Pokemon With My Mother

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My mother recently retired from twelve years as a teacher and had to find some way to spend her time. For most of my younger years, she spent her time teaching me, but when I graduated from high school and entered college, she was left with a great deal of free time. Currently I’m off from school for the summer, so both of us have time to do things that we’ve wanted to do for years. One of the things we get to do is play games, and I taught her to play the Pokémon card game.

In the evenings you can often find my mother and me at the dining table, with the play-mat spread with colorful cards, and us trying to keep the cat away. My mother somehow manages to beat me almost every game, even though she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She barely knows anything about Pokémon, but she plays and has fun anyway. The game is simple: Each Pokémon has a set of attacks and a number of hit points. If the attack is directed at one card, take away all the hit points, and the card is out of play. Pokémon become stronger by “evolving” or adding a card of the creature’s next stage. This evolution gives it new attacks and more hit points.

250px-672SkiddoMy favorite Pokémon is Skiddo, which looks like a goat. My mom doesn’t have a favorite, although she seems to use a lot of bug types that doom my Pokémon with poison attacks. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, but if it were fair, there would be no challenge and no fun to playing. Life is much the same- if nothing were hard, there would be nothing to learn and no reason to grow. Just like when a Pokémon reaches a new stage and gains new skills, as we grow we learn and are given the tools we need to face the challenges life throws at us.

It’s fun to sit and play a game with someone you love, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Sometimes our games are short; sometimes we play long into the night. Pokémon is a fun game for people of all ages. It’s not too hard to learn to play and can be a great experience for families. I enjoy playing the video games too, but mom doesn’t play those. I’m going to miss playing games with mom when summer ends and I’m under piles of homework. I’m a history major, a subject that I love, but sometimes I wish I could run off and train Pokémon. Until science makes that possible, however, we’re just going to play the card game and enjoy the time we share together.

The Book Was Better

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Have you ever heard that? Of course you have. You should be aware that I am a huge fan of fiction. I have enjoyed every form of storytelling from the earliest verbal traditions all the way to modern films on Blu-ray. My last post discussed the plot twists and unexpected elements in stories, and I spoke of how I am personally more entertained by those elements versus when the action unfolds predictably. In that vein, I have delved deeper to try to understand why some stories have fallen into what is expected. I have also considered why when it comes to movies, so many fans of the author seem disappointed when comparing the writing to the film.Harry Potter Movie

My best answer for that can be summed up in trying to understand the complexity of the endeavor. I like to write, and when I do I only have myself to account to. Of course, if my work becomes published I may be challenged by the readers, but as long as I don’t plagiarize, my work is ultimately solely my own and I am fully responsible. Move past that point to a collaboration, and things become more complicated. I and my sources may be asked to justify why the writing went in certain directions. Writing is by no means easy, and “good” writing is subjective, but the ownership is limited to one or perhaps a few individuals. Film production is far more complicated.

When your favorite book is put on screen, the writing itself must be made into a screenplay. What parts are kept, left out, or changed? I think the changes are a big part of why some readers don’t endorse the movie. There is producer, director, actors and various stage hands. Have you sat through the credits at the end of a film? The bigger the budget, the longer the list. Was the author involved? How many opinions were considered from each individual on the production?

I must admit that I have been disappointed by the movie version of certain books, but I usually try to respect the effort. Some books are frankly too intricate to translate on the screen in a single movie. I have noticed many books being split into two or three movies to tell the story more accurately. Some authors use so much detail and such a wide base of characters that only a series would tell the story. Many of my favorite comic book characters are now shown on both the large and small screen for that reason. Often new stories are developed for established characters and legends. It is impossible to please everyone, but if you find yourself unhappy with the films and subsequent portrayals of your favorite written fiction, I suggest you stick with the book. There are a lot of people who do. Just make sure you save time for all that reading!

For the fans of fiction,
~ Chuck

The Story of 3twins: Part 1

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As we close in on the launch of our first video game, Of Mages & Pages: Teento’s Revenge, I’m going begin a new blog series about the history of 3twins.net. With this series I hope to bring you all up to speed on the origins of our company and how we got to where we are today.

It’s a tricky thing to start at the beginning of this story because it’s hard to determine exactly when it actually began. On paper Three Twins Productions officially became a company in May of 2005, but its roots go much further back in time to the original iterations of stories written by Jason, Andy, and me that would go on to become, or at least highly influence, the stories we’re telling today. So I’ll begin with the story that had the most influence in the creation of 3twins: Star Fetched.

Star Fetched got its start as a feature length movie script written by Jason and titled Star Flick: The Motion Sickness. It was a parody of Star Trek as well as many other sci-fi shows and movies. Jason came up with the concept and started writing the script in 1999 when he was a student at Word of Life Bible Institute. The movie focused on the crew of the Galactic Starship Fleet ship The Carletta: Jonas English, Speck, Phillip the Bluian, Holo-Doc 3000 (HD3K), Nurse Candy Steeple, and Cornelius the monkey. Forced to find themselves a new captain and unable to find a suitable one in their own time, the crew traveled back to the past, abducted FBI agent Mark T Bragg, and utilized CARTH (Captain Artificial Reality Training Helmet) to transform him into their leader. The ship, however, was followed back in time by a crew of Remesians who were out for revenge after the destruction of their home world.

With help from Andy and me, Loq'che7.1Jason completed the script and cast all of the roles. We even began making costumes and figuring out how we’d build sets. But, ultimately, we realized the project would be a bit too daunting for us to pull off the way we had envisioned, so we decided to scale back, with the intention of teaching ourselves everything we’d need to know to make the film along the way. That scaling back process eventually led to launching 3twins.net. More on that next time!

NEW BATMOBILE!!!!!!!!!

New Batmobile is a Beast!

Hello All,

Steven Ware here. I have been a total Batman-o-phile since my early youth (Long and beautiful story concerning that…but for another time), and the one “wonderful Toy” that I am always “geeked” to see, in whatever the newest incarnation of the Dark Knight is, is the car affectionately known as the Batmobile.

After growing up with the Lincoln Futura version, driven by the venerable Adam West in the campy 60’s Batman TV show and movie, a chill went down my spine when I saw Tim Burton’s fantastic Art Deco version in the 1989 film. That same thrill turned to bewilderment and then disgust with the Shumacher neon-grotesque versions in the neon-grotesque Batman Forever and Batman and Robin twin awfulness movies.

But then came the Nolan films and that beautifully brutal Tumbler….so battle ready!

So I was anxious to see the newest version of the Caped Crusader’s Wheels in The Batman V. Superman / Suicide Squad iteration…and I was not disappointed. Retaining a bit of the Deco styling of the Burton films, yet diving headlong into the militaristic, armored, massive tire Nolan approach, this car is, in no uncertain terms, a BEAST!!!! And I love it!!!!! If the movie proves as powerful as this ride, we will be in for quite a fun ride come 2016!!!!

If you would like to see this incredible machine for yourself, check out these links:

New Batmobile Is a Monster

Batman vs Superman

205-mph Beast

 

From LEGO worlds to LEGO Worlds

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In the world of video games, LEGO has been very busy lately. The company has just released LEGO Jurassic World as the next installment of the many properties to get the Lego treatment. What started with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game in 2005,  developed by Traveler’s Tales, has turned into a world rich with diversity–from Star Wars to Indiana Jones; from Harry Potter to The Lord of the Rings, wizards, Jedi, and super heroes as far as the eye can see. With this release of LEGO Jurassic World, the tapestry of the LEGO world is enriched yet again, but that isn’t all there is this. Now, alongside the normal installment, another game was released. This one is LEGO’s attempt at joining the Minecraft craze, LEGO Worlds.Lego_Worlds

The new release of LEGO Worlds uses the concept of a sandbox style, blocks-building game and adds the ability to build with LEGOs. The game is available on early access from Steam, and works in much the same way as other games in the genre. You start the game as an explorer mini-figure. The controls and gameplay is very similar to the other Traveler’s Tales LEGO games, in that you can gain monetary studs by breaking objects throughout the world. You can use these studs to buy new vehicles; my favorite so far is a fire-breathing dragon, and mini-figures to use as your characters. So far, I have seen a caveman, cavewoman, dark wizard, and zombie, among others. I am sure there will be many more to come, since this is early access and more will be added as time gets closer to the actual release.

Being able to build a virtual world with LEGOs is an experience that, with more fine-tuning, will be a lot of fun. For me, the actual block building part of Minecraft was secondary to the crafting and mining. If LEGO Worlds can recreate that as well as make the LEGO building an exciting experience, this just might be better than Minecraft, though time will tell. In the meantime, I will be using the early access to have fun and create the LEGO world I want in LEGO Worlds.

Redesigning Gidju the Dragon

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Gidju1a  IMAG0186 GidjuvGIDJU

    The first image on the left is the very first concept of Gidju the Dragon for a 3twins animated cartoon that at the time was then going to be  called Midieville Tymes.  This is an example of my art, which is to say no real art at all, since it is literally an amalgam of several clip art images I cobbled together with my limited knowledge of Microsoft Paint at the time (and I was using a Windows 98 Computer, if that sheds some light onto how limited the tools were).

The second image is the final image of Gidju the dragon we ended up using for our cartoon shorts, which were renamed Midieville.

As we began to work on the design for the puzzle game Of Mages & Pages: Teento’s Revenge we started to rethink the design of Gidju.  Famed Hatman & Indigo illustrator S. LaDon Ware started with some chibi designs (one shown from a top/down angle to the left), but it soon became clear that our loyal comic relief would need to undergo some changes if he was going to represent “green” for the gameplay.

Our first thought was to just make him a green dragon, maybe with purple spots, but that felt like it would have ended up making him come across as a completely different character, so instead we decided the better option would be to increase the green on him and also soften his features a bit, namely remove his spikes and teeth.

As you can see in the image below, after several sketches, in-game designs, and iterations, the final version of Gidju is a bit of a departure from his previous form.  However, I think that our purple dragon friend looks better than ever in the newest image depicting the four main heroes of our game!

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~Jason

“Jurassic World” Roars into Theaters and Breaks Box-office Records

Jurassic World Premier

They’re BACK! Bigger, louder, meaner, scarier, and more realistic than ever! Welcome to Jurassic World, the ultimate theme park, where Mother Nature takes no prisoners!

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, under the tutelage of executive producer Steven Spielberg, Jurassic World is the fourth in a series of films based upon author Michael Crichton’s tales of what could possibly happen if dinosaurs were ever brought back from extinction and once again roamed the planet Earth; and if opening weekend box-office receipts are any indication ($511.8 million worldwide), Jurassic World promises to be the summer blockbuster of 2015, if not the highest grossing film of all time.

Jurassic World Scene 2It’s been 22 years since our first cinematic glimpse of Crichton’s imaginary world when Jurassic Park premiered and thrilled audiences around the globe. And, since Hollywood recognized a good thing (meaning profitable), sequels were soon to follow: The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997 and Jurassic Park III in 2001. Now, just when you thought it was safe to venture back into a theme park, here comes Jurassic World roaring onto the big screen. And roar it does, thanks mainly to the significant improvements in special-effects technology since the original movie premiered. In fact, the dinosaurs in this film look so real you expect them at any moment to stampede from the screen and devour everyone in the audience, not to mention their popcorn and Raisinets.

Jurassic World SceneBrief Synopsis of Jurassic World

Jurassic World is a luxury resort/vacation destination—think cross between Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Busch Gardens—that offers excursions and thrill rides through a lush primeval setting populated with, of course, dinosaurs. The park also has a dinosaur petting zoo for children (Would you let your child pet a dinosaur? Would you pet one?). As for the plot-line, let it suffice for me to say that it isn’t nice to mess with Mother Nature. As you can well imagine, given her volatile temperament, things go horribly awry on this island paradise, yet if they didn’t, the movie franchise wouldn’t be so popular, now would it? After all, audiences want to be frightened, thrilled, and amazed, and I personally guarantee that you will experience all three emotions when you see Jurassic World. So don’t miss it.

Jurassic World Scene 3Rating: PG 13 (parents strongly cautioned; make be too intense for younger children)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg

Cast:
• Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, ex-military animal control expert
• Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, park operations manager
• Nick Robinson as Zach Mitchell, Claire’s older nephew and Gray’s brother.
• Ty Simpkins as Gray Mitchell, Claire’s younger nephew and brother of Zach
• Vincent D’Onofrio as Vic Hoskins, head of security
• Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, CEO of the Masrani Corporation and owner of Jurassic World.
• Omar Sy as Barry, animal trainer who cares for Owen’s Velociraptors
• B. D. Wong, as Dr. Henry Wu, chief geneticist and head of the team that engineered development of dinosaurs for Jurassic Park.
• Jake Johnson as Lowery Cruthers, the park’s tech-operator.
• Lauren Lapkus as Vivian, an employee in the park’s control room
• Brian Tee as Katashi Hamada, leader of the ACU (Asset Containment Unit), a group of security guards installed on the island.
• Katie McGrath as Zara Young, Claire’s personal assistant.
• Judy Greer as Karen Mitchell, Claire’s sister and mother of Zach and Gray.
• Andy Buckley as Scott Mitchell, Karen’s husband and father of Zach and Gray.
• James DuMont as Hal Osterly, a wealthy businessman.
• Jimmy Buffet as Jimmy Buffet
• Jimmy Fallon as Jimmy Fallon

 

Note: All images from movie.web.com

Playmation – The Mouse Makes Game Play Real!

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Greetings all,

Leave it to the innovative minds at Disney (are they still called “Imagineers”?) to come up with a new twist on interactive game play. The new Playmation video gaming system makes your living environment a key player in the game play. Letting the player use a couch, chair, as well as physical movements, to interact with the game play is the next step in gaming (IMHO), if not a revolutionary concept in bringing us one step closer to seamlessly integrating the physical and virtual worlds into one.

Check out the attached article, and let your mind marvel at the possibilities this innovation could hold. It may be the closest thing that this generation has to building couch forts and playing hide-and-go-seek…except they will do it with Hulk Hands, Repulsor Rays, and (soon) light sabers!

Artists Everywhere!

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It is amazing how much an artist’s work contributes to the production of everything around us, from personal artistic projects to works of art hanging in a gallery or the first sketches of someone’s idea that becomes a marketable product, building, or home.

An artist’s professional career can be generalized under two main categories of success: individual and corporate. These career choices are a determining factor in what type of recognition their artwork will bring them. Most dream of getting their art work in a major gallery and obtaining a place among society as a…and so forth.

Artists who fall under the individual category retain the rights to their artwork, and because they do, they flourish with any achievements or successes gained from their artwork. An artist’s name becomes the brand, and the art its product, so that when one grows so does the other.

alyssa-monks-art-8Alyssa Monks is a perfect example. When she’s not teaching art at Montclair State University or New York Academy of Art, this hyper-realist spends as much time as she can in her studio oil painting portraits and figures on huge stretched linen canvases. She completes an average of three paintings a month and is a three time winner of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for painting. She’s had featured solo shows in California and New York and has work on display at David Klein Gallery in Michigan and Hespe Gallery in San Francisco.

Unlike scenic artists Dale Haugo and Gunnar Ahmer, Alyssa Monks’ amazing body of work continues to elevate her name and stature as an artist among the public.5119806125_507efbee58_z
Alyssa-Monks-01Those artists who fall under the corporate heading forgo any rights to their artwork. Companies like Disney specifically hire artists for their skills, so any artwork completed by the artists for the company is attributed to that company name. This kind of success is not defined by popularity but by the stability and whatever perks come from within the company walls. Contract positions are a large market for professional artists. The terms are the same when it comes to credit, but some of the best artwork can be seen in the movie industry.

large_sdnq7Kwti0XLev71rjWYKCEIvvODale Haugo was the lead scenic artist in the 1998 film What Dreams May Come, a movie that is rich with phenomenal artwork. Like most movies, this one has the usual special effects and CG art, but the artists went several steps further by actually creating a body of large scale paintings numerous enough to fill a small sized gallery.

Artist and visual effects supervisor Kevin goes above and beyond by visually creating a world within the scenic art.

 

LR-2WDMC-maries-worldThese types of artists are okay with never becoming a popular name among the public but have a strong sense of self-achievement when whatever project they are working on is completed. Gunnar Ahmer, Charles Kern, Robert L. Peden, Tom Richardson, and Stephen McNally are the remaining scenic team in What Dreams May Come.

 

Dreams-6~Michael

 

Give it a try!

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There’s a chance you’ll hear a graduation speech or two around this time of year. While not a guarantee, chances are high that speakers will offer something resembling the following commonsense advice on how to succeed in life:

Set a goal + Work toward that goal + Don’t quit = Success

There’s just one thing that most speakers leave out of the formula. Something very significant that every person who’s ever done anything with his or her life has hopefully figured out. So what is it?

Simply stated it is this: Attempt = Success

Say what now?

Never-Never-Never-Never-Give-up-Winston-Churchill-quoteWe get so caught up in the idea of success being “down the road” that we don’t stop to realize that the simple act of trying to do something is actually more important than the endgame. Regardless of what you’re doing, the “doing” is itself a courageous act that makes you already 100% more successful than those who fail ever to try anything at all.

If you’re working toward a goal, every step forward or backward is success, because at least you’re trying. The end result is just the icing on the cake.

So go out and try something (like making a video game!)