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The History on Why We Want to Believe’s Latest “The Village” is Haunted!

22 Jun

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Just when I thought there aren’t enough ghost towns in British Columbia, I learn the tiny community of Ashcroft is also spooked in We Want to Believe’s latest episode, “The Village.” 

This episode doesn’t offer a complete history, so I’m here to fill in the gap: Third Lieutenant Governor of BC, Clement Francis Cornwall and his brother founded this mining community. It’s also the site where freight from the Canadian Pacific Railway gets unloaded and hauled to Cariboo Wagon Road to other communities during the 1861-1867 Cariboo Gold Rush. Many people flocked to the region to make their fortune and many also perished in their attempts.

Typically, where there’s a railroad, there’s also labourers to lay the line. The big reason why this place is very recognizable is because of the many television and film productions that’s been through here. Viewers may remember instances from the movie The A-Team (2010) or television show The X-Files.

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Who is Imogen of the Wyrding Way?

22 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available Now
Spoiler Alert

The release of the comic book, Imogen of the Wyrding Way, continues in developing the greater conflict that’s still to come in The Outerverse. My guess is that Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden are building to a grand finale instead of simply giving a bit of backstory to these supporting characters since the release of Cojacaru the Skinner and the coming (Josef) The Golem Walks Among Us.

The atmosphere found in this latest has a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them vibe. Instead of historical New York, the narrative takes place somewhere outside the town of Copenhagen where Imogen, a good witch, is helping to save the world from evil. That is, she offers help to those find themselves against a force even worse than the Nazis.

The artwork by Peter Bergting and colours by Michelle Madsen lean on that style, and I suspect from the movie, BFG, too. The monsters have an appetite for humans…

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Honk on Board for Videogaming Quackery in Mighty Goose!

18 Jun

Mighty Goose for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game DetailsBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available for the PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Nintendo Switch version was evaluated

Some run-and-gun games have a devoted following since the first title of a franchise appeared in arcades decades ago. To offer something fresh is even tougher, and I believe Mighty Goose has the makings of something new in its retro-style and Mario-like gameplay. You collect coins so you can buy power-ups or gear to make surviving to the end of the level easier.

I was surprised I could backtrack to collect items that I sometimes missed grabbing on the first run. Sometimes it’s better to save that box of bandaids to heal up after clearing a screen! As with many games in this sub-genre, it’s easy to get hurt. Having quick reflexes helps to reach the tougher levels of this game.

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Hop Onboard the NFB’s Wayfinder!

16 Jun

Image

Premiering June 16 on NFB.ca, acclaimed Canadian artist and creative coder Matt DesLauriers’ Wayfinder is a relaxing and contemplative web-based generative art game. Blurring the line between video game, animated short and interactive poem, Wayfinder captures nature’s fading memories before they’re gone forever—each experience as unique and ephemeral as the natural world itself.

Symbolizing the give-and-take relationship humans have with nature, players move a mystical character through forest, grasslands and tundra in search of poetic tokens dotting the landscape. When activated, they reveal words hidden in the wind, breathing new life into the nearby flora and fauna. Leaves stir and flowers spring up in the character’s footsteps. Birds and butterflies emerge. As the player continues on their journey, these uncovered words combine into verse, expressing our eternal need to capture nature’s fleeting moments in poetry.

Behind the scenes

The latest in generative storytelling, Wayfinder brings high-quality, game-like rendering and interactivity.

The assets are assembled in real time, making use of generative algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The poems and visuals an individual player sees today won’t appear in the exact same way again. Their particular journey only exists once they load the webpage.

Hand-illustrated by Tiffany Beucher and animated by Guillaume Le Roux, the art assets are placed into the experience programmatically through code. A combination of illustration, 2D animation and 3D modelling delivers a seamless interactive WebGL2 landscape, magically assembled by way of procedural generation. The verse fragments are derived from a mix of GPT-2 AI and data-mining software, and then recombined during gameplay according to the player’s unique exploration.

This 5–15-minute art game is produced by Nicholas Klassen and executive produced by Rob McLaughlin for NFB English Program’s Digital Studio in Vancouver.

About the creators

Matt DesLauriers is a Canadian-born artist and creative coder now living in London, UK. His interactive installations have been displayed in special events at the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. His work was part of Reykjavik’s 2019 Winter Lights Festival in Iceland and Ontario Place Park’s 2018 Winter Light Exhibition in Toronto. Matt is active in the open source community and has given numerous talks, classes and workshops on creative coding, including at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture in London, FITC in Toronto and Amsterdam, Frontend Masters in Minneapolis, and GROW in Paris.

Nicholas Klassen is a producer with the NFB’s Digital Studio, working with artists and media makers to produce interactive storytelling works that push the boundaries of story, form and platform. His projects have been recognized by the Webbys, FWA, Communication Arts, World Press Photo, and Columbia University’s Digital Dozen Breakthroughs in Storytelling. Klassen’s recent productions include Evie Ruddy and Tracey Lebedovich’s Un/Tied Shoes, Nettie Wild’s Roundup and Joella Cabalu’s First Photo Here. Prior to his work at the NFB, Nicholas co-founded the online strategy and design agency Biro Creative and served as Senior Editor at Adbusters magazine.

“No Hope” for a Franchise. Transformers: Heavy Metal AR

16 Jun

Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces Transformers: Heavy Metal AR game -  PolygonBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The battle for which faction will occupy Earth is not likely at the core of the upcoming mobile AR game, Transformers: Heavy Metal. The media’s abuzz about bringing this Hasbro property to the videogame world again, and honestly, I’m not excited. I’m more curious in when the reboot will be brought back to the screen again (recent Netflix program notwithstanding).

Niantic Inc is involved in the development cycle, and early images suggest this product may well be another Pokemon GO clone. Seattle-based software house, Very Very Spaceship (known for Truck Stars) is leading the development. This four-year-old business doesn’t have a lot of recognition to get some fans excited.

This company is a self-described, “motley crew of space faring designers, engineers, artists and storytellers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. For the past three years, under the leadership of BAFTA winning founder Sean Vesce (Never Alone, Tomb Raider Series, Mechwarrior Series), we have been solving the problems of the unknown for incredible partners like Google, Microsoft and others. We are a tight-knit group of makers thriving in our undiscovered future, making shared game experiences in AR, VR, Geolocation, Live Streaming and more. In addition to our client work, we develop and release original indie experiments like the recent Knife 2 Meat U, available at our itch.io page.”

Considering how huge Transformers fandom is, Hasbro’s quality control division ought to squash any bumblebees.

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