So it's been a while since I did this whole "blog" thing... if that wasn't obvious already. ANYWAY, life got me running AROUND! *ahem* Sorry for the bad grammar. I'm hoping to revive this blog. No promises, though.
On to the good stuff. Skyrim is awesome. I have so far spent 96 hours in my second world and it reminds me of how Morrowind felt. Mysterious, dangerous and intriguing. You can feel the history, the mythology. A lot of credit goes to the art department for designing the world so well. This was something Oblivion was lacking to me, so it's nice to be so satisfied by Skyrim. It's just beautiful too, which leads me to the focus of this entry. I'm going to be taking pictures on my journey and post them here. Now that I found out how to remove the HUD from the game, they're gonna look great! Hit the break without further ado...
I finished playing Alan Wake a few nights ago. Outisde of it being fun. Outside of it having an imaginative combat system. Outside of it having great pacing. Outside... well, outside of it being a great game overall, the story in Alan Wake provides one of the best mindfrag mysteries I've encountered in a great long while. After beating the game 3 times in rapid succession, I've formulated a theory of the events. This theory is quite complex, and I'm sure it won't fit in the forums I'd love to contribute to, so I'm making this my HQ. I'll keep it updated.
Let me warn you all, this entry contains MASSIVE SPOILERS of a MASSIVE nature regarding the video game Alan Wake. If you haven't played or beaten it, and don't want to ruin the entire story, don't read this! Also, if you haven't played and beaten the game, you probably won't know what I'm talking about, so there!
[To those non-spanish speakers, "blanco" = "white"]
[Sent from my Moto Droid]
[posted from my blackberry storm]
[posted using my blackberry storm]
A few months ago, I was randomly searching online, as I often do, and as I sometimes do, I searched around for some outfit that makes custom lightsabers. Years ago I went to a Halloween party as a Jedi with a friend and we "made" our own lightsabers. I made a design that was so elegant and beautiful it actually depressed me because I knew I didn't have the know-how or the hardware to pull it off. Sooooo, we cobbled together some PVC and screws and junk and made some alright looking sabers.
From that Halloween I had a dream to find someone that could make my dream lightsaber a reality. Over the years I've come across a few places that offered "custom" saber builds, but most of them just had a selection of parts you could choose to have assembled by whoever. The only actual custom job had prices so exorbitant it was almost funny. Moreso, their portfolio contained some bad looking creations. Everything looked like it was out of some high school shop class... I mean... c'mon!
But I digress... A few months ago while doing the randomness I came across Parks Sabers. I checked over their production models, and was quite impressed with the quality of reproduction of their clone models, as well as their own designs. Not only did they have great looking hilt designs, but they came with DETACHABLE, TOUGH lighted blades! Continuing to the museum, it became apparent they did custom jobs. I fired off an e-mail asking if it was really "custom" jobs they do. I got a reply less than 12 hours later asking for a design. So I drew up this outline:
...and e-mailed it. Again, promptly came the reply, "give us a call to talk about the details". Could it be? Could they really do this? Can my dream come true? I called and talked to Jeffery Parks, the head honcho himself (awesome personal attention to customers!) and he went over my design and in a very cool way talked me through the practicality of the design. We altered a few details (which to me, ended up with a better looking final design) and he said he'd get to making it. After the 12 week turnaround, I got an e-mail with pictures of my finished design. It's amazing; better than I could've imagined. And I can't wait to have it in my hands. Check it out!
I'll post more pics, and with the blade attached when I get it.
[posted from my blackberry storm]
New songs, features and improvements not enough for 'ya? "There are some issues with the hardware too, Karma." Alright, I understand and agree. But guess what? There's more!
Let's start with the microphone. Yeah... You sing into it. As with the other instruments, though, a third-party manufacturer will be releasing a mic with buttons so you don't have to manage the pesky controller. But let's face it, it's still a mic. MOVING ON! (Click images for full size view)
The drums are next. Personally (and I'm not alone here) a big problem with the drums was the noise. Granted, drums are supposed to make noise, but not fake drums. This time around, the pads have been... padded better, so they're a lot quieter. A velocity sensor has been added to the pads as well, so the game will be able to tell if you're playing "softly" or "hard". The bass pedal has been reinforced with a metal plate, so hopefully the horror stories online of broken bass pedals will be a thing of the past. There are also extra plugs for a second bass pedal and up to three cymbal attachments! Now you can hit actual cymbal-shaped pads for the cymbals in the game! Check out the pics below. Finally, if that wasn't enough, the drums are supposed to be wireless! Like all the other instruments, there will be a third party "premium" drum kit. If I wasn't so bad with the drums, I'd totally get it because it's full of amazing win. The last two drum pics say it all.
The guitar/bass have been improved as well. They/it is/are wireless now, and more reliably wireless than the last generation. The strum bar has been tweaked so it feels more "solid" and the buttons have been softened so they are more responsive and don't give off such a loud sound when pressed. Quieter instruments FTW! For those with calibration/lag problems, the official guitar has an optical sensor and an audio sensor that, when held facing the TV, will listen and "look" at a calibration screen and auto-calibrate the lag for you! No more wacky calibration junk! Harmonix cares about YOU. I never had a problem with lag, so I can't speak in this regard, but I can imagine how frustrating it must be not to play spot-on.
The look of the instrument has been given a more realistic facelift. The pseudo-Strat now sports a sweet starburst paint job and a gorgeous wooden-looking fretboard. But what I'm really drooling over is the premium, "guitar version" from MadCatz. I'd give an arm to own one, if I'd still be able to play it. Check out the pics; Official, MadCatz premium guitar, MadCatz premium bass.
Gorgeous, ain't they? The premium versions are going for $200. A hefty price for a glorified controller, but they're beautiful, full-size, and weighted for that "look ma, it's almost real!" effect. I'm almost certain I'm going to get the guitar. All-in-all Rock Band 2 looks like it's going to be eating up a lot of my free time; and I couldn't be happier. I just wish they'd hand out an actual date, beyond their "September" release window. Counting down!