A new podcast in which two writers attempt to develop a film in real time, with no preparation.
Featuring Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal.
Download: Let’s write a film – Episode 2.
I appeared on the Dave Fanning show last Saturday, talking about videogames for Christmas and virtual reality.
Was great to meet the man himself, whose extremely humble and personable as you might expect.
Here are the cliffsnotes…
Christmas Gaming Recommendations
Two new consoles out for Christmas
Both new consoles have HDR – but need 60hrz HDR 4k TV to take full advantage (approx 600 euro minimum)
Xbox One S – 399.00 euro
4k bluray player / HDR, tiny speed boost in GPU and CPU
2TB hard drive
smaller lighter, power unit included
supports Ultra High Definition Blu-Rays
supports Netflix 4k
slightly improved performance on all older games that had frame rate drops
uses less power, but a little louder (still quieter than PS4)
Playstation Pro – 400 euro (1 tb harddrive)
[old PS4 – 299 – 350 (hard disk size dependent)]
4k uprezzing – no 4k bluray
some games slower
double the graphics card
but not a huge upgrade a 1080p
Playstation VR – 399 euro (littlewoods)
+ 60 euro for camera
+ 80 euro for two move controllers
cheapest (fully featured ) VR headset available right now
lets you play regular playstation titles on giant virtual screen
already sold very well, so there’ll be lots of games on the way
social screen multiplayer
VERY IMPORTANT – need to make sure you get a bundle with the playstation camera and move controllers if you don’t have them already
Games I’ve tried – Eve Valkerie (60 euro), Playroom VR (FREE), Rez Infinite (30 euro), Rush of Blood (20 euro), Alumette animation (FREE), Job Simulator (30 euro), Thumper (20 euro), Wayward Sky (20 euro), Tumble VR (10 euro)
Some games better with PS4Pro – Robinson, Rigs, Driveclub
Other VR options
Oculus Rift + controllers (ships Dec 6th) = 941 euro online + needs high end computer
Gear VR = 99 euro + needs high end Samsung phone (Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge)
HTC Vive + controllers = 929 euro + needs high end computer + large play space minimum 5ft by 6.5ft]
There’s also the NES Classic – 65 euro
a tiny console which holds 30 classic NES Games in a box smaller than a NES cartridge
games would normally be around 5 euro each on virtual console (or free if you pirate them on an emulator!)
including classics like Punchout, Caslevania I & II, Super Mario Brothers I to 3, Legenda of Zelda I & II, Megaman 2
Kirbys adventure, Packman, Donkey Kong Jr, Bubble Bobble, Kid Icarus, Tetris, Final Fantasy I to 3, Paperboy
can save games
only one controller with very short cable (around 3 feet), need to reset to try another game
Nintendo fans may want to wait to buy a console – Nintendo switch
not out till March 2017
combines a portable handheld console with a home console
take ‘grown up’ games on the move
Nintendo hoping to take their massive success with portable console (3DS, 2DS, New 3DS XL)
GAMES FOR CHRISTMAS
Grownup Games – Best of the Year
Doom – All Platforms
– fast paced remake of the classic shooter
Fallout 4 – All Platforms
– still going strong – mods now out to Xbox and PS4
– incredibly deep adventure on a post apocalyptic wasteland
– with base building and lots of subgames
– from makers of Skyrim
Dishonoured 2 – All Platforms
– sequel to incredible stealth game
– you’re an assassin with magical powers in a beautiful victorian fantasy steam punk world
Star Wars Battlefront – All Platforms
– fly, shoot and fight in the starwars universe – from makers of Battlefield
– Rogue One DLC on December 6th
– add on to the popular star wars game based on the upcoming movie
Titanfall 2 – All Platforms
– sequel to the popular fast paced mech shooting game
Uncharted 4 – PS4
– latest update to the action adventure series
Inside – all Platforms
– Horrifying platform game
– beautiful puzzles and unrivalled near monochrome art style
– you’re a little boy fleeing from faceless pursuers
The Walking Dead – all Platforms
– series 3 out – dec 20
– adventure game based on the TV series
– Stunningly beautiful puzzle game, reminiscent of myst
Life is strange – All platforms
– beautiful highschool adventure game featuring a time travelling teen
Planet Coater – PC
– rollercoaster tycoon for the 21st century
Forza Horizon 3 – XBOX
– latest edition of the classic racing game
Pro Evo 17 / Fifa 17 – All platforms
– latest edition of the popular football games
The Witness – All platforms
– incredibly deep puzzle game from the maker of Braid
Axiom Verge – Wii U
– beautiful 2d retro adventure game
Severed – Wii U
– first person 2d puzzle adventure game with painterly style
Paper Mario Colour Splash – Wii U
– paper cutout style adventure game mixing classic mario gameplay
Mario Kart 8 – Wii U
– latest edition of the classic series
Super Mario maker – Wii U
– build your own levels based on the classic series
– or play thousands of levels from other people all over the world
A new podcast in which two writers attempt to develop a film in real time, with no preparation.
Featuring Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal.
Download: Let’s Write A Film.
Download: Getting into the Game Documentary
Getting into the game is a new documentary aimed at kids who play games. Video games. Kids who play videogames and wonder maybe, possibly, perhapsily, if they’d like to make them. Growing up I remember getting those magazines full of strange impenetrable symbols that promised – if you could just type the whole book into your computer, without making any mistakes – you’d get a brand new, completely free game. These days games are everywhere, but they’re so damn fancy they can seem impossible to learn how to make.
This documentary will help open the lid, just a crack, to see what lies inside your favourite games. We’ve brought together people from every corner of the industry – artists, coders, indies, musicians, gamejammers, and developers of every age.
Featuring interviews with..
The programme is divided into five segments, each one looking at a different part of making games.
Learning the Art
We visit cutting edge computing research laboratories at DIT and IT Carlow and tour exciting games development technology. Lecturers and students explain the skills students should be building outside the classroom if they’d like to study videogames in college. Students tell us about their love of games and how they got into making their own.
Getting Covered in Jam
At DIT a group called ‘Global Gamecraft’ host ‘game jams’, competitions where anyone (over 18) can help make a game in just a few hours. Game Jams are an excellent way to develop the technical, artistic and collaborative skills sought by the games development industry. Jams are a fun and friendly way for young people to get a taste of game development. We speak to competitors and organisers like Vicky Lee, and provide a glimpse of the excitement and accessibility of ‘homebrew’ game development
Modern videogames simulate exciting and realistic physics. The most impressive game physics ‘middleware’ software in the world comes from an Irish company founded by graduates of Trinity College. Havok are an industry leader employing dozens of artists and programmers. We speak to staff at the company about the day-to-day work of making one of the key technologies underpinning some of the most exciting and popular videogames.
The independent game development community is a thriving segment of the industry. We speak with leading Irish indie developer Terry Cavanagh, creator of hit games like ‘Super Hexagon’, about running his own studio. Terry explains how new distribution methods make it easy for anyone to sell their homemade game on the internet. Independent game development is a part of the industry that is particularly important to present to second level students – since it can be used to develop skills, or even start a business while at school.
We try out virtual reality in the company of Bryan Duggan of DIT, exploring DEEP, the anti-anxiety game from Owen Harris. Deep uses unique breathing sensors, soothing music and a beautiful polygon virtual environment to teach deep breathing relaxation techniques.
We hear from David O’Reilly, animator and creator of fictional videogames for use in Hollywood films. David gives us a glimpse into a self-directed career involving art, graphic design, and filmmaking.
Coder Dojo is a place for kids to learn how to make games, websites, and even robots. Started in County Cork, the Dojo movement has spread worldwide. Amazingly, Coder Dojo events are completely free! If there isn’t a coder dojo in your area, you can even start your own. We meet some of the kids who are making coder dojo the coolest place on earth.
Getting into the game was produced by Dead Medium Productions. The programme was developed, researched and presented by Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal.
All the music and sound effects used in the programme are listed here. Many of them are available for you to use for free in your projects under a creative commons licence. This documentary is available to download and share for free under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence, it can be played in class or emailed to your students. Use it and share it! Go make some games!
World famous radio drama podcast Radio Drama Revival have rebroadcast part of our series ‘The Wall in the Mind‘. Wall in the Mind was a location recorded drama series broadcast on Newstalk earlier this year. The series is moves back in time between contemporary Germany and fall of the Berlin Wall, and follows one woman’s search to resolve a mystery that’s lasted a quarter of a century. The first episode of the show is out now over at Radio Drama Revival, accompanied by an in depth interview with yours truly.
The series starred James O’Connor,Jasmin Gleeson, Dominik Domresonski, Dagmar Baar, Helena Clarke, Janine Dürkop, Sven Moritz, Andrew Harvey Robert Deering and Seb Connellan. Written, directed and edited by Gareth Stack. Sound engineering by Colm Coyne.
Two Summers ago, I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Hearsay Audio Festival. If you haven’t heard of the festival, it’s a unique chance to enjoy the most inventive, avant garde and creative audio from around the world. The festival is also a hella chill break, as it’s held in the bucolic idyll of Kilfinane, Co Limerick. One of the highlights of the first Hearsay was the short doc contest run by Bristol based BBC crew ‘In The Dark‘ (and not just cause I won ;). In The Dark run uniquely joyful listening events in a wonderful variety of locations from crypts to eerie forests . At last years festival they setup a shop full of curiosities, each of which was paired with a story. Visitors plucked an object from the shelf and were passed an MP3 player containing an accompanying story. Mine concerned an urban myth about an underground group of students who got their kicks climbing into tumble driers and experiencing the spin cycle!
AIRPI have invited In the Dark to Dublin, for what promises to be a unique listening even at the Unitarian Church. In The Dark will be playing a selection of stories for the start of winter. Highly recommended!
After a successful first run last month, I’m happy to announce I’ll be hosting another podcast workshop at A4 Sounds October 22nd. The course will cover literally everything you need to know to create, publish, promote and even (should the show become popular beyond your wildest dreams) ‘monitize’ a podcast. The workshop is split evenly between lecture and hands on, and runs a whole day.
Sat 22nd Oct, 10-5pm (with 1 hour for lunch).
A4 Sounds, St Joseph’s Parade, Off Upper Dorset St, Dublin 1
Full details of whats covered can be found at the A4 Sounds website. As we sold out last time, early booking is advisable.
Swiss Army Man – Film Review by Gareth Stack
Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Writers: Dan Kwahttps, Daniel Scheinert
Stars: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Hank (Paul Dano), face crusted with sunburn, bearded and lost like Joaquin Phoenix in I’m Still Here, prepares for suicide. Noosed with rope, perched in the mouth of a laughing cave, he’s all set to end a castaway existence. He spots a body at the water’s edge. Finally companionship! Finding instead a recently deceased corpse (‘Manny’ played by Daniel Radcliffe) Hank begins a self-piteous diatribe. The first of countless fart gags interrupts him, quaking a horrible unlife into the blue skinned, suited carcass. In a flash of inspiration Hank resolves to ride this flatulent flotsam to freedom like a necrotic jet ski. Thus opens one of the strangest and most playful American films in recent memory, the debut feature from music video director…
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Two more grumpy reviews for No More Workhorse.
All horror movies are allegories. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a visceral articulation of the racial turmoil of 1960s America. The Shining is a through-a-mirror-darkly reflection on domestic violence. The Fly examines the dehumanising degradation and social opprobrium of the AIDS crisis. The best of them hold a multiplicity of interpretations, intended and unintended readings alike hidden behind door 237, if we can only find the right key. Too often in contemporary cinema, this higher purpose – the cathexis of our fears and traumas – is abandoned in favour of cheap jump scares and ‘fan service’ re-imaginings. Achieving something that wields the mythic cudgel of fear without becoming crushed under the weight of cliché isn’t easy.
All hail West Texas, land of slick rich quick schemes and rural desperation. Rarely has a crime caper placed such emphasis on the decay of the contemporary American West. ‘Three tours in Iraq but no bailout for people like us’, reads a tag in the opening shots of David Mackenzie’s gritty tragedy. Ben Foster (playing a black sheep Ben Foster type), and a distractingly handsome Chris Pine (playing Josh Brolin from No Country For Old Men) are Hell & High Water: Fiercely affectionate good ol’ bros; authentic American antiheroes who communicate exclusively in brandoesque growls. Everywhere the camera turns, under beautifully expressive plains clouds, ‘Closing Down’ and ‘Debt Relief’ signs war for attention with the ramshackle landscape of White American poverty. This is a land plagued by bush fires, debt and televangelists.
Performed last week for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, with my improv group Tickled by Freaks. It was a lightning tour of just four packed out shows at the City Cafe and the White Horse, Edinburgh’s Oldest Pub. Thanks to total freak Gary Lynch, who let us have the spots in the last two days of his Edinburgh run