As the dulcet days of summer come to a close, TV executives are hard at work scraping together shows for the fall premiere season—seeking to outdo the interesting and inventive programs now streaming straight into our laptops and phones. So far, a few offerings have managed to pique our interests. Here are a few fresh fall TV shows that might just make it worth reconnecting with good old television.
After a run of surprisingly good television, the CW is at it again—and with zombies or at least zombie-like situations no less. Okay, “Containment” actually has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with those nasty little viruses everyone worries about causing an epidemic. Premiering midseason next fall, each episode will follow a character through a day in their life and a day in the life of the epidemic. With such a dark subject matter, it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll bear witness to humanity at its ugliest and most depraved—and likely its best as well.
The Bastard Executioner (FX)
Between “The Tudors,” and “Game of Thrones,” the bloody gates of history, as well as sword and debauchery, have been flung wide open, so to speak. And with hundreds of years of history to cannibalize, TV execs must by frothing at the mouth. In this medieval tale, a soldier from King Edward’s forces vows to lay down his sword, until the Welsh Madog ap Llywelyn Rebellion (here’s the history part) pushes him into becoming an executioner. Plenty of swords, death, blood, and Katy Sagal are set to follow when heads roll for “Bastard” in October.
Heroes Reborn (NBC)
Fans of this cancelled Jane and John Doe gone X-Men rejoice. The mundane to mighty superheroes return—at least in miniseries form—with a new set of characters. This time the action centers on a mysterious disaster in Odessa, Texas. Much like the X-Men series this show bears homage to at times, the government is quick to blame super-powered individuals, causing a pariah scenario where the would be Heroes must escape into the woodwork. Look for the renovated “Heroes” on September 24th.
Scream Queens (Fox)
This is an interesting television recipe. Take the guys who created “Glee” and “American Horror Story” (quite the unusual filigree), add a pinch of scream queen legend Jamie Lee Curtis, a dash of Hollywood dynast Emma Roberts, a snarky snit of Niecy Nash, season heavily with ’80s slasher conventions, add sizable dose of the Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme, and you have “Scream Queens.” The show centers on a college campus, specifically at a sorority where a series of murder took place 20 years ago. When the body count begins anew (on September 22nd), administrators, Greek ladies, and their hapless love interests must scramble to figure out whodunit. And in a fun little twist, the show promises to kill off a major character every episode.
Look up in the sky: It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s an attempt to cash in on some of that trending superhero money. Actually, in this case, hopefully it’s also a vindication of one of the more underwhelmingly represented superheroes in the DC canon and a step towards better gender representation in the comic book world. Debuting October 26th, the show promises a far superior take on Supergirl than the previous incarnations, which tended to be kitschy and hokey. Portrayed by Melissa Benoist, this “Supergirl” finds a reluctant Kara Zor-El nee Danvers as a reluctant superhero, dealing with being a super-empowered woman in the modern world. The producers also tease about possible crossovers with “The Flash” and “Arrow.”
Ash Vs Evil Dead (Starz)
If you’re a fan of the Evil Dead films, this one is probably a no-brainer. But for those little goodie two-shoes among the film-going audience (and this is a reference, not an insult) who haven’t experienced the hilarious carnage of the series you’re in for a treat. Expect lots of wisecracks from Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) and his merry band of demon hunters. Also expect gallons upon gallons of grue, Sam Raimi’s stylized camera assault, and unrelenting undead-trouncing action when “Ash Vs Evil Dead” rears its white-eyed head on Halloween.
Gaming models are created by Auctoria using generative AI
Aleksander Caban, co-founder of Polish VR game developer Carbon Studio, noticed a major problem in modern game design several years ago. He manually created rocks, hills, paths, and other video game environment elements, which was time-consuming and laborious.
Caban created tech to automate the process.
In collaboration with Michal Bugała, Joanna Zając, Karolina Koszuta, and Błażej Szaflik, he founded Auctoria, an AI-powered platform for creating 3D game assets. Auctoria, from Gliwice, Poland, is in Startup Battlefield 200 at Disrupt 2023.
Auctoria was founded on a passion for limitless creativity, according to Zając in an email interview. It was designed to help game developers, but anyone can use it. Few advanced tools exist for professionals; most are for hobbyists and amateurs. We want to change that.”
Using generative AI, Auctoria creates various video game models. One feature generates basic 3D game levels with pathways, while another converts uploaded images and textures of walls, floors, and columns into 3D versions.
Like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney, Auctoria can generate assets from text prompts. Or they can submit a sketch, which the platform will try to turn into a digital model.
All AI algorithms and training data for Auctoria were developed in-house, according to Zając.
She said “Auctoria is based 100% on our content, so we’re not dependent on any other provider.” It’s independent—Auctoria doesn’t use open source or external engines.
In the emerging market for AI game asset generation tools, Auctoria isn’t alone. The 3DFY, Scenario, Kaedim, Mirage, and Hypothetic startups create 3D models. Even Nvidia and Autodesk are entering the space with apps like Get3D, which converts images to 3D models, and ClipForge, which generates models from text descriptions.
Meta also tried tech to create 3D assets from prompts. In December, OpenAI released Point-E, an AI that synthesizes 3D models for 3D printing, game design, and animation.
Given the size of the opportunity, the race to market new solutions isn’t surprising. According to Proficient Market Insights, 3D models could be worth $3.57 billion by 2028.
According to Zając, Auctoria’s two-year R&D cycle has led to a more robust and comprehensive toolset than rivals.
“Currently, AI-based software is lacking for creating complete 3D world models,” Zając stated. “3D editors and plugins offer only a fraction of Auctoria’s capabilities. Our team started developing the tool two years ago, giving us a ready-to-use product.”
Auctoria, like all generative AI startups, must deal with AI-generated media legal issues. Not yet clear how AI-generated works can be copyrighted in the U.S.
However, the Auctoria team of seven employees and five co-founders is delaying answering those questions. Instead, they’re piloting the tooling with game development studios like Caban’s Carbon Studio.
Before releasing Auctoria in the coming months, the company hopes to raise $5 million to “speed up the process” of creating back-end cloud services to scale the platform.
Zając stated that the funding would reduce the computing time required for creating worlds or 3D models with Auctoria. Achieving a software-as-a-service model requires both infrastructure and user experience enhancements, such as a simple UI, excellent customer service, and effective marketing. We’ll keep our core team small, but we’ll hire more by year’s end.”
Syphon Filter on PlayStation Plus Premium: Dark Mirror and Ape Academy 2 Have Awards
Even though trophy support for older games on PS Plus Premium isn’t always great, you can always count on Sony’s first-party games to have it.If you like collecting these digital trinkets, you’re in luck, because today’s big PlayStation Plus update includes two classic games that can now be used to earn Trophies.
Each trophy list for Ape Academy 2 and Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror includes the platinum cherry on top. You can look at their respective listings here and here if you’re interested.
The list for Dark Mirror appears to be quite simple—you can basically earn them all by finishing the game. The trophies in Ape Academy 2 appear to be a little more complicated, requiring you to complete particular objectives in card battles and advance to specified rankings. Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem too difficult, so we’re looking at a couple of quite simple platinums.
Ridge Racer: Type 4 is this month’s other premium classic game; sadly, it does not offer trophies. But it makes up for it by being a complete banger.
However, will you be obtaining some of these trophies with a nostalgic flavor?
Beautiful New Book Teaches About the Art of Horizon Forbidden West
This year, Sony produced some truly outstanding work, releasing four high-profile games on the PS5 and PS4 (not to mention the numerous PC ports). The earliest of these, Horizon Forbidden West, arrived in February of 2022 and got the year off to a strong start. One of Aloy’s sophomore journey’s greatest strengths, among the many other things we like about it, is its excellent art direction. The Art of Horizon Forbidden West allows you to now delve deeply into the game’s visuals.
This coffee table book, which was published by Dark Horse Books, contains 200 pages of concept art and developer commentary. It provides an inside look at the process used to develop engaging characters and settings, and Forbidden West is certainly not lacking in either.
There will be two editions of the book: standard and deluxe. Both are hardback books, with the deluxe edition having pages with metallic edges and a unique slipcase. These are now up for pre-order and will go on sale on April 25, 2023.
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