New York Comic Con’s best and most important panels are about comics. Shocking, I know. These panels can cover comic characters, the philosophy behind comics, and sometimes even the future of comics. And that’s why I’m here, to tell you about the future of Marvel comics, specifically some stories readers might want to look forward to. Now, I can’t exactly spoil everything, but here’s a short list and summary of some comics Marvel readers might want to pick up in the Marvel Legacy line:
Iron Fist #74 — Sabretooth: Round Two
What’s Sabretooth doing in an Iron Fist comic? Isn’t he supposed to be an X-Men villain, specifically Wolverine’s rival? Well, it might surprise you to learn that Sabretooth actually first appeared in Iron First #14. So guess what that means? He and Iron Fist aren’t exactly the best of friends, but that won’t stop Iron Fist from needing Sabretooth’s help. Expect bar fights, mystical books, and maybe a gun or two.
Daredevil #595 — Mayor Fisk
Wilson Fisk, aka. The Kingpin, might be Daredevil’s archenemy, but that doesn’t mean Fisk doesn’t love New York City. Sure, he has some weird ways of trying to help the city, but Fisk’s heart is in the right place. At least, that’s what he believes; Fisk is, after all, a “the ends justify the means” sort of person, which makes him all the more dangerous when he is elected mayor. Now Fisk can do anything he wants, especially anything that makes life difficult for Daredevil, and as mayor Fisk is practically untouchable, especially from Daredevil’s vigilante brand of justice. This issue asks what happens when the Kingpin become the King, and the answer is nothing good.
The Punisher #218 — Punisher: War Machine
Sometimes heroes need an upgrade, but not all heroes know how to use this upgrade with restraint. Some, like Frank Castle, aka. The Punisher, want an upgrade to be less restrained. That’s exactly why Castle now has the War Machine armor: so he can have enough firepower to go up against an army. Because that’s what he plans to do. Which army, you may ask? Well that, my friend, you’ll have to read to find out.
The Punisher: The Platoon #2
We all know that what happened to Frank Castle during the Vietnam War turned him into the man he is today, but we don’t exactly know what happened to him in Vietnam. Well, it’s about time we found out. Not only will readers meet the men under Castle’s command, but also his first enemy. Will he survive? Of course he will. The question you should be asking, though, is how will he survive.
In the long-awaited third issue in the Runaways story, the characters reunite in a “get the band back together” story. But it’s not all fun and games, because they will be faced with a dilemma, one we never could have predicted: will the Runaways remain runaways?
Guardians of the Galaxy #146: Infinity Quest
The Nova Corps have been sabotaged from within, and the only way to save the Corps is for the Guardians to join them. Also, an Infinity Stone might be involved. Oh, and now Ant Man is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s not all, because this issue begins a story that culminates in issue #150 with the return of two important characters, one of whom is Adam Warock.
Can’t reveal much about this comic, but ask yourself one question: what happens when someone steals and combines the DNA of Wolverine and The Hulk? You get Weapon H, i.e., Hulk with retractable claws. It’s an idea as awesome as a pterodactyl with rocket boosters, but right now that’s all we know.
These are only a few of the comics Marvel fans should look forward to in the coming months. I can’t wait to see what Marvel has in store for next year.
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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