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Posts Tagged ‘monster’

Intel’s 2014 line-up: It’s looking good for enthusiasts

As we reported here, Intel has announced the rest of its 2014 line-up. However, I for one am extremely excited by what the future holds for LGA1150.

With Broadwell being delayed and Haswell seemingly focusing more on power efficiency than giving anything significantly new to the enthusiast and performance user, I was pretty amazed when I read the finer details of Intel’s latest roadmap that was announced on 19th March.

In the press release, the company has announced its intentions to better-support the enthusiast and overclocking communities and has detailed a couple of very interesting products.

The first is a new Pentium that will feature an unlocked multiplier to celebrate 20 years of the brand. Could this be the first cheap overclockable CPU since the likes of the Pentium G9650, all the way back on LGA1156? If so, it could prove a huge boon to those looking to overclock on a budget and give a massive boost to overclocking and the enthusiast market.

Intel's 2014 line-up: It's looking good for enthusiasts
At the moment we’re forced to buy comparatively expensive K-series CPUs, and there have only been two to choose from for each of the last several generations too. It never used to be this way and certainly for the majority of my overclocking life, it wasn’t a case of if you could overclock a CPU, it was a question of which one out of an entire range of CPUs was the best at it.

If the Pentium retails for current Pentium prices – ie around £80-100, but you can add 500-1000MHz to the clock speed, this could potentially match the performance of a Core i5, at least in software that isn’t massively multi-threaded, and give AMD’s cheap FX-series CPUs some competition too.

The new Pentium will be supported by current 8-series chipsets and also forthcoming 9-series chipsets, presumably Z97, although we’ll have to wait and see whether it will need a BIOS update to run in current boards.

Intel's 2014 line-up: It's looking good for enthusiasts
Another gleeful bit of information is that Intel will also be launching its first 8-core desktop CPU. The monster will likely feature hyper-threading, for 16 threads in total, will also support DDR4 and will be supported by the new X99 chipset.

Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs meanwhile have suffered from hot-running chips, especially when you’ve overclocked them. It’s fairly common for people to de-lid their CPUs – having done so with my Core i5-3570K, I can honestly say it made a huge difference. However, Intel appears to have admitted the issue as it will be introducing ‘Improved thermal interface material’ to the expected Haswell refresh CPUs, codenamed Devil’s Canyon, due out this summer.

Intel's 2014 line-up: It's looking good for enthusiasts
As well as the expected performance boost that comes with every refresh, this could mean better overclocking too. The new CPUs are slated to be supported by a new Intel 9-series chipset, although it’s likely Z87-based boards will support them via a BIOS update too.

Finally, there was scant information on Broadwell – Intel’s 5th gen Core processor range. However, it did confirm the new CPUs would be based on a 14nm manufacturing process, will feature unlocked CPUs, and for the first time, offer its Iris Pro Graphics to socketed unlocked processors too, which could give AMD some competition in the APU department.

It looks like we could have some exciting new products just around the corner. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Intel’s 2014 line-up is looking great for enthusiasts

As we reported here, Intel has announced the rest of its 2014 line-up. However, I for one am extremely excited by what the future holds for LGA1150.

With Broadwell being delayed and Haswell seemingly focusing more on power efficiency than giving anything significantly new to the enthusiast and performance user, I was pretty amazed when I read the finer details of Intel’s latest roadmap that was announced on 19th March.

In the press release, the company has announced its intentions to better-support the enthusiast and overclocking communities and has detailed a couple of very interesting products.

The first is a new Pentium that will feature an unlocked multiplier to celebrate 20 years of the brand. Could this be the first cheap overclockable CPU since the likes of the Pentium G9650, all the way back on LGA1156? If so, it could prove a huge boon to those looking to overclock on a budget and give a massive boost to overclocking and the enthusiast market.

Intel's 2014 line-up is looking great for enthusiasts
At the moment we’re forced to buy comparatively expensive K-series CPUs, and there have only been two to choose from for each of the last several generations too. It never used to be this way and certainly for the majority of my overclocking life, it wasn’t a case of if you could overclock a CPU, it was a question of which one out of an entire range of CPUs was the best at it.

If the Pentium retails for current Pentium prices – ie around £80-100, but you can add 500-1000MHz to the clock speed, this could potentially match the performance of a Core i5, at least in software that isn’t massively multi-threaded, and give AMD’s cheap FX-series CPUs some competition too.

The new Pentium will be supported by current 8-series chipsets and also forthcoming 9-series chipsets, presumably Z97, although we’ll have to wait and see whether it will need a BIOS update to run in current boards.

Intel's 2014 line-up is looking great for enthusiasts
Another gleeful bit of information is that Intel will also be launching its first 8-core desktop CPU. The monster will likely feature hyper-threading, for 16 threads in total, will also support DDR4 and will be supported by the new X99 chipset.

Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs meanwhile have suffered from hot-running chips, especially when you’ve overclocked them. It’s fairly common for people to de-lid their CPUs – having done so with my Core i5-3570K, I can honestly say it made a huge difference. However, Intel appears to have admitted the issue as it will be introducing ‘Improved thermal interface material’ to the expected Haswell refresh CPUs, codenamed Devil’s Canyon, due out this summer.

Intel's 2014 line-up is looking great for enthusiasts
As well as the expected performance boost that comes with every refresh, this could mean better overclocking too. The new CPUs are slated to be supported by a new Intel 9-series chipset, although it’s likely Z87-based boards will support them via a BIOS update too.

Finally, there was scant information on Broadwell – Intel’s 5th gen Core processor range. However, it did confirm the new CPUs would be based on a 14nm manufacturing process, will feature unlocked CPUs, and for the first time, offer its Iris Pro Graphics to socketed unlocked processors too, which could give AMD some competition in the APU department.

It looks like we could have some exciting new products just around the corner. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Titanfall Review


Titanfall Review

Titanfall Review

Price: £45
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: EA
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Version Reviewed: PC

Titanfall crams more action into ten minutes than most games do in ten hours. There’s plenty to like about Respawn Entertainment’s first attempt to revolutionise the multiplayer FPS, but what is perhaps most admirable is how mindful Titanfall is of the commitment it asks of you. This is a game which slots into a lunchtime like a lightning port into an Apple device. And not a second of your attention on the game is wasted. Even during the ninety-second breaks between matches, you’re tinkering with your custom pilot and Titan classes, and debating which of the game’s brilliant Burn Cards to carry with you into the next round.

In a genre which has failed to get better for years, and so has opted to get bigger instead, Titanfall is a reinvigorating antidote to the bloated bombast of Battlefield. It is lean, svelte, fit and fast. It’s also brimming with ideas of varying sizes, and when it comes down to it, is simply enormous fun to play. But it also doesn’t quite deliver on all of its revolutionary promises, and neglects to include some pretty basic features anyone would expect in a PC multiplayer game.

Titanfall Review
Titanfall’s strive for innovation is clear from the off, through the presence of a campaign mode in an entirely multiplayer game. This campaign uses nine of Titanfall’s fifteen maps to tell the story of an intergalactic war between the GOOD rebel Militia and the EVIL IMC. It’s easy to tell who is good and evil because the Militia have American accents whereas the IMC have British and South African accents, and everyone knows that British and South African people are all horrible bastards who eat live kittens for breakfast and grow moustaches for the specific purpose of twirling them, the monsters.

The story is told through brief cut-scenes at the beginning of each mission and a small dialogue window in the top-right of the screen that explains the goings on during missions. Frankly, it’s total rubbish; abysmally written bilge that somehow manages to make a straightforward war between two factions seem labyrinthine in its complexity through extended references to characters you hardly spent any time with, and endless plot contrivances designed so that the story remains the same regardless of the outcome of the players’ battle.

Titanfall Review
The multiplayer campaign is Titanfall’s biggest disappointment. Fortunately, the speedy nature of the game’s matches means it is also short. You can play through both sides of the campaign in under four hours, which unlocks two additional Titan Chassis’ for you to use. The tale is also told in such a way that you can largely ignore it, and focus on the far more interesting personal story of your giant gun-toting robot versus everyone else’s giant gun-toting robots.

Before we get to the main event, it’s worth pointing out that even without its eponymous mechs, Titanfall would still be a highly enjoyable FPS. This is thanks to the wonderful acrobatics of the Pilots. The combination of wall-running and double-jumping is transformative, making Titanfall a truly three-dimensional shooter. It also proves a somewhat lateral solution to the problem of bunny-hoppers spoiling the feel of the game. Now that feels like a perfectly natural evasion tactic, as does pinging off the walls like a pinball and leaping through a second-floor window before dashing around the corner to clip your opponent as they gleefully follow you in.

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Kaiju monsters go high-fashion for ‘ultra’ shopping center debut

Mother of Ultra is makes even the tallest supermodel look short in this latest ad campaign to promote the newly renovated Amu Plaza Hakata in Japan.

Mother of Ultra makes even the tallest supermodel look short in the latest ad campaign to promote the newly renovated Amu Plaza Hakata in Japan.


(Credit:
Tsuburaya Productions)

The ultimate superheroine Mother of Ultra is the perfect supermodel for an ad campaign to celebrate the “ultra renewal” of 97 stores in the Amu Plaza Hakata shopping center in Japan.

Mother of Ultra, as well as kaiju monsters Alien Baltan, Dada, and Pigumon strut their stuff on the catwalk. In other videos, Mother of Ultra invades the city of Fukuoka itself, modeling the latest fashions most likely found in the newly updated shopping center.

While this is only an ad campaign, it would make an amazing monster movie with some of the most iconic “Ultraman” characters turning fashion victims into ultra fashionistas.

Here’s hoping other kaiju characters follow in their fashionable footsteps. If anyone can rock a Spencer Hart suit, it’d be Godzilla.

(Via Kotaku)

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MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review

Manufacturer: MSI
UK price (as reviewed): £1,999 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $2,499

It’s taken a while for the latest laptops to claw back some of the lust-factor from the likes of Apple’s retina-equipped tablets but the latest Ultrabooks with displays eclipsing 1080p have certainly helped. Combined with backlit keyboards, crazy battery lives and mSATA SSDs sitting along side large hard disks, Laptop owners have never had it so good. Leaving Ultrabooks to one side for the time being, though, there’s another laptop segment that’s also going through somewhat of a revolution.

Gaming laptops, specifically the full-fat 15.6in+ desktop replacements – usually monsters that generally eat old desktop PCs for breakfast, have until recently been content with 1080p displays. However, just as the desktop display arena is seeing a sizable shift in resolution thanks to cheaper 4K displays, the pixel count on laptops has been growing too. MSI was the first out the door with a 3K display (that’s 2,880 x 1,620, as opposed to 3840 x 2160 for 4K) and its this display, along with Nvidia’s brand new graphics chip, that is the central focus of its latest high-end laptop, the GT60 2PE Dominator Pro.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
It’s a bit of a monster, as is usually the way with super high-end gaming laptops, and at 3.5kg it’s not exactly portable either. That said, this is a little lighter than some similar examples we’ve seen and MSI includes a rather swanky rucksack that’s custom made for the Dominator Pro to make lugging it around a little easier. The fact it’s a 15.6in model and not 16in or 17in does mean taking it on the train is a slightly less daunting task too.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
The outside is part plastic/part brushed aluminium and for the most part fairly understated and not at all garish. The lid is sturdy with little flex and should stand up to a fair amount of punishment.

Inside the black brushed aluminium continues around the touchpad but the rest is all high density plastic, which is a tad disappointing given that ultrabooks that cost half as much often feature all-metal bodies. It’s far from poor quality but equally not very appealing, even if it does keep the weight down – at least until you power it on, but more on that shortly.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
The exterior is bristling with ports with three USB 3.0 ports on the left side along with an SD card reader, plus a further USB 2.0 port and four minijacks on the left side. This is also home to the Bluray drive/DVD Rewriter with the front of the Dominator Pro reserved for air intakes to help keep the beast cool.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
In addition to these, two huge air vents sit on the left side and rear of the Dominator Pro, which also sports the video outputs by way of two mini-DP and an HDMI port along with a Killer e2200 Gigabit LAN port plus the power port. Sadly, there’s no 802.11ac WiFi adaptor, which is surprising given how increasingly prevalent it now is, and how effective it is too.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
The Dominator Pro also sports a generous pack of extras, including a SteelSeries Kinzu Gaming Mouse, SteelSeries Limited Edition Red Siberia MSI Branded Gaming Headset and MSI Gaming Mouse Surface.

Specifications

  • CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-4800MQ
  • GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M 4GB
  • Memory 16GB DDR 3 1,600MHz
  • Screen 15.6in 2,880 x 1,620 IPS
  • Storage 3 x Toshiba THNH128GMCT SSDs in RAID 0, 1TB Hitachi 7K1000
  • Networking Killer e2200 Gigabit LAN, Killer Wireless-N 1202 WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Ports 1 x USB 2, 3 x USB 3, SD card slot, 2 x mini-DP, 1 x HDMI, LAN, 4 x mini jacks
  • Operating System Windows 8
  • Weight 3.5kg
  • Warranty 2 year parts labour collect and return
  • Extras SteelSeries Kinzu Gaming Mouse, SteelSeries Limited Edition Red Siberia MSI Branded Gaming Headset, MSI Gaming Mouse Surface

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Dark Souls II Review


Dark Souls II Review

Dark Souls II Review

Price: £35.00
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platforms: X360, PS3, PC (April Release)

If you thought Dark Souls was a tough game to play, consider for a moment what making a sequel to it must be like. Putting aside the pressure of following up the most infamously, mysteriously captivating game of recent years, there’s the double problem of preserving the absolute precision crafted into Dark Souls’ many systems, while simultaneously changing, refining and improving it to make a new game feel worthwhile. It’s like making a sequel to the Rubik’s cube. Not a job we’d ask for, that’s for sure.

So how have From Software approached this unenviable task? Well, there’s a clue in that earlier paragraph. See, officially Dark Souls is a hack ‘n’ slash RPG, but beneath its brutal exterior Dark Souls is a puzzle game. The realm of Lordran was one giant riddle that dared the player to solve it, to unravel the secrets of its whispered story. Each area was a little maze to be navigated, each boss an enigma that shifted and changed and, of course, fought back.

Dark Souls II Review
As it turns out, what From have done for the difficult second album is, in the end, quite simple. They’ve given you a whole new puzzle to solve. And for the most part, this works.
Broadly speaking, Dark Souls II plays very similarly to the first game. Changes to the game’s mechanics and balancing have been made, but they’re small, initially imperceptible alterations that only become apparent during the course of your adventure. What is clearly different from the start is the world your story takes place in. Drangleic is the new conundrum that awaits your investigation through plodding feet and biting steel, a sprawling realm in which you must search for a cure to your curse by seeking out and obtaining four Great Souls which, you are told, will unlock the way to your salvation.

Aesthetically Drangleic is similar to Lordran before it. The heyday of the land is centuries behind it, and what’s left is a crumbling ruin presided over by creatures long since given over to corruption. Where Drangleic really differs from Lordran is in its size. Dark Souls II’s world is considerably larger than that of the previous game in both breadth and depth. It’s also a more varied world, blending familiar landscapes and architecture with new and more alien areas. Places like The Forest of Fallen Giants and Heide’s Tower of Flame strongly evoke the Undead Burg and Anor Londo respectively, while others like Earthen Peak and Brightcove Tseldora bring entirely new and equally awe-inspiring sights to the Souls universe.

Dark Souls II Review
Despite the increased visual variation, what Drangleic as a whole has in common is that it’s about as friendly and welcoming as a Somali warlord. Concerns that From might have for whatever reason made the game easier can be put to rest. In any location a momentary slip of concentration or bout of overconfidence will result in a quick and messy demise, while parts of Drangleic are just as punishing as anywhere in Lordran, if not more so. The Shaded Woods are a particularly harrowing locale, where the very environment turns against you, concealing unseen horrors in one area before seemingly mocking you with maddening ambient laughter in another.

Dark Souls II Review
And if you want to talk bosses, Dark Souls II has definitely got you covered. There are dozens of them, and they too come in new varieties. Alongside your towering giants and swift, deadly warriors are new “swarm” type bosses who attempt to smother you through sheer numbers. They also range more broadly in terms of the challenge they offer. Some of the earlier bosses might not pose too much of a threat to an on-form Dark Souls veteran, but if you’ve got a mental blacklist that bears the names of the Capra Demon and Ormstein and Smough, prepare to add “Ruin Sentinals” and “The Duke’s Dear Freja” to it, because they will bring you to your knees. And these are early-to-mid game adversaries, never mind the monsters which crop up later on.

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Mod of the Month February 2014

February 28th, 2014 No comments

Mod of the Month February 2014

As February draws to a close it’s time again to look back on the best projects we’ve seen take shape in our forum over the last month. Yes, it’s Mod of the Month time, and we’ve got six of the best in-progress projects to show you. There are case mods, benchtables, water-cooled desks and even a project revival that dates back to 2006. They all need your votes so check them out and pick your favourites in the forum.

Don’t forget about our modding section and modding and project log forums too – there are plenty of awesome projects to see and guides to follow. We’ve also got our Case Mod Index and Scratchbuild Index too – you can see what other people have done modding-wise and we give a prize to one lucky entrant each month.

Mod of the month is proudly sponsored by Mnpctech. The Mnpctech guys are regulars on our forums and, in addition to being avid modders themselves with some awesome projects to their names, the Mnpctech online store is also well worth a visit from every modder.

Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014
The winner of Mod of the Month will get one of these awesome prizes from the Mnpctech store itself. There will be some new and exciting products from Mnpctech on the horizon too, but for now feast your eyes on these pieces of true PC bling.


Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014

Prize 1 – Mnpctech Screw’d M3 PC Radiator Screws

“M3 Radiator Screw’d” fasteners have anodized rings to dress up radiator grills or match your custom PC accessories or liquid cooling components. They work with the following PC Radiator Manufacturers with M3 threads.
*Winner has choice of 3 sets of same color and size (12 total)


Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014

Prize 2 – 120mm Mnpctech Billet “Brain Drain” Grill

Mnpctech’s Billet Aluminum 120mm PC Fan Grill. CNC milled from 3/16″ thick 6061 aluminum.


Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014

Prize 3 – Set of Grooved Aluminum Case Feet

Set of Mnpctech Billet Machined Diamond Knurl Case Feet. Mnpctech’s “Grooved” Desktop Custom PC Case feet are CNC Machined from 6061 Aluminum. Diameter = 1-3/4″ x Height = 7/8″


Thanks to Mnpctech for stumping up such fantastic prizes again this month. We’ve got six very promising projects for you again, so it’s time to vote for your favourites. Don’t forget that you can vote for more than one project if you’re finding it tough to choose one over the others. MOTM is a competition for in-progress projects. You should consider potential, originality, execution and show of skill when voting.

This Month’s Contenders

  • Epitome by Fridge Gnome
  • Frostbite Primochill Wetbench by humanityBG
  • Mega Deblow – Watercooled Desk by mega-deblow
  • Orange Monster by Darkened
  • Redemption1 by hero
  • Umbra Aqua by Marquee

Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014
Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014 Mod of the Month February 2014

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New ‘Godzilla’ already gets my roar of approval

February 26th, 2014 No comments

Godzilla

Gojira!


(Credit:
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

You’ve probably heard there’s a new “Godzilla” coming, and the pointy fella’s not looking to give humanity a hug. The last time this happened on a large scale, with the 1998 “Godzilla” remake, I yawned, dragged my butt over to the theater to watch Matthew Broderick go to battle, and left feeling thoroughly unimpressed.

I have memories of weekend mornings as a child, hiding behind a pillow as my brother and I watched old black-and-white monster movies on television. “The Deadly Mantis” was particularly terrifying, but I always got a thrill when spiny-backed Godzilla showed up, rising out of the waves, hauling a desperate nuclear legacy behind him. It didn’t matter if he was stomping on cities or going at it with Mothra. Godzilla was a star of my childhood movie memories.


Godzilla 2014 poster

The poster for the 2014 “Godzilla.” (Click to enlarge.)


(Credit:
Warner Bros.)

It’s hard for slick modern films with overloaded GGI graphics to rekindle the visceral sensations of watching these movies as a kid. But the trailer for the new “Godzilla” is as close as I’ve come since I reached adulthood.

There are some interesting choices going on in the trailer, not the least of which is Bryan Cranston’s hirsute head. As a resident of Albuquerque and a “Breaking Bad” fan, I have an immediate fondness for any production Cranston is in. I have a sort of blind faith that he’ll pick a solid script and that “Godzilla” will be good based solely on his decision to show up for filming.

Cranston is all over the trailer. He’s growling, “You’re not fooling anybody when you say what happened was a natural disaster. You’re lying!” Shivers. There’s something rising up out the water. The torch arm has been ripped from the Statue of Liberty. There’s a big fat reference to the original 1954 film. There’s a nuclear explosion, so we know it’s not going to leave that crucial part of the legend out of the mix. These are all promising signs.

It doesn’t look like there will be any scrimping on the special effects. We see CGI all over the place in the ruined cityscapes and airplane crashes, but I’m fostering a belief that it will all be in the service of a strong core story with a human connection I’ll actually care about. Because, Bryan Cranston.

The trailer could have played coy with us. It could have gone all “Cloverfield,” but instead we get a pretty good glimpse at Godzilla’s screaming maw. This is totally the right call, because everybody knows what Godzilla looks like. There’s no use in trying to hide it.

My “Godzilla” optimism could turn out to be misplaced, but my hopes for this movie are running strong. We could just look at this as another dark reboot in the ongoing trend of dark reboots, a la “Batman Begins.” But the thing is, it’s hard to get much darker than the original 1954 Japanese “Godzilla.” I’m not talking about the re-cut 1956 Americanized version with Raymond Burr, which was released as “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”

Before the new film comes out on May 16, it’s worth going back to the beginning, which I plan to do. It’s worth revisiting the fear, the sense of uncontrolled power, and the aftermath of nuclear scars left on Japan, all expressed by a beast that rose out of the sea and broke through the fragile constructs of mankind. These thematic goals may be too lofty for a Hollywood blockbuster, but I hope the new “Godzilla” at least strives to touch that primal part of us that still wonders what lurks deep beneath the waves.

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‘Goodnight Darth Vader’: Bedtime stories for Jedis-to-be

February 14th, 2014 No comments

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown portrays Darth Vader as a dad who tries to get his children to fall asleep without using Jedi mind tricks.

“Goodnight Darth Vader” by Jeffrey Brown portrays Darth Vader as a dad who tries to get his children to fall asleep without using Jedi mind tricks.


(Credit:
Chronicle Books)

It’s bedtime in a galaxy far, far away, and Darth Vader’s parenting skills are being tested by his children, Luke and Leia, in “Goodnight Darth Vader.”

The follow-up to the best-selling books “Darth Vader and Son” and “Vader’s Little Princess” by Jeffrey Brown will be released in August. However the book from Chronicle Books will debut at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International in July.

Darth Vader may be ready for his kids to go to sleep, but his twins, Luke and Leia, want a bedtime story first- — one that involves the aliens, heroes, villains, and monsters of their world. From Han Solo and Chewbacca to Boba Fett and baby Ewoks, from the wampa ice creature to Jawas, all of the galaxy’s denizens are getting ready for a night’s rest in this delightful story told in verse, with plenty of nods to the rich “Star Wars” narrative.

Here’s a sample verse from “Goodnight Darth Vader”:

It’s bedtime on Kashyyyk for all the Wookiees
so now they climb high to sleep up in the trees.
The bounty hunters tuck in, all ready and set
except for young Boba and his dad, Jango Fett.

“The response from kids to ‘Darth Vader and Son’ and ‘Vader’s Little Princess’ was one of the most surprising and rewarding things about drawing those books,” Brown told Crave. “Lots of parents told me their kids insisted on reading the books before bedtime, and it made me think I’d love to do a proper bedtime book for ‘Star Wars.’ It was nice to get to draw a lot of characters and scenes that didn’t fit into the first two books, and write jokes a bit differently. I’m looking forward to hearing about kids reading the new book at bedtime.”

In honor of Valentine’s Day, download these free Vader Valentines by Jeffrey Brown to share with Rebels and Sith Lords you love.

(Via StarWars.com)

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Government launches Year of Code

February 4th, 2014 No comments

Government launches Year of Code

The Year of Code programme looks to popularise programming among children, ahead of the formal introduction of the subject into the new curriculum in September.


Education secretary Michael Gove and chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne have today announced that 2014 will be the UK’s Year of Code, the name given to a campaign – with government funding, no less – to encourage adoption of computer programming as a discipline for teachers and children.

Modelled loosely on the Hour of Code programme from the US, the Year of Code aims to raise awareness among children of the importance of understanding how to program computer systems ahead of the official introduction of programming into the school timetable in September.

Computer coding is the lingua franca of the global technology economy,‘ claimed Rohan Silva, Year of Code chair, at the launch event. ‘If the UK is to remain at the vanguard of innovation worldwide, we need to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the skills of the 21st century, not of the past. Year of Code is all about making sure this vital change takes place – and fast.

While the official Year of Code website is aimed firmly at children – offering an introduction to programming in the form of learning to build a Moshi Monsters-themed Pong game – the government is looking to get educators involved too. As part of the programme, Osborne and Gove detailed £500,000 in matched funding which will be awarded to businesses willing to put their own cash up to fund projects to train teachers in computing and programming. UK businesses will be given the opportunity to bid for a portion of the fund later this month.

Meanwhile, the Year of Code programme itself is introduced in its official launch video, reproduced below.

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