New Dune Movie

One of my favourite books has a new movie coming out next year, that would be Frank Herbert’s Dune.

As per Wikipedia:

Dune is a 1965 science-fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. It tied with Roger Zelazny‘s This Immortal for the Hugo Award in 1966,[2] and it won the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel.[3] It is the first instalment of the Dune saga, and in 2003 it was cited as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.[4][5]

Set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which various noble houses control planetary fiefs, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. While the planet is an inhospitable and sparsely populated desert wasteland, it is the only source of melange, or “the spice,” a drug that extends life and enhances mental abilities. Melange is also necessary for space navigation, which requires a kind of multidimensional awareness and foresight that only the drug provides.[6] As melange can only be produced on Arrakis, control of the planet is thus a coveted and dangerous undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.

There was a previous movie done by David Lynch in 1984, but that one was a disappointment and Sci Fi TV mini series which wasn’t too bad considering the budget.

Denis Villeneueve‘s Dune off its December release date and will unveil the epic sci-fi movie on Oct. 1, 2021, Collider has exclusively learned.

The big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s iconic novel boasts an all-star ensemble including Timothée ChalametZendayaOscar IsaacRebecca FergusonJosh BrolinDave BautistaJason MomoaStellan Skarsgård and Oscar winner Javier Bardem.

We will have to wait and see how this one turns out.

Microsoft Acquire Zenimax (inc Bethesda)

Iconic games portfolio, publishing expertise, and world-class talent accelerates growth in Microsoft’s Gaming business

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — More than three billion people on the planet play games for fun, escape, and human connection. Unlike any other medium, games empower people to engage in creativity, strategic thinking and teamwork, immersing them into interactive stories and worlds created by some of the world’s most amazing creators. The cultural phenomenon of gaming has made it the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment in the world—an industry that is expected to be more than $200 billion in annual revenue in 2021. 

As the gaming industry transforms from a device-centric era to a player-centric era powered by new technology that provides the freedom to play with friends anywhere on any device, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Monday announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest, privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout among many others, Bethesda brings an impressive portfolio of games, technology, talent, as well as a track record of blockbuster commercial success, to Xbox. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.

With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft’s gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.

“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”

“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft. “Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox.”

The planned acquisition includes publishing offices and development studios spanning the globe with over 2,300 employees, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. Bethesda’s critically acclaimed and best-selling franchises include The Elder ScrollsFalloutDOOMQuakeWolfenstein, and Dishonored, among others.

Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman; Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place.

“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together,” said Altman. “The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review. Microsoft expects the acquisition to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021 and to have minimal impact to non-GAAP operating income in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. Non-GAAP excludes the expected impact of purchase accounting adjustments, as well as integration and transaction-related expenses.

For more information, please visit the blog post from Phil Spencer, EVP Gaming at Microsoft. Find related imagery here. For broadcast quality b-roll, please contact [email protected].

Cyberpunk 2077 : Night City Wire Episode 3

During the third episode of Night City Wire, CD PROJEKT RED premiered new video featurettes discussing select aspects of the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, including the game’s world and gangs.

Postcards from Night City is all about presenting never-before-seen locations and new personalities from the world of Cyberpunk 2077, along with extra slices of lore behind the most vivid and dangerous metropolis of the dark future.

Watch the Postcards from Night City video

Gangs of Night City profiles some of the most notorious groups operating within and beyond the city walls whom players will be making deals with, fighting against, or both in order to survive.

Watch the Gangs of Night City video

Closing off Night City Wire’s third episode was a special segment focusing on the grand finale of the official Cyberpunk 2077 PC modding contest, showcasing the participants’ creations and announcing the winners.

Watch the Cyber-up Your PC — Contest Finale videoCyberpunk 2077 will release November 19th, 2020, for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with the version for Google Stadia set to launch the same year. The game will also be playable on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles when available. At a later date, a free upgrade to Cyberpunk 2077, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware, will become available for owners of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions respectively.

For more information regarding the game, follow FacebookTwitter, and visit Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative-driven, open world RPG set in the most vibrant and dangerous metropolis of the future — Night City. The game follows the story of V, a hired gun on the rise in a world of cyberenhanced street warriors, tech-savvy netrunners and corporate life-hackers. Featuring CD PROJEKT RED’s hallmark concept of choices and consequences, players will face difficult decisions that ripple through the entire game. Winner of over 200 awards, Cyberpunk 2077 is set in the universe of the classic pen & paper RPG system, Cyberpunk 2020.

CD PROJEKT RED is a game development studio founded in 2002. It develops and publishes video games for personal computers and video game consoles. The studio’s flagship titles include The Witcher series of games, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, GWENT: The Witcher Card Game and the upcoming futuristic AAA role-playing game — Cyberpunk 2077. Together with GOG.COM, a game store offering hand-picked titles for PC and Mac, CD PROJEKT RED is part of the CD PROJEKT Capital Group. CD PROJEKT S.A. is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (ISIN: PLOPTTC00011).

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Lower Decks just released last week, to be honest I didn’t have high hopes for this series.,Considering how average Discovery and Picard have been so far.

But after watching the first two episodes, I have to say that it is not the train wreck I thought it would be. Created by Mike McMahan who served as a writer and producer on Rick and Morty, so far it has been very frantic but also quite amusing in places.

It references a lot of other Star Trek shows, but I do like it so far as it is positive take on Star Trek again, unlike Discovery and Picard which are both grim dark shows.

I will watch this season and report back on the whole season once completed.

Lego Osprey – Why so much ?

Lego recently shipped a new Technics set to retailers – however have since recalled as many as they can……. the set – LEGO Technic 42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Helicopter.

Why ?

Because its “war/weapon” related – Lego has a policy of not releasing realistic war/weapon related items. Which is great to keep the image clean.

But somehow this one slipped through, because it is marketed as a Search and Rescue vehicle – however many anti-war groups have complained causing Lego to recall the sets.

For stock which is already in storerooms of retailers, they will be able to sell the set – we just wouldn’t be shipping any more copies.

For sets in our warehouses, we are currently working through our plans for the sets and will explore ways to reduce waste and reuse elements – that AFOLs are interested in them has been raised!

So of course, Lego collectors quickly hit the streets to find as many of these sets in stores as they could.

Now, because New Zealand is the “first” to see each calendar day, they were shipped stock of these sets, due to be released August 1st. But due to the recall etc, stores that had stock put them on the shelves early.

Retail pricing is $260NZD.

They are now being sold on TradeMe (NZ’s version of Ebay) for $1000NZD+ with a few being listed at $2000.

Now thanks to a good friend, I’ve managed to obtain one of the sets at retail pricing but the question is, do I flog it off while the craze is fresh, or hold it and maybe in a year or more, it will be worth even more….. ?

Who knows to be honest. Its actually quite a cool set, so I may just hold onto it and one day, build it….

So if you see one of these sets in a toy store for $200 odd, grab it, it’ll be worth it.

“Get off the line…..”

Are you old enough to remember the good old BBS days ? If so the title above would ring some bells.

I honestly cannot remember how old I was when I got into BBS’s, but had my Amiga 500+ with a USR Courier 14.4k modem, and loved it.

The ability to ring a (usually) local number and communicate with other users from all around the globe (via message networks) was fascinating to me, and after a few months of visiting a number of Auckland based BBS’s, I decided to start my own.

With the help from a local BBS sysop (Cannot remember his name, but the BBS was “Central Suburbs”, based in Onehunga IIRC), I got my own BBS up and running – from 3 floppy drives.

880k per disc.

Disc 1 was the main BBS and door games (door = plugin)

Disc 2 was the message base

Disc 3 was a few handy files for download

The name of the BBS : Syndicate X

Syndicate being one of my favorite Amiga games, and the “X” from my handle, “XPD” (which as you can tell, stuck).

I ran the BBS in the above form for about 3 months, and surprisingly, it was very popular. The message bases and door games were obviously the most active.

Eventually I was asked by users where I kept the real files – I was honest and said that was it.

But I soon obtained a Commodore A590 Hard drive unit with a 120MB SCSI drive and 1MB of Fast RAM. “Ooooooo, ahhhhh”

I now had the ability to put a real file system for the BBS into play.

Things progressed as time went by – more users, more calls = dedicated line for 24/7 operation. I upgraded to a GVP A530 hard drive and RAM unit, upping the speed and RAM of the system hugely. 33.6k modems came to an affordable price, so faster transfers were now possible. And eventually a 56k Dynalink modem an appearance.

I had the BBS running extremely well, with some great doors to add functionality to the system.

Then one day things started to change….

BBS call numbers started dropping, message networks started going quiet, and file transfers almost became non-existent .

The “consumer” internet had arrived.

I knew what the internet was, didn’t think it would take off the way it did.

IRC replaced chats, newsgroups/forums took over message nets, and files could be obtained anywhere.

So I tried to change with the times, got on the internet myself, and rebooted the BBS as Amiga Unlimited, with files from the internet being downloaded and made available locally, saving some users on time limited internet plans their internet time. I also put a CD ROM online with Aminet CD’s sourced from Amiga Auckland.

I had some dedicated users that still called every day, but more for a chat than anything.

I eventually pulled the plug on the BBS.

Even to this day, I still bump into some of the old users on various social media platforms, “hey did you run a BBS years ago ?”

At least I no longer get paged by new users….

“Hey, do you have warez……”

Lost and Found : Sim Refinery

If you’re over the age of 40, and a gamer, you will know the name “Maxis” and the “Sim” series of games….

Recently someone uploaded a prototype copy of a “lost/forgotten” Sim game, Sim Refinery to – as the name suggests, its an oil refinery simulator.

After a short time, it was removed by the original uploader – cold feet at the attention maybe ? But by then, 20’000 users had downloaded it, and one of them uploaded it again.

Can read the full story here

I have since grabbed it before it vanishes again. So if you want to check it out, feel free to grab it. from the link below.

There may be some other goodies there as well……..


Valorant – Is is any good?

Valorant is a new games just released by Riot Games, who are best known for League of Legends.

I installed this game the other day out of interest, it was free and is only about 4GB in size.

So what is it like you may ask? Well imagine Counter Strike crossed with a little bit of Overwatch. What I mean is this game is Counter Strike but with different graphics and it contains hero abilities which you can utilitise.

Saying that the Hero abilities don’t decide the games that much, your abilities to shoot and aim do, the abilities are nice but are the be and end all.

I think this game is OK, I liked CS but I wouldnt call this revolutionary at at all, if you are looking for something new to play then go for it. But don’t expect to be blown away by the game play.

When I was playing there were already some excellent players on line, but If you have a good aim at DPS games (I do not) then you will be good at this game.

Verdict: Play it to have a look and if you are bored.

Like A Storm : New song and updates

Like a Storm have released a new song to some fans via email in the last 48 hours, and gave a sneak preview of the lyrics video for the song today during a Zoom session.

While I cannot link/offer the MP3 or video at this time (hey, they asked us not to), I can let you know its a mellow and uplifting track compared to tracks found on Catacombs.

Chris and Matt came up with the main melody while in their grandparents car that they had borrowed, travelling between Taupo and Auckland. New Zealand is an inspiring place, regardless what part of the country you’re in, and what you’re doing.

For those that are wondering, the guys are still writing and recording while they wait out the Covid quarantines/lockdowns happening globally.

They are wanting to finish the NZ tour that they started with Black Smoke Trigger all those weeks ago, and Kent has even alluded to restarting the NZ tour – which would be AWESOME – If I can get the time off work to follow them….again.

Anyway, fingers crossed they can start the tour again soon.