Wednesday, March 26, 2008

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The way to get amusement out of the 'funny' papers is...

..to delete a main character.

Now, it's blissfully hilarious, and strangely affecting. Who would ever expect that from Garfield?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Demo Review: Blackwell Convergence

Dave Gilbert has seen fit to tease the adventure-game-consuming public once again...with a 30-minute playable demo of the third Blackwell game.

Bastard.

Now I have to wait until "Mid 2008" (whatever that means) to continue. I remember this feeling. It was when I first read about S.T.A.L.K.E.R., back in 2003, and the same feeling lasted about four years. Mid 2008 is a lot less time, fortunately.

But enough about that. Convergence is going to be awesome, if the demo is any indication.

For starters, the chemistry between the leads has gelled even more than in Legacy. The change in voice actors, if anything, has only pushed Rosa's character forward; she sounds more confident, more mature, and seems to have picked up the slightest hint of her aunt's world-weariness (I suppose I would too if I was stuck with Joey for a lifetime). She's also starting to dish it out, as opposed to bowing to Joey's browbeating and misogyny. Joey's mellowed out just a smidgen, but otherwise, we all know Joey.

Graphical quality is on par with Legacy. The environment is lush; nothing looks unpolished or unfinished, and the rainscape and color scheme is quite evocative. As for the new sprite art, it's again on an equal footing.

And the dialogue...well, the humor level's ratcheted up a notch or three. The combination of laughs and human tragedy is concise and well-handled. Within 20 minutes, we experience exploration, exasperation, awkwardness, frustration, anger, self-pity, pithy barbs, and revelation. Pretty wide range of emotion for your average video game. Perhaps this is why Dave Gilbert's games work so well; the characters are very much real, human, and flawed, and seem to be getting deeper with each iteration. Three cheers!

Now for the long thumb-twiddling stage. Damned pre-release demos.

Aaaand the best game in Orange Box is...

Peggle Extreme. Look, it combines Pachinko, Breakout, and Bust-A-Move. What's not to like?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Well, hi there.

And in entirely un-gun-related news, demo.

It's now 3:33 AM. Sleep, or play? Aw, hell.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I suppose this is how one writes a novel.

I find myself re-reading my blog entries, tweaking prose, clipping lines with unintentional meanings or misleading syntax, and generally refusing to let sleeping dogs lie. I suppose this is both a blessing of publishing in this manner (nothing is ever quite finished, and can be improved on - think of it as a 'rolling edition,' rather than re-releasing a book every few years, which only established books of fairly wide distribution seem to have the luxury of doing) and a curse (release now, patch later, insult someone greviously albeit unintentionally, fix problem and apologize profusely, etc). I suppose writers do the same thing for other forms of writing, without being able to release publicly before the actual release.

This is probably a very sloppy way to blog. Whatever.

Dry Fire: Wall Drill

Courtesy of Pistol-Training.com, I recently revised my dry-fire regimen, and this Saturday it paid off nicely.

I switched from dry-shooting a target to what is called the "wall drill." Instead of having any target - dot on wall, bullseye target, piece of wood, etc., you point the (unloaded) gun at a plain, white wall (with no one and nothing behind it). The benefit of this is that you can only focus on three things: grip, sight picture, and trigger pull. Zero distractions. This is one of those "should be painfully obvious" things - pure fundementals practice - but fortunately Todd Green at Pistol-Training.com has laid it out simply and effectively. And dear God was it cringeworthy to see how messy my DA really was.

The nice thing about the wall drill is its adaptability. Since I shoot a "TDA" SIG (another handy term from Todd - "Traditional Double Action" - TDA rolls off the tongue quite a bit more nicely than "DA/SA w/ decocker"), I can practice pairs - double/single, or I can focus on doubles only or singles only. This eliminates any trouble with two different trigger pulls. No, really, it simply doesn't matter anymore. Additionally, I can include reload drills, tap-rack-bangs, etc., as I see fit. A good drill was a DA/SA pair + reload + another pair. This ensures I maintain the 'master grip' after a mag switch, since a shift in grip results in a sloppy DA pull.

Two habits I seem to have picked up: using the very tip of the trigger finger for DA pulls (awesome - zero lateral wobble) and manipulating the magazine release with the offhand thumb, since I have to shift my shooting hand to thumb the mag release. The latter results in a sort of 'teacup grip' that catches the mag as it exits the well. Clean, smooth, and postitive magazine retention. Recommended!

Good use of the wall drill seems to eat bad fundementals habits for breakfast. And it's suprisingly addictive - I gave myself 5 min DA, 5 min SA, and found myself doing mag switches for another 20+ min with no desire to stop. And, yes, even 10 minutes seems to help.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gun Lust: SIG-Sauer P226 X-Five

I had the remarkably fortunate opportunity to put a few rounds through a SIG-Sauer P226 X-Five.

It dwarfs a standard P226, with a 5.5" barrel, massive dustcover, magwell, and extended beavertail. The fit and finish are impeccable - the nicest I've seen in my short gun-owning career.

And it shoots like a .22. A stocky, heavy, hand-filling .22 with a louder bang. Super-short trigger, better than the one on my Trailside, with a 3-4lb break and zero grit or overtravel. Deep-cut target sights. Zero muzzle flip. Compared to standard shooters, it's cheating, pure and simple.

One problem: The slide release is in exactly the same place, but the manual safety obstructs the thumb from operating it easily. I suppose offhand thumb or just yanking the slide back is the way to go. Or just never reload from slide-lock.

Now if I can justify the $2000 MSRP, I'll be in business...