This Week in Geekdom

Hi everyone. Hope you had wonderful holiday if you were among those celebrating Thanksgiving this past Thursday. Now with November nearly behind us, it's onward into the holiday crush. In fact, right after I finish publishing this I'm going to hang up all our decorations and start doing the math to see how much we'll need in the way of ingredients for this year's cookie-baking season. Woo spreadsheets! Ok, yes...I'm entirely too excited about that. Anyhow, decorations and math aside, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom.


Arugably the biggest story of the week was Friday's release of the 88-seconds-long teaser trailer for Episode VII. If you've gotten your fill of next-generation X-Wings and desert planets, check out this shot-for-shot breakdown of what footage Abrams has graced us with. Also, if you were wondering who the narrator of the trailer is, that would be Andy Serkis.

While we're gushing about the Episode VII trailer, here's a fan-made version shot entirely in Lego (took the dude 12 straight hours to create!)
The Episode VII trailer may have gotten the lion's share of attention this week, but it was not the only trailer to hit the interwebs. We also got our first glimpse of Jurassic World.

Whovians have have spent much of the current season debating just how long the Doctor's current companion will be featured. The BBC has confirmed that the upcoming Christmas special will address the future of the character.

While Thursday may have been Thanksgiving for some of us, it was also the 50th anniversary of the first days of filming for a little show called Star Trek.

We still have about a month left in the year, but the 'best of 2014' lists are already popping up. Check out this compilation of the best movie bloopers from the year in film.

JK Rowling has confirmed that she has finished the script for a Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie is scheduled to hit theaters in November of 2016.


The apparent dearth of life in what we can see of the universe has perplexed researchers for decades. Now the latest edition of Science postulates that one of the reasons for our cosmic loneliness may have a lot to do with the high levels of radiation out there in space.

We may be effectively alone in the universe for the time being, but data from the Philae lander may provide us with clues as to the origins of life on Earth.

Cooling down a building generally takes an enormous amount of energy, even with the most efficient of air conditioners. Researchers at Stanford University feel they have a better solution in the form of this ultra-thin material that beams excess heat into space.

We may be looking to beam stuff out into space, but it turns out that Earth may also have a previously unknown way of shielding itself.

Bridgmanite was allegedly the most abundant mineral on Earth, but pure samples are now quite difficult to come by. So how to scientists obtain specimens? Meteorites.

The world's oldest computer may be a century or more older than previously thought.

Waiting while a loved one undergoes a surgical procedure can be very nerve-wracking. To assuage this anxiety, a group of Florida physicians have developed a smartphone app that provides friends and family members with real-time updates of a given operation.

What do Blu-Rays featuring Jackie Chan and solar panels have in common? Answer: one was used to increase the efficiency of the other by 22%.

Google is reinventing the spoon Parkinson's patients?

How to survive a spaceship disaster.

Do you have a knack for developing deep-space capable communications and could do with an extra $5 million USD? NASA has just the contest for you.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

Samuel Sevian is about a month away from turning 14. He's also the youngest-ever American Grandmaster of chess.

These are 12 board games that are purported to make their players into better people.

For the past five years, the Vulcan Institute for Cultural Anthropology has helped put on a performance of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol entirely in the Klingon language. This year will be the final time the production graces the stage.

Crowdfundables for Your Consideration

For most of us, space travel is something reserved for thought experiments and daydreaming. If you've always wanted to go to the moon, Lunar Mission One would like to make your celestial musings at least a partial reality.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
Read More

Gias Glance: Why Pre-Order Games? (Part 3)

This post is the third in a series examining why gamers should consider pre-ordering games. If you're just joining us now, you can find the first two parts in the series here and here respectively.
Why Pre-Order?  So I Can Play it at Launch

Most gamers agree that it is more fun to play a co-op game with friends than it is to play with random strangers or, depending on the game, alone. Being able to chat with friends while playing and talk about your amazing adventures afterward is generally considered valuable. Playing with friends means that you don’t have to worry about being stuck with immature and inconsiderate players. For games that center on co-op multiplayer, like Left 4 Dead and Borderlands, players do not want to be left behind as their friends advance in level, gear, or skill. It is best for co-op players to get into a game at the same time as their friends so that players are able to progress in the game together. If your friends are already pre-ordering or planning on buying the game upon release, then you need to follow suit and get the game at the same time.

As a frugal gamer, I tend to wait after release for a sale to buy a game. Thanks to Steam, if I'm willing to wait a bit there's a good chance that I can pick up a game at a considerable discount. However, this often means that I pick up games many months after release. I either have to hope that other friends have waited as well, or I miss out on keeping up with in-game development and, by extension, playing with friends. This is the conundrum many gamers face with co-op games: buy at launch with friends or wait for reviews/sales.

Games like Left 4 Dead 2 have allowed me to put in hundreds of hours of great co-op gameplay with friends. I am extremely happy that I picked up that game with my friends on release. However, other similar games have not fared so well. I pre-ordered Borderlands 2 with friends, but it came out at a very busy time for me and I could not play it until several weeks after release, at which point my friends had already out-leveled me. I ended up never really getting into the game because of this and, as such, the pre-order was not worth it.

Essentially, pre-ordering a game can be a great way to keep pace with friends in a co-op game, so you make sure that you have good people to play with. However, the same could be said of waiting and purchasing the game on launch day without pre-ordering.

Why Pre-Order?  Because I want to (and similar responses)
I hate to even include this response, but so many people give it that I feel obligated to address it.  When asked why they pre-order, many gamers responded, “Because it’s my money” or “Because I want to,” or something similar. Yes, it’s their money so they can pre-order if they want to. But by the same logic, since it’s their money they can burn it or throw it away if they want to. Just because a person has money does not mean it is wise or responsible to spend it or waste it on anything or everything.

Gamers can spend their money on whatever they would like to; when you own something you may do with it what you wish. However, I believe that there are good reasons to use money and bad reasons to use money.  “Because I have it” or “Because I feel like it” are, I feel, very bad reasons to spend money. Keep in mind, there is a distinct difference between “I bought the game because it’s my money,” versus, “I bought the game because I think that I will have fun with it.” I'm of the opinion that one is a reasonable response while the other is not.

Conclusion on why people Should Pre-order

Pre-order a game because you are so excited you can’t wait to play it. Pre-order a game because you want to play with your friends on release day, or because you can get a discount sufficient to meet your expected level of enjoyment of the game. Pre-order a game because you want to show support for your favorite game series or your favorite developer. Pre-order a game because there is a piece of DLC that is exclusive to pre-orders that you would actually buy were these items to be offered for sale.

For each instance where pre-ordering under one of these aforementioned categories makes some sense, I feel you should not pre-order, “because I can,” or, “because it is my money.” Those are cop-out, irrational reasons; they make just as much sense when responding to the question, “Why did you burn your money?” 

Make sure that your reason is sufficient to buy the game rather than wait for reviews during launch week or discounts thereafter. Figure out why you want to pre-order a game rather than waiting to buy it upon or after release, and make sure that your reason makes sense so that you are a logical and reasonable game purchaser.

In my next series, I will look at pre-orders from the opposite light, "Why Not Pre-Order?" I am of the opinion that it is best to wait on a game and not pre-order in most circumstances but, as you can see of my analysis in this series, there are certainly reasons why pre-ordering makes a lot of sense.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Care & Feeding of Nerds as an organization.
Read More

Gias Glance: Why Pre-Order Games? (Part 2)

This series continues from the previous installment of Why Pre-Order Games?

Why Pre-Order?  To Ensure I Get the Game

Pre-orders originally came about because people found it hard to get items in stores due to their popularity. When talking about digital games, there is no lack of purchasing access since the digital nature of the game means that the stock is essentially unlimited. Occasionally, key resellers that give access to games on a different game distributor’s platform (such as Steam, Origin, or Uplay) have run out of keys to resell, but the platform carrying the game itself has ostensibly not run out.

The only fear of not being able to secure a copy of a game should be with physical game purchases.  However, even those rarely run out of stock permanently. Halo 3 was released September 25, 2007 to wide acclaim and high reviews, yet the “limited” edition is still available for purchase quite easily more than seven years later. That doesn’t sound very limited to me. Even the most expensive version, the Legendary Edition, was available for years after the release. Collector’s Editions of games are now purchased by the truckload by resellers and are easily available well after release. Even in the most extreme cases where sellers have specifically stated they would only make exclusive game version quantities to meet the pre-order numbers, like the Playstation 3 Catherine “Love is Over” Deluxe Edition, the exclusive edition has still been available for purchase well after the game’s release. It is possible that an individual store may run out of a game, but there are so many game retailers now that it will be available somewhere; if not on release day, then in the few days after.    

Even if somehow the game was sold out everywhere, alternative resellers like eBay, GoHastings, and Amazon Marketplace allow gamers to resell their games and buyers can find otherwise out-of-stock games.
Why Pre-Order?  To Support the Developer/Series

The concept of “voting with your wallet” or “dollar voting” is a concept that has become mainstream. As noted in other posts on the Care and Feeding of Nerds, it is the concept of using your money to support the things you like and not support the things you don’t, and that companies will watch for spending patterns and tailor their business practices to the demand of consumers. Some very passionate gamers see it as a great way to express their support for certain developers or franchises.  The difficulty with dollar voting is that not every gamer understands the statement they make when they make purchases.
Pre-orders through the first week of sales are the mark of a game’s success, and the success of an unproven IP relies heavily on gamer faith in the developer. Pre-order sales and Day-One sales, individually, are not the most important metric used to measure game success. That title goes to first week sales (which include pre-orders in that figure). First week sales are used because the metric allows for purchases that take place based on game reviews. Hence well-made, highly-rated games can benefit from reviews and word of mouth. Similar to how opening night movie sales are not as important as the opening weekend viewings, pre-order sales are used as a metric, albeit a less important metric.

Suppose that a gamer loves a developer and wants to show their support. If the gamer buys a game in a new and unproven IP from the developer, that gamer is showing faith and support because there is no established story or gameplay on which the gamer could be basing their purchase of this specific new title. If, alternatively, the gamer buys a new game in an established series, the gamer is showing support for either the game or the series more than they are showing support for the developer. 

There is one instance where purchasing a game in a series shows support for the developer and not the series itself: when the series has been abandoned for years and revived later. In this instance, the next game in the series may as well be an entirely new franchise since the old one had died out. One example of this comes to mind: I have a friend who kick-started Wasteland 2 and also pre-ordered the game on Steam. He loved and believed in the developer, and wanted to show all the support he could.  Since Wasteland 1 released in 1998, the new Wasteland game is more akin to a new franchise than it is to a sequel.

The people who buy Madden, Assassin’s Creed, or Call of Duty every year are not showing support for 2KSports, Ubisoft, or Treyarch (now Sledgehammer Games). These consumers are showing their support for the established franchise they love.

This series will continue with the final installment of Why Pre-Order Games.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Care & Feeding of Nerds as an organization.
Read More

Happy Thanksgiving!

We know it's not a holiday for everyone today, but we can all appreciate the notion of expressing gratitude for the wonderful things we experience.

So our thanks go out to all of you: the game developers who are trying to make their passion projects a reality, the cosplayers bringing their fandoms to life, and, most of all our readers. None of this would be possible without you. Thank you for your continued support and we'll keep trying to bring you the best possible experience. 

P.S. The GIR has the following to add...

Happy Thanksgiving!
Read More

Gias Glance: Why Pre-Order Games? (Part 1)

There has been quite a bit of discussion (and yelling) regarding the practice of pre-ordering in the last few years, and the conversation seems to have gotten more intense as time has gone on. Some people are vehemently against pre-ordering while others do it for every new game that is announced. It is time that we, the gaming community, had an adult, honest, and rational discussion of the issues surrounding pre-ordering. It is important to have such a discussion, as gaming has progressively become more mainstream. The controversial issues in gaming have a better chance to be sorted out and settled if they are addressed early. The longer these remain unsettled, the harder they are to change, as industry practices tend to become more firm over time.
The best way to approach this issue is to break it down into its constituent parts and discuss each one on its own, so as not to confuse one part of the issue with another. The overarching topic to consider is, “Why pre-order?” Each potential answer to that question has its supporters and logic, and each should be addressed in turn.

Why Pre-Order?  Pre-Order Bonuses

Pre-order bonuses are enticing little treats. I have pre-ordered games because of these bonuses when I knew I wanted the game. The allure of getting a tiny bit of a game now that may never be available again is very powerful. With games that you fall head-over-heels in love with, the threat of not having a small part of that game is too much to bear for many people. It is true that the bonuses themselves are never game-changing, nor do they usually alter the story or experience. They are almost always either cosmetic items like skins or clothing, or weapons/tools that are inferior to what you will get in the game during the course of natural progression.

Even though these bonuses are small and largely irrelevant, they are still powerful motivators for many buyers. Take a moment and think of the games at that you absolutely love that also contained pre-order exclusives. For me, I would point to Fallout 3, the Mass Effect series, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Each of these games completely enthralled me. Every gamer has their list of the most amazing games they have played. Each exclusive is a small part of the world of the game in question. Missing out on even a tiny bit of the world that you love may be too much for some gamers.
People who are driven by pre-order bonuses often fail to consider that even though the bonus is a small part of the world they love, it may not be a part of the world they care about or even ever interact with. For example, it was announced that Bloodborne would have a pre-order exclusive that would be a, “skin for the ghastly messengers that will carry notes between players.” It is just a skin for an NPC that you only occasionally see, if ever. If the player is unwilling to pay $5 (the discount of the game bought used after the first week) to $15 (the discount on the game on sale in 3-4 weeks, which has become increasingly common) for the skin, then the gamer should not be swayed by the pre-order offering. If the pre-order bonus is such that a gamer would not pay for it if it were to be sold directly to players, then the gamer generally doesn’t really care about the bonus.

Conversely, the mentality of, “I have to have every piece of obtainable content for this game whether I use it, care about it, or not” is a mentality bordering on something similar Oniomania and hoarding. It is a compulsion that is driving you to make a purchase. It is important for people with this mentality to realize their motivation, as it increases the chances that they can modify it. Buying something “because I have to” is not healthy. The motivation for a purchase of a game or DLC should ideally be “because I want to have fun with it” not because “I need it.” 

Why Pre-Order?  Pre-Order Discounts

Many stores now offer pre-order discounts. These discounts are mainly offered for digital sales through sites like Steam, GreenManGaming, Nuuvem, and GamersGate. Pre-order discounts around 30% off (such as 31% off Shadow of Mordor) have been offered for many AAA games, and such offers only seem to be gaining momentum. These discounts can be a huge incentive to pre-order a game you are already interested in.

A tool that may be used when considering such a purchase is a cost-benefit analysis of the game in question. The current typical release price for a game is $60. Let’s say that a friend of yours bought a game on release day and you played it at their house. You find you love the game and believe it is totally worth the $60. Having already played the game and knowing how much you enjoy it, you now know that there is a 100% chance that the game is worth $60 to you. 100% of $60 is, of course, $60, so you know that going out and paying full price is completely worthwhile.

Now imagine a different situation. You have not been able to play the game yet, so you are not 100% sure that you will love it. You have watched the previews and read articles about the game. It is the type of game you like, in the genre you like, from a company who has made good games of this type before, which you have played. You are quite confident that you will like the game; you are 90% sure that you will enjoy it. Cost-benefit analysis probability states that a 90% chance of a $60 benefit is worth $54 (0.9*60=54). That $54 amount is thus the most that you should pay for that game given that you have 90% confidence in your ability to enjoy it. How much confidence you have in your enjoyment of the game combined with the amount of the pre-order discount should determine whether the pre-order is worth it.

If there is a 10% chance you will like a game, why would you pay full retail price of $60 for it? Unless money is no object to you (in which case I happily accept donations to the Feed Elder Gias Fund) it would be foolhardy to gamble with your money like that when the odds are so grossly skewed against you. You could easily just wait (even if that's just waiting part of a day for release day review embargos to end) to get more information on the game to better determine if you will like it or not.

Why Pre-Order Games is a mini-series that will continue in two additional installments.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Care & Feeding of Nerds as an organization.
Read More

This Week in Geekdom

Happy Sunday everyone and best wishes for a happy con to those trying to squeeze the last few minutes of awesome from BGGCon right now. The GIR and I are giving serious consideration to attending BGGCon in the near-ish future, perhaps as a substitute for Gen Con should the latter morph into an exorbitantly priced kerfuffle in 2015. One of the brilliant side effects of the Nerdaissance is that we're seeing new, innovative conventions pop up as others outgrow their infrastructure. Bringing excellent games to more people is never a bad thing. 

Before I get down to a serious session of pie-baking for this upcoming Thursday, let's get down to the week in Geekdom!


Telltale Games drew everyone's attention with the announcement that they will be making one of their signature interactive story games based on Game of Thrones (the show, not the books). While the first chapter of this title won't be out until mid-to-late 2015, we can get a little taste with the below teaser trailer:
Goat Simulator is now an MMO. That is all.

One German town has installed small terminals on street corners that will allow users to play the classic arcade staple Pong while they wait for the signal to cross.


Season seven of Star Trek: The Next Generation will be released to Blu-Ray on December 2nd. To promote the upcoming release, this gag reel of some amusing never-before-seen moments from the show has been put together.  

These 21 storylines may have poor standing among  Whovians, but are these episodes actually better than initially believed?

36 years ago this past Monday brought the Star Wars Holiday Special to the small screen for the first time. This retro review of the Special provides an amusing account of how the show was initially received. 

Monty Python finally bids us all adieu.


On Friday a piece of NASA hardware history went off to proverbial pasture. The massive horizontal countdown clock that allowed spectators to measure the minutes and seconds until the launch of a shuttle or other rocket has been officially retired.

A mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa, just got a whole lot more likely thanks to Texas Congressional representative John Culberson and none other than Bill Nye.

Despite last week's mindboggling triumph of the Philae Lander, the European Space Agency is beset with squabbling derived from, you guessed it, politicking. The latest victim: Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover. Her crime: relying on scientific evidence. 

This is what happens to uranium fuel rods in the event of a nuclear meltdown.

Is this the real life, or is it just (computer generated) fantasy?

Emilott Lantz had a microchip implanted into her hand as part of a 50-person human trial of digital/organic enhancements. 

Researchers at Stanford University have created these specialized, gecko-inspired pads that allow for a wearer to easily scale walls. Spider-man was unavailable for comment.

Google has found that, in order to be better drivers, its autonomous cars need to act a little more human.

The Large Hadron Collider is coming back fast and furious from its maintenance shutdown. On Wednesday, CERN researchers announced that they have potentially discovered two new subatomic particles.

What if, instead of a state of matter, Dark Energy was instead a force acting upon all that we can perceive (and a lot of stuff that we can't)?

A cadre of scientists from Australia, Canada, China, and the United States may have solved Darwin's Dilemma. 

Crowdfundables for Your Consideration

One of our favorite video game experiences from Boston FIG, the head-to-head hybrid tactical base-builder Prismata, now has a Kickstarter. Fans of collectable card games, real-time strategy, and tabletop strategy will almost assuredly love this title. So check it out; you won't regret it.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving next Thursday, but don't care all that much about things like football or parades, perhaps consider these excellent board/party games as a potential way of passing the time until dinner is ready.

Check out these amazing watercolor prints by Artist Adam Lister. He employed his Cubist-esque style to render some of the most enduring nerd and pop culture iconography into 8-bit brilliance.
Speaking of pixelated awesomeness, these gifs will satisfy your desire for both the nostalgic and all things Game of Thrones related. 

From the Annals of Awwww. Someone took their love of Guardians of the Galaxy to a whole new level with the building of this Groot swing. 

It is a thing of profound beauty, this incredibly detailed model of the Millennium Falcon. Also, it's made entirely from cardboard.

As always, best wishes for an awesome week ahead!
Read More

Cosplay: Who Wears The Pants?

Say what now? Costumes…in November? In all honesty, costumes have been all but shunted to the proverbial back burner for almost a month now. The combination of implementing the (hopefully) fun changes to the site, the approach of the holiday season, a deluge of new games, and a bit of delayed burnout from the marathon of costume construction this year has left me quite content to shelve the sewing machine and hot glue gun for a bit. I’m normally big into planning, so it was a bit of a guilty pleasure to procrastinate. You’ve got some time…those conventions aren’t even until next year.

Last week provided an abrupt reality check in the form of registration for PAX East 2015 appearing out of the Twitterverse blue. Not only is PAX just over 100 days away, but registration for Gen Con 2015 is even sooner. We’re in the very, very early stages of planning what has the potential to become a seminar at Gen Con, but we’ll produce more details on that if it should come to fruition. The GIR and I are also pulling out all the stops to try and ensure that we avoid the housing nightmare that we encountered last year; fingers crossed that those efforts work out.

In the meantime, there’ve been bits of progress on Steampunk Hawkgirl that I haven’t had time to sit down and write about until now. So let’s catch up!
After completing all the structural tests for the wings I took some time away from physically crafting just to sit and brainstorm. With one exception (my books-version Daenerys Targaryen, which pre-dates the blog), all of my costumes have been a direct reproduction of a character from visual media. This was primarily due to the fact that, most of the time, I’m a purist who defaults to the original source material. The other reason why I tend to go the purist route is because I cannot draw for the life of me. Seriously, cannot draw to save my life. So, by necessity, all costumes go from conceptual to physical reality in one step.
While there are a handful of images out there for various imaginings of a steampunk version of Hawkgirl, they vary considerably from one another and, to be honest, I wasn’t in love with any one iteration. So there was copious daydreaming and a lot of scrolling through Pinterest before the shell of an idea began to form. I focused on the individual pieces that will be the foundation of the costume, then slowly worked outward from there. As of now, those individual pieces consist of leggings, boots, a corset, a bolero of some kind, and a helmet. Since every piece of this costume is being made from scratch, almost all of those pieces will probably get their own post in the not-so-distant future.

The first item to go from brain candy to wearable garment were the leggings to be used in the costume (the second item is the corset that will serve as the base for the wing harness). I chose leggings over a skirt for two reasons: 1) Nearly all depictions of Hawkgirl show her wearing some sort of pants and 2) I don’t know how the final version of the wings are going to lie relative to my back and legs; pants guarantee a bit of protection from potential feather-derived irritation. I may add a bustle over the leggings later on, but that will depend entirely on how the wings turn out.

Making leggings is fairly straightforward, definitely easier than sewing, say, a catsuit, and you can make lots of fun derivations with very minimal changes to a given pattern. Speaking of which, there are quite a few excellent patterns out there to choose from. Butterick B5788, Kwik Sew 2797, McCall’s M6173, and McCall’s M6404 are all fairly easy to find and are fairly cheap. If, for whatever reason, none of these fits the scope of your project, this website provides a comprehensive set of tools for creating your custom pattern for leggings (bonus: it’s completely free).

I’m anticipating that between the wings, the mace, and whatever headgear I end up making, there’ll be a lot going on visually in the top half of the costume, so it would probably be a nice contrast to have the bottom half be a bit less busy. To make the leggings interesting while still harmonizing with the rest of the outfit, I wanted to include a few strategically placed complementary fabrics.  I selected McCall’s M6404, then ended up making some edits to the pattern to get the blend of textures and colors I wanted.

The end goal was a modified version of the pants you see over on the right. They provide an excellent foundation for other pieces, directing the eye efficiently without being bland. The colors needed to be a bit less saturated for the leggings to be steampunk, as the genre tends to feature muddled, subdued hues. With that in mind, I chose this fabric (in 'Hunter') to be the base, with this olive color and this burgundy faux-leather to serve as the accents.

Once the fabric arrived, it was largely a matter of measuring, cutting, and arranging the cloth to lie how I wanted it to. If you’re using a commercial pattern it will list the exact measurements you need. Commercial patterns for leggings usually also include guidelines for how to scale the pattern based on both your measurements and the type of fabric that you may be using, since almost all leggings call for cloth with some inherent measure of stretch. If you’re not familiar or comfortable with stretchy fabric, you may want to read this post from earlier this year that talks all about it.

It actually took longer to measure and cut the fabric into the right pieces than it did to sew them together. Since both of the green fabrics are spandex, I was able to use the same type of zigzag stitch that I used to make the green and red scalesuits for both iterations of Mera.  The waistband is just your run-of-the-mill 3/4" (1.91cm) wide knit elastic with the top edge of the leggings folded over it. Depending on the strength of your fabric, you may have to fold it around your elastic more than once, so it's a good idea to build extra allowance along your topmost edges. I used successive rows of zigzag, then straight stitches (so one sits on top of the other) to affix the folded fabric around the elastic.

Once the waistband was in place, I added the swaths of burgundy so they rest along the hips. Since that fabric was faux-leather rather than spandex, it didn't have a lot of stretch and I could use standard straight stitches to sew it on. Something to note if you're using faux-leather: despite it being, by definition, fake, this type of fabric can still be very thick and give your sewing machine a hard time. You may want to do a few tests with some swatches of the faux-leather just to ensure that your settings are correct and that your machine can handle the fabric.

This is what I've got so far:
While I'm really happy with the fit and the overall shape, I have this nagging notion that the base Hunter green color doesn't jive with the olive or burgundy. Since everything else turned out well, I'm not keen on buying new fabric and starting over. Instead, I'm going to alter the color and part of the texture with a combination of fabric paints from Pebeo.
The new base color will be the moss green you see on the left; the portion on the upper legs will be enhanced with a tiny bit of the 'suede effect' paint on the right. These fabric paints are applied with a broad, stiff-bristled brush, and are then melded with the fabric itself using an iron on a low grade heat for five minutes. After the ironing, the paint takes permanently and is supposedly indistinguishable from the fabric itself, even if you should wash the garment you paint. It claims to be able to hold up even to dry cleaning, which is pretty bold as far as fabric paints go. I'll let you guys know how it all turns out! 
Read More

This Week in Geekdom

Hi guys, hope you're all having a great weekend so far. It's been a pretty big week on both the science front and the convention front, as we talked about a few days ago. I still can't get over the reality that is the Philae lander successfully touching down on comet 67P. It's arguably up there in the Literal Definitions of Mindblowing events. While we bask in the awe of humans pushing the envelope of technological possibility, we can also get down to the Week in Geekdom!


Neil DeGrasse Tyson is many things, but he has fashioned a highly visible role for himself with his Twitter-centric breakdowns of scientific accuracy (or inaccuracy) of various movies. Earlier this week he provided a less character-bound version of this as it pertained to the new Chris Nolan movie, Interstellar.

So George Lucas, what have you been up to now that Star Wars is in the creative purview of others? Animated Shakespeare you say?
The Suicide Squad movie is still well over a year away, but we at least have a good idea of who will be playing Harley Quinn.

In the realm of movies-that-are-still-years-away, Daniel Bruhl has signed on to play an as-yet-unnamed character in Captain America: Civil War.


One of the biggest stories to come out of last week's BlizzCon was Blizzard's confirmation that, after 17 years, they would be releasing a title that wasn't tied to either StarCraft or WarCraft. So what is Overwatch exactly? Let's find out.

Unfortunately for Blizzard, it could not rest on its convention laurels for very long. On Friday, its release of the much-anticipated World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, was marred by a DDoS attack.

Nintendo had a much less turbulent week, announcing that pre-orders for Super Smash Bros. set company records. 

How Xbox hackers stole $100 million USD worth of proprietary technology and earned themselves the wrath of both Microsoft and the US Army.

Why are video games released to the market on Tuesdays? Turns out the answer has a lot to do with Sonic the Hedgehog.


While the Philae landing prompted the press to make all sorts of comparisons to the movie Armageddon, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory underscored that the phenomenon of space matter entering our atmosphere is not an uncommon occurrence. Check out this map charting the strikes of some of the most dramatic space-to-Earth's-surface events (also called bollide events) in the past decade.  

While we have Philae in mind, this is the 'song' of comet 67P as captured by the Rosetta spacecraft.

Google has confirmed that Google Wallet is on the way out (while uttering curses at PayPal and Apple Pay).

Why does it seem like individuals who actively work to appear contrarian end up looking like one another? Turns out the answer may be hardwired into our brains.

We've talked a bit about autonomous cars and the progress that various companies have made in terms of bringing that concept to mass market reality. While there's no question that such an invention would have a considerable impact on how we think of driving, will it also change the way we consider car ownership in general?

If it's technically possible to write flawless software, why don't we do so?

DRM has been a contentious addition to many games, but, if you own a Keurig, prepare for a dose of it along with your morning coffee.

Unsettling or awesome: a pair of industrial robots that have been programmed to fight one another with katanas?
General Awesomeness/Cosplay/Feats of Nerdery

Archaeologists are in the process of unearthing what may be the largest tomb ever discovered in Greece. While the identity of the tomb's tenet remains unknown, there is the possibility that it could, in fact, be Alexander the Great.

These are some stunning fan-made posters for movie sequels that were never made.

How do you beat Super Mario 64 without jumping once? A lot of practice and detailed notation.

I'll leave you guys with this extremely impressive tutorial/procedural of possibly the most realistic Professor Farnsworth cosplay to grace the interwebs. As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!

Read More

Gias Games: Analogue: A Hate Story

Analogue: A Hate Story is a visual novel created by Christine Love. I played it on Steam. It spawned a sequel, Hate Plus.  I would not call Analogue: A Hate Story a game, it’s an interactive narrative. I won’t get into the whole game/not a game debate right now, but my definition of a game requires a failure state, and there is no way to fail with Analogue: A Hate Story. It’s a strong narrative in the form of an interactive computer terminal, so I feel “interactive narrative” is the appropriate term.

The narrative revolves around a generational space ship, the Mugunghwa, that was lost hundreds of years ago. It was recently rediscovered and you are sent to make contact with the ship to find out what happened. Your ship approaches the generational ship and opens computer communication. Via your computer link with the ship, you access the crew logs to find out what happened to make the ship lose contact and why there is no one alive on board.

The interactive elements are very basic. You can interact with the ship AI to gain access to additional journal entries and logs or you can use the computer interface to try to unlock other information about the ship. The experience is mostly one of reading the story. As you read the journal entries you gain a better understanding of the life and times of the people who lived aboard the ship. It is a very interesting way to peek into the personal thoughts of people, peeling back the veneer of civility they put on and seeing what they really think on the inside. The developer takes the smart and interesting route of staggering the order in which the journal entries are unlocked, which alters and influences how the truth of events are revealed. At some times you see one person’s opinion then that of another person on the same issue, other times you only get to see one side of the story for a while until you have formed an opinion on the issue only to find there are big holes in your understanding of what happened when other entries are revealed. It is a very interesting method of storytelling akin to reading a mosaic-style novel.
My biggest issue with the narrative was that it presented the thoughts and feelings of many people aboard the ship that I felt to be misogynistic and small-minded. The inclusion of said viewpoints was deliberate, as the society living aboard the spaceship is meant to be reflective of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, a period during which women in that country were treated quite brutally. This historical analogue serves as a sharp contrast to the modern-minded protagonist, who is at first bewildered and, at intervals, increasingly frustrated with the attitudes of those around her. I would have felt better about the story if the most egregious offenders with these small-minded views had come to learn the errors of their ways over time. However, I understand that is largely my projection of what I would want from the game, but, as in real life, many people never learn from their mistakes.
In the end, there is massive comeuppance for the denizens of the Mugunghwa. Though some may say it is a bit extreme, it’s largely a matter of opinion. At the end of the story, having read all available entries, I found that I enjoyed getting to peek into the lives and personal thoughts of lots of different people. The most interesting part of the journals is that most entries are from people within the same family. Given this, not only do you get to see the thoughts and feelings of one person about the rest of the family, but then get to see the thoughts and feelings from the other members of the family about that first writer.

The games retails for $9.99 USD on Steam; I purchased it for $1.99 USD during a Steam sale. The main story takes 3 hours to finish, and then entire story and all achievements can be obtained in 6 hours. However, if you just tab through all the entries without reading them, the story can be completed in under 10 minutes, but that would be pointless since the entire point of this interactive narrative is story.

Recommendation: Medium-Low. There is no gameplay, it is only narrative. My main complaint is enjoyment. I did get some enjoyment from the story, but not enough to warrant recommending this narrative. Something to note is that I am completely fine with interactive narratives, and there are a number of them I have quite enjoyed, but I simply did not enjoy this one enough to recommend. It is a decently interesting story, however, I was often frustrated at the viewpoints of some of the journal entries. I cannot recommend the game for its list price of $10 USD. $2 USD would be the most I would suggest paying for this experience, if you decide to try it.
Read More
Newer Posts Older Posts Home