Thanks to COVID-19, many of us are trapped at home for the next month or 3, and are looking for a productive way to spend our time or keep the kids occupied. What better way than learning new skills in something you are really interested in doing while spending no money for the training? Pluralsite is one of several companies offering such training, in their case for any kind of computer skill set you can imagine. For some of us that means training in a wide range of IT jobs that you can do remotely, which could mean additional income during the current crises. Then there are things like video game creation, 3D modeling, and programming, all across a range of platforms, that can grab the imagination of anyone who wants to become truly creative. You don’t need to give them a credit card to sign up for the free courses, just an email address, but you only have until the end of April to take the classes; come May 1st it will go back to costing money to get access to them.
Thanks to the folks at Games from Scratch for the heads up on this opportunity. I am including their YouTube video on the Pluralsite offering, where they go into some detail about what you will actually have access to there. They also mention several of the other training opportunities, such as 3 months of free classes on every aspect of making games for the Unity Game Engine with free courses, projects and tutorials to get you creating with style.
Before I Fall has the teen protagonist living the same day over and over, dying at the end of each iteration, and trying to get it right. While the basic premise seems to be somewhere between Groundhog Day and All You Need Is Kill, this one is based on best selling author Lauren Oliver‘s book of the same name. We also get The Last Kingdom: Season Two this time around, the multi-award winning presentation of the uniting of England in the days just before King Arthur might have come along.
In Anime, Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the companion movie that goes along with the series. I didn’t get to see it in theaters, mostly because I don’t live in New York or San Francisco, and I am looking forward to finally checking it out. If anyone has streamed it before now, it completely escaped my attention. Endride: Part 1 finds Shun transported deep below the Earth’s surface, although which Earth isn’t immediately obvious. His only hope of getting back home is to team up with Prince Emilio, who is out to kill the king; this first dozen episodes introduces you to the story, and takes you through the point Shun discovers his new powers and gathers a team of rebels to help him move forward. I have to say I have a bit of a problem with the title Gosick: The Complete Series, Part One; it can be the complete series, or it can be part 1, but it can’t be both. Now that I have that out of my system, this is a tasty little series set in the 1920s, with a series of mysteries to solve and a brilliant detective who never leaves her hothouse to solve them (sound familiar?). Enough of the cases have a para-physical shading that I get to count it as genre and include it here. Finally Hi-sCool! Seha Girls: Complete Series is just silly fun, with three girls being the human avatars of classic Sega game platforms, fighting their way to 8 Bit Heaven!
Today is the first day of the 17th Annual SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival, with a host of amazing films, including 7 world film premieres, 13 UK film premieres, and SCI-FIDO, the world’s only cosplay for dogs! It runs for 10 days total and includes goodies like the movie Virtual Revolution and this year’s assortment of Sci-Fi Games. Wish I could be there this time!
If you are playing with 3D modeling, be aware of MakeHuman, a free open source tool for creating 3D characters. Written in Python, it integrates seamlessly into blender, and allows you to instantly generate a fully rigged and ready to animate human or near-human. It’s slider set has over a thousand morphs you can apply to modify your character, including (but not limited to) Age, gender, height, weight, body proportions, face shapes, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears, neck, hands, feet.. the list goes on. And it is licensed under the CC0 license from Creative Commons, giving you unparalleled freedom to use your creations however you like. The folks over at Games From Scratch did an excellent introduction video on this, which I am including here so you can see just how easy and powerful this package is.
The Irregular at Magic High School anime series has a Feature Film coming out in Japan on June 17th, and it just got its first trailer. The original voice cast is here, but both the director and the anime studio have changed since the original TV series came out in 2014. I have no idea how much those changes might change the dynamic of the story-line, but it was solid as a light novel, solid as a TV series, and I expect it will be solid as a movie. Thanks to the folks at Otaku USA for the heads up on this one.