The Sci-Heroes Need You!

Sci-Heroes Save the Day! is the first in a series of apps that teach science with science fiction that I am developing with my pal Amy Kraft. Amy is a producer and writer of educational books and products as well as a kids media blogger at her blog mediamacaroni.com and contributor to Wired’s geekmom.com.  We’ve been tossing around app ideas for a while when Amy had this an amazing idea to use sci-fi to help kids learn scientific concepts and principals. I got to work designing and illustrating the characters, giving them personalities that will interest players to follow the heroes as they use science to stop the forces of evil.

Here’s where we need your help! We have entered our app in the Cooney Center’s National STEM Video Game Challenge to help us get the funding we need to get our game completed. Please take a look at our entry and cast your vote by clicking the “Applaud This” button.  We also have a playable demo of Sci-Heroes available online, where you can play around in the lab to stop the evil Dr. Spectacular with the correct chemical combination!

With your help, students can save the day with the Sci-Heroes!

New York Comic Con 2010, 3 days of games, comics and pop-culture goodness

This years NY Comic-con was a blast and more action packed and well attended than previous cons. Combined with the New York Anime Fest, it was fun to see the anime cosplay kids rubbing elbows with the “grown-ups” in their superhero gear.

Walking the floor of the con you got to see the big publishers, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Image Comics among the most crowded. Actually I found that the big guys booths just seemed to be endless lines of fans waiting to get books signed, and were so over crowded. Maybe next year these guys could get a bit more floor space to accommodate more fans.

Of course there are bargains to be had at the con. Many retailers feature trades for 1/2 off or even for $5. But if you were looking for something specific places like Midtown Comics (my favorite comic book store in all of NYC) had a great selection of trades and graphic novels for 25% off. The con has more than just comics for sale, a retail section dubbed “The Cultyard” featured cutting edge artists like Tara McPherson and Toki Doki who were both selling and signing t-shirts, posters and other merch. The lines were crazy for these!

Video game publishers were also front and center at this years con. Rock Star Games’ Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare had a huge booth which I tried to get into but was just too packed. I’m dying to my hands on this game, let alone this cool zombie DLC. My favorite video game booth was for the upcoming Wii game Michael Jackson: The Experience. This is a dance game where you get to try out all the Michael signature dance moves and see if you can keep up. People were on the stage in this huge booth dancing non stop for three days, and I just couldn’t turn away!

And finally there were panels galore, and here were a few that I enjoyed:

Voiceover Acting Intro with Stevie Vallance

I’ve always had an idea in the back of mind that I’d love to try voice acting for cartoons,and Stevie’s panel at NYCC just got me more excited to give it a try. Her energy and amazing ability to channel some incredible voices really got the pack crowd going. She brought up volunteers to demonstrate her techique of finding a voice. She said that if you are “thinking” of making a funny voice, then you are already lost. “No stinkin’ thinkin'” was her motto! Instead she starts with a laugh and lets that lead you into the a voice that comes from the laughter. Really concentrating on the image of the character and just letting it come out of you. Stevie does workshops and as well as individual consultations and more. Take a look at her site toonedin.ca for more info

Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga for Kids

This panel was interesting to hear how kids are getting so into manga and how children’s books are beginning to evolve into more graphic storytelling rather than traditional picture books. The most interesting discussion was about the decline of picture books as written about in a New York Times article last week. Beyond just the economy being an issue it seems parents are saying that their kids are beyond the picture books at earlier levels. Also according to the panel cross-generational appeal in comics seems to be a big trend, much as it has been in kid and youth literature. Parents want to read something to their kids that they themselves enjoy reading. It definitely got my creative juices flowing on making comics for kids.

Breaking Into Video Games

Another great panel with lots of great advice on how to build a career in video games whether you are interested in making them or writing about them. Some of the advice for artists wanting to do more with video games was very cool, but some basic stuff that is applicable to any art or design career. Do personal work in your spare time and show that in your book. Be persistent and start with small jobs. Nobody becomes a video game design rock star overnight, so trying all of these things bound to help.

I also took some interest in the part of the panel about writing about games, as I plan to start adding my own “art of video game reviews” on my blog. They mentioned to be sure and comment on other blogs and sites that write about and review games in order to get your name and voice seen.

They mentioned nycgameindustry.com as an excellent resource for people interested in NYC based video game development jobs and gigs. A few gaming media and news sites to take a look at are gamasutra.com and kotaku.com



Supermutants, Jedi Clones, and Zombies coming in October!

Welcome to October! When I’m not dreaming up robots or doing assignment work, I’m usually reading comics, playing video games or watching the latest must see tv show du jour. Here are a few pop culture obsessions of mine that are coming out this month.

Fallout: New Vegas
10/19/2010

I spent a whole lotta time and bottlecaps in the D.C. Wasteland of Fallout 3, so I’m excited that the follow up Fallout: New Vegas (PS3, XBox 360 and PC)  is coming out this month. It is built on the same engine as Fallout 3, but with many improvements that should make game play much more fun. I totally love the 1950’s retro future art direction of the series, so I can’t wait to explore the Vegas wasteland to see what goodies they’ve cooked up this time. Check out this video for a peek into the art direction of Fallout: New Vegas.

Force Unleashed II
10/26/2010

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since way back, but I’d lost interest in it until Force Unleashed came out in 2008 which was a fun game and fit so well into the Star Wars universe. Starkiller, Darth Vader’s reluctant apprentice is back in Force Unleashed II and looks to be up against some formidable foes. In this sequel, he wields 2 lightsabers at once, and has new force powers including Jedi Mind Trick which causes your enemies to fight for you! It also looks like the scale of this version is much bigger (similar to God of War 3) with some giant enemies to face. Check out the trailer.

The Walking Dead on AMC
10/31/2010

I’ve been obsessed with this comic since I picked up the first trade paperback, and now we get to experience The Walking Dead on TV! Robert Kirkman who is the writer and creator of the comic promises the show will be true to the core of the comic but give us new twists and characters to keep us going. I hope this series will not only appeal to fans but also crossover to people who might not usually be interested in horror or zombies. Take a look at a preview.

Those are my October obsessions, what are you looking forward to this month?