Building Designs

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Pictured from bottom-left, zagging up to top-right, are the 4 prototypes I printed of the building. This is design, ladies and gentleman — the slow and inexorable force of fucking up constantly until you get something that doesn’t suck as much as it used to.

Remember from last time a few constraints — 5x5x2, one piece of letter sized paper, opens at top, holds models, stackable.

Design #1 was an inch to short, and the roof pieces were an inch to short on both sides. This was just a CAD measurement error on my part – whoops! On the plus side, building this was instructional since I got to hold and handle the model and see what it’s physical properties were — would it hold models? If not, how would I make it do so?

#2 fixed the basic mistakes from #1, and added a tab onto the end of the roof pieces. You can’t see the tab, but it’s very functional. Because of geometry, the tab prevents the roof from collapsing when you put weight on it. This design still sags in when you put something heavy on it.

#3 added “gutters” inside, and additional tabs to each roof piece so it has 3 floating tabs and 1 glued tab. The gutters were there to prevent the roof from sagging, but ultimately had to be removed. They were a real pain in the ass to assemble each time, which makes it a non-starter.

At this point, I decided to drop the “one piece of paper” constraint. The roof has to be 2 pieces of paper because of this constraint, but if I can use two then I have a lot more options. #4 has the roof as a single piece, which greatly increases it’s strength and ability to not sag or slide when you put models on it. It doubles the cost of printing (printing costs by the sheet, not by the printed ink), but is easy to assemble, strong and looks good when assembled (unlike #3 which is a disaster when assembled). I still want to pull out that metal Gladiator Titan and see what happens, but I think #4 may be my winner.

This process was something I learned after building the shipping containers. Designing your design process! You have to define the physical object first. With the shipping containers, I thought I’d settled the object, so I starting making textures. Then, when playing with the object I found that my object was to big to fit on a piece of letter sized paper! So I had to go back and re-do a lot of the textures, wasting a lot of time.

 

Paper – AFLogistics Building

AFLogistics is a mining corporation that owns the mining rights on many worlds. Their designs are utilitarian – they must be designed to stack, and fit into ships cargo holds as efficiently as possible. Cubes and rectangular pyramids are thus their bread and butter. Which is why I’m focusing on simple designs, even though this building is in my “inspiration” list. 🙂

Here’s a draft from last night:

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Design Constraints

  1. I put some models on my cutting mat and decided that a 5″x5″ building would be a good start. Much smaller and it isn’t that impressive. (must)
  2. I want it to be 2″ tall, just above the height of a Gates of Antares model in armour. (must)
  3. The roof must support models. It should even support heavy ones. I keep thinking about a Gladiator Titan.
  4. The design must be foldable.
  5. It must be able to be stacked so that people can make multiple levels.
  6. It should fit on Letter (8.5″ x 11″) sized paper so it’s more mass market.
  7. It should be a single piece of paper.
  8. It should open at the top.

A Brief Aside About Priorities

I’ve organized my constraints by “should” and “must” to help keep me focused. If whatever design I come up with doesn’t fit the “musts”, then it has to be discarded. If it doesn’t suit a “should”, then I have to think carefully about whether that design could be changed to suit, or whether I want to discard that constraint.

You have to be realistic about assigning priorities. Obviously, you could put “must” on everything, but then you haven’t actually prioritized anything, you’ve just made a list.

Back to Constraints

For the shipping container design, #4 was a little flexible so I made two different designs. I couldn’t find a design that was strong and foldable, so I made my customer decide which to use. This isn’t a great solution, but it did allow me to put a product out. Something I started worrying about was “endless design”, where you just keep revising until you lose all your energy.

Constraints #6 and #7 are opposing. I’ve made a few designs that would do one or the other. The one pictured above is the start of a design that might suit both, but I think probably won’t stand up to #3. So then do I drop one of 6 or 7 (can’t drop 3), or modify the design somehow to allow 3 to be met? We’ll see shortly, because I’m going to draw this in a CAD program, print it and build it to see what happens.

New Ventures – Printable, foldable terrain

My daughter was born! For this, I took 3.5 weeks off work to feed and otherwise support my wife while she fed and otherwise supported the baby. (also, feeding the baby :)) I had a thought a few weeks ago to look into designing printable, foldable paper terrain. My goal was to be able to populate a table of science fiction wargaming from a flat folder. I set about drawing and printing! I’ve attached a ton of photos at the bottom of this post. 🙂

Today I’m writing because my first, boring, but awesome, piece is available for purchase! I’ve called myself Geeksong Paper, and my store is available here: http://paper.geeksong.com. For the low-low price of $1USD ($1.30CAD), you can own (license? digital shit is weird) 2 PDFs I’ve designed for shipping containers. One of the PDFs is designed to be folded and unfolded super easily. The other is designed to be really strong and sturdy. You have them both. Maybe you want stronger terrain? Maybe, like me, you want to take up less space in your expensive city-bound apartment? The choice is yours!

Here’s that link again:

http://paper.geeksong.com

And the shipping container in action, with some sweet Concord models and an awesome F.A.T. mat! (both used with permission, the mat is exclusive property of TABLEWAR)aflogistics-shipping-container

I’ve got a ton of other ideas in my mind I want to draw and build. I’ll be going back to work next week, which sucks. But in about 4-5 months I’m getting laid off, which also sucks, but also means I’ll have more time to draw!

And last, here’s a bunch of photos and talking about the process of building:

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I started with simple pop-up building techniques, like childrens pop-up books type things. I had a base and a folding cube. The base allowed me to build with something heavy on the bottom of the model, so that it would pull it apart when opened. The downside is that every model had to have a base, which meant I couldn’t stack. Above is a photo of one design that tried to have the base smaller than was necessary to protect the model while transporting it. I removed the base pretty shortly after this.

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Next was a few weeks of math and frustration. I was trying to build a internal cross-brace that would pull the short side edges inward more so they would be flat when opened.

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My desk at one point. It got much much worse before it got better. So much paper! We just yesterday came back from Ikea with a float shelf that is now mounted above my desk. With an impending walking-child (right now she’s just a lying-down-child) I needed to get fun and playful things off my desk.

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The last cross-brace design. There are 4 different braces inside here, and every single one of them is useless. Because, what I realized much to late, they are necessarily designed to be exactly the same length at all times. Which means there is no pull mechanism, the sides just move in the same way as they would without it. This mechanism could be used to support (hence “brace”…), but it can’t be used to pull. I moved on.

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I tried a design that had the roof as a separate piece. I liked this one because it was very flat and smooth. The short sides were smooth, the roof was smooth and the building folded along its natural folds. The downside of this one was that you wouldn’t be able to put heavier models on top, because the roof was just pressure-fit inside. I briefly toyed with creating a groove system for the roof to fit into, but this is about when I decided I’d rather get something finished, than play with designs forever.

Which is when I set up the store and put my designs into a selling-ready mode! Which took a long while as well. Not only did I need to print each design many times at home to make sure it was perfect, I also had to get it printed at a Staples to work out any bugs in that process as well. I wrote and photographed and even video’d instructions on how to to assemble it. And that’s not even including the time to set up the shop, get it looking the way I wanted, and working out all the bugs in the payment process.

My next project is to make a simple building in a similar design as the shipping container. I’ll make another post for that. 🙂

 

Antares – Wet Coast GT 2017

With the impending homecoming of my daughter, I bravely took to the tournament and hoped she would hold out until I was done rolling dice. 😛

This was an awesome event! Because there were only 3 people signed up, the TO arranged to change the format of the event so it was one large game on Saturday instead of a the 5-6 game tournament format that is common around here. They dropped the price by half and we got one more person to sign up and played a 4 person 2500 point game on a 6×8 table. 10,000 points, 95 dice in the bag. It took us about 8 hours to play, thanks to some exceedingly efficient dice pulling — the puller would draw 2, and then decide whether the first dice would affect the second dice, and if it didn’t, would give the second dice to be played as well. We often had 2-3 people going at once, which really helped speed the game up so we didn’t take all night, and also keep it fast paced and exciting!

Here’s a break, because there are about 40 photos in this post.

Continue reading Antares – Wet Coast GT 2017

Blog Comments and Batter Drones

I noticed the other day that comments on old posts were closed, which is not a situation I want to be in — I’d like people to be able to comment on anything, at any time in the past! I just found the setting that was messing with that and turned it off, so hopefully its fixed now!

I needed more batter drones for big games of Antares. One of our guys bought an army online that had some drones done up like this —

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It’s the metal spotter drones (of which I have a million extras) and the phalanges from the subverter matrix. Cut off the drone wings, glue on the phalanges, and be very, very patient.

 

The price of Wet Coast GT this weekend went down by half, because the TO decided to make it a one-day event. Unfortunately, with summer finally here in Vancouver, the event isn’t getting as much love as it should. So if you’re in the area and want to play a big megabattle, and get some swag, come on up to Vancouver (or down to us, or sideways)!

I’m still really hoping I get to go. My brand new daughter is still in the hospital, and isn’t allowed to leave until she shows she can survive outside of a medical environment. She just has to figure out “eating” and she gets to come home (she’s premature). If she does that before this weekend, it’s all hands on deck at home as we struggle to figure out what life looks like in this new world order!

If I do get to WCGT, I’m planning to bring my good camera and I’ll see about getting some quality photos up here next week. I think I also need to replace my phone camera lens, if possible – it’s become very hazy.

Inquisitor

I’m selling some models. I went to put these guys into a box to ship them across the world, but while doing so I discovered I was feeling a little nostalgic.

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I worked at GW when Inquisitor was released, and it was an exciting time. This brand new game, fresh out of Specialist after a long many years. 54mm models, continuation of the 40k storyline, some super crunchy rules, it was all amazing. I wrote a 6-scenario campaign while I waited for the game to be released – I have no idea what happened to those stories and ideas.

In the end, I played a single game.

“Crunchy” meant “way to bloody complicated to follow”. Shooting a gun was an exercise in accounting. My story was cool, but not cool enough to draw people to it. I remember one of the staff members (or maybe a particularly excited customer) built up a giant castle in the store with an inner courtyard and ladders and levels and it was all 54mm scale and huge and it was amazing.

I was still in love with Necromunda at the time, so my little band had to have a converted wyrd. I took the daemonhost torso and I think the guardsman legs and carefully cut and green stuffed them together. I gave him a punk rock look (because I loved punk as much as Necromunda) and a book of spells and claimed he was being trained by the Eisenhorn look-alike.

I don’t remember how it happened, but I ended up with these 4 models and I think 3 others in the end which I was less attached to and have sold a while back. Staff members did a draft pick of the models to see who got what, and I think I got a couple extra because I said I was totally willing to paint a million models to get more. I think I bought one or two as well, I had to have.

The nice thing about having a blog is that I can reminisce about the past like this. 🙂 Bye models, enjoy your new life!

 

 

P.S. While I have a tournament coming up, in a few weeks where I’m playing Antares, things got immeasurably slower and faster around here, as my wife unexpectedly gave birth last Wednesday! I mean, we knew we were having a baby, but baby is about 2 months early. >.> So while you may have come to expect a leisurely pace of posting around here, I’m afraid it may get even more leisurely from here on in!

Antares – Strike on Kar’a Nine Rulebook

I promised a number of reviews of the Strike on Kar’a Nine box set, and have yet to make good on those promises. 🙁 Most of my promises are out to seed, hopefully growing into full-bloom promises, but a bunch of them aren’t in my hands. 2-3 of them I still control.

  • I wanted to review the demo scenarios, but each time I offer a demo game the other person declines. I don’t …think I’m scary. But Blood Bowl takes up so much of my clubs mind frame that it’s hard to unseat it sometimes.
  • I wanted to paint and review the new Algoryn plastics. They’ve been primed on my desk for a while, but I keep buying new Concord models! We have a tournament in July and I’m trying to prep!
  • This review.

This is not as positive a review as the last one. The K9 box is amazing, but the mini rulebook has some flaws. We’ll go into detail shortly, but the flaws can be overcome. Here’s some photos first.

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Here it is, compared to the big hard cover rulebook. It is smaller, which is everything you want in a mini rulebook!

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It also contains an index, which the big rulebook does not. There was a PDF published online of this index, so while you didn’t get the benefit of it directly in your book, you could always print it out and stick the paper in it somewhere.

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This is the last numbered page. Page 63. The good news, is that the book contains every single page from the main rulebook up to page 63. Even better, the page numbers are identical! This is great, because unlike in Malifaux where you had to say “pg 12 mini, page 20 big”, with this book you can just refer to the page and not worry about it.

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The last pages and back of the book are also a reference sheet for weapons and for various game charts, also very nice.

What Isn’t Good?

So here’s the thing. While this book is great for the price you paid for it (remember, I calculated the box at about a $112 discount!), it can’t replace the big rulebook. Which is what you want from a mini-book, you want to not have to carry the big-book. If you have the big-book handy, pick it up and flip to page 63. Now observe all of the things in that big rulebook that are after page 63. Here’s an itemized list:

  • 73 pages of rules for ammo, equipment, vehicles, drones, weapons, armour. This is the really important one.
  • 19 pages of scenarios. You can get by without these, but I would argue that you shouldn’t. The basic scenarios should be included, really.
  • 38 pages of army lists. After the release of this book, Warlord put up the army lists as free PDFs online, which is amazing and means missing these 38 pages isn’t as important. Also, we always had ArmyBuilder and BattleScribe as options. Less important to lose.
  • 55 pages of fluff. Missing the fluff isn’t great, since I think fluff helps draw people into the game. But to me, it’s less critical to have lost. If you want to read it, buy the big-book or buy the PDF for the big-book.

 

Those first 73 pages really hurt. I went to look up the rules for jump packs and couldn’t find them. I recently started a project to add some of these rules to the BattleScribe lists. Things like the rules for Scoot Ammo, and AG Chutes can be put onto printable army lists no problem. The special rules for every weapon, however, is going to be a real pain since there are a lot of them. By the time I’m done, Antares army lists will be 3-4 pages even when summarized.

This is a huge project, and I’m sure to miss things. My plan is to only add the things I notice are missing (ie, Concord), and the things people ask for. I can’t do a full pass, it’s to much.

What Else Isn’t Good?

There’s another big gap here that won’t be covered by army lists — the rules for things like Disruptors, Grenades, the basic rules for vehicles and the basic rules for probes are included in those 73 pages.

My club has said that the rules of this game are good, but that the rulebook is poorly laid out and this is a great example. Rules like the the basic rules for vehicles and probes should not be in with the detailed and specific rules for the individual tanks and probes. The first main section should contain every basic rule you need to play the game. If they’d done this, these rules would be in the mini rulebook! The second main section of the big rulebook should contain every special rule, and while I wouldn’t agree to leave them out of this book, at least the main rules would be complete.

 

There’s More?

There’s another small issue. I had heard this on Facebook, so it might not actually be a real problem — more like a theorycrafted problem than one that’s been witnessed. But someone buying this box could imagine they had a complete and useful rulebook, only to have the experience I had of building a list with X-Launchers in it, and finding they didn’t have the rules for any of the special ammo for it. I would imagine that would be frustrating.

I would point that person at the paragraph below this one, to try to make them feel better.

But There’s Some Good Right?

I have to end on a good note. Because despite my issues with this book, the box itself with all of the stuff that’s inside it is such a phenomenal deal that you can’t pass it up. However, I would re-calculate the discount I added up at the end of that last article, to remove the rulebook because this book is not a drop in replacement for it. Making the Kar’a Nine box a mere $63 off the total contents. Bonkers, because then you get most of a rulebook as a bonus.

 

Antares – X-Howitzer and Airbrushing

A friend was doing some airbrushing of 40k tanks recently and after he showed me his work I was inspired to think about airbrushing again. It was 4 years ago the last time I wrote about airbrushing, and these articles remind me a bit of how I was feeling — rather like I should sell the damn thing. I had no skill with it and keep messing up. My friend said his was a breeze – start ‘er up, do your thing and BOOM, nice looking shading. I bought some new things to help — a new Golden High Flow Acrylic in fluorescent blue, and a Wicked Colour airbrush colour in light blue. In the earlier of those two articles, I appear to have also bought new toys to help, and they appear not to have helped.

What did help a lot this time…is having a deck. I pulled all my stuff onto my deck, plugged it in and relaxed. Previously my outdoor space was shared space — a parking lot or shared rooftop — and I had no ability to just sit and play, I had to constantly be worried about whether someone would come along and ask what I was doing there, painting the parking lot floor.

I had planned on doing the lighter colour, then ringing it with the darker colour. Which, it turns out, is not the correct way to do this. 😛 So this first photo is that. I had the PSI set to 15 and held the brush relatively close, to get more intense colour with a thinner line.

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I went back afterwards and re-did the lighter colour and ended up here. This I did at about 30 PSI and further away, which diffused the paint.

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My next plan is to follow my C3 steps, and wash into the recesses some watered down blue wash, then nuln oil the shadows. Then clear up mistakes with Ulthuan Grey and whatever the GW white is called these days. I think this guy will be done pretty soon!

There is an airbrushing course happening in Vancouver on June 17th. Unfortunately, I’m busy that day with another hobby — I’m in a circus show. 😛

Antares – A Game

Unfortunately, not a campaign game. Or maybe it was fortunate, since I lost. 😛 We played a 2000 point game, the largest I’ve ever seen played, and we used a modified “Maelstrom mission” scenario which was inspired by the 40k scenarios of that name. Really liked it, although I think it needs more playtesting from people who aren’t myself. 🙂

I think the camera on my phone is going to shit – these photos look like they’ve had a glamour filter or something put on them?

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The “Atlas”, also known as “Objective 1” came up a few times for me, along with objective 4 which is behind the temple on the left-middle of the photo, so I spent a lot of time trying to hold these guys.

 

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In our mission, you generated 6 objectives at the start of the game. Each turn, you had one less “maximum” to work with, so first turn you either scored one or you dropped one. Greg got an early 2+1 point lead because he scored twice in the first turn, while I had to drop one of mine. Which meant he was up by 2 points, plus 1 for “opportunity”. Every objective you don’t score is a lost opportunity! This gap increased and then shrunk as the game continued, and then in turn 5 I scored 3 points to his 0 to tie it up!

The last ones generated — he had to rally 4 times and I had to take objective 2. Here’s where objective 2 was:

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It’s inside the rock cluster on the right. Greg had it to score a few times over the game, so he had been holding it no problem. Rallying 4 times is a hard objective mid-game because you have to lose the use of 4 units for that turn. At this point it was less of a problem since he just had to hold and he knew exactly where I needed to go – he could just rally those units that weren’t near my objective.

At the end, a well placed Grip ammo right in the middle of the only 2 squads that could take it, sealed my fate.

Speaking of Grip, we both made good use of special ammo. I was dropping Scoot like it was going out of style! I made that Plasma Bombard move a lot, and he did an early disrupt of my planned X-Launcher firebase.

I think the Nuhu won’t be making an appearance in many lists. He’s to fragile even with the shield drones. My opponent only needing a 1 to remove most of his power.

 

Lastly, here’s a photo of Clark winning the Blood Bowl championships, which happened while we were playing. Damn him! But at least he was the guy who took me out of the play-offs entirely!

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Antares – Concord Interceptor Bikes All Done

I finished some bikes! I bought these guys a while ago, and decided to prioritize them over the rest of the assembled things I have for Antares. These are going to be in a lot of lists, I think, in particular for Wet Coast GT in July.

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I did them similarly to the last drop squad. I used Nuln Oil in a very light layer after the middle layers, around the exhaust ports. I was trying to darken the area, so that when I drybrushed up it would look brighter because it was darker to start with. I did a couple layers of drybrushing here, trying to make it a little more …OSL? The bases make me happy. White does not make me happy. >.> but it’s to late to change that up.