About Illisia

I am a lover most things pretaining to "geek" and/or "nerd". My hobbies include reading, writing, photography, puzzles (jigsaw, sudoku, crossword, etc), cooking, computer gaming, and singing. My interests vary a great deal with anything from the sophistication of politics, history and science, to the appreciation of films and television, art, music and poetry. I live the lifestyle of an "Ethitarian", an individual who lives as ethically as possible. They say that "every little helps", and I hope that that is true. Career wise, I am pursuing journalism as a writer and photographer, carrying my camera with me wherever possible and writing new articles whenever I get a brainstorm.

UPDATE

It has come to my attention that I have not posted an update to this Blog in almost an entire month, the longest drought in my writing here that I have had in a long, long time.

The reason being, as I have posted on my FaceBook about, I have encountered a complication in my personal life due to a health emergency that has taken me aback and thrown things quite off balance.

However, I have been continuing to write, though not on this Blog.

As some of you may or may not be aware, I have recently joined two external websites as part of their writing team and have been contributing to those.

  • Indie Retro News is a website dedicated to independent and retro or retro-inspired computer games, and as such, all articles, interviews and reviews relating to those topics will be posted there EXCLUSIVELY now.
  • Thanet Star is a Thanet-based news website, and as such all Thanet (Margate, Ramsgate, etc) related articles, reviews etc shall be posted EXCLUSIVELY there now.

Also “on the cards” is the website redesign which I hope shall be launched within the next week or two, and many interviews and reviews that are currently being prepared for publication.

So, keep watching this space! Things may be a little quiet, but I am still very much continuing writing and photographing, and the website redesign is going to have more than one surprise in store for you all…

Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Further Reading
Indie Retro News: Wreck It Ralph Review
Indie Retro News: XBox Live Recommendation Of The Week – Game Room
Indie Retro News: Xbox Live Recommendation Of The Week – Beat Hazard
Indie Retro News: Xbox Live Recommendation Of The Week – Hydro Thunder Hurricane
Thanet Star: Toby Carvery Westwood Cross Review

Joining Forces…

As aforementioned in my New Year’s Resolution Posts, I have been in talks with several external websites to join their writing teams.

After much discussion and brain storming, I have now joined forces with Indie Retro News, a website dedicated to independent and retro gaming.

Anything related to either of those topics will now be posted EXCLUSIVELY there. You can expect interviews, reviews, and an ‘Xbox Live Recommendation Of The Week’ every Saturday.

So, head on over to their website, ‘Like’ their FaceBook Page and Follow them on Twitter to read my Posts as-and-when they are posted, along with those written by the rest of the team.

I am one step closer to my goal

Good News!

My internet connection is finally being installed at my new residency on Thursday 04th of April, only three days left to go. This means that I can at last return to regular posting, so expect to see lots more interviews, reviews, news and photography here very soon…

Defiance Xbox 360 Beta: The Follow-Up

Defiance-Syfy

I recently had the opportunity to Beta Test the brilliant “transmedia” Defiance game on my Xbox 360 console, weeks before its launch, and posted an indepthtual article and review about my experience which has been drawing in a lot of interest.

I received a thank you email (sent out to all participants) from Nathan Richardsson, Executive Producer of the game, with a few words about how the Beta test went, plans for the future of the game, etc, and I have decided to write a follow-up to share this information with you.

According to Nathan, the console version of the Beta test actually included a lot of bugs that had already been dealt with as a result of feedback from the PC release, atop which the feedback for the console Beta has been vast, so they claim that the final release will be much, much less faulty.

“Now we look forward to showing you the real, more polished game while we act on your feedback to deliver continuous updates that improves our obsession. That’s the beauty of a server-side game – constant updates that are fast like whoa.”

Even now, post-Beta, he included a link to continue to send feedback about our experiences. They really do seem to be working hard to make this game work.

“We look forward to living up to expectations and to delivering new missions, weapons, challenges and more. Free. Over and over again.”

Not only that, but the email was surprisingly humorous, personal, and geeky, as you can see from the quotes. He referred to himself as “proud member of the 150-person Defiance team” and spoke of the game-television hybrid as an “obsession”, which tells me that the creators are actually really nice people and fans of the genre, rather than just money-makers, who treat the viewers and gamers with respect.

watch first 14 minutes of defiance

Click to view the first fourteen minutes of the television series Pilot! (Geographical location restrictions may apply)

I am pleasantly surprised, and impressed.

I am really, really looking forward to getting my hands on the full version, which can be Pre-Ordered now for your platform of choice released on April 04th, and of course, to watching every episode of the coinciding television program, due to air on April 15th/16th (depending on location).

Remember, you can watch exclusive Behind-The-Scenes footage, trailers, clips and more from the show and game on the official YouTube Channel and the Videos section of the main website while you wait, and there is an exclusive, world premiere of the first fourteen minutes of the television Pilot available to watch as well.

Event Review: Sci-Fi Weekender 2013

Featured

Sci-Fi Weekender banner

Introduction: Why We Went

I am relatively new to conventions. I dislike crowds and noise, so they aught to be the very embodiment of a place where I would not want to be under any circumstances. However, I actually find them to be quite fun. Once or twice a year, I “let down my hair” and attend gatherings of geeks and Guests, partake in Workshops, listen to Talks, play games, watch films, and generally have a good time.

I had heard a lot of amazing things about The Sci-Fi Weekender, and I decided that, in all my capacities as fan, journalist, and photographer, I absolutely had to attend this year.

– – – –

Continue reading

DEFIANCE: Xbox 360 Beta Game Review

Featured

Defiance-logo

Defiance is the future. It is a unique, groundbreaking concept; a television series with a computer game crossover that is a multi-platform Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game that is not “based on” the series, but is directly effected by it, and vice versa.

Yes, you read me right. How you (and your fellow gamers) play the “MMO” effects the television series. This has never, ever been done before.

defiance-the-game-logo

Continue reading

WANTED: Your Housing Experiences And Opinions

THE PITCH
Housing is becoming a big problem within the UK. There are more people than there are homes, a ridiculous amount of people claiming Housing Benefit to claim their rent, record numbers of homeless living on our streets, “slumlords” and Estate Agents cashing-in on people’s desperation, and of course the Housing Benefit restrictions now coming into play.

I want to write about all of these things, and more.

WHY?
I want to spread awareness of the positives, and more importantly, the negatives. The aim is that people will read the facts, figures, and opinions that I will be writing about, and they will be inspired to take action, partaking in charity campaigns, signing petitions, etc, to try and fight back against the difficulties I will be writing about.

MY INSPIRATION
I have been inspired by my own recent experiences and those of my friends and family, changes being made to the system, and by fellow journalist Lord Matt of Thanet Star (see ‘Further Reading’ below) who recently blogged about housing problems in Thanet, where we reside.

I can really see this being a series of articles, rather than just one. There are a lot of things to be covered!

HOW YOU CAN HELP
I am writing an article regarding landlords, estate agents, Housing Benefit, council housing, etc, etc, etc, and I want YOUR experiences, YOUR facts and figures, YOUR opinions, YOUR say.

This is going to be a big project, I am going to be speaking to members of the public both employed and on benefits, several councils about their housing policies, estate agencies, etc, etc, etc.

Please, if you have anything at all to say on the topic, no matter how small, no matter where in the UK you live, no matter your circumstances, let me know.

Comment, or email me (contact at illisia dot co dot uk, or via my FaceBook) in confidence (nothing you say will be used without prior consent).

Thank you in advance for your help.

FURTHER READING / REFERENCES
Stamping Out Rogue Landlords In Thanet
Is Thanet Ready For The Immigration Of People On Benefits?

Getting Back On Schedule…

I have not posted an update in more than a week, due to my lack of internet at my current residency – though this will be resolved when Fibre Optic is installed on April 4th – and I apologise for this.

I am visiting fellow journalist Lord Matt for a couple of days, now, though, and he has kindly lent me the use of his laptop and internet capacity so that I might continue with my work.

During this time, I am speaking with him about the redesign of my website (as discussed here), catching up on my business emails, sending questions to my interviewees, finishing (and publishing) my review of The Sci-Fi Weekender, and organising my backlog of photographs for sharing.

Currently my photographs are only available to view – exclusively – on my FaceBook Page, due to the sheer number of images that I have now rendering my original Photography section of my website to be unpractical. There you can see new additions to my Photography Portfolio, including images from GEEK 2013, full size snow scenes (as teased with a Special Preview here), and a five hour photoshoot at Quex Park Paintballing. Soon to be uploaded are more images from all those categories, along with some from The Sci-Fi Weekender 2013, and some very special surprises…

Getting back to more formal, non-“geeky” journalism, as per my promise, I also have a very special article on the way to mark one year since this Blog was founded, several reviews of local eateries around Thanet, unfinished game reviews which will be able to finished once I am online and able to access my game saves from Xbox Live’s Cloud Storage, two book reviews, and many more surprises in store…

So, keep watching this space!

Mind Controlled Gaming Is Possible: Kickstart It!

Kickstart A Multiplayer Psychic Combat Simulator!

I posted earlier today regarding a really interesting gaming scoop that has come to my attention and, as promised, I am now going to share with you how you can be part of what could potentially be the future of interactive gaming…

The last few years has seen some major developments for console and computer gaming. Microsoft’s Kinect, Playstation’s Move, Nintento’s 3DS and most recently Wii-U, have made the seemingly impossible, possible, as the ability to use physical movement to effect gameplay, or have games become more real, “jumping out at you” and responding directly to voice commands, etc, has become a reality.

Virtual reality is another futuristic technology making the headlines and getting gamers talking, but what you probably did not know about is the obscure technology produced by NeuroSky which utilises neuro science (the science of the mind) and things called bio sensors in their peripheral product, the Mindwave, which allows software developers to create programs – and games – that respond to the way our minds work.

NeuroSky

This might be able to change the face of gaming”
– Lat Ware, Programmer for Throw Trucks With Your Mind

Lat Ware

Lat Ware, “veteran of the games industry, and the programmer-mastermind of this crazy idea”, with his prototype.

One such developer is Lat Ware, a talented gentleman who has worked on some rather prestigious titles including Star Trek Online. Lat has seen the potential of this hardware and created a prototype/Pre-Beta game entitled ‘Throw Trucks With Your Mind’ and tested it on some of his fellow gamers to see how it fared, the feedback for which has been so positive that he decided to quit his job (!), and risk everything to Kickstart it into reaching its true potential. You can watch his “pitch” for funding below, and see footage of the existing product which he is expanding upon.

The basic premise and mechanics of the game are simple. The game is a “Multiplayer Psychic Combat Simulator”, the first of its kind in the world, which pits users against each other, or AI (intelligent computer generated players), by interacting with the world around them. There are no guns, swords, or any weapons whatsoever, except your mind. Your mind picks up objects, and combats or defends with them.

How? Users wear the Mindwave, which actually measures their level of calm and concentration much in the same way that a lie detector senses lies, and how you measure on these scales directly effects your gameplay. Players move around the world and select powers with a standard keyboard and mouse. Actions can – or cannot – then be completed, dependent on your ability to control your mind. For example, you can lift things with your calm and then you throw them with your focus.

It is easy to see how critics and fans have drawn comparison with the Jedi powers of Star Wars.

Character designs

Throw Trucks With Your Mind will be compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, will be a light-hearted, amusing thirty-six person multiplayer experience, and include game modes such as ‘Capture The Fridge’, ‘King Of The Hill’ and ‘Hunt The Hunters’.

The Mindwave headset is a $79.99 (there are Australian and European shops as well, but please be aware of currency conversion, Shipping & Handling costs and possible importation fees) compulsory purchase in order to play the game, but once you own it there are dozens, if not hundreds of games, utilities and Apps available to download – both free or purchased – with it, and if you are a games developer yourself, you have a new piece of hardware to experiment with…

Throw Trucks With Your Mind Limited Edition Kickstarter Poster

$15 minimum donations receive a copy of this Limited Edition poster

Kickstarters get some impressive incentives for contributing funding, from something as simple as Special Thanks ($5 minimum) in the game credits to free Mindwave headsets ($125 minimum) to actually being able to have your own objects ($200 minimum) or character designs ($1,000 minimum) included in the finished product!

The target has already been reached, but beyond the minimum funding are “Stretch Goals”, including extra game modes and online matchmaking, so the more money gained for this software, the better the end product.

Funding for the Kickstarter Campaign ends on March 14th, so if you want to become part of what looks like gaming history in the making, get funding and Share, Share, Share!

Further Reading
The Kickstarter Campaign for the game, with promotional video and lots of information about the game
Throw Trucks With Your Mind Is The Best Star Wars Game Ever, a Venture Beat article about a fan’s experience with the prototype (warning: explicit words contained within)
Mind Games: Using Brain Waves To Play A Video Game, an article from The Los Angeles Times about the game’s prototype, as told from the perspective of a ten year old gamer’s father

Image Credit
NeuroSky’s FaceBook
The Kickstarter Campaign
Venture Beat

If You Build It, They Will Come…

Today I logged into my professional email account, and I find a message in my Inbox from a games developer with a Kickstarter Campaign that he wanted to tell me about, in the hopes that I would give him coverage.

This is a really big step towards becoming a professional, and I am really excited by this.

My next professional milestones will be when a fan emails me in a “tip” or request, when publishers, distributors, etc start giving me games, films, books, etc (hopefully in advance of release) to consider reviewing, and of course, when one of my reviews or articles is quoted in an external source.

Kickstarter Logo

The best part is that the Kickstarter Campaign is a really unique concept and I am very interested in writing about it and informing my readers of it. In his own words:

“This might be able to change the face of gaming.”

So, three guesses what I am finding the time to type up today…