Rodimus and Brainstorm go to Optimus Con, Bristol

The weekend of April 9-10th was Optimus Con, held at the UWE Exhibition and Conference centre in Bristol. B and I went along for the day on the Saturday and had a great time. Our original cos-plans for this event had been to give a second airing to our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, but that was before I got utterly obsessed with working on our Transformers MTMTE-inspired human(ish) Rodimus and Brainstorm cosplay. These only really needed to be finished in time for TFNation, which isn’t until August, but once I started building and sewing these I got so into the project that I just wanted to work until they were done. So I figured I’d set myself an earlier deadline and get a few wears out of them before the Summer’s big robot party. And hey, what’s an event called Optimus without some good old Transformers representation anyway?

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

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The Descent of Wilhelm: Borderlands The Pre-Sequel

Wilhelm is a hybrid between a man and a Hyperion Loader-robot.

Borderlands 2 players will be familiar with Wilhelm — the only boss fight that doesn’t get a splash screen — Wilhelm is a hulking cyborg with almost no meat left, who throws a train carriage at the player and takes some serious punishment before he finally collapses (killing his repair drone makes this fight lot easier). Wilhelm’s first appearance in this game is in the mission “Handsome Jack Here!”, wherein he murders a train-full of refugees. Those who listen to all the ECHO-log audio diaries scattered around the game will also know that this character is responsible for perpetrating a massacre at New Haven, causing the anti-Hyperion resistance movement to retreat to Sanctuary.

Pre-Sequel players see a different view of Wilhelm: a playable Vault Hunter working for Handsome Jack (starting with the character class “Enforcer”). I’ve been playing a lot of Wilhelm, and I must say I’m fascinated by the character. Continue reading

Geekily Ever After? AddAltMode’s Top 10 Tips for a Lasting Geek Relationship

This summer B and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. According to UK tradition this apparently was our “woollen” anniversary – although a more appropriate material for us would surely have been plastic seeing as we spent our anniversary weekend at Auto Assembly! Who says romance is dead? Now a Transformers convention may not be too many people’s idea of a romantic date but it’s fitting for us in many ways as our geeky interests and passions have always been an central element in our relationship. Like any partnership, ours has had its ups and downs over the years, but we’re glad to still be going strong after 7 years of marriage and almost 15 together as a couple (yeah, we didn’t exactly rush down the aisle).

PixelHeartWe’re often asked what is the secret behind our successful marriage, and I’m not sure there is one – although friendship, compromise, stubbornness and yes, just sheer luck certainly all have had their roles to play. But even if there’s no magic formula we’ve learned a few things over the years about making a relationship last and we thought we’d share them today. Now, relationship advice isn’t a topic we’d normally cover here on AddAltMode but, as you’ll see, it isn’t a million miles away from our regular programming. This is a geek blog, and over the years we’ve come to realise that the fact that we’re both massive geeks isn’t just a key element in why we get along so well, it also provides a shared language and some handy frames of reference for many of things we’ve learned on our journey together to date…

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Pandora comes to Plymouth: Borderlands Tannis and Salvador Cosplay at DEVCON

Here you go then, the finished results of our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, which we wore yesterday to day one of the October DEVCON in Plymouth:

Borderlands cosplay by AddAltMode

Borderlands cosplay by AddAltMode

What do you think of the finished result?

Although this was our third DEVCON it felt like a first for me because previously I’ve always gone either as Arcee or Slipstream so this was the first time I had a costume that actually let me see properly and move freely! It was the also the first event for a long time where B had suited up and cosplayed alongside me. My favourite thing about Borderlands is what a great co-op experience the games provide, so it felt right to be sharing the guntastic Pandoran love as part of a pair! B enjoyed being a Gunzerker although by the end of the day his mouth was hurting from continually pulling Salvador’s manic feral grin everytime someone asked for a photo!

Thanks to our pals Sadie and Maysie for taking the photos. More after the break…

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Borderlands Cosplay sneak peeks

Hi there! We’re a bit behind with our posts here this week: blame work and cosplay. I work in the Higher Education sector, so this current period – the start of a new academic year – is always the busiest in my working calendar. Cue plenty of long tiring days, after which I just want to veg out. Unfortunately the start of the new academic year also signals the busiest time in our local convention calendar with quite a few events lined up in the next month. So much as I’d like to veg out, there Aint No Rest For The Wicked if we want to get our Borderlands cosplays ready in time for DEVCON this coming weekend. B is going as Salvador the Gunzerker and I’m going to be Dr. Tannis. We’re pretty much there now, just a little more detailing to finish off. But the projects haven’t left much time for other things, including writing blog posts.

So rather than a full work in progress post for these cosplay projects, here are just some sneak peeks of details from the two costumes…

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Borderlands Cosplay work in progress: Patricia Tannis part 2

I hinted in my last post that I was making good progress on my Borderlands Dr. Tannis costume but I really should back up the claim with some evidence. I confess I’ve probably been a better cos-maker in the last month than I have a cos-blogger; as I’ve just been motoring on with the costume rather than pausing to take as many work in progress shots as I probably should have done along the way. But I think things are going pretty well…

Tannis coat, vests and backpack: front view

Tannis coat, vests and backpack: front view

Tannis coat, vests and backpack: rear view

Tannis coat, vests and backpack: rear view

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Borderlands Movie News: reactions, concerns and speculations

You may have heard that Lionsgate now have the rights to develop a Borderlands movie.  So what was your first reaction to the news? Excitement? Apprehension? As someone who has played all the games and is currently knee deep in foam, fabric and paint working on Borderlands cosplay, I have to say it was certainly an announcement that made me sit up and take notice. The sci-fi frontier world of Pandora is a distinctively cinematic one and, done right, the franchise could make for a fantastic big screen experience. But done right is a fairly weighty qualifier. Let’s not kid ourselves, video game movies in Hollywood do not exactly have a stellar history and the producer tied to the project, Avi Arad, has more than a few misses on his CV. So I’m more intrigued than excited at this point.

Just two of the things we should expect from a Borderlands movie. Screenshot from the Borderlands The Pre-Sequel intro sequence.

Just two of the things we should expect from a Borderlands movie. The third is guns. Screenshot from the Borderlands The Pre-Sequel intro sequence.

I thought I’d take a few moments to share some of the things about this franchise that I’d like to see done justice on the big screen, as well as my initial concerns on the “danger zones” – that is, the things I fear Hollywood is most likely to ruin.

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Borderlands Cosplay work in progress: Patricia Tannis part 1

We are hoping – no, let’s be firmer than that – we are aiming to get our Borderlands 2 costumes done for October. AddAltMode B is going to be Salvador and I’ll be cosplaying as this wonderful crazy lady, Dr. Patricia Tannis:

Dr. Tannis: screen shot from Borderlands 2 Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage DLC (the best DLC!)

Moi? Dr. Tannis: screen shot from Borderlands 2 “Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage” DLC (aka the best DLC!)

Mostly so far we have just been gathering the materials we’ll need for these projects but I have done a bit of sewing and gluing already. As with Project Slipstream, I’ll be blogging my progress throughout the construction, so here’s how things are shaping up so far…

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Borderlands 2: Most Random Sidequests

Borderlands 2 is a glorious mix of first-person shooter and role-playing game. Whilst the gameplay is very much to our taste here at AddAltMode, what really makes Borderlands 2 great is its storyline – which has epic grandeur, black comedy, high adventure and extreme violence in equal measure. Playing as a Vault Hunter — a professional treasure-seeker in search of alien ruins — on the planet Pandora some indeterminate time in the future (during the Six Galaxies period, apparently), players explore and battle their way through wilderness, ruins, cities and high-tech fortresses in pursuit of the evil “Handsome Jack” to stop him taking control of the planet with his army of robots.

Totally not a group of lunatics and reporbates.

The heroes of the day, the Vault Hunters: Left-to-right; Axton, Zer0, Gaige, Maya, Salvador & Krieg. Gaige’s robot Deathtrap floats behind the group.

The main storyline gets quite tense, but there are always some side-quests that various NPCs will set for the players. As with most RPGs, you can rush through the game doing only the vital parts of the story for an intense experience, or you can do a few jobs for people on the side to get a longer more satisfying game, or to level-up your character to fight the harder bosses.

Some of the side quests here are a bit odd, though. They don’t seem like things that I’d pester a vault-hunting hero with if that hero was busy saving the world, but the NPCs of Borderlands 2 clearly have different priorities from me. These come from all over the game, so obviously, there will be mild spoilers herein.

Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert!

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Game Review: Tales From the Borderlands (Episodes 1 -3)

Type of game: Point and click graphic adventure
Developed & Published by: Telltale Games
Year:  Episode 1 Zer0 Sum November 2014; Episode 2 Atlas Mugged March 2015; Episode 3 Catch a Ride June 2015
Played on: Steam

Well, I love point and click adventure games, and Borderlands is my favourite game franchise ever. But not all great tastes go well together: I also love coffee and cider but I wouldn’t want to mix them in one mug. So I bought my season pass for this new episodic adventure from Telltale Games with excitement but also – I’ll confess – some trepidation. The blackly comic sci-fi frontier world of Pandora is a wonderful setting, but in the Borderlands FPS/RPG games the main way to interact with this environment is by shooting stuff and looting better guns in order to kill bigger stuff and loot even crazier guns. I couldn’t quite imagine how the Borderlands vibe would translate into the kind of narrative / consequence-heavy experience that Telltale are so adept creating.

Only one way to find out…

Game title screen

Game title screen: clicking finger at the ready!

There will be 5 episodes in total, but here are my thoughts from having played through the 3 parts of this game that are currently released…

TL;DR version: it works and I loved it.

More considered opinion after the jump. I’ve tried to avoid any major plot spoilers here Spoilersbut this is the kind of game that it’s tricky to discuss in any depth without mentioning a few events, so consider yourself forewarned. I’d rate this review as 25% of a Rodimus on the spoiler scale I’ve literally just invented.

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