Monday, September 13, 2010

Artsy Fartsy Monday

I wasn't sure what I should write about today, so I've decided to post up a few of my driving related poems.  So here goes...

Tales From the DMV

A Haiku

Four wheels and four limbs-
A red flash, harsh steel and glass.
No wheels and no limbs.

Beat It

Beat the camera,
Beat the cop.
Beat the signal,
Beat the clock.

Beat the system,
Get on top.
Beat the others,
Get the spot.

Beat the traffic,
Cut the time.
Beat the rules,
Cut the line.

Beat the light,
Ignore the sign.
Beat the ticket,
Ignore the fine.

Beat your chances.
The way you ride,
On your body
The worms will dine.

Okay, that's all I've got.  Sorry for the crappy post, I'll make sure to write something more interesting tomorrow.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pyoo Pyoo

*This article was written by John_234 from  Mad props for the research and time spent writing this article out.*

Though I'm quite honestly not too comfortable with the majority of idiots I know sauntering about with guns, firearms are an indeliable, and pretty damned important part of American culture. About the worst thing to do with that is alienate guns and only let the idiots flaunt them. So the most common question tends to be, "What handgun should I buy?"

What do you need it for?
Home defense or S&G is the most common answer, followed by security or duty work, maybe even a defense gun while hiking in the woods, or serious issues such as zombie protection. Point being, which of these do you need a handgun for?

"Why are people so damn surprised these do better for home defense, anyway?"
If you're getting a first gun, a shotgun or a .22 Long Rifle would probably be the best option. The shotgun excels as an all-rounder because of a simple action, and a large variety of ammunition. It also packs a lot more punch than any handgun and requires slightly less precision at most ranges (not to the extent of video games, but easier than a rifle or handgun). The .22 LR might sound like an odd choice, but they're not scary to fire, reliable, and best of all, CHEAP. Ammo costs about twenty bucks per five hundred rounds. Twenty bucks would normally get you something like fifty handgun rounds. You can shoot literally ten times more for the buck. Just don't expect to use it for defense or hunting. 

Home defense applies broadly to anywhere from your bedroom, to your front door, the spot where the intruder leapt head-first through the hedges. In the legal sense, a vehicle is also considered an extension of your home, and the same legal right to defend it applies. The shotgun has traditionally been the king of home defense, and it should never override a handgun. That doesn't mean a handgun isn't nice, however. An interesting note is that vehicle defense is almost exclusively done with a handgun. It seems logical to carry a shotgun when given the extra space, but that option is seldom used, it seems.

Duty (cop or security), concealed carry (a civilian armed with a concealed handgun with a license) is different, because the handgun is a primary weapon for the carrier. The rifle and shotgun is preferred when available, but the handgun must be able to hold it's own in a gunfight. That means a medium to large caliber, a good magazine size, and a heavier trigger pull to prevent accidents, but a design comfortable to carry all day and spare magazines that aren't so expensive you'll never practice.

Hunting, camping and survival designs need to be rugged, accurate and comfortable to carry, though overall size usually isn't too much of a concern. Granted, they're usually pretty big bore, intended for use against large animals.

What is important?
Research some popular models, and read up on the mechanics of a handgun and popular opinion on them. Go to your nearest satisfactory shooting range. Bring at minimum, $100 to test guns and buy ammo - this sounds expensive, but it's chump change compared to a full purchase, and very worth it, in both practical lessons and entertainment value.

Listen carefully to the safety briefing, then ask the range owners what they recommend for a new shooter. Before you even buy ammo, pick up the gun. Is the trigger too long for you to reach? Are the sights cruddy? Is the trigger unbearably heavy? Does the presence of an extrernal hammer bother you or help you? Go down that list you researched, and find what fits your hand best, above all.

They will probably hand you a 9mm Parabellum, or a .38 Special. Bigger rounds means a wide grip and less per magazine, which can be critical for a combat handgun - or a pain in the ass when plinking targets. Recoil is self explanatory, but some people don't consider muzzle flash and gas released by the cartridge as well. A .357 Magnum creates a gigantic fireball that can quite easily destroy your night vision in mild darkness, and the report will probably damage your hearing, worse from a shorter barrel.

"Ever see a ballistics gelatin block shot with a hunting rifle or shotgun slug? What happens is the projectile hits the block, penetrates about four feet, while simultaneously exploding like a miniature grenade and throwing the block from the table like it was hit by a sledgehammer. Handguns are small beans."
All this for an ultimately minor difference in stopping power. It tends to be worth it, though - the more powerful the bullet, the less you have to fire. Guns are a balancing game in this respect, and contrary to popular belief, rounds like the 9mm Parabellum will kill people quite well. For the time being, figure out what you can handle properly.

"Shooters like Jerry Miculek all use a similar grip and stance."
To quickly sum up what "proper" means, for an automatic pistol, which has a box magazine and a recoiling slide, you'll want to have your strong side hand as high on the rear of the pistol as possible, to soak up recoil. Your weak side should be wrapped around the strong hand, as if you are shaking someone's hand with both hands. Your thumbs should point forward, the strong thumb on top of the weak thumb. On a revolver, which has a rotating cylinder, most of these tips are the same, though generally the thumbs are curled downward - if this is more comfortable on an automatic, too, give it a try. 

"This is about every single youtube video with a gun fired by a female, ever."
As for stance, it's fairly simple. Take a step back with your strong side, as if you are preparing to lash out with a punch or a kick. Have your arms held out even with each other, elbows slightly bent, and lean forward, into the shot. Too many people lock their elbows and lean away from the gun, doing the double function of both increasing recoil, and making them look like total fools.

Line the sights up in the center of the target. Try to use both eyes, or if this is difficult, use your dominant eye, keeping the other open. Squeeze the trigger slowly (with tough, heavy pulls, use the first joint of your finger, with very light ones, use the first pad). Called the "surprise break," squeezing the trigger slowly so that you barely expect the shot prevents you from flinching and will keep you from getting afraid of the gun.

After a couple rounds, remove the magazine, noting if the release button is handily located. Then check your hands. You'll probably see a couple marks where the gun nipped your hands. Sharp edges are found on most guns, and it's good to be aware if a design needs modification out of the box or not. Or, it could be that your grip is somewhat unsuited to that type of handgun. That's why you brought $100 to experiment with.

*Note: I don't claim ownership over any of these images.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Recently, I heard an analogy that made computer hardware more easily understood.  I goes a little something like this:

You have a kitchen (Computer Internals).  This kitchen is placed inside of a building (Computer case), and this building is fed gas and electricity (Power Supply or PSU.)  Everything within the kitchen is placed on the kitchen floor (Motherboard).  There is a pantry (Hard Drive) that holds all the raw ingredients that you're going to work with, and the counter top (RAM) is where you prepare them.  The stove top (video/graphics card) is where meals are finally prepared and dressed up .  The chef (CPU) works with all things on the kitchen floor.  Pretty simple so far, huh?

Getting a bigger pantry (Hard Drive) doesn't mean you'll be able to prepare anything in there any faster.  A bigger counter top (RAM) won't make your chef (CPU) work any faster, but you can have more things out on the counter (Temporary Memory) for your chef to work with.  If you have a great stove (video/graphics card), it'll make whatever you put on it look as good as it can, but if the pantry (Hard Drive) doesn't have anything of high quality, the stove (video/graphics card) will never be put to good use.  Improving your chef (CPU) will improve your ability to select choice ingredients (read and execute programs), but certain chefs will only work on some kitchen floors (Motherboards.)  The kitchen floor (Motherboard) determines what your kitchen can support.  If the kitchen floor (Motherboard) isn't stable enough, or if the other sections aren't compatible, then everything will fall apart.

So the computer illiterate comes to understand that the most important component of their computer is the motherboard or mobo for short.  The motherboard determines what parts are going to be compatible in your system, namely the CPU.  The CPU or Central Processing Unit fits into the motherboard and works with all the programs and applications that you're going to be using.  The Video Card determines the visual quality of said programs, and the Hard Drive will determine what and how much you can hold.  Finally, the RAM or Random Access Memory dictates your computers capacity for multi-tasking.  The more RAM you have, the more programs you can have open at the same time.

I hope that helps the computer illiterate out there understand what's going on with their computer.  While this analogy doesn't cover programs or operating systems, getting one to understand the underlying hardware is a good place to start learning about these amazing machines.  Hope this helps!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wisdom Teeth

I'll be getting my wisdom teeth removed today, and I'd have to say that I'm not very worried.  I trust that the dentist's skills are more than sufficient, and considering that the position of my teeth make the procedure fairly standard mean that the likelihood of complication will remain, thankfully, low.  Of course, the other consideration is pain.  I've gathered that most people fear the dentist because of the physical discomfort that they have to suffer, but let's think about this for a moment.  How much does it hurt, really?  Obviously, compared to the continuous pain that certain people have to live with, a few hours of discomfort is more than worth it.  But is the procedure really that painful?  Is the level of pain dependent upon the complications that may arise during the procedure?  Or does this only prolong the recovery period that one must endure?  I honestly don't see why people worry.  It's not as if they don't give you anesthetic to dull the sensation.  Now if they were to go about drilling and cutting and pulling without so much as a warning, I'd be running as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

I'd have to say that I haven't been to the dentist in quite a while.  In fact, I can't even remember visiting the dentist at all.  Being gifted with relatively straight teeth, I've never felt the need for braces, and I don't have any terribly painful cavities either.  That being said, a common quote comes to mind: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Just because I haven't felt the effects of any complications now doesn't mean that they're not there.  This is probably why I'm so eager to have these wastes of space removed from my mouth.  As far as general oral health is concerned, I can actually take preventative measures.  Wisdom teeth?  I can't really brush, rinse and floss them away.  If I could, I would, and I'm sure most would do the same.  Fortunately, my wisdom teeth haven't caused much discomfort so far.  But that's only so far.  I'm fairly sure that if I don't get them removed now, they're going to cause me more grief than I bargained for.

Getting more than you bargained for could be said about a lot of things.  It's not just limited to dentistry.  Think about lifestyles in general.  When you're getting your second coronary bypass, getting stuck to a dialysis machine, or being diagnosed with lung cancer, I don't think you'll be saying, "Ah, life well spent."  If it were me, I'd be wishing that I could get a do-over.  I'd think that a little diet, exercise and abstaining from excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking aren't so bad compared to getting a lung cut out of my chest.  I'm not saying that life shouldn't be enjoyed, or that life should be a list of worries and precautions.  Life should be lived, but there are ways to avoid future regrets and potential man-tits.

I guess that's one of the lessons that wisdom teeth impart.  The ailments of the future can be avoided by biting the bullet today.  Personally, I'm under the impression that if more people were to think about the long term, modern lifestyles would be much different than they are now.  We'd have less waste and more investment, less stupidity and more learning.  Global Warming, overpopulation, bad investment and economic prosperity could be achieved simple by taking that ounce of prevention.  The potential goods of humanity are just waiting to be pulled out of the backs of our mouths.  Let's pull them out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Let's Talk About Vidya

In the recent years of gaming, we've been seeing a lot of the same thing.  Novel ideas are being put aside for tried and true methods that sell units.  Of course, this isn't limited to games.  It seems as though everything in popular media is either a remake or follows the same skeletal structure of its predecessors.  But what makes the gaming industry unique is that they can release a game, wait six months and release the same game with different skins and be heralded as the greatest programmers in the history of game design.  I can't really blame the gaming industry for doing this, they've got shareholders to think of, but I'd like to see them give a throwback to some of the hardcore fans.

For better or for worse, the gaming industry has exploded into the realms of popular culture, embedding itself in the hearts and minds of those who have never even held a Nintendo or Famicom controller in their entire lives.  Throwing the industry into the limelight has bolstered the industry, but what has it done to game quality?  Obviously, video game technology has always tried to stay at the bleeding edge, and as time passes, the visual and audio quality of games will vastly improve.  But it seems that the time for being unique and original has long past.  There's pressure now, and the companies are hard-pressed to pump out another Halo or Call of Duty : Modern Warfare.  Developers don't have room to play with interesting ideas or unique experiences.  The modern gamer wants a prim, polished and, most importantly, familiar game play experience.  It's sad, really.  Each year I see less and less innovation, and more of the same thing.  When will people realize that Call of Grenades: Grenade Grenade-fare 2 is the exact same thing as before?  When will these idiots realize that Gears of War is utter shit?  Probably never, but one can hope.  Of course, this lack of originality isn't limited to shooters.  Many other genres of the industry have been subject to severe stagnation.  Let's take fighting games as an example.  You'd think that with all this time to perfect their genre, people would have figured out how to balance a game.  Developers aren't even close.  In all honesty, it seems like they're further from the dream of creating a balanced game than when they first started.  They can add all the moves and costumes they want, it doesn't change the fact that characters are unplayable and mashers beat the crap out of people who actually try to play the game.

But let's not beat a dead horse.  How about we look at the action/ adventure genre?  This genre is quite a bit more promising.  Developers have understood that this genre is the closest to a cinematic experience and have manipulated to be such.  These games are getting more suspenseful, frightening, and action-packed.  In all honesty, many action/adventure game directors could pump out a summer blockbuster that would put Michael Bay to shame (not that that's really difficult).  What about RPGs?  I'm a huge lover of this genre, but I'm willing to admit that many RPGs are fading into the background.  Ever since the release of the shitstorm known as Final Fantasy 7, people have been ignoring the games that are actually amazing.  Of course, the people at Atlus have given me some hope for this genre, and so have the western RPG developers like Bioware and Bethesda.

I know I haven't covered all genres, but I can say similar things about all of them.  Gamers today need to actually look at what they're playing and decide whether or not they're satisfied with the same thing every year.  Is the industry actually earning your hard earned cash?  Or are they exploiting your trust and giving you a steaming pile of shit with a pretty package?  Decide for yourselves.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Social Darwinism

Have you ever looked at a group of people and wondered why they existed?  I don't mean some existential pondering bullshit.  I mean people that have no value as human beings.  People that should be wiped from the face of the earth in order to save the future generations from their overall failure.  Before you start calling me a racist or an extremist of some type, I'm not targeting a specific race, creed, gender or whatever, I'm talking about idiots.  I'm pretty sure you've encountered these people before, and if you're like me, you've wondered what should be done about it.  Now my solution would be genocide.  To put it simply, there's nothing faster and less troublesome.  Obviously education didn't work, and imprisonment would just drain your resources, so you might as well dispose of them.  At the very least the corpses of those worthless individuals can support the crops that'll feed the significantly less retarded.  

But let's be a little compassionate here;  I'd hate to offend my more liberal readers, so let's give a few "less extreme" solutions to these societal failures.  1) Slavery.  Okay, I don't want to get labeled as some kind of backwards extremist, but it's not like slavery was started in the US.  People have been practicing slavery for a long freaking time.  DEAL WITH IT.  Now, the problem with enslaving idiots is that they weren't able to do things properly when they were free, it's not like they'll do any better when enslaved.  In all probability, their performance would just decline.  This bring us to option 2: Corporeal Punishment.  We should just beat the crap out of these people.  I for one am strongly supportive of this idea.  Threats of physical harm always promote a better work ethic and vastly increase the units that an individual may produce.  Actually beating the shit out of these people make sure that they know you're not bluffing.  But let's think about all these solutions for a moment.  Having 5 billion idiots under your control still leaves you with 5 billion idiots to take care of.  The problem hasn't been solved, simply covered up.  This doesn't mean that we should go with Plan A and annihilate them all.  That would take a significant amount of work and I'd rather not get another mean cramp in my leg from thousands upon thousands of Norris style kicks that I'd have to throw.  So let's look at another, less immediate solution, Population Control and Eugenics.  Genetic engineering has given us the keys to God's tool shed.  We've been screwing with DNA ever since we figured out that having two fat-ass cows hump the crap out of each other usually produces a fat-ass calf.  By that logic, having two stupid-fucks hump the crap out of each other usually produces a stupid-fuck.  Now whether this is caused by genetics or upbringing is debatable, but I'd rather not risk increasing the number of stupid-fucks.  So how do we deal with these individuals?  Sterilization.  We castrate all stupid men and falcon punch all stupid women.  They're free to waste their lives and hump each other till Doomsday without ever creating another terrible waste on the world's scarce resources.  There you go nature-lovers, I just stopped one of the biggest causes of global warming.  You can send me my nobel prize in the mail.

So now that I've single-handedly stopped global warming and saved much of the world from stupidity, I'm forced to deal with the reality that the vast majority of idiots don't want to have their balls chopped off or have their uterus' pulverized into deep space with a pseudo-god like punch.  So I'm left with a conundrum best worded by my internet counterparts: "wat do?"  Since most of these idiots would resort to violence (they don't know much else), we'd have to find some other way to control their means of perpetuation.  Even though I'd like to go out there and deliver all the crotch kicks and falcon punches I could, I'd probably find myself in prison before I could finish kicking and punching 90% of the US population.  So let's go with an even more lenient idea, Licensed Parenting.  Think about this for a moment.  You need a license to drive a car, you need a license to teach, hell, you need a license to dig cesspools, but apparently you don't need one to raise a child.  This is grade-A retarded bull shit.   Steering the course of a child's development is shit tons more important than steering the wheel of a single, stupid car.  Allowing idiots to run around willy-nilly, teaching kids stupid shit and ruining lives is the equivalent of driving an 18-wheeler through a school during recess.  

It's not as if the process even has to be that difficult.  Just a series of tests and evaluations and a few parenting classes.  These people should at the very least show some kind of competence for raising children.  Think of how many cases of child abuse we could potentially rectify.  Imagine the vast improvement to test scores and the overall skill level of American workers.  Mental and emotional health would improve, we'd be smarter, kinder and more prepared to handle the world of tomorrow.  But, I guess people just aren't ready to be better parents.  People prefer that parenting stay free so that we can have parents raise incompetent fucks.  I guess society as a whole doesn't want to get rid of child abuse or rape or domestic violence.  I guess giving rights to shit heads is better than saving kids from the horrors that no one should ever have to face.  I GUESS THAT THIS SOCIETY IS FULL OF A BUNCH OF STUPID FUCKS THAT NEED TO BE ERASED FROM EXISTENCE.  But if you don't think so, you're welcome to disagree.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's The Zombie Apocalypse, What Are You Doing?

If you're anything like me, you've spent many an hour sitting in your room, taking stock of the items and wondering how well that Microecon textbook would smash a zombie skull. Obviously, prospects aren't promising, and being unprepared for the zombie apocalypse is like being caught at a preschool with a raging boner and a pair of binoculars. Seeing as most people would like to avoid being gnawed upon or be seen on the next episode of To Catch a Predator, let's go over what one might need during an undead Chris Hansen attack. First of all, wipe your hard drive, and make sure that you wipe it clean. We don't want them finding 500gb of... um...stuff. Second, let's take stock of your gear. Hold on, wait a minute, I know what you're thinking, "TIME TO LOCK AND LOAD! GOT MY GUNZ AND 'NADES, GONNA KEEL ME SOME ZEDS!" Let me tell you right now that that isn't what I mean by "gear." Think for a moment. A zombie apocalypse is an epidemic, a natural (or unnatural) disaster, and the if the first item on your emergency list is a shotgun, I don't think you're going to be very popular among your peers.

Now, you may ask, "What's the best gear I can have?" And the best response I could give you is that it depends. Are your survival needs short term or long term? Are you planning to escape or bunker down and wait it out? What kind of zombies do you have to deal with? Obviously, one of the biggest considerations is whether your survival needs are long term or short term. If you plan on escaping within a fortnight, you're not going to need 3 months worth of food and water.  Let's assume that we're traveling light and staying on the move.  This is my personal zed apocalypse plan/load out, and by no means is it the end all be all of zombie survival gear.  The items listed below simply fit my preference and travel itinerary.  So let's get to it, shall we?

First of all, let's go over our bug-out bag.  The initial choice of what we're going to be carrying items with will determine how we move and what we're actually able to carry.  My preference is to travel light and stay mobile, so we'll stick with a small pack.  I'd avoid anything slung over one shoulder and those terrible bags that use shoelaces to hang off of your shoulders.  These packs are just going to cause you grief unless you're carrying a negligible amount of weight.  If that's the case, don't wear a bag at all.  If you're carrying more than 20-30 lbs, however, make sure that you pick a bag that allows your back to breathe and distributes the weight well around the waist.  Most lightweight hiking backpacks should fit this criteria, and some may even come with extra features such as a camelbak hydration system.  This is a bonus item for some serious consideration.  Getting caught by a hoard of zombies while you're stuck rummaging through your backpack for a drink could mean the end of your adventures in the land of the dead, and a camelbak could be an easy way to avoid a thirsty death.  In my experience, the water bladder found in many hydration packs have a tendency to burst, and I'm not a big fan of having all my precious gear moistened by 2 liters of water.  That rules out camelbaks for me, but if you've had better experience with a better brand, by all means go ahead.

So now that we've determined what kind of bag we're carrying, let's fill it up with goodies.  Let's start at the bottom.  Most of the gear at the bottom of your pack are your long term supplies and equipment (relative to your other gear).  This may include extra clothing, dried food, recreational items, etc.  Basically, if you don't need it in 1 minute, it's not that important.  Items that should be packed at the top are: spare ammunition, signaling tools, medical kits, water, fire starting tools, etc.  Since I've decided to travel light, my gear space is limited.  But that doesn't mean I'm any less prepared.  Let's list a few items I'd carry with me: 

1) Extra clothing: This includes socks, underwear and shirts.  Living in California, the need for warm clothing is fairly limited.  I'd take a thermal hoodie and a waterproof windbreaker just in case.  These are generally fairly thin and breathe well, but keep me pretty warm.
2) Water:  I have a preference for wide-mouthed polycarbonate bottles.  They're tough, hold a fairly large volume of water and are generally pretty cool.
3) Metal Pot: The easiest way to purify water is to boil it.  Being able to cook things is nice too.  Depending on how severe the outbreak is, the need for a pot varies.  Noise can become an issue.
4) Multi-tool: Allen wrenches, Screw drivers, knives, files, bottle openers, can openers, etc.  You're probably going to need at least one of these at some point, make sure you have it.
5) Rope:  Try to carry varying thicknesses and lengths.  Be careful not to carry too much.
6) First Aid Kit: I'm no surgeon, but having a well stocked first aid kit can save lives.  Don't travel without one.
7) Flares: These can be used to signal other survivors, light up an area (limited), or light flammable materials.  It pays to keep at least a couple on your person.
8) Food: I'd go for dried, it's lighter.  You're going to need to take in more fluid.  Boil before you drink.
9) Dedicated Survival Knife: If something needs to be cut or stabbed, this is what you're going to grab.  Make sure it's tough, sharp and functional.  Avoid folding knives, they usually don't lend themselves to extended use.

So there you go, nine items to carry during the zombie apocalypse.  As far as pack placement is concerned, I'd surround the pot with my spare clothes and put the food inside of it.  The first aid kit would be placed at the top of the pot for easy access.  My polycarb bottle would be placed in a side pocket, again for easy access.  Multi-tool would be kept in a pocket and the dedicated survival knife would stay within arms reach.  Probably on a belt or on the chest.  Flares would be placed in another side pocket, and rope would be wrapped around the pack itself.  I'm omitting any type of chest rig for the moment so I can avoid complication.  Most people aren't going to have some type of military chest rig anyway, so it's better to assume that you're not going to have much.  Remember that while gear aids in survival, it doesn't ensure that you're going to make it.  Always expect the worst.  If you have any gear set ups, post a comment below.  I'd like to know what you'd carry during the zed apocalypse.  (Don't include weapons, that'll be a post for a different day.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Let's Build a Party for Dungeons and Dragons: Dwarf Fighter

I'm assuming that if you've ever played D&D, you understand how Standard Point Buy works.  If not, I'll give you a quick lesson.  
Your ability scores all start at a base value of 8, which places a -1 penalty with any skills associated with that ability.  You receive 25 points to allocate to these abilities in order to build a character to your liking.  You may not make any score higher than 18, and as you increase the score, you're subject to diminishing returns.  It's a 1-1 until the score gets to 14, then 1-2 till 16, and the scores of 17 and 18 cost you another 3 points a piece.  With this is mind, a score of 18, which grants a modifier of +4 would cost you 16 points.  Leaving you with only a measly 9 points to deal with your severely gimped skills.  We'll avoid the min-maxing path this time and go with more traditional character builds.

Now, before we start throwing points around willy-nilly, we've got to figure out what we're playing and how we're going to make that decision work for us.  Let's say that you've discussed the party options with your companions, and they've decided that you should play the tank.  We're going to go for a more traditional "wall of steel" type of tank for this build, so our racial choice should reflect that.  Using the D&D 3.5 Player's Handbook, we'll select the dwarf for our build.  Why dwarf?  The dwarf receives a +2 bonus to constitution that will bolster our hitpoints, improve our fortitude save.  To counterbalance this bonus, the dwarf receives a -2 penalty to charisma.  Seeing as how fighter diplomacy should only involve a large weapon of some sort, the hit to charisma doesn't really matter (this is basic min-maxing in action).  In addition to these ability modifiers, the dwarf receives a whole host of different abilities and modifiers that add to his utility as a front-line combatant.  Dark-vision(self explanatory), ignoring the speed penalties of armor, dwarven weapon familiarity, stability (+4 to resist being tripped or otherwise moved), and the +2 against poisons and spell-like effects are some of the most important racial abilities that the dwarf receives.  Make sure that you remember them or at least write them down.

So now that we've got our race, let's work out our scores.  There are six primary attributes:

Strength: physical power.  determines melee damage and accuracy
Dexterity: agility and hand-eye coordination.  determines ranged accuracy
Constitution: toughness and stamina.  determines total hit points
Intelligence: book smarts.  increases skill point pool
Wisdom: mental acuity.  bolsters perception
Charisma: force of will.  improves diplomacy and attractiveness

Of these, Constitution and Strength are our biggest concerns(Toughness and melee damage, BIG surprise).  Intelligence and Charisma are the least of our worries.  So let's assign scores, shall we?

STR: 8 +6 (14)
DEX: 8 +4 (12)
CON: 8 +6 (14)
INT: 8 +2 (10)
WIS: 8 +4 (12)
CHA: 8 +2 (10)

So, spending 24 points in this way grants us a fairly well-balanced fighter that has a respectable level in each attribute.  Personally, I'd give up some dexterity and wisdom in order to bolster my constitution, but let's not get too crazy here.  We'll assign the last remaining point to wisdom in order to pump up our will save (magic is a big issue later on) and move on to our racial modifiers.

STR: 14
DEX: 12 
CON: 14 +2 (16)
INT: 10
WIS: 13
CHA: 10 -2 (8)

Adding the +2 to constitution gives us a modifier of +3, a very respectable number that'll make sure you have hit points to last you for any encounter.  The hit to charisma is not a big issue, and we're not going to be the party spokesperson unless something is terribly amiss.

So now that we have our scores, we'll be assigning hit points, attack bonuses, feats and skills tied to the fighter class.  All characters, regardless of race or class receive a feat at first level.  Being a fighter grants our dwarf another feat that we can choose immediately.  For our two, we'll select weapon focus (dwarven waraxe) and improved shield bash.  This build is about reliable protection, so we'll be forgoing more traditional fighter options like power attack.  Fortunately for us, the fighter is already proficient with all types of armor and shields, and our dwarven lineage grants us proficiency with the dwarven war axe (a very powerful one-handed weapon), so we'll be marching around with heavy armor, a heavy shield and a big beefy axe in one hand.  We won't deal with skills right now, and just skip right on ahead to hit points.  At 10 hit points per level, the fighter is one of the toughest heroes available (barbarian and knight have a whopping 12).  With our +3 bonus from constitution, our hit points get bumped up to 13 at 1st level, making us more than 3 times as tough as your typical wizard.  Add to that the best base attack bonus in the game supplemented by our +2 strength, and you've got a tank ready to take on the world.

So let's talk about gear.  You're going to want the heaviest armor and shield you can afford because it usually provides the best protection and you don't have to worry about armor encumbrance.  At first level you can't afford plate armor, so we'll have to make do with scale mail(+4) and a heavy wooden shield(+2).  This is where our +1 to dexterity will come in handy.  Adding the gear bonuses to our dexterity gives us an armor class of 17.  Seeing as how most enemies at 1st level don't have an attack bonus better than +3, we're fairly safe from most hits.  And our attack bonus of +4 with the dwarven urgosh allows us to punish all those foolish enough to try and pass you.

So there you go.  I haven't covered everything about character building, but I've given you a respectable dwarven fighter that can protect even the squishiest of casters.  Enjoy smashing those goblins.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Hate Protesters

Very few things annoy me more than hearing community college students bitch and moan about how they have it so bad.  Of course, if I absolutely had to name something, it would have to be an army of students bitching and moaning about how they have it so bad.  Living in the state of California, I'm well aware of the series of budget cuts to the school system and I've been feeling the effects.  Mostly in the realignment of my spine since my wallet isn't bloated enough to warp my sitting position anymore(Thanks!).  To sum it up, there's less money, so fewer teachers are available, fewer classes are available and tuition is higher.  What do these students expect?  Do they think that teachers are gonna work for nothing?  Do they expect the school systems to pull money out of their asses?  The funds have to come from somewhere and if people haven't realized that the recession is going on, all I have to say is that their parents have done an excellent job of lying to them (Siddharta Gautama style!).  

I'm not a big fan of the government, but expecting anything or anyone to give you more and more when there's nothing to be had is unreasonable.  Also, the inability to even consider paying your proper dues is even more unreasonable.  This is a problem plaguing the States as a whole, not just California (Even though we suffer from this idiotic behavior the most).  Americans are all born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  Apparently, being part of the country with the greatest GDP in the world means that we can be a bunch of retards that don't do shit and expect everything to be handed to us.  Admittedly, this is true to a degree, but only if our position at the top were not compromised.  We're falling off the horse.  Our GDP isn't climbing fast enough and if we don't pick up the pace, our rivals are going to be leaving us in the dust.  We need to work harder and SMARTER!  Don't ask for free services, that isn't how money is made in a market economy.  Ask for better wages and then don't waste a companies' investment.  Can't afford your dues?  Take out a loan, get a part-time job and hurry up and get that degree.  And may God help you if you're in the liberal arts.  Are you?  Well, if you're not ridiculously great at it, get out.  NOW!  You're wasting time, money and tutelage that others could be benefiting from.  Don't sit around in your delusions of grandeur.  If you suck, you suck, and I'm under the impression that if you're not questioning yourself right now, you're either a) really good or b) really, really delusional.

If you're an art major, I really hope that this isn't the extent of you skills.

If you've taken Econ, you know that resources are scarce and nothing is free.  Why do these idiot protesters think otherwise?  I know, because they've been bitching and moaning so much that they don't pay attention in class.  "I WANT FREE EDUMUKASHUN AND MUNNY TOO!!!!"  Shit is scarce, people.  We can't just expect more because we ask for it, we have to make it.  You can't just assume that it's all because the government is greedy.  OF COURSE THEY ARE!  Everyone in the market economy is fucking greedy, it's how the system works.  It's a competitive market even at the student level, and if you can't pay your fees, you're out of the rat race.  I HOPE YOU ENJOY BEING AN UNSKILLED WORKER!

Now, let's get down to why student protesting doesn't work here in the States.  1) People here are uneducated and out of touch, 2) People here are SERIOUSLY lazy, 3) We're all born with a silver spoon in our mouths (Some of you may say that this isn't true.  My rebuttal is: YOU DON'T LIVE IN AFRICA!", 4) Students in the US are a bunch of arrogant, whiny losers who can't handle the world.  Look at those, tell me they aren't true, and let me tell you again that they are.  I'm a student, I know what other students are like, I know what I'm like.  I think I'm hot shit, I think I'm at the top of the heap, doesn't change the fact that I'm still shit on top of a shit heap.  These four reasons make us pseudo-shit, but what really makes turns us into a steaming pile of excrement is our hypocrisy.  We start finish, can't finish, Demand reform and don't change, send aid when we can't help ourselves.  BITCHES, DON'T TRY TO CHANGE THE WORLD WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN CHANGE YOURSELVES!  If there's no reform of the self, then problems will just resurface.  We can't just demand money and act like the problem is solved, that just pushes the landmine deeper into the earth, and someone, sooner or later, is going to step on it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

RPG Archetypes and How to Play Them

In all role playing games, there are 4 basic roles: warrior, healer, caster and scoundrel.  Each of these characters specialize in a specific area in order to complete assigned tasks that make sure the party stays alive.  Personally, I prefer the warrior or healing role.  This is generally due to the fact that I enjoy running into the fray and dishing out heaping handfuls of hurt, but also because I dislike sneaking about.  The warrior, tank, fighter, etc. is pretty straight forward as far as face-to-face combat is concerned, but why do I enjoy playing the healer?  Because I can heal, plain and simple.  In most pen and papers, the healer tends to have a decent hp which allows them to stay in prolonged melee combat.  Combine that with the ability to wear heavy armor, decent martial proficiency and a ton of life restoring spells and you've got a pretty well-equipped melee combatant.  But it's the ability to improve the combat capabilities and survivability of the individuals around me.  Both the healer and the tank provide the protection that the caster and rogue need, and make sure that everyone gets home alive.  Any smart rpg player will tell you that a party with no tank or healer isn't a party at all.

So what makes a tank a tank?  Usually it's a combination of tons of hit points and the ability to wear the heaviest types of armor.  This gives the tank unparalleled survivability in melee combat.  Now being a tank doesn't make you invincible, it just means you're particularly tough, and this toughness comes with a hefty responsibility.  Your job is to protect the other people in your party.  But how?  You don't have the hefty dps of a caster (although your dps is more reliable), you don't have the restoration of a healer, and you don't have the skills of a scoundrel.  The tank protects his teammates with the only thing he has, his body.  You act as a walking wall of steel and place yourself directly in harms way so you can go toe-to-toe with foes.  Tanks dish out a respectable level of moderately high and extremely reliable damage that makes them a big threat on the battlefield.  Your job as a tank is to get people to focus their numerous attacks on you and not your more squishy compatriots.  How is this accomplished?  You continuously move in combat, shifting left and right to control the lanes that lead to your allies and punish anyone who tries to get past you.  You force your opponents hand and you exhaust their ability to strike at your teammates because you can take punishment that would most likely kill others.  If you're the only one left alive at the end of an encounter, YOU MESSED UP!  You exist to protect others and if you abandon your post, your allies will die.  If you are low on hit points, the only person that should be taking your place is the healer, and this should only be temporary.  Catch your breath and get back in the fray!

Is the tank down?  Are my comrades dead?  Do I still have a full repertoire of spells?  I the answer to any of these questions is yes, you are a terrible healer.  Now many think that a healer's job is simply healing and that's true, to a point.  Healers generally tend to have good hit points, high armor proficiency, mediocre melee combat and a number of buffs at their disposal.  This makes the healer more of a combat medic, and all of these abilities are important for how a healer must be played.  Your job is to follow the tank, keep him combat ready and watch the lanes that he can't cover.  Remember that hoarding spells is detrimental to the party as a whole, but wasting them doesn't help either.  Know when to buff and when to heal.  Think of it like in-game triage.  Keeping everyone at full hit points is nice, but not really necessary when people are dishing out low damage.  On the flipside, if you're fighting a powerful enemy that can knock off 50% of your life?  You best be topping off your tank every chance you get.  That being said, you stick to the tank like glue.  He's your primary heal target at all times and if he goes down, there are not enough heals in the world to keep those squishies (caster and scoundrel) alive.  KEEP THE TANK ALIVE!  If he does his job correctly, you should be fairly safe and free to get a couple hits in every now and again.  As I mentioned before, sometimes you may have to cover for the tank.  If that's the case, cover with your shield (total defense action) and use your best heals to get the tank back into the fight!  All other characters have better dps than you, but no one else can keep the team in tip-top shape like you can.

Now, let's not forget the other characters.  Just because I have a preference for healers and tanks doesn't mean that the rogues and casters are useless.  On the contrary, they provide invaluable opportunistic dps that can end a fight, sometimes so quickly that tanks and healers may not need to do anything.  Let's take a look at the rogue first, shall we?  The rogue, thief, scoundrel, etc. excels in the areas of skill usage.  These skills include stealth, picking locks, disarming traps, diplomacy, crafting, acrobatics and so on and so forth.  But in addition to this hefty tool belt, these scoundrels tend to get some type of sneak attack that grants them bonus damage.  THIS IS KEY!  If you're not using your sneak attack or at least finding some way to exploit the ability, you're not doing your job in combat.  You should maintain stealth, stay away from your louder, less careful and perhaps more ostentatious companions *cough* WIZARDS *cough*.  Being hidden is the best way to avoid being targeted.  And by all accounts, not being attacked at all is the best defense.  Of course, this constant stealth makes the scoundrel the most independent character in the game.  That means that you can't really rely on others to help you out of a jam.  Doing so will reduce the rest of your companions ability to function in combat.  Guerilla tactics and skirmishing are what make you a force to be reckoned with.  A scoundrel trying to take part in melee combat will not survive long, HIT AND RUN!  You may not be as prominent in combat, but I guarantee that you'll survive much longer and dish out some respectable damage.  Not only that, you'll make the job of controlling enemies a whole lot easier for everyone else.

Feeling like a mundane character isn't your thing?  Looking for a little... pyoo pyoo?  Maybe you should consider a career as a Gandalf or Potter?  As a caster, you're a glass cannon, plain and simple.  Of course, some people automatically assume that the higher the damage, the better the spell.  While this is partially true, picking fireball and magic missile as your only two spells will more than likely get you killed.  To understand why, you must understand the casters secondary role as a controller.  What do controllers do?  They manipulate the battlefield, grant allies tactical advantages and hamper the combat effectiveness of enemies.  If you're not doing this, you're not being a very good caster and you're not worth protecting.  Now you may be thinking, "If I manage to pump out godlike dps, then I don't need protection... lololol gg." <-If this is what you're thinking, you're retarded.  A tank's job is to protect you, a healer's job is to make sure the tank doesn't die, the scoundrel's job is to keep the big enemies confused with pot shots.  Your job is to make all of their jobs a ton easier.  This ability to change the flow of combat is easily summed up into two words: Crowd Control.  Pumping out high dps and killing enemies is definitely effective crowd control, but you can't guarantee that it will be as effective as you planned.  It may not even work at all (Spell Immunity sucks balls).  So what are your alternatives?  You don't necessarily have to effect the enemies in question to keep them out of combat.  Walls, oil slicks, breaking weapons, blinding, stunning, enthralling, etc. are all viable control options.  While you may not deliver the killing blow yourself, you're definitely going to make sure that those enemies die.  Just because you can dish out the most dps doesn't mean you should be a glory hog.  Teamwork is the most important aspect of rpgs.  You have a specific role, play it.

So there you go, the 4 primary roles in any rpg.  These classes may be played differently and you may have a party that skimps out on a role or two, but if you decide to play a classic party, these are the strategies you should be using.  Sometimes the circumstances are piled against you.  There's not enough cover, quarters are too tight, we're outnumbered.... yes, these things do happen, but don't forget that your roles remain the same. Some people may have to work harder, some people may not be able to do their job.  If this is the case, remember to keep loose, stay smart and try to find opportunities to do what YOU DO BEST.  Remember, regardless of what class you pick, playing smart is always a good idea.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons or Why Pen and Paper RPGs are Awesome

If you've ever enjoyed Final Fantasy, The Elder Scrolls Series or any RPG in existence, you probably have to thank Dungeons and Dragons for those hours of grinding and rapid pressing of X during dialogue.  Dungeons and Dragons aka D&D is the mac daddy of all Role Playing Games and allows one to do, in a few words, whatever the hell they want.  Want to grill and eat some steak?  Done.  Some dragon meat?  Done.  Some peasant children?  Done.  Your alignment has now shifted to chaotic evil.  Of course, this isn't limited to Iron Chef type battles.  D&D has been a source of quality storytelling, heart pounding action and mind racking intrigue for thousands and thousands of players worldwide.  As a DM, I'm proud to be part of this orc-hacking, ale-chugging, loot-looting tradition, and I always enjoy forging new worlds for players to explore.

Admittedly, I haven't been forging any new worlds as of late.  Mostly due to the fact I've been job hunting and trying to find sources of income (Supplemental books for the game can get expensive).  Of course, once I do start working, I might not have enough time to run games at all.  I'm not sure how other struggling student/DMs/generally poor people handle this, but I'm at a loss.  Now you might say... "Hey, you have enough time to blog, get off your ass and write me an adventure!"  I really have no rebuttal other than to ask you to shove a number of items into your anus and write one yourself.  Blogs take me at most 20 minutes to write, if you couldn't tell from my general lack of structure.  Writing a new adventure for a party of up to 9 people takes quite a bit longer, especially if I try to appeal to each individual player.  But enough about my problems, let's get back to D&D.

Now, D&D requires more work than your average game, but I can guarantee that it's more rewarding.  Unlimited character customization, item creation, character interaction and the ability to rewrite history make D&D and all pen and paper RPGs a unique experience in the gaming world.  That's right, there are other pen and paper RPGs out there.  D20 Modern, World of Darkness, Shadowrun, GURPS, Anima and Star Wars to name a few.  I haven't had much experience with non-d20 systems like WoD or Anima, but I can say that my preference generally leans towards d20 or d10 systems.  Perhaps I'll run a Star Wars campaign in anticipation of  The Old Republic MMO?  We'll see.  If you're interested in joining, just leave a comment below.

I've always loved pen and papers, but now that they're leaning towards a younger, less experienced demographic, I'm beginning to see my beloved systems get slashed to bits.  Sure it's more easily digested, but why would I play that when I can jump on Oblivion?  I think that the problem with gaming as a whole is that by trying to make a game that appeals to everyone, you alienate your biggest fans.  But I guess in a capitalist society, profits will always take priority over your loyal fanbase.  Of course, I'm just going to pretend that D&D 4.0 doesn't exist.  Nothing stopping me from playing AD&D, BABY!  Let's hope that game companies figure out that games shouldn't be dumbed down for dumber audiences.  If you're not smart enough to use a surgical laser, you shouldn't be using one.  Bitches need to learn their place.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hyped for The Old Republic

I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for Bioware's new MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I'm not sure how much you guys know about it, but I'm trying to find all the tidbits I can.  So far I know that there are 8 classes (4 from the Republic and 4 from the Sith Empire), they each have different builds that allow them to fulfill different roles, and they all look like tons of fun to play.  That being said, I have to reiterate how badly I want this game asap.  I'm shitting brix every time I watch the cinematic trailers and gameplay vids, which is quite a large number of brix shat (Insert cliche DBZ reference here).  Personally, I can't wait to play as a bounty hunter.  I've waited so long to show those stupid jedis that you shouldn't bring a knife to a gunfight.  Even if that knife happens to be a blade made of pure energy that can deflect my projectiles right back.  DON'T COME TO ME WITH YOUR USELESS ARGUMENTS!

But seriously, the bounty hunter looks sooo crash.  Especially with that rocket shoryuken and flame thrower hadouken.  Flowchart Boba Fett is now going to be an internet phenomenon.  Of course, that's not to say that the rest of the lineup are lackluster.  The Republic Trooper, the antithesis to the Sith Bounty Hunter is a veritable powerhouse.  Pumping out the dps and dishing out tons of damage, it's a wonder why anyone would play anything else.  Seriously, just have one trooper and make the rest of the party a bunch of healers.  Done and done.

Standing in the midst of blaster fire and hoping that those life-ending bolts of energy deflect off your white teeth not your thing?  You can always go for a more tactical feel with the Republic Smuggler or the Sith Agent.  These guys are like the Han Solo of TOR, the Sith obviously being the more evil and less lovable of the two.  If you like being the squishy hiding in the back dishing out tons of dps, you're a loser.  Just kidding.  The Smuggler and Agent do force a player to play a little smarter due to the lack of hit points and heavy armor, but the ability to use cover effectively (First for an MMO as far as I know) and the ability to kick people in the groin then shoot them in the head (Exclusive to the Smuggler, I think.  Why isn't that move in DeadRising?) will make this class something to look out for.  Wear a cup.

Now to get to the meat and potatoes of Star Wars, The Cheddar Monks aka Jedi Knights.  These robe toting warrior monks have been cutting down thousands of defenseless peasants and children in the name of pacifism and the force for thousands of years.  While I always enjoy a good peasant-hunt (You can thank D&D for that particular hobby), I do find their hypocrisy to be a little annoying (Revan would agree).  If honest wanton slaughter is your thing, you, my friend, may consider a career in the Sith as a Sith Warrior.  Both the Jedi Knight and the Sith Warrior seem to give a more traditional tank feel, but also grant you those cool force powers that I'm sure everyone wants to abuse.  Force lighting, force charge, force choke, force-d anal entry, the list goes on.  Okay, maybe not that last power, but you get the idea.  The Knight and Warrior tend to stay in melee and dish out a brand of pain that can only be delivered through a magnetically sealed tube of super-heated plasma, herpes.  Plus, the ability to absorb damage, close distance instantly (courtesy of force charge) and disable the crap out of people with powers like force channel make these guys some of the scariest warrior monks you've ever seen.

Jedi Academy Rape is no joke.
If you don't like shooting people in their face(s) with a blaster or shiving them in a bathroom stall with your phallic beam of light, I don't know what you're doing in the Star Wars Universe.  Unless of course, you're a Jedi Consular or Sith Inquisitor aka Wizard.  I could just end this post right there and most people would be satisfied, but I feel that I must expand on the abilities of these greatly loved/hated men and women.  In the original KOTOR series, there was nothing better than a Consular.  With your long list of force powers, unending force pool and ridiculous DC to resist said powers, you were like an unstoppable Hallmark store dishing out tons of lightning filled death cards.  And not those wimpy joke cards either, I'm talking pop-up song cards, like the ones your grandma gets you when she decides to buy a new wheelchair and can't give you that hundred bucks that she usually does.  Whether it's force lighting, healing or buffs, the Sith Inquisitor and Jedi Consular are the guys to look for when you can't find those precious stims or kolto.  But these guys aren't just healbots, they have AOE abilities that really pound down some punishment, plus they can specialize in that bad ass double lightsaber that Darth Maul used to pwn Qui Gon.  Imagine, walking around with your trooper, spot a Sith Inquistor, think to yourself, "I'm gonna blow this sob to pieces", walk up, BAM, you just got Qui Gonned.  Watch out.

So in the end, all the classes are pretty BAMF, I'd say that my description of the Smuggler and Agent are fairly weak, but I haven't really been looking into them all that much.  Not that I think they're terrible, I'm just not the sneaking type.  I FIGHT LIKE A MAN.  Please don't kick me in the nads.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The First of Many

So, I've got a blog now.  Petty, I know, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.  But the real question isn't why I'm blogging, but rather what I'm going to blog about.  Dungeons and Dragons?  Judo?  PC gaymens?  Can't say for sure just yet.  I'm not going to limit myself to one subject, that's for sure.  I suppose that initially, I'll just tell funny stories.  Or post up zombie survival tips, pen and paper rpg designs, or character builds for dungeons and dragons.  Maybe I'll throw in a movie/game review in as well.  But since I can't really think of anything to write about at the moment, I'll just post up something random.

Here's a thought:
In Gundam, they had Minovsky particles.  These plot-driven radioactive tidbits fueled everything in that series.  Made ICBMs useless, blocked long range communications, created sensor interference, so on and so forth.  Basically, if it dealt with electronic warfare, Minovsky particles did it.  With that being said, those particles must have been a bitch to deal with from a tactical standpoint.  Technology is always sprinting forward, and very rarely does it ever stop to look back.  But those M-particles force just that.  If I were a military tactician, I'd be shitting brix at the loss of long ranged electronics.  I'd probably lose wifi as well.  Ponder that for a moment.  Would you rather have a single Gundam or an ICBM, a satellite phone, and the internet?

Obviously, the creators of Gundam ask too much from us.  Not only that, they don't deal with the problems that are put forth by Minovsky particles that well either.  What the hell is infantry supposed to do without satellites?  Because you can be damn sure that the Principality of Zeon blew all the satellites out of the sky.  If I were an invading space force, that would definitely be the first thing on my itinerary.  Of course, that would also be followed by the destruction of all known space ports and constant, unrelenting orbital bombardment, but that's another story for another time.  So what the hell is infantry supposed to do in the urban and jungle combat that so often occurred in Gundam?  Die, most likely.  But let's be a little more optimistic here.  Let's assume that information sent short range is still uninterrupted by these M-particles.  Obviously, remote drones would be your best bet for battlefield awareness.  Or you could send out a suicide scout, but I don't really see any volunteers willing to run in a giant robot's line of fire.

Is it just me, or does that look like two crazy tadpoles making out?
That brings me to a random idea I had a while back that I've been told is remarkably similar to something found in the newest Mech Warrior game.  Imagine this: A 40mm grenade that holds within it a lightweight camera and transmission device.  After being fired, the casing would pop open and blades would burst out from the body of the drone and allow it to spin slowly towards the ground.  This designed would be extremely similar to a sycamore seed.  The drone would take some footage, send it back to the commander and display it via headset(I'm assuming these guys are landwarrior status), and BAM, you've got battlefield awareness.  Simple, easy, and I don't know why the guys at Bandai didn't think of it first.  They should hire me.