Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ads: British Villains 'Rendezvous'

"British Villains 'Rendezvous'" Jaguar 2014 Big Game Commercial by Jaguar USA

For some reason, Hollywood always seem to cast Brits as the villain. There’s just something about the their accent and their style that is irresistible. And, of course, they all drive Jaguars.
"Have you ever wondered why in Hollywood movies, all the villains are played by Brits? Visit and let us introduce you to the newest British Villain."

Ads: Wings

"Wings" 2014 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial by Volkswagen

In 2011, Volkswagen unofficially "won" the Superbowl with their adorable boy Darth Vader commercial.  This year, they're returning to the spotlight with an early release of their 2014 game day ad.  It would totally have worked better if the commercial's models had look more like Victoria's Secret models, but hey, a commercial can't have everything.
"In the 2014 Game Day commercial from Volkswagen, watch as a father tells his daughter that every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German Engineer gets his wings. Learn more about the Power of German Engineering and Volkswagen vehicles with more than 100,000 miles."

Ads: Sorry, Coke and Pepsi

This new SodaStream commercial starring actress Scarlett Johansson has gone viral with over 1.1 million views. It was created for the Superbowl, it was purportedly not allowed to air as it disparages Coke and Pepsi. However, it seems like that was SodaStream’s plan all along, as the news that the Scarlett Johansson ad was "banned" has fueled an entire viral campaign.

Ads: The Truth

"The Truth" Kia K900 Big Game Commercial 2014 by Kia Motors America

Kia recently surprised the automotive industry by debuting a luxury model, the K900.  To dispel doubt that Kia can make a true luxury car, they commissioned Morpheus from The Matrix films to star in this sci-fi themed Superbowl ad.

First it was Agent Smith in a G.E. commercial, not it's Morpheus in a Kia commercial.  Clearly, the royalties from The Matrix trilogy are not getting the bills paid.  Still, it's a silly bit of fun, and it'll probably be one of the best commercial to air during this year's SuperBowl.
"An unsuspecting couple meets Morpheus at a valet stand. He presents them with two choices: a red key or a blue key. Should they choose wisely, they'll never look at luxury—or Kia—the same again."

Short Film: Codfish & Cyanide

Codfish & Cyanide is a hilarious German comedy worth slogging through subtitles to watch. The set (and presumably the budget) is tiny, but the story feels larger than life. Some people are even favorably comparing the piece to some scenes from Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Basterds, and deservedly so.
"She can’t believe it when he arrives at the restaurant looking squalid, shabby and unwilling to explain himself. The truth sounds way too absurd and being a notorious liar, he can’t risk anything. Cornered, he tells her an intricate story and expects everything – except her actual reaction."

Sweets: Sorting Hat Groom's Cake

"A groom’s cake for a Harry Potter fan.  The red velvet cake is sculpted into shape first.  Then a thin layer of butter cream and swiss-imported fondant covers the entire hat.  The chocolate brim finishes this sculpture well."

Sweets: Narnia Wedding Cake

Project: Sketchcups


San Francisco-based design professor Miguel Cardona is selling his custom-drawn "Sketchcups" at CafĂ© Sophie for US$20 a piece to benefit Project Night Night, a charity that donates baby blankets, books, and toys to children in homeless shelters.  Cardona discusses the project in an interview with Coolhunting.  If you'd like to purchase or commission one of Cadona's pieces for yourself, you can do so for US$30 at his Sketchcups Store.

Gaming Round-Up: January 29, 2014

"Mr Video" by Katheryn Renfroe

Infographic: The Many Faces of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Infographic: ​ World of Warcraft 's Impressive First Decade, By the Numbers

At This Cage is Worms, Cameron Kunzelman discusses designing horror, defying convention, and a little game called Ib.

The Game Design Forum has posted a very long, very thorough introduction to the history of videogame design, outlining the wisdom and conventions acquired in each era that have constructed videogames as we now know them.

How video games can affect dreaming patterns

Link Round-Up: January 29, 2014

Big Bang Theory by Kevin Wada

Created for the "The Physics of Friendship" tribute show at Gallery Nucleus.

Australian rapper samples Joss Whedon's Equality Now speech. You can listen to 360's "On A Planet No One Knows" here (NSFW language).

Carl "Boutros77" BouMansour is a fine artist and modeller in the UK who makes elaborate diaoramas based on science fiction movies, especially Star Wars.

This Cthulhu damask wallpaper was designed by Megan Rose Gedris (also known as Rosalarian) and is available as a wallpaper, fabric, and gift wrap from Spoonflower.

Easy Custom Frames Using Book Corners & Plexiglass!

Why Expanded Universes Are Important

Zim and Zou are paper artists. They make delightfully colorful paper versions of things like food and technology and the whole world.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Link Round-Up: January 28, 2014

HBO will be doing another tour of Game of Thrones props and such to celebrate the upcoming season. Head to to find out where it will stop.

This interactive chart maps out all the storylines in The Hobbit.

The Mac at 30: what publishers can learn about innovation, obsolescence, and persistence.

Screencaps from Classic Movies that make great desktop wallpapers.

Someone Wrote a Poem About The Sims' Amazing Software Updates; it's entitled "Patch Notes"
People will no longer receive a wish to skinny dip with mummies,
and you can no longer Try For Baby with the Grim Reaper.
Pregnant women can no longer “brawl.”
Time Lapse Build Of The LEGO Simpsons House

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quick Pic: Super Mario Desk

Super Mario Bros vinyl graphics desk


"I work for a vinyl graphics company, did this to my desk today."

Music Video: One More Fight

A parody of Maroon 5's One More Night

Music Video: Glad You Came

A parody of The Wanted song of the same name.

Video: Powered UP!

Music Video: 8bit Harmonica

"8bit Harmonica" by Basami Sentaku

Watch as three guys reproduce classic 8-bit soundtracks using chiptuned harmonicas (which I didn't even realize was a thing until just this minute.) These beat those ocarinas they sell at Ren Faires, hands down.
"A few years ago we featured a harmonica crammed into a NES cartridge. YouTuber basami sentaku’s harmonica not only has a Famicom cartridge case, it produces 8-bit sound with the help of a sound chip from a NES. It also has a mode that plays the coin sound effect from Super Mario Bros. when you blow into it."

Music Video: Console Wars

This track is a remix created using only sounds made by the PS3, Wii & Xbox 360. Download Console Wars in the high-quality format of your choice from Bandcamp.

Fan Film: Croft

This dark, gritty fan film features Lara Croft at her best.  Though the film was clearly made on a small budget, the execution is excellent.  Croft is a story worthy of the franchise.
"Inspired by the Tomb Raider video games among others along with some of the great action movies from the 80's.

Croft is a Short Film created by a group of friends with a passion for film making. Independently produced we chose to use our strengths as a group to create the best experience for the audience we could. Our goal was to make a short film that would entertain and showcase our talents and have fun doing it.

We would like to thank all the people who helped make this short independent film. If you would like to check out more information, here is the Facebook page"

Fan Film: Fallout: Lanius

"Fallout: Lanius" is a fan-made short film that tells the origin story of Legate Lanius from "Fallout: New Vegas." The film was funded through Indiegogo.
"On the brink of ruin, the Hidebark people are about to be wiped out by the slaving organisation, Caesar's Legion. However, their most ruthless warrior would prefer death to dishonour. "Fallout: Lanius" will recount how a single man brings ruin to his people due to his lust for bloodshed and victory."

Short Film: The Invention of Video Games

The Invention of Video Games is a very silly comedy short directed by Matt MacDonald. It takes us on an awesome retro journey into the birth of video games, and how one man saved the world with his invention.  Just when you think what's coming next, the story takes a completely unexpected turn.

Tech: Friday the 13th Controller

My custom Jason/Friday the 13th custom dual shock 4

Source: Reddit

Quick Pic: Mario Shots

Mario Shots

Source: Reddit

"My best friend had a video game themed party. This is how he laid out the shots..."

Tech: Super NES Headphones

Buddy got this custom-made in France. So jealous…

Source: Reddit

"Buddy got this custom-made in France. So jealous..."

Crafts: Octopus vs. Squid

Octopus vs. Squid

Available for purchase from Etsy.

Crafts: Companion Cube

Companion cube by foxymitts

"I've been addicted to Portal at the moment despite the fact it makes me motion sick! Its a first person shooter/puzzle game, highly addictive.

Anyone who has played Portal will understand the love and devotion of the companion cube, and the heartbreak that comes with it also, curse GLaDOS!

I missed mine so much so, that I had to make myself a little 4x4x4" plushie. Instead of using the traditional stuffing method (as everything I have made so far, barring the incident of the little foam beads (never, ever, ever again) has been stuffed with conventional stuffing) I used foam instead, its rigid and is better at keeping its shape, so rather than being a tubby supposed-to-be cube, its actually a cube."

Crafts: Link Amigurumi

Available for purchase from Etsy.

The Link measures approx. 6 inches tall and 3.75 inches wide (with shield on).  Link is made of acrylic yarn, safety eyes, wooden stick, hot glue and non-allergenic filling. The plush can be washed if the wooden sword is removed.

Lego Creations: Borderlands 2 CL4PTRAP

CL4PTRAP Units from Borderlands 2

Lego Creations: Ganondorf

LEGO Ganondorf

Ganondorf from the Legend of Zelda
"My favourite end-of-game boss of all time. Couldn't resist having a crack at him for the "Like A Boss" contest.

I was inspired by Iain Heath's brilliant Bilbo and Gollum creation to have a crack at a different scale of building. Definitely not my comfort zone! Hope you like it."

Lego Creations: Team Fortress 2

Lego Creations: Team Fortress 2

"I did the team in red because that seems to be the signature color of the game. A blue team may be forthcoming...

This was my first attempt at doing miniland-scale figures. I have to say, they're pretty fun to make. The scale can allow for a surprising amount of detail, but the real key to making these is getting the proportions right. I can't say I did that 100% (some of these are probably too tall, excluding the Heavy), but overall I'm very satisfied."

Crafts: Mario Brothers Nesting Dolls

Crafts: Return of the Jedi Nesting Dolls

"Star Wars Return of the Jedi Nesting dolls are here!  It's the Jabba the Hutt Palace scene.  It's two sets of 7 pieces, one is the good guys and one is the bad guys.  In the bad guys set (left), from biggest to smallest you have Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, Gamorrean Guard, Bib Fortuna, Max Rebo, EV-9D9, and Salacious B. Crumb.  In the good guys set (right), from biggest to smallest you have Han Solo (frozen in carbonite), Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2.

All are hand painted with Acrylic.  The largest doll measures in at 8" tall, and the smallest doll is 0.75". "

Crafts: Star Wars Nesting Dolls

Star Wars Nesting Dolls by San Francisco-based illustrator Andy Stattmiller
Chewbacca, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C3PO, R2D2
"Star Wars nesting dolls are here! Each set has 7 pieces. The largest doll is 8" tall and the smallest is 0.75" tall. I stuck with doing just Episode IV A New Hope (the first movie from the 70's). The dolls are wood and painted with acrylic. May the force be with you..."

Crafts: Mario Bros. Nesting Dolls

Prints available for purchase from the artist's website. US$10
Super Mario Bros. Nesting Dolls

Crafts: Sherlock Nesting Dolls

Sherlock Matryoshka Dolls

Available for purchase from Etsy. US$165

This set nesting dolls depicting the cast of the BBC series Sherlock, including Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Lestrade, Mrs. Not-Your-Housekeeper Hudson, and, of course, Mycroft. The tallest doll is five inches tall.

Crafts: Avengers Nesting Dolls

Avengers Nesting Dolls by San Francisco-based illustrator Andy Stattmiller
"Well, I finally finished the Avengers nesting dolls! I decided to do the Avengers from the comic book (the early one, from the 1960's). This set was hand painted with acrylic paint on wooden nesting dolls. The seven piece set contains (from largest to smallest) The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Vision, The Scarlet Witch and last but not least The Wasp. The Hulk stands 8" tall and The Wasp is a woppin' 0.75"!"

Toys: Pikachu from Hell

Pikachu from Hell

Created with Zbrush and Maya.

Toys: Dad Vader

Darth Vader's Little Princess Maquette by Jeffrey Brown
Available for purchase from Gentle Giant LTD. US$279.98

Based on the books Darth Vader and Son and Star Wars: Vader's Little Princess, this had-numbered cold-cast Polystone collectible has a bottom stamp with a matching certificate of authenticity.  The Darth Vader and Son sculpture depicts Anakin getting a Rebel Alliance necktie from Luke.  The Vader’s Little Princess sculpture depicts Leia and Vader with his cape in heart-shaped tatters.

Toys: Mass Effect Vinyl Figures

Available for purchase from ThinkGeek. US$$9.99 - $39.99

Super-cute Funko pop versions of the characters from Mass Effect: Garrus, Grunt, Miranda, Shepard, and Tal.

Posters: NES Family

Entertainment System Family by Creative Rez

Posters: Nintendo

Posters: The Console Series

"Comma 8, Comma 1"
Prints available for purchase from the artist's website. US$35

Posters: Castlevania

Castlevania by Scott Balmer

"Castlevania" by UK illustrator Scott Balmer

Posters: Journey

Posters: Metroid


Prints available for purchase from RedBubble. US$15.12 / $23.27

Posters: Samus Aran

Prints available for purchase from the artist's website.  US$40

Paintings: Gol Hah Dov

Gol Hah Dov by Mark Molchan

Limited edition prints available for purchase from Bethsoft. US$40

Paintings: Ninja Gaiden Z

Illustration: Zombie Mario

Zombie Mario by Antonio Komiyama

Wallpaper: League of Legends Wallpapers

Wallpapers available for download from DeviantArt.

Humor: Girls that Play Videogames

Humor: Mushrooms

The Argyle Sweater

Mario's Magic Mushrooms

Link Round-Up: January 27, 2014

Is Vault Hunting Time! by Lou Victor Karnas

An Adventure Time / Borderlands 2 Mash-Up
"I have no idea why i mixed those together, I just thought that Finn and Jake would be awesome in Borderlands!"
Event: Explore Westeros with Game of Thrones: The Exhibition

News: Tatecraft Wants To Bring The Tate Into Minecraft

Apple Uses Whitman Poem to Sell iPads: is it raising the bar for marketing campaigns, or reducing one of America's greatest poets to a mere shill?  Tomato, tomato.

Comic Round-Up: January 25, 2014

Steampunk Justice League Variant Cover
Created by Dan Panosian

"Another cover for February's Steampunk Alternate covers."

Event: Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK (2 May 2014 – 19 August 2014) will explore the full potential of the medium, demystifying the process of creating comics while presenting work that is challenging to the status quo. Its materials unflinchingly examine issues around gender, violence, sexuality, drug-taking and politics.

Interview: Artist Mike S. Miller talks about his work on the two George R.R. Martin adaptations, The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword, which are being republished by Amazon’s Jet City comics imprint.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Crafts: Geek Alphabet Blocks

Amateur engineer Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with things he and his wife were looking forward to sharing with him as he grew up.  Thanks to the fact that he's shared his designs and explained his methods, you can now make your future progeny a set of blocks, as well.  Personally, I'd be inclined to throw a little math and science into the mix - maybe a diagram of an atom or Euler's identity.
"Shortly before my son was born I decided to make a set of alphabet blocks decorated with things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him. I started work, and then he was born. Now, coming up on his first birthday, I’ve finally finished. (Apparently, shop time is hard to come by when you’re caring for an infant. Who knew?)

There are 36 blocks — the English alphabet and ten digits — showing 134 images of people, animals, monsters, robots, vehicles, organizations, devices, tools, and objects from some of our favourite movies, TV shows, books, comics, video games, poems, and sculptures, as well as a few from the real world for good measure (and a couple not-so-favourites for comic relief/alphabetical exigency; I’m looking at you, Zardoz). The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance."

Project: Virtual Middle Earth

Middle Earth modeled in the Outerra game engine

Source: Imgur via Reddit

Someone has decided to demonstrate the astonishing potential of the Outerra game engine by recreating Middle-Earth on a 1:1 scale.  The results are impressive to say the least.  They blow the graphic environment of Lord of the Rings Online out of the water.  To really get a feel for the scope of this project, check out the video tour at the bottom of this post.

Outerra is a 3D planetary engine for seamless planet rendering from space down to the surface.  Every detail is refined to full resolution right down to the centimeter using fractal algorithms, thereby offering unlimited visibility, progressive downloads, and procedural content generation.  What's more Outerra offers integrated physics engines for vehicles, making an ideal platform for game designers.  Download the tech demo and play around with some simulations for yourself.

Here's the best part.  Outerra has Oculus Rift support. So, you could conceivably pair the Rift with something like the omnidirectional treadmill and actually retrace Frodo's journey for yourself.  You know, if you needed something to do in your spare time for a year.

Kickstarter: 3D Tabletop Miniatures

This Kickstarter run by three dudes and four ladies is looking to start a company that produces incredibly detailed, versatile custom 3D printed gaming miniatures for your tabletop characters. If you have ever spent hours combing through a bin of Reaper Minis trying to find a statue that even remotely resembles your Player Character, then you'll definitely appreciate this project.
"Hero Forge is a service that lets you design custom tabletop minis, have them 3D printed, and delivered right to your doorstep. By using a sophisticated parts system and web UI, we're bringing the flexibility, ease, and control of a robust video game character creator to the tabletop.

Choose your race, your gender, your build, and your facial expression. Select and swap individual armor pieces, weapons, adventuring equipment, hairstyles, and faces. Choose your pose and watch all of the dynamically rigged parts and attributes conform to fit your selection. Choose the scale of your mini, and even the material it's printed in. We're bringing a high-tech update to a classic analog hobby and giving you the opportunity to breathe your vision and creativity into your miniature."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Video: Minecraft Middle Earth Special

Hosted by Jesse Cox

Alright, this is mind-blowing.  I played some Lord of the Rings Online as part of a MOOC last year, and this fan built world puts that experience to shame.  Wow.
"Outside the Blocks returns with another trip into the amazing world of Minecraft Middle Earth - the largest project ever attempted in Minecraft. The goal is to recreate the entire world of Middle-Earth from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."

The map file is currently well over 8GB with a server whitelist featuring over 14,000 individual Minecraft accounts with many more being added each day.

In addition to building Middle-Earth, they've released an adventure map about the fall of Gondolin."

Video: Minecraft Middle-Earth

Everything you see in the video was created by the Minecraft Middle-Earth (MCME) community. You can find the official server site at It is technically not open to the public to explore, but all you need to do is apply for the whitelist. Whitelisting is a pretty easy process, as long as you read everything, understand everything, and answer the simple questions on that form you usually get accepted.

Fan Film: Born of Hope

Born of Hope is an independent feature film inspired by the Lord of the Rings and produced by Actors at Work Productions in the UK. Read all about it over at The Guardian.
"On the eastern flank of Epping Forest, a short walk in from the town of Debden, there is a huge tree, lying on its side, upended by a storm. It was in this clearing that independent film-maker Kate Madison, along with dozens of game volunteers, filmed Born of Hope, a homemade prequel to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy that has caused a great stir since its release in December. A production pulled together over four years with a budget of a mere £25,000 – about a tenth of one per cent of the cost of Jackson's epic – it has impressed critics and recorded close to a million views on video streaming sites. The upended tree seems a fitting place for it all to have begun."

Fan Film: Beren and Luthien in 30 minutes

"Ranger" (Beren and Luthien, from the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien) by Josh Fortune

"Ranger is the tale of a wandering man who meets and falls in love with a beautiful Elf maid. To win her hand, however, Ranger must fulfill a deadly quest to steal a gem from a dragon - in order to placate her father, while also competing with the hatred of another would-be suitor."

Music: Nightfall in Middle-Earth

Here's an altogether different way of summarizing The Silmarillion.

Video: Silmarillion In Three Minutes

[Previously: The Silmarillion Project]

I love The Silmarillion pretty hard, despite the fact that I can't pronounce a single name in it, but there's no doubt that it's one of the most challenging reads of the fantasy genre. If you're curious about the back story of The Lord of the Rings, but you don't want to wade into the Swamps of Sadness that are The Silmarillion, this is a great place to start. It's not only concise, but funny as well.
"Have you ever wanted to to read JRR Tolkiens history of middle earth: "The Silmarillion"? Then wave it in the faces of all those fantasy nerds? Well now you don't have to! Instead you can take this shortcut and prove yourself the lazy bum you are!"

Posters: The Red Wedding

Prints available for purchase from Society6. US$14.56

Lego Creation: Edoras

Photographed by Simon
"Edoras, the capital city of the failing Rohan. The Golden Hall of Meduseld remains a reminder of the splendor of the kings of old. In this dire time four riders make their way up the rocky path to seek counsul with the failing Theoden... Rohan my lord is ready to fall..."

Lego Creation: The Grey Havens

"In one of the final scenes in the last Lord of the Rings movie The Return of the King, Frodo, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel depart from middle earth back to the Valar. Their boat leaves from a port city called the Grey Havens which I have created here.

This project was built for my friend Skyler, who graciously gave me his entire Lego collection for free last year. I felt obligated to thank him for such a kind act, and I decided to build his favorite scene from his favorite movie. Thanks again Skyler!"

Lego Creation: Lake-town

Lake-town (by Fianat)

Entry for CCCXI-Medieval Town category
"Lake-town (Esgaroth)- small settlement and community of Men East of Mirkwood in the north eastern part of Middle-earth. The town stands upon wooden pillars sunk into the bed of the Long Lake.

As for me, scenes going in Lake-town are most interesting and epic in the Desolation of Smaug. So I've made a scene when Bard the Bowman runs from guards of Lake-town. "

Posters: The Nine Major House

House Sigils by Justin Conway

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