Gameloft Opens Game Studio In NOLA

From NOLA.com:

Gameloft will develop software in New Orleans

Published: Monday, August 15, 2011, 2:02 PM Updated: Monday, August 15, 2011, 5:31 PM

By Jaquetta White, The Times-Picayune

Mobile and online video game developer Gameloft is expanding into New Orleans with the opening of a software development studio in the Crescent City, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Monday.

Gameloft, which is based in France, is expected to employ about 20 people in its first year in New Orleans and grow to a staff of 146 in 10 years, said David Hague, studio manager for the New Orleans office.
"Gameloft is our biggest digital media win, yet." Jindal said. "Companies like Gameloft are going to keep our young people right here in Louisiana."

The company creates games designed to be played on mobile devices including the iPhone, Android and other portable gadgets. Software developers will earn an average salary of $69,000 plus benefits. The company is now hiring employees.
The Gameloft outfit will differ from that of its gaming counterpart Electronic Arts, which established a software testing facility in Baton Rouge in 2008. Instead of testing games, Gameloft employees will be creating them, a job that requires employees with a more complex skill set, Jindal said.

Monday's announcement was the culmination of a yearlong wooing period that saw Louisiana move from completely off of Gameloft's radar to the top slot on company's site list.
While Gameloft executives believed that Louisiana's incentive program and culture were attractive enough, they weren't convinced that New Orleans could supply the number of qualified employees it needed to build a top-level software development studio.

"The main concern was that there's not a lot of gaming industry here," Hague said. "To make a good game, you need experienced veterans. Without that, it was a major concern whether we would be able to attract it."
But Gameloft's position changed after the state's office of economic development launched an online recruitment campaign on Gameloft's behalf, before the company even agreed to settle here. Using Facebook and other social media, the state advertised software development jobs with Gameloft in New Orleans. Users were invited to submit their resumes online. The idea was to demonstrate that the state could attract the level of talent Gameloft desired if the company agreed to expand here.
In eight weeks, the jobs page received about 1,350 resumes, said Jeff Lynn, executive director of Louisiana FastStart, the state workforce training program that oversaw the effort. Gameloft considered 700 of those as legitimately qualified applicants, Lynn said.

That result made Louisiana and New Orleans the "clear choice," Gameloft executive Samir El Agili said.
As a software developer, Gameloft qualifies for the Digital Media and Software Incentive program, which provides a tax credit of 25 percent of qualified digital interactive media expenditures made in Louisiana and 35 percent tax credit for payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents.

Gameloft also will receive a discretionary incentive package worth $3.7 million. The bulk of that money, $3.5 million will be paid out over 10 years and go toward offsetting the company's facility's cost, Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret said. The remaining $200,000, for moving expenses, is available immediately.

Gameloft employs 4,000 worldwide and sells about three games every second, El Agili said. The company's games include N.O.V.A 2, Star Battalion and Assassin's Creed. Gameloft has only one other domestic software development unit in New York City.

Gameloft will operate from a temporary site in downtown New Orleans for six months, before settling in a yet-to-be decided location in either the CBD or Warehouse District, Hague said.
Hague said he's eager to get to work developing in New Orleans because of the unique perspective the city will provide developers.

"What makes a game is the little details," Hague said, adding that it wouldn't be unlikely to find bits of New Orleans' architecture or events in the company's upcoming games. "Being in San Francisco, you don't see something like the Red Dress Run."
Economic development officials hope New Orleans won't just become a character in Gameloft's games, but a serious contender in the gaming industry. Michael Hecht, president of regional economic development agency Greater New Orleans Inc., said he believes the company will act as a sort of "fertilizer" for the regional digital media industry, readying the area for like companies.

"It sets the stage for the future," Hecht said. "This is an outstanding opportunity to nurture and grow a new industry."

Jaquetta White can be reached at jwhite@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3494.

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Unaired Plastic Man Pilot

i so wish this had been taken to series. Had me laughing out loud at work.


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Summer Reading 2011

Action! Romance! Social Justice!

Published: July 9, 201

SUMMER reading often consists of mindless page-turners, equally riveting and vacuous. So as a public service I’m delighted to offer a list of mindful page-turners — so full of chase scenes, romance and cliffhangers that you don’t mind the redeeming social value.

These are 10 triumphs of fiction, both fun to read and significant for literary or historical reasons. I guarantee pleasure and also bragging rights at your next cocktail party. And if your kids read these, I bet they’ll ace the SAT.

I did lard my list with great novels relating to social justice: at a time when inequality in America has soared to historic levels, it seems useful to exercise the conscience as well as the imagination. So here’s my quirky list: Best Beach Reading Ever.

“Germinal,” Émile Zola’s masterpiece, describes coal miners in France during a strike in the 1860s. Its description of the idealist Étienne and his love interest, Catherine, and of their struggles and dreams of a better life, makes this an enchanting read. You’re transported back into one of the battlegrounds of the Industrial Revolution, and come to understand the labor movement’s origins in a way that no history book could teach.

“Pale Fire” isn’t as well-known as the wickedly funny “Lolita,” also by Vladimir Nabokov, but it should be. “Pale Fire” is a dazzling feat of imagination and literature, unlike any other novel I know of. It’s an epic poem, an adventure about the mysterious land of Zembla, and most of all a puzzle: Is a key figure insane?

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was born 200 years ago this year, is the novel that made slavery impossible for America to tolerate any longer. It’s a profoundly moving read, a tear-jerker, and a shattering window into one of this country’s original sins. Some schools today ban it because of its use of the N-word, but it remains a powerful and illuminating exploration of the human dimensions of slavery in America.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is John Steinbeck’s legendary account of an Oklahoma family’s struggles during the Great Depression. Tom Joad and his family abandon all that they have and make their way to California in hopes of a better life — but find the playing field always tilted against them. With the nation still recovering from the Great Recession, this is the perfect time to read about Tom’s travails.

“Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Brontë, may be literature’s greatest love story. Catherine must choose between her soul mate, Heathcliff, who lacks status and education, and the far more respectable Edgar. The characters are achingly luminous: they are shaped by 19th-century presumptions about class and male dominance, but are subject to irrepressible human emotions.

“Our Man in Havana,” by Graham Greene, is a comedy and spy thriller that might seem a bit low-brow for this list. But two of the lessons we never quite learn in foreign policy are that nothing goes as planned, and that intelligence scoops are always suspect. Greene’s story of a hapless spy in Cuba makes those points in an unforgettable way. The spy has nothing real to report, so he begins to make things up, and then the drama becomes deadly.

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” by Erich Maria Remarque, may be the most renowned war novel ever. It tells the story of a young man and his school friends who join the German Army in World War I, and their discovery that war isn’t glorious, it’s a tedious nightmare.

“Les Misérables,” by Victor Hugo, tells of Jean Valjean, who has just been released from prison for attempting to steal a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s family. He is relentlessly pursued by Inspector Javert in a nail-biting yarn, with better chase scenes than anything in a James Bond movie. This is also a beautifully crafted exploration of social class, justice, redemption and mercy.

“The Mysterious Stranger” isn’t Mark Twain’s most famous work, and it doesn’t make you laugh out loud like “The Prince and the Pauper” or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” But it is a short story that wrestles with questions of God and evil. It tells of a callous angel who drops in on a village and wreaks havoc. The angel makes tiny clay people come alive and then, for amusement, destroys them with a storm, a fire and an earthquake. Like all Twain, it’s immensely readable — and more than most short stories, it makes you think.

“Scoop,” by Evelyn Waugh, is a hilarious dissection of the tabloid news business, centered on a nature writer who is mistakenly dispatched to cover a war in Africa. I wish I could say that “Scoop” is simply an absurd comic satire. But anyone who has covered Iraq or Afghanistan knows that it is still resonant — and relevant. And if you read it, you’ll get a sense of the uncertain and often unreliable path by which news coverage reaches you.



My Credits - August 2011

Production Secretary – “Ricochet” 2011
UPM: Chris Morgan

Production Secretary – “Memphis Beat” 2011
Season 2
Warner-Horizon/TNT TV Series
UPM: Chris Morgan

Office PA – “Worst. Prom. Ever.” 2010
UPM: Cyndi Brenner

Production Secretary – “Memphis Beat” 2010
Season 1
Warner-Horizon/TNT TV Series
UPM: Chris Morgan

Key Office PA – “If God Is Willing & Da Creek Don’t Rise” 2010
HBO Documentary
Line Producer: Butch Robinson

Production Secretary – “The Mechanic” 2009
Millennium Films - Feature Film
UPM: Matt Leonetti

Production Secretary – “The Expendables” 2009
Millennium Films - Feature Film
UPM: Josh Throne

Production Assistant – “Alabama Moon” 2008
Faulkner Productions - Independent Feature Film
Line Producer: Rob Ortiz

Production Secretary – “Final Destination 4:3D” 2008
New Line Cinema - Studio Feature Film
UPM: Todd Lewis

APOC – “Welcome to Academia” 2007
MAP Productions - Independent Feature Film
UPM: David Stuart

Office Production Assistant - “Racing for Time” 2007
Lifetime MOW
UPM: Chris Morgan

Accounting Assistant - “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” 2006-2007
Paramount Pictures/Warner Brothers - Studio Feature Film
UPM: Danny Stillman

Office Production Assistant - “Life is Not a Fairy Tale” 2006
Lifetime MOW
UPM: Chris Morgan

Office Production Assistant - “The Riches” 2006
Fox Television Pilot
UPM: Paul Kurta

Production Coordinator - “Labou” 2005-2006
Independent Feature Film
UPM: Mike Greene

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Commercial Submarines

Research. Commercial/personal submarines being used to go very deep and do some actual work:

New York Times story:

Published: August 1, 2011

A new generation of daredevils is seeking to plunge through nearly seven miles of seawater to the bottom of a rocky chasm in the western Pacific that is veiled in perpetual darkness. It is the ocean’s deepest spot. The forbidding place, known as the Challenger Deep, is so far removed from the warming rays of the sun that its temperature hovers near freezing.

When I was a kid, I loved not only amazing ocean exploration but space, too,” James Cameron, the director of “Avatar,” “Titanic” and “The Abyss,” said in an interview. “I can think of no greater fantasy than to be an explorer and see what no human eye has seen before.”

The would-be explorers can afford to live their dreams because of their extraordinarily deep pockets. Significantly, their ambitions far exceed those of the world’s seafaring nations, which have no plans to send people so deep.

The billionaires and millionaires include Mr. Cameron, the airline mogul Richard Branson and the Internet guru Eric E. Schmidt. Each is building, planning to build or financing the construction of minisubmarines meant to transport them, their friends and scientists into the depths. Entrepreneurs talk of taking tourists down as well.

The vehicles, meant to hold one to three people, are estimated to cost anywhere from $7 million to $40 million.

The first dive is scheduled for later this year. Since secrecy and technical uncertainty surround many of the ventures, oceanographers say the current schedules may well change.

The rush is happening now in part because of advances in materials, batteries and electronics, which are lowering the cost and raising the capabilities of submersibles. Still, the challenges are formidable.

Hardest to build are the crew compartments, whose walls must be very thick, strong and precisely manufactured to withstand tons of crushing pressure. Designers are using not only traditional steel but such unexpected materials as spheres of pressure-resistant glass.

Humans have laid eyes on the Challenger Deep just once, half a century ago, in a United States Navy vessel. A window cracked on the way down. The landing on the bottom stirred up so much ooze that the two divers could see little and took no pictures. They stayed just 20 minutes.

Forays to lesser depths have multiplied over the years. Since the discovery of the Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic in 1985, hundreds of explorers, tourists and moviemakers (including Mr. Cameron) have visited the world’s most famous shipwreck. It lies more than two miles down.

The Challenger Deep and similar recesses are part of a vast system of seabed trenches that crisscross the globe. The deepest are found in the western Pacific.

Over the decades, biologists have glimpsed their inhabitants by lowering dredges on long lines. Up have come thousands of bizarre-looking worms, crustaceans and sea cucumbers. More recently, undersea robots have filmed swarms of eels and ghostly fish, their tails long and sinuous.

In early April, Mr. Branson held a news conference in Newport Beach, Calif., to unveil his submersible. “The last great challenge for humans,” declared Mr. Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic, “is to explore the depths of our planet’s oceans.”

His solo craft, nearly 18 feet long, looked like a white-and-blue airplane with stubby wings and a cockpit. The curve of the wings is meant to drive the vehicle downward as it speeds through the water, rather than upward, as with an airplane.

Graham Hawkes, the craft’s designer and a veteran maker of undersea vehicles, said in an interview that more conservative designs were possible but that his goal was “to advance the state of the art.”

The winged craft and its mother ship cost an estimated $17 million. The submersible is scheduled to plunge deep later this year, its pilot a colleague of Mr. Branson. (The venture is profiled at virginoceanic.com.)

A few weeks later, in late April, another team went public. It unveiled plans, rather than a nearly complete vehicle. The company, Triton Submarines, based in Vero Beach, Fla., makes tiny submersibles with acrylic personnel spheres that carry two people down a half mile or more. The clear spheres provide much better viewing than the tiny portholes of traditional submersibles.

The company announced that it was ready to build a submersible to carry three people into the Challenger Deep. The vehicle’s personnel sphere — seven and a half feet in diameter — would be made entirely of glass and open like a clamshell to admit passengers.

Glass might seem fragile. But as pressures rise, said L. Bruce Jones, the company’s chief executive, “it gets stronger.”

He said two people — a billionaire and a near billionaire — were talking separately about buying one or two of the craft, each costing $15 million.

A company brochure says investors can expect to charge $250,000 a seat for tours of the Challenger Deep.

Mr. Jones said the craft would drop fast, covering the seven miles in about two hours. That would leave hours of bottom time for exploration before the return trip to the surface.

“It’s not a publicity stunt,” he said of the planning effort. “We’re commercial vehicle builders. We want a product that can be used repeatedly without any difficulty — one that is very elegant, very safe and very competitive.”

The Triton venture is described at tritonsubs.com/images/36000-3.pdf.

Mike McDowell, a leading organizer of adventure tours, including dives to the Titanic, said he was talking to Triton and added that he expected the market for dives into the Challenger Deep to be relatively limited.

“It’s more an iconic experience than ‘Gee, everything was so beautiful,’ ” he said in an interview. “And you eliminate a lot of people on the fear factor.”

Mr. Cameron, the maker of Hollywood blockbusters, has kept a low profile and based his effort in Australia. Some five years ago, he formed a team that has been quietly building a submersible along traditional lines, only smaller. In an interview, he said its steel personnel sphere was just four feet wide and would accommodate just one person.

The sphere underwent a successful pressure test in September 2009, Mr. Cameron said. He said his team had overcome major problems with foam meant to buoy the heavy sphere: Early foam crumbled under pressure tests, threatening to rob the submersible of buoyancy and maroon it on the bottom.

“It’s not like you can call up AAA to come get you,” he said.

The team is building cameras for three-dimensional filming, Mr. Cameron said. Despite reports that the vehicle might be involved in an oceanic sequel to “Avatar,” he insisted that the deep craft had “nothing to do with my feature life” — though a documentary or two might be forthcoming.

“The only thing it has to do with ‘Avatar,’ ” he said of the vehicle, “is that it’s slowing me down.” He said that the craft cost $7 million to $8 million, and that chartering a mother ship for the expedition would run from $30,000 to $40,000 a day.

Mr. Cameron said test dives were scheduled for early next year. In the summer of 2012, he added, he and his team will dive in the western Pacific 12 to 15 times. The goal is to plumb not only the Challenger Deep but the Tonga and Kermadec Trenches, which lie north of New Zealand.

The filmmaker added that he was talking to oceanic institutes about developing long-term relationships for use of the submersible.

“We’ve gotten a pretty resounding response from the science community,” he said, “because they have such limited funding and access to these deep environments.”

Perhaps the least visible of the entrepreneurs is Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google — and the founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Schmidt Research Vessel Foundation. The institute’s two oceangoing ships are quite large, 253 and 272 feet long.

Mr. Schmidt has also financed the development of an advanced submersible designed by Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, a company on Alameda Island in San Francisco Bay. Its founder, Sylvia A. Earle, is an oceanographer and a former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We were proud to help her launch the project,” he said. “New technologies are needed to explore, map, measure and report on the oceans and marine life.” The advances, he added, “will help everyone and everything on earth.”

The craft, Deepsearch, is large and sleek by submersible standards. It looks like a fish or a torpedo. Holding up to three people, it would plunge seven miles in little more than an hour. Its personnel sphere, like that of the Triton model, is to be made of glass for better viewing.

“The goal,” says a company Web site, “is not a stunt dive” to the Challenger Deep but “a world asset capable of providing scientists with unlimited access to the deep ocean.”

A submersible that incorporated “every cutting-edge concept” might cost $40 million, the company says. It plans to build a pair. The venture is described at www.deepsearch.org.

All the craft are to have large arrays of bright lights so they can illuminate the deep black sea.

If anyone thinks of the new explorers as grown-up children playing with expensive toys, ocean veterans reply that there is ample scientific justification for creating new technologies that can regularly plumb the full depth of the ocean, which covers more than 70 percent of the planet yet remains poorly explored.

“The result will be good,” said Don Walsh, a retired Navy officer who survived the descent to the Challenger Deep in 1960 and is advising some of the new ventures. “It will bring people around to remembering how little we know about the oceans.”

Virgin Oceanic

Triton Submarines

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