Designer Space: Modern Holiday Chic

The goal for this holiday décor scheme was to incorporate a holiday tree without compromising space – namely, seating space and traffic flow, and to include some kitchen décor.

We focused on using space around the windows. The design of the rooms is traditional with modern lines, and the palette pairs sophisticated black and white tones with gold metals, so we chose a heavily flocked pencil tree to blend well with the white interior.

We also used some blackened manzanita and artificial branches with snow in traditional planters/vases to add a natural but dramatic display.

We chose Chanel for our inspiration with black, white and gold ornaments, black shopping bags and wrapped boxes, and white faux fur under the tree. We used the homeowner’s Chanel black boxes and white satin ribbon, along with any other black boxes we could find.

We loved repeating the black and white theme with fur, feathers, flocking black boxes, ribbon and ornaments in black and white. Adding snow with natural elements of greenery and branches brings the outside in and really made everything look fresh!

Homeowners tend to be too heavy-handed with holiday décor, and pieces are often disconnected. When things flow, the look is much more spectacular! Incorporating natural elements is always a good idea. Fresh greenery, pinecones, real branches and snow that looks real always works.

Design By Jillian Straky,

The post Designer Space: Modern Holiday Chic appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


Designer Space: Vintage Modern Renovation

An outdated home gets a modern update with a nod to its original character.


FRANCESCA COSTA We wanted to keep the character of the home and play off of the solid wood oak doors throughout. We went with a vintage feel with black fixtures and white cabinets. Then, we added a punch of modern with the navy blue island and gold hardware.


FC The biggest challenge with this home was the layout. Sidesplits have interesting layouts. Most people either love them or hate them because there are so many closed off rooms. We decided on an open concept layout to maximize the space and make it feel more open. Doing this means removing some walls, putting up others and the challenge of figuring out which ones to do.


FC Modern, classy, elegant and bold.


FC The most common mistake is that they don’t touch everything. If you are going to remodel, you have to make sure the look is cohesive. If you create a modern space but don’t remove the outdated popcorn ceiling because it’s time consuming, you end up with an unfinished look. The same goes for staircases and handrails which are another common thing that homeowners will leave because it’s too much work but the result is an outdated or unfinished feel!


FC When choosing pieces for a renovation, we prefer to splurge on items that will make the house unique and fabulous, like the wine/coffee station in this house. To save, we focus on shopping around and we scope out deals like clearance sales, tax free events, etc. – Francesca Costa

The post Designer Space: Vintage Modern Renovation appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


Ancient toothless whale was forerunner of modern cetacean giants

A prehistoric 15-foot-long (4.5 meters) whale that sucked prey into its mouth represents a key missing puzzle piece concerning the evolution of today’s huge filter-feeding whales, scientists said on Thursday.

Reuters: Science News

BEST DEAL UPDATE: – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

‘Ocarina of Time’s Inescapable Influence on Modern Gaming

The greatest game ever made. In such a subjective medium, it seems impossible this title could be so resoundingly awarded to one game. But when players, designers, and critics herald The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the best ever, it’s not just about the artistic achievement, but its impact on games to come.

As we ride our horses through the day/night cycle of Red Dead Redemption 2, or rely on one button to navigate us through parkour in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, or lock and strafe around hollows in Dark Souls 3, we can draw a straight line to Ocarina of Time as a pioneer.

In the same way that many fantasy elements can be traced back to the genre-defining works of Tolkien, many modern mechanics and puzzle tropes can be traced back to this seminal work, which somehow simultaneously filled the role of “experiment” and “fully realised idea.”

Imagine a world in which game developers fumbled their way through the move from 2D to 3D with as many missteps as innovations. Such a progression would be normal. Expected. Instead, we had a plumber and an elf that got almost everything right on the first try.

And it really was the first try. According to Eiji Aonuma, a producer designing the dungeons in Ocarina of Time, it was one of Nintendo’s “first 3D tryouts.” “Every single aspect of the game was a new experiment to us,” Aonuma-san once told the Telegraph. “Each and every day we focused on creating something new.”

There was no manual, no accepted wisdom, no other works to provide inspiration. Where other games stand on the shoulders of giants, Ocarina of Time became the giant.

Target and Strafe

One of the most universally recognised gifts from Ocarina of Time to the world of gaming was its Z-Targetting innovation. Pressing the Z trigger would lock onto an enemy or NPC. Side movement transformed into strafing around the focus point, and jumps became evasive sidesteps and backflips.

Pressing Z with no target would anchor the camera behind Link and lock him into facing in that direction. This went a long way towards providing reliable control over the camera in 3D space, solving the foibles experienced by Super Mario 64 players. A nice, theme-appropriate touch for Ocarina was making Navi fly to the object you’re targetting.

It’s been used in just about every 3D combat game since, and we could spend pages listing the games like For Honor, Dark Souls, or The Witcher 3 that are wholly dependent on it.

But the genius behind Z-targetting goes beyond just the mechanic — it informs the game design around it. Ocarina will use your combat focus to script the fight, like a kung fu movie where enemies jump in at just the right times.

Designer Yoshiaki Koizumi has often told the story of being inspired watching a theatrical swordfight at Toei Kyoto Studio Park.

“I thought there must be some kind of trick, so I watched very closely, and it was simple,” he said. “It’s a sword battle, so there’s a script and a certain setup. The enemies don’t all attack at once. First, one attacks while the others wait. When the first guy goes down, the next one steps in, and so on.”

Enemies to the sides won’t completely disappear in Ocarina, but they’re told to act passively. Ideally, they’d be just present enough for the player to feel the tension of being flanked without the unfairness of repeatedly getting hit in the back.

Z-targetting has become a staple of modern 3D combat movement, an invention so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine a world without lock & strafe. But the connected AI has also carried over into every modern game in which scores of thugs surround the hero.

These days, clever interface upgrades have allowed us to react to off-screen threats. This is relied on heavily by the recent God of War, with its permanent Kratos close-up. But Ocarina’s unfair fight philosophy was the foundation of the school of “choreography combat,” expertly employed by franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Arkham, and Middle Earth.

These examples would further innovate by locking the player and opponent into a synchronised attack/defend animation. But the fundamental idea is the same: a style of combat in which the enemy’s decisions and movements are influenced by player intent.

Context-Sensitive Inputs

When you need more buttons than you currently have, the typical solution is to have a “function” key. While that’s been done in games, Ocarina had a more elegant solution — a button that changed its function according to your surroundings.

The A button, or “action” button, was a one-stop shop for in-game commands. It was an “everything” button. It would climb Epona if she were near, it would throw a bomb if you carried one, and it would rip up grass to find the rupees inside (because that’s how grass works). The context-sensitive commands even extended to actions that required no buttons at all.

Whereas most games without a jump button are ridiculed for the hero not being able to vault a knee-high fence, Ocarina made it work by understanding player intent. In fact, the game originally had a jump button — legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto removed it to make Ocarina less of an “action” game and keep the focus on puzzles.

It was a simple solution — running off a ledge would automatically jump. But it also solved the age-old problem of players mistiming jumps. Whether 2D or 3D, most platform games offer a handful of “grace” pixels for players who jump off a platform just a few frames too late. Falling off a platform the very pixel you walk off seems unforgiving and unfair, especially if the running animation makes it seem like you had one more step — but in Ocarina, that ledge run would always be interpreted as a pixel-perfect leap.

The ways in which context-sensitive controls have reverberated throughout modern gaming are, as with Z-Targetting, too numerous to count. The entire parkour system of Assassin’s Creed for example – a major pillar of the franchise – depends on interpreting player intent as you approach an obstacle. Scampering though sections of cover in Gears of War, flipping a switch in Dark Souls, or using the jump button twice to vault over that ledge in Battlefield V… Heck, it’s a full half of the controls in Divekick.

It’s there while finding a slope to initiate your slide attack in Monster Hunter World. It’s in the combat systems of God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man, found in their stances, distance management, precise timings, and variable enemy states. And it’s omnipresent the interactions of Red Dead Redemption 2. For those keeping score, those are all the major Game of the Year contenders for 2018. A little bit here, a little bit there, it’s easy to see how modern game design borrows little pieces of Ocarina magic.

Opening Up Our Game Worlds

From the early game, you can see the peak of Death Mountain in the distance. After leaving Kokiri Forest, it’s possible to run across Hyrule Field, into the realm of the Gorons, all the way to that very volcanic peak.

Such a feat wasn’t possible before Ocarina of Time, but it’s become a staple of open world games since. While Death Mountain wasn’t your final objective, the “tower in the distance” is a now-conventional way to convey a player’s goal used in everything from Journey (the shining mountain peak), to Half-Life (City 17’s Citadel), and many more. An otherwise empty horizon with a tall point of interest lets the player know where to go, and Death Mountain was the next stop for Link.

In this new world of 3D gaming, players weren’t used to horizons. It would have been “good enough” to simply fill the horizon with visual fluff. But never one to be satisfied with incremental improvements, Ocarina of Time went a step further and filled it with possibilities. More than a skybox, more than window dressing, it was a mountain you could actually climb. A castle you could actually conquer. It was as if Ocarina of Time had made two innovative leaps at once.

The feeling of emerging into Hyrule Field for the first time was something gamers hadn’t experienced before. It was technically a hub, but felt like what we’d come to call an open world. With a five-minute run across Hyrule Field, it was small by today’s standards, but shockingly spacious for someone stepping out of the tall trees of Kokiri Forest and into a new era of gaming.

It also had a day/night cycle that affected world events, as well as the ability to control the sun and weather through song. Friends and enemies would move, sleep, or even perish according to the time of day. Riding across this space on horseback and engaging in mounted battles was another novelty. The “carrot” system of accelerating your horse is still used in the recent cavalry combat games such as Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Seven Years Without a Hero

The idea of two parallel worlds wasn’t entirely new — A Link to the Past had its Dark World, and made clever use of shifting between the two to find otherwise blocked off temple entrances. Historical manipulation existed too, as seen in the story-focused time travel of Chrono Trigger.

Ocarina, once again, took everything one quantum leap further.

Not only was this a more fleshed out version of the idea, with every NPC and location having gone through seven years of trauma under Ganondorf’s rule, but your actions as Child Link would reverberate into the world of Adult Link. Time travel wasn’t just a story tool anymore. It was gameplay.

Take the Spirit Temple, which required you to come back as Child Link to trigger events and gain the equipment to enter the temple as Adult Link. It was a temple in two halves, with seven years between them. Other examples in the wider world incorporated time travel directly in individual puzzles. Don’t you just love it when you pop a puzzle item into place, and it hasn’t moved seven years later? Some Hyrulians need a maid.

From a technical standpoint, combining the day/night cycle with time travel meant this was not just one open world, but many. Whether outside or inside, each area has four different versions to accommodate both Child and Adult Link, at either day or night. But from the player’s perspective, this made genius use of a single playspace in which puzzle solutions stretched across the chasm between spacetimes.

While it’s less common to see this copied in the triple-A space, many games have explored multiple worlds that affect each other, usually with their own unique take. From The Nether‘s effect on movement in Minecraft, to the dimension-defying brain ticklers like Fez, Crush, or Super Paper Mario, to bridging the virtual and physical worlds with games like Dystopia, and countless other indie games.

A New Dimension for Puzzle Design

While Ocarina was a pioneer in the fourth dimension, it was even moreso in the third — and the benefit of being first and being right in 3D puzzle creation is that so many afterwards will be seen to be copying you.

The classic reflection puzzles of the Spirit Temple saw you using the Mirror Shield to grace sun symbols with light, as well as pushing statues around to reflect beams onto the right surface. Every time we reflect light or push statues around for a similar puzzle – from the simplistic statue puzzles of God of War to the reflecting laser mazes of Portal 2 and The Talos Principle – we borrow from Ocarina.

Countless games since have copied the idea of the Lens of Truth, which reveals hidden objects and illusions when the player remembers to activate it in the right areas. Though before the 3D era, the idea of such an item or spell extends back before pen & paper RPGs and into mythological storytelling. Often used in a puzzle or looting capacity these days – such as God of War 3‘s Head of Helios – this idea also sees lots of use in horror games — usually in items with finite power that reveal the supernatural or cast light on the shadows.

The move to 3D brought verticality, Ocarina understood the gravity of it. Smashing through the Deku Tree‘s cobwebs with nothing but your downward momentum (and later fire) was one of many moments in which we all had to rewire our brains for this new age of puzzles. Later on, players would learn the reverse of this — the old Ocarina adage, “when you’re stuck, look up.”

Looking “up” took on an entirely new meaning in the Forest Temple though, as twisted corridors could be manipulated to turn the temple on its side — a level-bending idea copied by puzzle games as well as action games like Nioh. But Nintendo itself is the biggest copycat of this idea, with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and various Mario games incorporating world-flipping in their puzzles.

Symbology and Song

Although Shigeru Miyamoto wasn’t invested in the storytelling aspect of the game, those under him believed The Legend of Zelda should have more of a legend.

The creation story featuring three goddesses was conceived, races were fleshed out, and characters were given backstories and motivations. Setting out, we were told more than just how dangerous it is to go alone.

Ocarina also advanced the series’ love affair with symbology, which in turn has furthered an industry-wide “language of gaming.”

The Zelda franchise is far from the sole innovator here — we’ve been building a colour-coded, symbol-based language of gaming since the earliest days of ASCII dungeons and red keys required for red doors. But Zelda games have contributed much here, and Ocarina was the biggest leap forward in the franchise.

It doesn’t matter what language you speak, you can still understand that the red fire arrow will melt the blue ice, the pieces of heart will build your health, and items with the Triforce symbol are likely connected to the royal family. You know that gossip stones and the Lens of Truth are somehow connected via the symbol of the Sheikah. You know the colour green corresponds with Courage, the Kokiri, the forest, and your earliest friend Saria. All of this informs your exploration of the world, your understanding of the lore, and how you solve puzzles.

The lesson was well learned by other companies. Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan, gearing up to release Overwatch, once told us “A little bit of lore goes a long way.” It offers superfans an avenue to become even more invested in a franchise, even it it’s an action or PvP game that might seem unrelated to story. For League of Legends, this low-effort, high-reward philosophy perfectly complimented its massive roster of PvP champions.

This “little bit of lore” went a long way towards representation in games, too. While Princess Peach was still very much in distress, Ocarina was one of the first games to flip the damsel trope by transforming Zelda into the ultra-capable Sheik. It can even be competently argued that Sheik was the real catalyst of change in Ocarina of Time.

Ocarina‘s themes were as much about the sounds as the sights. It was already common for movies and games to assign a musical theme to a character or area. But none committed to using music to connect world elements like Ocarina, or made the player an active participant in these memorable identifiers. It may seem kafkaesque to glorify Ocarina for using musical themes, but its execution was original. In a way, we all remember Zelda’s Lullaby because we had to. It was part of the game.

Perhaps the most iconic and memorable tune, Saria’s Song, instantly brings back misty-eyed memories for any Zelda fan. It conjures thoughts of Saria and the forest, but it also had a purpose — playing the song on your fully functional ocarina opened a channel to your childhood friend for advice.

The music was technically innovative as well. With the bleeps and bloops of 8bit consoles now a distant memory, composer Koji Kondo pushed the new hardware to its limits. He gave each area its own sonic identity, from the Gregorian chants of the Temple of Time to the delicately plucked harp strings of the Great Fairy Fountains.

Whether warping to temples, changing the weather, or unlocking the royal family’s secrets, players quickly realised this so-called “background music” wasn’t limited to the background at all. It was an active part of the gameplay, and became highly memorable and nostalgic as a result.

Using background music in this way can be wonderfully subtle, fostering the “Aha!” moments that puzzle games seek to create. If you’re looking for a modern fix in the same vein, most recently The Witness played with these aural ideas as one of its many sub-themes in its puzzle design.

Remember Where it Came From

In the great foundation that makes up modern game design, a striking number of bricks wear the symbol of the Triforce. Much is made of its untouchable 99 rating on Metacritic, but more than its quality, it’s Ocarina‘s influence on so many subsequent games and designers that makes it the greatest game ever made.

As we celebrate the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, as phenomenal as it is, you can draw a straight line from so many of its achievements to Ocarina. Take the word of Dan Houser, founder of Rockstar, who said “Anyone who makes 3D games who says they’ve not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying — from the games on Nintendo 64, not necessarily the ones from today.”

It’ll be hard for any game to have the same kind of impact without being paired with a massive technological breakthrough. Even then, it usually takes years for games to figure out how to best take advantage of a platform. Such a challenger would have to get just about everything right on the first attempt. It’s hard to see a serious contender on the horizon when Ocarina gave us that horizon.

Perhaps the first killer app for VR/AR has the potential. But until someone combines an achievement of engineering and design, adding a new dimension to play, Ocarina – fittingly – splits our timeline into two sections. Everything before it seems like antiquity, and everything after it is indebted.

The post ‘Ocarina of Time’s Inescapable Influence on Modern Gaming appeared first on FANDOM.



This modern keyboard is a blast from the past – Mashable Deals


Check out this retro keyboard that can keep up with all your modern needs. It has a metal build and is fully bluetooth compatible. It can pair up to three devices so you can always feel sleek and retro while getting all your work done on time. 

Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. Read more…

More about Tech, Technology, Mashable Video, Nostalgia, and Bluetooth



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Paul McCartney praises ‘modern’ White Album

OHMYGOSSIP — Sir Paul McCartney thinks the ‘White Album’ sounds like a record by a “modern band”.
The legendary musician listened back to The Beatles’ iconic album while preparing for the new reissue, and he told the son of the famed ‘fifth Beatle’ Sir George Martin how contemporary it still feels.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper at the Abbey Road studio, Giles Martin revealed: “The last person to sit right there with me was Paul McCartney.
“We listened to The White Album mix and Paul said, ‘I never realised how modern this record sounds. This could be a band today.’ ”
The new project has seen the record’s 30 tracks becoming a staggering 107 for the latest collection, and it sounded like Paul, 76, took the chance to reflect while he was going through the original LP.
Giles added: “When I went through The White Album with Paul recently, he really wanted to hear the song Julia again.
“I always thought it was just a John song but now I think Paul was kind of producing it.
“And while Paul was writing ‘Hey Jude’ (recorded at the sessions), there was talk of dropping the line that eventually became ‘don’t carry the world upon your shoulders’ but John said to Paul, ‘That’s your best lyric,’ and of course it stayed.”
Although even the late John Lennon himself – who completed the Fab Four with Ringo Starr and George Harrison – once suggested the ‘White Album’ sounded like a band breaking up, Giles has suggested that the recordings from the sessions paint a different picture.
He said: “I looked for fractiousness and I couldn’t find it. That bond between John and Paul still existed. It doesn’t sound like an unhappy time.”

Find us also on Twitter @OHMYGOSSIP and @OHMYGOSSIP_USA


Modern moms have had enough of Disney’s damsels-in-distress

In the new Disney film “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” opening next month, spunky heroine Vanellope finds herself in a room full of the mouse empire’s iconic princesses, from Snow White to Cinderella to Elsa. The princesses are unconvinced that Vanellope is one of them, until Rapunzel asks: “Do people assume all your problems got solved…
Living | New York Post


The epic rise and modern sparkle of London Jewelers’ watch salon

Since 1926 — when Polish émigré Charles London founded his eponymous shop on School Street in Glen Cove, LI — watch mecca London Jewelers has serviced and offered the finest timepieces from the world’s top craftsmen. And while wristwatch trends have come and gone in the intervening decades, life has a way of coming full…
Fashion News, Photos, and Video | New York Post


BE Modern Man: ‘We Dat’s’ Chicken and Shrimp Food Entrepreneur

BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.


Name: Gregoire Tillery 

Age: 31 years old

Profession: CEO of WeDat’s Chicken and Shrimp 

One Word That Describes You: Passionate 

Social Media handles: Instagram: @Wedatfoodtruck_ Facebook: @Wedatfoodtruckllc

What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?

Being recognized as one of the 100 BEMM Man of Distinction feels amazing to me. Being a part of this platform is huge and I feel humbled to be chosen. I appreciate the acknowledgment.  For me to stand with other men that are dedicated to be the difference in their community and industries is an absolute honor.

What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?

My early life was filled with struggle. I was raised in the 7th Ward of New Orleans and it often times feels as if I’ve been continually backed into a corner for most of my life. Being in poverty and having grown up with a single mother, who worked two jobs to support our family, helped me understand that I had to work hard to support my family. I took the approach that wasn’t traditional for how I grew up. I decided to attend Tuskegee University, and went on to work in corporate America.  I was inspired to start a food truck after watching “Food Truck Wars” on Food Network and received confirmation from God to take the leap of faith. I took all the money I had and invested it in that food truck and had countless setbacks. I often worked on the food truck with no AC and it often broke down. Sometimes I didn’t have anyone in line at my food truck, but alongside me the longest lines would form for other food trucks. I often felt crazy for starting the food truck, but something in me told me to keep going and stay the course. I eventually started to gain a following in the city and via social media through people in my city like Supa Cent shouting me out and my food truck being featured in Tokyo Vanity’s “Best Friend” video. It was a pivotal moment in my entrepreneurial journey, and as more people started to support I became known best for my wings, but most importantly for providing top notch customer service to every single customer. I’m grateful for the struggle and the journey to now having three physical locations for my restaurant, We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp in New Orleans.  

food entrepreneur

Greg Tillery, Owner of We Dat’s

What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?

The closest people to me must display integrity, loyalty, honesty, and last but certainly not least be God fearing. 

What are some immediate projects you are working on?

At the moment, some of my immediate projects include opening my third restaurant location, WeDat’s, that’s going to be located at 4905 Westbank Expressway Marrero, LA 70072.  We recently launched our seasoning line that’s available at select stores and online through our website.  So make sure you guys get that!  We are also relaunching our YouTube show, “Cooking with We Dat’s,” and a host of other things.

What is the best advice you ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is pray through all situations. No matter what trials and tribulations, prayer will get you through. 

What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?

Don’t just talk about it, be about it! “Just do it” and lead by example. Stand for something and be a man of your word.

food entrepreneur


What is your “Extraordinary Impact”? (Describe how you are making a major difference for others, in a way that distinguishes you as extraordinary in your profession and/or day-to-day life).

I love my city and wake up daily with one goal and that’s “How to make my city better and be an advocate for my great people.” Some of the most important things to me are providing jobs, feeding the homeless, community outreach, and just being an example by working hard and showing others you can also do this with hard work. 


The post BE Modern Man: ‘We Dat’s’ Chicken and Shrimp Food Entrepreneur appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise