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The Last Starfighter Comes to VR TV

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A new TV show adaption based on The Last Starfighter aims to make television’s two dimensions seem very limited. In developing the series to appeal to a new, higher-tech audience, Jonathan R. Betuel, the screenwriter of the original film, wants to shepherd the once state-of-the-art franchise into the realms of virtual reality television.

One of the first films to use CGI extensively, Starfighter follows the adventures of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), a gamer who tops the high score board on the arcade game Starfighter. Following his success, he’s sucked into the heat of an interstellar battle when Centauri (Robert Preston)—the alien being who designed the game to train the ultimate space pilot—recruits him to actually fight the Ko-Dan Armada from the game (how meta!).

With a wild sci-fi adventure plot, the film inspired a generation of gamers, filmmakers, and dreamers alike. In fact, a few big names have attempted to shoot a remake or sequel—most notably by Seth Rogen and Steven Spielberg. All attempts to continue the saga failed up until this point, though, because the film rights were in limbo. Only recently, after realizing the story rights had reverted to him did Butuel tinker with the idea of rehashing the 80’s cult saga in a whole new, mind blowing way.

The series will also feature different characters and story lines from the film. Rather than focusing on the adventures of Rogan, Centauri, or other characters introduced in the film, the television show will follow members of the Star League–the world weary and underwhelmed guardians of law and order in the galaxy–at least according to what Butuel told Variety.

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Take THAT Ko-Dan Armada!

The real buzz around the series goes far beyond nostalgia. When conceptualizing “The Last Starfighter Chronicles,” Butuel began toying with the idea of integrating elements of virtual reality into the show. Coupling with the creators of Surreal.tv, Rick Rey and Andy Vick, he aims to create a new twist on television that lets the viewer take flight amongst the stars and experience the battles of this ragtag band of peacekeepers in a very personal way. Have no fear, though, conventional Web and TV viewers. You’ll still be able to enjoy the show and its cutting edge visual FX in its entirety. But those who are wired for VR will be able to enjoy the full meal deal of this immersive television experience.

If the show continues along the lines of many modern series and films, there will likely be tie-in games, exclusive webcasts, and possibly even exclusively VR episodes that allow the superfan to escape into the show. And while this is merely speculation at this point, the possibilities for a franchised multiverse will be almost limitless, assuming the show’s developers and producers continue to push the envelope–also assuming the series is makes it past the pilot phase. But with such an interesting technological premise and a lot of nostalgia behind it, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see it pop up on either a conventional or online broadcasters in the not to distant future, as the producers are currently shopping for a home.

With a Creative Writing degree in one hand and an endless curiosity in the other, Andy dabbles in many creative fields. He's published blog posts, articles, hotel copy, fiction, and poetry professionally. Currently he dwells in Austin, TX, with his brilliant and understanding fiancee, Kim.

Gaming

Star Wars Outlaws has Ubisoft’s biggest marketing budget ever, and the company expects it to have a strong launch

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Ubisoft is putting everything they have into Star Wars Outlaws, which comes out next month on August 30th for PS5. The fact that the name includes “Star Wars” shouldn’t come as a surprise when you learn that the company is putting a lot of money into marketing the project and thinks it will do very well.

The CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, made the bold claim during the company’s recent earnings call Q&A (thanks, MP1st), though some investors thought it was even more daring than they thought. Based on Ubisoft’s guidance, Nick Dempsey of Barclays came up with a rough estimate of five million units sold and asked if the company was being too cautious. This is what Guillemot said:

“What we expect is for Star Wars Outlaws to have a strong launch.” One reason is that it’s one of the most anticipated games of the year, which shows how positively the community feels about it. Another is that we’re launching the biggest marketing campaign Ubisoft has ever done for a game.

We’d like to know how much Ubisoft spent to market this and what the company expects to get back from it. We had some small worries when we played the game in person at Summer Game Fest, but we’ll keep an eye on things before and after launch.

Are you excited about how soon Star Wars Outlaws will be out? Do you think the game’s supposedly huge marketing budget has an impact on your life? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Geek Culture

Not everyone knows the difference between FM and AM radio yet

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With cell phones and easy access to digital broadcasts, you no longer have to fiddle with your radio and scare yourself when you switch from FM to AM by accident. Rest in peace to anyone who did this with their portable radio while wearing headphones. But what’s the real difference between them?

How does the radio work?
Before you can understand the difference between AM and FM, you need to know how radio stations receive signals. They still use old-fashioned ways to send signals to our stereos.

A station starts with a carrier signal, which is an electromagnetic wave (in this case, a radio wave) with a steady frequency and amplitude. These variables are changed when they play a song or when the host reads the weather report, for example. This adds the new information to the carrier wave.

The big transmitters that are attached to radio stations then send out this newly mixed signal. The receiver on a radio picks it up, uses a demodulator to decode the information, and turns it into sound waves.

What’s the difference?
Knowing what AM stands for gives you a clue about how it works. The amplitude of a wave is its height. To send information, AM stations change the amplitude of the carrier wave.

FM, on the other hand, stands for frequency modulation. As you might have guessed, this means that stations change the frequency of the carrier wave.

FM vs. AM
But is one better than the other? AM and FM are still used today.

People may not want to use AM because of one pretty big problem. Radio waves like those from AM come from many other places, such as power lines, lightning, and even the Sun. Waves can interfere with each other. In this case, the other sources can mess up the carrier signal and change its amplitude.

Because of this, our radios send out a lot of static, which scares the living daylights out of you when you switch to AM just to see what’s going on.

When you listen to an FM radio station, on the other hand, the sound is usually much clearer. This is because the information is stored in changes in frequency, so a little amplitude-changing interference doesn’t really affect the end result. It also helps to have more bandwidth options.

That being said, why do people still use AM radio?

It has a much wider broadcast range than FM because its wavelengths are longer. It can even get through areas with a lot of buildings. Radio is more than just music. AM’s ability to send messages to a large area can be very useful for alerting people to an emergency.

 

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Gaming

Amazon’s great Fallout TV show is nominated for 16 Emmys

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Critics and fans alike went crazy for Amazon’s take on the famous role-playing game series Fallout. There were a lot of nominations for 16 Emmy awards, including Best Actor and Outstanding Drama Series. The show was able to reach audiences outside of gamers and got a lot of attention from the industry.

Eurogamer has been keeping track, and now that all the votes are in, Fallout is tied for fifth place with 23 nominations for the 76th Emmy Awards, which are put on by the US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. With 25, The Bear has the most nominations, followed by True Detective: Night Country with 23, and Shogun with 19.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Walton Goggins is up for Best Actor for his performance as The Ghoul. Although games will always be our first choice, it’s great that adaptations of games don’t have to be awful, and we can’t wait for the next season of the shows.

Are you surprised by how well Amazon’s version of Fallout has done in the mainstream? Is the curse of movies based on video games finally over? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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