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  ‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics  
Posted 2007-12-06 by Tony Walsh
‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics
I've been a fan of survival horror game series Silent Hill since the first installment in the series, not so much due to the game play, but because of its inspirational creative elements. The visuals and soundscapes featured in the series are haunting, distinctive, and memorable.

One of the most recognizable monster-types in the game series is a sort of "zombie nurse," a faceless female creature dressed in medical garb which shivers and shimmies through darkened hospitals, looking for a handful of your flesh. When the Silent Hill movie came out last year, I was disappointed that the zombie nurses seemed to be re-imagined as slightly more sexualized monsters. Basically they became less "zombie" and more "sexy nurse." A pity, since the original creature designs seemed to be far more ghastly (and far more scary) than the ones shown in the film.

Sadly, the upcoming Silent Hill 5 seems to turned the zombie Sex-O-Meter up to eleven, turning an exquisite walking corpse into Nurse McBoobs, complete with a nipple-exposing wardrobe-malfunction. Jeux France has the full-sized pics. If the game features jiggle-physics, I'm going postal.
  Learning Lindenese  
Posted 2006-12-07 by Tony Walsh
Linden Lab, maker and operator of virtual world Second Life, is responsible for a software platform some see as the future of the World Wide Web. I find the idea of a 3D Web and the experience of the virtual world significant enough that I've devoted many hours of research and writing to Second Life. And I'm not the only one--this year in particular saw a major upswing in business interest from a number of significant sources, including Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM.

Some very powerful and influential people are following Second Life's story, but Linden Lab can't seem to keep its story straight. In my view, the Second Life platform is at a stage where consistent, accurate information about it needs to be made readily available by its maker and maintainer.

Continue reading: Learning Lindenese
  Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’  
Posted 2006-05-19 by Tony Walsh
Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’
A modified 'PCD Lounge' bears horrific fruit.
I've turned the virtual Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge into Silent Hill. The online nightclub, intended to market music and other products to teens, can easily be altered on the client (user) side. Currently in beta testing, the PCD Lounge runs on the Torque game engine, licensed from Garage Games to San Francisco-based new media company Doppleganger (formerly Evil Twin Studios).

The small virtual environment created for the PCD Lounge has limited appeal. Only 300 users can fit into the area at once, and I haven't spotted more than 61 members logged in at any given time (over 400 users are registered on Doppleganger's PCD Forums). Faced with a stale, virtual space laden with billboard ads and zombie-like teens, I decided to poke around the source files for the client software.

In a nutshell, the client-side files are extremely simple to modify. Modders can easily access and completely alter the graphic images that comprise the material surfaces in the world, including the sky, walls, billboards, and even the skin of user-created avatars. Additionally, sound effects can be re-written in Ogg Vorbis format. Other aspects, such as environment parameters and NPC names can be changed by putting some files through a text editor. Given this level of freedom, I decided to mod the PCD Lounge into the sort of environment seen in the Silent Hill series of games, turning the Lounge's attendees--even the Pussy Cat Dolls themselves--into disfigured monsters. And, just for fun, I replaced all the billboards with images from Frank Fairey's Obey Giant campaign.

Continue reading: Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’
  Real Centralia Inspires ‘Silent Hill’ Movie  
Posted 2006-03-30 by Tony Walsh
Damn Interesting brought my attention to the bizarre tale of Centralia, Pennsylvania. According to the Wikipedia, this borough is all but abandoned today, due to an underground fire that's been burning for 40 years. The fire was caused in 1962 when landfill in an abandoned mine pit was ignited, subsequently catching hold of a coal vein, and spreading underground. The situation only worsened over time, with most residents relocating in 1984. In 2002 the US Postal Service revoked the borough's Zip Code, and apparently the borough excluded from most modern maps. In essence, the place has been officially written off. Nowheresville, U.S.A.

Centralia's sad story seems to have been integrated into the backstory for the upcoming Silent Hill movie, based on the suspense/horror video game series of the same name. The initial working title of the movie was "Centralia," and it was filmed in large part on location in one of Canada's ghost towns, Brantford, Ontario.
  ‘Silent Hill’ Movie Updates  
Posted 2006-01-22 by Tony Walsh
Sony has revealed five finalists in a poster contest promoting its upcoming Silent Hill movie based on the video game series of the same name. The winner of the contest will score $2,500 USD in cash, 25 movie tickets, and a pile of movie-related trinkets.

I had a chance to check out the movie's latest trailer in a theatre over the weekend, and I'm very pleased with what I saw. On the surface, it seems the movie's visuals harmonize perfectly with the game's bone-chilling graphics, and as an added bonus, it seems like at least one song on the Silent Hill 3's soundtrack will be used. Gearcritech reports "...the trailer uses the some of the good old Silent Hill music we've come to love, notably Promise (Reprise) from SH2 and Hometown from SH3."
  ‘Silent Hill’-esque:  Whitby Psychiatric Hospital  
Posted 2005-11-03 by Tony Walsh
Reader Hyakugei sends word that Spacing magazine's photoblog currently offers a month-long series of grimy pictures of the haunted Whitby Psychiatric Hospital. Players of the Silent Hill game series may find the photos to represent familiar territory, evoking brain-tickling flashbacks from the in-game environments. Here are the first few--be sure to check Spacing's photoblog every day this month for more ghoulish goodness.

Earlier shots can be found in the archives of (Ninjalicious, RIP).
  ‘Silent Hill’ Movie Production Photos  
Posted 2005-11-02 by Tony Walsh
Yahoo! has posted a bloody handful of production photos from the upcoming movie adaptation of the Silent Hill horror game series. If you've spent even a few hours in the netherworlds of the video game, you'll recognize the fact that the photos capture the look of the game series perfectly. Seriously, I can't imagine a better rendition than what I see in the pics. We know now that the film at least looks great, and the writing seems very promising as well. If the actors are even slightly better at delivering lines than the characters in the video game, then we're really on to something here.
  ‘Silent Hill’ Movie Scriptwriter Interviewed  
Posted 2005-09-26 by Tony Walsh
Edge Online interviews Roger Avary, scriptwriter of the upcoming Silent Hill movie apparently titled (or at least code-named) "Centralia." The in-depth inteview reveals Avary's keen understanding of video games, and details his collaboration with director Christophe Gans, who has an obsessive passion for the relatively new medium. It appears that both Avary and Gans have invested a lot of care into making the Silent Hill movie a masterpiece video game adaptation, and I have every confidence at this point that it will be a good film as well (two years ago, I had my doubts). If any video game property deserves a painstaking effort to get right, its the beautifully cinematic, atmospheric, and chilling Silent Hill.
  Admitted to ‘Kingdom Hospital’  
Posted 2005-07-17 by Tony Walsh
I don't watch television much, but make exceptions for intriguing DVD-collections. I was introduced to the Kingdom Hospital boxed set last week, and finished watching the 13-episode mini-series this weekend. An American remake of the 1994 Danish TV mini-series Riget, Kingdom Hospital was written by Stephen King, who retained most of the plot-points and characters. The show consists of darkly-comedic horror, and while it features some minor scares, it is more suspenseful and bizarre than terrifying. I'm not a Stephen King fan, but I found the series to be well-written and captivating--probably because it bears some major similarities with Silent Hill (one of my favourite video games), and with one of my old personal projects known as "Gloomveil."

Since every American remake usually pales in comparison to the European original, I look forward to finding and viewing a copy of Riget. Viva subtitles!
  Sean Bean on ‘Silent Hill’ Movie  
Posted 2005-07-13 by Tony Walsh
 recently interviewed actor Sean Bean, who stars in the upcoming movie adaptation of the Silent Hill video game property. Says Bean, "I think the game is quite psychologically demanding, because it's not about chopping people up...It's about using your brain, and I think this will be really good because Christophe Gans, the director of 'Brotherhood of the Wolf', has given it a really quirky, bizarre feel, very spooky and sort of like a European genre film." The movie, which wraps up shooting in Toronto this week, is due out in 2006.

I, for one, am disappointed the movie may lack in the "chopping people up" department. I'm all for sophisticated Eurostyle psychodramas, but when one of your main villains is a 7-foot-tall demon carrying a carving knife the size of an Audi, there'd better be some hack-and-slashery afoot.
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