Monthly Archives:April 2012

Liang Court "It's Anime Fair"

21 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
,
No Comments

Get a load of the line-up.

When cosplay’s the new marketing in-thing, it’s inevitable that someone somewhere’s bound to jump on the bandwagon.

Even malls are getting in on the act, as today’s Liang Court’s It’s Anime Fair (otherwise known as Liang Court Anime Week) would attest.

The event was held as part of an ongoing Japanese fair that featured a handful of stalls selling anime merchandise, fan art and paraphernalia, together with a small stage setup that saw use by local band Ryusei and cosplayers in a segment organized by EOY and Fei Yue Community Services.

The line-up of the day included an impressive Russia from Hetalia, a slew of run-of-the-mill Vocaloids, and an Ouma Shu (with a budget void) from Guilty Crown posing on stage to a lukewarm audience.

Vocaloids. Definitely the flavor of the month.

I coulda sworn the guy's the spitting image of Takeshi Kitano.

What really put a damper on it all was the emcee, who made several gaffs, including a claim that “these are the best cosplayers” at the event, and fell woefully short at selling the show.

The initial ten cosplayers were followed by participants from the Silver Cosplay Club, a cosplay group for seniors.

Their costumes weren’t stellar (those outfits sure looked store-bought), but they had to be commended for their efforts, especially the visually impaired individual who emulated the titular blind swordsman from Takeshi Kitano’s 2003 hit Zatoichi. His was a credible impression, to say the least.

Ultimately, for all the hype surrounding Anime Week, it wasn’t so much an event as a non-event.

It was a good enough excuse for cosplayers and photographers to mingle, but if you’re looking for something value-added, I’m afraid there’s not a whole lot it’s got to offer.

If you’re ever in the area, you’re better off popping down to Meidi-Ya for some discount shochu, and Tampopo for the cream puffs to die for instead.

Announcing International Cosplay Day Singapore!

20 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
, , , , ,
No Comments

Yes, you heard that right.

The Neo Tokyo Project is proud to be the organizers of International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS), in conjunction with Cosplay Chess 2012!

Supported by Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies, partners and stake-holders in the local pop-culture scene, this celebration of cosplay and pop-culture will take place at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Convention Center on 26 August this year.

In addition to an artist’s alley, a cosplay competition, a cosplay runway where you can strut your stuff and Singapore’s second annual Cosplay Chess, we’ll also be featuring guest stars from internationally acclaimed web TV drama Cosplay:  The Series, who will be filming two exclusive episodes of the hit show at our con!

Don’t forget to check back with us for more updates and details, and be sure to look out for our official press release after May 1st!

Diablo III Preview

15 Apr , 2012,
Crimson

No Comments

Mark May 15 down on your calendars, people, because that’s when the Lord of Terror walks the earth once more. Yes, I’m talking about the launch of Diablo III (D3), and it’s been a long time coming.

12 years have passed since we last saw the big D’s second incarnation, and like many a fan, I’ve been dying to give the game a spin.

Thanks to the good folks at Asiasoft, we got to do just that.


Diablo III takes place some 20 years after the events of Diablo II, with your hero hot on the heels of a mythical fallen star. The star’s landed somewhere in Tristram, and with the town being the undead magnet that it is, you just know it’s all going to pot from there.

The games top-down view and point-click-kill gameplay is a real trip through memory lane. It’s a style fans will find familiar, though Blizzard’s also manged to beef things up a bit.

You’ll discover that there’s a whole lot more you can do to the environment now, including, including nifty things like dropping walls and chandeliers on the approaching zombie hordes. Naturally, scaling difficulty levels make a return, as does the punishing Hardcore mode, which ups the ante a fair bit by giving your hero only ONE chance to survive.

Artisans and advanced followers are new features in D3.

Artisans are craftsmen who can forge equipment for you in your quest, if you’re willing to donate part of your take to helping them brush up their crafting skills. They’re also an easy way for you to dispose of redundant magic items clogging up your inventory, by deconstructing them into magical reagents that they can use to create new weapon and armor pieces.

Followers, too, now come with an inventory and skill interface, allowing you to take better charge of the way they assist you in solo play. The Templar, for example, can be taught either to Heal, or Taunt an enemy, giving you new strategy options. You can also beef up their damage, health and other parameters by passing them your hand-me-downs, or loot you don’t particularly need.

Classes in D3 have undergone a massive revamp, and the five archetypes you can choose from include the melee oriented barbarian, the crossbow-toting demon hunter, the kungfu-fighting monk, the spell-slinging wizard, and the witch doctor, which utilizes a variety of damage-over-time (DoT) effects and summons.

Unlike it’s predecessors, D3’s taken the bulk of the number crunching out of your hands, and character creation’s now a breeze. You don’t have to worry about stat growth and allocation anymore, and the skill system, which unlocks new powers as you level up, is a breeze.

Each class gains a plethora of active skills, as well as passive boons that you can switch out at any time using the interface, as well as glyphs that modify your skills in a variety of ways, such as increasing the damage inflicted, the number of targets affected, or converting the damage type from one to another.

Map features and monsters are, of course, randomly generated, as is the bulk of in-game items. No single playthrough (whether on Battle.net or otherwise) is quite like another, which makes the game something of a new experience every time (though if you’ve played through story mode at least once, the plot wears a little thin).

Part of the fun though has always been the leveling and treasure-hunting, and the cute snippets of in-game trivia that you discover as you go along. It’s exactly what makes the game so addictive, and D3 reprises that.

Sadly, the Beta only takes you through Act 1 up to the fall of the Skeleton King, but from the looks of it, that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There’s an overarching meta-plot out there waiting to be uncovered, and my crossbow trigger finger’s itching for some real demon hunter action.

Now, it’s just a simple matter of waiting another month or so for Hell to be officially unleashed.

Check out some of our Beta screenies:

Real Escape Game Vol. 2

11 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
,
No Comments

Are you ready for vol. 2? XD

When we got a taste of Real Escape Game in January, we were hooked.

It was a mind-twisting, nerve-wracking hour of pure awesome, and get this! There’s going to be a second installment in a little less than a month’s time!

Originally conceived by Mr. Takao Kato and played in more than five countries around the world, Real Escape Game in Singapore, vol. 2 will take place at popular youth hangout *SCAPE from 11 May this time, and with a decidedly darker vibe.

Dubbed “Escape from the Werewolf Village”, the venue will be re-imagined as a mysterious village where werewolves have been known to attack people by night. As the villagers disappear one by one, players must work together, use their deductive skills and gather clues to escape before the werewolves strike again!

We’re certainly looking forward to vol 2, and if you’re a big fan of alternate reality games, you should too!

I mean, just check out this trailer!

Real Escape Game in Singapore, vol 2: Escape from the Werewolf Village takes place from 11 to 13 May 2012 at *SCAPE.

Tickets are priced at $20 (student concession), $25 (adults) and $30 (at the door). Ticket pre-sales are available from www.gatecrash.com.sg, SingPost post offices, S.A.M. machines, and STB’s TicketCube. 

Don’t forget to also visit Real Escape Game in Singapore’s official site, and Facebook page for more details. 


We’ve got some Real Escape Game, vol. 2 tickets up for grabs! 

You read that right. We’ve got two free passes to Real Escape Game, vol. 2: Escape from the Werewolf Village to give away to two lucky readers, thanks to the great folks at Vivid Creations.

All you need to do is Like The Neo Tokyo Project on Facebook, and answer a simple question on our Facebook page to qualify.

Entries close 1st May 2012. Check out the contest here.

Crimson's Chest Piece Tutorial

10 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
, , ,
No Comments

Now that we’ve covered helmet basics, we’re going to work on a chest piece next.

Typically called a breast plate or cuirass, this armor covers your torso, and can sport a variety of elaborate details and ornate designs.

It’s one of the most integral pieces (and sometimes the centerpiece) of armor cosplay, and this tutorial will demonstrate how you can create a basic cuirass from scratch.

Also, since we’ve been hyping about Diablo 3 all weekend, we’ll be using the Demon Hunter’s armor that Crimson’s working on this week as an example.

This tutorial will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Stuff you’ll need:

1. Some EVA foam

2. Contact Glue

3. Scissors or pen knife

4. White glue or putty

You’ll also need a chalk or a soft pencil, and a measuring tape.

Step 1:

Measure the distance from the base of your neck to the midriff, and note the value down. Do the same for the distance from the nape of your neck down to the small of your back, across your chest, and between the shoulder blades.

These values will help you gauge how big your chest and back plates need to be.

It helps if you've already got the armor pattern plotted out. ^_^

Step 2:

Next, trace out the base shapes for the front and back pieces on foam using either chalk or a soft pencil. Cut them out as cleanly as you can using either a pair of scissors or a pen knife.

The front plate...

...and the back plate.

Step 3:

Most breast plates curve outwards at the chest, and inwards towards the midriff, so we’re going to do the same. We’ll give the front plate this contoured look by making two small wedge shaped cuts on either side, close to where your armpits are when you place the front piece on your body.

Cut out the wedges like so.

Step 4:

Join the cut edges to each other using contact glue, and you’re done.

Join the edges together.

You'll end up with this.

We added additional layers for the Demon Hunter chest piece, but you can create whatever design you want!

Step 5:

Now, we need to join the front and back pieces together. You can accomplish this by creating foam straps.

Measure the distance from the base of your neck to your shoulder, and the distance across your shoulder from your chest (just above the nipple) to the back (close to the middle of your shoulder blade).

Cut out two rectangles of foam about that long, and that wide.

Make sure the rectangles fit snugly over your shoulder. Don't forget to trim to size if they're too big!

Step 6:

We’re going to cut the rectangles into curved shapes so they can go under the armpits. In this case, we’ve also made some additional cuts for detailing.

Don’t forget to also cut out a wide enough semi-circle on the inside of the shape to accommodate your head!

Cut it to shape!

When you're done, you

Step 7:

It’s time to join everything together! Use contact glue to fix the foam straps in place.

Depending on how your armor looks, the straps can either go over (like in this case) or under the front and back plates.

Apply liberally, and stick in place.

Make sure it's nicely joined in front...

... and in back.

Step 8:

Finally, stick on any details and embellishments you might have, clean up the lines with either white glue or putty, and it’s ready for a coat of primer and paint. ^_^

And we're done! ^_^ Have fun making your own chest piece! ^_^

Crimson's Floating Orb Tutorial

7 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

Just last week, we received a request to create Rin Kagamine’s staff from the Boss Death PV, which featured a floating orb suspended in the center of several golden hoops.

In this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate the principles behind this bit of cosplay magic, and how you can adapt it to  arcane props and paraphernalia of your very own.

This tutorial will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Stuff you’ll need:

1. A hollow foam ball

2. Hot glue gun

3. Glue sticks

4. Some durable fishing line

5. Two or more rigid plastic tubes (about 2 inches long)

6. A bamboo skewer

All the things you'll need to create your own floating orb effect.

Step 1:

Press both halves of the foam ball together. Using hot glue, seal it up along the seams.

Join it up nice and neat!

Step 2:

We’ll work on the support structure next. Snip off about half a meter of fishing line, and thread it through one of rigid tubes.

You can give it a little bit of allowance, if you think you'll need a bit more slack later.

Thread it through like so.

Make sure the tube’s somewhere in the middle of the length of fishing line.

Step 3:

Bring both ends of the fishing line together, and make a knot.  Tie it off again several times to secure the knot in place.

Stick a bamboo skewer through the plastic tube, and snip it off to size. Seal both ends of the plastic tube with a dab of hot glue so the skewer’s secured in place.

You'll end up with something like this.

Repeat this process again to create a second support structure.

Step 4:

Using the bamboo skewer, bore a hole in the side of the foam ball that penetrates into the hollow center.

Once you've created the hole...

While holding onto both ends of  the fishing line, push the plastic part of the support structure through the hole (tamping it down with the bamboo skewer if you need to) until it’s on the inside of the foam ball.

...it's time to insert the support structure. Push it all the way in.

And here's how it'd look from the inside.

And it's "floating" now! Just like magic!

Step 5:

Repeat the process however many times you like until all your support structures are in place.

Put on the finishing touches by sealing the hole you’ve created with a bit of hot glue.

Tie off the fishing lines to the framework of your prop and you’re done!

Here's how it looks like on a prop! Try it with other shapes and designs too!

 

Girl Genius (Omnibus Vol. 1)

5 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

Girl Genius Omnibus Vol. 1 - Cover Art.

Steampunk lovers will be no strangers to Girl Genius, the seminal, award winning comic series created by the amazing Foglios.

Since its inception in 2001, Phil and Kaja’s amazing world of gaslamp fantasy has captured the hearts and minds of readers around the world, introducing them to a spunky heroine whose coming of age story propels her across a continent of conspiracy, conflict and MAD SCIENCE!

Girl Genius is a great read (I’ve been a fan for the past five years),  and if you’re looking to start, then there’s no better place than this Omnibus Edition, which collects Books 1 to 3 of the series.

The 319-page hardcover charts Agatha Clay’s growth as a Spark (that’s Genius-speak for super powered inventor types), when she awakens to her power following a rash of unfortunate events.

It’s a journey that has her traipsing through the interior of an airship city, dodging deadly bugs from another dimension, and evading pursuit from people who either want to use her, or want her dead, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Foglios sure know how to tell a story.

The art’s drawn and colored in the Foglio’s exaggerated and vibrant style – an eclectic brand of cartooning and coloring that complement to the fantastical nature of the story, and the script’s pretty sweet, so readers who’re in it for the meat won’t be disappointed.

Check this omnibus out at Harris Planerds. You can also keep track of Agatha’s adventures at the official Girl Genius site

Oh! To be a Panda(ren)!

1 Apr , 2012,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

As a long time World of Warcraft player, I was curious when I got wind that Mists of Pandaria was in the works.

It was slated to be WOW’s fourth expansion (following The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and last year’s Cataclysm), and that begged the question – what else can the MMORPG that’s captured the world’s biggest market share do to up the ante?

From the looks of it, a fair bit. Mists introduces a new continent (like duh!) with clearly oriental themes, and implements a good number of changes including better customization at character creation, a more streamlined interface, a less clunky talent system, and the ability to loot multiple targets with a single click (what a godsend!).

Of course, one of the biggest draws has got to be the fact that you get to roll a fuzzy, wushu savvy critter, and that was exactly what I did when I got my hands on a Beta Invite. I decided to unleash my paws of fury on an unsuspecting Azeroth by rolling a Pandaren Monk.

Check out the new character creation screen.

Customization's so much easier now.

The Pandaren starter zone is called The Wandering Isle, and it’s a beautiful, expansive place replete with breathtaking autumn hues, Asian architecture, and a soothing ambient track that resonated inner peace.

Just look at that scenery.

From the get-go, you get to jump right to kungfu fighting.

The introductory quest has you picking up hand wraps and punching target dummies into oblivion, before embarking on a journey that’s rife with ancient Chinese secrets, mythological and pop culture references galore (coughcoughAvatarTheLastAirbendercoughcough).

Meet Huo, the spirit of fire.

Training pools that change you into cute critters when you hit water. Kinda like in Ranma 1/2.

Eventually, you’ll also get to meet (and beat up) plenty of new creatures indigenous to The Wandering Isle, including the monkey-like Hozen, Virmen rodents, and sentient plants called Scamps.

It's like whack a mole. Except with rabbits.

And since we’re on the topic of beating on things, I’m going to talk a little bit about the Monk.

The Monk is the second “hero” class to be released (the first being the Death Knight), and it’s a class that’s incredibly versatile.

Naturally, you start out with plenty of ways to dish out punishment. You use Energy as your core mechanic, and rack up Chi points when you perform basic attack moves.

Chi points lets you deliver stronger attacks with additional effects while you’re in specific stances, such as the Tiger Palm, which strikes for extra damage on tough foes, and the Blackout Kick, which is kinda like an execute ability, dealing massive damage and refunding a Chi point if you kill the opponent.

What’s more, specializing unlocks a plethora of abilities that lets you fulfill either tank, healer or damage roles.

The Brewmaster specialization.

Players of the Warcraft 3 will probably remember the Brewmaster Chen Stormstout, who’s the inspiration behind the tanky Monk spec. Familiar abilities include Dizzying Haze and Breath of Fire, and its damage mitigation mechanic is an ability called Stagger, which lets you reduce the damage you take by delaying it and converting it into a Damage Over Time effect.

The Windwalker specialization.

The Windwalker, on the other hand, plays a little bit like a ninja. It’s a specialization that focuses on building Chi points, and dishing out rapid fire martial arts attacks. The baseline ability for the Windwalker is Fists of Fury, which combines a potent stun with multiple hits in a frontal cone. How cool is that?

The Mistweaver specialization.

Perhaps the most unique of all is the Mistweaver spec, which uses Mana as a resource and encourages you to get up close and personal while healing your allies. Much of the Mistweaver’s powers deal damage, or require that you deal damage to heal your allies, and that’s a play style that’s going to take a bit of work to adapt to.

I’ve been having fun with the Mistweaver spec, and likely as not, it’s going to be the spec I’ll be sticking to when the new expansion hits stores later in the year.

And now, it’s back to Pandaria for me.

Until next time, cheerio!