29 September 2021

Life in Text


Nostalgia sets in for a 20-something guy (Tyler Ritter), as he travels through a virtual text message world and revisits old messages between him and his ex-girlfriend (Alexandra Daddario). The digital drama begins at the end of the couple's history, when they are no longer speaking, and ends at the beginning of their relationship: their first text message. Life in Text was directed by Laurence and Jessica Jacobs.

Quiet on the Set


A young actor struggles to find work – and with the illness which will terminate his life in the near future.  The only job that he can find – with some irony – is as a zombie extra in a new apocalyptic horror movie. Yet this role may well define his career.  Sensitively written and directed by  RJ Berkelew, perhaps some journeys can only be fully understood by those who take the same path.

Unimagined Friends


Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a child? Then spare a thought for those creatures that may never be imagined. They spend their time in a kind of limbo, waiting for someone to imagine them in to existence… and if you are a scraggly cat like Carl then that may take some time.  This delightful animation is courtesy of students at The Animation Workshop in Denmark.

Shifter


Los Angeles - 2023. James Striker is on the verge of bringing down the oppressive government that has crushed all freedom in the United States in Shifter, a short live action science fiction movie by the Hallivis Brothers. But before he can take them on, Striker must get past a homicidal drone and an elite squad of EFT soldiers. His only advantage is the SHIFT, a process that allows Striker to transfer his mind into an identical clone body. New body, Same mission: Bring the whole system down.

Life is Beautiful


Life for Anton has been marred by a thousand little cruelties dealt to him because of his tiny stature.  He calmly decides to end it all, he is done with life. Yet as you will see, life is not done with Anton.  The subject matter is such that this could have gone very wrong but Life is Beautiful is quite delightful – especially when you get to the end. This wonderful animated short was directed by Ben Brand and made with support of the Dutch Film Fund and the NTR.

The Modern Muses


In ancient Greece the Muses were a collection of nine goddesses who stimulated the conception of literature and the arts.  What if the Muses were to reinvent themselves for the twenty first century?  Would their modern day guise be any different from the time of the ancients?  What objects might they adopt as their symbols?  Let’s have a little fun.  After all – if they were to return, they wouldn’t want to look as if they belong in a museum, even if the very word was inspired by them.

Calliope
Perhaps the most famous of the muses, Calliope is the muse of heroic writing – it is said that she inspired Homer to write the Iliad and the Odyssey.  In art she has always been seen with a writing tablet in her hand.  That, of course, would have to go.  Were Calliope to descend from Olympus, she would soon discover that a laptop is the tool of choice for most writers in this day and age.

As the oldest of the muses she would no doubt need that processing power to keep her younger, more errant sisters organised.

Clio
Clio was the muse of history.  In ancient art she was often represented with a scroll of paper or a tablet.  Perhaps today she would record the passage of time using a camera.  She is seen variously as a researcher, one who ignites the need to record events but also to investigate and to ensure that events are accounted.  Clio’s aim was to record the past in order to inform the future – and what better modern platform for that than the art of photography?

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit New Zealand, You Will After You Watch This


In March 2016, Francis Gagnon flew to New Zealand. For more than a month, he traveled across the country seeking images and adventures. During this journey, he drove 4000 km and hiked over 250 km. His journey took him from the glaciers in Mount Cook National Park to mountain-ringed Lake Te Anau and the volcanic rock in Tongariro National Park.  The result is Moods of New Zealand, an amazing timelapse film of the sights he encountered on his trip.

How Long Does It Take to Create a New Video Game App?

With mobile devices in use, video games have seen a surge in usage in the present age. Several improvements are fast coming into the industry, and the pace at which video gaming is going isn't one to stop soon.  This is because video games are an equal part of entertainment and stress release for game lovers. Even those who are inconsistent in playing games can become avid video game spectators, watching live matches and live programs as experts play them. In addition, through video game playing, many have fought loneliness, depression, anxiety, and much more mental health issues.

Another amazing aspect of video games that goes beyond entertainment is playing video games and making some income for yourself. This is achievable by playing in casinos. There are tons of games in casinos, such as:

     roulette,

     baccarat,

     video poker,

     blackjack,

      table games,

     and slots.

The popular Cabin Crashers slot is one of the number of slot games that can be played as video games in online casinos and make good winnings in cash.

As a result of mobile devices in use and the number of people who now play video games, more people, individuals, and teams are considering creating their very own video game apps that game lovers can easily play. With this, gamers will have fun and make good money by wagering. In creating video game apps, there are lots of things to be considered and put to work. And one of those things that a game creator and developer should think of is the time required to get all the work done.

Developing of Video Game App

In creating a video game app, developers must do the accurate workings before embarking on it. According to the Thunderstruck Wild Lightning demo, different stages will see the success of the video game app's creation. Each of the stages is important to work on.


Making an accurate plan

Adequate planning or lack of a plan has an impact that will be played in the path of developing a video gaming app. Before you embark on creating a video game app, it is crucial to set out the type of video gaming app you intend to make

     a 2D or 3D video gaming app,

     a racer gaming app,

     a Puzzle video gaming app, and the likes.

This should be thought of before creating. Other aspects of the game creation to plan on are the characters, storyline, playing the video game on the app, and the type of gameplay. The devices that can use the video game apps should be pre-planned if it is on Android, iOS, or windows.

Choose the right software

There are simplified ways to create a video game app if you are not a guru in writing app codes. You can make use of the advanced development tools/software that helps you out with the coding. There are a multitude of tools that can do this ranging from the free-to-use ones to the paid ones. Some of the tools you can use do not require coding knowledge. Some powerful tools can make your video game app compatible with Android, iOS, and windows.

Learn programming language

Knowing a programming language is essential in developing a video game app. It doesn't matter if you're using software to help with coding or not, being able to write programming code goes a long way with app creation. Knowing a C#, C+, and other programming languages will be advantageous as a video game app creator. In addition, there are several other points to learn with programming that will inevitably help you when creating your video game.

Start the Project

Once you have done your planning, gotten the knowledge of the useful programming language, and chosen the software to assist in the coding of the game app, the next thing is to start the app creation. Starting the project might be a bit intimidating to scale through, keep the process simple. Start with the basic mechanics of the video game app, design the first level and implement the graphics. With this simplicity, you will be able to get a result. In creating the game app, keep testing to know what to do or make changes on.

Graphics implementation

Graphics are an essential part of video game creation. The graphics of the game app gives a better gaming experience. There are two choices to implement the graphics, going for 2D graphics or 3D graphics. You can create the graphics yourself by using tools for creating graphics, and you can also outsource a proficient graphics designer to handle it for you in line with what you want.

Promote your video game app

Creating a video game app is not the end of the journey. Game lovers need to play the game to succeed with the video game app. The game app should not pixelate to compete with other video game apps that players are playing. Let the storyline be interesting, and the background tracks that will accompany it should be intriguing. The controls should also be intuitive and smooth.

Launch the game

After you have tested the video game app and all is working as you have planned, the next thing is to release your video game app. Don't make the mistake of wanting the app to be ultimately perfect before you launch it. The audience you get for your app will let you know where to improve, and you can later update it after working on it.

Having known the steps for creating a video game app, let's look at the duration it will take to complete it and launch it for gamers to use the app on their devices in playing video games.

New Video Game Creating Time

The first thing that will strike your mind whenever you think of creating a video game app is the time involved. It is important to know this as it will help you determine the timeline meant for the app creation and set up plans to launch the app. The time for creating a new video game app cannot be entirely predicted; it varies based on the scope of the video game app to create and the process you intend to make use of.

Creating a simple video game app will take less time than creating a complex app with outstanding features. The graphics used also have their take on how long a developer will take to finish up to launch. A 2D graphics video game app development will require less time than a 3D graphics video game app. The length of video game app development also has to do with

     the genre of the video game app

     Scale

     Development platform

     And the number of assets.

Excluding that, you also have to consider the developer's speed, the features they plan to incorporate, and much more.

App Creation Timeframes

On average, depending on the type of game being created with its features, the video game app can take between 2 weeks to ten weeks. However, developing a Triple-A (AAA) video game app, whether you are creating it with a brand new IP from scratch or adding tech to it, the time to get this done is always between 3 to 5 years.

In video game app creation, there are stages of this process, and each of these stages has its own time, which is required. Generally, the stages for the video game app creation are five.

There is the research and idea forming/creating stage. This stage for a non-AAA video game takes between 2 to 3 weeks. After you might have come up with an idea and a good developer to handle the video game app, brief needs to be generated about the video game app. It will allow you (if you are developing it yourself) or your developer to have a clear understanding and picture the type of people to use the video game app, make decisions on the requirements for the app, and so on. Things to include in the brief in this stage should cut across the kind of video gaming app, the user base, and how it should be developed.

The entire app planning stage takes nothing less than a month, while the actual development stage is around 12 to 14 weeks. The development stage is the crucial stage that requires more time. This stage will require flawless coding of the video game app. In the app creation stage, the front-end and back-end development contribute to the excess time of this stage. For both front-end and back-end, different developers handle this. And the front-end development takes between six weeks to eight weeks.

The time needed for testing the video game app after development takes between three to four weeks. This testing stage is imperative because it's the stage to find bugs or any glitches that may affect the video game app. Enough time is given to this stage so that the app functionality will not be jeopardized. The testing will make the app filtered and fully functional and verify the app's compatibility.

The app deployment is the final stage which takes roughly a week. This also adds up to the time involved in the creation of the new video game app. After the test has been completed and certified to be free of bugs or glitches, the next is putting the app on the market. And this requires procedures to follow for deploying the app on Apple Store, play store, or windows. Each of the platforms has its policy to adhere to for the app to be available there.

Is Video Game App Creation Difficult?

Talking about the difficulty of video game apps, we can't say that creating the app is a complicated process that consumes both time, energy, and money. More will depend on an individual's knowledge and how well they can write a programming language. Some see video game app development to be easy. Those who don't have coding abilities may be faced with some challenges. The difficulties may be in the cost of development, lack of experience in video game app creation, and getting the right team of developers.

Conclusion

As video game playing keeps getting prominence, app developers are also working tirelessly to get different and latest video game apps out for players to get entertained. And since mobile devices become available at their fingertips, having a video game app makes gaming convenient for players. With it, players can play at their comfort anywhere. As a developer considering developing a video game app, the right knowledge should be used, and in addition, the timeframe should be worked with for accurate delivery. The time duration for each stage is not absolute; it may be less or more.

The Use of Cryptocurrencies in Online Gambling

The world's first digital currency - Bitcoin – came into existence more than 10 years ago. And it has managed to firmly gain a foothold in the financial market. Despite being negative its rate continues to grow and there are more and more people who want to invest in cryptocurrencies.


Today, there are many types of cryptocurrencies showing positive dynamics. The VISA payment system and a number of other financial companies announced the possibility of making the relevant transactions. Even in Las Vegas casinos, there are special terminals to exchange cryptocurrencies, and it will not surprise anyone if digital funds are soon accepted from the casino's customers directly. After Elon Musk's statement about accepting such funds as payment for Tesla electric vehicles, it became clear that the future belongs to virtual money.

The online gambling industry was one of the first to pick up the trend, introducing the possibility of paying for online games like Buffalo Blitz slot online with cryptocurrencies. Leading and new online platforms provide an opportunity to use crypto wallets on equal terms with fiat funds, and some casinos have begun to deal with cryptocurrencies only. Despite certain fluctuations in the capitalization of digital money, online gambling shows a positive trend in the use of blockchain technology.

What blockchain technology is about

Blockchain is a database containing information about all transactions made with cryptocurrency. It does not have a centralized server but is distributed among network participants. Access to such operations is open and transparent, but this does not mean that you can take someone's funds. On the contrary, such openness excludes the corruption component, and only the owner of the key has access to digital money.  

Information consists of an infinite number of blocks, which contain all the data. Information is transmitted via P2P networks, and new data are accompanied by previous ones, excluding errors or substitution. In general, despite the efforts of many enthusiasts to create an alternative tool, no one has been able to come up with a better solution.

Online casinos that operate on the basis of blockchain technology are considered the most reliable and convenient for cryptocurrency transactions. With this innovative tool, users get a number of benefits:

     absolute anonymity - the absence of intermediaries, such as banks and other financial institutions that track the actions of the wallet owner and can block the payment at any time;

     high speed of the payment transaction - direct interaction between the casino and the gambler's wallet eliminates payment delays, and also minimizes intermediary services for which interest is charged;

     no conversion - the cryptocurrency is international, and it is not tied to any country or continent, so there are no conversion fees to pay, while gamblers can play from anywhere in the world.

What is the difference between a crypto casino and a regular online platform?

In fact, crypto casinos are the same gambling establishments, but they accept the digital currency. Payments can be of a mixed nature, that is, gamblers can pay with fiat or crypto money, or an establishment can focus on payments with cryptocurrencies only. Otherwise, the casino provides similar services, including:

     slot machines;

     roulettes in various modifications;

     card tables with poker, Blackjack, and Baccarat;

     lotteries, tournaments, bonuses, etc.

Despite the use of blockchain technology, gamblers may face scammers online and lose their funds. Therefore, the license and user reviews should be checked before depositing digital or any other currency.


Crypto casinos are in some aspects even more reliable and profitable than regular portals. First of all, it is due to confidentiality.  There are also no records in the bank account statement about using the funds for gambling. Furthermore, virtual institutions that work with cryptocurrencies only do not require gamblers to register and go through the verification procedure to play, for example Archer slot machine, which is a significant advantage for many users.

Another argument in favor of a crypto casino is the speed of the transactions, which are processed in a few minutes, and not hours or days, as can happen with a bank card.

And finally, the ultimate advantage of cryptocurrency is that it can be paid in those countries where there is a restriction or prohibition on payments to online establishments from bank cards. Such, for example, is the United States and China. Having a crypto wallet at their disposal, gamblers can play anywhere in the world, provided that they have an internet connection.

What cryptocurrency do online casinos accept?

Bitcoin is still the most common due to the primacy of capitalization, although many platforms expand the list of used units, such as:

     Ethereum — it is the second in terms of cost and popularity;

     Litecoin — it is a derivative of bitcoin;

     BCash — it is a bitcoin fork with new blockchain rules;

     Monero — it has the highest level of payment anonymity;

     Dash — it demonstrates a rapid growth in value;

     Zcash — it is a promising cryptocurrency that guarantees complete anonymity;

     Dogecoin —it is a remote fork of bitcoin with high mining speed.

Disadvantages and risks of gambling at crypto casinos

Considering the positive factors, do not forget about certain disadvantages that should be taken into account. First of all, the cryptocurrency has an unstable rate, which is not supported by fiat funds, thus it is very volatile and unpredictable. In addition, the romanticization of digital money regarding their security is exaggerated, since there is still a bare chance that it can be hacked.

Summary

The use of cryptocurrency in online casinos is a promising trend that is only gaining momentum. A large number of gamblers have switched to this type of game; however, classic establishments remain in the majority. Considering all the pros and cons listed above, each user can decide whether to use innovative technologies or not to risk and invest regular money. In any case, the main thing is to choose a reliable platform and be successful in gambling.

26 September 2021

Iconic Dance in Film


This will put a spring in to your step if all else fails… The students at AMDA (the American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in New York studied rigorously for their Fall Dance Concert of 2015. Named Iconic, it was a modern celebration of 20th Century dance on film re-imagined through live performance. Cain DeVore, an independent filmmaker and screenwriter, actor and teacher put this video together to inspire the students.

It is a whistle-stop tour of the best dance in movies from the 1920s up to the present day. Pop Dancin Fool by Barry Manilow over the clips and you get a truly exhilarating few minutes. As well as a reminder of what has been achieved in the past this video, in its own way, lays down the gauntlet for today’s filmmakers – get dance fully and properly back in to the movies now!

The full list is below if you want to see how many movies you spotted correctly.

Caravanserai – Staging Posts of the Desert


There were once thousands of caravanserai, staging posts for the weary traveler, dotted throughout Asia, North Africa and the South-Eastern parts of Europe.  The Silk Road, an important and extensive trans-continental network of routes, was dotted with them.  Many still survive, but more, like the one in the Lut desert of Iran (above) are abandoned and slowly turning to dust.

Modern methods of transportation have meant that the caravanserai, where they are not fortunate enough to be restored and made in to hotels, slowly but surely rejoin the sand of the desert.  However, you can still see the rising columns in the Lut example, above, which one day perhaps looked something more like the interior of the one to be found in Meybod (also in Iran, below).

The Cutty Sark Story


If you might  not get the opportunity to visit Cutty Sark, the British Clipper ship which is preserved as a museum ship in Greenwich, London, then this will get you a little closer, at least imaginatively.  Created by Beakus director Steve Smith for the Cutty Sark, it tells the story of the ship’s years of service as a tea and wool cargo ship, and its record breaking round-the-world voyages. It has been screened on a loop in the actual ship's lower hold from September 2014.

Flawless


Flawless is a short film looking at the loving relationship between a father, Ansel and his gifted daughter, Iniko. One grey day a major incident causes a deep fracture that changes their lives forever, causing Iniko to long for a time when things were perfect. Created by Badshoes Film in February 2014 in Leicester and released on to the festival circuit in June 2014, Flawless was selected for 23 festivals over 18 months including Festival de Cine Lanzarote 2015, Cineglobe 2015 at CERN Institute, Cannes Short Film Corner, CineFiesta 2014, New York Independent Film Festival 2015, Aesthetica 2015 as well as a pretty good run at the BAFTA's too.

23 September 2021

3 online hobbies you should consider trying in 2021


Finding a new interest or hobby can be a fantastic way of developing a new skill, meeting new, like-minded friends, building your self-confidence and having a lot of fun.

There is no shortage of avenues to pursue, which can make the process of deciding which hobby to pursue daunting and not a little confusing. After all, when you live in an age of unlimited information and unprecedented levels of entertainment in the forms of YouTube, streaming services and social media, sticking to one interest is difficult. 

On top of this, there is the very real challenge of fitting your new hobby within your existing lifestyle. If you work full-time, have a family or a busy social calendar, then you may think it is impossible to find time for a new hobby. 

However, as long as you are organized, plan your weeks carefully and are prepared to sacrifice time-sapping pastimes like social media or watching movies, then you will free up more time than you might imagine.

This is why online hobbies work so well. They allow you to participate in your hobby without needing to waste time traveling to a set location or putting it on pause every time you need to travel. 

Here are three great online hobbies you should consider trying in 2021:

Gaming is going from strength to strength

One of the most popular online hobbies is gaming, which has gone from strength to strength over the past decade. Far from simply being a pastime popular with teenagers, gaming is now a thriving industry that offers a variety of immersive thrills.

Indeed, there is no shortage of games to choose from. You could, for example, become involved with esports, which hold both amateur and professional tournaments based on virtual versions of real sports - such as football and Formula One, as well as gaming titles like Dota 2 or League of Legends. 

Alternatively, there is a range of role-playing and sandbox games such as the Elder Scrolls series or Grand Theft Auto, which boast huge online communities. 

Online gaming is a great way to become involved in a passionate community of like-minded people, as well as relax after a long day at work. You can get started relatively cheaply, too, if you find gaming laptop deals

You could start meditating using online resources

Another great online hobby you should consider trying is a meditation app or course. While meditation has been around for thousands of years in various forms and practices, it has never been easier (or more important) to start, thanks to the variety of online apps, tutorials and courses on offer.

This means you can practice meditation easily wherever you are, whether at home, on the train, or even on your lunch breaks at work. Given how stressful and fast-paced modern life can be, meditation offers a rewarding experience, with minimal costs or discipline needed to start.

Learn a new language via an online course

One of the most useful hobbies you can start is to learn a new language. While this is nothing new, language learning is considerably more accessible and easier now that you can engage with online content - such as apps, courses and podcasts - which allow you to learn wherever you go. 

This accelerates the learning process and helps you to master a new language faster, which is ideal if you want to explore a particular country or learn more about a certain culture. 

Image Credit

20 September 2021

Using Interior Spaces and Furniture Improve our Well Being

 

When we decide to choose furniture such as dining chairs to the colours we put on the wall, smart choices improve our well being and general health. To understand why this is, we have to understand how decorating works and how it affects our mood, and we have to look at what our homes mean to us.

An Englishman’s Home Is His Castle

If we consider what home is, it offers both shelter and protection. When you get home you feel safe and warm. This is the place where you bring up your family, and where you sleep.

Whereas in the past, your home may not have been decorated to the degree it is now, it still offered the qualities outlined above.

As the twentieth century unfolded, increasingly people wanted to personalise their homes. As such, furniture design, DIY, and decoration products became highly popular.

As well as having the means, choices can be influenced consciously and subconsciously. This is why we often see a canopy over a front door or a railing. This symbolises a barrier between our homes and the outside world. It is a psychological comfort and protection.

Not every design decision is designed to make us feel protected. Other mindfulness is at work with other decisions.

An Interesting Experiment

Google partnered with the Arts & Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University where they experimented to assess the aesthetic impact of rooms. At the 2021 Salone del Mobile in Milan visitors were bands that tracked their physiological responses as they moved from room to room.

They were encouraged to fully engage with their surroundings and to remain quiet and avoid using their phones.

The results were interesting with around 50% feeling the calmest in rooms they were not attracted to visually. Ivy Ross, VP of Product Design at Google concluded that people have been approaching room design and décor too cognitively and they needed to get back to what feels good rather than what looks good.

Taking Control

Ivy Ross may have a point. When we decorate to our tastes often it is to create a feel rather than a look. If you feel good in your home you are more likely to feel protected and comfortable. This contrasts a room that may look amazing but feels a little cold or you simply can’t relax.

This makes furniture and décor choices important. It isn’t just how it looks and gels with the rest of its surroundings, it is also the feelings it generates. This also extends to the artwork you have on your walls. Some point out that often art that conjures childhood memories are the most comforting.

Healthcare

Some hospitals from around the world have started to employ interior designers and architects to make medical settings less institutional and clinical. Organisations such as Maggie have tried to make the clinical environment come across as more homely. This, they believe provides a better environment for healing.

So, when you come to make furniture and design choices, go with what feels right rather than what looks right. You won’t regret it.

5 September 2021

Bushido


Bushido literally means the way of the warrior and that is (again, literally) what you get here.  We see just a few split seconds in the life of a meditative samurai.  Bushido allows for the violent existence of the samurai to be subsumed by wisdom and serenity.

This animated short was created by Said Ibrahim as his 2013 graduation film.  It’s a great combination of drawing and animation styles and is a great showcase for Ibrahim’s talents as an animator. It is also very, very cool.

Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Gathering or People on the Planet


Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage which attracts, each year, the greatest peaceful get together of people in the world.  The  Maha Kumbh Mela of 2013 saw over 100 million people gather to bathe at dawn in the sacred Ganges River.

Time-lapse Photography and Adventure Filmmaker Rufus Blackwell was there and captured these astounding time-lapse images.

The Golden Rock – The Gilt Boulder of the Buddha

It looks as if it is just about to fall off the edge of Mount Kyaiktiyo and roll down in to the sweeping landscape of Myanmar. Yet the enormous granite boulder, known as the Golden Rock, has perched precariously here for as long as the land’s recorded history.  The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, built atop, is, alone, over seven meters in height. The whole edifice is said to be balanced on a single strand of the Buddha’s hair.

As such, this is an important pilgrimage site for adherents of Buddhism.  It is said that those who visit it three times in a single year will be blessed with wealth and acknowledgement of their goodness. The main legend associated with the rock and the pagoda is that the Buddha, on one of his visits, gave a single strand of his hair to the local hermit, Taik Tha.
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