I happened to try iSniper Lite [iTunes link] the same week I was offered a chance to preview Shooter [iTunes link]. If you’ve played iSniper, you get a sense of what the basic gameplay in Shooter is like: use the accelerometer to move a sniper’s scope around a board and shoot bad guys. But Shooter (from Paramount) improves upon the basic iSniper game in several important ways… and yes, it’s based on the movie of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg. The game just hit the store and is currently being sold for $.99.

California finally is offering production incentives.

That surprising reality had industry and economic execs pinching themselves Thursday.

“I’m sort of floored that it did happen,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

On Tuesday, an LAEDC forecast said runaway film and TV production would undermine industry employment during the next several years, largely because of the proliferation of film and TV tax incentives among most other states. Then came the unexpected good news out of Sacramento.

Full Odds On All Oscar Categories:  EasyOdds.com

Laying (betting against)

Backing (Betting for something to win)

Betfair:  Best Visual Effects

As for betting on the Best Visual Effects Oscar, there is more value in tentatively laying than backing. Benjamin Button (1.06) seems a clear step ahead of Iron Man (8.8) and Dark Knight (5.8) on in the category of Best Visual Effects. The scene where Brad Pitt is born – baby-sized yet with the features of an old man – is particularly memorable.

Betfair: Best Makeup

Daniel Simon has designed cars for VW & Bugatti, but his real passion is vehicles like this one from beyond the galaxy. Now he’s relocated to Los Angeles to work on Tron 2.

While he was designing cars for VW, Simon also designed cars for a fictional company located in another galaxy called Cosmic Motors. In 2007 he published a book of Cosmic Motors designs, and created a website for the company, complete with an elaborate back story about its founding in 8966. Though the founders perished in a tragic space crash, their daredevil, spaceship-loving daughters took over the firm.

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