Saturday, 21 April 2007

Day107 GMod, DAZ and MM

GMod
Did some more work in Gmod making ropes and elements from multitudes of pieces.
I havent found a combo that works perfectly as yet - but it is coming together a little.

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DAZ and V4
Had a look around the DAZ Productions site - should I go and grab V4 (Victoria 4) or more kit for A3 (Aiko 3) - how do I have enough pieces to actually make something useful. Plus do the purchased models let me start playing with animations, rigging, facial expressions, morphing and such. Is using Daz Studio sufficient - is Poser the go - or Max even?
Obviously some of the things V4/A3 morphs can do are simply beautiful.
Here are just a few stunning examples from the DAZ site of the product before they are applied to situational renders - see their gallery as well.( http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/3d_models/victoria/-/? )

[images of purchase sets from the DAZ site featuring Victoria 4]

I played around a little more today with the basic A3 and V3 models that I do have (free) and it certainly has promise. I now understand the object heirarchy better, but creating content looks crazy in the base DAZ Studio toolset.

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Million Masterpiece Oinkfrog
The comments continue to come for my little bash at an oinkfrog on the excellent Million Masterpiece site (http://www.millionmasterpiece.com/). Obviously no where even close to the number of comments for some of the talented artists features in the huge ball. I assume/guess the almost 25,000 members means that many squares are live...

[link direct to my Million Masterpiece square]

[journeytime = 2.5 hours]

Friday, 20 April 2007

Day106 the future and WoW

2010 FBE thinking
Did some work looking at a future ICT state for FBE targeting not the far flug, but just a handful of years away. What sort of IT environment should a place like FBE be moving towards, what parts are quite different from what we have so far and what big decisions do we need to take.
So this is not just generic evolution of where we are already going - but more open thinking of the landscape that should exist to facilitate the design computing world in which FBE will be operating.

WoW
Got through Hellfire Citadel with only a single death for me and not alot of others this time around. so much fun playing in groups with roles and objectives etc. Lev61 came along for the ride as well - yipee.

[journeytime = 1 hour]

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Day105 MacbookPro & Modding

I was looking at the Macbook Pro configs today (http://www.apple.com/au/macbookpro/specs.html). Why do they only sport ATI X1600s? A quick glance at ATI's mobile range (http://ati.amd.com/products/mobile.html) - shows this not really up to scratch anymore. Certainly this config is no comparison with the workstation grunt that Dell brings to the table in its Precision range. Other folk have grunty laptops on offer as well - for a graphics hungry workstation type user can the MacBook Pro cut it?
That said it sports lots of lovely things in the kit and is (as always) a gorgeos piece of design.

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Modding
Farcry could be another modding alternative - a very quick look at the site (http://farcry.ubi.com/index.php) shows it might make some things easy (terrain for example)
Doom/Quake is of course another possibility. I will have to find some time to check all these out for this purpose.
Looking at a Doom3 site like Doom3World and their forums (http://www.doom3world.org/phpbb2/index.php) reveals a host of applications used in mod development.

GMod
The lure of the GMod was just too strong. I set about making some test 'ropes' using the logic of cans strung together with ball joints. This was kinda working, so I then joined some cabinet doors together with ropes and got some quite beautiful results. This was actually starting to push my machine having all these going - so ropes and geometry and all the lighting is no trivial task for the engine. object combinations like these should be able to simulate deformable beams and structures and get around the current fact that ropes etc pass through things.


[journeytime = 1.5 hours]

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Day104 Mags, Panels and UT2004

New Mags
Got myself new editions of 3D World (issue 88) and my current favourite ImagineFX (march 2007). The imagineFX mag itself is beautiful and even a quick flick through reveals heaps of inspiration. I particularly like the back cover (by Hoang Nguyen) and the overlay splotch printing.

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Presentation Panels
Looked more into using Plasma/LCD panel technology on a big scale for digital design presentations and juries. At HD res (1920 x 1080) you can get a fair amount of detail on screen at quite small sizes if required. This is better than I thought, I expected the resolution issue was going to make line drawing and text presentation types overly restricted.

This is a crude (and overly jpeg'ed) sample at the right resolution. It shows that a single HD res panel can show quite a bit. We still have to test how well the TVs actually cope displaying things like this - this will need a demo screen.


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Russell Demo
Russell Lowe showed me bits of a presentation he has been giving including snippets of work done in Solid Works, 3DS Max, UT 2004 and Garry's Mod. I was most impressed with the UT editor and capability to load geometry straight in from sources like Max. Since it does per-poly colision detection there is no need to deal with HL2's colision models and such. This (along with support for them) makes importing just soooo simple. Plus the deformation painting (raise, lower, level etc) makes terrain building something that apps like Max just cant do.
Should I go out and get a copy of UT2004, or just stick with using Hammer for now and check out UT2007 when it finally arrives.

Showed Russell the very nicely realised Eclipe mod for HL2 (see yesterday). I think it shows the potential of the medium/engine to do more that HL2 and CS type gameplay.

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Heroes Ep12
Another fun ride, I love Hiro's character the best and his new search for the sword.

[journeytime = 2 hours]

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Day103 Eclipse HL2 mod

Eclipse HL2 Mod
Just have to know to put the mod folder root directly under the sourcemods folder - not buried as per the .zip downloaded.
Well I am very very impressed with the mod, it takes lots of work, energy and style to bring a mod together. This one was built by students and inspires me to be part of a team like this. It took the team of 16 half a year to build it, but it shows I am hoping for an opportunity of this ilk to coma along in my MDM when that kicks off later this year.

So how is the mod?
The telekenesis skill is a great integration of the physics engine into gameplay - better than the gravity gun I think. Then using it interactively with the globes and such works nicely. The combat is all at range using the physics, so no swords and other spell type logic - but this keeps the game self contained and simple enough to just enjoy what is there.
The whole things is very well realised, not in the same class exuded by the polish of HL2, but for a bunch of students in 6 months - awesome - really ekelent. There are nice touches like butterflies, breakable toadstools and such. THe animations arent perfect, but are pretty good and dont ruin the gameplay at all. It isnt a full game in a sense, almost like a teaser of the great things this engine could do.

Here's a shot of me at the endgame - very nice stuff:


The GuildHall student 3D team projects(http://guildhall.smu.edu/specializations/teamgames/3dgames/index.html) look very impressive atop this one (that is what their students do really). Several look tempting - will have to give some of them a try. They have other types as well - very productive bunch they are.

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Google Trends

I havent been to the Google Trends site since it first came into being. Visiting it again today was revealing as always (http://www.google.com/trends). Sane things like trends on 'green energy' (http://www.google.com/trends?q=green+energy&ctab=1&geo=all&date=all) are telling ans show Australia in a good light. I assume irelend comes up as just being fond of the colour green :-) You can compare gmail and hotmail as well (http://www.google.com/trends?q=gmail%2C+hotmail&ctab=1&geo=all&date=all).
Digital Art (http://www.google.com/trends?q=digital+art&ctab=1&geo=all&date=all) is trending downwards unfortunately. Dont forget to whack in 'sex' just to see where all those searches are coming from - interesting social research just waiting to be done!


[journeytime = 2 hours]

Monday, 16 April 2007

Day102 Leopard

MacOS X 10.5 Leopard
Well it (http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/ichat.html) may have been delayed - but it still looks like it will have some very nice bits'n'pieces to keep the mac-folk more than happy.
I like the way Apple make computing sexy and vibrant - good stuff!
Time machine looks very nice, not a unique idea - but the interface and integration looks like a great leap forward for such things. Integration like this comes to the fore in things like iChat - where it can use bits from a host of other tools/apps - very neat. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X_v10.5) has some more info on the features and such as well.

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Eclipse
Well I downloaded it, but cant see how to get it running yet :-)

[journeytime = 1 hour]

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Day101 Eclipse peek

Check out the Wikipedia HL2 mod list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Half-Life_2_mods) as it has a nice description of a whole bunch of them.

Eclipse (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Eclipse) is one on the list - as a fantasy mod it could align with the thinking I (and the work gang) have been mulling over with respect to bringing the HL2 combat fluidity to the fantasy genre where the MMORPG stand-and-deliver combat is so prevalent.
I think I will have to try (http://students.guildhall.smu.edu/~eclipse/downloads.html) this one out - just to see for myself!

[screenshot images from the eclipse area of the guildhall site at SMU]
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WoWtime - just plenty of fun.
[journeytime = 1 hour]