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.

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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]

Mood Map: South Korean Tweets Activate Art Exhibit (EBOarch.com)

If used on a micro-scale, I wonder if this could be helpful as a way to see if someone was depressed or even tending suicidal thoughts (via their Tweets)? I could certainly see psychiatrists being interested in patterns of human speech via text.

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Mood map visualizes the moods of Korean people in color and light through textual analysis of their Tweets on Twitter. We will create a custom software program in Processing that will search and analyze Tweets in Korean language through the Twitter API. Tweets will be analyzed using a text analysis library that searches for specific strings of Korean characters that describe certain moods or feelings.

There are 6 main categories of feelings or moods we will search and visualize: joy/pride, love, fear/ shame, anger, pity, and sadness/frustration. Mood Map cycles through 3 visualization sequences. The first sequence displays occurrences of tweets in real time. The second sequence is showing collective data of two moods in past one hour. And the third is collective data of one mood in a day. This sequence control the intensity of color associated with each mood/feeling.

The 6 mood/feeling categories will be associated with 6 fiber optic illuminators, each with a specific color. Each illuminator will be paired to two other illuminators through the connection of fiber optic cables. So as the intensity of certain moods changes over time, visitors can witness the relative expression of all the moods compared to each other, changing dynamically over time every 30 seconds. The overall composition will express a flux of mood, feeling, intensity and time transmitted to a spatial 3D body.

Mood map is built and exhibited at “Data Curation” in Museum of Art at Seoul National University.

Visualization: Noa Younse
Assembly team: KwangYeon Cho, Kibum Park, Young-Won Chi, Byunghwa Kim, Min Jae Lee, Sang Ki Nam, Daram Park, Sooyoung Park, HyunWoo Yoo
Photography: E/B Office

Original E/B Office Article

Inside MOMA’s Rain Room (DigitalTrends.com)

This is really amazing. Definitely watch the video at the end to see the Rain Room in action!

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MOMA Rain Room 2 horizontal

On a sunny afternoon in New York City, it seems ironic that hundreds of people were wait in line to purposely get caught in a torrential downpour. But the Rain Room isn’t just your average water park. The latest installation at the Museum of Modern Art allows visitors to walk through pouring rain without ever getting wet.

The experience is part of MoMA’s “EXPO 1: New York,” a summer-long exhibition that explores the huge environmental challenges we face as a species alongside the unprecedented technological achievements of this generation. For its part, the Rain Room is an immersive environment that allows visitors to “experience how it might feel to control the rain.” Walking into the room feels like entering a huge, dark shower, but take a step into the rain and the falling sheets of water disappear. You can roam the space without getting at all wet.

Designed by England’s Random International, the Rain Room’s secret is in 3D camera sensors installed across the dark room. Though artist Hannes Koch won’t reveal all the details (it’s “part of the magic”), he says the sensors recognize movements and detect objects – allowing rain to stop falling at precise spots at which the objects stand. When the sensors realize the object has moved away, the rain returns. Each spot gets an approximate five-foot radius of dryness, which is why the Rain Room is limited to 10 visitors at any given time. If the room were to fill up, the rain would stop altogether.

The sensors aren’t the only trick within the Rain Room. The Random International team spent three years perfecting the installation by making sure the sheets of pouring rain fell as straight down as possible. Unlike natural rain from clouds, the water drops have to descend uniformly; without the straight downpour, the exhibit wouldn’t work. It also helps that, with the right camera settings, the vertical rain creates a unique and photographic experience. It is estimated that the Rain Room uses at least 260 gallons of water per minute during the exhibition.

     

Inside the Rain Room, the camera system is not exactly foolproof – you can still run around and get ahead of the sensors if you want to get wet. But a quiet stroll through the room feels God-like – it really does feel as if you command the weather. The experience is breathtaking, weird, and beautiful all at the same time. Hollywood has always romanticized kissing in the rain, but in reality, you’d be lucky if you don’t inhale water drops up your nose. In the Rain Room, couples can enjoy that magical moment without ever ruining their date outfits – or get their camera equipments destroyed while capturing the experience.

The Rain Room at MoMA runs between now to July 28. Be prepared: The exhibit is first-come, first-served. There is no time limit for how long you can spend inside the Rain Room so it could take hours before you’re even close to the front door.

 

Original DigitalTrends.com Article

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