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The Hobbit changed to run three films

Via [wired.com]

Peter Jackson has announced that The Hobbit will run for three films instead of the originally planned two films.

Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is certainly a masterpiece work but taken on it’s own the book would not seem to have enough material to run for three full movies.  My guess is that material to flesh out three movies will be drawn from other Tolkien Middle-Earth works such as The Silmarillion.  We shall see.

Farcry 3 – return to the jungle in Dec. 2012

Yesterday I had an urge to get into some first-person jungle action so I tried installing my copy of the original Farcry game onto my Windows 7 machine.  Alas, I was unable to get the now apparently ancient title (2004) to run properly on my PC and so I was denied my Farcry fix.

Luckily, in just four months (Dec. 4, 2012) Ubisoft will release their next installment of the series “Farcry 3” for Xbox, Playstation and PC Windows platforms.

This promises to be another action packed first-person shooter experience.  The player will be dropped into an open world island chain where they will have to deal with the crazed natives, rescue their girl-friend and manage to get away to safety.

Farcry 3 is [amazon_link id="B0050SZE2G" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]available for pre-order from Amazon[/amazon_link].  Players who pre-order will receive the “Lost Expeditions” edition of the game which contains two exclusive missions not available in the regular version.

Bad news for aspiring Fantasy and Sci-Fi writers …

… Romance is where the action is.

Romance Market Share Compared to Other Genres

(source: Simba Information estimates)
Romance fiction: $1.358 billion in estimated revenue for 2010
Religion/inspirational: $759 million
Mystery: $682 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $559 million
Classic literary fiction: $455 million

Via the [Romance Writers of America] website.

Yep, that’s right – in 2008 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel to the tune of over 1 billion dollars.  Double-plus the science-fiction/fantasy numbers.

So, next time you are dreaming up some pungent chest-bursting science-fantasy to sooth your inner geek you may wish to reconsider that storyline as a romantic bodice-buster instead.  Remember: in romance the space suits are skin tight, adding to the atmosphere of mounting sexual tension and anyone blasted out of an airlock must be heroically saved.

hat tip [Hot Air]

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

Arguably the first modern Zombie film is George A. Romero’s seminal 1968 work Night of the Living Dead. While that film is before my time it is interesting that it is still recent enough to have a 1960′s Roger Ebert review on it (which I recommend).

Zombies have become somewhat ubiquitous of late – the Walking Dead TV series, the 28 Days Later series, Shaun of the Dead, the Resident Evil series, Dead Snow (Nazi Zombies!) and so on.  Thankfully, despite that, Zombies have yet to take a turn for the maudlin as both Vampires and Werewolves have in the Twilight film series.

I am sure there is a studio exec out there somewhere trying to come up with a way to “Twilight” the zombie genre into a love-lorn melodrama for the female audience.  We shall see how that works out.

In the mean time, while Rec 3 does involve Zombies and a wedding it is probably not a chick flick (although it may prove therapeutic to those who had a traumatic wedding day).

Marvel’s slate of new movies through 2014

Ain’t it Cool News reports on the schedule of upcoming Marvel motion picture releases for the next couple of years.

  • IRON MAN 3 – May 3, 2013
  • THOR 2 – November 8, 2013
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 – April 4, 2014
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – August 1, 2014
  • ANT-MAN – no date

Of these movies that Marvel has announced I am most intrigued by ANT-MAN. I really like Ant-Man.

To this day my favorite Ant-Man adventure is in the comic Iron Man #133.  After burning out his circuts defeating the Hulk, Iron Man is trapped in his armor.  Ant-Man has to go inside the armor and try to repair it (using his trained ants) before Tony Stark’s life support systems quit.

World of Warcraft Transmogification Analysis

Disenchanting Azeroth is possibly the best WoW “mogging” research on the internet.  Certainly it is the best I have ever seen.

If you are looking for the perfect “Look” in a weapon to carry on your character – something which goes with your outfit or to impress other players – check out their extensive model analysis on such weapons as One-Handed Swords.   Bows, Shields, maces and so on are covered in depth using visual positioning matrices.

It is a very interesting site


Upcoming game titles of interest

MechWarrior Online

It’s been over ten years since a title set in the BattleTech universe has appeared.  The last title being Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries.

This new MechWarrior entry developed by Pirahah Games will be player vs. player centric.  I am gathering that they will handle it like Diablo in that one will purchase the  game and then be able to play for free over the Internet.

One of the interesting things they are doing is to have the player join an Inner Sphere houses and run a Lance of Mechs for that house.  Area taken by the House will be persistent on the server.

MechWarrior Online will run on the CryEngine (Far Cry, Crysis) so we can expect the Mech battles to look amazing.

Elder Scrolls Online

The venerable Elder Scrolls series has had some of the most amazing graphics and immerse single-player content ever devised for the Fantasy Role-Playing genre.   Such recent games as Skyrim and Oblivion are multiple award winning titles.

Elder Scrolls Online should make an amazing Massive Multi-Player Online Game addition to the series.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

I have mentioned this one before, but now they have pushed back the release date to early 2013.  We will be waiting awhile yet to give it a go.  Still, a highly anticipated release and the trailer should get your pulse pounding.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft will arrive in a new harrowing adventure in 2013.  In this case, it will be her “First” adventure as we find a young Lara Croft stranded on an island and surviving on her wits in an open-ended action adventure.  The title is simply “Tomb Raider” and will be a reboot of sorts.  The screen shots of the game at Square Enix are amazing to behold and I think this one is going to be a joy to play through.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Releases Sept. 25, 2012.

The fourth expansion to the largest and most successful massive multi-player online role playing game offers new challenges to veteran and starting players.  WOW’s million’s of subscribers will be spending lots of late nights soon checking out the new content.

Zombies go mainstream in live action thrill events

The U.K. Daily Mail reports on a novel use for the ruins of Detroit city.  Entrepreneur Mark Siwak envisions a theme park where customers pay to elude zombies in the barren, crumbling wastes of Detroit in a challenge to keep their brains from being eaten.

Check it out – Z World: Detroit.

In my humble opinion, I believe Mr. Siwak has hit upon quite a brilliant idea.  The unused and decaying Detroit ruins would play the perfect back-drop to this kind of Horror inspired theme park.  I’d buy a ticket to take my chances in surviving the night.

In other Zombie news we have the Run For Your Lives marathon where runners are challenged to complete a 5K Obstacle course all while being pursued by real Zombies.  The race challenges potential athletes not only on their stamina… but their ability to elude the undead.

Train today for the apocalypse of tomorrow!


The Logitech G-13 Keypad

For PC gaming I have been using the Logitech G-13 Programmable Gameboard for a couple of years now and thought I would post about it.

The Logitech G-13 Keypad

The Logitech G-13 Keypad

This keypad interface has really improved my game.  Particularly my World of Warcraft game but it is usable in a great many PC Games.  To date I have happily used it in:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Diablo III
  • Oblivion
  • Skyrim
  • Fallout 3
  • Call of Duty 4

While it certainly adds to the ease, ergonomics and playability of all of the above games and more besides, it is specifically for World of Warcraft that my wife and I got the keypad.

World of Warcraft has two general methods of interfacing with the game.  The first method is the “Button Clicker” method.  In this scenario the player uses the Mouse to click action or spell buttons on the screen while using the keyboard (the WASD keys usually) to move and turn.  The advantage of this play method is that it is easy for a new player to identify and click the actions they wish to perform on the screen.  The big downside is that the player is slower.  Turning a character in-game using the keypad is slow.  Mousing around picking buttons on the screen to punch is also slow.

I, myself, was a “Button Clicker” for a couple of years in World of Warcraft – however I played a healer and healing spells in World of Warcraft have no facing requirement.  So I could get away with it.  For any Non-Healing class the Button Clicking method is a rookie  play style.  Especially in Player vs. Player a button clicker is going to be at a huge disadvantage.

The second method of interfacing with the game is the “Mouse Turning“  method.  In this scenario the player uses the mouse to move in-game and presses hotkeys on the keyboard to cast spells.  The advantage of this play method is that the character in-game is highly mobile, can turn on a dime and has faster reaction time from casting spells or performing actions by keyboard hot keys.  The downside to this method is that one must memorize what key performs which spell or action.  Also, the player must be able to press those keys on their keyboard without looking at it.  Mouse Turning is for pros and that is where the Logitech G-13 comes in.

The G-13 has programmable keys which can be mapped to a players most often used actions and spells – or to macros which fire those actions and spells.  The hand fits snugly on top of the keys which makes it comfortable to use in long gaming sessions.  A player will still have to memorize which key they mapped their in-game actions to, but it does not take long to get it down.

The G-13 has a thumb-stick which can actually be used for moving around if desired.  Also, the G-13 has separate profile buttons, so it is possible to map completely separate keys for different characters – your Hunter, Druid and Paladin might all have separate keyboard set-ups, for example.  Blizzard supports the G-13 with an information feed of basic in-game World of Warcraft stats which show up on the G-13′s LCD screen.  I rarely look at it myself but it is still pretty cool.

For long game sessions the G-13 is very comfortable to play on.  Games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim which take long  hours to play through are very comfortable experiences on this game pad.  The G-13 has built in default profiles for over 200 PC games, including first person shooters, RPGs and strategy titles.

If you are currently a player relying on the “Button Clicker” method of interfacing with World of Warcraft you probably want to switch to a “Mouse Turning” play style.  For that, the Logitech G-13 Programmable Gameboard can be a huge help.