A couple weeks ago, I showed you a sneak preview of one of the most surprising iPhone games ever, Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, which combines seemingly traditional space combat with augmented reality (AR) for a decidedly unique "Star Wars" experience.
SAN FRANCISCO--When George Lucas talks about the raison d'etre of his award-winning visual effects studio, Industrial Light & Magic, his logic might strike some in the bottom line-obsessed world of Hollywood as heretical.
"I started ILM to help make great movies," Lucas told CNET recently. "That's what we're here for. We're not here as a big moneymaking organization. We're not here as a business. We're here to make great movies."
Of course, any filmmaker would probably want to say something like that, but Lucas may well be the one person … Read more
Think "Star Wars" games have been done to death? I guarantee you've never seen anything like Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner. It's like the PC classic "TIE Fighter" mixed with the ingenious UFO on Tape mixed with the Layar Reality Browser.
Confused? This video might help:
As you can see, the game overlays itself on whatever appears in your iPhone camera lens. Point it at the night sky and, presto, you're blasting TIE fighters in outer space. Point it at the dog and, um, … Read more
StarCodec is a free pack of media codecs optimized for a wide range of media players and formats, packaged together with a single installer. It offers stable, high-quality video and audio playback from a variety of sources, including files, disks, and Web sites, and numerous configuration settings to optimize media compatibility and playback.
Installing the StarCodec pack involves choices like post-processing and file associations; we chose the defaults, but they're easy to change later. Clicking Finish opened StarCodec's locally downloaded HTML product page in our browser. StarCodec's Start Menu entry includes DivX playback controls and a DivX … Read more
As we enter the season of buying people things they don't like, it is fortunate that one company has stopped to think what the world might truly be missing.
Haynes, a company that has made its name and fortune out of creating perfectly bound owners' manuals for every conceivable car, has taken its talents to celestial heights.
According to the Daily Mail, the company is releasing an owner's manual for the USS Enterprise.
This would seem to be a little more difficult than creating a manual for a Ford Escort. The Enterprise went through quite a few iterations … Read more
Ever lost your car in a mall parking lot? MyChevrolet includes a GPS-enabled map and a feature that lets you add a note or photo with details or where you parked your car. There's a timer, so you can track how much time you have on the parking meter.
If you get back to your car but there's a problem, you can use the app to request roadside assistance or to locate the … Read more
To increase consumer adoption of its operator-assisted telematics service, OnStar is working with auto insurance companies to offer its subscribers discounts on their policies.
OnStar's data shows their subscribers are safer drivers and more conscientious on the road. Its service also help insurance companies lower loss and reduce insurance claims, said OnStar spokesperson Jim Kobus. If stolen, a GM vehicle equipped with OnStar has a higher chance of recovery before it ends up in a chop shop, and in the event of an accident, OnStar's operators are automatically alerted and use the car's telematics to help first … Read more
The Apple event on Wednesday was largely about the next iteration of Mac OS X (appropriately named Lion). But an interesting development came when Steve Jobs introduced the new Mac App Store, which will become available to Snow Leopard users in about 90 days.
Much like the iTunes App Store, the Mac App Store will let you purchase Mac apps and install them quickly on your computers. And as it does with the iTunes App Store, Apple will take a 30-percent cut of the sale price, leaving developers 70 percent. But Jobs was careful to point out that the Mac App Store will not mimic the closed system of the iTunes App Store--it will simply be another option to bring apps to your Mac. But do we really believe him?
It seems to me that creating the Mac App Store is Apple's way of testing whether the market will tolerate Apple getting a piece of the action on software developed for the Mac, just like it does with iPhone apps. We can be pretty sure that several developers will submit their apps right off the bat, if for no other reason than for the exposure that an iTunes-like experience can provide. But what Apple might be banking on is that once the software submissions gain momentum, the larger players may no longer have a choice but to submit their software to the new system. Am I just being paranoid?
While we certainly can't be sure what Apple hopes to achieve with the Mac App Store, this sort of soft launch makes me think there's something more going on here. Let me know what you think in the comments.
This week's apps include a 3D third-person soccer game and a new arcade space flier with a fun single-player mode.… Read more
A couple of days ago, I posted a blog about an official Lucasfilm Jedi bathrobe I was pretty jazzed about. Following that, one attentive reader, Jonny, sent me this link to a way awesome R2-D2 one-piece swimsuit called Artoo.
It's from Black Milk Clothing, an independent clothing company from Australia that normally specializes in exotic leggings. It was designed by James Lillis, goes for $85, and is made from a Polyester/Lycra blend. We're not sure if it's Lucasfilm-licensed (we're guessing it's not) but it's cool nonetheless.
I mean, if you're into Star … Read more
When I was a kid, I'd wear an old bathrobe I found in a closet as a Jedi robe. I'd pull out my plastic lightsaber and battle Sith lords in my backyard. In a neat extension on my childhood Sith wars, Lucasfilm is now marketing an actual bathrobe that's Jedi-style, and it's kinda cool.
It's a one-size-fits-all affair, is made of cotton velour, and features an awesome Galactic Republic logo right over the heart. It's $70 on preorder right now, and it ships in November.
You'll have to come up with the rest … Read more