Thursday, 27 February 2014

An evening (or two) of Zombies!

As you know, I have been planning my big 'Nazi-Zombie' movie fest (when not playing Battlefield 4) and the good news is the last of the movies I wanted landed on my desk this morning!

Do not be fooled by the cover photo [in fact, an old mate of mine used to be very suspicious if video's box art was 'drawn' as he felt it was a sign of how crap the movie was] as Zombie Lake is a good old fashioned 1980s B-movie gore-fest, with a splash (get it?) of gratuitous nudity!

In fact I came across teh original 1980s movie poster for the film and I think that better describes the content and quality of this flik!

However, it is a French movie, and in good old French film tradition the director - Jean Rollin - something of an 'artiste' (who was doing this just to pay the bills) and apparently there is a 'deeper sub-text'!

...Hmmm, yes. I bet there is!

Anyway, this completes the collection of movies I want for my grand review of the genre and so now I only have to devise a running order and a date when I will watch them.

Obviously with 8 movies I will have to - at the least - split the showing up into a couple of sessions. But it will give me a lot of fun devising which movies to run against each other. In any case here is the list of my Nazi-Zombie movie collection, chronologically:

• Shock Waves - 1977. [IMDB score: 5.7/10]
This horror film concerns a shipwrecked yachting party. Once beached, they meet up with an aging SS Commander (Peter Cushing!) who had been in charge of a crew of zombies. Now they are rising up from the depths to create mayhem among the stranded members of the yachting party.

• Zombie Lake (Le lac des morts vivants) - 1981. [IMDB score: 2.9/10]
In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WW II, come back.

• Nazi Zombies (aka Horrors of War) - 2006. [IMDB score: 3.2/10]
Feeling the pressure from Allied advance, Hitler unleashes his secret weapons giving rise to a type of warfare the world has never seen...Hitler's horde of nightmare weapons!

• Outpost - 2008. [IMDB score: 5.9/10]
A wealthy businessman hires a crack team of seasoned soldiers to accompany him on a perilous journey into no man's land, only to come face to face with an otherworldly enemy more vicious and powerful than any mortal foe.

• Dead Snow - 2009. [IMDB score: 6.4/10]
A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.

Outpost: Black Sun (Outpost II) - 2012. [IMDB score: 5/10]
A NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march.

• Bloodstorm (Nazis at the Center of the Earth) - 2012. [IMDB score: 3.1/10]
Researchers in Antarctica are abducted by a team of masked storm troopers. They are dragged deep underground to a hidden continent in the center of the earth. Here Nazi survivors, their bodies a horrifying patchwork of decaying and regenerated flesh, are planning for the revival of the Third Reich.

Frankensteins Army - 2013. [IMDB score: 5.3/10]
Nazi scientists have used the legendary Frankenstein's work to assemble an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of their fallen comrades - a desperate Hitler's last ghastly ploy to escape defeat.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Using a USB foot pedal for VOIP comms!

It doesn't seem to matter just how many keys you have available to you as a PC gamer, there never seems to be enough! At least that's what I thought when it came to the issue of which key to assign as my VOIP key.

Like many online gamers I use a preparatory program to handle my in-game voice comms - BIG clan uses Mumble - and this demands that you set a key to act as your 'talk' button. The problem is trying to find a convenient key that isn't already assigned to another function.

For a while now I have been using a key-stoke mapped to my middle mouse button - so I press my middle mouse button and Mumble turns my mic on. Simples. Well, not so simples really...

Being a person of limited brain to finger cooridination I find it a bit fiddly to fire - left mouse button - and talk - middle mouse button - at the same time. I would assign another key and move the physical key to my Orbweaver keypad but everything is already assigned.

Well, I bought myself a USB foot controllers this week - the type secretaries use to control scolling in Word so they can transcribe stuff - as I reckoned my feet aren't doing anything so seem the ideal appendage to control my VOIP!

Much to my surprise setting up the footpad was very simple and within minutes I had it working with Mubble to control my voice comms. So, the foot-pedal clears the first test - onto using the pedal...

Assigning your preferred VOIP key to the foot pedal is easy as the device comes
with it's own set-up software on a mini-CD (Windows only).
Next I make sure that the shortcut key to my chosen VOIP key is set in my
VOIP software - in my case MUMBLE.

Right, problem number one - it *feels* funny! Using your foot to press a button is something which is quite alien to me. It might sound daft but this may be because I don't drive (maybe), but in any case finding my 'comfort zone' is a major issue.

Normally when gaming I don't even think about where my legs and feet are - they generally are just crossed in a relaxed position and don't move all through my playing session. But now I have to find a good position for my right leg so that my foot rests on the foot pedal without triggering it, but be ready to trigger it when I want to without much bother.

So, it will probably take me quite a while to find the 'sweet spot' for placing the pedal and my leg and foot, so I can't really give you a proper verdict on what I think of using a foot controller yet. It may take me three or four (or more) gaming sessions just to get used to having the pedal and finding it with ease.

...SO, watch this space!

...Oh, nearly forgot - problem number two! I would like to know if my pedal is activating my VOIP, there is a overlay option in Mumble that shows a blinky light when you are talking but unfortunately it does not work with DirectX games! Du-oh!

So I will basically just have to trust that it is working!

UPDATE: Problem 2 solved! In Mumble you can set an 'audio cue', this sounds a 'beep' when you press your VOIP key. So I now know I have definitely pressed my VOIP button!

The USB foot-pedal is made by 'International Invention' (China) and costs about a tenner. It's made of fairly cheap plastic and I am not convinced about how well it will hold up to repeated and furious foot punches! Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Nazi-Zombie film fest

Just landed on my desk, this trio of Nazi-Zombie action!

What sort of mindless violence could be more guilt free than that perpetrated against everyone-one's 'favourite' villainous entity - the Nazi Zombie!

Part of my wonderful Christmas haul this year was the gift of 'Outpost' 1 & 2 from my eldest daughter (they know me so well - as my youngest got me a set of 'Walking Dead' novels). So I had the idea of having a marathon Nazi-Zombie movie weekend. I did a bit of research and found out what the 'best' (worst) movies were in the genre and luckily they can be had for next to nothing on Amazon (which speaks volumes for the quality of some of these flicks).

To be fair, they aren't all 'B' movie 'fails' - though there are some howlers in my list. Dead Snow and the Outpost series are excellent entertainment, but half the fun of being a fan of this niche type of horror movie is getting a kick out of the 'so bad it's good' type of schmaltz!

Anyway, the first of my collection of movies arrive on my desk this morning and these included; 'Bloodstorm', 'Nazi Zombies' and the fantastic 'Dead Snow'.

Above: 'Bloodstorm' was originally titled 'Nazis at the Center of the Earth'!

Above: 'Nazi Zombies' (just couldn't put the effort into a more creative title)!

I still have a couple to come (from the US) which are supposed to be real Nazi-Zombie connoisseur material, but this is a really good start. I just have to plan the running order and when to hold my event (I am tempted to put this off until March as Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz is released then)!

Link: Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz Official Facebook page.