Category Archives: Nerd Explosion

Nerd culture, otaku lifestyle, comics, manga, boardgames, cosplay and movie reviews

[Victoria, BC] Fan Favourites Opens with Retro Gaming in Mind

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(This article is republished from Otaku No Culture, a blog that looks the pop culture scene of the Pacific Northwest.)

760 Yates St.
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 590-1202

Retro video gamers will be a go-go for Fan Favourites, a new video games and movie store located in Millie’s Lane in Victoria, British Columbia. That’s an alleyway located beside the Odeon Theatre, where a “second nerd row” may well be developing in this garden city. This store is tucked between Chef’s Quest, a D&D themed diner, and Dragon Impact, a Martial Art Equipment & Supply store. Read the rest of this entry

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[Victoria, BC] Gotta what? Gottacon Pre-Registration is Open for 2014!

Gottacon Logo

Practically five years in the making, Gottacon is making the leap to become a fully realized convention for gamers and the public alike. This event will now take place at the Victoria Conference Center, running from February 28th to March 2 and pre-registration is open.

This event is for the gamer in us all. People can sign up to play in cards tournaments like Magic the Gathering, miniature battles with Game Workshop’s Warhammer or video games à la Starcraft. The fees pay for the rental of the hall space and prizes. But there are free games to try out too. Whether that is with board games like CLUE, role-playing in the fantastic realms of Dungeons and Dragons, this show has it all. This news is particularly exciting for the local gaming community and this author has seen this event grow from its humble beginnings (behind the scenes and in front of) by simply catering to the dedicated gamer crowd than to make it a side-show attraction.

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Future Tech: Simulating Textures with Touchscreens?

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In a few years, computer users and gamers will have the option to be able to get touchy-feely with their monitors. That technology is definitely in store for tablet users, and traditional desktop setups may not necessarily be all the same. That will depend on where this technology will get used. Without a doubt, certain entertainment industries will be excited in what can be developed from it, and that can bring new meaning to what kind of new simulations can be programmed off it. In essence, this new invention is a form of haptic technology, and its use in video games have been around for some time in the form of force-feedback motion-controllers.

In a report by Gizmag, Disney Research and Senseg are developing a system where a user’s fingertips can sense a simulated bump on a flat screen that corresponds to a bump on a displayed image. Now if that included 3D projection, the beginnings of hard light projection may well become a reality. Remember Rimmer from Red Dwarf? He’s a hologram with no ability to interact with his environment. Later in the series, his projection unit was modified so that his light body is more “tangible,” and thus be indestructible. Read the rest of this entry

Two Players are Better than One? Neuro-interfaces and Gaming

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Neural interfaces are an idea of science-fiction, and over at the University of Washington’s Neural Systems Laboratory, the concept has moving one edge closer to reality. A direct brain-to-brain communication in humans is part of a pilot study by Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stucco where one human can influence the actions of another through electro stimuli.

If that sounds too complex, then consider the analogy from the movie Pacific Rim. Two pilots are required to move one of those Jaegers. The reason is because there are too many mechanisms to make the robot fight, run and jump. Two minds are better than one when coördination is required to handle all the variables that happen when this robot is fighting it out with a Kaiju. But in order for two pilots to be able to work together, they have to be compatible in more ways than one. Read the rest of this entry

Affordable Virtual Reality in the Palms of every Mobile User’s Hand? A Kickstarter Campaign

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Fans of mobile and immersive virtual reality gaming have a champion in imaginer Ray Latypov from VirtuSphere Inc. He wants to make immersive virtual reality environments affordable for the home consumer, and, at the MSRP of $70, he’s hoping that many people will be on board with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to make “360specs” a reality.

While the prototypes of the concept simply look like a fancy pair of goggles with special lenses and separators installed to allow each eye to see each stereoscopic image individually, the end product is sublime since it relies on the type of device attached to it. Much like the Oculus Rift, viewers will have a full 360-degree field of view to look around in. Instead of the owner buying an all-in-one product, Latypov believes that everyone should have the capability to delve into a virtual world with his or her own light-weight mobile device — smartphone, iPod Touch, or tablet (with a limitation of 7” being the screen size). Read the rest of this entry

The Future of Computer Generated Imagery: Creating True Photo-Realism

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(This article is republished from the pop culture blog Otaku No Culture. While it is not specifically gaming related, the technology it discusses is.)

If keen observers of video game cinematics and CGI films think the computer graphics look great now, especially in how cloth material and hair are rendered, the next wave is going to be amazing.

The science behind how these surfaces are rendered have been restudied and restructured in such a way, where if there was a real world analogy: the way any type of thread is weaved on a loom in specific patterns is what the team of computer engineers from the Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego looked at, but at a microscopic level. What they have discovered is a simpler method which matches this real world analogy and the ‘virtual threads’ are more cylindrical. Read the rest of this entry

Playing in Other Worlds – In Defence of Fan-fiction

assassins creed fanfiction

I hereby give readers license to point at me, laugh, and yell “NERD!” in public.

In the last couple years I’ve made a massive leap into geekdom. Part of this comes from exploring potential markets and different ways to get words down on a page. The scary admission is as someone who’s attempting to build a career writing fiction, I’ll admit I’ve dumped a fair chunk of  time writing fan-fiction. 

Now I’ve heard fellow creative writing, journalism, and English lit students and grads sneer at the practice of writing fan fiction. And in some ways they’re right to sneer. Fan-fiction is often poorly written, full of Mary-Sue-dom, and derivative of the work on which it is based. However, there are some professional applications. Keep in mind I’m not delving into crossovers or slash-fic. Those are entirely different cans of worms. Read the rest of this entry

A PC Game Controller For Your Feet – The Stinky Footboard

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Uh… Hmm…. Er….

Just when I thought I had seen all the weird controllers there are, (I’m looking at you Onimusha Katana) I come across the Stinky Footboard; a PC game controller that you use with your feet. That’s right, it’s a real thing.

How the hell do you control games with your feet anyway? Is it even possible?

Well apparently it is when you use the Stinky Footboard. It doesn’t replace the traditional keyboard and mouse, but you actually use the footbaord in tandem with traditional controls to provide greater flexibility and extra functionality. More on the Stinky Footboard after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Sci-Fi in Canada: Welcome to the Identity Crisis

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X-Files, Earth: Final Conflict, Lexx, Stargate: Atlantis, Sanctuary, Battlestar Galactica, Haven, Nikita, Continuum, Primeval: New World. What does this random list of fantasy television have in common? They were all produced in Canada.

Canada is a hot bed for science fiction and fantasy stories – and the television and film industry can’t get enough of us. The American-owned Syfy network keeps investing in Canadian productions like the North American version of Being Human, Haven, Lost Girl and Continuum. I think it is Canada’s identity, or rather identity crisis, that makes us such a hub for these kinds of fantasy and other-realm stories. Read the rest of this entry

JTM Valentine’s Day Cards are Here!

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Completely forgot today was Valentine’s Day? Didn’t make that dinner reservation? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these cards from our relationship post earlier today!

Share them with your favourite gaming partner, your disappointed significant other, or both! More great cards after the break. Read the rest of this entry

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