Orks – Gorkamorkanaut

I went from 0 painting projects to 5 on my desk, within the span of a week. I played a game of 40k, which inspired me to work on some killa kans I found in my bitz box. I also assembled 10 grots to fill the 3-Troop minimum I needed for the army.

But then I realized I should finish what I started — the gorkamorknaut has been looming in my ork case for a year and a half. After last we saw this model, I painted it a watered down silver, blue and orange and then had a game with it and realized it was shit, and looked like shit and left it alone for a long time. With 8th ed out, Orks are in a great place and this guy is looking awesome and feeling awesome and deserves some more love. Here’s a photo of where I left it.

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I sent that photo to Clayton, who suggested I pull out my airbrush and do it in similar colours to the rest of my ork army, which meant a lot less silver. And since I moved, airbrushing is a lot easier — I have a deck I can do it on, instead of needing to pull everything down into the apartment parking lot and being super awkward and cold. I promptly masked a bunch of stuff, pulled out my blues and went to town!

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After I was done, I was feeling pretty good about the whole process. Airbrushing isn’t as difficult as I think it is! I can do this!

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…why the fuck is this piece highlighted upside down?!?!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 With the masking tape on, I had mistaken bottom for top and this is where I got. I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again after work and tried to fix it. Unfortunately, because it was a little cold and because I only had the one piece to paint, the paint wasn’t drying as quickly as my patience needed it to, and so I ended up with this strange speckled pattern from paint being blown around. I thought it looked kind of cool…and then I tried to put another layer over it which gave the arm almost a complete sharp edge where I’d previously had a speckled gradient. God damnit. I put the piece down, hoping it wasn’t as bad as it looked, and put my stuff away and went to bed.

Woke up early this morning, looked at the arm and no, it looked like shit. Baby was still sleeping, which was odd, but fortunate so I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again and repainted the arm a third time. I started to worry that it was getting to thick in layers, but I think I’d rather to thick than shittily highlighted!

Here’s a photo of all of the pieces all done, with the masking tape still on the arm, and it is properly highlighted.

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I did a quick sepia wash on the klaw arm and edge highlighted the head to see how I liked it, then put it all together to check it out. Looking good!

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Funny story about the kustom force field — somewhere inside the naut is a magnet that the KFF sticks to. I can’t find or figure out where I glued that magnet so that the KFF would stand on the outside! (just realized my old photos from a year ago show where it goes :P)

Looking forward to finishing this guy! (but a couple other projects have priority, for reasons you’ll see)

Antares – Another army building app

Because of my habit of writing programs whenever something can be automated, I made an army building app for Beyond the Gates of Antares.

There are a few already – ArmyBuilder, BattleScribe, Quartermaster are the top ones – but they all require manual input. I did a bunch of work on the BattleScribe version of the Antares rules. But then updates were made to the army lists, and I’m really bad at spotting detailed changes, and I I didn’t want to do the updates anymore and…

I figured out how to parse the freely available Warlord PDFs into a semi-usable XML file, then built a small web interface to interact with that file. There’s no validation, you can add a million of everything, you can add a units between factions, you can do whatever the hell you want. The important part is that it’s automatically generated, so can be more easily kept up to date.

Here’s a link to the app: http://geeksong.com/Antares/

And here’s a link to the GitHub repo for it: https://github.com/rythos42/AntaresArmy Should you be a developer and be interested in expanding my work, I’m open to discussion and pull requests!

Paper – …resume?

I’ve been doing a ton of reading on papercraft. I’ve always loved origami – I grew up folding paper dinosaurs, and more recently learned how to fold a Firefly. But it wasn’t until the epiphany of the folding terrain that I realized how much more there is to this hobby than I had expected. There are a lot of people making paper terrain, paper models, entirely paper games. I threw my name into the hat because I could, because I wanted to make terrain for myself, and because I wanted to see if there was a long tail I could make a couple bucks from.

One book I read was specifically about folding for visual design. Brochures, pamphlets, marketing material (I think that’s just 3 ways of saying the same thing…). I’ve recently been told I’ll be laid off in December, and my brain leapt to a foldable resume!

Here’s a draft:

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There are a number of design goals to be met:

  • Keep the most important information most visible — name, contact, work experience, education
  • Have space to put some less important information, but make it visually less important — other contact info, interests
  • Have fun!
  • Allow colour.
  • Ensure that it looked good while entirely unfolded.
  • Ensure that it looked good while folded.
  • It had to be understandable still!
  • There is a flow to how people read things, and that needed to be respected (in Western culture, it’s usually left->right, top->bottom)

The draft picture is 1 of 4 that I designed while trying to find the right layout. After I was happy with the layout, I threw on some scribbles trying to see if I had enough space to fit all the information I wanted to include.

Here’s what I came up with, this is my first coloured draft:

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There is another version after that I didn’t photograph, but it’s pretty close. You can see how I met my design goals:

  • My name is front and very prominent, with contact information just below it. The contact information stands out in person because of the little icons that help orient what that section is about.
  • Work experience and education are next, as they are some of the most important pieces of information on a resume. I’ve left out a bunch of jobs, leaving only 2, because these are the 2 that will get me the work I want. I’ve got space to dedicate a good paragraph to what I did at each job.
  • I’ve included some call-out words that are also big and slightly colourful (but not to much) to give a reader some idea of a few values that I bring to my work.
  • In the back panel, there is a section for my interests (which is more readable in the final — it’s stuck in the corner here due to a mistake in my layout that didn’t get caught until this nearly final stage! This is what design is about!) and a section for a bunch of technologies I’ve worked with.
  • I really love the fake sticky note. There are 4 of them on the paper, and they are instructions for a reader on how to make the resume fold! I wanted someone to be intrigued by what they had, maybe print it and cut it out and fold it themselves. I plan on bringing them folded to interviews, but if an interviewer took the time to put it together, that’s someone I’m more interested in talking with!
  • Even better, most of the sticky note instructions hide when it’s folded! They are on the center fold, which is perpendicular to the camera in the photo!
  • I think it looks great folded.
  • It looks a little funny unfolded, but not so funny that it isn’t usable. The reading-layout is weird, because my eyes are drawn to the big teal sections which are in the middle of the page, then to the big yellow sticky on the right, and then to my name. This isn’t a bad reading order (it would be bad if you were drawn to Interests or Keywords first!), but it is odd to notice.

I haven’t done anything with it yet, but here’s hoping it’s well received when I do put it out into the world!

Antares – Playing a game

Clark asked me to play a game the other day, likely my first at the club in almost 3 months, and I had a hankering and had a couple other errands to run in the area so I agreed. It was nice to throw down the Antares!

The club, led mostly by Clark and myself, have been writing a tournament scenario for Antares. Just one scenario. Because it has enough randomness built into it to serve the kinds of purposes you need in a tournament scenario — forcing balanced lists, keeping people entertained all day, providing plenty of opportunities for success and for failure. But we need to playtest it, because there are a lot of random elements to it and you need to make sure that all the pieces fit together. So it was also nice to get another playtest in!

And THEN because I’ve been drawing up a storm (my buildings), I folded up all the prototypes I’ve made and stuff them into a folio and threw them down on the table too! It was great to get to actually use these, as opposed to just stare at them on my desk! Clark immediately took advantage of them. He really likes giving buildings teleporters, and I think it’s a decent idea too — makes the game a lot more mobile — but this top photo is of lavamites pouring out of my two-storey building.

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I managed to kill them, which was great because they can really run amuck. This next photo Clark is pushing forward to take the center, and moments later I sprint my T7 up to contest it.

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These photos might be in the wrong order, but I doubt you’re scouring them anyway. He teleported 2 units of Gang Fighters into this building near my deployment zone. I had hoped that overwhelming firepower would make that a bad idea, but the building defenses and a couple less than amazing rolls in combat meant he got to keep the building, and got to use it as a funnel for his more powerful combat troops.

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Unfortunately, I keep failing to learn that C3 Drop troops aren’t really amazing in combat. I mean, they’re the best I get, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

I took advantage of the version 2 of the rules to bring a T7 and an X-Howitzer in 1000 points and I was happy to be able to do so. I stripped the T7 of it’s gun and acc6/co8/in8 which brought it down in points, while still allowing me a mobile bunker for my squishy troops and a speedy objective contestor. Like it.

Paper – AFLogistics Building First and Second Floors

It’s been a long while since I wrote. I may have written about the baby, and the baby takes up a lot of time. One of the things I like about this new paper building hobby is that I can do it in whatever chunks of time I have available to me. Baby is asleep for 15 minutes? Add another layer of texture. Baby is eating with mom? Take some photos.

It’s slow going, but I’m happy to announce that I have 2 new products available for purchase!

The first floor has a door, while the second floor has no door and has tabs that fit into the first floor to keep it relatively stable.

I initially started designing these to play Gates of Antares with, but GW has since announced the impending release of a new Necromunda so now I’m thinking about gantries and ladders and walkways, because that’s what makes Necromunda awesome!

I now have 3 products available for sale on Geeksong Paper!

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.