Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell Richard

I am at a bit of a loss how to feel at the moment having heard the news that my very long time friend Richard Pulley passed away the other day following a long battle with cancer (multiple myeloma). Obviously wishes go to his family, but I feel there should be more that I could be doing - so here is a little blog post recounting just a few fond memories that I will be able to look back on later through the long memory of the interwebs.

Where to start? How about thanking him for my first real introduction to roleplaying games, yes this quirky little hobby that has such power to create long term memories with friends and of shared storytelling adventures. Back in those days with AD&D and a sporadic but long running campaign he was a grand GM for us. I still remember Oldrin the Organon and some of his adventures leading our party deeper into the dungeons - battling Orcs, Drow, Giants and Dragons. I even remember him getting a limited wish spell and being reminded of a distant promise to turn our ranger into a donkey (which Richard and the party were happy to remind me of). So we had a pack-ranger for a little while. Shooting a fireball into an unknown room only to have it blasting back at us and more. It may seem silly to have these memories, but friendships that include those long hours around a table armed with polyhedral dice can be very strong. Playing together with common purpose to have fun, flesh out a fantasy world in partnership and enjoy each other's company.

Yes, there were also lots of games of chess (and variants of it) in our time in High School and College after that, plus other cool board games, but those AD&D games are a cherished time for me and I have Richard to thank for that.

While we are covering games, may as well mention computer games where I can also thank him for things like Bard's Tale - what an eye opener that was - being able to adventure into a digital version of a fantasy world. Sneaking down to his room for a 'quick' game has evolved to today where I find myself exploring the epic world that is Dragon Age Inquisition and am going to think about him as I play now.

Sharing our love for fantasy games and worlds with other friends like Mark and Ashish also covered novels, comics, TV and film. We would talk for hours about the adventures of Frodo, Thomas Covenant, Tin Tin or Belgarion - let alone Dr Who. Richard even formed a Dr Who club in High School that had a newsletter and membership cards, I was always keen to get my issue and liked contributing to things like the surveys most.

I am writing this after I just came back from watching the final Hobbit film with the family and it was quite emotional for me. Seeing these characters coming together as enduring friends and their loss was cutting rather too close to home for me. That said, it did feel appropriate. I generally don't have a very good memory for all the people and events in my life - but Richard is a solid part of many memories I do keep.

How about something lighter, he was always very skilled at wriggling his ears and scalp, something I didn't learn until much much later - it was quite the party trick. I can imagine that this would have really amused his kids as they grew up.

I should mention his talents wielding a violin, simply stunning! I didn't appreciate it as much at the time but he could do wonderful things with his violin right from when we first met. I loved what he (and other musically inclined folk in college) would be able to do. Writing music for each other or jamming along - joy to behold. When I go with the kids to see the Sydney Symphony I think it would have been extra cool to have him up there bowing away like mad to some John Williams.

Pic of my ancient Dr Who ID Card
where my Official Name was apparently Stygrron
(A Kraal from The Android Invasion)


Farewell mighty Richard...

---

Donations are encouraged to the Australian Leukaemia Foundation.

Funeral Details: A service to give thanks for Richard's life will be held on Wednesday 7 January at 10:30am at St John's Anglican Church, 339a Maroubra Road Maroubra. In lieu of flowers, we ask that a donation be made to the Leukaemia Foundation.

Plus there is the sketch I did.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Chibi Cthulhu

Well, here is today's little drawing - a chibi Cthulhu for the festive season...


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Vanquish Cards

I am not exactly sure why, but after doing the group picture for Team Vanquish I felt a compulsion to make individual cards for the heroes. These characters went through alot in our FATE Core suoers game and some of the best fun was just the banter between them. Sooo here they are:






Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Team Vanquish Cast

I really enjoyed our FATE Core supers game over the last few months, great system and cool bunch of players! So here is a pic to celebrate the epic conclusion to volume 1 the other day. This features the core cast for the final encounter including the PCs, The Conductor, Rush, Seraph and Val plus Echo and Terror Incognito.


The pic shows a few of the elements that came into play like the watches on Rush's arm, her crystal from the Ether, Val's new Polygon blade from the Celestial Geometer, Seraph's fireball and Nigel's sup'd up suit. I took waaay too long to do this drawing really, starting with rough sketches in photoshop and then several shading and colouring methods before it kind of came together.

Here is a desaturated version as well, as it has a nice quality about it...


Friday, 19 December 2014

UE4 First Look

With the cool new licensing model, top shelf graphics and editor tools and a vast community the latest Unreal Engine (UE4) from Epic Games is something I have been keen to take a look at. With a number of research and student projects picking up or switching to the engine here at UNSW Built Environment - the time is right to dive in.

The Unreal Engine went out of favour for a variety of reasons around the Faculty as we used tools like CryEngine, Unity, Lumion and such for the various uses. But UE4 was very popular amongst the graduating students of Architectural Computing in their projects and some of our industry partners are doing very cool stuff. Transitioning some of the research projects over is actively underway and it will be interesting to see where things go in 2015.

Next step after this little look is to run through some tutorials, but here are a few screenshots of me playing with sample levels which are much easier to access through the new launcher along with a marketplace of models, animations, shaders, libraries and more.







Oh and I should mention that the Architectural Visualisation here was crafted by Lasse Rode and there is a nice article on the RonenBekerman site looking at that process in some detail!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Uluru

The family headed out to the red heart of Australia to take in the sights of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and that expansive night sky. When we first arrived at the resort it was a hot one, 46 degrees and it felt it. We should feel hot out there though, so this was the right welcome.


Staying at the Sails in the Desert we did a few organised activities that included:

  • the sounds of silence dinner out in the desert.
  • a sunset tour or Kata Tjuta which started during the day but then turned into great spectacle as the thunder storm weaved around us.
  • a sunrise tour around Uluru and several of its sacred sights.
  • plus a little look at some of the wonders of the night sky through binoculars and a telescope (which brought back fond memories)
Here are a few more pics that show off these iconic locations.





Monday, 8 December 2014

Graphics Laptop Time

Whether it be for gaming, 3D visualisation, Simulation, 3D Modelling or a raft of other graphics intensive computing use - mobile hardware continues to evolve for us. I love that UNSW Built Environment has been an early adopter of things like realtime visualisation/simulation of architectural analysis and design. A range of game engines have been part of this use, with UE4 proving to be popular with students at the end of this year.

There are some Mac users around the faculty, but as almost all the specialist software in the industry is Windows-based, this platform dominates our labs and staff machines. I am sure that as we start to deliver some of these specialist apps directly from the server as Virtualised Applications or via Virtualised Desktops the students will like the macbook options.

We get a very good deal on HP workstations here at the uni and through that we provide zbook14 laptops as the standard machine for staff and our research students. With a nice spec this little machine does a good job of delivering some nice grunt in a thin and light package.


Our computer labs are driven by suped-up HP z230 Workstations with a sprinkling of the larger units in research areas. But we have tried to stay highly mobile for people where we could and this often meant giant graphics laptops that could be taken to lectures, to studio, to presentations, to home and anywhere else where large amounts of grunt are needed to work on or show off the graphical environments. We have had 17" HP Workstations and Alienware beasts on the 3D side as well as various things like  the WACOM Companion and Surface Pro for stylus input.

The latest piece of kit to enter the fray for us is MSI's Ghost Pro GS60 4K laptop. This 15" machine is overflowing with speed and yet delivers that in a thin and light formfactor that we have never had with this level of firepower. Our first suite of staff will get their machines next week and it will be great to see how they perform vs the older chunky hardware! With the GTX 970M, raid SSDs, 4K display, 16GB RAM and more packed into this machine at a good price it should be superb.


Oh there are other machines in this market which is healthy like the HP Omen and the Razer Blade - but the MSI looks like the sweetest package right now.



Sunday, 7 December 2014

Lightning and the Conductor

As our FATE Core supers game gears up for our Volume 1 finale atop Pyramid Tower with the devastation of the Great Convergence and the return of the exploding Captain Atomic. Our heroes find themselves at the centre of this cataclysm as our universe looks ready to ... impregnate another.

Anyhow, The Conductor is preparing by practicing with Echo and augmenting his suit with metallic coils around his arms wired up to the metal conduit balls. All of this to help him focus his electro-magnetic powers - hopefully as a team we will win the day. These are doodles done on my Galaxy Note 3 btw.


Oh and here is a completely awesome slow motion video of a lightning strike - should be good inspiration for the Conductor's powers...


Oh and here are a few sketches for Terror Incognita - who I think is on our side ... I think ...


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Nigel's Mood

I will blog more on PAXAUS over the coming days (it was spectacular btw), but here is a drawing I did squeezed in between things or while waiting in the mornings. After the events of our last session of our FATE Core supers game, Nigel (AKA The Conductor) is in a bad way. The world is in peril, he lost Odette to the evil of Dr Von Batt, he was genuinely scared for his friends, he saw where the path of villainy leads and he is feeling really down.

Rather than the cover of that issue I felt like drawing (using a different style this time) a cover for a fictional micro issue that could come straight after these events that took place fully inside his mind as we see all these pressures, friends enemies and potential disasters...



Again all in Photoshop using the Surface Pro 3, this time using more of a pencil sketchy shading method with the muted colours going in later. I was trying to get him to be low in the frame and to almost merge into the background that was a jumble of the thoughts preying on him. His usually lively (electrified) hair is now all limp and even his antenna looks sad...

Maybe this will be a turning point for him, will he strive to be a great hero for his friends and really try to emphasise the first part of his BENEVOLENT MASTERMIND aspect.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Team Vanquish Issue 8

Here's the cover for Issue 8 of our FATE Core supers game, this time featuring Team Vanquish as they go undercover into Batovia. The team is looking to uncover something of the origins of their latest team member Odette (Echo) and the notion that she was created by Dr Von Batt  a Silver Age villain who has his own nation in the heart of Australia. Nigel is loving the disguise as a Bond-like gambler, heading into Batovia's biggest casino called The Batcave.


This was all done in Photoshop again, with all the stages of sketching concepts, refinement, shading, colouring and then the background/layout. The vid as just put together in Premiere - and here it is all super-sped-up - somehow it took me ages...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Creativity

This little post was inspired by the John Cleese talk below that covers (in his usually comical way) thinking around how to set things up to allow creativity to happen. He talks about two basic modes: Open where creativity can happen and Closed where creativity doesnt occur but we become very efficient and focused on completing tasks. There is a great deal we can draw inspiration from here, even if one might debate the premise or find other ways of working. Great Stuff!


The follow-up thinking for me has been around where inherently creative tasks or multi-modal tasks might fit into this paradigm. Painting, designing, composing for example which rely on an ongoing dialogue of creativity and analysis while also actually delivering on the tasks themselves. They imply either a very rapid transition between the two modes or something actually cooler.

When I am drawing for example there are different levels of the creative process, how am I going to portray my idea, how can I find an interesting way to explore the details of the world or place or people, how am I going to use the limited skills I have to make something emotive and cool etc etc. There are creative choices and ideas at the same time as lines are appearing on the page inviting other ideas at the same time. That said there is some significant amount of craft going on, the practice of drawing rather than actual creative input - so it is a mixture or at least a SCALE rather than a pure switching of the two modes...

I really liked the piece in the video where John Cleese talked about the environment being safe for bringing in ideas and that working in a group of good friends being beneficial. I like these types of collaborations as well, whether it be in some creative output or in the context of something like a roleplaying game session. Playing something like FATE is highly creative for all the participants and we neeeed to feel free to throw things out there that then get expanded upon.


These process videos I have been making I think reveal a little of this - many of the concepts are coming from the group creative play sessions then as I try to think about the characters and situations more I need to design and create something with the drawings ans presentation...

Friday, 17 October 2014

Drawvids

I have been enjoying creating the WIP or process videos for my stuff, just letting Chronolapse do its thing and then packaging up at the end. Using traditional media we need to film things and there is a super collection of some actually talented artists creating some pretty cool comic sketches. The Visual Zen Advocate YouTube channel has a host of vids, mostly from conventions which should be inspirational to anyone who likes this sort of drawing. Whether armed with pencil, pen or stylus - there is so much to be inspired by here. Just being inspired enough to keep practicing is good, let alone trying to actually bring some of their stylistic skill to bear.

Check these out - inspiration in every second!!!







Sunday, 12 October 2014

Team Vanquish Issue 2 Cover

Going back in time a little for the next cover for our FATE Core supers game's fictional comic - featuring the first appearance of Ray-X. This was all done in Photoshop on the Surface Pro 3 and I did intend to do much more extravagant versions of the heroes in the lenses with some kind of cool x-ray overlay, but this inverted sketch logic works pretty well and lets me get onto the next cover. I liked Ray-X during the game, even if he is a bit of a cowardly weasel. The heroes made a mistake of leaving the mystery girl they rescued from the mansion with her - thinking he could help solve the mystery of who she was and what was wrong with her without everyone finding out. The video shows the creation of the piece with bits sped up between 3 and 6 times (plus a few pieces chopped out where I got distracted and Chronolapse just kept grabbing)


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Creativity by Design

I had a great time at the UNSW S2 Learning & Teaching Forum yesterday. Great mix of Keynote (Shirley Alexander), parallel sessions and the posters. Shirley really kicked things off with a bang, walking us through the great vision she has for UTS and its approach to learning that impacts pretty much all aspects of the uni. She talked about a vision that included all their space (huge redevelopment budget for the campus, but no new lecture theatres), learning styles, value of the on-campus experience, analytics and so much more. You can get a feel for some of the ideas on the UTS Connected Intelligence Centre as well as their Learning 2014 info.
There were a suite of parallel sessions, I was most enthused by Richard Buckland, who just never fails to lightup and inspire a room. This time he was talking specifically about building a community and the positive impact that has on course performance.

As for the posters on show, there were 22 of them set out in the room with their creators there for some conversations inspired by the work. I gave a preview of the Creativity by Design poster done by Dean Utian and myself here in UNSW Built Environment. We were looking at the positive results that come from employing tasks for students that allow for more creativity, in the presentation at one level, but preferably where creativity/design is present in the actual creation of synthesis of the product itself. I really liked the collaboration on this, from Dean and I nutting out the idea, refining the details and all the presentation development - teamwork can be very cool.

In the hall we had our poster with the supporting video playing beneath it which gives examples of the idea both from a hypothetical standpoint and from the Cinematic Space course. We primarily used Photoshop & Premiere to get the drawings, layout and video elements done. I had lotsa fun drawing the 'characters' first but then iterating the poster layout, message, text and impact before we even got to the video. There, creating the hypothetical example, adding the blinks and editing down all the content and extra info was a fun exercise - esp trying to keep it short while allowing enough time to read the important pieces on the day. I am keen to see how it goes down at the Universitas 21 conference later in the month...


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Vanquish Odette Cover

Rounding off the individual covers for the whole team we have Odette. She is the new member of team Vanquish in our FATE Core supers game. She is an NPC and supposed 'daughter' of super-villain Dr Von Bat. Nigel (the Conductor) is infatuated with her at the moment and she is also apparently artificial which will be awesome to explore more in the game.

I thought, having her peeking into frame would be a fun way to show she is new to the team and I wanted to play with hints of her artificial nature. Her hair has extra angles, there is the barcode tattoo, the blue tinted black hair and the binary code highlights. Even if the characters in game didnt find out she was created for a while, we the reader could have picked it up earlier.


Again this was all done in Photoshop, but the WIP video done with Chronoloapse captures and Premiere explains the process quite well I think...

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Darker Steve and some Worlds

After my Team Vanquish cover 4.4 featuring Minecraft Steve, apparently the intent was he had darker hair, so here is a quick edit.


The only other reason for this post is to say how much fun I am having with the 2014 League of Legends World Championships (quarter finals at the moment). I loved the game that Cloud 9 brought even though it wasnt sufficient to get past SSB.
I love how excited the commentary team gets when the players are just this good and the stakes so high. Even though the champions hitting the rift are generally very limited, it can be fun seeing something interesting get a pick now and again. It is certainly fascinating seeing how flexible the meta is when the teams are this good.
Game 4 of Samsung Blue vs Cloud 9 - how epic was that!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Vanquish Cover with Steve

Here is Issue 4.4 (or the fourth variant cover for issue 4) of the fictional comic for our FATE Core supers game featuring Team Vanquish as they set about being heroes in a fictional Sydney. I am still working on this set of covers for Issue 4 (gameday 4) which featured the dramatic events of the Gala dinner atop Pyramid Tower.

Seraph had gone to some effort to setup Steve with someone nice, but Steve was on another page - geared up to stream the event to his online fans wearing his denim suit. This was but the start of the drama...


Anyhow, here is one vision of Steve whose Minecraft-like powers make him a valuable team member but socially the relationship has been strained. This was all done in Photoshop on the new Surface Pro 3 built upon the template for the other covers (see other posts). I like watching the timelapse for this sort of thing as it not only shows the way I went about the drawing, but shows where I changed my mind, where I altered things, decided on the wink, changed his hair and so on. I probably would have liked him to be slightly more cartoony, more stylised - but am pretty happy with him. Now to see if he matches his player's vision of him - or the rest of the gang for that matter...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

LOL Vids and Worlds

I freely admit I am a crummy League of Legends player, I only know a few champs and dont play those very well. That said there is something wonderful about seeing the game at the level of esports and particularly the current world championships. I have been known to criticise the whole meta logic of how the lanes are played aspect of the game - but at this extreme level the structure just becomes flavour rather than rules = awesome.
I am still lost seeing all the abilities going off everywhere and only understand a small amount of the commentary, but I am still completely swept up in the action, the excitement, the emotion and all the highs and lows.

Here is the awesome promo video created for the World Championships showing off just enough of the game and these sports heroes to inspire the legion of fans and players out there. The stylised vision of the game at its players is wonderfully executed. I love that sequence in the clouds with the flashes of the champions and even the principle of the streaks of light is pretty evocative. So much style and flair along with the stirring music is a pretty nice way to kick off the Worlds.


But watching the games live is pretty sweet, they have done a great job of bringing the commentators, experts, interviews, music and graphics together with the game and the players to make the spectacle as exciting as possible. Just check out the Riot Games Twitch or Youtube channels for all the fun.

While we are here, I also like the new vid for Shurima, it is nice seeing so much going into the videos for Riot's uber-game.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Vanquish Seraph Cover

I continue to slowly add more fictional covers for our FATE Core supers game. This time we have Seraph, our celebrity flame-powered hero who was most looking forward to the gala event - her element. I am playing around with styles here, getting enough cartoony character into things while still presenting something glamorous and heroic. Check out the Conductor and Val versions as well.



So the whole thing is done in Photoshop, this time on the Surface Pro 3 and despite taking way too long the result is kinda cool. You can see the process in the video below again - I am not sure why Chronolapse only captured part of my screen - grumble. You will spot in the vid I used Liquify a few times - a new way to chane things rather than redrawing. Seeing the whole process is pretty interesting with audio from the Youtube Audio Library compiled together in Premiere Pro...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Forum Poster

Dean Utian and I created a poster for the upcoming Learning and Teaching Forum here at UNSW. Our theme tries to explore the idea of employing more creative (design) tasks for students and the range of benefits that this brings. The idea of even allowing for more creativity in the expression or presentation of an idea or argument immediately enhances the experience for the student, their peers and the teachers. When the task is actually a creative one then everyone is more interested in all the responses and each student can engage with specific content that interests them most.

Anyhow, we have gone through a range of iterations of the poster and I actually found it quite fun to try and bring in suggestions or clarify things for people based on their interpretations or feedback. Apart from the challenge of trying to explain a concept in diagramatic form and getting more data into things while simplifying the look at the same time - the most fun part was creating the little characters on the side. The first version of them was as a doodle on the back of a handout in a meeting and it seemed like a cool way to show the levels in a way that would be SUPER FUN for a poster.
I am happy with the way the cartoony versions turned out and how the whole poster really came together. I did these drawings straight in Photoshop with enough layers that changing the colour and few other elements was easy. They were green initially, but then Dean suggested this Blue, Orange, Red set which worked out much better. The little icon-like bits that show a progression from a very constrained format to freedom were also just quick sketches in Photoshop - I do like my Photoshop!

There was a fun discussion on what this character's name should be. I am happy for people to try and come up with things, my suggestion was Rubrik. Now we just need to work on the supporting video that will work through a few examples to illustrate the points we are making...


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Smallville (plus some Vanquish)

The family and I just finished Smallville season 10 and it is worthy of a blog post I feel. I think I will comment briefly on its relationship to our current FATE Core supers game and a few of the themes that I think are relevant.
My favourite characters from the show were Chloe and of course Lex. My character of The Conductor has lots in common with the Chloe actually, the idea that she acts with loyalty to friends and with conviction towards the greater good. Yet these very things she takes to extremes, the ends justifying highly questionable means. She manipulates and schemes and brings things together or takes them apart in order to set things 'right'. Nigel is alot like that, he is motivated by the eternal struggle between the greatest heroes and their nemeses.
That brings me to Lex, who is awesome in many ways, but at the end (spoiler) he has a similar mentality, the idea that the hero and villain both realise their potential through their conflict. The Conductor may well fall to super-villainy if that would see the heroes become what they need to be, to overcome some greater evil.
Green Arrow, Tess and Lionel round out my faves. All have dark streaks and yet we want to keep believing in their redemption.
In our Team Vanquish game there is tension between the heroes (as all good heroic dramas should) and there has been talk of The Conductor 'kidnapping' Seraph and Steve and setting things up so that they find respect for each other - much like the way Chloe 'fixed' Oliver. Scary where the 'line' is for characters like this.

Complete recap video - spoiler alert - but great for a reminder of all the action and drama.


Smallville isnt the greatest drama, but it does have plenty of memorable moments and did create some fun characters. We enjoyed the 218 episode ride as a family and I really do recommend the show! For a piece of fun, here are some fan art cartoon versions of some of these great characters by Dean T Fraser:


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Team Vanquish Cover 4 - Val

I have good intentions of creating covers for all our FATE Core superhero sessions. In particular I wanted to make a set of covers for the Gala issue (4) with one for each of our heroes as they get dolled up for the big event. I did Nigel the other day and here is what landed on the page for Val. She is our powerful non-powered team member who has some remarkable agility and ninja-like combat skills. We knew she was going in a sleek black dress and would have her sword. I like how her hair works in the pic...


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Super Letters

Our Team Vanquish FATE Core game has become very dramatic after the events at the Masquerade Gala! There has been plenty of fascinating discussion (OOC by the players) on how to resolve things at least enough for the team to get on with dealing with the bad guys and other aspects of heroism...

One of the options is for the team to come together at the children's wing of the Atomic Memorial Hospital. Here are some invitations from the kids that he brings to them...
Since the heart of the conflict is a failure of the Steve and Seraph characters to understand each other - they feature in the invites.



Thinking about the idea before diving into Photoshop, I figured a brush should be able to emulate crayon and rough pencil easily enough. I also wanted the whole process to be very fast - and it was!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Vanquish Issue 4 - Conductor Cover

I decided it might be cool to bring the Conductor drawing into a comic cover, add a mask (for the masquerade ball coming up in the next session) and include all the trappings that make it feel like a rel thing. Then I could craft up some variant covers for the other members of Team Vanquish all dressed up for the Gala.


This was all done in Photoshop, yes I could have created all the layout pieces in InDesign but for what it is this is more than good enough. Eras Bold ITC is the font you can see everywhere and since we are playing FATE Core - that seemed like a sane brand for our comic. Maybe a better (more detailed) ballroom background might have been nice, but this already took ages.


For the video I added 'Victory' from PurplePlanetMusic as a backing track (much better) and included the final piece at the end and a title at the beginning this time. Alas this is tripping the copyright tracking on youtube - thus the advert - oh well try again next time.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Note3 Vanquish Sketches

While at the UNSW Open Day today I took a range of moments to do 8 little sketches on my Galaxy Note 3 phone. It is easily big enough to get some detail in there even without zooming about the place. I ended up with 4 sketches as I think about our FATE Core superheroes heading for their gala event.  I am trying to find a quirky look I can bring to each hero while keeping things consistent.



Friday, 5 September 2014

Nigel Gala Pic

In our FATE Core supers game, after the epic conclusion of the first arc the team is gearing up for a Gala charity event in honor of Captain Atomic. Doubtless there will be heroes (and villains) a-plenty there, but it is a great opportunity for the team to come out and mingle. Alas our team has a reputation for ruffling the feathers of everyone we meet...


Anyhow, here is a sketch I did for The Conductor gearing up for the event. He still has pieces of his costume in there and I was really trying for a more 'characterful' vision without it turning into the classic superhero styling. I had lots more fun with this one...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Franciso Herrera Art

I have been trying to find a nice way to illustrate our heroes (FATE game) and when I was struggling with what was hitting the virtual page I went hunting for inspiration. Hey presto I found one Franciso Herrera, actually via his page on the Masters of Anatomy kickstarter. I love the zany styling he brings to the characters, they still retain all their individuality - in fact they highlight areas that make characters special. Maybe drawing on ideas like characature he makes every drawing a ball of fun. Just look at some of these drawings and quick sketches:







Sunday, 31 August 2014

X-Wing Storage

One of the things that Fantasy Flight doesnt give us with the X-Wing miniatures game is a storage solution. Even the starter set box doesnt hold the models we get and soon we are all looking for a way to bring these gorgeous starfighters to the table (along with an asteroid field's worth of tokens and other bits.


There are cool foam solutions, some with inserts specifically for the game, others just using foam storage cases like the ones used for camera lenses etc. I thought some sort of tackle-box might work and then saw this post by Winchell Chung where he is using a nice 3-tier storage box from Bunnings under the Tactix brand. This unit looks great as it keeps the models horizontal during transit and the compartments can accommodate the various sized ships and components.


Alas when I went to Bunnings today they didnt have this baby anywhere to be seen, so after much indecision I wound up with some of the Tactix 2 PC Storage Box Sets. These have some decent interior adaptability with the larger boxes great for the models and the smaller ones doing a nice job of counters, cards and dice.
Everything I have fit in 2 sets quite easily (2 starters, x-wing, a-wing, falcon, tie advanced) - plenty of room in some of the sections still. The set was in the 'storage' section while there were other options in the toolbox section - this set doesnt show up on their website at all though...

I like that the smaller boxes will be able to sit by the table to hold counters etc and everything being transparent will make it easy to find things. I could probably use another one or maybe two to allow for some more expansions and plus separate more of the components. At least they were nice and cheap at $7 a set - though I will still have to put them in a small bag of some sort to carry them about.