PAX Australia & Melbourne Day 1 – Explore-It

TL;DR – We dip our toes into what Melbourne has to offer.

Disclosure – I paid for all products featured or mentioned here.

The Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre

PAX Australia & Melbourne Day 1

When you work in the games and pop culture space, you hear of the joy that is PAX, but I have never experienced it myself. I had set my sights on visiting it back in 2020, but you know what happened in 2021. But there was hope that 2022 was the year for me. So I booked my tickets back in March and hoped that the world would hold itself together till then and it kind of did. So in today’s and the next couple of Explore-It’s, we will take a look at our time down past the daylight savings divide to a city that has an entirely different seagull-to-pigeon ratio than I have ever seen.

Dune Messiah

However, before you can explore Melbourne, you need to get there, and since we still do not have any high-speed rail in Australia, it is time to board a plane. Given the time stuck waiting, I thought I would catch up on some reading, and when in doubt, it is Dune time.

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Humankind – Map-It

TL;DR – We map all of the eras of Humankind all in one map … okay many maps.

The Mediterranean Map

Mapping Humankind

One of the joys I get is mapping out universes, while I have charted out movie universes like the MCU and Grand Designs. However, one of my favourite things has been charting how 4X video games explore the world and its history. Today we are looking at the next entry in this series, charting all of Humankind from Amplitude Studios and Sega.

I had started making this map several times before running into roadblocks, like how do you make a map that shows Russia/Soviet Union or England/Great Britain? The way I previously fixed this issue with my Civilization map didn’t work here, and I started to wonder if I was Wile E. Coyote hitting my head against every ACME invention. However, one day it all clicked together, so I started down this road.

I worked it out by having a separate map for each era, all the cities, cultures, independent peoples, and wonders. Then we smashed it all together at the end in a wild kaleidoscope of overlapping entries. While putting this all together, I was still concerned it would not work. However, it kind of does. Before we start, I have to thank the Humankind Wiki for collating all the cities for me so I did not have to dive into the code. With that in mind, let us dive into the world of Humankind, which includes all the information from the base game and the Cultures of Africa Pack and Cultures of Latin America Pack DLCs. You can also see links to all the information in the map in our Humankind Cartographic Educational Database.

While all attempts have been made to ensure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple sources, map projections, and sometimes not firm locations. As such, no matter how much you try, there might be slight discrepancies. With that in mind, let us dive into the maps.

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Mapping Infinity: The Cartography of the MCU Spider-Man: No Way Home Update – Map-It

TL;DR – We continue our goal to map the Marvel Cinematic Universe by mapping Phase 4 up to Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Mapping Infinity

Back in 2018, when the Black Panther can out, I took the first attempt to chart the MCU. That first Map was quite basic compared to the work I would do with cartography going forward, but it is a nice step on my cartography journey. We updated the Map in 2019 when Endgame came out, and already New York was getting dense, but we have yet to look at Phase Four. Well, that is something we fix today.       

From the Map, the first thing that should be clear is that we have only charted the locations visited on Earth (Earth-199999 or Midgard, or Terra or Planet C-53, to be specific). So, my apologies to Xandar and Old Asgard in advance that we will not be looking at the greater galactic universe. But it does mean that every film is represented in this Map, though Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 only make one entry.   

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Article – Masters of Cinematic Music: Ramin Djawadi

TL;DR – We explore the wonders of Ramin Djawadi’s musical score through the lens of Light of the Seven

Masters of Cinematic Music: Ramin Djawadi. Image Credit: HBO.

Article

Today we are starting out the first entry in a series about modern cinematic composers. For me at least, one of the factors that emotionally connects me to a piece of visual media, whether that be, a video game, a television show, or a film is the music. The right musical choice can make or break scenes and can be one of the factors that make these moments resonate across the media landscape. We all remember that first time we heard the Imperial March or The Avengers theme explodes onto the screen. They help us get lost on the high seas, traverse galaxies far, far away, or in our first example help us delve into a world of fire and ice. Because this is an article about music, I have added links to the songs in question so you can listen along.

Ramin Djawadi is a German/Iranian composer and the key musical voice of Game of Thrones, the hugely successful HBO series based of George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. As a composer, Ramin has been working for a long time in the musical world starting first as an assistant and then creating addition music for films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Ned Kelly, working under one of the defining voices in modern composition Hans Zimmer. Before moving onto working on his own films like Iron Man and Pacific Rim.

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Article – Films, an Exercise in Selling you Stuff.

TL;DR – While films are here to entertain, they also have an increased chance of selling you all sorts of things

CAT in Skyfall. Image Credit: MGM.

Article

Today one of the biggest films in recent memory Avengers: Endgame has launched and with it comes reviews, calls for no spoilers, marketing and PR, but also a similar trend we see with every major movie release recently and that is comments about product placement. This is something that is not new for the movie universe, indeed it was being lampooned all the way back in 1992 in Wayne’s World. However, it does feel like it is becoming more of an issue these days, or at the very least it is more in your face.

So why is this important? Well, for many reasons, the first being that companies are using films to pepper you with ads when your subconscious has lowered its usual defences that it uses to ignore advertisements. Sometimes these are very obvious like when on Chuck they would stop to explain the Subway sandwich they are having, or on Cougar Town when they would stop to explain the Subway sandwich they are having, or on Community when they … okay look Subway does this a lot. Fun fact, when writing this article I double checked I was right about the Subway integration and lo and behold before the YouTube videos of the shows was a new ad for Subway. While this is all a bit silly, it is also important because advertisers pay a lot of money to do it. PQ Media found a 14% increase in spending on product placement in 2017 alone.

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Map-It – Slow Mo Time: Mapping Planet Slow Mo

TL;DR – Today we chart every location visited during the Slow Mo Guy’s ‘Planet Slow Mo’ series

Tank shooting. Image Credit: The Slow Mo Guys.

Article

Article

Today we are exploring something close to my heart. One of my first ever dives into the world of YouTube back in the day was this little channel (well not so little anymore) of these two guys out of Britain filming things in slow motion.

As a film making technique I have always been captivated by slow motion and to see it used to capture weird and wonderful sights is something I have always love. Over the years whenever there is a new video I always make time to watch it and to this day they are always amazing like creating a fire tornado or blowing up 10ft balloons or even exploding airbags.

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Eleanor of Aquitaine First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

Eleanor’s Bonuses

Eleanor of Aquitaine leader of France in Civilisation 6 Gathering Storm


Civilization LeaderEleanor of Aquitaine
Leader Agenda
English Capital
French Capital:  
Leader Bonus: Court of Love – Great works in Eleanor’s cities leads to a loyalty deficient in other civilization cities withing 9 tiles. If a city leaves a civilizastion and Eleanor is the the Civ with the most loyalty pressure the city skips the Free City phase.

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Phoenicia First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

Dido leading Phoenicia in Civ 6 Gathering Storm.

Phoenicia Bonuses

Civilization Leader: Dido
Civilization Agenda: Sicilian Wars – wants to settle coastal cities. Likes those who settle inland. Dislikes those with mostly coastal cities.
Civilization Capital: Tyre
Civilization Bonus: Mediterranean Colonies – embarked Settlers get +Movement & Sight, Cities on the coast on the same Continent as the Capital will always be Loyal
Leader Bonus: Founder of Carthage – Can move the Civilization Capital to any city with a Cothon by completing a Special Project, +Trade Route for every building in the Government Plaza, +Production to Districts in the same city as the Government Plaza.
Unique Unit: Bireme – +Combat Strength & Movement, protects near by Trader Units
Unique District: Cothon
Rivers: Litani River
Deserts: Tanezrouft Basin

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Analysis – Rogue One is a Case Study on the notion of Death

Rogue One (Rouge One: A Star Wars Story). Image Credit; Disney/Lucasarts.

Before we start I need to make it clear that this blog will be full of spoilers for the recent Rogue One and Suicide Squad, as well as last year’s The Force Awakens, and all of Star Wars in general, so proceed cautiously if things like this concern you.

So when I was watching Rogue One yesterday for the third time, at which point instead of watching the broad strokes of the story you instead focus on more of the details, it occurred to me that not only is Rogue One interesting in the fact that it kills off its entire leading cast (yes I said there were spoilers don’t complain that I didn’t warn you) but also how it kills them. Now of course, as most people know, there were extensive reshoots with Rogue One which may have drastically changed the outcome of how characters died, but that is a discussion for another day, today we will just be focusing on the movie as it is in cinemas.

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