Category Archives: Nerd-Haven

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Haven Editorial: Raptus 2016 and cosplay

Haven Editorial: Raptus 2016

A halo marine, still alive and kicking somehow

The charming little comic expo in small a city Known as Bergen. It’s a place with a heavy focus on comic books and quite famous artists. Such as the ever present and enigmatic Mike Collins. He is quite known for various super hero comics and drawing Dr. Who. Naturally he is not the only guest. Though a lot of the them are from European countries. Due to the popularity of Belgofranco comics. Such as Spirou and the Italian made Donald Duck comics. In the grand scale of the world, it is a tiny convention, however it still attracts some lovely and colorful people. People flock to this place in order to meet their heroes and get things signed. After all who woulden’t like to have his prop knife signed by the walking dead creator? All in all it is a long running and very awesome.

This year as many that came before, a cosplay competition was held. Where anyone in a costume has a chance to win fame and fortune. In most cases it is a gift card for the local geek store known as Outland. Unlike previous years, I took a last minute job as the cosplay competition judge, along with another fellow and one of My little pony comic artist. A lovely lady in some very alternative clothing. Regardless I threw myself into action at the last minute, with poor planning and rough plotting. By now You’ve probably realized that this did not go as well as planned. Several mistakes was made, but they where not made again. Fortunately for me there where a competition on Sunday as well. I did indefinitely better and was a lot more prepared. I know some of those with fancy bought costumes felt unfairly judged when it came to the outfit. However I usually put stage presence very high. Very few can pull it off. Which is why either Deadpool, Harlequin or the Joker ones usually win.

Therefor I decided to make a list over things I should take into consideration:

First of all there is the performance and stage presence. A competition is a show. Keeping it entertaining is key. To become the character and own it. however going onto stage, then bolt after two seconds is boring and bad. If nothing else strike a pose and hold it for at least 4 seconds. Because that is how you get good pictures!

Naturally the next point is stage presence. Some costumes can be quite elaborate and some just leaves no lasting impact. However there are still several points to judge by. Such as the seam quality and craftsmanship. Even commercially made products can be crap. In the end I value the effort and thought process that went into a cosplay project.

Plans and planning

This is starting to sound a little too much like American idol, so maybe awarding should be a bit more creative and interesting. Tough Raptus is not the best proving ground around. As cosplay usually plays second fiddle, is rushed and have terrible backdrops.

http://www.photo.yngvehegreberg.com/Archive/Cosplay/Raptus-2016/
Fight the horde!

Keep in mind, the second day at the outfit competition,everything went much,much smoother. Which is key, live, learn and improve.

Here is a gallery of picture taken during Raptus 2016, by Yngve Hegreberg

http://www.photo.yngvehegreberg.com/Archive/Cosplay/Raptus-2016/

Njål Sand

Survival Guide to a Post Pokemon Go World

 

Pokemon Go has been out for about a week now and the world has already seen some massive changes to it. This game has single handedly reconstructed the face of the earth and life as we once knew. There are now hordes of dirty people roaming the streets. New and strange types of crime has arisen, and dead bodies now litter our rivers. Our grandchildren will ask us what life was like before “it” came out. I pray to god we even have grandchildren to ask us these questions. The world is now a frightful hellscape, and it’s my job to help you navigate it. This guide is for both trainers and NPCs (those not playing the Pokemon Go).

Dead bodies

If you are a trainer, you most definitely will discover at least a few dead bodies. That’s just life now. Our world is filled to the brim with corpses. For the most part they happen to be nice and out of the way. Tucked into our beautiful rivers and neatly filed away in our nations landfills. Now that you are out hunting Pokemon you’ll stumble upon these homes of the dead, and have to come face to face with what lies right out of sight for normal people. The best way to deal with a corpse is to leave it where you found it. Despite what you think there probably isn’t a Ghastly hanging out inside that dead body. You can call the cops if you want, but I’m sure they will tell you the same thing. Your best bet is patience. Over time, the dead bodies will stop freaking you out and they’ll just be a usual part of the experience. Who know’s you might even grow to like them.

Home/business Invasion

this section is mainly for those not playing, but I feel like the information here could benefit everyone. There are going to be Pokemon trainers in your home or business. There is no getting around this. They’ll creep in and start catching Pokemon, bothering everyone around them. You can put up your “Pokemon are for paying customers only” signs, or try to keep them out of your police station, but other than sheer violent force, there is nothing that will keep them away without proper protections. So let’s talk about barricades. If you can afford reinforced steel, I’d say go for it. Better safe than sorry. It’s like the Purge out there. Heavy wood is also a good bet. Don’t use plywood though, kids can tear that shit down in seconds. Remember to line the tops and sides (any vulnerable area really) with Razor wire. Now if you are still wanting to let people in to your establishment you’re gonna need a door in your barricade. The rules above still apply and it wouldn’t hurt to set up a Signal Jammer to cut off trainers from their precious phones.

Pokemon Gyms

One of the more ruthless mechanics of Pokemon Go is that it divides players up into three teams. These teams are then pitted against one another for the control of Pokemon Gyms. The team who controls the most world wide is clearly the best. Pokemon Gyms tend to be in highly populated areas like parks or shopping centers. God help you if your place of business is a Pokemon gym, and please refer to the above section for some instruction. If you are a trainer trying to take a gym please be careful. Make sure you bring some of your team members with you and always be on the look out for rival gangs, I mean teams. Fighting over a Gym is bound to occur. Since there isn’t player vs. player fight in the game, these fights will definitely be real. It’s advised to bring a knife with you to these events. Here a knife will serve two purposes. It’ll put the other team’s players out of commission faster, and will also server as a form of protection, since the other team will most certainly be carrying knives as well. Good luck, and go get those Gyms.

Overcrowding

The biggest phenomena caused by Pokemon Go is the staggering amounts of people now leaving their homes. While normally people wanting to play would be safely hid away in their own house now are venturing out into the world to catch their Pokemon. This means places that were normally pleasant to attend are now viciously overcrowded. Parks are now essentially shanty towns set up by Pokemon Trainers. Now these can be a safe place to live. You’ll be around members of your team and other trainers are usually willing to share a bed or a tasty bite to eat with a fellow teammate. However, there tend to be Gyms in these locations. Getting too close to Gym without being prepared could result in a stabbing. There are also constant border wars between the established territories of the teams. Remember where your borders are.

 

The Pokemon Trainers Arsenal

Here is a list of useful equipment that every Pokemon trainer should be carrying.

  • A Backpack
    • this is useful for carrying all your other stuff. It might even have a sandwich you forgot about in it.
  • Your Phone
    • This is the primary means of being a Pokemon Trainer. You catch Pokemon and Control Gyms through the use of your phone. Remember to keep this close to you AT ALL TIMES.
  • Pokeballs
    • to be fair this is part of the phone but they are an important resource to keep track of.
    • Now as a Pokeballs are expensive you you’ll need a hefty amount of money to pay for these. Luckily there is an easy solution. As a dedicated Pokemon Trainer you’ll be spending all of your time outside. The life of a Pokemon Trainer is the life of transience. Therefore a home is more of a burden than a necessity. So sell your house and all your things, the money you get from that should be enough to pay for all the Pokeballs you’ll every need.
  • A knife
    • Your life is about to become a lot more dangerous. Living the life of a Pokemon Trainer means you’ll need a way to defend yourself or in some circumstances intimidate others. A knife is a great way to accomplish or prevent muggings.
  • Food
    • Trying rationing your food to make it last longer.
    • Share with other Trainers for a more varied diet.
  • Time
    • The most important resource is time. You’ll need to be spending as much time as you can catching Pokemon, getting items from Pokestops, and Capturing Gyms. A Job will most likely get in the way of this. If you are a true Pokemon Trainer work will just slow you down. Plus without a house to worry about you won’t need much money. Soon you’ll be living just like Ash Ketchum.

The world is a different place now and the best thing you can do is arm yourselves with Knowledge. You either play the game now, or you don’t. Either way you need to take precautions. Follow the steps provided and you should be on your way to better survival.

Whatever happens out there, Good Luck.

-Jordan Kamm

Salt Lake Gaming Con 2016

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A few weeks before the convention opened, the Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC) (the larger, more powerful convention here in Salt Lake City) purchased 50% of the ownership of the Salt Lake Gaming Con (SLGC). At first I was curious as to what that meant, exactly. The SLCC is a ruthless corporate machine willing to turn the hearts and souls of Nerddom into a quick profit. Arriving at SLGC, I instantly smelled the essence of the Comic Con. They’re well known for their lack of preparedness and Kafkaesque queue lines and entry system. Last year at Gaming Con, the press was invited to arrive a day early. We received information packets detailing the coming events of the weekend. We were shown around the places and told where useful things were. The press room was in a back corner. It was nice and quiet; a decent space to work. The room was filled with water and occasionally snacks.

all hail our new overlords
                                            all hail our new overlords

Comic Con has a clear fuck-the-press attitude, which was made more than clear at their main event last year. Here at Gaming Con 2016 things are not quite as organized as they were last year, and I blame it on the new interference of Comic Con.

(This woman was so nice)
                                                                      Best Cosplay at the con

Starting off, we were shown around the exhibit hall by a coordinator and eventually led to the press area; a small corner right next to a giant TV. At this point, the journalists and I started questioning where our press passes were. The response we got was: “There might not be any.” No fucking Press Passes! This is the one thing that lets me talk to developers and booth operators with a bit more authority than the standard con-goer. Later I learned that before the takeover, press passes were, in fact printed. When Comic Con came in, the passes were all scrapped and a new design was created. We eventually did get press passes a few hours into the con, but the lack of knowledge about it was what really threw me off.FILE0033

Everything has been so spotty. “Right now I’m working without Internet in the press room. Christ Alive! Why is there no usable Internet here? We have to share with the PC open play area. I can’t load a fucking website to save my life.” Yup, this is the stink of the fuck-the-press mentality mentioned earlier. The Press Coordinator was doing his best to try and help us, but he knew about as much of what was going on as we did. The Internet we were promised never came. Other press members resorted to using their phone as a hot spot to connect to something. I sat there in vain, refreshing my webpage again and again. Walking around the con I could definitely tell there were some major changes. Things felt more like Comic Con than a typical gaming con.FILE0041 The vendors were the main attraction this year (in the past the developers and gamer’s were the main focus). The booths set up for them took up a large space and were definitely the centerpieces. Now it was a bit different this time. There was still a space for developers…it was just smaller. Some developers were allocated weird corners and tiny booths, shoved away to make room for the moneymakers. It was like developers were here just to meet some sort of quota.

“Ok, we now have enough video games here to call it a ‘video game convention.’ Now let’s get more people selling pop! figures”.

The infection spreads
                                                                          The infection spreads

To the con’s credit there were huge areas where people could play video games. Rows of PCs were set up for anyone to jump on and play. A lot of people just spent the entire con in this area, having a good time playing Overwatch or League of Legends. There was a large section for board games, and an even bigger one for tabletop RPGs. This was definitely refreshing to see, and one of the few decisions made by the original Gaming Con management.

FILE0152

Once again the people who truly shined here were the ones who showed off their art, rather than trying to make a quick profit off of the con-goers. The Utah Games Guild (UGG) was back to show off some new projects, as well as some improved from last year. Titles such as Crashnauts and Legacy of the Elder Star have returned, donning shiny new designs.

One such new game was We Must Go Deeper, an illustrated 2D co-operative submarine experience.FILE0151 Each players mans a different part of the sub, such as helm or weapons. They work together to reach the bottom of the sea and fight a deadly giant squid. The game is still in development right now, but I’m very excited to take a look at it once it’s ready. During the demo, I played in the weapons section. I had to manually load each torpedo I fired. I had to run around the sub, wrench in hand, fixing holes that sprang up due to the attacking sea creatures.

Another title was Ethos, a dark AMMORPG rumored to have an entirely player-driven economy, and boasting Dark Souls-like combat mechanics. The demo featured a boss fight against a massive troll. Right now they only have a “proof of concept” ready. But if they take their time and refine what I played, they could have something truly special. I’ll definitely be following the development of this game as it progresses.FILE0159

The people over at UGG are working hard on their games. It was amazing to talk to them about their progress and aspirations. This group is certainly dedicated to their art. I love the UGG’s ideals. Like-minded people are brought together to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another. It’s great to have other creative people around you while you work. It really shows in their games.

One thing that was pretty exciting was the abundance of VR at the con. There are a lot of places who were just using VR as a gimmick to sell their products. One product was a VR Cardboard. Purchasing one of these got you 15 minutes in the HTC Vive. Another booth just had a Vive and an Oculus Rift set up. For the price of $10 you could spend 10 minutes on their systems (except Microsoft for some reason). This is the only free VR experience I’ve found here; although it was only for 5 minutes and the line was huge. This seemed bizarre, since you’d assume Microsoft would be the first to try and lure people into buying something, or even more heinous pre-order a game. However, Microsoft was just sponsoring another group.

Steven Ogg Playing VR
                                                                     Steven Ogg Playing VR

Wil Brown, head of the Utah Virtual Reality (UVR) meetup group, has done a great job of setting up and showing off the wonders of VR. To hear him talk about working in VR space was simply incredible. He has such a passion for it and I couldn’t help but see just how amazing the technology actually was. He should have had his own panel, instead of stupid shit like the dumb PS4 vs. Xbox One debate they gave him. I’ve set up some special deals with Wil and will be covering UVR here in the near future. In my random chats with Wil, we discussed some incredible stuff. We talked about the Vive and the Oculus. But then he showed me something that isn’t on the market yet, and something to which few developers have access: the Microsoft HoloLens. This mixes both reality and virtual reality into the perfect sci-fi experience…or it will once it’s ready for consumers. As of right now it’s just a “developer’s kit”; Microsoft trying to create some programs for it. At most you can create 3D images that sit in the middle of real space. From what I experienced with it though, this is the dawn of the future. Soon enough this thing and things like it will be widely available.FILE0015

On the non-video side of gaming, there was plenty to see…surprisingly so. Piazo, a tabletop RPG company was there to host some Pathfinder Society games. An employee for Piazo held a panel about upcoming releases and general RPG talk. FILE0003The panel was pretty small but the people attending were all interested in RPGs, so it led to some good discussion. Additionally, I decided that it’d be fun to do a bit of role-playing. I sat down for an hour-long session of D&D and played Lockwood, the arrow-slinging animal whisperer. Although I tend to enjoy other systems more, it was really enjoyable to revisit good ol’ Dungeons and Dragons. This is what the con was truly about. This was the best part; a few strangers sitting down and sharing a hobby. Despite all the corporate chicanery, stuff like this was still able to shine through. It’s easy to get caught up in the money-hungry nonsense that conventions draw, but at the heart of it all these are still these brief moments of happiness and excitement.

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-Jordan Kamm-