Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Trilogy Day

If it isn't, sure looks like it! Or maybe, just maybe by coincidence I saw these news today! For starters:

Sony announced this sweet pack of all three Assassin's Creed games with Ezio as the main character, properly named Assassin's Creed: Ezio Trilogy. Word has it that it will include all DLCs from Assassin's Creed II as well, but nothing was disclosed about the remaining games' DLCs. It will be released on the 13th of November as a PS3 exclusive.

And second:

This beautiful package, brought to us by BioWare, includes all three Mass Effect games in a new premium box plus some artwork of Commander Shepard. It will be released on November 6th for PC and Xbox and later for PS3.

Can I say I'm happy?

(Eurogamer, BioWare)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Instagram Photographer

Instagram made it possible for anyone to get a bit creative when taking photos with a cellphone. Everyone, everywhere. The problem, of course, is when people started to get "artsy" with their photos and talking about themselves as "photographers". This parody video takes a jab at that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Legos, Legos everywhere!

So, I came across this: at the University of Southampton (UK), computer scientists built a Lego supercomputer! They did it chaining together 64 Raspberry Pi boards with Lego.

And here's Professor Simon Cox and his son, 6 year old James Cox, "who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing."

From the official press release you can read:
Professor Cox comments: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”
The racking was built using Lego with a design developed by Simon and James, who has also been testing the Raspberry Pi by programming it using free computer programming software Python and Scratch over the summer. The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16Gb SD cards for each Raspberry Pi). Professor Cox uses the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi.
One our favorite components of the project, the programming handiwork that binds all the Pi boards together aside, is the LEGO casing. It’s great that Professor Cox’s elementary school age son James played such a large role in creating the modular LEGO-based server racks; he’s definitely a budding geek and future engineer in the making.

Oh, and by the way, here's how to DIY!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Portal, the musical

Portal is, simply put, one of the best games around. And with so much you can joke with, why not make some songs? Youtube user Harry101UK has made a bunch and they are oh so fun!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kinect to connect

Some gadgets have the potential to change our lives, but for Lindy, it was more than that. She suffered a stroke 12 years ago that led to aphasia, a disorder that affects language processing without affecting intelligence. Because of that, she was unable to recognize text and thus unable to use a keyboard.

Lucky for her, her son had a brilliant idea... he hacked a Kinect to help her. Chad Ruble designed a visual dashboard of emoticons, each of which can be quantified (expressed as signal strength up to 4 bars), some gesture recognition code and the simple OpenNI library to track the position of his mother's hand. The green button sends the email and the X resets the screen.

He plans to use other boards and pages maintaining the simple interface for his mom to communicate more.

Although simple, we can see that the interface makes his mother a lot happier. That smile is priceless! A big "well done" to you, sir!

(via cnet)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thor is coming!

Photos of filming sets are a must, showing all the crew, all the props, everything that it takes to make a movie! Some pics from the filming of Thor 2 have been released. Take a look below.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ultimate Fan Box?

Love the Final Fantasy series? Do you know japanese? Then this is absolutely for you! The popular franchise turns 25 this year and, to celebrate that milestone, Square will release a special box... of all the main games!

Yup. From Final Fantasy I to Final Fantasy XIII. The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box will be available on December 18, twenty-five years to the day after the original Final Fantasy, and will cost 35,000 yen (about $445). Included in the box, are the thirteen games (from I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX for the Playstation; X, XI and XII for the Playstation 2; XIII for the Playstation 3). Final Fantasy III comes on a Playstation Portable UMD. There's also a two-disc selection of music from the games, artwork from the series image artist Yoshitaka Amano and a free item download code for Final Fantasy XIV.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Apple: the new gadgets

Well, Apple had a bunch of news delivered yesterday. The new iPhone was unveiled along with the new iPods and, as always, it's the story of the day. So, what do we need to know about the new Apple products?

The iPhone got a taller, 4 inch screen (1136 x 640 resolution), the first change in the screen size since 2007. It got 18% thinner and 20% lighter. This new screen allows the iPhone to be real close to having 16:9 aspect ratio. The new apps will take advantage of this, the old ones will be letterboxed. It has real 4G, with the LTE technology. A new 8 pin connector was introduced and it will be on every new Apple product (for the old ones you will need an adapter). The back doesn't have any glass. It's made of metal. It comes with iOS 6, Facebook built in and upgraded Siri. The Google maps app was replaced with their own. The pricings start at $200, plus $100 for each level (16GB, 32GB, 64GB).

To tell the truth, I wasn't that impressed with the iPhone. It's the same, but taller, thinner and faster. Not a major breakthrough, it's just Apple keeping up with the competition. And to say that it fits magically in your hand... it depends. The iPhone is too big for my hands. This one would feel like a tower!

But if the iPhone was the big gun they brought to the show, the iPods were "the other ones". The other ones that I really liked. Of course, I can only judge them for the images that I've seen. They look pretty. A bit pricy as usual, but pretty.

The new iPod Nano now has a 2.5 inch screen, full touch. It comes with a built in pedometer, radio, but no apps.

The new iPod Touch is as tall as the iPhone 5, but only 6mm thick. Talk about a diet... It's got the A5 processor, similar to the iPhone 4S. The camera does HD video as before, but it can do 5MP stills now. It comes in 5 colors and prices start at $300.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brick by Brick

I stumbled upon this video some time ago and liked it very much. This is the story of LEGO, from how it started to where it stands now. It's a great inspiring story, in an awesome 3d animation video. Take a look:

May the force be with you... in bed!

Hey, it's only a concept. But it's not that impossible to see them sometime in a local store...

Concept by Benedetto Papi

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

R2! Bring me some beer!

Could you ask for a more perfect barman? This suds-dispensing droid was put doing his job at the Louisiana State University's home football game versus Washington.

(photo via twitter)

Tired of your camera bag?

Recently I purchased a DSLR camera to explore my hobby a little more. Of course now, every time I see something to add some positive value to my camera, i'll embrace it. In this case, I saw this tutorial to make a camera carrier. Let's face it, camera bags are all the same and almost scream "hey, I have a photo camera inside!". This little carrier is a bit girly, but it's really cute! You can see the tutorial to make your own.

Dreamworks Animation Film Release Schedule

As the new distributor of all Dreamworks Animation's films, Twentieth Century Fox unveiled the film release slate for 2013 to 2016. Twelve CG animated films in four years. And that is quite a big number!   Hera are the titles and release dates of each one:

The Croods - March 22, 2013

When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family is forced to embark on an epic adventure into a pre-historic world in search of a new home. With the help of a brash, know-it-all nomad named Guy, the Croods learn to conquer their fears and discover what it takes to survive — each other. It's being written and directed by Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) and Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps), produced by Kristine Belson (How to Train Your Dragon) and Jane Hartwell (Shrek).  The film stars Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, and Cloris

Turbo - July 19, 2013

It's the story of a garden snail with an impossible dream: to win the Indy 500. When a freak accident gives him extraordinary speed, Turbo sets out to try to make this dream come true. Based on an original idea by David Soren (Merry Madagascar), who is directing the film. Produced by Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens). Soren is writing the script with Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) and Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After). The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Lion and Samuel L. Jackson.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - November 1, 2013

Based on Jay Ward's classic cartoon, Mr. Peabody is the world's smartest person who happens to be a dog. When his "pet" boy Sherman uses their time traveling WABAC machine without permission, events in history spiral out of control to disastrous and comical results. Directed by Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King) and produced by Alex Schwartz (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bridge to Terabithia) and Denise Cascino (Megamind, Shrek the Third). Bullwinkle Studios' Tiffany Ward and Classic Media's Eric Ellenbogen are executive producers, along with Jason Clark (Monster House, Stuart Little). It's being written by Craig Wright (United States of Tara, Six Feet Under). The film stars Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney, Ariel Winter and Stephen Tobolowsky.

Me and My Shadow - March 14, 2014

Dan, our hero's shadow, yearns for a more exciting life but happens to be stuck with Daniel Grubb, a timid guy with an aversion to adventure. When both of their lives are put in danger, Dan is forced to take control of Daniel, commencing a madcap adventure in which they both learn the meaning of true friendship. The studio will pioneer a groundbreaking combination of CG and traditional animation techniques seamlessly together throughout the film. Animation veteran Alessandro Carloni (How to Train Your Dragon) will make his directorial debut and Melissa Cobb (Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2) will produce. Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (Get Smart) are writing the screenplay. The film stars Josh Gad, Bill Hader and Kate Hudson.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 3 - June 20, 2014 and June 18, 2016

Both are being directed and written by Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon) and produced by Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon). DeBlois and Chris Sanders (The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon) are serving as executive producers. The sequels will again star Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher MintzPlasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig.

Happy Smekday! - November 26, 2014

When the galaxy's most annoyingly optimistic alien finds himself on the run from his own alien race, he's forced to team up with a fiercely stubborn teenage girl. Together they become the most unlikely fugitives ever to save the planet. It is directed by Tim Johnson (Over the Hedge, Antz) and produced by Chris Jenkins (Surf's Up) and Suzanne Buirgy (Kung Fu Panda 2). The screenplay is being written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (Get Smart). The film stars Jim Parsons and Rihanna.

The Penguins of Madagascar - March 27, 2015

Featuring the beloved penguins from DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar franchise, it is directed by Simon J. Smith (Bee Movie) and produced by Lara Breay (Megamind). Written by Michael Colton and John Aboud. Executive producers include Mireille Soria, Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell (Madagascar series).

Trolls (working title) - June 5, 2015

Inspired by the mythology behind the wildly popular Troll dolls.
It's directed by Anand Tucker (Leap Year) and produced by Gina Shay (Shrek Forever After). Aron Warner (Shrek films) is serving as executive producer, alongside Andrew Adamson (Shrek series, The Chronicles of Narnia series) and Dannie Festa. The screenplay is being written by Wallace Wollodarsky and Maya Forbes (Monsters vs. Aliens). The film stars Jason Schwartzman and Chole Moretz.

B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations - November 6, 2015

DreamWorks Animation will bring you ghosts as you've never seen them before. It is based on an original idea by Tony Leondis (Igor), who is directing the film. It is produced by Maryann Garger (Flushed Away) and the screenplay is being written by Tom Wheeler (Puss in Boots). The film stars Seth Rogen.

Mumbai Musical (working title) - December 19, 2015

The studio's first-ever Bollywood-style animated musical adventure inspired by the great Indian epic tale of The Ramayana but told from the point of view of the monkeys. Kevin Lima (Enchanted, Tarzan) is directing and Lisa Stewart (Turbo, Monsters vs. Aliens) and Chris Chase (Enchanted, Tarzan) are producing. Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Prince of Egypt, Enchanted) is writing the lyrics, A.R. Rahman (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, Bombay Dreams) is writing the music, and both are executive producers on the film. It's being written by David Sussman.

Kung Fu Panda 3 - March 18, 2016

Filmmakers returning for the third installment of the franchise include director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer Melissa Cobb and writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Guillermo del Toro will serve
as executive producer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The force is yummy with this one!

Of all the reasons that I could be broke, buying cute gadgets might just be the main reason. And I bet this one would make me giggle every single time I would use it...

It's a Lightsaber Ice Pop Maker. You just freeze your favourite juice and each lightsaber has an LED that will light up your "blade".

It's available this fall at Thinkgeek.

(via ohgizmo)

The derp paintings in Beja

The botched Ecce Homo Painting in Spain has gone viral. The story itself is hilarious! But it certainly wasn't the first! In Portugal, in the city of Beja, a priest defied the counseling given by the experts and comissioned a restoration of the paintings of the church. The problem? He called a painter, a HOUSE painter, living in the parochial nursing home. A man that, at the time, couldn't see or walk right. Either way, he was pressured by the priest to do it, ruining the paintings forever.

You can watch the video here (it's in portuguese).

A HP e os seus all-in-one

Quando a HP lançou o seu primeiro all-in-one, ao estilo do iMac da Apple, era um aparelho interessante com bastante potencial. Não rivalizava em design nem em hardware com o concorrente da maçã, mas ainda assim era um desktop bonitinho e poupava espaço. O maior entrave, na altura, era o ecrã táctil. O sistema operativo da Microsoft ainda não estava preparado para uma utilização táctil intuitiva para o utilizador. Mas ainda assim, a ideia estava lá. Foram entretanto apresentados 4 novos all-in-one: Spectre One, Envy 20, Envy 23 e Pavillion 20.

Spectre One

Envy 20

Envy 23

Pavilion 20

Escusado será dizer que o Spectre One se assemelha com um iMac. Mas dificilmente se poderia fugir a esse design, muito bom por sinal. Dos quatro novos modelos apresentados, este é o único sem função táctil. Essa função, juntamente com a drive óptica, foi sacrificada em nome do design apelativo do aparelho, o que é uma pena porque o novo Windows 8 está pensado exactamente para essas funções. Ainda assim, tem 4 entradas USB (duas das quais 3.0), entrada HDMI, rede, Beats Audio e um leitor de cartões de memória. Vem ainda com um touchpad semelhante ao Magic Trackpad da Apple.

Na gama média estão os Envy 20 e Envy 23 (o número corresponde ao tamanho do ecrã, 20 e 23 polegadas respectivamente a uma resolução de 1920 x 1080px). Possuem ecrã táctil, Beats Audio e processadores Ivy Bridge.

O económico Pavilion 20 não tem ecrã táctil, mas oferece uma resolução igual aos Envy com o seu ecrã de 20 polegadas. Estará disponível com processadores Intel e AMD.

Em termos de datas e valores (Estados Unidos), o Spectre One chega em Novembro com um preço base de 1299$, os Envy 20, Envy 23 e Pavilion 20 chegam em Outubro a 799$, 999$ e 449$ respectivamente.

(vi aqui, aqui e aqui)

Star Wars a 8-bit

Da imaginação do ilustrador Ty Lettau, saiu esta série de desenhos a 8-bit de Star Wars. Mais ilustrações disponíveis aqui  para quem quiser comprar.

(vi no Geek Tyrant)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Assassin's Creed III

O último título do franchise popular da Ubisoft acabou de ganhar um spot televisivo. Isto promete...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sh*t Apple Fanatics Say

Estes vídeos estão qualquer coisa... Qualquer semelhança com a realidade é coincidência (mas tem uma alta probabilidade de acontecer)!

(vi no Gizmodo)

What the...?

Oh amigo, o seu computador não está muito sujo, não... Deixe-me ir ali buscar a lixívia e o desinfectante e já falo consigo, tá bem?

 (vi no How-to Geek)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Retro Gaming: Final Fantasy VII

Pelo meu facebook passou-me uma pequena exposição no Games Radar dando os motivos pelos quais o Final Fantasy VII se tornou tão memorável. É um jogo excelente que do alto dos seus 15 anos se aguenta firme e consegue propiciar uma experiência de jogo única. Foi o jogo que redefiniu o que se entende por RPG e, no meu caso, o jogo que me fez gostar deste género. Vejamos então as 15 razões que eles dão para o sucesso deste jogo.

1. Mostrou do que a Playstation era capaz

Hoje em dia sabe-se que pelo menos no primeiro ano de uma consola não se devem esperar jogos brilhantes. Os estúdios ainda estão a apalpar terreno com o novo hardware que lhes é posto à disposição e por norma os primeiros jogos são muito experimentais. Veja-se, por exemplo, o caso da Playstation 3. Os jogos mostravam o potencial gráfico da nova consola, mas o conteúdo e longevidade dos mesmos era fraco. O mesmo se passou com a irmã mais velha. Ao fim de dois anos no mercado, surge o Final Fantasy VII. Lembro-me que a motivação para pedir esta pérola era baseada quase em exclusivo nos gráficos 3D. Sim, eram uma novidade. Ah, e o open world!! Claro, ao ter três cds, desconfiei que fosse bom, não soubesse já que isso poderia ser bom prenúncio como no Panzer Dragoon Saga.

2. Fez com que se notasse nos RPG

Não sabia o que era um RPG antes deste jogo. Aliás, só soube classificar o Panzer Dragoon Saga depois de jogar FF VII. E como eu, certamente muito boa gente fez o mesmo. Até fiquei admirada por este ser o sétimo da série e nunca ter ouvido falar nos outros. De qualquer das formas, nunca joguei muito nas consolas da Nintendo, por isso os títulos anteriores nem os tinha visto! Este jogo fez com que o meu género preferido passasse das plataformas para os RPG. Até hoje.

3. Tinha um enredo interessante

Com tantas voltas e trocas, era interessante, cativante (sem se tornar pesado) e os vários twists eram irresistíveis. Aos poucos, a história vai sendo contada, envolvendo o jogador. Pousar o comando sem saber o que vinha a seguir dava uma curiosidade tremenda! Não é por acaso que esta história, com tanto pano para mangas, tenha dado origem a vários jogos baseados nela...

4. Os personagens eram fascinantes

Logo no início do jogo somos apresentados a alguns dos personagens principais. Todos têm uma história para lá da história do jogo. Um passado com uma motivação para o que se tornaram, desde os heróis principais, secundários até mesmo os inimigos.

5. O sistema de batalha com a Materia

Aqui não tínhamos que atacar, atacar, defender. Era atacar, defender, Materia. Cada arma e defesa tinha slots para colocar a Materia, que podiam estar conectados ou não. Isto adicionava o factor de estratégia porque certas Materias alteravam directamente os pontos de saúde, magia, força do personagem. Outras, quando equipadas em par, tinham efeitos diferentes, tornando as lutas de boss, por exemplo, numa jogada mental também.

6. O Mapa do Mundo estava cheio de sítios para explorar

O mapa era muito vasto e realmente tem muito para se descobrir. Desde aldeias perdidas no meio do nada, ilhas remotas que nem no mapa aparecem (!), cavernas escondidas nas cordilheiras... São items perdidos ou sidequests para fazer, onde nem sempre se conseguia lá chegar à primeira e nem pelo mesmo meio de transporte...

7. As sidequests eram tão memoráveis como as missões principais

Não consigo jogar FF VII sem ter os personagens todos. Mas também só os descobri por acaso! As sidequests da Yuffie e do Vincent (mas especialmente a da Yuffie) são bastante interessantes de se fazer. Mas fora estas que implicam "ganhar" um personagem, também as outras que envolvem um pouquinho mais de exploração são um must de completar.

8. Chocobos!

Chocobos... As humm... galinhas? Avestruzes amarelas? Bem, o hobby de um jogador de FF VII: fazer criação destes bichos! Seja para obter o Gold Chocobo ou simplesmente para os levar ao Gold Saucer para ganhar uns trocos nas corridas. Dá trabalho, é custoso e é necessária paciência, mas tornou-se um aspecto importante deste jogo.

9. Os mini-jogos

No Gold Saucer há uma secção de jogos de arcada em que se pode jogar numa série de jogos diferentes. Para além da zona de arcada, ainda há as corridas de Chocobos. E a defesa do Fort Condor (apesar de fazer parte de uma missão) pode ser jogada fora desse contexto pelo divertimento apenas.

10. Há humor nos diálogos para quebrar a tensão

A tónica do jogo é negra e, a certo ponto, quase desesperada. Mas apesar disso, vários personagens mandam a sua ocasional piadinha para quebrar a tensão (normalmente o Barret ou o Cid).

11. A banda sonora é incrível

Nobuo Uematsu sabe o que faz e sabe muito bem. A banda sonora é a cereja no topo do bolo nesta experiência. É responsável pela tensão numa batalha normal ou de boss (Jenova!), o ambiente de cada região, o som que se associa a cada personagem. Feita em midi no seu tempo, hoje é possível ouvir versões de orquestra ou até com um toque de rock destas melodias. E basta fechar os olhos e estamos dentro do jogo.

12. Havia bastantes Bosses épicos

A música era a deixa para cada uma das batalhas mais difíceis, que faziam muitas vezes suar ou desesperar com a mudança de estratégia a cada load. As Weapons eram quase impossíveis e precisavam de uma estratégia quase ao segundo para serem derrotadas. A Midgar Zolom pode ser evitada, mas bolas, se a encontrasse no início do jogo é morte quase na certa. E a Jenova, em todas as iterações, era sempre um desafio.

13. Foi provavelmente o primeiro jogo que fez alguém chorar

Esta é verdade verdadinha para mim. Lá estou eu, na minha caminhada épica no RPG novinho em folha e, como gostava muito da Aeris (dá sempre jeito um healer), estou eu a fazer level up à moça, a tentar por todos os meios ter os melhores equipamentos e armas para ela. E no fim do primeiro cd, ela é morta. Assim. Puff. A cena é trágica e tem como tema sonoro a música que fica sempre ligada àquele momento, à batalha que tem que ser travada, ainda meia em lágrimas, com uma iteração da Jenova e depois na sequência de CGI em que Cloud deposita o corpo dela no lago. Baba e ranho, senhores, baba e ranho!

14. É um jogo que ainda se joga bem

Tem todos os argumentos para que ainda hoje se possa jogar este clássico sem lhe sentir a idade. Os gráficos são ao melhor do seu tempo e, se tivermos isso em conta e lhe dermos um desconto, tudo o resto é bom demais para passar despercebido. Muitos jogos dos tempos "de hoje" só podem sonhar com este tipo de profundidade e longevidade.

15. Dá aos jogadores uma base comum

A não ser que se esteja numa toca, raro será o jogador que não saiba que jogo é este. E com isso podem-se gerar discussões em torno do que se gostou, como foi com este ou aquele boss, com os twists na história... É um marco muitos jogadores.