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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Messenger Droid Cosplay!

In partnership with EA's Star Wars Battlefront II, we made a cosplay of the Messenger Droid character for New York Comic Con! Frank and his team took on the challenge of bringing this imposing character to life, simulating its distinct holographic head with beautiful practical effects. The resulting effect was stunning! (This video was sponsored by Electronic Arts.)

Mid-October Pop Culture Wrap Up - Episode 78 -10/20/17
On this episode of CreatureGeek, Frank and Len chat about a bunch of stuff that's been out, coming soon and more including Blade Runner 2049 chat, IT and Stephen King talk, The Orville, Halloween and more. Plus a shout out to Haunted Houses and Mike Mekash (husband of Eryn Krueger Mekash) If you're digging this podcast, please head over to http://www.patreon.com/creaturegeek and support us with a few bucks. We truly appreciate your support!
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Test Driving a Retro RC Racer: The Kyosho Optima

The Kyosho Optima is one of several classic RC cars that have recently been put back into production. These reboots give you the nostalgia of owning an 80s-era racer, but without the cobwebs or impossible-to-find spare parts. In my previous article, I covered the process of building the Optima into a functional vehicle. This time around, I'll take it out for a spin and see how this baby performs!

Finding New Shoes

My plan was to test the Optima in different driving conditions. I took it to a track designed specifically for off-road cars. I also let it loose at a park in my neighborhood. But before hitting the ground with my new retro racer, I figured that it would be prudent to analyze the tire situation. Having the right tires for specific conditions can make all the difference in how a car performs.

A significant aspect of the Optima's enduring image is its set of 5-spoke "twisted star" wheels wrapped with fat, studded tires. While Kyosho's re-issued rollers definitely resemble the original parts, they are actually quite different. First of all, the wheels are now a 1-piece design. The legacy wheels consisted of inner and outer halves that were screwed together to pinch the tire in place. Going with the 1-piece approach produces lighter, stronger parts, but the tires must be glued to the wheel--not a big deal.

The Optima's wheels and tires look like the legacy units, but they have been updated.

The primary change to the tires is that they are now made of a softer rubber. In fact, the tires are so soft that they require foam inserts to help them hold their shape. Tire inserts are common nowadays, but I don't recall them ever being used when I was an active RC racer in the early 90s. The benefit of soft tires is better traction. One of the fundamental tradeoffs is durability. Simply put, softer tires wear out faster. That's not usually a concern for racers. Traction trumps longevity every time.

Just as off-road RC cars have evolved over the years, so have the tracks they race on. In the 80s and 90s, it was common for off-road tracks to have a layer of relatively loose dirt on the top surface. That's why the Optima's tires (and many others) featured prominent spikes. They could really dig into the fluff and get moving. Modern tracks are typically made of very smooth and hard-packed dirt. Some even use carpet or astroturf. Many racers use tires that look more like drag-racing slicks than traditional studded off-road tires. It was obvious that even with softer rubber, the Optima's prickly paws weren't going to cut it on a modern RC track.

Adam Savage's Set Tour of the Blade Runner Universe!

Adam takes us behind the scenes of the filming of the 2048: Nowhere to Run short film that's part of the official Blade Runner universe. From the static set dressing to the functional props and vehicles, Adam shows how the production builds a believable science fiction world out of the pieces of our own reality.

Supertroopers, Part Deux - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 10/17/17
Adam raves about a screening of Pixar's Coco, giving his spoiler-free review. Plus, we hear about Adam's Star Trek: The Experience auction adventure, a recommendation for a Eyvind Earle art exhibit, and teases for Adam's upcoming London trip to MC Michael Giacchino's concert bash! Thanks to Tested's Ryan Kiser for joining us this week in Will's absense!
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Behind the Scenes with Tested at New York Comic Con 2017!

Join us for a brief look at what our New York Comic Con experience was like this year! From roaming the show floor chatting with cosplayers and geeking out over collectibles to backstage prep for incognito walks with Adam, here's a taste of Tested's convention life. Thanks to everyone who said hi at the show!

Science in Progress: Bloodsuckers and Butt Snorkels

Would the world be better if disease-carrying mosquitos were eradicated? We pose the question to Dr. Shannon Bennett, the Curator of Microbiology at the California Academy of Sciences, and join her for an adventure capturing, farming, and studying these hated bloodsuckers.

Oculus Connect 4 Chat with Nate Mitchell, Oculus' Head of Rift

Oculus Connect 4, Facebook's developer conference for VR, is wrapped, and we're still digesting all the information we learned and demo time with the Santa Cruz prototype we experienced during our visit. While Oculus didn't have anything to say about a follow-up to its flagship Rift headset, the announcements it made about standalone VR hardware left us with plenty of questions about the company's product strategy, state of technolgy R&D, and approach to the spectrum of virtual reality experiences on the path to getting a billion people into VR. We were able to ask some of those questions in our annual check-in with Oculus' Head of Rift Nate Mitchell--a lively and enlightening conversation that's a highlight of our Oculus Connect coverage. But policy changes this year prevented us from filming the interview, so we shared some takeaways in our event recap video. In reviewing our interview notes, several points stood out that we didn't convey or stress enough in our day-of recap, so we're sharing those here for clarification and posterity.

We started off asking about Oculus Go and the Santa Cruz prototype and how they fit in a future product lineup for Oculus. Nate talked a bit about how the feature set for Go was determined, and how it, along with Santa Cruz, are on a mobile product track that's separate from Rift. Said Nate, "As you can see with Project Santa Cruz, that may not be our only offering in the standalone product category. You can imagine over time, a good, better, or even a good, better, best approach. But sort of like the most affordable, best experience standalone device you can build, we think Go really competes right there."

Oculus was also coy about the hardware running Go, and its performance targets. For example, would Go offer the equivalent performance of a Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, or better? Nate would only say that it would be comparable: "You can just think of it roughly as equivalent to Gear VR. Roughly [Gear VR as it is shipping today]. I mean, we support a number of past generations of Gear VR today, but you can imagine it's on the same compute envelope as Gear VR."

"Not all of the hardware's locked down" was the reason given for not sharing information like the screen refresh rate on Go, though we suspect it'll be 60Hz like on Gear VR. Also unclear was whether the Android UI would be surfaced at all to users, or the interface when putting on the headset. "We are committed to making it an even better experience than Gear VR. Which is not a very high bar, but a really good experience. So we're doing a lot of neat stuff that we're excited about," said Nate.