Filed under Writing

Illustrating another textbook

Spring is finally here! I hope to pick up a new camera soon, and get back to photography.

Over the last month, I’ve been compiling the hundreds of illustrations for the second edition of the thermodynamics textbook my dad wrote in the late 80’s. It’s been a pretty grueling process going through each drawing.

Also, the second edition of Exploring Engineering is now on Amazon.com. It contains most of my original illustrations with a few changes.

Filed under Gaming

Lord of Ultima

The Ultima Logo
Ultima Logo

Just today I discovered Lord of Ultima, a web browser based game. Besides the fact that it has really nothing to do with the original Ultima game series (other than it’s namesake), but it’s still kind of a neat game concept. It plays a bit like a simplified version of Age of Empires with players building cities across a large singular continent (I can see this becoming a problem in the future) and fighting with one another or creating alliances. What surprises me is that it doesn’t seem to use Adobe Flash or require any kind of proprietary plug-ins, it just seems to be some kind of glorified JavaScript/Ajax application. This might not be a new an all new Ultima role-playing game, but it could be a really cool game in itself.

Update: The game was discontinued shortly after I wrote this.

Filed under Design

Personalized calendars

Picture of Mistletoe's calendar
Mistletoe’s Calendar

I really like having a personalized wall calendar. Normally, I have been using the freebe calendars provided by a realtor, which isn’t all bad, because they’re peppered with virtually all the  local events. But, I personally prefer to display my own artwork on my walls, even if it’s not the best.

A couple of years ago, I made a calendar based on my illustrations from Mistletoe’s Night. I used iPhoto on my Mom’s Mac to assemble the calendar and add holidays and personalized dates on it. I was really happy with the final product, even though it was a tad pricey.

Last month, I made another calendar, based on some of my photos, using the same tools I had used the last time with the same results. I really wanted to try a different service like Snapfish (to get away from Apple), but I really didn’t like the general look of their formating. It was a little hard to tell from their illustrations what the final product will look like, but I wasn’t terribly keen on their options.

Filed under Media

Cartoons of the 80’s

I just finished watching the G.I Joe: Resolute mini-series that aired on Cartoon Network last year. As someone who grew up in the 80’s with the animated series and corresponding toy line, I was amazed that they geared this particular incarnation to my generation, far better than the recent live action movie. It was really fun to see the characters from the 80’s series faithfully carried into the 21st century, costumes and all, but with a more adult target demographic and story telling. I hope they continue producing more full length episodes.

I also watched recently, for the first time since I can remember, the 1978 animated version of Lord of the Rings. The animation is really quite unique. They combined rotoscoped cartoon characters with live action costumed actors that were poorly put through some kind of filter to make them blend in with the cartoon characters a bit better. It reminded me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and more recently that really awful Dragonlance direct to video adaption. I don’t know, I once thought about doing 2D animation via rotoscoping, but I guess now I just don’t like the look of it.

Filed under Design

Theme change… again

Happy new year!

As you can see I changed the theme again. I just wasn’t happy with the previous attempt. I for the life of me could not make the background work with the text in the foreground. Hopefully, I’ll be happy with this theme for a while at least.

Filed under Programming

REMLAB Update

Mad Cat 3D rendering
Mad Cat

The latest update I put on SourceForge fixes a bunch of calculation bugs that I had come across plus some other tweaks. I also added preliminary structure/building construction to REMLAB as well. FASA never really flushed out the rules for designing building and installations. The orignal Compendium had rules for it but they just seemed to have too many unnecessary features. So I ultimately went off the “guidelines” from the Maximum Tech source book. Because of the way REMLAB is written there are just a few minor limitations with weapons allocation on multi-hex buildings, but nothing really serious. For the next release, I’m going to try and finish ProtoMechs.

Filed under Design

Theme change

I decided I didn’t like the look of this site, it was my first attempt with WordPress after all. Anyway, I kept the layout the same, but I redid the bulk of the graphics and colors. As well as fixing as much as I could of WordPress’s sloppy HTML and CSS coding from the default theme they provide. I’m still tinkering with it, so it should be finalized soon. The background image is a work-in-progresss illustration from my next book.

Filed under Photography

Snapfish

I just received my prints from Snapfish today. It was the first time that I used a service like this. I figured I’d give it a shot since my printer has been having issues with clogs in the color nozzles as of late, and the service is pretty cheap as well. The print quality is really good, as expected, and delivery was fast as well. I will probably do this again as long as I can find some photos that are print worthy.

Filed under Gaming

Return to Gaming

Since, I built my first new computer in nearly seven years this Summer, I’ve been trying to catch up on a long list of computer games that I’ve been dying to check out. At the top of the list was Bioshock, which turned out to be a pretty awesome game in nearly every aspect. The story and setting was hauntingly brilliant, as to how low can mankind can sink. Though, I can’t help think that the upcoming sequel won’t live up to the original.

Mass Effect was another game on my short list. It was pretty cool for the same reasons I liked Bioshock. The story and setting was well crafted, even though the game felt a little short and combat was a little goofy, but it was a good set up for future installments.

The last one was Oblivion, which improved upon many of the glaring short-comings of Morrowind, but still, the game is missing something. I just can’t quite put my finger on it. Either way it’s still a pretty fun game.

After that, I still need to pick up Half-life 2 and Crysis, plus some of the games coming out this Winter look to be worth checking out.

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