You can now download and use Unreal Engine 4 for free. There’s a royalty free required if/when your game makes a certain amount of money. This is pretty huge and apparently part of a trend: the new version of Unity and the forthcoming Source 2 game engines are going to be free as well.
Cool recap of digital archivist/activist Jason Scott’s talk at GDC 2015, about preserving video games as history.
A jaw-dropping article on the gloomy future of the big box music giant:
Citing a bloated cost structure that keeps the company from achieving historical profitability, new CEO Darrell Webb fires 42 corporate executives, including the last remnant of Mike Pratt’s team, as well as 28 regional managers. Music Trades reports that the company is down to $10 million in available cash after Christmas.
The constant, smarmy mantra of impenetrability and infallibility has finally been dispelled. Their new executives have, at long last, ceased the comedy routine about how Guitar Center’s stores are always profitable no matter how many times Standard & Poor’s declares them technically in default, or that a billion dollar of debt is totally normal and wonderful and manageable. In a recent email, Webb explains the firings with the dry rationale of needing to be profitable, and foreshadowed that the company will “continue to seek efficiencies.” We seem to be hearing much less about that $3 billion in future revenue and much more about the jobs yet to be cut.
It sounds like a lot to you and me but in the scope of a business like Guitar Center, $10 million is nothing. Crippling debt and a business model that only made sense in the pre-internet era. As the author elsewhere describes it, a charmless “catalog with walls.”
Cool short documentary on the puppeteers that brought Jabba the Hutt to life. Designed by Phil Tippett (the very same), Jabba was at the time the largest puppet they’d ever assembled and manipulated by three of Jim Henson’s Muppet puppeteers.
Also, here’s a Tested episode that visits Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and explores the evolution of puppetry in SFX:
I love seeing the all the mechanical bits that make these puppets work. When I was a kid I wanted to make an E.T. puppet but only got as far as carving up a few foam blocks. I should have been paying as much attention to Tippett as I did to Harryhausen back then.
(Also why do some people hate The Dark Crystal? That movie rules.)
From the bookmarks file: Lee LeFever on why Seattleites crave the end of summer. I disagree on the whole; summertime in Seattle is goddamn glorious and far too fleeting.
These passages did resonate with me, though:
But the arrival of summer sun comes with an obligation, a duty to make up for lost time, a need to squeeze every drop of fun from a few months of long warm days. It’s a feeling of pressure, pressure to make the most of a fleeting resource.
We Ask: Am I taking advantage of this time I’m given? What can I do to truly make this summer special?
I have certainly felt that way. In midsummer I tend to feel both manic and drunk on sunshine. I never seem to get everything done that I want to in the summer. But I’ve felt that way everywhere, not just Seattle. In my opinion there are better cities in which to get your cozy on, if that’s your thing.
A somewhat terrifying photoblog adventure into the world of McDonald’s memorabilia.