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  1. I have started this sub-section for Android Games to keep Android mobile games free from applications / themes. All nsane members are requested to post Games here. If admins as requested creates a sub-forum for it at any stage, this thread will be merged later. For posting guidelines, please refer to this post: //www.nsaneforums.com/topic/220597-guidelines-and-templates/ PS: Admin, thanks for listening to Android sub-forum request.
  2. Jedi: Fallen Order hands-on: Finally, a solid EA Star Wars game⁠—is that enough? We go hands-on with solid third-person combat, chat with Respawn's dev team. Listing image by EA / Respawn LOS ANGELES⁠—How much is a solid single-player Star Wars adventure game from EA worth in 2019? That answer might have been different six years ago, when EA's brand-new investment in the Star Wars universe had everyone wondering how epic its games would turn out. Since then, one huge project sputtered, then was outright canceled, while two Star Wars Battlefront reboots ranged from so-so to alarming. Hence, at this point, you may breathe a sigh of relief to learn that this November's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order not only exists but feels quite good, based on my hands-on gameplay session at last week's E3. Or you may yawn while wondering where the heck your Knights of the Old Republic-caliber Star Wars adventure is. After my tests, I think both of those responses are valid. A chat with Respawn The game's debut vertical slice premiered on YouTube two weeks ago, and it revealed what had already been teased by the development team at Respawn Entertainment: a third-person action-adventure game starring a lightsaber-wielding Jedi. New hero Cal Kestis has a core arsenal of a lightsaber and some force powers that can be applied to living beings and inanimate objects alike: shoving, pulling, and time-freezing. (Combine your saber with the force to throw it like a boomerang, in a pinch.) In an E3 interview, Respawn staff members confirmed to Ars Technica that the game's pre-production process began in 2014, when God of War III game director Stig Asmussen joined Respawn as the project's sole member. In 2016, Respawn publicly confirmed that it was hiring Unreal Engine 4 designers for Asmussen's then-unnamed Star Wars project, which clarifies the game's production timeline a bit. (According to Respawn lead technical designer Brandon Kelch, Asmussen brought on other members of Sony Santa Monica's old God of War design team, as well. Maybe they should have called this game "God of Force"?) According to Respawn, that use of Unreal Engine 4—as opposed to Titanfall's modified Source Engine or Star Wars Battlefront's Frostbite Engine—was imperative for a quick development turnaround. "The team was really lacking programmers at the start, so [Unreal Engine 4's built-in tools] really let us build something," technical director Jiesang Song explained. "Unreal is great for getting something running that's fun right away." Another factor, according to Kelch, was that Respawn hired an entirely new team, as opposed to pulling designers from its existing Titanfall and Apex Legends teams. Respawn's reps did not comment on how the engine compares to EA's reportedly unwieldy Frostbite Engine. Star Wars of the Colossus? This year's reveal video looked solid in action, and a few days later, I was handed a controller to play the same sequence⁠—and to see that mission's opening beats, which revealed a little more about the plot in question. The full mission (an early one in the campaign) revolves around freeing captured Wookiees from an Imperial outpost, and it opens with your hero Cal and his small, agile droid BD-1 emerging from an ocean to swim toward a shore on Kashyyyk. Two AT-ATs are in your way, however, so you must swim up to the nearest one and scale its body Uncharted-style. (This AT-AT's climbable bits are covered in grass and moss, thus setting up some obvious "Star Wars of the Colossus" jokes.) Once inside this AT-AT, Cal clears out its piloting Stormtroopers with extreme lightsaber prejudice, then pilots the AT-AT in an on-rails sequence that lets you aim its lasers and rockets at every Imperial vehicle and soldier in sight. In the midst of this, a familiar character leaps onto your AT-AT's windshield: Saw Gerrera, who we previously met in Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels (and thus confirms this game's timeline placement between Episodes III and IV). This younger version of Saw, as played once again by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, confirms Cal's good-guy status and asks what this kid is doing in the middle of Saw's mission to disrupt the Empire's supply routes. Turns out Cal is looking for Wookiee chieftain Tarfful (a character that fans first met in Episode III) to discuss "Jedi business." Cal's Jedi heritage is only briefly confirmed when Saw gestures to the kid's lightsaber and asks, "Get that off a corpse?" Cal simply replies, "My master gave it to me." At this time, we meet Cal's accomplices: a former Jedi knight named Cere and a squat, furry pilot. The latter is pleasantly grumpy⁠—"I fly my ship in the middle of a battlefield and now we're talking about risks?"⁠—while the former is wary of Cal's interest in breaking off the team's existing plan to assist Saw with his assault. We see a hint of a dialogue wheel, but this appears to be largely superficial in terms of offering players optional flavor text before resuming their adventure. This is not the Souls you’re looking for Listing image by EA / Respawn From here, the action catches up to the game's weeks-ago reveal, which revolves largely around combat. In addition to running, jumping, and a Titanfall-like wall-running move, the demo offers roughly eight battle maneuvers: sword strikes (just one type, as opposed to "quick" and "fierce" strikes), lightsaber throwing, force-pushing, force-pulling, blocking, dodge-rolling, parrying, and time-freezing. A full "skill tree" interface awaits players in the final version, but this was disabled in my hands-on session, so I have no idea whether this hides additional force powers or merely adds stat buffs to the demo's control suite. It's hard to ignore the game's affinity for Dark Souls, as combat revolves around circle-strafing, pattern recognition, crowd management, and careful strikes. The "parry" feature is itself a possible nod to the parry-crazy combat of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and it allows Cal to not only stun enemies' melee attacks but also perfectly deflect laser fire back at a shooter's face. But a default force meter, which is depleted upon each force maneuver, does a lot to let players manage a variety of Stormtroopers at once while emphasizing speed over precision, which is arguably a better starting point for Star Wars fans who aren't as familiar with Souls games. Meaning: you can force-push enemies into each other to disable two Stormtroopers with one shove, or freeze a laser blast in mid-air and then pull a nearby foe into its stuttering, mid-air blast to take them out. That all made for a perfectly fine first-blush impression, and I also got to mess around in a debug "sandbox" mode where I fought a mix of simple Stormtroopers, higher-level bosses, and flamethrowing monstrosities. It was a good opportunity to come to grips with the game's take on classic "Z-targeting" and its mix of force powers. But my time with Jedi: Fallen Order came roughly two weeks after I'd been absolutely stunned by the shapeshifting, telekinetic combat of Remedy Entertainment's Control, which put me in command of much more precise "force"-like abilities without complicating the resulting combat. Plus, Control's E3 demo came with a more diverse and intense roster of enemies and environments than that of Jedi: Fallen Order. In terms of sheer beat-to-beat action in the form of an E3 demo, Control already has my winning vote. God of War pedigree Listing image by EA / Respawn But as we've seen in film and television, the combat-filled timeline between Episode III and Episode IV has proven ripe for compelling stories within the Star Wars universe. Cal already seems like a cool protagonist⁠—somewhere between Luke's shining optimism and Han's seedier, rules-breaking approach⁠—to follow into another series adventure. Additionally, Respawn has put a lot of effort into bringing your constant companion BD-1 to life as the series' most animated droid yet, and his visual flair is both welcome and appropriately silly. Between solid dialogue, hints of puzzles, and a few monstrous baddies (particularly a new super-arachnid character called the Wyyyschokk), the development team's link to the God of War series is already apparent. We're still waiting to see whether this vertical slice, which largely emphasized combat, will live up to either God of War-caliber plot stakes or the development team's promises of a Metroid-like adventure. We don't have long to wait, at least, with a release date set for November 15, 2019, on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows 10. Source: Jedi: Fallen Order hands-on: Finally, a solid EA Star Wars game⁠—is that enough? (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link.)
  3. Slew of nerd-film Friday news also includes a date for the live-action Akira remake. How many more Star Wars films and TV series do we need? Our answer to that question became "at least one more" when we learned on late Thursday that a pretty juicy Lucasfilm project is in the works: the first-ever Knights of the Old Republic film. Buzzfeed News says the project is currently linked to only one person: screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis, who has worked on scripts for Terminator Genisys, Netflix's Altered Carbon, and Alita: Battle Angel (meaning no actors, directors, or producers are currently attached, which should indicate how early-stages this project currently is). This script, according to Buzzfeed, is the first of a possible trilogy. If true, that would slam Kalogridis's project up against Star Wars film trilogies from Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and from The Last Jedi director/screenwriter Rian Johnson. There's always a chance that this KOTOR-linked screenplay is the first step in a protracted process that never leads to production (spec scripts tend to come before true film development) or that it turns into something tailored for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Still, the KOTOR video game franchise, shepherded by the game makers at BioWare, has always been beloved for its characters and scripts. Even its MMO incarnation, which launched in 2011 to uneven reviews, has been consistently lauded for its engrossing universe and stories. Hence, we'll join our fellow Star Wars nerds and begin optimistically drooling already. Speaking of optimism: our hopes that the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog film's visual design and digital effects will get a legitimate revision went up after its director confirmed a three-month production delay. Director Jeff Fowler took to Twitter on Friday to share the news—the film will now launch on February 14, 2020, bumped from its original November 8, 2019 release date. Interestingly, Fowler's tweet used a very cartoony silhouette of Sonic's telltale head and an apparently hand-drawn model of Sonic's hand... wearing white gloves. The film's reveal trailer included a version of Sonic who, instead of wearing gloves, had white-coloured fur over his bare hands. These are the clearest signs yet of changes that Fowler alluded to in his previous mea culpa tweet about the launch trailer's Sonic treatment. Rounding out the Friday nerd-film news is word that Taika Waititi's next live-action film project, a remake of the classic Japanese anime Akira, has a release date: May 21, 2021. This, coincidentally, places the Thor Ragnarok director's next film directly against the already announced sequel John Wick: Chapter 4, which for now will also launch the same day. Listing image by Paramount / Sega Source: Star Wars: KOTOR film rumors, Sonic film delayed to fix its VFX (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  4. We're not sure when Fandango will start pre-selling tickets to 2027's Avatar 5, but... Enlarge / How much Disney-Marvel-Fox can you possibly stomach over the next eight years? Disney / Aurich Lawson As part of the recent fusing of multiple movie empires, Disney made a massive announcement of film release dates on Tuesday relating to everything under its corporate, cinematic sun. And we mean everything. Let's start with the biggest official news of the document: every film in the upcoming James Cameron Avatar quadrilogy (yes, four more Avatar films) has been bumped at least one full year, with Avatar 2 now slated to launch on December 17, 2021. That day, by the way, was Avatar 3's original release date, but that third entry has now been bumped a full two years, to December 2023. Avatar 4 gets a one-year delay to December 2025, and Avatar 5 will remain in production an additional two years with a scheduled launch of December 17, 2027. Assuming traditional movie theaters even exist by then. If you're assuming lightsabers or superheroes are sweeping in to take that December 2020 slot, think again. Disney doesn't appear to have an action-tentpole film primed to replace that December 2020 slot in its calendar; instead, an "untitled Marvel movie" will launch on November 6, 2020. Disney's recent pledge that Star Wars would take a theatrical break after this year's Rise of Skywalker has been confirmed by this schedule, and it's a remarkable one: three years. If this release schedule holds, we won't see a live-action Star Wars film in theaters again until 2022, when a slate of three untitled, live-action films will release every two years in December. Meaning, "untitled Star Wars" will land in theaters on December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024, and December 18, 2026. Last we heard, this was the live-action film trilogy that Disney CEO Bob Iger teased in late 2017 with Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson at the helm. And while we're on the subject of Lucasarts: that Indiana Jones live-action sequel announced in 2016, with Harrison Ford attached, is still floating around in Disney's release schedule, only now marked with a release date of July 9, 2021. We're not sure exactly how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will shuffle around post-Endgame, but we at least know Disney has no shortage of Marvel films heading to theaters. In addition to April 2020's launch of The New Mutants, an X-Men film helmed by Fox, eight "untitled Marvel film" projects are slated to launch in the years 2020-2022. Unlike its Star Wars and Avatar arms, Disney is apparently choosing to be conservative about making superhero release-date promises any further than that. (Sorry to everyone hoping for some version of Iron Man in 2027.) As a reminder, Sony is handling the launch of this July's Spider-man: Far From Home, and it may very well have other Marvel-related theatrical projects in the works. Pixar isn't going anywhere, either, with four untitled projects scheduled between 2020-2022 (and none slated for release dates after that). The rest of the list includes a variety of already announced projects under the Disney and Fox umbrellas, including the live-action YA book adaptation Artemis Fowl (now delayed to May 2020), a feature-length version of the TV series Bob's Burgers (July 2020), an animated version of the fantasy graphic novel Nimona (March 2021), and a CGI-animated film of a wholly new IP, Ron's Gone Wrong, from new production house Locksmith Animation (November 2020). This list doesn't reflect the fact that Disney has plans for new series from every arm of its production empire in the works for Disney+, the new online video-streaming service slated to launch in November of this year. That may very well be where more side-stories and one-offs in the Star Wars universe land, to avoid repeats of underwhelming fan response to releases like Solo: A Star Wars Story. Source: Disney delays Avatar quadrilogy, dates three live-action Star Wars films (Ars Technica)
  5. Episode IX has a name, a new robot buddy, and more, coming "this Christmas." On Friday, a world premiere trailer at the annual Star Wars Celebration event confirmed the name of the final film in the "Skywalker Saga." Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the official name for Episode IX, which is slated to land in theaters "this Christmas." After hearing narration from Luke Skywalker ("A thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight"), the trailer focuses largely on dramatic action sequences. We see a few Millennium Falcon flights and some desert-speeder combat before this teaser reveals at least one scene starring Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. (We already knew Fisher would appear in the film by way of footage shot before her 2016 death.) This new footage concludes with the primary new-trilogy cast staring at the landed wreckage of a Death Star. The trailer appeared at the end of an hour-long event hosted by CBS's Stephen Colbert; other reveals included world-premiere photos of various cast members in the film and the live-action unveiling of BB-8's new robotic buddy, a one-wheeled junk-heap character named Dio. In addition to hints gleaned from today's world premiere trailer, "it's been a little while" since the events of The Last Jedi, actor Daisy Ridley told the Star Wars Celebration crowd during the panel presentation. She said that "the lightsaber that Rey inherited from Luke lives." She did not, on the other hand, explain which "Skywalker" the film's newly revealed title might be referring to. The Rise of Skywalker's trailer ended with actor Ian McDiarmid appearing on the stage and telling the audience, "roll it again," which followed the sound of Emperor Palpatine's laughter at the trailer's close. Hence, we certainly expect Palpatine to figure into the plot, as will a cast comprised of familiar faces (Billy Dee Williams, Fisher) and new ones. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere trailer Source: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been revealed with a stunning trailer (Ars Technica) Poster's Note: The original article contains an image slideshow. Please visit the above link to view it.
  6. A 'Vader' fan film published by the "Star Wars Theory" YouTube channel has been hit with a copyright claim. While the channel's owner was told that he could not monetize the production, the video is now running ads for Warner/Chappell, which owns the rights to the original Star Wars theme music. The issue angered many Star Wars fans but the music publisher doesn't plan to back down. Over the years we’ve written numerous times about questionable copyright claims on YouTube. This problem is far from new but more and more stories are emerging every week. Over the past days, a claim on a Star Wars fan film has caught a lot of attention. The video in question was created by the popular Star Wars Theory channel, which published the first episode of the “Vader” fan film just before Christmas. The channel is operated by Toos, a dedicated Star Wars fan, who made the video for like-minded fans. Aware of the sensitive stance rightsholders have regarding fan films, he reached out to Lucasfilm beforehand. The company, which was the original copyright holder of the Star Wars franchise before it sold to Disney, said that Toos couldn’t monetize the project, nor could he crowdfund it. However, if he stuck to the rules it could continue. This meant that Toos paid for the production himself and published it without ads. All seemed fine for the first weeks after the episode was put up. The video was viewed millions of times and received tens of thousands of likes. However, this week things changed. Without prior notice, Warner/Chappell – which controls the rights to Star Wars’ music – moved in and claimed the video. While the fan film remains online, it’s now showing ads with the revenue going directly to the music publisher. “They have claimed the whole movie because there is a piece in there that uses the rendition of The Imperial March,” Toos says. This isn’t the original sound recording that was used in Star Wars, as Toos hired a composer to write a remake of the original theme music. However, according to Warner/Chappell, it’s a cover which they, apparently, want to be paid for. Responding to the issue in a YouTube video, Toos says he’s disappointed. After being told that he can’t monetize the film, one of the rightsholders has moved in and monetized it instead. “It’s not about the money, it’s the principle,” Toos says. “Someone from one of those companies went in there and manually claimed it. To me, that’s just very vindictive. It’s very rude.” Soon after Toos published his response on the “Star Wars Theory” channel, it blew up. People directed much of their anger at Disney and characterized the copyright claim as clearly false. False in this case is a matter of perspective. While non-commercial fan films are often allowed, the rightsholders can still claim it. Whether this claim is rightful or if it’s a fair use ultimately has to be decided in court. Toos doesn’t want to take it that far. Following the public outrage, Warner/Chappell reached out to his network to indicate that it wouldn’t back down. This puts him in a tough spot. Toos can easily dispute the claim. If Warner/Chappell uphold it, he can appeal again after which the music publisher has to file an official DMCA notice. This will then result in a strike on the channel and the video will be removed as well. At that point, Toos can file a counter-notice. YouTube will then restore the video after ten days unless Warner/Chappel takes the matter to federal court. Not a very pleasant outlook, to say the least. Warner/Chappel could easily win a potential lawsuit. They argue that the film’s music is based on the original composition of Star Wars themes, which is indeed the case. That the film is non-commercial doesn’t mean any use is fair use, there are other factors that play a role as well. Toos prefers to let the issue go. He still plans to continue with the second episode, although he won’t use any Star Wars themed music for that. The good news is that the copyright claim and response brought a lot of attention to the Star Wars Theory channel and the “Vader” fan film. That doesn’t hurt the support he receives through Patreon and other avenues, which comes in handy as Newsweek notes that the film cost around $150,000 to shoot. As for Warner/Chappell, they will likely continue to claim videos which they believe infringe their rights. This is not the first fan-made project they have gone after and it likely won’t be the last. Original Article
  7. Boba Fett is getting his own spinoff. Disney is developing a “Star Wars” standalone movie centered on the bounty hunter Boba Fett from “Logan” director James Mangold, Variety has learned from several sources. Simon Kinberg, best known as a writer-producer on the “X-Men” movies, will collaborate with Mangold on the Bobba Fett movie as a co-writer and producer. The untitled movie will be a part of the studio’s Star Wars Anthology films, which are being spun off as origin stories. The first anthology film was 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” followed by “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” starring Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo. “Solo” began opening in previews on Thursday night in North America, with forecasts of an debut weekend of $130 million to $150 million. Variety first reported in August that Disney and Lucasfilm were in development on a spinoff movie centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Stephen Daldry in negotiations to direct. Boba Fett debuted in 1980’s “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and re-appeared in 1983’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” as a mercenary for the Galactic Empire. Jeremy Bulloch played the character in the two movies and Jason Wingreen provided Fett’s voice. Mangold directed and co-wrote “Logan,” which Kinberg produced, last year. The “X-Men” standalone movie received an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay. Mangold’s other directing credits include “Walk the Line,” “Knight and Day,” and the Western “3:10 to Yuma.” He is in pre-production on an untitled Ford vs Ferrari drama for Fox starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Mangold is repped by WME, Management 360, and Sloane Offer. Kinberg is repped by CAA. Reps for Disney and Lucasfilm had no comment. Hollywood Reporter first broke the news. Source
  8. Watch out, kid. He may take your job one day. In an interview with Axios, Steve Mnuchin says he's very optimistic that AI won't affect jobs in the long run. He offers a Star Wars analogy. Perhaps you've been worried that someone will soon design a robot that can do your job. Yes, a robot that can play politics even better than you do. And, on a grander scale, what if a robot came along that could code even faster than Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and be a slightly better speaker? Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin believes there's little reason to worry. In an interview with Mike Allen of Axios, Mnuchin was asked how artificial intelligence would affect jobs (around the 46.50 second mark). "In terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs, we're, like, so far away from that that it's not even on my radar screen," he said. He said it would be "50 or 100 more years" before humans should worry about robots making them dispensable. But wait, aren't robots already taking over human jobs and, indeed, the human ability to drive? Isn't Steve Wozniak worried that he will soon become a robot's pet? Mnuchin elaborated that he could see Elon Musk's idea of self-driving cars in tunnels going under the whole of America to alleviate traffic. "That, to me, isn't artificial intelligence. That's computers and using real technology we have today," he said. To Mnuchin, "that's very different from artificial, you know, R2-D2 taking over your job. You know, interviewing me." This is a relief. I'd been concerned that a joke-telling robot was a threat. Still, while it's true that humans have adjusted to technological change many times before, perhaps this time it will be different. AI as we've seen it so far tends to enrich the few at the top and doesn't filter down quite so readily to those toiling below, and that's got experts worried. Indeed, a Forester report last year suggested that AI will wipe out 6 percent of all jobs by 2021. On Thursday, PwC estimated that 38 percent of US jobs were at risk within the next 15 years. Allen in fact pressed Mnuchin about short-term effects of robotics, such as robots that can fold towels in hotels. "Quite frankly, I'm optimistic," said Mnuchin. "That's what creates productivity." He said training and education were the ways to help American workers, so that they can do more productive jobs for higher wages. Education is surely a good idea, one that shouldn't be burdened with budget cuts. One survey suggested that the US ranks 14th out of 40 countries studied in "cognitive skills and educational attainment." Which, sadly, puts us below Russia. A recent Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study of math, reading and science skills saw the US 25th in science (below Slovenia) and 40th in math skills (below Vietnam, Russia and the OECD average.) And then there was this White House report that suggested automation of one kind or another will affect between 9 and 47 percent of all jobs within 10 to 20 years. We'd better hurry up with that education thing. I hear R2-D2 is thinking of starting a family. Source
  9. It isn’t a hoverboard, but it is the next best thing: Californian company Aerofex is now taking down payments for the Star Wars-like Aero-X hoverbike. Priced at $85,000 the Aero-X certainly isn’t cheap, but if it actually comes to market as promised in 2017, I don’t think the price tag will be an issue for early adopters. The Aero-X, if it performs as advertised, will be capable of carrying up to 140 kilos (310 lbs), at an altitude of 3.7 meters (12 feet), at speeds of up to 72 kph (45 mph). Aerofex first demonstrated its prototype hoverbike back in 2012. Back then, the prototype (embedded below) was little more than two huge ducted fans — like you might find on a hovercraft — with a bike- or quad-like frame and seat. The commercial version, the Aero-X, which is scheduled to begin flight tests in 2016, will look a lot slicker and feature an all-carbon-fiber-composite chassis, resulting in a rather lithe dry weight of just 356 kg (785 lbs). It’ll be powered by a normal gas-powered three-cylinder engine, which will allow it to carry up to two people (as long as they weigh under 140 kilos (including baggage) at speeds of up to 72 kph. It doesn’t mention it anywhere on the Aero-X website, but it will probably be very, very noisy. The fuel tank is good for 85 minutes of operation. The Aero-X is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). Now, in theory, it isn’t actually very hard to strap two huge fans to a motorbike-like frame and putter around. What is hard is creating a hoverbike that’s safe, fun, and easy to control. There’s a reason no one has made a successful hoverbike before now. According to Aerofex, the Aero-X is “a hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle.” This is tough, due to something called the coupling effect. Basically, all open-rotor craft are unstable, finicky beasts that require a lot of skill to pilot. This is why you can’t just point a helicopter in the direction you want to go — there are all sorts of different forces at play that need to be controlled and counteracted at the same time, thus the helicopter’s massively complex controls. Merely leaning left or right, like on a motorcycle, isn’t enough — unless you have some clever technology that helps keep the hoverbike stable. Aerofex says it’s solved the coupling problem, has filed the relevant patents, and thus — if all goes well — the Aero-X will be the first safe and easy-to-use hoverbike on the market. What the finished Aero-X hoverbike will look like, hopefully At this point, you should probably be rather excited: Like the theoretical hoverboard, there could be some really, really cool applications for a stable hoverbike. With a max altitude of around 12 feet, you could take the hoverbike almost anywhere. You could cruise over deserts, fields, hills — and with the optional “flotation pontoons,” over lakes and rivers. By talking to the FAA, Aerofex found that the bike could be classified as something like an “aerial ATV” if its max altitude stays below 12 feet, thus removing any need for a pilot license. Beyond sports and recreation, there are also agricultural, police, and military uses. Judging by the amount of thrust produced by those rotors, though, you probably don’t want to fly over anything fragile — like, you know, small animals or your wife’s roses. Aerofex is taking Aero-X pre-orders today, with expected delivery “in 2017.” The target price is $85,000, with a refundable $5,000 deposit. Source
  10. The first picture taken on the set of the next Star Wars movie has been revealed, showing that principal photography on Episode VII has officially begun. The photo, shared by J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company on Twitter, was tweeted alongside the hashtag #dayone, and shows a clapboard emblazoned with two names: Abrams', and that of his cinematographer, Dan Mindel. The Star Wars sequel was set to commence filming this month at London's Pinewood Studios. While the tight-angle picture doesn't show any of Episode VII's sets, actors, props, or even where it was taken, that hasn't stopped fans from speculating on plot points. Filmmaker Joseph Kahn took to Twitter to analyze some of the more arcane language on the clapboard, suggesting that the camera was set up for a visual-effects shot. A smear of a sand-like substance across the clapboard suggests that Episode VII — due for a December 2015 release date and boasting most of the original trilogy's main actors— could be returning to desert planet Tatooine. Abu Dhabi is rumored to be a stand-in Luke Skywalker's (adopted) homeworld, with Disney chairman Alan Horn having already said "some second-unit" filming had taken place in the country. Photos taken by Abu Dhabi's The National show crew working on a covered set in the midst of sand dunes, while sources for the publication reported seeing "shuttle-like" vehicles, buggies powered by jet engines, and a "big, centuries-old-looking market." Source
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