Thursday, March 28, 2013

Honor Harrington movie

An Honor Harrington movie is in the works. It appears that they are aiming for a 2016 summer release. That is according to the description of the one of the guests at the upcoming HonorCon:
Evergreen Films, the producer of the upcoming highly anticipated Honor Harrington feature film slated for summer 2016, is a technologically-innovative studio. Evergreen unites the best of Silicon Valley with the best of Hollywood to create multiplatform global content franchises.
Evergreen is focused exclusively on creating global content franchises that combine the most advanced production techniques with high-quality, transmedia storytelling.  Our franchises are anchored by high-quality, special effects-intensive, “event” films.
One of Evergreen’s key competitive advantages is our superior, scalable technology, which enables the cost efficient sharing of assets across multiple platforms, including gaming apps, webisodes/mobisodes and feature films.  This multiplatform distribution strategy provides fans with an opportunity to engage and interact with the characters and storylines beyond the confines of a feature film, thereby creating a more immersive entertainment experience. 
Evergreen has a strategic alliance with BBC Earth, one of the world’s most respected brands in natural history, to produce new content based on their successful multiplatform Walking With Dinosaurs franchise. The first film is currently in post-production, and is set for wide release by 20th Century Fox December 20, 2013.  Evergreen and the BBC are currently developing a gaming app based on the Walking With Dinosaurs master brand, which will be released prior to the film.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Clone Wars

Luke: No, my father didn't fight in the Clone Wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.
Obi-Wan: That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals; he felt he should've stayed here and not gotten involved.
Luke: You fought in the Clone Wars?
Obi-Wan: Yes. I was once a Jedi knight, the same as your father.
Luke: I wish I'd known him.
Obi-Wan: He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand that you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend.

Just finished the series. And loved it all.


The series as a whole was great. If you did not care (or stronger feelings) for the prequel trilogy, you need to watch the Clone Wars. It might just restore your faith. If you liked (or better) the prequels, chances are you'll love this series. I dismissed it at first. Finally came back around and I'm so so glad I did. This wasn't a show about Anakin and Ahsoka. It wasn't more of the same stuff from Episodes I, II, and III. And it wasn't always for kids. This was a chronicle of many of the battles and diplomacies in and around the Clone Wars- and I mean that in 'The Era of...' or 'The Age of...' sort of way. The good guys weren't always clearly good, and sometimes you really like the bad guys.

Space ship design was top notch. Sound effects were all there. The musical score was spot on. It was all authentically Star Wars.

The cinematography seemed to get more creative throughout the series. It was great to see many of the nods and easter-eggs to the six films through occasional dialog or familiar shots (like Anakin saluting R2 to signal him to shoot out his lightsaber, to Cad Bane trying on Indiana Jone's hat). There was one shot that I suspected they reduced the quality of the effect to more resemble the poorer blue-screen effects of the original series (watch the chase scene in season 5 episode 9- I believe the effects were supposed to look as bad as Episode IV's Death Star Trench scene). It even felt like some of the episodes that prominently featured R2D2 and C3PO belonged right next to the Droids animated series. I'm certain there were tons of references that passed my attention.

One thing that I felt was lacking in all six movies was any example of day to day life. This series gave us several examples of regular life in the Galaxy. I appreciate that small detail.

Ahsoka by Grant Gould
There were many characters introduced in the series. At first, Ahsoka was annoying, then we fell in love with her. She often served as the damsel in distress, but also was quite a powerful Jedi, just as often as the protagonist. She even held her own, boldly confronting General Grevious! In the end she was the only real protagonist (not including C3PO and R2D2, of course). She was good. The goodness in her was greater than being a Jedi would allow. A child in the midst of a brutal war. She grew up the most through the series.

There were several regular clones that the series would follow. It was interesting to get down on their level and see the strong individuality between the clones. Even to portray them weeping when their brothers would be cut down.

The writers also did a fantastic job introducing younger versions of more prominent characters from the original trilogy. Especially Captain Tarkin and how he and Anakin bonded so quickly. That was a nice touch.

And I was already starting to love Ventress more than I did when she was purely bad. How she was screwed over by Dooku and the Sith was some great storytelling. In the telling there was at least one episode of nothing but villain vs villain. These episodes were written by Katie Lucas, interestingly enough! This is a character I'd like to see more of. What happens to her apart from or after the Clone Wars? The end of her tragic story was wonderful and a great parallel to Ahsoka's fate...

Loved the ending. I was so happy she left the council. A little disappointed they shat on Barriss. Glad Ahsoka will probably escape Order 66. She probably didn't realize all of the reasons she denied coming back, but in doing so she separated herself from all the corruption that had been brewing in the Jedi and as we see not too long after, destroyed them. This act, of separating herself from the Council, might have made her the greatest of the Jedi and the only one that was not deceived or clouded by the oncoming storm. Greater than Masters Yoda and Obiwan Kenobi. She has no blood on her hands. She got away. This is another character I'd like to see further developed apart from the Clone Wars.

With Star Wars Episode VII on the horizon, I'm confident with pretty much whatever else we have in store for the Star Wars Saga if The Clone Wars series is any indication of the quality we can expect.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hero Kids

First time out with Hero Kids. Threw this together with very little prep time.

Jack selected the Knight from the pre-generated characters naming him Max Bob Spaniel. Cara [mom] named the Healer, Ilara. We ran the first encounter of Basement O Rats that comes with the core rules PDF. Jack absolutely loved it! Perhaps it wasn't a great idea to run this encounter right before bed. His little mind is still a-whirl as I'm typing this.

The game presentation is simple and very clean. This has a higher quality to it than other similar products. The system is very simple with a tiny bit of crunch. There's even room for a little bit of tactics. The PDFs include maps of for the encounters. Also included are versions for B&W printing in addition to the standard files- so you receive two copies of each product. The adventures are laid out neatly in that they'd be easy for new and novice GMs.

Customer service has been beyond friendly and generous.

game was left on a cliff-hanger due to bedtime...

I highly recommend this for geek parents with offspring.

There is a great Google Plus Community page where one can find much more information about this game and others like it, here- RPGs For Kids .

Hollow Earth Expedition rebound

The binding on my copy of the Hollow Earth Expedition core rule book started to fall apart. The first five or so pages and the last five or so pages started coming away from the rest of the binding. The center of the book remained rock solid. It seems to be some sort of problem with how the covers open up. Several gamers have reported similar problems, so it must've been a particular run of this book.

I sought a FedEx Office Print & Ship Center/Kinkos to repair this book that I'm so fond of. The plan was to take the book and rebind it with a plastic spiral with thicker covers. The first person to help was Mary, who assured me that what I requested could be done at a reasonable cost- which was to rebind the book with a plastic spiral binding. She originally thought they could punch holes in the covers, but another employee shot that option down (later Mary tried it anyway and saw that it wasn't going to work).

As an alternative to punching the original covers, she said they could make copies of the covers onto a lighter card stock and laminate them. This ended up being problem-some and taking them (Mary had to defer to the other guy working, Sydney) quite a lot of time.

I ended up leaving to do other errands and returning and they were still having troubles. This was also due to a pretty constant stream of other customers coming through. After about 3 hours total they presented a very nicely bound book. As you can see in some of the photos below, the lamination is very sturdy, though not as thick as the original covers.

From what I've heard, the subsequent releases, Secrets of the Surface World and Mysteries of the Hollow Earth are having none of these problems with their spines.

It really pays to be polite and kind when your patience is tested. This took a lot longer than any of us anticipated. I did spend more time in the store than any other customers I saw come and go. Not all of them were that friendly. In the end they finished the job and sent me home with no charge! They worked their asses off on this one. Mary said it would probably cost about $12-$14 for this production. I said I'd be back if any other books fell apart.

Thank you to Mary and Sydney for such determined effort.

A side note:
While Sydney was finishing up the job, I inquired about a cost comparison for printing a PDF would be with Mary. In the past I've used for getting physical copies of electronic gaming books. They're minimum cost is at a base line $14.99 (at the time of this post). For a 300 page b&w document with a comb binding and a clear cover with a cardstock back, the same would cost FexEx around $30-$40.

See the PrintMe1 post for the Fate Core book for more on that.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Menace From Beyond - Ubiquity

A new company is creating a new game using the Ubiquity RPG system. Siege Tower Games debuts The Menace From Beyond features terrors from the 1950's monster movies with new rules for the game.

Siege Tower Games is proud to announce our first game: The Menace From Beyond!
The Menace From Beyond RPG is inspired by the classic monster movies of the 1950s. It’s got giant ants, radioactive mutants, alien invaders, and sinister communists all plotting to take down the United States and all it stands for! The only thing that can prevent the menace from taking over is your rag-tag group of investigators and citizens whose only advantage is that you’re aware of the threat while others live in denial.
Can you convince the unsuspecting populace to wake up to the danger? Can you survive the onslaught of science and nature run amok? You’ll have to play it to find out!
The Menace From Beyond RPG is powered by the Ubiquity Roleplaying system that brought you Hollow Earth Expedition and so many other great games.
But The Menace From Beyond RPG is more than just a new setting: It will include new mechanics that will be simple and intuitive while at the same allowing you to bring to life the dangers of the survival horror genre and the paranoia-drenched atmosphere of the 50s.
In just a few weeks, you will get to sample The Menace From Beyond RPG for free by downloading a playtest kit from right here on You’ll get to see sample characters, play through several adventures, start exploring the setting and its inhabitants, and kick the tires of the new twists to the rules.
As an early adopter, you’ll even have the chance to give us feedback and get your name in the credits of this book.
Stay tuned, and… Beware!
The Menace from Beyond is coming soon!

Siege Tower Games just updated their release schedule for 2013:
We at Siege Tower Games have made a schedule and we plan on sticking to it. We mean it when we say The Menace From Beyond RPG could be in your hands in a matter of months.
In fact, The Menace From Beyond RPG is basically complete already; because we’re trying some new things with the Ubiquity Roleplaying System, we want to take our time for extensive playtesting to make sure it’s unbearably awesome—as well as to give you a glimpse of what’s coming.
The Menace From Beyond RPG is a cold-war survival horror game of monsters, aliens, and commies, and it runs on the Ubiquity Roleplaying System that powers Hollow Earth Expedition and many other great games.
The Menace From Beyond RPG Project Schedule:
  • April through August 2013: Playtesting and text finalization
  • August 2013: Kickstarter campaign (for art, print run, and accessories)
  • September through December 2013: gather art, complete layout, send to Printer
  • January 2014: Kickstarter supporters get their print shipments
  • May 2014: Books will be available in your FLGS
  • January through December 2014: Release 3 PDF supplements and 3 PDF campaign-connected scenarios. (More on these in an upcoming post!)
Can’t wait to kick some commie butts? We’ll start releasing free samples on this site starting April 4th. If you want, you’ll even be able to give us feedback and get your name in the credits of this book.
Brace yourself—the Menace is coming!

Friday, March 1, 2013

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