Forbidden Ground (IMDB). A moving movie, set in the first world war. This movie definately is worth your time and attention. The actors, setting and director have managed to create a movie that will move your emotions. Forbidden Ground is not your typical world war movie about heroism and saving the world. Rather it is a movie about giving those who died in the horrors of this war a name and is honoring their sacrifice.
The story is about three soldiers, finding themselves in no man's land after a failed charge at the German trenches. Sgt. Maj. Arthur Wilkins, played by Johan Earl, is part of a regiment under command of his Lieutenant. They are ordered to go over the top by their lieutenant and take the enemy trenches. After a massive blow, Wilkins finds himself in the midst of no man's land. Sgt. Maj. Arthur Wilkins wakes up after a failed push on the German defences. Not much later he finds out he is not the only survivor of the push. He finds Pvt. O'Leary, played by Tim Pocock, laying about in the mud. They make up a plan to find their way back to their own trench. But this doesn't seem to be so easy since both the Germans and British forces soon open fire on them. During their retreat they hear a familiar voice, crying for help. After a short search by Wilkins they find Cpl. Richard Jennings, refered to by the name of Rich and played by Martin Copping. Whom is found badly wounded to his leg. Together they try to find their way back to the British trench, back home.
The beauty of this movie is the story behind these men. Three men, trying to get back home to their loved ones. O'Leary having his mom waiting for him, waiting for his return. Wilkins having his beloved wife Grace, played by Denai Gracie. And Jennings, having his loved one waiting at the homefront. The movie gives a parallel view on the first world war. Showing the struggles of each front. A view on both the emotional and communal impact of the war and a view on the hard reality of war in the trenches. This movie really doesn't show any heroic action, just three men trying to survive the bloody war and go home. That alone, the human nature, makes them true heroes, makes all those who died in that tragic war heroes and to not be forgotten.
Forbidden Grounds shows a realistic view on the war. Unlike many other world war movies I have seen, the move shows no impossible heroic actions. The director Ryan Little cleary did not aim for another movie about the bad guys being defeated by a hand full of good guys. Instead the movie has a focus on the human nature and emotion. Unlike many other world war movies, this movie does not show a lot of action and gore. It are the stories of the main characters that make this movie.
If you expect a lot of action then this is not the movie for you. The movie clearly has no intention to be another action movie about heroes that won the war for our freedom. If you like a good war story, then this is the movie for you. The storytelling of this movie is spot on and will be moving your emotions. Therefore I rate this movie an 8 out of 10. It really is worth your time to watch this beautiful story of three men stuck in no man's land.
Hearts of Iron IV is a very engaging title filled with historical events. Nevertheless, there is the option to totally ignore history and make your own decisions and write your own history. For new players the amount of interfaces and control panels may be a bit overwhelming at first, but many Youtubers have put out tutorials on their channels and a fully written Wiki is available. Once you understand how the basics of the game work it is time to pick the nation you want to play and rewrite history. And rewriting history is more fun that you may think at first. You could for example turn the United States into a fascist country and join the Axis for world domination, or turn into communist Poland and join the Sovjet Union to make Moscow great. You do not have to pick a side though, Hearts of Iron IV also allows you to create your own faction and make your own decisions. Replayability certainly is high and the amount of outcomes of each world war you begin, will mostly be different every time you start a new game.
The game also looks very good. The unit models are of good quality and the map looks detailed enough for a Grand Strategy game. Also the weather effect they implemented are a nice addition to both appeal and combat.
Sometimes however the graphics cause limitations to the player. For example, for each battle fought, many variables are taken into account. The different types of terrain are one of these variables sometimes hard to see and sometimes borders are not clear enough.
The fast amount of units active on the map can cause some major performance issues. Especially in Europe after a large peace deal many units start rebasing at once, causing the fps to drop significantly. Also simulation speed will be influenced. But overall performance is stable and allows for lots of gameplay fun.
Combat in Hearts of Iron IV has become easier for new players, but for fans of the earlier titles it may have become to simplistic. Especially the draw tools have their limitations. Drawing a frontline will grant your armies entrenchment bonuses and drawing a battleplan will grant your armies planning bonuses, but the excecution of the drawn orders sometimes seem unefficient. Armies would sometimes attack into the mountains (which gives the attacker negative modifiers) or not take into account other natural borders, like rivers. A recent update however did improve upon the system a bit by implementing three mode: carefully, balanced and rush.
Research and National Focus Trees sometimes become a limitation to the player. Eventhough it is historically accurate, most national focusses limit the player or force the player into a certain direction. Yet it also adds diversity to the game and makes many major countries unique. However most minor nations have a very generic National Focus Tree, which seems a little bit rushed. Because a few modders created mods for nations with a generic National Focus Tree to have their own special options. For some major nations some doctrines have already been researched, locking the player into a certain branch. Luckily for the player, there are still a lot of options to choose from in both the National Focus Tree and Research department. Making each playthrough a bit different than the previous one.
Unlike previous Paradox Titles, the diplomacy screen seems very simplified and limited. While in games like Europa Universalis IV there are many diplomatic options, in Hearts of Iron IV it is limited to militairy acces options, join or leave a faction, support ideology, stage a coop, declare war and improve relations. The peace deal screen also is very limited and only allows to liberate, pupper or annex a country.
Rebels and partican activity seems to be trimmed down to the least possible amount. They are suppressed way to easily and it never really comes to a massive revolt or any sabotage events. Sometimes breaking through an enemy frontline allows you to bring a large nation to its knees by simply rushing the victory points. Causing the enemy to capitulate within a few months of battle, if not weeks. And what is next? If the war is over, the game basically is over. There is not much to do after defeating most of your enemies other than just wait until 1948.
This year (2016), Microsoft will release a large update for Windows 10. The Redstone update will "change everything" (Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) March 17, 2016) and we are all "gonna freak out" (Rich Turner (@richturn_ms) March 16, 2016) about it.
The Redstone update finds its name in the recently aquired Minecraft. Which is a block that can connect blocks together. With these blocks it even is possible to create a simple clock or computer. Redstone blocks work just like binairy: on & off (1 & 0).
There are a lot of rumours of what the update will bring. Some say the update will feature apps that can be used on all Microsoft devices. Making transition between devices seamless. Other say this update will feature a development for Windows apps. Another rumour suggests that Redstone will feauture a development tool for the HoloLens. Which is a device to "transform your world with holograms" - Microsoft (2016).
It is very likely that Microsoft will implement the HoloLens into Windows 10 and that they will release a tool for developers to create awesome hologram based apps. Since their Development Edition ships at March 30th, which is on schedule with the Redstone update. The HoloLens is the best device developed by Microsoft since Xbox.
The aquisition of Minecraft, the development of HoloLens and Windows Redstone update may be connected. The name of the update and recent videos of Microsoft show Minecraft being played on the HoloLens.
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Bulkhead Interactive (a merger from Deco Digital and Bevel Studios) has started a kickstarter campaign for their new game: Battalion 1944. They are taking advantage of the lack of World War 2 shooters currently available on the market. And want to bring back skilled based shooters as in the old times with Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Brothers in Arms. Will they spark new life to the World War 2 genre?
Bulkhead Interactive recently started their Kickstarter campaign and posted an announcement video on their Youtube channel. These show their ideas about gaming and how they want to implement it into Battalion 1944.
In their video they state that they want to bring back skilled based shooters. This means returning to the gameplay of the early 2000s when guns and playtime didn't matter, but pure player skills. Weapons will not have attachments that will alter it's features (like recoil, damage, etc.). They only want to implement visual alterations to the weapons and character models. Allowing players to personalise their soldier to their liking. Also there won't be any abilities for the player to use.
Teamplay is rewarding
You can go lonewolf or play with friends to join a battalion and achieve the battalion season objectives. Bulkhead Interactive promises tense and close combat in realistic locations. Such as Carentan and St. Mere Eglise. By fighting in battalions you can earn cosmetic rewards. Defining your soldier and it's appearance. Besides that you will earn more rewards by leveling through the ranks. Also noteworthy is the support for LAN. Allowing friends to create their own theater of war locally.
Battalion 1944 will be using Unreal Engine 4. This allows for great visuals and detail. The developer aims to not only create a game with great gameplay, but also make it look visually stunning. They aim to become "the forefront of video game graphics" (Bulkhead Interactive, 2015)
This new game, based upon a classic concept, is expected to be fully released in May 2017.
But until then, you can check out more information on their website:
On the 27th of January 2015, Fine Brother Entertainment announced their franchise REACT WORLD. They would trademark "React" and more. However the feedback has not been positive. Resulting in to many subscribers unsubscribing from their channels.
"We’re here to apologize" (2015, FBE)
Via the Medium platform, Benny and Rafi Fine publicly apologize for their plans to trademark "React" They also admit that the plans had caused some major concerns regarding the power to police and control online videos by companies (including FBE). Limiting the creativity and freedom of online video sharing platforms like Youtube.
The announcement video has been taken offline and REACT WORLD has been cancelled.
Hacker, DJ, Astronomer, Dad, Scotsman, Capsuleer. Makes videos about science and video games. Scott Manley accidentally showed his stream key for Youtube in a video whilst playing Fractured Space.
During his Livestream for the free Fractured Space weekend on Steam. Scott showed his stream key and his encoder settings for streaming on Youtube.
As a result, many unknown subjects hijacked his stream, not Youtube account. On Reddit, some even reported seeing porn being livestreamed to Youtube using Scott Manley's key. Also many subscribers have unsubscribed from his channel until the issue has been resolved.
Fine Brothers Entertainment is a large Youtube channel network that owns channels like REACT, Fine Brothers Entertainment and some more. This huge network has over 20 million subscribers and over 150 million views per month. However their latest business decision may mean the downfall of Fine Brothers Entertainment as we know it.
On January 26th and January 27th of 2016, the organisation announced a new concept that would blow away the world. A franchise concept which allows the entire global media internet to participate in their creative innovation. However Fine Brothers Entertainement moved upon thin ice. The Fine Brothers Entertainment came up with the idea that everyone could sign up to become part of REACT WORLD. They offer you creative guidelines, production guidance, show graphic and revenue and promotion opportunites. In return they get part of your Youtube revenue. That is where the mistake was made.
Youtube is a place on the Internet where billions of people can discover, watch and share originally-created videos. A free place of expression for everyone. The mistake that Fine Brothers Entertainment is making is that they basically have started to eat from this freedom of Youtube's playground. Their concept is a franchise which allows everyone to get a license to use their formats for shows. These licenses are limiting other content creators in what they can produce and upload to Youtube.
In the terms of REACT videos that would mean that nobody will be allowed to create a "Teens react to..." video in a similar format as the REACT channel. In their announcement video they state that they "do not hold a copyright on reaction videos overall" (FBE, 2015) but are licensing the format they use.
However this will limit the playground of Youtube. Because any similarities with Fine Brothers Entertainment's formats could be considered breach of copyrighted material. Allowing Fine Brothers Entertainment to control these kinds of videos on Youtube.
Ever since Fine Brothers Entertainment has announced their format. The organisation is not doing so well as before. Their original announcement video has about 75% dislikes (30th January).
The statistics of their Youtube channel reflects the reaction of many fans of the Fine Brothers Entertainment content. Ever since the announcement on their main channel, the channel has been losing subscribers (about 900 a day).
Their REACT channel has lost 680,000+ subscribers in one day, on the 29th of January, as a reaction to the announcement video on that channel on the 27th of January.
Does this mean the end of Fine Brothers Entertainment?
Well, that is hard to tell. If this trend of losing subscribers at the rate of their REACT channel, then the possibility of REACT seizing to excist grows larger by the day.
What do you think? Will Fine Brothers Entertainment and REACT seize to excist? Or will they recover?
Marcel van der Linde (Stormfox)
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