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RIP Chris Cornell

by CWS

May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell, legendary singer and front man of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, has died at the age of 52.

While I can't claim to have ever been a huge fan personally, he did make some great music and had tremendous and undeniable talent, not to mention a vocal range very few could match. To illustrate, here's one of my favorite Soundgarden songs.

Room a Thousand Years Wide
by Soundgarden

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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

by CWS

May 18, 2017

While Power of the Dark Crystal, the long-promised sequel film to Jim Henson's original fantasy masterpiece, still has yet to materialize, Netflix has announced the production of a 10-episode TV series titled Age of Resistance. (See the link for an additional promo video clip.)

popculture.com wrote:

Netflix Officially Announces Dark Crystal TV Series, Unveils First Teaser
by Charlie Ridgely • May 18, 2017

Get ready nostalgia fans, Netflix is at it again! The streaming giant has just announced that a TV series for The Dark Crystal is officially on the way.

In a press release Thursday morning, The Jim Henson Company announced that Netflix was producing a 10-episode series, titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The show will act as a prequel series to the original 1982 film.

Age of Resistance is said to take place many years before the events of the original movie, and will feature an array of creatures created by Henson's shop. Brian Froud, the conceptual designer on the movie, co-created many of these new creatures.

The announcement also came with this synopsis for the series:

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance returns to the world of Thra with an all new adventure. When three Gelfling discover the horrifying secret behind the Skeksis' power, they set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save their world.

Louis Leterrier, director of Now You See Me and The Incredible Hulk, will produce and direct the series. The Jim Henson Company will also produce the series, along Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford, Rita Peruggi, Blanca Lista, Jeffrey Addiss, Will Matthews, and Javier Grillo-Marxuach.


More information can be found on http://www.darkcrystal.com/

Macron wins French Presidency

by snowman1989

May 7, 2017

In a moment of sanity, France has rejected extreme right-wing, neo-Nazi Lite le Pen, and has essentially voted to remain in the EU. :) That is the only good news. :( Macron is a centrist (an extreme left-wing Marxist by American standards :P ) who more than likely will represent more of the same for France over the next five years: make things as easy as possible for big business, and do nothing for France's poorest or for its stressed middle class amidst recovery from the Recession. Basically, this is the scenario where Hillary won last year in the US, and he reminds me uncomfortably of John Key; both being former businessmen along with all the baggage that entails in this day and age. The French weren't especially keen on him either, as voter turnout was at its worst since 1981, but still far better than turnout at the last US election.

Never thought I'd be thanking France of all countries for not going completely apeshit like the US and Britain. :? But I would not relax yet. The fact Le Pen got this far is frightening enough, not to mention that she now represents a significant and powerful chunk of the new French government's opposition. If the French establishment have any sense, if they choose to unstick their heads from their asses and smell which way the wind is blowing, they'll start pushing through much needed reforms to help their constituents while they have the chance. I'm very sure the French people won't be so forgiving next time, otherwise. After all, the two traditional dominant parties of France, akin to the American Republican and Democrats, were completely crushed in the first round of voting, and neither Macron nor le Pen represent the left-right divide of old.

Video game franchise anniversaries

by CWS

April 25, 2017

Several very long-running, influential and well-known game franchises are celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year, including:

  • Final Fantasy
  • Mega Man
  • Metal Gear
  • Phantasy Star
  • Street Fighter

Yes indeed, 1987 was quite a year in the annals of gaming.

StarCraft: Remastered

by CWS

April 20, 2017

Blizzard announced last month that they are going to release a graphically remastered version of the original Starcraft. Also, the original game is now available for free, so if you never played this RTS milestone you now have no excuse not to! :P
Blizzard wrote:

EVOLUTION COMPLETE! BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES STARCRAFT®: REMASTERED

The groundbreaking sci-fi real-time strategy game remastered in 4K Ultra High Definition, to include all content from the original award-winning game and its renowned expansion, StarCraft: Brood War®.

​​​​​​​StarCraft: Remastered maintains the gameplay and balance that set the standard for the RTS genre, while updating graphics and audio, and adding matchmaking, ladder, social features, and more!


IRVINE, California—March 27, 2017—One of the highest rated, most celebrated games of all time has evolved. Blizzard Entertainment today unveiled StarCraft®: Remastered, a reverently crafted modernization of the original award-winning real-time strategy game. StarCraft: Remastered will offer a full graphical overhaul of the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War® expansion, while preserving the sublime gameplay that captivated millions of gamers around the world and served as the foundation for professional global esports.

StarCraft is a pure distillation of Blizzard’s DNA—its story, its balance, and all the little details reflect our long-running commitment to epic entertainment, and it’s been a staple in competitive gaming and esports for almost 20 years,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With StarCraft: Remastered, we’re modernizing the original game’s visuals, audio, and online support to ensure that players can enjoy StarCraft for another 20 years and beyond.”

The remastered graphics and audio will bring a modern look and feel to the timeless classic, with widescreen UHD support for up to 4K resolution. Other updates will include new illustrations to enhance storytelling in the StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War campaign missions; advanced matchmaking; full connectivity to Blizzard’s gaming network for social features and updates; cloud saving for campaign progress, custom maps, replays, and keybinds; support for eight new languages in addition to the original five; and more. While these improvements will bring StarCraft to the modern era, gameplay and balance have been precisely preserved, for an experience that will feel identical to veteran players.

Blizzard is developing StarCraft: Remastered for release on Windows® and Mac® PCs, with an anticipated release date this summer. Pricing and related information on StarCraft: Remastered will be announced at a later date. Prepare to venture once again onto the planetary battlefields of the war-torn Koprulu Sector; command the forces of the zerg, protoss, and terrans in their struggle for galactic domination; relive the epic saga of Marshal Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and Praetor Fenix; or just vie for the GG against fellow players in this rejuvenated version of the online competitive RTS that set the bar for an entire genre.

Learn more at http://www.starcraft.com.

In preparation for StarCraft: Remastered, Blizzard Entertainment will update StarCraft: Brood War later this week to version 1.18. The update will include bug fixes and improvements, including the ability to rebind keys; observer mode; modern anti-cheat measures; compatibility improvements for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10; and more. Once the update is live, StarCraft Anthology, which includes the original game and the Brood War expansion, will be free to download and play.

New subforums!

by CWS

April 18, 2017

I added new subforums for DC, Marvel, and Star Wars, since we have numerous topics relating to each.

Assad unleashes sarin gas; U.S. bombs launch site

by CWS

April 11, 2017

This is kind of a big deal (gee, you think?), so I suppose we ought to discuss it.

Last week, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrific attack using chemical weapons, including what was later confirmed to have been the banned nerve agent sarin, against civilians in the opposition-held Idlib Province in the north of Syria.

After viewing footage and images of the attack and its aftermath, President Trump ordered U.S. warships in the region to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles on Shayrat airbase, from which the chemical attack was believed to have been launched.

Much of the international community has spoken out in support of the U.S. response, with the notable (but unsurprising) exceptions of Russia and Iran. Many of Trump's domestic "alt-right" supporters are also unhappy.

While the Trump administration itself has subsequently been sending mixed messages about their foreign policy, one thing is clear: the Obama doctrine of "leading from behind" is officially dead and buried.

The Fucked Up Image Thread

by CWS

April 10, 2017

Well this should be fun...in fact, that's the whole point: here's a topic for posting truly messed up graphical amusements.

While both the global and forum-specific rules should (of course) still be observed, the real priority here is simply to make ourselves laugh. There's no other point to it. Post your favorite memes, dank and otherwise.

So there it is. I demand revelry. You'd better start posting stuff and it had better be fucked up. Or else.

Oh...I suppose I should start with an example, eh?

Image

Microsoft's "Project Scorpio"

by CWS

April 10, 2017

So it's been known for some time that Microsoft has been developing a significantly upgraded variant of their Xbox One console, to compete with Sony's already-released PS4 Pro. The new machine, which has so far been known only by the code-name "Project Scorpio", is slated for release sometime this winter, toward the end of 2017. MS has consistently touted it as the most powerful console ever designed, apparently hearkening back to their original design philosophy for the very first Xbox.

Last week, Eurogamer.net published a lengthy article detailing the Scorpio's technical specs, and they are indeed impressive. Their article is much too long to quote from, so I'll instead fall back on Gamespot's summary for that.
Gamespot wrote:

Project Scorpio Specs Revealed, Capable Of Native 4K/60 FPS
Microsoft offers another glimpse at Project Scorpio.
Last updated by Oscar Dayus on April 6, 2017 at 11:14AM

Microsoft has revealed fresh new tech specs about its upcoming upgraded Xbox One console, Project Scorpio.

According to a new report from Digital Foundry, the console's specs are beyond what we've seen in the current console generation. Scorpio was able to run a Forza Motorsport demo at 60 FPS in seemingly native 4K, with graphical settings at an "Xbox One-equivalent" level.

In terms of specs, the console boasts a 1 TB hard drive, as well as 12 GB of GDDR5 memory--the same type of RAM contained in the PlayStation 4, though Sony's device only contains 8 GB.

That 12 GB is split into two portions: 8 GB is accessible to developers, while 4 GB is reserved for system use. That's an increase over Xbox One's 8 GB overall memory, which was split the same way into portions of 5 GB and 3 GB, while GDDR5 represents a speed increase over Xbox One's DDR3 RAM.

Digital Foundry--which was shared this information by Microsoft itself--says Scorpio will run all Xbox One games "better," whether they're patched for the new console or not. This is because the console uses no emulation--Xbox One games will run natively using the system's internal power.

Scorpio's GPU--which is 4.6 times as powerful as Xbox One's--is described by Digital Foundry as "a beast." Combined with a faster CPU, the result is a more stable or higher frame rate, no screen tearing, and faster load times. All of that is also reportedly true for backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games, even though changes in hardware between Xbox One and Project Scorpio mean Microsoft has had to go through every existing game individually to make them run on Scorpio.

Scorpio also contains some improvements to Xbox One's features. Game DVR now lets you capture 4K, 60 FPS, HDR gameplay, and it will also allow you to scrub through captured gameplay to find the best screenshots. However, the new console does not contain a Kinect port--you'll need a USB adapter to use your Xbox One camera device.

The site says Scorpio's internal design brief was to scale existing titles up to 4K--and this latest batch of information suggests Microsoft has succeeded. it should be noted, however, that the demo only contained one test version of an unconfirmed Forza game--though the build apparently was built using the same tech used to make Forza Motorsport 6. Additionally, titles that were originally 30 FPS will not go over that unless patched to do so, while the level of optimization seen in all titles could vary.

Users who own 1080p televisions will still be catered for, too: "ultra HD-rendering should super-sample down for those 1080p displays," says the site, meaning games should look sharper, even if you don't own a 4K set.

Although no price has officially been confirmed, Digital Foundry and Eurogamer estimate from the specs they've seen that the console will cost US $499--the same price as the Xbox One at launch.

I hope they bump up the size of the internal HDD, because at this point, 1TB is frankly way too small. Especially since we can probably expect games designed specifically for this hardware to be significantly larger than "regular" Xbox One games, which routinely exceed 40GB in size.

But other than that, I'm excited for it. The idea of a mid-generation hardware upgrade for consoles is something that truly hasn't been attempted before (unless you count Sega's unsuccessful 32X add-on for their Genesis, 20 years ago), and suggests these companies are trying to move beyond the entire concept of hardware/software generations being distinct and separated. In other words, make the console market more like the PC gaming market. And with software libraries increasingly becoming strictly digital, rather than physical, that only makes sense.

John Clarke dies age 68

by snowman1989

April 9, 2017

A lot of you guys may never have heard of him or his alter-ego Fred Dagg, but he's a legend down in NZ as one of our finest comedians in the 1970s poking fun at rural life. As is too often the case with our homegrown talent, he later moved to Australia in the 1980s because NZ was (and still remains) staunchly anti-intellectual and working-class in outlook. Australia's enjoyed the fruits of his labours ever since, and Clarke enjoyed great success as a satirist on Australian TV.

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He died of natural causes while tramping in Victoria's Grampian National Park today. :cry: I'm both sad and a little bit angry at my own country right now for pushing this brilliant bloke away from us.

Phone upgrade

by CWS

April 4, 2017

So, having used a now-primitive basic cellphone for a decade or so, I'm thinking about finally joining the rest of the 21st century and getting a smartphone...only I have no idea what to get.

Any advice/recommendations?

Terror attack at British Parliament

by CWS

March 22, 2017

Breaking news on what will probably not turn out to have been an elderly Scotsman who was upset about Brexit...
The UK Telegraph wrote:

London terror attack: Knifeman shot by police outside Parliament after stabbing officer and killing at least one on Westminster Bridge
By Danny Boyle | 22 March 2017

A policeman has been stabbed and his attacker shot by officers after a major terrorist attack at the Houses of Parliament that saw up to a dozen pedestrians hit by a car, leaving at least one woman dead.

The attacker mowed down people on Westminster Bridge in a grey Hyundai i40 before crashing the car into railings - then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster and stabbing the officer.

Witnesses reported at least two bodies on the ground on Westminster Bridge and "one in the water". St Thomas' Hospital confirmed one woman has died and a number of others have been hurt - including some with "catastrophic" injuries.

Witnesses said the attacker was shot by police as he approached a second officer clutching his knife during the incident at about 2.45pm.

He left a trail of destruction as paramedics tended to his victims on the bridge and at the gate. Up to a dozen gunshots were heard by witnesses.

Prime Minister Theresa May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the palace as what sounded like gunfire rang out at around 2.45pm.

Minutes after the incident an emergency helicopter landed in Parliament Square as sirens were heard outside. Air ambulance medics ran from the helicopter towards the casualties on the ground.

See the original link quoted above for photos, maps, and updated information.

Your screen resolution?

by CWS

February 25, 2017

Just out of curiosity.

The long-awaited Splinter Cell movie is actually happening...

by CWS

January 30, 2017

...and will star Tom Hardy as Sam Fisher. :o

EDIT: Ahem. Well, "long-awaited" in the sense that it's supposedly been a plan for over a decade, that is...

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