January 25, 2008

Tower Defense!

I’ve gotten hooked to this free online game called Vector TD. It’s part of the tower defense genre, where you set up various weapon towers to shoot down waves of invaders. You get money for every enemy you shoot down which can be used to upgrade your towers and buy new ones. Different towers have different strengths and weaknesses, and some are more effective on certain kinds of enemies than others. It’s a fun diversion that has a lot of strategic elements, but takes up a lot more time than I really aught to be spending. Another example is Desktop Defender, which is also fun.

Anyone know any other decent free online strategy games? If it’s good, I’ll probably check it out, but I’m really looking for something deep that I can sink my teeth into without having to invest several hours into one sitting.


January 18, 2008

Tablet Time.

Earlier this week, yet another piece of material towards global conquest arrived. I upgraded from the Intuos2 and got a brand new tablet! Not just any tablet, but a Wacom Intuos3 Special Edition. It’s all shiny and black and sexy, with two different styli and much needed function keys. I got the 6×11 model to go along with my new widescreen monitor. Take a look at this quick picture of my digital work-station here at SykoGrafix Studios.

SykoGrafix Studios

There you see my scanner, monitor, tablet, Zboard with Photoshop keyset, and my mouse that glows 7 different colours. So far, so good. I’m not quite sure if the monitor’s colour output is as accurate as I need it to be, so I guess the next step is going to be to get a separate calibration device.

Anyway, the new tablet has thus far been a great improvement over what I had before. The feel of the surface is much easier to draw on, and I don’t feel I have to press as hard to get a steady line. The function keys and touch strip are lifesavers, as I haven’t been able to use keyboard shortcuts since moving my work space to my office, as the keyboard on this desk is tucked away inaccessible while using the tablet. Now I don’t need to use the keyboard very much at all, as all the keys I’d use, like to pan around or change brush size, are mapped right on the tablet itself. There are only two negatives that I can think of. The tablet itself is made out of a very smooth clear plastic (with the underside painted black for a very cool effect), but it’s so smooth that it feels different when you’re moving your hands around the edges. However, I have something that fixes that problem easily enough, which I’ll talk about later. The other bad thing is that I really wanted the special edition because it comes with both the standard grip pen and the extra classic pen, and it’s great having the option to switch between them because they have different feels and you can put a different nib in each of them if you want, but unfortunately, the special edition only comes with one pen stand. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something of an oversight. I’ll have to get an extra one somehow.

What I’m happiest about, though, is just the fact that it got here at all! I was looking all across the Internet for stores that carried this particular model, but it seemed like right when I went to buy it, everyone was sold out or on backorder. I eventually settled on a Canadian chain called Henry’s, and simply placed my order expecting it to ship later this month when their main warehouse was restocked. Well, they must have pulled one off the floor from one of their retail locations or something, because I got it within 6 days of placing my order. Not bad for a backordered item! So I have to put in the plug for Henry’s after this exceptional service.

So, here we go. I’ve almost got all the tools I need. Let’s see what madness I can create with them!


January 12, 2008

The Graps.

Some wrestling related musings.

I finished reading Bret Hart‘s book yesterday. It’s a solid read, and especially entertaining when taking into account that I’ve seen so much of what he was writing about, and reading this book affords a glimpse into what was going on behind the scenes. But all in all, it’s a very dreary book. I sort of knew that it wasn’t going to be all roses and sunshine considering that Bret and the entire Hart family have been through a significant amount of trail and tragedy. But even beyond the obvious examples of the Montreal Screw Job and Owen’s death, Bret writes about many topics with a bitter tone. He doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of his siblings, his wife, the wrestling business as a whole, or… well, very much of anything really. Still, it goes without saying that this book is pretty much a must-read for any wrestling fan. I’m not sure how accessible it is to anyone who isn’t a knowledgeable fan, but I speak that language so I got everything.

In other news, I now own a copy of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns for PS2. For those that don’t know, Fire Pro is a long-running series of wrestling video games from Japan which have tons of wrestlers from all over the world, (all under phoney names to circumvent any copyright violations) as well as an incredibly deep edit mode where just about any other wrestler can be created by the user. Aside from 2 entries on the Game Boy Advance, this is the first time a Fire Pro game has been localized in English, but the series has gained a huge following despite its relative inaccessibility to the Western world. It’s got a steep learning curve, though, and it’s going to be awhile before I’m able to master it enough to play it intuitively. I’m most looking forward to really pushing the edit mode and coming up with some crazy new characters, like monsters and super heroes. I’ve already made Hulk! No, not Hulk Hogan, I mean the green guy. It takes a long time but the results should be worth it.