might try this tomorrow.

P1070140

If you squint you can read “My Body Coach 3” on the glass

P1070143

Body Coach 3 in action

P1070145

Have your picture taken – in defiance

P1070144

The “case king” or “caseking” (see above) ruling supreme over some contest.

P1070151

It.is.back!!! In 2010 I raised my brow ().
In 2011 Landwirtschafts-Simulator 2012 made it’s way to the 3DS.
Now it is not only back:

P1070155

They built a controller for it!!!

P1070157

This puts Steel Battalion to shame

P1070160

Strictly speaking you need to have one of those age indicating bracelets to play any game not rated “0” at Gamescom. They should be handed out here I was told at the info stand. But someone already had left his/her post. It was almost closing time so this is understandable. Would have saved the time picking one up tomorrow, one queue less.

P1070161

Nintendo and Microsoft are notably absent this year. But Sony is still around, wich is a good thing.
2010 and 2011 Sony had put up the best showing I thought. Many games, most could be played with reasonable queuing time.

P1070162

Also like the visual style of their (huge) booth.
Little Big Planet Karting:

P1070163

P1070164

Many beanie bags with PS Vitas to play around

P1070166

The move based games were popular. Some do not like move. It just does not make the gaming experience better for most “classic” games. When there are games where the concept fits, I actually prefer it to the controller-free Kinect. But I think I can count my move and Kinect games on one hand.

P1070182

Ubisoft and Konami booths. PES has a similar attraction level as FIFA.

P1070169

PES 2013

P1070171

Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs murals. Would like to play both tomorrow. But need to find out if there are playable demos or just video trailers before standing in line.

P1070173

More Ubisoft. I would really like Splinter Cell Blacklist to be good.

P1070175

Farcry 3

P1070176

Konami promising Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

P1070178

But I did not see it at their booth. Walked around it once. They do have their own broadcast studio, though.

P1070180

World of tanks seems to be getting some media attention lately. The booth was already closed apart from the large video wall:

P1070182

Next door: End of Nations

P1070185

Across: FireFall. Will try to play it tomorrow, both was already being shut down for the day.

P1070189

League of Legends was a huge hit last year. This year they moved to hall 8.

P1070192

LoL tournament theater. 15 minutes before closing time.

P1070195

Directly next to the LoL theatre the SC2 high level play still pulls a crowd

P1070197

P1070198

P1070202

So to sum up 1 hour of Gamescom 2012:
Refreshingly calm in the evening. Still a few lines for the big titles. For theaters: Still unclear most of the time if there is a playable demo or just some video reel. Which I could watch from my smartphone – waiting in line somewhere else. Where there IS a playable demo.

Riding into the Cologne sun set until tomorrow.

P1070205

People in Beta Festival 2011

This Saturday, 1st October Betahaus Berlin held their People in Beta Festival.

During the event we could enjoy unusually warm October weather.
Berlin on a lovely autumn day:
P1020741.jpg

P1020746.jpg

P1020757.jpg

P1020771.jpg

Makerplatz a.k.a. Moritzplatz:
P1020775.jpg

P1020778.jpg

Now let’s start at the betahaus:
P1020782.jpg

Beatriz of cinematografa.com filming during the event:
P1020783.jpg

Awesome foundation pitch during betabreakfast:
P1020801.jpg

Awesome foundation winner Willempje from Figure Running:
P1020813.jpg

Ali from Protonet explaining their social network software and hardware box:
P1020825.jpg

Lorenz from EyeEm explaining their photo sharing service and giving a flash course on the history of photography:
P1020829.jpg

Alex Ljung from SoundCloud sharing about starting your own company:
P1020834.jpg

P1020840.jpg

You can hear his session recorded here – of course uploaded to SoundCloud. The recording is not ideal as I had the level on manual but had to fish out some headphones from my cramped backpack, sorry:
[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=true”]http://soundcloud.com/toha-2/alex-at-people-in-beta-2011[/soundcloud]

After the sessions and work shops some more pitches during betapitch.
Doonited social enterprise pitch:
P1020844.jpg

5 minutes for pitching the idea – then 5 more for Q&A session:
P1020848.jpg

Thorsten from Musicplayr explaining his business:
P1020853.jpg

In the end winning the betapitch:
P1020886.jpg

Betajamming after work:
P1020896.jpg

Betahaus’ own Christoph joining in:
P1020924.jpg

P1020933.jpg

A Weekend in Düsseldorf

While I am working in Cologne I am using the chance to pass some time with friends and family in the region. So I spent a weekend in Düsseldorf. While Cologne and Düsseldorf are neighbor cities and they are just some 40-ish km apart there is a healthy competition between their inhabitants.

We went for a walk by the media harbor:

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0358.jpg

This area has fancy buildings to marvel:

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0364.jpg

Prominent among them are the Gehry-Bauten by architect Frank Owen Gehry (wikipedia link)

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0372.jpg

All these buildings are situated around a river harbor.

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0385.jpg

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-4102804.jpg

Passsing the harbor downstream the Rhein river we reached downtown. Noticed the space age looking tramway.

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0398.jpg

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0401.jpg

Apparently Düsseldorf has a more refined (aka “snobby”) image compared to Cologne where they seems to claim a more latitudinarian spirit. But to be honest I like both cities and luckily don’t have to take part in the regional rivalry.

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-0403.jpg

More modern architecture on the way back:

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-10.jpg

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-14.jpg

Germany is famous for their sausages and an all time favourite is the Currywurst.
Along the way I stopped by restaurant “Curry” where they specialise in said product. It is not your usual fast food shack but astonishingly refined inside. Also populated by equally refined clients. There has to be a reason for the partiality the people from Cologne display maybe.

A_Weekend_in_Düsseldorf_1-17.jpg

Their sausage system is modularised where you can order your sauce/dip/salsa in normal, sweet or spicy flavour.
They also have a “sauce of the day” which they let me try by way of a free french fry:

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Decided to do away with the fancy haute cuisine and stuck to the regular build:

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The curry pictures were taken with an Olympus PEN E-P1 equipped with the very nice micro four thirds Panasonic Lumix G 1,7/20mm Pancake. I did have some reservations agains the new µFT cameras due to the missing optical viewfinder and the smallish sensor size but the Oly/Pana combo was very nice and lightweight to work with.