MONAD Industries’ 3D Printed Futuristic Violin

I really wish this would be accompanied by a video so we could hear what this instrument sounds like! Hopefully, there will be a recording of the four 3D instruments being played later this month. I could definitely see this being played on stage with Diva Plavalaguna from The Fifth Element fame. This instrument is definitely “Nerd Approved“.



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What you’re looking at is a crazy futuristic looking 3D printed instrument called a two-string piezoelectric violin. It was created by MONAD industries of Miami, Florida and will be on display at the 3D Print Design Show in New York City on April 16th and 17th along with four other 3D instruments. All of the instruments will be played by musicians during the event.

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MMORPG April Fools’ Day Shenanigans

Thanks to Justin Olivetti over at MassivelyOP.net, we have a substantial list of nearly 40 MMORPGs and how their respective game devs decided to celebrate April Fools’ Day. Everyone from WOW and GW2, to TSW and RIFT got caught up in the festivities. As an avid MMORPGer, I always love when the game I’m playing has holiday related fluff to keep the community entertained and connected.


It’s April 1st, and in the MMO space that means that studios morph into merry tricksters and devious liars. But how will you keep track of all the goings-on today? With this article, of course!

We’ll be endeavoring to collect and link to all of the fun and wacky April Fools’ Day pranks that are going on in MMOs and on studios’ websites. If you know of one that’s not on the list, send us a tip or leave a comment below, as we’ll be updating this post all day.

World of Warcraft teases a T.I.N.D.R. box so that you can help your companions find a companion of their own. There are also a heap of funny patch notes to peruse.

Guild Wars 2 has turned everyone into an old timey people-airplane, which is making the fights all that much more fun.

League of Legends’ URFitational has hit disaster — who would have known that NURF would fail so badly?

Star Citizen has partnered with LEGO to produce adorable toy versions of these hardcore spaceships. The game’s also added several reproductions of famous spaceships.

Final Fantasy XIV’s top-secret project is an RTS mini-game with companions for the Gold Saucer!

War Thunder is adding a new armored vehicle to its WWII setting: battle mechs (video)! Also, potato launchers.

There’s an unauthorized video posted to RuneScape’s YouTube channel. Absolutely, positively, DO NOT WATCH IT.

The Secret World has been hit by dance fever (which is not so much of a joke as it is amusing).

The Flying Spaghetti Monster has joined SMITE’s pantheon of deities.

Dofus’ developer is working on a real-world theme park, because why not?

EverQuest II players can take part in the Highest of Silly Days, which is totally a real thing.

Dragon Nest let a lot of alpacas loose, and now the game is giving an alpaca mount to all players who log in by April 5th.

Dark Age of Camelot revealed its newest expansion, Atlantis Rising. Now with flight and a bug-free guarantee!

Check out these Hearthstone patch notes for hilarity, including ninja cards and the fact that “card packs can now be opened by blowing gently on the screen.”

Allods Online is throwing a Day of Fun by passing out quirky items.

HEX’s CEO reveals the secret that he’s been playing against gamers as Princess Cory.

Puzzle Pirates is facing a wave of space invaders!

A typo in a Path of Exile update has led to a cat-astrophe of insane proportions.

Ascent: The Space Game showed off the newest model of its… cultured spaceship.

Hearthstone is now selling B’Motes expression packs, which might be a joke but you just know would make a fortune if they actually did it.

Infinite Crisis goes “behind the voice” for Krypto the Dog. It’s perhaps the best thing you’ll watch all day.

Path of Exile’s Reddit was swapped with Diablo III’s.

Wizard101 and Pirate101 want to sell you Wonky the Donkey, the animal that uses YOU as a mount! Also, you can take a tour of the KingsIsle office and become very disturbed.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has several new… questionable mounts available for the game.

Speaking of mounts, how about swimsuits and surfboards in Firefall or giant ducks in EverQuest II?

Heroes of the Storm introduces big head mode. Tell us the truth: You would totally play this mode, wouldn’t you?

Warframe is warning players of the coming of the Stocker. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Landmark is going totally retro with its graphics. Does it make the game better?

Shroud of the Avatar’s community is on strike because of sitting down. Or not sitting. Or something.

MapleStory adds a Grill Master class to the game. C’mon guys. You’re not even trying here.

Star Trek Online is restarting the game on the Red Shirt server with the original launch build.

Does this Crowfall character look like a certain assassin to you?

Star Stable is cranking out brightly colored horses and instituting energy-saving measures.

Camelot Unchained officially institutes a pay-to-win feature.

TERA has its own wacky patch notes, including mention of a yoga instructor class.

RIFT presents Squirrelicorn.

MMO bloggers and fan sites have gotten into the spirit of the day as well: Chronicles of Tyria introduced a new Thrall-themed banner, Psychochild starts his own MMO Kickstarter, and LOTRO Players reported on the closing of Lalia’s Market.

Guild Wars 2: Rock The Nightmare Music Video Contest

Guild Wars 2? Music Videos? Rock and Roll? Prizes? If any of those words raise an eyebrow or quicken your pulse, then you should enter the contest! ArenaNet is asking players to create and submit their very own music video in a chance to win a grand prize worth several hundred bucks.

To enter, be sure you go to the official page and submit your entry properly.


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Prepare to Rock the Nightmare! In the November 12 Guild Wars 2 release The Nightmares Within, you’ll storm the sinister fortress of the Toxic Alliance and face your fears!

Few things are as “metal” as a sorcerous tower full of evil, so to commemorate The Nightmares Within release, we’re hosting a heavy metal music video contest from November 5 through November 26.

Create your own Guild Wars 2 music video using our all-new “The Nightmares Within” song. The most creative video creators will winSteelSeries gaming gear, and the grand prize winner will receive a unique customGuild Wars 2 guitar from Sygnus Guitars – there isn’t another one like it on Earth or Tyria!

The Rock the Nightmare Music Video Contest runs from November 5 through November 26, so don’t delay – get rocking today!

Winners will be announced right here on GuildWars2.com on or around December 13, 2013.

Prizes

1 Grand Prize

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2 First Prizes

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Partner

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How to Enter

  1. Create an original music video no longer than one (1) minute in length to the song “The Nightmares Within” by ArenaNet’s Maclaine Diemer.
    Download it for free from Soundcloud.
  2. Upload the video to YouTube.
  3. Complete the Rock the Nightmare Music Video Contest entry form from November 5-26, and include a link to your video.
  4. Read on for the complete official rules.

Good luck and keep rocking!

FAQs

Can I create a live video or does it have to include Guild Wars 2 gameplay footage?
Yes, feel free to use live footage, animation, gameplay footage, or whatever media you wish, as long as it accompanies the song.
Can I record vocals over “The Nightmares Within” song?
Yes, you can add an English vocal track to “The Nightmares Within” instrumental. English only, please – we need to understand what you’re saying!
Can I modify “The Nightmares Within” song?
Yes. You can modify the original version of the song, provided your video and song is approximately one minute in length.
Can I use other music to enter the Rock the Nightmares Music Video Contest?
No, you must use the song “The Nightmares Within” in your video.
How do I get a copy of “The Nightmares Within” song?
Download the song for free from the ArenaNet Soundcloud page athttps://soundcloud.com/arenanet.

Guild Wars 2: Major League Gaming Invitational Tournament

Not to have their international competitions end at PAX Prime 2013, GW2 is now part of MLG and the next tournament begins today.


MLG Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament on September 27

Our friends at Major League Gaming are hosting an invitational tournament on September 27, 2013 at 2:00pm PDT. Eight of the top Guild Wars 2 teams will be battling for prizes and fame! For complete details, head over to the MLG tournament page today!

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S.H.I.E.L.D. 101: Everything You Need To Know About Marvel’s Spy Agency (Wired.com)

Any good nerd probably already knows everything there is to know about S.H.I.E.L.D., but alas, my Nerd Card was taken away this round. I didn’t know most of this. Hopefully the series will help educate me as well so I can get my credentials back.

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Image: Marvel Comics

There’s a scene in the pilot episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where someone asks one of the agents what the acronym “S.H.I.E.L.D.” stands for. His answer? “Someone really wanted our initials to spell out ‘SHIELD.’” Sure enough, the acronym has changed throughout the years at Marvel Comics, where the espionage agencies originated before appearing in films like Avengers and its TV spinoff, premiering tonight on ABC.

These days, S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for “Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division,” but it previously also stood for “Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate” and, originally, “Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division.” But most of all, it stands for the fact that spy agencies with acronym names were really cool in the mid-1960s when S.H.I.E.L.D. made its comic book debut.

At the time, Marvel’s core audience was already enjoying the weekly exploits of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on television and watching James Bond foil the plans of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in movie theaters, so the idea of reviving the abandoned war comic character Nick Fury as a slick super-spy working for an agency with a similar name seemed like it might sell. Created by the famous comics team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in a 1965 issue of Strange Tales, S.H.I.E.L.D. was originally less an organization than a collection of spy cliches, gimmicks and plot contrivances. Need some generic government organization to hunt the Hulk/get their asses kicked by a new villain/stand around threateningly while frowning at the Avengers? Like AllState, S.H.I.E.L.D. would be there in their tight body suits complete with shoulder-holstered laser blasters.

The comic book version of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a particularly tortured history, even by superhero comic standards. Originally an international peace-keeping organization founded by Fury in the aftermath of World War II, it was later revealed that the organization has actually been under the control of its sworn enemy, the evil spy organization HYDRA, since the very start. Of course, that was before it was retconned again into the latest incarnation of a secret society dedicated to defending humanity, founded by the Egyptian Imhotep with members that included Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei and Nikola Tesla.

Whatever its origins, S.H.I.E.L.D. has multiple sister organizations — A.R.M.O.R. (Altered-Reality Monitoring and Operational Response), S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) and S.T.R.I.K.E. (Special Tactical Response for International Key Emergencies) being foremost amongst them — and was, for a short period, replaced by another organization called H.A.M.M.E.R. (this acronym did not stand for anything). As the movies introduced S.H.I.E.L.D. to a larger audience, however, the organization made a return in the comic book universe, and now employs a number of high-profile characters including its own team of Avengers as well as the Hulk.

The success of the movies also changed another element of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s comic book tradition. Samuel L. Jackson is now the most high-profile version of Nick Fury, and while there’s an alternate universe version of Nick Fury that specifically modeled after the actor, the Nick Fury of the primary Marvel Universe still looks like the same white superspy that first appeared in Strange Tales. Instead of accepting this and moving on — or allowing the alternate world version of the character to cross over — the publisher choose a third option: introducing Fury’s previously-unknown mixed-race bastard son and pushing him through a series of adventures that caused him take his father’s name, lose the same eye as his father, and join S.H.I.E.L.D. Comics, everybody.

The highpoint of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s comic book incarnation is undoubtedly the short run of writer/artist Jim Steranko. These days enjoying a renaissance as Twitter-based raconteur, the Steranko who took over the series with 1967′s Strange Tales #155 — continuing through #168, before the strip continued in its own series (Steranko created #1-3 and #5 of that series, as well) — brought a cinematic sleekness to mainstream superhero comics that the genre hadn’t seen before, and a contemporary attitude miles away from the soap operatic bombast of other books in Marvel’s line. Sexy, smart and unlike anything else on the stands at the time, it managed to end Nick Fury’s days as a leading man for almost two decades, with S.H.I.E.L.D. returning to the background of the Marvel universe and an existence as generic government goons with great outfits.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then, is a strange thing indeed for comic fans. How will it translate to the small screen? Tune in tonight and judge for yourself.

Robots, Humans, and Animations Dance (Gizmodo.com)

This is phenomenal.
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Combine robots, 3D graphics, and actors and what do you get? Box, an amazing performance by San Francisco-based engineering firm Bot & Dolly. It’s a short film that explores how the digital world interacts with the real world.

Originally performed live, Box is equal parts art and technical demonstration. Bot & Dolly explain:

It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

A little more on those technologies: The piece uses one SCOUT and two IRIS robotic motion control systems that are based on Kuka robots, as well as two high-res projectors. The software that makes Box happen integrates with an Autodesk program called Maya, and was designed in-house at Bot & Dolly. This could easily be a scene from The Matrix, right? [Bot & Dolly via Creators Project via Engadget]

Star Trek Returns To Pinball After 20 Year Absence (ArsTechnica.com)

As a kid, I’d play pinball at a local sports community center and wished I had my own machine at home. Unfortunately, the steep price tag of $5k-$8k means that wish will have to come true at a much later date.

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Enlarge / From left to right, the new Star Trek Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition pinball models.

Last time on Pinball Technica we covered the announcement of the Metallica pinball machine. Reader response was pretty positive, even if the band theme was a little polarizing for some, so we’ve decided to occasionally check in on the world of pinball. In this age of 64-bit smartphones, there’s still something magical about knocking around a 1-1/16″ steel ball with a lot of high-voltage electricity.

This time around, pinball machine manufacturer Stern is ditching the band and comic book licenses for a tried-and-true pinball theme: a Star Trek table. For those keeping score, this is the fourth time the franchise has graced the silver ball, with the 1978 Bally original series pin, Data East’s 25th Anniversary version in 1991, and the wide-bodied Star Trek: The Next Generation table Williams released in 1993. The cast from the series reboot is taking center stage this time around, with elements from both of the J.J. Abrams-directed films making the game.

Acclaimed pinball designer Steve Ritchie is handling the layout this time around. Ritchie was also the designer on the last Star Trek table in 1993, and there are more than a few similarities between their layouts. It’s too early to say how closely the gameplay will match. The older Trek pin was a wide body, which generally leads to a slower playing style; it also used dual cannons that would load and fire the pinball around the playfield, something this new design appears to be missing.

Stern is following its current business model by releasing the table in three flavors: the cheaper Pro model ($5,395), a more expensive Premium ($7,495), and an $8,795 Limited Edition model. Keep in mind that those aren’t street prices, which will be lower, but pinball is not a cheap hobby! The Premium and LE have nicer packages and more toys, as well as wire ramps in place of plastic on the Pro, but this time all three models will use color-changing LEDs on the playfield, marking the first time the Pro model hasn’t been saddled with incandescent bulbs.

Modern pinballs have deep rule sets, with lots of ways to send multiple balls flying around the playfield, rack up combos by hitting different shot sequences, or combine different strategies and shot selections to score big points. Stern’s Star Trek appears to be no exception, but the company seems to be aiming at a balance between new and more advanced players. For the casual player, there are nine missions you can light up on the bottom of the playfield. Complete any three in a row on the grid and you start a “mini wizard mode,” a bit of bonus gameplay. For the more advanced player, there are another nine missions that aren’t as obviously called out on the playfield. The true wizard mode presumably comes after finishing all 18. The rules for the various missions will use color-coded paths to help players see what shots they need to make next, making the color-changing abilities of the LEDs more than just eye candy.

Details on how the new table will actually play are scarce at the moment, though in the image gallery below we’ve included a shot of the rules card that gives some clues. A little digging through the images does reveal that the USS Vengeance at the top of the playfield is mounted on a spring, leading to speculation that it will rock back and forth when you destroy it, much like the saucer in Attack from Mars.

We’ll report back if we can get some hands-on time with the game. In the meantime, check out some images of the various options and the playfield. Whether you’re opening your wallet (wide) for a new Star Trek table or not, if you have a passion for pinball, speak up in the comments!

The Secret World: Get Your Art Designs Into the Game!

Not be outdone by recent EverQuest Landmark announcements, Funcom is now going to allow players with mad outfit art skills to get their designs into the game. This contest runs until September 15th, so get your works in now!

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Funcom“Get your art in the game!” Contest Entry Details

As announced in this article on The Secret World website, we are holding a contest where you can send in a design for an outfit (male and/or female) you created yourself.

The contest runs from August 16th until September 15th, 2013. During that time, you can enter your design suggestion (as a drawing, sketch, painting …). You can also send in more than one design. A jury consisting of a team of our developers will then rate all entries and will pick the five best designs for each male and female outfits – so a total of 10 designs. Those 10 designs will then be put up on the forums where everyone will have the chance to vote on his/her preferred design. So you – the players – will pick the final winner of the contest.

The winning outfit design will afterwards be created by our dev team and will be made available in-game in the The Secret World item store. The winner will of course receive this outfit for all of his/her characters for free!

Here are the rules about how to send in your entry for the contest:

  • Every art contribution sent must be of your own creation or be sent with the consent of its creators!
  • For unisex outfits, please provide a male and female drawing, as part of the same submission, so we can see how it fits each gender.
  • Post your design (graphic should be a high resolution .JPEG or .PNG file with a neutral background (preferably white or grey)) in this thread on the The Secret World forums. That thread also provides additional guidelines for potential entries so please make sure you read it before submitting an entry.
  • Alternatively you can also upload your art file (graphic should be a high resolution .JPEG or .PNG file with a neutral background (preferably white or grey)) to a file sharing service of your choice. For example the free service WeTransfer (https://www.wetransfer.com/).
  • If you post your entry on the forums, you don’t have to do anything in addition.
  • If you chose to upload your file to a file sharing service, you have to send us the link to your file by email to contest@thesecretworld.com .
    Please include the following information with your email:
    Subject: “Get your art in the game”
    Text:

    • Your full name
    • Your address (street, city, country)
    • The donwload link to your art file

The Most Expensive Item for Sale at San Diego Comic-Con (Wired.com)

Cara Santa Maria hit up SDCC 2013 in search of the most expensive items available. I was shocked at the final two price tags.

Transformer: $162
Robot: $375
Star Trek Uniform: $2,300
King Kong Painting: $18,000
Harrison Ford’s Whip from Temple of Doom: $75,000
Ripley’s Flamethrower from Alien: $95,000
Action Comics #1 (First Superman): $600,000
Detective Comics #27 (First Batman): $660,000

The Complete Visual History of Wolverine’s Costumes (Gizmodo.com)

This infographic is all kinds of awesome. Wolverine’s had over 20 costume changes in nearly 40 years; that’s better than my wardrobe. And it’s just in time for us to draw comparisons prior to next week’s release of  “The Wolverine”Thanks, Gizmodo!

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