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< Piro >

"Broken Limbo"

Monday - August 18, 2008

[Piro] - 10:33:57 - [link here]

I need to apologize for the very serious delay of the past week. Most of it stems from a very difficult problem i was having with the new t-shirt printing and production that took almost 4 entire days to resolve... a problem that needed to be fixed and at times i wondered if i was ever going to overcome. It has delayed not only this comic (since i have been spending most of my time on it) but has delayed production and shipment of all the shirts that you folks have ordered from the store. The good news is that last night i was finally able to resolve and fix the issue. Subsequent testing has confirmed that the issue is indeed fixed, and the print quality of the shirts is up to what i (and you) expect them to be.

The limbo i have felt like i have been living in for the past week is now broken.

Of course, the euphoria that came with finally resolving the problem (it had to do with being able to properly print in high speed (bi-directional) mode as opposed to normal speed (unidirectional) which was more than doubling the time it took to print shirts) has now passed and i'm having to face the big catch-up with not only orders but the comic as well.

This comic is actually not too far off from being done, but i still have a few more frames to finish before i can post. On top of this, now that the printer is working properly i have to actually be there to ramp up production so we can fill all the outstanding orders.

So, that said, I would first like to apologize for the delay in shipment of your shirt orders from the Megagear store, and let you know that we are now back online and orders will start being filled and shipped as soon as i can get them printed and out the door. Thank you for your patience. As for the comic, it's coming - and now that i am past this big hurdle with this new production method and i will be switching my priorities back to that thing that i would much rather be doing - drawing comics.

I also owe you folks a rant with more info on what exactly this all is. I'll do that too in the next few days.

Ah, the joy of learning the ins and outs of new production methods, new machines... Sometimes it's learning the technical bits and tricks and ins and outs of machines that always have their own personality and quirks. Sometimes it's a question of learning what voodoo or magical incantations to recite. Sometimes it's finding that hidden little hatch on the back marked with a squiggly looking cephalopod-like creature that pops out and reveals an intake where where you can pour appropriate measures of your own blood. Finally found that hatch last night. Hopefully it will stay satisfied for a while as i try to rebuild my red blood cell count with copious amounts of coffee and wheat thins.

It's a bit of a spoiler, so if you'd rather wait for the finished comic, don't look, but here's a rather nice frame from this upcoming comic. I'll be posting the finished comic as soon as i can finish up the remaining frames later this afternoon. Thank you again for your patience - time to get back to work.

< Dom >

QMA, or MajiAka to my friends...

"Trivia on the go"

Thursday - October 30, 2008

[Dom] - 14:22:36 - [link here]

Another Warriors game, another two hours on the train, and another game I'm playing now!

Quiz Magic Academy (Nintendo DS)
Genre: Quiz Game
Language Barrier: Massive (you need to know Japanese sports and pop culture to answer the easy questions; you need to have attended a Japanese high school to know the others)
Chance of English Release: Zero (see Language Barrier)

During my Japan trip, Seiya and I became addicted to Quiz Magic Academy. As the name suggests, it's a lighthearted quiz game that asks you questions about everything from '70s robot anime and Japanese baseball to Hollywood movies and natural history. Like so many other Japanese arcade games, the main draw is the multiplayer - each arcade box is hooked up to a nationwide network, where you can test your knowledge against thousands of other trivia nuts. Each tournament pits 16 players against each other in a battle of speed, knowledge, and (in the case of myself and Seiya) reading comprehension.

It was a perfect intersection of interests - Seiya and I used QMA to flex our trivia muscles, play a co-op video game, and brush up on our Japanese. It was incredibly hard for us fur'ners to score in a Japanese trivia game, but we took a lot of pride in deciphering the questions and taunting whoever we managed to outscore. I remember a lot of "Suck it, Aichi! You got beaten by an American!" shouts going up in the arcade, and after we inevitably got our asses kicked by a bunch of veterans we'd go back to Seiya's apartment so we could study. Then, we'd come back the next day and challenge the collective intelligence of the Japanese QMA network again. It was a sad day when I had to leave Japan and cut off my budding QMA addiction.

When I heard that QMA was coming out for the DS, I jumped on it - or at least, I tried to. It was sold out everywhere I looked, and I wasn't able to get my quiz fix in until this week.

How is it on the portable system? Exactly the same. It's cute, it's fun, and it's simple. You get a question, you answer the question, you move on to the next question. The variety is in the topics and the answer types. There are basic true/false and multiple choice answers, and then there are typed-out questions, word scrambles, answer reels, and all sorts of craziness. By placing in tournaments and completing "quests", you earn more parts to customize your cute little avatar. I won't talk too much about that part - it's a fun little thing, but unless you're playing multiplayer, no one will see it, and what's the point of earning avatar pieces if no one else will see them?

Anyway, Quiz Magic Academy probably isn't for anyone but me and Seiya. It has a huge language barrier, it's difficult beyond belief to non-Japanese players, and it really isn't much different from other quiz games unless you're playing on the QMA network. Personally, I love bashing my head against new challenges (why else would I lead WoW raids with my family?), and playing another culture's quiz game is right up my alley.

Final Grade: B+ (this game makes me study! I haven't done that since the Jeopardy! game on Grandma's 286)

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