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Brent Newhall

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  • What bizarre alternate reality is this?!?

    Time to get out there and get playing!
    #pokemongo #pokemon

  • The best Pokémon story thus far. Awesome!

  • Trying Some Racing Game Key Terms. Are they clear?
    After playing Wolfgang Kramer's Top Race the other day, I'm thinking about racing games again. In Top Race, each card moves several colored cars through the track as far forward as possible. Because you're betting on the race results as well as controlling ...

  • RPG Readers Needed: Comment if interested

    I'm about ready to release my PBP fantasy tabletop RPG, Spaces of the Unknown. I need readers who will review the document for overall structure, making sure I didn't miss any important rules or explain anything poorly.

    If you're interested, please comment below. In return, you get the game before anyone else.

    (Photo source: )

  • On this day:
    At 16th July of 1988, the animated movie "Akira" debuted in theaters. "Akira" is regarded by many critics as a landmark anime film, one that influenced much of the art in the anime world that followed its release with many illustrators in the manga industry citing the film as an important influence.

    In 1988, Western audiences hadn't really acknowledged Japanese animation, despite the popularity of the Gundam franchise. Even so, that didn't stop the creation of one of the most acclaimed anime films to date - 'Akira'.

    It could be said that 'Akira' is the greatest anime of all time. Many people have said it, and upon watching it, it could well be. The story is deep, complex, and thought-provoking, the voice acting (both English and Japanese) is superb, the animation is beyond beautiful, and it really shows the power animation can give a film maker.

    'Akira' stands as not only a landmark in Japanese animation, but a landmark for film making in general. It was written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto and based on Otomo's manga of the same name, focusing mainly on the first half of the story.

    Set in a dystopian Neo-Tokyo in 2019, and while the government is trying to re-build after World War III, the film revolves around biker Tetsuo Shima (Nozomu Sasaki Japanese, Jan Rabson English) and his psychic powers and the biker gang member Shotaro Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata/Cam Clarke), who tries to prevent Tetsuo from releasing the dangerous psychic Akira. Tetsuo, after discovering these powers, goes mad with power, and tries to release Akira once again. It’s up to Kaneda and fellow rebel Kei (Mami Koyama/Lara Cody) to stop Tetsuo from potentially destroying the world.

    At no point is Akira a casual watch. The sheer ruthlessness of the violence is very disturbing, although Akira handles it very well. It only has extreme violence when necessary (even though it’s necessary very often) and it isn’t gratuitous in any way. The abusive police are difficult to watch, although it helps the viewer sympathise with the criminals and the rebels, and it takes a special kind of film to do that.

    Also, the very twisted climax is not for anyone who is squeamish, as the gore and gross imagery are very, very extreme. If anyone ever says to you that violence is not as disturbing in animation as in live-action, show them this. Right after Spawn: The Animated Series.

    'Akira' is one of the first films to have it’s subject matter extreme psychic powers. Since then, there have been plenty of films about powers that can manipulate anything, and are on a terrifyingly huge level. They were psychic powers in films before, but none on this scale. No anime film since has looked as good as 'Akira'.

    The set pieces are beautiful, and its cinematography is absolutely fantastic. The voice-acting is also very good, with this being one of the few films where the English dub is just as good as the original. Although the ending is slightly bitter-sweet, it gives that uplifting feeling that only comes after watching a truly great film.

    While 'Ghost in the Shell' failed to popularise the anime genre to Western audiences, 'Akira' did introduce a lot of people to a lesser child-oriented form of animation, and with it came the path for other anime to be introduced to Western audiences; 'Perfect Blue', 'Evangelion' and even 'Ghost in the Shell'. It's one of the best classic anime to have been released, and still holds a lot of meaning to anyone around the world.

    #AKIRA #80sMovies #Movies
    #Anime #Manga #AnimatedFilm
    #SciFi #SciFiFilm #Animation
    #ActionFilm #AnimatedSciFiFilm
    #Onthisday #MovieReview

  • Here's an idea that needs to be spread far and wide in the +Pokémon GO community...

  • There's a small park in my town, about 50 feet by 150 feet. I went out walking last night and noticed four Poké Stops with lure modules attached in the park, and headed over. As I neared, I heard the sounds of laughter and conversation. The photos show you what I saw.

    There were a good 60 people there, all playing Pokémon Go. It was amazing.

    #pokemon #pokemongo

  • Print a copy of the Juno spacecraft and impress your friends!

    #3dprinting #juno #nasa

  • Nice! Combine this with Orion's Gate ( and you have a make-at-home space combat miniatures game. h/t +Joe England for noticing this and making the connection.

  • 3D printing used to train bomb disposal experts

    Pity the bomb disposal unit. How do you know what a particular bomb will look like, other than referring to an often blurry picture? Bombs generally don't survive to be documented.

    Enter 3D printing, where physical models of bombs can be printed and used in reference and training.

    Brilliant, and it saves lives.


  • Nintendo to re-release NES as mini console with HDMI output, preloaded with 30 classic games

  • Check out a PBP tabletop RPG played on Google Spaces (lessons learned below)

    I started this game 2 months ago, and we just finished the adventure. Now, you can access it and see how the game went.

    We started out using the Searchers of the Unknown rules, which I then converted to my upcoming Spaces of the Unknown system.

    A few things I learned:

    * Give players real-world deadlines for responding.
    * Put as much as possible into the GM's hands. We ended up just leaving all the rolling to the GM. Dramatically speeds up play, and it lets the players focus on role-playing.
    * Find as many abstractions as you can. Because of the pace of online play, it's much harder to remember all the loot you have, ongoing bonuses, stats that need to be updated, etc. I chose Searchers because it gives players relatively few stats.

  • All of the Amazon Dash buttons are $0.99 today and you get a $4.99 credit on your first push.

    Also, Prime Day (the internet's biggest yard sale!) is tomorrow - now's the perfect time to sign up for a 30 Amazon Prime trial!

  • +James Spahn: Down time at House Ratatoskr?

  • OK, what happens when robo cars are common? Jan Chipchase has some good ideas about the second order effects.

  • At the beginning of the year, I posted that I was taking a different tack with “New Year’s Resolutions.” Now that the year’s half over, I’m checking in with my progress. It’s not going as well as I’d hoped, but more about that later.

    I split my “resolutions” in two pieces: things I wanted to make, and habits I wanted to change.

    The Making

    I listed 12 things I want to make in 2016, from electronics projects to writing a novel. I’ve only completed 4 of them. That’s unfortunate, though maybe I bit off more than I could chew.

    The good news is that I’ve made a heat shroud for one my 3D printers, a Raspberry Pi-based temperature and humidity sensor for hiking (not perfect, but it pulls data and uploads it), an electronics workbench in a portable box, and a set of 3D printed props for a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons game (some terrain pieces and a miniature skull).

    I want to make a secret bookcase door, a pinball machine, a comic book, an Android app for one of my tabletop RPGs, an arcade cocktail table, a water feature for my garden, a VPN for accessing my video files on the road, and I want to finish writing a novel. In fairness, I finished the first draft of that novel earlier this year, but I know it needs a complete rewrite.

    And yeah, looking at this list, most of these are pretty big projects. Well, I’ll keep them on the list for now and see what happens.

    The Habits

    I identified 6 habits I wanted to change, and instead of tackling all of them, I spread them out throughout the year, giving myself 2 months to change each habit. This would give enough time for the new habit to sink in.

    In January and February, I focused on my finances. I’d gotten pretty deeply into debt between my last job and this one, which was stressful. I knew I needed to be better, but I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know what was the biggest problem. I needed a clear picture of my finances.

    So I went to the library and checked out every personal finance book they had, and read them all. Every single one. Granted, a few of them I only needed to skim, once I recognized that they had the exact same advice as other books. In any event, I then followed some practical advice:

    I created a spreadsheet that listed my current balance for every credit card, loan, mortgage, retirement account, etc. For credit cards, I also listed its interest rate. I then sorted the credit cards by interest rate, and started paying off the ones with the highest interest rate.

    (I actually paid off a few cards with small balances, just to get them off my chest and get a sense of accomplishment. That helped a lot.)

    I also set up a savings account and automatic deductions out of every paycheck (for immediate emergencies like car repairs where I’d need the money immediately), and I pumped up my retirement contributions.

    In March and April, I focused on my speech. Those who’ve met me personally know that I speak extremely fast and slur my words. I originally planned to meet with a speech therapist, until I happened on an old book, a college-level primer on public speaking written in the 1870’s. Even better, while the first quarter of the book contains solid advice and examples for practically every aspect of speech, the last three-quarters consists entirely of poems, speeches, articles, and short story extracts. I spent 10 minutes a day reading aloud from that primer, and it’s helped significantly. I’m still inconsistent in doing it every day, but I’m getting better.

    I spent May and June limiting my time on the computer. This is not a Luddite desire. After really looking at how I spend my time, I realized that a lot of my wasted time in the week comes not just from getting on the computer, but from mindlessly staying on the computer, watching the fifteenth video of car crashes or reading the twenty-fifth Wikipedia article on carnivorous plants.

    So I’ve established two habits: 1) get off the computer at 9:00pm at night. That still gives me a couple of hours on the computer, but not late at night when it tends to interfere with my sleep. 2) avoid the computer on Sundays. That gives me large chunks of time to go hiking, work in the garden, cook, and do other stuff around the house. It’s surprisingly refreshing.

    So, thus far, things are going pretty well. I need to focus more on making more stuff, though.

    (Photo credit: )

  • Something new from Achilles in Athens, Greece. #StreetArt #Graffiti #Mural