Link

toastygames.com/parallax

Parallax is an interdimensional platforming and puzzle-solving game. The goal in each level is to reach the exit by travelling between two overlapping dimensions through rifts. Parallax challenges the player to think beyond the spatial boundaries of traditional platformers.

Pure black and white is a difficult style. These guys seem to have nailed it.

(via Ars)

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Dorkbot Cardiff #4

I don’t know if it’s the same in other Dorkbots, but Cardiff’s skews heavily towards projects where technology meets art. These can often leave me a bit cold, feeling that I understand how the artist has done something, but not really why.

I did rather enjoy this documentary about Paul Granjon’s Oriel Factory robot exhibit however.

Perhaps it helps me that the messages about recycling and using clean energy seem clear and important in this exhibition. Plus, it looks like a lot of fun!

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Terra Nova vs. Outcasts

I watched Terra Nova last night, and I noticed plenty of similarities with the BBC show Outcasts that was on earlier this year:

It is the distant future, and Earth has become inhospitable, forcing humanity to send a small number of humans to a distant world/our distant past in a last-ditch attempt to preserve our species.

Jim/Cass is a man with a complicated past who wasn’t even supposed to be a part of the colony, but he earns the trust of the stern and experienced base commander and is given a position of responsibility as a part of the security team.

He quickly learns that although this world is beautiful, it is also deadly and holds many secrets. Some of the colonists have already split from the main group and formed a dangerous faction with an unknown agenda.

There are more similarities and differences between Outcasts and Terra Nova, but I doubt either show was influenced by the other directly, instead drawing their inspiration from the same old tropes. Both shows have an angsty teenage character who feels abandoned by their parent, for example. The Terra Nova producers don’t seem to have any shame either, hiring the canonical Colonel Badass.

Terra Nova isn’t exactly terrible, just it’s a very expensive re-tread of the usual.

Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection

Links abound in this post, but dig in if you’re a Star Trek fan as there’s lots of insights and revelations into the production of one of the most unfairly dismissed Star Trek films. I actually rate Insurrection as one of my favourite Next Gen movies, but there’s no doubt it felt like a heavily compromised entry. An unpublished book by the late Michael Piller, Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection, tells the story.

“They’re not out to make a quick buck, they’re looking to protect the integrity of the franchise and its mythology.” 1998’s Star Trek Insurrection went through a number of different plots before becoming the film we ultimately saw. Starting out as Star Trek: Stardust, the first take on the idea involved Captain Picard going all Heart of Darkness on a former friend from his Starfleet Academy days in a bid to find the Fountain of Youth. That treatment evolved into a remarkably Avatarish story called simply Star Trek IX in which Picard must go upriver to kill a malfunctioning Data as part of a Federation/Romulan alliance to displace strange alien natives from a planet teeming with a valuable and rare ore (spoiler: Picard actually kills Data in this treatment, and Tom Hanks was supposed to have a major role somewhere).

(via “He might have read the document when he was tired, at the end of a long day of being tied to a whale.” – metafilter.com & via Boing Boing)

The PDF of the book was originally released by Trek Core. They included this note:

When 
we 
received
 this 
submission, 
we
 were 
told 
that 
Michael 
Piller 
considered 
this 
book
 his
 last 
great
 gift 
to
 the 
fans
 and
 to 
aspiring
 writers 
everywhere. 

Unfortunately,
 Paramount
 somehow
 got 
it 
suppressed
 from 
being 
published. 

Michael
 Piller 
passed
 away
 in
 2005, 
so
 getting 
this
 book 
published
 will 
never 
be
 possible
 (not 
to 
mention
 Insurrection 
is 
quite 
old
 now, 
so 
a 
book 
about 
it 
wouldn’t
 be 
financially 
feasible 
for 
a
 publisher). 

It’s 
clear 
Michael 
Piller
 wanted 
this 
book 
read, 
so 
we
 felt 
that 
making 
it
 available 
to 
the 
fans 
made
 sense. 

It’s
 an
 amazingly 
detailed 
look 
at 
the 
process 
of 
writing 
the 
movie 
including 
internal 
memos, 
letters, 
pitches, 
story
 drafts, 
etc. 

Enjoy 
this
 unique
 glimpse 
into 
writing 
Star 
Trek 
Insurrection! 

And 
lastly, 
if
 anyone 
can 
provide 
the
 draft 
of 
Star 
Trek 
Insurrection 
that 
is 
missing 
from 
this 
document,
 please
 email 
us.

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Cardiff International Comic Expo

Cardiff International Comic ExpoThis February 26th at the Mercure Hotel there’s going to be a big Cardiff Comic Expo (follow them on Twitter). Tickets are currently £5 each, but they imply that the price may go up in the new year.

There are some very interesting guests, but no megastars (yet). I’ll be interested mostly to see the exhibitors myself, and hopefully discover some interesting indies.

I had no idea this was happening, so I figured others may appreciate the heads up!

Fun with the Google Ngram Viewer

A few days ago Google launched the Google Books Ngram Viewer, a labs project that lets you compare the frequency of word use in published works, and compare these terms over time. For example, the following is a variety of common first names appearing in the English database over the last two hundred years.

Common English first names

You can see that around 1960, the name David suddenly started to gain in popularity. You can narrow the English corpus to American English, British English and English fiction, and also search works in other languages.

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Alien Technology Exploitation Division

Confirmed: The Air Force Totally Hides Aliens From Us

You don’t know how many Freedom of Information Act requests we’ve filed in the hope of finding the Alien Technology Exploitation Division, the intrepid souls who’ll soon announce a sources-sought contract to develop the Hyperspace Blaster. Alas, they don’t exist.

A former officer at Air Force Space Command tells Paglen that he and his friends had the patches made at their own expense after getting endlessly ribbed for working in a secure vault “where they kept the alien bodies.” They wore them on their flight suits for months before a one-star general asked where he could get one of his own.

Oh, and the barely-decipherable legend on the bottom? It’s Klingon for “Don’t Ask.” Paglen got it in the mail from its creator after mentioning that he knew about its existence on the Colbert Report.

Image: Courtesy Trevor Paglen

(via Secret Insignias From the ‘Black Ops’ World – wired.com)

This one’s clearly a joke, but the bigger joke is the reminder that there are certainly thousands of people working on things so secretive that no one will ever tell us that these things even happen, and they’re certainly not going to ask for our permission to continue doing these things. Vote for who you like, but some stuff is too important for democracy.

Some fun Sarah Jane Adventures stuff I designed!

Today was my final day at BBC Wales after handing in my notice last month. Though I still have absolutely no regrets, I have actually been enjoying more creative freedom over the last few weeks. If the previous two years had been similar, I may not have left…

Anyway, I thought I’d show and tell some of the things I’ve made. You can find all these in the SJA Fun and Games section.

Sarah Jane Adventures — Storyteller

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BrickForge

I love this stuff. I could possibly justify buying them as props for stock photography work …right?

“We consider ourselves intermediaries between the community and the lumbering Danish company. For a long time the building experience has been the focus of creativity; but an increasing number of people are realizing their inner child through the role-play of the minifigs included in those sets. The mission of BrickForge is to fill in the gaps left open by LEGO and other brick-building companies.” – Armothe

“A lot of thought (and work!) goes into the creation of these tiny accessories. We do our best to consider ‘how would these look if LEGO made them’ and then we attempt to raise the bar even further.”  – Redbean

(via About BrickForge)