Friday, August 19, 2011

Conan (2011): A Brief Review

Some of my concerns about the new Conan movie were justified. While it was a passable, and an enjoyable Conan movie it did not have the same level of excellence as the original. In particular the re-telling of the origin story (Childhood) was one of the low parts of the movie, definitely not as well done as the comparable bits from the Arnold version.

Under its own merits: This was a halfway decent Conan movie. It was fun, it was enjoyable and many of the elements of the universe were well captured. The rarity (and power) of magic, the threat of sorcery. Good stuff all in all. Nothing award winning, but a fun movie to pass some time. Decent action, alright acting.

Compared to the original: The music was not as good, the quality of the acting (and narration, sorry Mr. Freeman) was not as good. The costuming was ok, but could have been better. The action sequences did not stack up quite as well... save for the fight against the conjured dust-men. The movie relaly lacked the same punch, passion and intensity of the original. To its credit, some of the fantastic locations in the new version were really nice. Wondrous (and likely evil) ruins beneath the earth? Mountains carved like skulls? Awesome stuff.

Conclusion: Not worth paying full prime-time ticket price for. If you can catch a cheep showing of this movie, do that if at all possible. It is an enjoyable movie, but not a great one. I do not think it will stand up to the test of time well, but I could be wrong.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lords of Uberdark: Alpha 34 Initial Impressions

Lords of Uberdark made its Kickstarter goal and the first public alpha client was released to all and sundry. This is a very bare-bones alpha client, missing even some of the features in the original video demonstration. There are still some major issues with collision detection (falling through the terrain, etc.) as well as assorted jittering issues and other minor complaints.

All in all though I think this is a worthy demonstration of potential. If development continues I think all of the current problems can be fixed and new features can be added (or re-added) as time goes on. The graphics are decent enough for a game at this state, but I expect they will improve. I do suspect the world will look much better once trees are added and things like improved fluids & water are worked on.

As of this post I have created a number of YouTube videos for Lords of Uberdark. I will be uploading more as time goes on. Not sure how many more test & concept videos I will do for the Alpha 34 version at this time. It has been said that about two to three weeks may pass between Alpha versions.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Goodbye stupid humans!

Caught a showing of this movie today. Loved it. Originally I did not want to see the movie, till I learned that Andy Serkis was involved. Somehow this little fact eluded me till nearly the last minute. Couldn't resist seeing it then my precious.

I loved the original movies of this series (to various degrees). The previous 'reboot' of this series was fun, but not great. However I found this movie, this wonderful movie, to be a very worthy attempt to carve out the legend from the ground up. I would pay cash money to see more movies of this series get made.

It is just wonderful to see a movie like this in which humanity (in a sense) gets what is coming to them. The moral of the story? Don't be a dick, lets something (primates, robots, etc.) rise up and kick your ass. Reminded me of the Matrix movies in that regard, arisen robots wanted to be the friends of humanity and got slapped around. Que the rebellion.

I hope this movie does well at the box office so that sequels will be made.

Lords of Uberdark: 59 hours and $4,922 to go!

The latest surge of pledges for the Kickstarter goal has pushed it much closer to completion. Over a thousand people have pledged (1,075 as of this post) for a current total of $15,078. Very impressive turn out so far. As a little fun with numbers, if every person who had pledged 10$ had instead pledged 25$ the goal would have long since been met.

If the rate of pledges keeps up (and some folk up their current pledges as the trend seems to be) then I think the goal may well be met before the time is up. As Aaron has said: "Funding will help me to spend less time on work-work and more time on game-work, which will translate into a quicker release and better end product.  May also hire an assistant, but we'll see..."

The project will still get worked on if the funding goal is not met, however it will take longer than if Aaron Bishop had seed money to cover his expenses while working on Uberdark.

If you have not done so already, pledge a few bucks to get this project Kickstarted! Remember it is possible to change your pledge after you have made one, all you have to do is click on the Manage your Pledge button on the site.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diablo 3: Three Strikes and You're Out?

Permanent Internet connection required: So-long many forms of LAN play, or playing on a laptop in various locations without WiFi access. Like with SC2 this 'feature' is just an online form of DRM I suspect, making it more difficult for people to play the game via piracy. Alas this may also encourage certain folks to crack their copies of the game in some fashion in order to play. Sure there are lots of (vile) ways Blizzard could make this feature more annoying and less-easy to get around, but I do not feel like sharing.

No modding: Not a big deal for me really. Feel free to have a different opinion. This is only a big no from Blizzard due to the mandatory online bit of course.

Using cash to buy items: This sucks. I am not fond of cash shops for MMOs in general or pay-for DLC much of the time. I am really starting to get sick of seeing this creeping into standard gaming fare.

Lords of Uberdark: 3 days and $6,773.00 to go!

Wow. There was a huge surge in pledges for Lords of Uberdark. I think Word of Mouth is starting to have a bigger effect. It would be very cool if the project could reach its goal.

As things currently stand (as of this post) there is only $6,773.00 to go. If measured at only $10.00 per person that would mean only 678 more people would have to pledge a minimum of $10. A very worthy effort in order to see this project meet its initial funding goal.
The Kickstarter page is here: click me

The official website is:

Arron Bishop, the guy behind Lords of Uberdark, has made some games before. Namely SoulFu (Secret of Ultimate Legendary Fantasy Unleashed).
Arron Bishop Games website:

I really hope this project can reach the funding goal. Only a few more days left, but it might just make it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens: Only $40 Millsion?!

I caught a showing of Cowboys & Aliens on the Friday it opened. It was a very well done movie all in all. In truth it felt like an old school western, right up until the point the aliens started making their grand appearances. While the movie is not the best movie of the year by a longshot, it is a very well-crafted piece of entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, there are some complaints I do have with the movie. In particular I found that the battle scene between the two sides towards the end of the movie could have been edited a little better. The conflict between the Cowboys, Indians and Aliens in that part of the movie was one of the low points of the film in my opinion. The pacing and flow of the movie really broke up here, especially as the action kept getting split between these scenes and the actions in the cave.

In any event I am really surprised the movie has only reached the 40 million mark. I do wonder if it is a case of there being too many other good movies already being out. Certainly I know of some folk who would rather have seen Transformers or Captain America a second time than catch a showing of this particular film.

Ahh well. I hope it does a bit better over time so it can recoup its production budget at least.