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Featured Media Movies Sci/Tech

Friday Finds – Psychic Benefits and the Silmarillion

Hey all, hope you had a good week.  I’ll be out of the loop a bit this weekend, though I might actually be able to do my fantasy football draft (wooo!).  Here are last week’s posts:

And now for the links:

A third TRON movie is in the works.  It’s unclear how sure this is at this point, but I very much enjoyed Legacy, so another movie would be welcome.

A great breakdown of the problems of scale for the Defiant in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and other properties.  Also a good illustration of why JMS never wanted to quote sizes and speeds for the ships in B5.

Nerdier shirts may not exist.  Not that you’d wear, anyway.

There’s a fascinating article at Grantland by author Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, The Tipping Point) about the ‘psychic benefits’ of owning a sports team.  Touches on the Red Sox, Snyder’s Redskins, and the NBA lockout.  For Buffalonians, it can provide a bit of insight into the mind of Terry Pegula.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, in Lego form.  Wow.

Getting closer to blasting pirates with lasers.

Dork Tower on George Lucas.  I’m a bit ashamed I didn’t think of this.

Via Geeks of Doom, check out this hand-illuminated version of Tolkien’s Silmarillion.  There is a picture below, but click through to the second link to see more.  It’s stunning.

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Featured PC Games

Old Game Tuesday – Star Trek: Birth of the Federation

Star Trek:  Birth of the Federation (BOTF from here on out) is a turn-based 4X game based in the Star Trek:  The Next Generation universe.  A 4X game, if you are wondering, is a game where the goal is to explore, expand, exploit and exterminate.  You scout and explore territory, where it’s space (as in this) or land (as in Civilization).  You found colonies through various means, and take advantage of natural resources to build and improve them.  Finally, you can war with your opponents if you’d rather win that way.  Me, I’m always a good guy.

You have 5 main factions you can be in BOTF, including the Federation (duh), the Ferengi, the Cardassians, the Klingons, and the Romulans.  Each has a set of advantages loosely based on their TNG portrayal (Federation are good diplomats, Romulans are sneaky) and there are random events that occur which are pulled from the series as well, like a Borg cube or the Crystalline Entity.  You build colony ships, expand your empire, use diplomacy, and develop new technology.  However, that tech never strays from what you find on TNG, with the devs sneaking in the Defiant class, as an example, because there was a crossover episode or two with DS9.

The game’s interface is pretty much what you’d expect from a 4x game of the era – clunky, lots of clicking and pop-up windows, icons that you aren’t sure what they mean.  But you get used to it, and you weren’t exactly playing a 4X game without expecting some micromanagement.  Each race had a color scheme specific to them, so the Federation had an LCARS analog, but in practice made playing games as the different races a bit annoying.

If you are a Star Trek fan at all, BOTF is one of the few games with the license worth playing.  If you end up being bothered by the interface quirks, you can always go back to Stars!