Archive for July, 2010

Drawing Practice – Darth Vader + Stormtrooper

I have been a little disappointed with my progress in improving my drawing ability, on good days I can draw something I’m pretty happy with on a bad day it’s very frustrating. I suspect some of it has to do with fighting my natural style inclination. I seem to naturally lean towards a more cartoon style were as I would rather draw in a more manga/comic book style.

To try and help myself a long I’m going to do more drawing in the style I seem to bend towards and then once I’m comfortable there move myself towards the style I’d like to draw in. I’ve started off by going back to the basics of following other people’s tutorials etc, for the moment I’m going to follow the tutorials at how to draw cartoons and once I’m comfortable do some of my own drawings in that style. Anyways one of the first tut’s I followed was the one on Darth Vader.  Here he is all lined up:

Yes he does look very similar to the tutorial Darth Vader, but I did draw him up from scratch following each of the steps as outlined here. I did all the drawing in Inkscape as I seem to be most comfortable drawing on computer. The ability to subtly adjust and bend lines seems to really help me out. I coloured him up in Inkscape as well ending up with the below:

I’ve drawn a few others following the tut’s available on the site but Darth is the most accurate so far. If I can get motivated enough I’m going to try doing a storm trooper in a similar style using the same sort of theories. In case anyone wants him here he is as SVG file, you’ll need to download it and rename the extension to .svg instead of .odt.

Darth Vader

Didn’t think I was going to get a Stormtrooper finished as quickly as I have, using the techniques above I drew up a Stormtrooper to go with Darth Vader. I’m pretty happy with how he turned out and he definitely fits the same style:

The SVG file is available below, you’ll need to rename it to .svg after downloading as with Vader above:

Stormtrooper

I’ll keep practicing as I really want to improve the standard of my paper miniatures, I really got very lucky with fox army.

Lego Clone Army – AT-PT

Continuing on with my clone army next up is my version of an AT-PT . I basically needed a small light walker, all the existing Lego sets are quiet big, bulky and tall at least for wargamming. Due to line of sight rules in most games and the bulkiness of lego I try to keep my models thinned down so I suffer as smaller a disadvantage as possible when playing against a regular lead/pewter/paper army. After checking through Wookepedia under AT’s it seemed the AT-PT would fit the bill nicely. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel I had a look around at what other Lego AT-PT’s had been created. Saber-Scorpion had created  a rather nice AT-PT and after looking at the pictures of his design and comparing it to the wookepedia article I designed my own AT-PT, incorporating some elements from saber’s design and some of my own:

Saber uses a large lift able square lid part which seems to be ultra-rare not something you want when you need 3-4 of the unit for wargamming. Neither of my two designs allow the lego minifig to be removed either way it’s trapped in there:

The first design (detailed in the instructions below) makes use of only very standard and common parts and should be fairly cheap to build up from a stockpile of bricks and order anything missing from ebay/bricklink very cheaply . The second design (The ones in my photo) make use of a flip lid (part no 4857) although not expensive it can be difficult to track down and only comes in light grey  not the new light bluish grey (see photos for colour difference), you also need a few tiles so it doesn’t seal closed :). Other than that minor difference the two designs are identical. You can fit a clone trooper into both with a helmet on although the arms do need to be place down by his sides. However it looks good when you look through the windshield to see a minifig in there:

I had enough parts to build 3 and I’m a few bits short for a 4th. At this stage they all have different coloured windshields I wanted all red ones but that part in red seems to be another rarity so I have a blue trans and grey trans version. When gaming I just stick a different colored tile to the top to help id each one. As with the Speeder Bikes I did an action shot in GIMP:

I assembled the instructions using Ldraw/Mlcad and a set of PDF instructions are below, I didn’t quiet get the legs at the correct angle but they are very close:

Instructions Lego Star Wars AT-PT

Got to get back to cleaning up the house :).

Lego Clone Army – Combat Speederbikes

Since last year I have been working on a star wars lego clone army for use during wargamming.  I always planned for this to be a long term project due to the costs involved, basically you don’t save any money by assembling an army in lego but it does let me combine two of the hobbies I enjoy. The clone army is now getting close to completion so I’ll start some posts on this little side project, Starting of with the speeder bikes.

So I purchased two packs of set 7655 from bricklink they came with no lego minifigs which suited me and were hence very very cheap. I disliked the stock lego design:


However I had some ideas on how to combine all the parts from the set plus a few additions into something more interesting. I wanted a more heavy looking build to indicate the speeders are designed less for scouting and reconnaissance and more for a support/anti-infantry role during a frontal assault battle. The speeders would also be a single seater but appear to be highly maneuverable. After a few hours playing around with bricks and build combinations I settled on the below to fill the role as Combat speederbike.

As it turned out I didn’t have enough of the correct colors to completely outfit two in the correct colours but did have enough bricks to at least have two I could use during gaming. Next time I order up some bricks I’ll get some correct coloured bricks/tiles. The flags are used during gaming for tracking which unit is which:

from the pictures you can see the minifig has some protection along the side rear and front, although I’m not sure id want to ride one into battle it’s  a significant improvement over the stock lego version.  I played around in GIMP for 5mins a pulled the below together, racing across the deserts of Tatooine into battle or possibly some other desert world:

In case I lose the above or someone wants more detailed assembly instructions, I’ve put some quick instructions together on how to assemble:

Instructions Combat Speeder

I have been working on the last few troop types of my fox army as well so I’ll be posting an update to those hopefully in the next few weeks as well as some more lego stuff, well back to the projects for me 🙂

Spore – Galactic Adventures – Crystal Conundrum

While my wife was unwell I played some Spore and picked up the two expansion packs Creepy and Cute and Galactic Adventures (both went on sale for half price). Once you get a stable install running, by that I mean one that only crashes a few times a week the game isn’t to bad to play. The strongest point of the game is the ability to use the predefined library of shapes and textures to create unique creatures, buildings and vehicles. The Galactic Adventures (GA) expansion pack adds the ability to put together rather simple first person adventures and I was assembling an adventure in GA for Annette to play while sick but she recovered before I finished.  I did sink a  significant amount of time into developing the adventure so thought it deserved it’s own blog post.

I started off scratching out a storyline and then splitting it across the 8 available acts in the game.  Initially I thought I had 9 acts so the adventure  gets a little rushed/compressed in the end 3 acts but at that stage I didn’t want to re-do big chunks of dialogue. The basic story line is that the inhabitants of the planet are all plant based and that they terraformed and setup this planet for themselves to live on several 100 years ago. Then another race comes a long and they wish to dig up some purple spice crystals (Spores main game focus is  on spice gas so I threw in crystals for a difference)) as they are ultra rare and valuable. In the process the miners are displacing the plant peoples and destroying there world. I can see when I thought up the storyline sub consciously I’ve been affected by Avatar…but anyway.

That’s a brief overview, first up I designed the plant city and it’s buildings. I wanted these to look like tree’s as if they had been grown to the required shape. I checked through the Sporepedia and couldn’t find anything suitable so designed up some of my own using existing designs in the Sporepedia as inspiration. I ended up with 5 different market stalls, Well, Street lamp, Two Different Houses, City hall, Windmill, Bakery, Building with a fence, Observatory, City Wall and Gate and an Open Air religious circle.  Below are a few images of some of the city elements:

Bakery

Windmill

Observatory

House Type One

Putting it all Together

Next up came the plant inhabitants of the planet, this was slightly more difficult as spore is configured for more your normal kind of animal rather than your living tree. But I looked around at what had been done in Sporepedia and then Built up my own people using bits from existing critters as inspiration. I ended up with quiet a few different variates of plant people: Cactus, Daisy, Mushroom, Palm and Some odd flower variates. Some of these I used for specific main characters and others were just to provide populace variety. Few more pictures:

Ancient Palm – Who employed you and your main contact

Captain Cutter and One of the Daisy Cutters (right) – Charged with defense of the Tree City

Srgt Fustugal – Looks after the Fungal Scouts

Wiley Weed– Lets just say he causes you quiet a few problems :). He’s my favorite character and design of the lot.


One of The flowers, Cactus Trader and a Daffodil

Now I moved onto the antagonists. I didn’t want your usual bad guy looking critters, more a difference on fundamental cultural level. So I designed up a totally weird looking race to play the miners. I also did a suited version to represent a heavily injured miner.   I was very happy with how they turned out:

Standard miner

Injured Miner in Support Suit

Jartooth – Old retired miner he’s a considered weird by his own race because he loves plants.

To go with the miners I also did some hi-tech robots. I ended up with two variates a defense bot who simply patrols and defends a particular location or thing  and an Attack bot who is used for offensive attacks. I was very happy with how these came out as they appear to float when they move. They are visually the same although Functionally the Defence bot is nastier than the Attack bot, This was something I needed for gameplay:

I did have to change some ideas around due to the Spore:GA engine limitations. The worst bug is the inability to place different inspect text on the same creature for different acts. Due to the complexity limit (basically a file size limit) on adventures and the work around being put a new copy of that creature in your adventure and hide the other copy you waste valuable space to work around the issue.  Saying that the functionality you do get can produce some very interesting results and my adventure reminds me of a very simplistic 1990’s console RPG with better graphics  but only takes 10-20 mins to complete.  Below are some in game screenshots:

Market Square

Roof Top View

Mining Town

Battle

Link to Video

Whipped up a quick video for those who don’t play Spore

Sorry about the poor quality, for some reason spore wont take video above 320x240 even adjusting it higher under settings…

I really enjoyed putting the above adventure together although I probably took way to much time and added to much detail at least I ended up with a finished project. I’ve started back to work on my regular project stuff and I’ll be posting more on those soon.


Project Status


WWII Project First Release

80%


B-tech Buildings Five

20%


Design Victorian era City

15%


Something Different

5%


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