Archive by Author

A Tale of Two Starships

9 Jan

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By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

  • Spoiler Alert

Ever since Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005, there has been a distinctly Star Trek shaped hole in television. But in 2017, two shows have appeared to take audiences back into space. The Orville, Seth MacFarlane’s Trek-Inspired show which airs on Fox, and CBS’s own Star Trek: Discovery, the official Trek series that the fans have waited over a decade for.

One show brings the heart and camaraderie of Star Trek back to television while the other only seems to bring the franchise’s name to get attention. I offer opinions based on specific events and elements from both shows which may or may not give away key elements and plot twists.

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The Rocky Road to Star Trek: Discovery

18 Sep

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Debuting Sept 24, 2017 on CBS (USA), Space (Canada) and Netflix (other countries).

I hope Star Trek: Discovery is great! I honestly do! This series needed a revitalisation ever since Enterprise ended after only four seasons back in 2005. Even though the reboot series of films has kept the series in the public eye, they clearly traded an exploration of science and the human condition for flashy effects, and intense battles.

The ‘Kelvin’ universe movies, as they’ve come to be known as, are fun, humorous adventures, but they are not very good at doing what makes Star Trek special. They certainly lost something along the way in the transition into full-fledged action movies and most people I’ve spoken to agree.

The reboot films have to be given some slack because it’s impossible to build up and maintain the kind of lore and character comradery that the Star Trek TV series offer when you’re limited to a single story every couple of years. And in today’s environment, it would be much more feasible convincing a movie studio to fund a rollercoaster of an action film would be much more feasible than something more along the lines of “Inner Light,” easily one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation — a much more cerebral story where Captain Picard learns of the culture and fate of an alien civilization when a probe makes him live out a lifetime inside his own mind.

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Knee-Deep in Winter, Videogames Set in the Snow

15 Jan

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Snow and ice in video games is often considered to be a nuisance. Controlling your character gets harder as you loose traction. You might have to halt your adventure to find shelter and stay warm. Perhaps you’re lost in a blizzard and have to carefully navigate your way clear. But some games want to play in the snow. They’re offering pristine worlds of snow and ice to frolic in. Here are five examples of winter gaming that you might enjoy checking out!

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Silent Hill 

The original PlayStation horror classic is bursting with many things, though holiday cheer is not one of them.

The town of Silent Hill is shrouded in perpetual fog and snow falling out of season. This seemingly empty mountain town is where you have to search for your daughter who went missing after a car accident. Just hope nothing else finds her, or you, first.

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Taking NFB’s Cardboard Crash VR App for a Spin

1 Dec

550575449By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Would you trust your safety to a computer algorithm? What about to the people who programmed it?

Cardboard Crash for iOS and Android is a deceptively straightforward Virtual Reality (VR) experience by Vincent McCurley and the National Film Board of Canada. Mid last month, it won the Digi Award for Mobile Entertainment and this award is the 11th to an NFB production. This app was first previewed in the DocLab program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2015.

This title has a cute stylised world filled with cardboard people, buildings, and cars. The cardboard textures add a lot of detail to keep the world simple and angular. The music is pleasant and fitting for the game’s contents. Nothing overstays its welcome as the scenario is only a couple of minutes long.

The game has a very simplistic interface. It doesn’t require any additional controllers or hardware beyond a VR headset such as Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard to play. All you need to do is look at an available button for a few seconds to activate it. A voice clip will play when you highlight one of the many buttons and if you only want to hear the description before you decide on anything, you have to look away just before the selection is finalized.

I had no problem with the motion tracking or response time using an iPhone 5s. The game was a little choppy at times, but I believe that’s simply due the age of my phone. However, I experienced a huge drain on the battery, approximately 20% in less than 5 minutes of play time.  I’m not sure if it’s this particular game, the Unity engine that it runs on, or it was simply too much for my phone to handle. So if you give this title a try, please make sure that your phone isn’t overheating as you play.

Spoiler Alert! I’m going to go into detail on what happens during gameplay. If you’re interested and have a VR-capable iOS or Android device, I suggest taking a few minutes to play through Cardboard Crash before reading any further. it is only about two or three minutes long.

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