For my weekly segment on KISW FM. I look at the coming X-Files revival and Star Trek: Beyond which recently had a media day.
The crew talk about Doctor Who and various TV news on BJ Shea’s Geek Nation From BJ Shea’s Morning Experience on KISW FM.
For my weekly segment on KISW FM. I look at the coming X-Files revival and Star Trek: Beyond which recently had a media day.
The crew talk about Doctor Who and various TV news on BJ Shea’s Geek Nation From BJ Shea’s Morning Experience on KISW FM.
October 2, 2015 — Tune in for an exclusive Galactic News Network (GNN) broadcast to get a first look at Master of Orion’s campaign in action. Let the quirky, robotic GNN anchors be your interstellar guides with a breaking news report on the fearsome Sakkra and the ancient and intelligent Psilon Quanta.
As the broadcast continues, discover how various game mechanics will function, as each galactic news segment details everything from interstellar warfare to specialized research to diplomatic negotiations with other races. During this exclusive exploration, learn more of the potential dangers lurking in the star lanes, whether they be battles against malevolent forces or encounters with other races whose intentions are always in question.
Check out the Master of Orion video here:
Master of Orion is a modern rebirth of the critically acclaimed sci-fi strategy game. The forerunner of the influential “4X” style of gameplay, Master of Orion captured the imagination of gamers around the world. Its deep, strategic gameplay offered numerous ways to win—through brute force, diplomacy or resource domination.
Developed by Argentine-based NGD Studios and with key members from the original title’s team, Master of Orion stays true to its renowned 4X gameplay.
Enhanced visuals, built from the ground up, breathe new life into the vast galaxy available to explore and conquer, as well as give new personality to the many races which call it home. Players can expect a revamped user interface, an orchestral score from the original game’s composer, voiceovers by well-known actors, new user tutorials, and more to deliver a classic yet fresh experience to one of gaming’s most respected franchises.
Master of Orion builds on the iconic 4X gameplay of explore, expand, exploit and exterminate that the original game pioneered. This reimagined title stays true to its legacy, delivering on the promise of deep strategy, hard fought battles, diplomacy, and exploration—all with a healthy dash of humor.
Players can expect a fresh set of unique races, each offering different styles of play, thousands of ever-changing galaxies to discover, hundreds of unique technologies, dozens of ships waiting to be tested and a variety of structures to aid in their galactic conquests.
(The site was hit with a theme hack recently so we are using a basic theme while we repair and restore and should be fixed up in a few days).
Recently I got to speak with Keith Allan who plays Murphy on the hit SyFy series Z-Nation. Keith was kind enough to talk to us about what to expect in the remainder of Season 2, what is to come, Pie Girl, and that Zombie makeup.
Your character has undergone a real transformation this year both physically and emotionally, how much do you see this evolving over the course of the season and series?
Quite a bit actually. The more the plot progresses Murphy’s evolution becomes central to the Z Nation story. He’s a regular guy whose been thrown into this extraordinary circumstance and the interesting thing for me is how he deals with his new strength and not only physically but ethically. When you take the down trodden and give them the ultimate power, what happens? Thats where I think Z Nation really stands out in this genre by asking in a way we haven’t seen before.
Your character still has his “me first” ways but has shown compassion and sympathy toward others at times. Do you see this as always being there or being manifested by his situation?
I think Murphy’s soft side will always be there. It’s how much he denies it that’s interesting. He wants to be a bad ass but it’s his not a position he’s been in before. I think once you’ve been on the bottom you are always going to have some empathy for those that are still there. That’s part of why he is on team Zombie. Everyone hates zombies…fears them. Murphy keeps asking the question “What if you’re wrong”?
How difficult has the makeup process been for you as the character has changed?
First let me give props to Synapse Effects who does ALL the make-up for the show. All of the zombies, the dead bodies laying on the ground, the exploding heads, the gross guts, the new types of zombies and the beauty make-up on the pretty people. They do it all. This season my make-up was more extensive since I’m now an awesome blue color. It’s about 2 hours every day with two people painting me just to do my hands and face…5 hours if we do the whole scars effect on my chest. It’s a ton of work with about 11 different layers of color going into it.
What have been some of your favorite scenes and what have been some of the more challenging ones?
It’s the apocalypse….they’re all challenging. The locations can be just amazingly disgusting and filthy. Half of the time your running around, covered in blood and wearing 3 layers of leather and it’s 110 degrees outside. It’s a tuff show….not for wimps. I have a lot of favorite scenes. One of my favorites was from season 1 where I got to proclaim myself The Zombie messiah!! One of the hardest was in episode 2 of this season where I land in a swimming pool full of writhing zombies. Dozens of zombies and myself covered in blood and guts in a dirty old hotel swimming pool. Good times.
Who is the biggest cut up on set?
Boy thats hard…we all have our moments. We do laugh a lot and give each other shit all the time. I’m pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. It will all depend on the scene and how intense it is. We all have a respect for the scene and what is about to happen so we pick our moments.
Where would you like to see the character go moving forward and have you and the writers discussed this, especially when and if you get to California?
Well they have broad ideas of what happens over the course of the entire series but I’d like to see Murphy get more and more powerful. I want to see his star rise and for him to be a force to be dealt with. It’s payback time.
How did you get into acting and what would you say was your big break?
I’ve been acting since I was able to. I took drama in high school and haven’t stopped. I’ve always loved the art of acting and the people you meet. It’s very therapeutic for me. You learn a lot about yourself by playing someone else. Z Nation is probably the biggest break for me as far as exposure. I’ve done lots of fun theatre and smaller roles on TV that most people might never have seen… but Z Nation is allowing me to showcase my skills to a much broader audience then ever before.
What attracted you to the part and are you a fan of the genre?
I’ve always loved the horror and scfi genres. Me and my theatre buds in high school would go to the drive in movies ( anybody remember those?) and see all the fun scary horror movies and scream and laugh…so much fun. As far as my Z Nation character goes I didn’t know a lot about it while I was auditioning for it. Truly what drew me to it was the fact that I needed a job and it was a paying gig. But from the outset I could see that Murphy was definitely a character I could tackle. I got his vibe right out the gate.
How was your experience at San Diego Comic Con this year as it seemed like the fans were thrilled to see you all and hear more about the characters and show.
Comic Con was a blast. Exhausting…but a blast. I was filming till about 3:30 that morning then flew in to that giant monster …The Con. The fans were fantastic. So enthusiastic and supportive. It’s a thrill to have been acting for so long and to suddenly have people super jazzed for you and the work you are putting out there. Amazing feeling.
Will your characters “Mail Fraud” be explored more and I am sure Jr will as well.
We touch on my criminal history a bit in season 2 but for the most part the show stays in the present. The apocalypse is where all the action is baby! As far as my baby goes…yup you will see my spawn. Adorably creepy and ready for a fight. I would not want to mess with this baby.
Do you see a battle for affection coming up between Pie Lady and Cassandra?
Yea it’s tough having two super crazy women wanting a piece of you. But what can I say…I’m a psycho chick magnet.
What do you like to do in your free time?
What’s that? I truly just finished filming season 2 over the past 6 months so I have to figure out what to do.
I love nature!! Hiking, biking, getting out on the water, camping. I also love going to theatre and the movies…love it. I’m also working on developing a film called “Hearts Like Fists” that I did as a play in Los Angeles….I want to see that project take off…super fun.
Anything coming up between seasons we can look forward to seeing you in?
Well nothing yet. I’m going to be doing a few conventions over the next few months. Walker Stalker in Atlanta is the first one. There is also a cool film I was in going around the festival circut now called ‘Kill Me Deadly” which is a lot of fun. Check out my website www.keithallanactor.com for updates. There are also links to some of my short films I’ve directed which I think you would enjoy….they are fun and messed up!!
For the crew of the Ares III, their mission to Mars is the stuff of legend. Not only have them successfully landed on Mars but have established a pre-fab community for the Astronauts to live and work during a 30 day mission to the Red Planet.
Their mission is cut short when a severe storm appears suddenly and forces the crew to abandon their base for their escape vehicle as they cannot afford to have their only way home toppled in a storm.
While preparing for their rapid departure, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck with a piece of debris and left for dead by his crew when his monitors fail to show any signs of life. Despite their best efforts, the low visibility and severe storm, compounded with the lack of vitals or ability to find his body, the crew reluctantly lifts off leaving Mark’s remains on the surface.
Mark however has survived, as the debris destroyed his monitors and left him injured, but very much alive and alone on the surface of Mars. Since he was struck by the radio dish, he has no way to contact N.A.SA. and his crew to inform them he is alive.
Mark sets out to address how to grow food on the planet and to make sure he has enough air, water, and food to last until the next manned mission is due in a few years. The fact that the landing site for the mission is a longer distance than his vehicle is capable is a problem Mark figures he will have time to address, as is his need to contact those on Earth.
What follows is a visually stunning, well-paced, and very well performed film with a terrific ensemble cast. The real star is Damon as he has to carry large parts of the film by himself and is utterly compelling at every step.
Director Ridley Scott clearly is inspired by the source material based on the book of the same name, and never lets his impressive visuals overshadow the human drama of the film and the very real characters.
I was very impressed by the film, enough so to say that “The Martian” is one of the best films of the year and may indeed be a candidate for the Oscars. Check out this film, you will not be disappointed.
4.5 stars out of 5.
By Sasha Glenn
Based on the novel by Andy Weir, “The Martian” tells the story of a man who becomes stranded in desolation on Mars and his ensuing battle to stay alive.
After a storm breaks out on Mars, a NASA mission is forced to abort. In the chaos of escape, crew member Watney (Matt Damon) is believed to be dead and gets left behind.
With just enough supplies to begin the task of survival, Watney embarks on an impossible seeming mission.
The psychological aspects of the film are a mixed bag, at times seeming a bit unrealistic.
A calm and logical scientist, Watney begins tackling one problem at a time. Slightly unsettling is the delay, or complete lack of “space madness.” He doesn’t really go into a panic the way one would imagine a person alone on an alien planet with no escape route would. It’s possible this lends itself to creating a more realistic image of such a scenario, rather than playing into expectations previously set in film.
However, Watney even goes so far as to make light of the situation in his video logs. The comedy element is really enjoyable, but it’s a bit odd that he has so much humor while in peril.
At times the scenes are slow moving and tend to drag on a bit. This element of monotony actually falls in line with what the lone crew member is experiencing.
It is a well-balanced film, with just enough moments of action and suspense. It spares the audience of the drama which normally accompanies films about missions into space.
It isn’t full of sappy tear jerking scenes. Nothing is sensationalized. Even the soundtrack is very well done and not overbearing.
The graphics are absolutely stunning, but what really makes this a great sci-fi is the immense amount of thought that was put into scientific accuracy.
Weir and Director Ridley Scott worked collaboratively with James L. Green, Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA to strive for a realistic depiction of survival on Mars.
A long awaited for quality sci-fi, fans of the genre will breathe a sigh of relief. I give “The Martian” 4.5 out of 5 stars.
You may have noticed the basic look of the site, well someone thought they would be cute and try to hack it, so we took the main theme down to add in some features. So, until we restore the old one or do a new one, this is the look for the next few days.
Word is that Halo 5 will not have split screen gameplay, well the folks at Skreens have a fix for that as you can see below.
What is Skreens?
PlayStation ® Launches New Partnership with AEG Live’s Theater in NYC’s Iconic Destination
NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Times Square’s 2,150-capacity concert and special events venue has officially been renamed PlayStation®Theater, it was announced today by Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC. (SCEA) and AEG Live. Formerly known as Best Buy Theater, the venue celebrates its 10th anniversary this Fall having hosted 1,368 events and sold 1.7 million tickets since its grand opening on September 19, 2005. Artists that have played at the theater include Bon Jovi, The Eagles, John Legend, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, Drake, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Prince, Tom Jones, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and Phil Lesh & Friends who had an historic 14 night run at the venue in 2008.
The 45,000-square foot theater has also hosted special events such as Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, Good Morning America concert series performances by Janet Jackson and Usher, Bruce Springsteen’s Gateway Schools Benefit, MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert honoring Pete Townshend and Bill Curbishley, ESPN and Nickelodeon upfronts in addition to being the home of the annual Heisman Trophy presentation since 2005.
The strategic partnership, negotiated by AEG Global Partnerships and SCEA will include the rebranding of all of the Theater’s interior and exterior signage, including the iconic Times Square marquee, live performances on PlayStation Network, experiential marketing initiatives, and VIP hospitality opportunities.
“As a leader in global entertainment, PlayStation is the perfect partner for a venue centrally located at the ‘crossroads of the world,'” said Mark Shulman, Vice President and General Manager of AEG Live. “As the live music experience evolves, it’s important to AEG Live to stay ahead of technology and trends, and as many of our younger fans are gamers as well, we are excited for the possibilities at PlayStation Theater.”
“PlayStation Theater is an exceptionally exciting initiative, allowing us to marry our tremendous brand momentum with an amazing venue right in the heart of Times Square,” said John Koller, Vice President, Marketing at PlayStation. “We believe the PlayStation brand should be deeply integrated with large cultural events, and this partnership provides that opportunity. We are looking forward to exploring significant cultural moments at PlayStation Theater.”
“PlayStation Theater, located at the epicenter of live entertainment, is the perfect venue for PlayStation to show their latest products,” said Andrew Klein, Sr. Vice President, AEG Global Partnerships. “We are excited to work with a global leader to launch the new PlayStation Theater, a venue proven to be one of the industry’s greatest destinations for live entertainment.”
The Fall 2015 line-up at PlayStation Theater continues to bring an eclectic mix of shows to the Times Square stage with acts that include Billboard Latin Music “New Artist of the Year” award-winner J Balvin with pop star Becky G, a run of shows by rising comedian Bo Burnham, rock band Circa Survive, The Misfits, genre-bending producer/DJ Parov Stelar, rap group Cypress Hill’s annual “Haunted Hill,” country singer Cole Swindell, and three nights with heavy metal band King Diamond performing their classic album Abigail in its entirety.
PlayStation®Theater, formerly known as Best Buy Theater, is the premier concert and events venue in New York’s iconic destination. The 2150-capacity concert space centrally located in the heart of Times Square is an innovative, multi-use theater that can be transformed to accommodate a wide array of events including live television and web broadcasts, live recordings, award shows and cocktail receptions. Developed and operated by AEG Live, the nation’s second largest concert promotion and touring company, PlayStation Theater has been a host to a variety of performers since its grand opening as NOKIA Theatre Times Square including Bon Jovi, The Eagles, John Legend, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, Drake, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Prince, Tom Jones, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and Phil Lesh & Friends who had an historic 14 night run at the venue in 2008.
Mike Mayhall has worked on some of the biggest films in town – Olympus Has Fallen, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Looper.. the list goes on. His directorial debut, Jake’s Road, is the opposite – a small, intimate thriller… and not surprisingly, it whips the pants off so many of those blockbusters Mayhall has been a stuntman on. Seems keeping it simple still works.
Tell me how the film came about, sir?
I started to focus on Jake’s Road when I moved from Los Angeles back to New Orleans. I wanted to do a thriller and horror movie, because I just love the genre. But, I wanted it to be intelligent and suspenseful, rather than hack and slash. Go for the slow burn, then let it kicks to high gear! I also wanted it to have personal meaning beyond the story.
I spent many of my younger days at my stepfather’s hunting cabin out in the backwoods of Folsom, LA. A place simply called, ‘The Camp’. It sits on 250 acres of land next to a small stream and is ideal for a horror movie. It’s a place where your imagination can run wild. It was the site of some epic parties. It was an escape from the everyday and was filled with so many wild tales of the unexplainable that they bordered on supernatural.
It was also the birthplace of an old campfire story about a hired hand, named Jake, who went crazy one night and took revenge on the former owners of The Camp. So, I guess you could say Jake’s Road is one half my twisted imagination and one half stories and events from my youth.
But, the story of Jake’s Road is so much more than that. All that is just the back drop. It’s got some great acting, some fun action and twists that are just soul crushing.
Considering your background doing stunt work in thrillers and action movies, was making your own thriller-actioner a given?
I’d be lying if I said no. I wanted to do a film that held a bit of personal meaning (centered around The Camp), but could play to a larger audience. At the same time what really interests m as a director and writer is the story and the characters. That’s where my focus went. For Jake’s Road I wanted you to really like the characters. So, when I started bumping them off you really felt for them. You didn’t want them to die. You wanted them to live and fight back … of course the fact that I do stunts didn’t hurt when we were shooting some of the fight scenes.
Being so busy, how long did it take you to complete the script?
Not long at all to actually write it. When I get an idea in my head i usually start note taking. I keep playing the idea and concept over and over again in my brain until a story starts to take shape. Once that happens I sit down and let it all pour out. Once its on paper it because about polishing and setting the story.
Did it change much over time? Anything that was added or lost?
The script changed over and over as I challenged myself to make it better. Sometimes it would change the day of filming because, based on the previous day of filming, I came up with a better idea.
If anything I tend to over write. So we had to cut some scenes and combine others. Most of it revolved about the middle of the film when you we’re getting to know the characters.
What do you think it was about the film that appealed to the great Eric Roberts?
He told me honestly. The story and characters. In one way if you step back Jake’s Road is a thriller horror film about a group of friends that go into the woods and bad things happen. Sounds really familiar right? What set’s it a part (other than a twist you won’t see coming) is the characters and the their story. It raises it to a higher level and I think Eric saw that. He was great. Totally brought his ‘A’ game for Jake’s Road. One of our producers had worked with him and got my script into his hands. He loved it and the next thing you know I am working with him. It was awesome!!
And you yourself are in the movie, too. Was that always the plan.. to act in it, too?
Yes. I love acting. It’s my first love.
You’ve done a couple of Gerard Butler movies – which is awesome. How did that come about? Are you his go-to guy now?
I wish I was his go to guy. As a stunt man you develop relationships with the stunt coordinators. And, its they who hire you. Sometimes you don’t get to even meet the star and sometime you two get to hang out and become friends. At the end of the day it’s a work place. And as mush as I would love to go up to Gerard and starting talking movies … he there to do a job and a big one at that. I have to respect that.
Who do you prefer to work with : Bruce Willis or Gerard Butler?
Both … both of them are great guys and total professionals.
Fans of the 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) turn-based genre may remember a Kickstarter project from a few years back called StarDrive. The idea was similar to games such as Civilization, but with galactic conquest in mind. Explore the stars! Parley with space bears! It was an ambitious effort, and they delivered on their product with decent reviews.
Their sophomore effort, StarDrive 2, continues this ambitious work. I’ve spent many hours trying to wrap my brain around all the little details in this game, and it… is intense.
At first glance, StarDrive 2 seems to be a rather standard civilization sim, but players will quickly see just how detailed the game can become. There are no regular “turns” in the game; everything moves at the same speed once you’ve selected all your upcoming actions. So while in essence you do take turns, the galaxy moves as a whole. Players begin with a home planet and a very small number of ships. Your specific solar system is randomly generated, and it’s entirely up to you how you’d like to proceed.
Players can opt to focus more on warships, exploration, or technology so that you can sit around at home. If you research technological advancements, you’ll receive assorted perks – stronger ships, or perhaps more abundant food for your planets.
It goes further than just planet and colony management, however. Fleets of ships can end up in massive space battles, which of course mean that you’ll want the latest guns and gadgets for your fighters. You can manage your ships’ payloads for optimal performance, or just let them fly and hope for the best.
Sometimes the fight will be taken to the ground, where you’ll get to control a small skirmish team to victory or defeat on land. Compared to the rest of the game, this is the only section that seems to be traditionally turn-based. Move your troops, knock out some soldiers, pass the turn.
What really made this game stand out to me were the colorful mercenaries who pass through your empire looking for work. My particular favorite was “Rambowl,” who… well… was Rambo, except an owl. The leaders of other factions and races are similarly quirky. You’ll find werewolf people, cthulu monsters and zerg-like hive minds that are REALLY insistent that you want to give them all your planets in exchange for nothing.
This unfortunately leads me to my one major qualm with the title. No matter which play-style you choose, one thing is certain; there is going to be some angry, aggressive alien faction who will flood your homeland with an impossible amount of warships just a short while after you begin your journey. With the default game settings, the AI seemed to be out for blood, and somehow always seemed to have quadruple the funds, manpower and hostility that I had at any given time. Although I had many great options at my disposal for diplomacy research, technology and expansion, I could never actually use any of them because I was too busy building a billion warships for self defense. Players who wish to play a pacifist are going to run into some trouble.
The bright side to this is that you can manually tweak just about everything about your map when you begin a new game, including players and number of solar systems.
To be perfectly clear, I am absolutely enjoying myself when I play this game, I can’t help but feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’m consistently bombarded by baddies, but the stubborn spirit in me refuses to turn down the game difficulty. If these are the defaults, they’re pretty rough defaults. Still, nobody ever said that conquering the galaxy was an easy task.
StarDrive 2 is currently available via Steam for Mac and PC at $29.99.
What can we expect to see aside from a new campaign in TTK?
There’s a new Campaign, an overhauled end game with new difficult questlines for players looking for a thumbskill challenge soloable end game, brand new Strikes, our biggest Raid yet, new PVP modes, new Public Event-type, the Court of Oryx, all-new Exotic weapons, piles of Quests and a whole bunch of secrets for players to uncover on our new Destination, the Dreadnaught.
What is the background and setting for The Taken King?
At the beginning of the Taken King, players discover a Solar System under assault. A Hive King has brought a massive fleet into our solar system, headed by his capital ship – the Dreadnaught (our new Destination). The Awoken, defenders of the outer systems rush out to meet this Fleet and meet a fate of their own.
This King’s brought an army with him – the Taken – and these Taken are now spreading around our solar system assaulting it. We, the Guardians of the Last City, have to stop this plague, but the only we know how is to take down the King, the Taken King. But first, we have to figure out a way onto his ship…
What new weapons and vehicles will be in place?
We have a bunch of new Exotic weapons and armor for Guardians to chase for. A couple of standouts are: A Sword players will go on a quest to craft and a Fusion Rifle meets Rail Gun prototype for them to scavenge the wild to put the pieces of a long-lost puzzle together to use.
What new abilities will be available for players?
We’ve built three brand new subclasses for players. Warlocks will get to wield the power of the Storm with the Stormcaller – a Lightning channeling force on the battlefield. Hunters can use their cunning and smarts to join the Nightstalkers, Hunters who’ve embraced the Void and use the deadly Shadowshot super to bind their foes together. Last and definitely not least is the Sunbreaker Titan. These Titans summon and throw flaming hammers and ignite the world.
With such a growing a rich Universe, how do you decide what items to include and when?
It’s a balancing act between pushing the overall Destiny narrative arc forward and reacting to the behaviors and adventures of our incredible community. The Taken King tries to straddle this line. We’re telling the continuation of a Hive story arc that started in DLC1: The Dark Below when Guardians killed a powerful Hive ruler, Crota.
Well, our Taken King – Oryx – is Crota’s father, and his response (arriving in our Solar System with vengeance on his mind) is the result of the Community’s war against Crota. Our goal is to make sure that player Guardians feel like the world is reacting to their footprints, while also pushing the Destiny narrative forward.
We have the official Call of Duty: Black Ops III story trailer to share with you today.