Monday, September 26, 2011

The future is coming...

Greetings again!  Just popping in to let all of you know I haven't dropped off the earth.  Work continues on a variety of projects.  I did get the cover for Freelance Traveller (September 2011 issue), which you can get HERE.

Plus, there is going to be a fairly important announcement made within the next month or so, which explains my relative calm and quiet of late.  But, I'm still creeping around, so fear not.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Technical Manual 2 Finished!

Sorry for the long silence.  I've been busting my hump trying to get my second Technical Manual finished and released.  I ended up going back and completely redoing the original deckplans to add a boatload of functionality, and I think the results have been worth it.  All maps are now fully scalable and zoomable vector graphics, I've added complete sets of maps scaled for 25/28 mm, 20 mm, and 15 mm, and changed the arrangement of files somewhat.  You can download it from COTI HERE and HERE, or HERE.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time, time, time.... would think, having a small business in your home and not having a 'real' job to go to everyday would give you tons of free time.  Oddly, it doesn't.  I see it's been over a month since the last post, and I've accomplished surprisingly little.  I did start a PBP game over on, which has taken some time, and I've tweetered up a new version of the X-boat service hull for one of the groups.

You can find the game HERE.  If you'd like to lurk, you certainly may; we've got 2 4-man teams operating in Foreven, and the action is just getting started.
Anyway, here's the Jumpin' Jack Flash, the modded service hull combo.  This one is modded with a second turret on the X-boat, and belongs to a grav-racing team.  Yes, that's a Jackalope on the noseart.  South Dakota humor, don'tchaknow.

While working up the new textures, I got to tinkering some with the model itself and discovered that, while it's a good first effort, there's enough crap wrong with it that nags at me it will probably get a complete rework somewhere down the road (if I have time, lol).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Starting on the detail work...

I got started working on the cockpit and (possibly today) the engineering section.  It's going to be a bit of a pig in the poly-count (probably in the neighborhood of 100k).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Work Continues...

Still plugging away on the launch.  Worked up some passenger couches, and started tinkering with a full cargo version.  The passenger version holds 16 passengers and 5 tons of cargo; the cargo version is 13 tons of cargo (Mongoose rules).  Although it looks pretty good sized, I'm still struck by the fact it is rather smallish.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Part of the reason for the silence....

Howdy troops.  Yeah, I'm still around, although the activity here wouldn't suggest that.  In addition to learning the Mongoose Traveller rules, I've also been spending some time refining techniques and doing a lot of experimenting.  Most of what I've come up with is far less than stellar, but it has taught me a few things (like how to get through life without using booleans and spending an hour cleaning up stray vertices).  I've also been developing some methods for my current project, which is shown above.  It's a classic 20 ton Launch for future use, with the twist that I'm working up full interiors as well as exteriors, similar to some of the stuff MagMagMag has done on COTI (such as THIS).  Suffice to say, I have a new appreciation for the work he's done in this's tough, and requires more thought and decisions than I expected.

 The number one thing I've discovered so far is that, with most ships, iris hatches are damn impractical.  There just never seems to be enough clearance to make them feasible.

Cool in theory, but very difficult to implement.  The standard cylindrical shape is also kind of a minimizes the amount of space required for a fitted hangar, but brings with it a boatload of issues as well.  For instance, in the launch above, how do you allocate passenger vs cargo space?  Where do you put the cargo hatches?  How high are the decks?  Where the hell can I put the landing gear?

The above design incorporates most of the good ideas that I've come across over the years...the landing gear, for instance, are similar to those used by Scarecrow on his version of the 100 ton scout.  The upper deck is just shy of 2 meters in the center of the cabin, and the lower deck is 1.35 meters beneath to allow some usable deck area.  Simply splitting the diameter in half didn't really work worth a damn, so this is a compromise.  The major problem is, at least in this passenger configuration, you're not going to be hauling cargo containers.  A cargo version with the ability to fit containers in winds up being able to carry about half as much cargo as you should, with lots and lots of wasted space. I may tackle that down the road.

One of the other issues that caused some headache was the personnel hatch...if it's that high off the ground, how the hell do you get up and down?  That's where the folding ladder arrangement comes in.

Anyhow, that's enough for tonight.  There's some other stuff in the pipeline, but I'm keeping that under my hat until I have some solid to post.  Night all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, I guess.  I haven't updated for a while because I've been offline; my daughter managed to find some kind of vicious malware floating around, which worked a number on my windows load.  After way too much time farting around trying to root it out (some variation of Conficker, if my understanding was correct), I bit the bullet and wiped the OS and started clean.  Then I started having problems with my system overheating, so any kind of processor intensive work invariably led to a crash (make sure and clean your CPU heat sinks, kids!)  Between that and some work on the church website/ promo DVDs/outreaches, I haven't accomplished a whole lot.  Working into summer, it looks like church stuff is going to keep me fairly busy until mid to late July, but should drop off after that.

I have managed to get some of the character pics done for my second Technical Manual (Judges Guild Type C Cruiser), but even that is moving slowly at the moment.  Layout on the 8.5 x 11 version is finished (except for the character pics), so as soon as I get those done I'll be releasing it over at COTI, with the LBB format to follow at some later date (maybe).  I think I'll probably take a poll and see how much people care about the format and scrap one or the other to keep life simpler for me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sorry again.

Sorry for the lack of updates; it's mostly due to a lack of actual work getting done on any of this.  I've had some personal stuff to take care of, and pressure to get it all done has wreaked havoc on my creative streak.  Hopefully, that will turn around this week.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A bit of a new look.

I was just dithering about this morning, playing with various stuff in max and came up with a new header pic.  It's pretty simplistic, but I kind of like it, at least until I come up with something better.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Time keeps on ticking...

Howdy troops.

I'm still around, just been preoccupied with a few things.  I finally got my Challenge submission finished and submitted, just waiting to hear back from Steff to see if they need anything else.  Meanwhile, I've been screwing around with textures, looking for ways to make that process a bit easier.  I think my breakthrough may have been discovered, using max's Composite/Mix/Blend functions.  Basically, it's a material shader that acts like photoshop layers, and seems to work okay.

The mesh I had laying around from an earlier attempt at a Sulieman, so I knocked together some turrets and thrusters and set up a test material to see if I could make it work without spending a week in photoshop.  It's not great, but passable for wide shots and background ships.  Basically, it's a basic generic hull plating texture composited with a quickie photoshop paint job.  Certainly not the prettiest thing I've ever done, but then again I only spent about 2 hours toying with the texture.

At this point, I'm kind of thinking of going this route for my 'freebie' releases such as the technical manuals.  I've spent far too much time mucking around with textures and am getting a bug up my ass to actually start producing something besides renders, namely ships stats and deckplans.  I'll probably still grind through detailed textures if I get any 'paying' gigs, but I think quick and dirty is the way to go at this point; produce more hard content and useful renders, rather than sweating over the detail work that goes into painting hulls by hand.

Besides, it seems like I'm faster at the modeling end of things, and it's probably just as easy to build in the detail at the mesh level rather than the textures.  So, I think what I'll do is develop a dozen or so 'generic' hull plate arrangements and weathering templates, then when I get something finished I can just layer them all together and start rendering.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Holy smokes...

Wow, time got away from me again.  I've been elbow deep in my Challenge project, tinkering with random concepts for future development, spending some time with the 3ds max Bible to learn some new tricks, and just generally jumping through the hoops of life.  

Today I've been tinkering with a 20 ton fighter for a 3000 ton pocket carrier I'm experimenting with.  The thing that sucks about carried craft is the fact that the allowances made for in the rules make it damn tricky to design a vehicle that fits in that space and still leaves some area to walk around and do maintenance on it, especially on things like carriers.  Launch tubes exacerbate the problem, because now you've got to taking moving the fighters into launch position into account.

Anyway, hopefully a bit more later today.  I will endeavor to throw up some of the other concepts in the works tonight sometime, and try to get into a little more solid groove with this blog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The time, she sure flys by...

Sorry once again about the complete and utter lack of updates.  FYI, last Monday (Jan 24th) I went in and got my pacemaker/ICD put in, so I've been recovering from that.  Work continues on my other projects (JG Type C, the Technical Manuals for that and the X-boat service hull, etc), and I'm starting to get a respectable stable of ships together so I can start doing some more interesting renders (and maybe some animation!).

Some of the other stuff I've been delving into are a thread on Citizens of the Imperium, starting with just an image and turning it into a 3d model (which you can find here).  Progress has been slow, and now the original artist has posted one of his original sketches for the design on COTI, so I may go back and touch up some things.  But, this current incarnation is ready for texture.  This one will probably get it's own Technical Manual as well.

 Whilst digging through some of my old Truespace stuff I found I found this little gem, based off a ship in 2300AD's Ships of the French Arm.  I ported it over to Max, and think this one will get a full workup and Technical Manual as well.

 I'm also in the midst of working up something to submit for the return of Challenge Magazine; we'll see how that goes.  I'm also going to start submitting a few things to JTAS, in the hopes that I can maybe make a little money (or at least gaming goodies) from my endeavors.   Oh, and I'm going to write up an article about turning a pic into a model and submit that to Freelance Traveller in (hopefully) the next week or two, depending on how things go.

Anyway, things seem to be rolling along quite nicely.  More as things develop later!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Arrrgh! Two weeks!

  Wow, didn't realize it's been two weeks without a post.  I'm coming out of a bit of a dry spell; the grind finishing textures for the Type C seems to have beat my muse into a corner temporarily.  Actually today, I got some inspiration and delved into some of the stuff I'm helping Major B with over on COTI - a 20 ton shuttle and 20 ton fighter to go along with the planetary assault ship he's working on.  These are just rough sketches at the moment, but I think I've finally hit on something I like.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Back from the Holidays

I took a little break from posting over the holidays to allow some family time, but decided I should probably post something.  I finished the basic textures for the pinnaces; the ATVs and Air/Raft are on hold for the time being (they both still need a fair bit of modeling, and in the case of the ATV, a complete rework due to some really crappy geometry I couldn't resolve).  But, below is a shot of the pirate cruiser and pinnaces in action.

For those of you not aware of the fact, I'm now a sorta published author/artist.  I did a complete writeup on the X-boat Service Hull for Freelance Traveller, which came out yesterday.  I got the cover picture, 2 interior pictures, a very complete set of deckplans, and several pages of text.  Thanks to Jeff Zeitlin, the publisher, for thinking my work was worth printing.  You can get the current issue here - Freelance Traveller #13.  He's also encouraged me to work up the Type C for publication, which I may do down the road, and I'll probably be putting both ships together into my own LBB format ("Technical Manuals") in the future.