Shared posts

22 Sep 15:37

Announcing Big Pharma – The pharmaceutical strategy game

by cliffski

Regular blog readers might know that I published a game by a third party indie developer called The Tiniest Shark which produced Redshirt, the sci-fi comedy social-networking life sim game, which you can buy HERE. I enjoyed taking on the role of indie publisher, for all kinds of reasons I’ve talked about before. And lo, so it came to be that I was pitched another indie game that I’d love to see made, and it’s called Big Pharma

logo_300width

Big Pharma is being developed by another UK studio called Twice Circled, and designed and coded by Tim Wicksteed, whose blog you will find here. We also have a bare-bones facebook page for now for the game here and an actual website for it (with some very early images) here. In terms of genre, it’s a strategy game based on running a large pharmaceutical company, that is part biz-sim, part isometric factory/lab building sim, and it looks like this…

bp1

bp2

I LOVE the design and idea behind big pharma. I want to play it right now. It scratches that itch you get from games like Anno 2070 about laying out production lines, without having to use uplay or wait 40 minutes for the game to load. It’s also a proper biz/management game, which is obviously right up my street. It *is* quite early to be announcing this game, by positech standards. We normally wait much later, but the reason to announce now is that YOU CAN PLAY IT if you come down to the Eurogamer expo in London this coming weekend. Big Pharma will be there, alongside Gratuitous Space Battles 2.

So journalists…come…be our friends. We will shake your hands and talk enthusiastically about both games. You can have a go, and ask us questions. Big Pharma is NEW, nobody has played it yet, or heard about. Come and be the first to tweet/blog/write novels about your impressions of it. We dare you! And obviously come play Gratuitous Space Battles 2 as well. It is a sequel, but it has spaceships exploding, so swings and roundabouts…Plus we will have badges. Actual proper badges.

Me and Tim will be at the show all four days, so no need to book a time or anything. We will be in the indie area near prison architect. Oh, and if you like the look of Big Pharma, pls like it on facebook so we don’t feel lonely there…

18 Sep 13:51

Introducing The Heat Signature Team

by Pentadact

Last month I made a new video of my ugly prototype for Heat Signature and put out an open call for artists and composers who might wanna work on it. When I did the same thing for my first game Gunpoint, around 30 artists and 40 composers applied. For Heat Signature, 81 artists and 232 composers applied. This was extraordinary and flattering, then daunting, then impossible, then exciting once I finally had my decision, then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked. You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no to 310 of them.

My deep, deep thanks to the amazingly talented people who applied, it meant a huge amount to me that people of your calibre were interested in my thing.

Here’s who I picked:

Alex Burnett, composer

I said if composers wanted to make a sample piece for Heat Signature, they could have a go at both the peaceful music that will play as you fly around space, and the tense music that will play once you’re inside an enemy ship. Alex did a fantastic job of both, but his peaceful track in particular is just divine. Testing it in-game, as some of the first art started to make space look beautiful, it just perfectly matched the feeling of awe and serenity I wanted that experience to have.

Ivan Semidolin, composer

Ivan didn’t try to match the sample tracks I posted, which I mentioned was an option. His full-length track captures a mood I didn’t know I wanted. It uses industrial sounds that evoke the workings of this large machine you’re aboard, and has this unusual rolling, clicking beat I can’t get enough of. In-game, lots of great ‘tension’ samples made me feel like I was in a dangerous place – Ivan’s made me feel like a dangerous person.

John Roberts, artist

Exterior

Several artists’ samples made me say “Wow” out loud, but I think John’s was the first that made me say “Holy shit!” Did we make the game already? I appear to be looking at several screenshots of a rich, meticulously detailed, satisfyingly chunky, gorgeous and completely finished Heat Signature. How does this already exist?

Interior

Apart from the crispness and vividness of the thing, what I especially love is the sense of solidity in the interior shot: I feel like I know how heavy these walls are, what the worn floor would feel like to touch. And it’s full of clever game-savvy touches: all the interactive things are picked out in white, and boundaries between solid and empty space are stressed by hazard lines painted on the floor.

Silhouette

Sharp observers might recognise John’s name: he was also responsible for the best art sample I got for Gunpoint, and therefore became Gunpoint’s main artist. Heat Signature’s style is radically different, but apparently he’s just incredible at everything. Several other people I’ve worked with before also applied for these positions, and I didn’t give them any particular advantage for that. But I also didn’t exclude them: the point of the open submission process isn’t to avoid previous collaborators, it’s just to make sure that if I do work with them, it’s because they’re the absolute best fit for this particular game.

It was tough getting there, but I think that’s what we’ve got, and it’s really exciting to see it take shape. Obviously it’s early days, but if you come and play it at Fantastic Arcade in Austin this week (free), or EGX in London next week, you’ll be able to see how some of this stuff is already working in-game.

When’s it out? Dunno! But if you’re on the mailing list I’ll tell you once it is.

Can I test? At some point! Again, I’ll tell the mailing list when there’s a way to do that. I only use it for major stuff like that.

28 Sep 18:02

Let’s carve some meat!

by Iain
Markku.lempinen

Doom is awesome 8)

Well as long as we’re having a slow news day, I’ll use the opportunity to share the latest bit of rubbish that I threw together… Before Halo, before Unreal, before Quake, before them all, there was DOOM – the first person shooter that started it all. DOOM is now more than 20 years old, and still going strong! This is my homage to game:


 

Click here for tons of close-up shots. Or if you’re in the Seattle area next weekend, come see it on display – alongside a million other incredible fan-built LEGO creations – at BrickCon. But if you can’t make BrickCon, don’t worry, I created a little “fly-through” video for you:

15 Sep 18:51

Lego ‘SA-19 Grison’ Tunguska 9K22/2S6

by Nannan

Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka) is a master of military models, and this realistic 9K22 Tunguska Tracked Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft system is just proof of that. This new model is a redesign of an earlier version, and it’s interesting to note the differences between the two.

'SA-19 Grison' Tunguska 9K22/2S6

14 Sep 02:34

Kodos and Kang

by Simon

Jack McKeen (madLEGOman) has built possibly my two favorite Simpsons character (after Ralph), and with Halloween just weeks away, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of Kodos and Kang:

KodosAndKang02

12 Sep 06:12

Buni

by Ryan Pagelow
Markku.lempinen

Buahaha!

10 Sep 13:00

Bloomberg: Mojang's Notch 'unlikely' to stay on after MS buyout

by Sinan Kubba
Markku.lempinen

In my opinion, no sane and moral person would work for MSFT. But I may be somewhat biased.

If Microsoft's reported attempt to buy Mojang is successful, a Bloomberg source says founder and owner Markus "Notch" Persson is "unlikely" to stay on at the Swedish studio afterwards. According to the source, which Bloomberg notes as a person...
10 Sep 17:08

Guilty Sales Guy

by CommitStrip

09 Sep 19:24

Calvin and Hobbes

09 Sep 22:21

Tiger XL

by Sariel
Markku.lempinen

That's one beautiful MOC Tiger

Model of the famous WW2 tank. Features drive, steering, suspension, rotating turret, elevated main gun, panned and tilted front machine gun, V12 piston engine, openable hull, radiators with rotating fans, custom stickers and Lifelites LED kit.

Datasheet:

Completion date: 07/09/2014
Power: electric (PF 8878 battery)
Dimensions: length 44 studs (plus the barrel) / width 26 studs / height 22 studs
Weight: 2.238 kg
Suspension: oscillating bogies
Propulsion: 2 x PF L motor geared 2:78:1
Motors: 2 x PF L motor, 4 x PF M motor, 1 x 71427 motor, 2 x Micromotor

It’s been a few years since I’ve built my little Tiger tank model, just to check how many functions I can squeeze into a minifig-scale tank, and I never expected to build a Tiger again. Being an immensely popular tank, it has been built time and time again at every possible scale and style. About a year ago it occurred to me that I can’t recall having ever seen a LEGO Tiger with properly re-created road wheels, so I sat down and made a basic chassis utilizing 6×6 dishes. This started a long and tedious creation process: the chassis was initially equipped with NXT motors and NXT unit, because I felt like controlling the tank with my Xbox controller. Then I left it standing for months, and then I converted it to Power Functions system, because I felt like filming the tank outdoors – and that would be tricky with NXT control.

An important moment was when load tests proved that two PF L motors are perfectly capable of driving the model, in place of the usual XL motors. This was actually a drastic change: with the L motors being narrower by nearly a half, I suddenly had enough space to connect the motors, the transmission and the 8878 battery into a single compact unit that left most of the hull unoccupied. So much for “what are the L motors good for, anyway?”

A few months followed and sometime around June I’ve seen some more Lego Tigers and felt determined to give this tank my best. Starting in early July, I set out to create a model that was supposed to look as accurate as possible and to utilize the extra available space in a creative way.

All told, the model took 3 months of work, over 30 Bricklink orders and one fried Micromotor (NEVER use your Micromotor without the gray pulley attachment). The ammo box alone took 4 orders, including one that had to be re-sent because the seller got the colors wrong, and one of the other orders got lost, which has never happened with Bricklink to me before. The road wheels took about 10 orders, because there was only one 6×6 dish in this particular color in one rare, expensive set from 2003. At one point I was considering using light gray dishes on one model’s side just to save some money, but decided against it – the result is, at the moment of writing this article there is maybe a dozen of the dark grey dishes left in entire European part of the Bricklink, and you would have to buy them one by one.

The original Tiger became an iconic tank, and perhaps the most recognizable tank in history, which should mean that everything about it is known, and everything about it was built. But it is not so. Upon closer inspection, one can discover that the seemingly simple tank is actually full of traps for an inattentive builder. For example the thin towing cable was only present on left side, not on both sides, the upper glacis plate is not vertical but slightly inclined, the side skirts are mounted lower in the back and higher in the front, the turret had a slot below its front part, and the spare tread links were only mounted on turret in five-on-left/two-on-right set-up. Then there’s the fact that the Tiger has changed a lot between early and late production version, with some elements moved (e.g. on turret’s top) and some gone altogether (e.g. air filters in the back), not to mention the Zimmerite covering the late Tigers’ armor.

A well-known and popular tank, the Tiger’s history is actually a complicated one, and filled with contradictions. It was monstrously effective in right (or rather wrong) hands, yet it was rushed into service in a way that wasted much of its combat potential. Designed as a heavy offensive breakthrough tank, it was mostly used as a mobile defensive artillery unit. Highly complex and requiring a great deal of resources to manufacture, yet initially lost mainly to mechanical failures rather than enemy fire. Heavily praised by Nazi propaganda and feared by Allies, yet – at this point of war – overengineered and incredibly resources-costly (average fuel consumption was 430 liters per 100 kilometers, with sometimes twice as much in rough terrain – all of it right when fuel was in short supply in Germany). Designed according to an already outdated concept, as a king of 1:1 skirmishes, with strong armor and a gun far superior to any non-German gun, yet losing battles to packs of Soviet medium tanks or lurking tank destroyers. First tank in the history to have automatic fire suppression system or anti-personnel mine launchers on the hull, yet fitted with box-like armor that would have been dramatically more efficient if set at angle. Initially equipped with state-of-the-art snorkeling system, yet facing difficulties mostly from snow and mud of the Soviet front.

It was a tank that triggered rushed response in Soviet army, with new guns and then new tanks being introduced, eventually leading to the development of the IS heavy tanks. And the same tank was being hunted by specialized elite “beast-hunters” units of the same Soviet army just two years later. It was also a tank that triggered no real response with Allies, who have rightly assumed that constantly bombed German industry won’t be able to deliver a significant number of Tigers. All in all, a tank with many aspects and no simple summary.

Even if its introduction to the battlefield was unfortunate, the Tiger proved its worth, especially when handled by a skilled commander. The Tigers’ death-to-kill ratio at the Soviet front averaged at 1:10, and in some areas was many times higher. It is estimated that top “tank ace” among Tiger commanders destroyed no less than 168 tanks, and a number of other commanders were credited with over 100 kills each. Among them was Michael Wittmann, know as the Black Baron, who among his several Tigers used one with 222 number – the one whose markings I’ve copied in my model. The 503rd heavy tanks battalion, whose part 222 was, terrorized Soviet front destroying 501 tanks, over 400 cannons and 8 planes (!) while losing only 10 Tigers.

At the same time, it was tank whose design simply did not meet the reality of modern tank combat, extremely costly to make and devouring enormous amounts of resources from the already crumbling Nazi war machine. It is difficult to determine where its legendary status comes from – is it the technical sophistication, the initial fear it caused, the echoes of Nazi propaganda, or maybe simply the distinctive silhouette that made it stand out among many similar-looking German tanks? The truth is, for all its status it had little impact on the war, especially next to the tanks such as Sherman or T-34.

My model was based on early production version, with spare tracks on turret taken from later versions. It was built at almost exactly 1:18 scale, and it was imperfect and not fully acceptable by LEGO purists. Long story short, I would say it had 110% of the functionality and 90% of the aesthetics I was hoping for. As for LEGO purism – it used Lifelites LEDs because LEGO LEDs did not fit inside pieces I wanted to use as headlamps, it had custom twisted strings used as towing cables, and it utilized some unusual LEGO pieces that were probably produced to test molds and were not included in any LEGO sets – for example dark grey half-pins and unpainted round minifig shields. Tired with failures to get results with combinations of LEGO pieces, I have re-created the towing catches with a single LEGO piece: the extreme link from a LEGO chain. That means that I cut off rest of the chain, but the extreme links were technically unmodified.

From the very start my goal was maximum accuracy, and to that end I’ve measured not only distances in the model, but angles too. Early in the building process I have dropped the idea of installing a firing mechanism in the turret, and focused on re-creating its shape faithfully instead. The functions followed a “what’s the craziest thing I can do with so much space inside?” routine ;)

As for aesthetics, there was a number of solutions I was happy with, such as the front machine gun’s micro ball mount (below), but there was a number of shortcomings as well. Some of these resulted from the lack of some LEGO pieces available (e.g. gaps between plates that form turret’s front, which would require a wedge plate with 1×6 slant), some resulted from the lack of LEGO pieces in specific colors (e.g. the muzzle brake would look much more accurate built around a trans-clear 1×1 brick with studs rather than around a black one), and others resulted from my running out of ideas (e.g. the lack of a crossbar holding the spare track on the lower front glacis plate).

I’ve spent some time trying to use stickers to mimic rubber bands on the road wheels, but the curvature of dishes made it extremely difficult, and I didn’t want to resort to painting. And rightly so, because it turned out that shortages in materials forced using full-metal road wheels in later Tigers. Plenty of time was devoted to trying out various strings, because the towing cables on top and side of Tiger’s hull have specific plait, color and thickness, while string manufacturers lack consistency in declaring colors and thicknesses. The thickness was especially crucial to making the string stay on the model at all. The final towing cables made me happy – they looked good, added some extra colors, and were functional: meaning it was possible to take them off, tow something and put them back on. For a time the model was fitted with black tracks to add some color diversity, but close inspection of the few color photos of the WW2 era revealed that the original tracks were anything but black. And I have very quickly decided to put a LEGO Duplo shovel on the hull’s front, because shovels made with small LEGO pieces didn’t look good enough to me. In the end, I tried to pick interesting details, while intentionally omitting others: for example, I have ignored a manual fire extinguisher on the right radiator and the aforementioned mine launchers because they made the hull’s top look cluttered.

As for functionality, the road wheels idea that got the whole model started made suspension system not only possible, but in fact necessary – and that’s because of the complex way of getting just the right spacing between adjacent wheels. It is a little known fact that there are not two but three rows of the road wheels in each track of the real Tiger – which is fortunate, as I have replaced one of them with the suspension. Since torsion bars suspension did not allow me to place the road wheels close enough to one another, I have used oscillating bogies which proved to work quite well.

The road wheels, other than being extremely difficult to come by, were also concave, difficult to mount and not exactly fitting the track. In the end, the outer wheels are a bit lower than the inner ones, with the suspension bogies tilted slightly forward, but the entire set-up worked better than expected and performed flawlessly during any  maneuvers, even when driving on soft towel.

With the propulsion and suspension working just right, I have proceeded to utilize the remaining space creatively. I have installed a V12 piston engine in the back of the hull – as the propulsion was in front, just like in the original Tiger. Eight of the engine’s pistons showed when hull was opened, while the remaining four could be seen deeper, reaching deep under the turret. I have installed two Lifelites LEDs behind the engine hoping to make these four pistons more visible, but apparently it didn’t help much. The V12 was driven by a 71427 motor, which was short and ran quietly, and beneath it was a PF M motor used to open up the back/top portion of the hull to display the piston engine. Since the hull’s rear part was a fragile combination of plates and hinges, it was necessary to match the movement range of two small linear actuators opening it perfectly, so that clutches in the actuators stopped them from tearing the hull apart.

There was some space available on the inner “shelves” above the tracks, so it occurred to me that I could include radiators in my model. There are two radiators at the back of the real Tiger, each with two fans set at angle – I have re-created them carefully, with one fan in each radiator rotating permanently, and the other rotating occasionally, when the friction between fans was sufficient. The “fans” were actually Technic discs with fan-like stickers on them, coming from the old and rare 8269 set. Being rare pieces, they were difficult to buy, so I managed to buy the 8269’s sticker sheet instead and placed the stickers on plain discs. Both radiators were driven by PF M motor located above the left track – it was not possible to drive them and the V12 by a single motor without removing either the turret’s turntable or part of the V12.

Speaking of the turntable, it was rotated by another PF M motor, this time sitting above the right track. The mechanism was geared down to match the famously slow speed of Tiger’s turret rotation – something that probably saved life of many Allied soldiers. There was just a single wire going through the turntable, connected to yet another PF M motor inside it. This particular motor powered a small linear actuator controlling main gun’s angle. Even though the turret seemed large, I had a hard time fitting the motor and the actuator inside it, because most of the space was taken by a structure required to model the turret’s outer shape.

The last mechanism was the motorized panning and tilting of the machine gun in the upper glacis plate, which was controlled by two Micromotors. Both motors were synchronized with the turret, they moved the gun using towball connections, and their very low torque acted as a natural movement limiter. Unfrotunately, this low torque also meant that the motor controlling elevation of the machine gun was getting stuck a lot – it worked fine with the gun aimed straight ahead, but not so well with the gun aimed to the side.

All in all, I was happy with the model – it was good enough to make me proud, but not good enough to make me stop trying to do better. It has also convinced me that even with over a dozen tank models already built, I can still come up with something new and innovative. On the downside, I really didn’t like having two motors running all the time, especially the noisy M motor driving the radiators. It made playing with the model bothersome, it made me want to turn it off as soon as possible, and it drained the lone battery pretty quickly – which was ironically similar to the real Tiger’s fuel consumption.

Work in progress photos:

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Photos:

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Video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Media coverage:

8 Studs (Polish)The Lego Car Blog

09 Sep 18:00

Gunpoint Is In The New Humble Indie Bundle!

by Pentadact

I’m drunk to announce that Gunpoint is in the Humble Indie Bundle 12! Best of all, you get it no matter what you pay. No! Best of all is what else you get if your generosity stretches to the princely sum of ten dollars:

  • Gunpoint, I just said that
  • Gone fucking Home
  • Papers fucking Please
  • Prison fucking Architect!
  • Luftrausers!
  • Hammerwatch!
  • SteamWorld Dig!
  • What!

What is not a game, this is just an alarming selection of stuff. And for the first time ever, there’s also a $65 special edition that comes with a load of physical goods like:

  • A T-shirt featuring all these games!
  • A vinyl record with a song from each of these games – in Gunpoint’s case, The Five-Floor Goodbye.
  • A floppy disk! I don’t know what’s on that!
  • A manual! I don’t know what it says!
  • Some badges, or pins if you’re American!
  • It comes in an actual box!

This has been in the works for a loooooooong time, and it’s only thanks to the hard work of the guys at Abstraction that we have Mac and Linux versions of Gunpoint to make us eligible to be in one. I’m particularly delighted to be in this one, with such extraordinary company (two BAFTA winners!), because the biggest upside for me is the sheer number of people who’ll hopefully get to try our game. And when Gunpoint is nowhere near the headliner, lots of those will be people who might never have tried it otherwise.

08 Sep 13:47

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 Ship Customizer! Oh yes…

by cliffski

Behold the latest video. I think you will like this one. Plus, this is with my spangly new (pricey) microphone. can you tell the difference? Not sure I can, but let me know if it’s any better!

I’m sure people will have some questions. If you don’t see this is a big cool new feature that totally changes GSB, then watch it again :D It’s going to be awesome fun seeing what people can do, especially given how crazy people went with mods for GSB1 and that was without any ability to change graphics within the game. Let me know what you think…

08 Sep 01:00

Borderlands 2 to scavenge for loot and experience on Linux

by Thomas Schulenberg
Borderlands 2 opened fire on psychos and wildlife almost two years ago, but Gearbox Software's cooperative shoot-n-loot is keen on hunting game in as many regions as possible. Borderlands 2 is now poised to cross another target off its list, as...
02 Sep 04:38

Forum Post: RE: 1/72 Type IXC U-Boat Build Log

by Señormodeler
Markku.lempinen

Amazing

Time for an update.


Lately I've just been adding layer upon layer of weathering to the hull with Gamblin artist oils. I don't know where the finish line is but I feel like i'm getting close. I've been doing some sponge chipping as well.  Here are a few pics:





As I'm looking at these photos, I'm realizing that you can't really see all the detail I'm putting into it. They kind of look the same as the last group of photos i posted. Oh well.
01 Sep 17:21

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 : First battle video!

by cliffski
Markku.lempinen

It looks fantastic :o

Well I’ve been working on this beast long enough, so it’s time to share my efforts with you wonderful people of the internet. I have a whole bunch of stuff I’ll eventually talk about and show to you, but I thought I’d start off the Gratuitous Space battles 2 videos with a decent 9 minute explanation by me of the stuff that is new (so far) in the graphics engine for the GSB 2 battles. There is a lot to talk about:…

I tend to do more written stuff than videos just because I find the majority of video content moves ‘too slow’ for me. I want all the information and spectacle of stuff condensed as much as possible because I take information in very very fast. If someone has a really slow speaking voice it’s even more agonizing. But hey, I’m not the audience, you are, and the good people of the internet seem to prefer video content to written, so I’m going to try and do my bit to keep up with your youtube-watching ways. or twitch, or whoever is cool this week :D

It’s difficult because I hate my own voice, and I have broadband (ha!) delivered by a sliver of copper the size of an angels nostril hair, so my upload speed is about 45kb/s on a GOOD day. This vid took nearly 4 hours to upload. Grr. Luckily I should have a chance of getting fiber here in December.

Anyway, enjoy the vid, post any comments here or on youtube or on the GSB2 official forums. I have more stuff to show off in a few weeks!

 

31 Aug 16:53

Forum Post: RE: Painting figurines eyes

by jgeratic

tankerbuilder -   the bug eyed look results from having completely round dots.  If they are too large for the face, and adding surrounding white, just amplifies it that much more.

Yes some don't bother with the whites, and just leave it a flesh tone.  It's a step to add little extra to the figure, like I did with mine here:

regards,

Jack

29 Aug 18:13

Forum Post: Finished: Trumpeter Me 262B

by cnq
Markku.lempinen

Insane :)

I've just got this one finished. The camo is all hand painted. I could not find any good pictures of "10" so I did the camo followed instruction from Trumpeter but decided to go a bit tighter between the marks since I feel it would be  more accurate.

26 Aug 21:30

[anythingcomic]

Markku.lempinen

It happens...

25 Aug 14:21

An ode to the Steadicam

by Jason Kottke

A short appreciation of the Steadicam and its inventor, Garrett Brown. (Brown also invented the football SkyCam.) Features footage from Rocky, Return of the Jedi, and The Shining.

From Wikipedia:

The Steadicam was first used in the Best Picture-nominated Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory (1976), debuting with a shot that compounded the Steadicam's innovation: cinematographer Haskell Wexler had Brown start the shot on a fully elevated platform crane which jibbed down, and when it reached the ground, Brown stepped off and walked the camera through the set. This technically audacious and previously impossible shot created considerable interest in how it had been accomplished, and impressed the Academy enough for Wexler to win the Oscar for Best Cinematography that year. It was then used in extensive running and chase scenes on the streets of New York City in Marathon Man (1976), which was actually released two months before Bound for Glory. It landed a notable third credit in Avildsen's Best Picture-winning Rocky (1976), where it was an integral part of the film's Philadelphia street jogging/training sequences and the run up the Art Museum's flight of stairs, as well as the fight scenes (where it can even be plainly seen in operation at the ringside during some wide shots of the final fight). Garrett Brown was the Steadicam operator on all of these.

The Shining (1980) pushed Brown's innovations even further, when director Stanley Kubrick requested that the camera shoot from barely above the floor. This prompted the innovation of a "low mode" bracket to mount the top of a camera to the bottom of an inverted post, which substantially increased the creative angles of the system, which previously could not go much lower than the operator's waist height. This low-mode concept remains the most important extension to the system since its inception.

(via @robinsloan)

Update: Here's Brown talking about the Steadicam and his career. And here's Stanley Kubrick's introduction to the Steadicam, via a letter from a colleague. (via @poritsky & @LettersOfNote)

Tags: Garrett Brown   movies   video
26 Aug 14:09

Forum Post: RE: 1/6th scale M4A4 sherman tank Project

by armourguy

More progress on the model was made and the tank is another step closer to the finish line.

 

 

All the functions have been completed, this includes the turret and the hull functions.

 

 

With the functions now out of the way, the project's back has been broken and it is all down hill external detailing from here.

 

 

Like on my last RC sherman build I added the function of the pivoting loader's periscope. The kit has a nice milled recess for the periscope. To make the unit pivot I modded one of my resin periscopes to rotate on a sleeve plug.

 

 

The sleeve was then epoxied to the interior of the turret.

 

 

The scope is hooked up with the turret rotation function and pivots when the turret is activated. This function gives a little more animation to the model.

 

 

The last function that I added to the turret was the functional gunner's scope.

 

 

The gunner's scope on the sherman like with most tanks is connected to the tank's main gun... and elevates and depresses with the gun in unison. I wanted to add this feature to my build as it helps with the accuracy of the tank, and is something that I haven't seen done before.

 

 

The top plate was retained as it was the correct size and shape, only mods made were the addition of more fasteners and the split line detailing. The turret already has a nice divot in the casting and a securing plate for the scope.

 

 

 

The scope notch was drilled out, and pivot mounts were also added. For the scope itself I modded a spare panzerwerk periscope and fitted it to a rotor drum, finally for the top hatch door I used one of my resin periscope covers. To pivot with the scope the molded in hinge was removed and in it's place micro hinges were used.

 

 

As for the hookup I simply used a connecting rod to hook the system to the gun. this way like the real tank it moves in sequence and because it's passive no extra electronics are needed and saves interior space.

 

 

The last function that was added to the hull was the addition of the taillights. For the taillights I used one of my own sets, along with a set of my tail light brush guards

 

 

 

Like on my other builds I modded the LED to fit snugly into the tight recess of the taillight.

 

 

 

 

The lights were patched into the headlight circuit and works along with the other lights

 

 

 

After the last of the functions were added I started to comb through and add the remaining exterior detailing.  So far the front portion of the vehicle.

 

 

Starting with the sprocket, since the test drives showed that the sprocket needed no adjustments I fabricated a cover cap for the center fastener.

 

 

the cover cap was fabricated out of a thin sheet of brass. By being so thin it covers up the fastener and keeps the recess that is found on the center of the Sherman sprocket.

 

 

On the front plate the cast numbers, foot rest, welds, foul weather driving hood clips and the bow hatches were all added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used my early sherman hatches for the model, like with my other builds I used the panzerwerk periscopes. The interior portion of the hatches were painted and weathered

 

 

 

 

One mod that I made to the hatches though was the removal of the counter weight assist spring and mounts. Because this tank is being built as such an early vehicle these springs were not developed at this time. It is also because of this reason why I didn't add the brush guards to the periscopes on this tank... as they would be anachronistic.

 

 

On the tank's rear deck I added the fuel cover caps. The caps on this tank were supplied with the kit and they are from armorpax. They are very nice, easy to build and are fully functional. They were assembled out of the box.

 

 

 

I also fabricated the tank's grill work. The M4A4 had a unique rear deck setup compared to the other variants of the sherman. The A4 had a small intake grill just aft of the turret which was placed right in front of the engine's radiator.

 

 

The grill itself was the typical US design, where it used welded slats. The kit comes with a laser cut sheet metal grill. The kit grill is a decent piece, but rather than using the kit supplied one I went and scratch built a new one.

 

 

The new grill is all fabricated out of soldered brass strip, and sits in a box frame like the real one. Also like the real grill the mounting straps, and lift handles were also fitted.

 

 

 

The only plastic part is the bullet splash guard, which was made out of styrene. As I mentioned before the rear bullet splash rim was making contact with the turret and was deleted... What's interesting is that this same issue happened in real life with the real M4A4, and the designers redesigned the grill to have the bullet guard connected to it.

 

 

 

 

After the grill was completed the grill was primmed/ painted in it's base coat, and a weld was sculpted on for the bullet shield. The grill will be fastened to the tank after the radiator cover is fabricated/ mounted... more on that to follow!!

 

 

 

The fire extinguisher box was also fitted at this time, As of note you can also see that the guard has a notch cut out for clearance. The extinguisher itself is one of my resin units.

 

 

The top deck engine hatch was also fitted. The kit supplied hatch was a nice made component, but after I made some mods to the upper deck it was no longer going to be compatible. I obtained an aluminium plate of the same thickness and fabricated the new hatch for the dimensions of my rear deck.   

 

 

The A4's hatch was very simple, was noting more than a steel plate with some handles and lock fasteners fitted. These simple details were added.

 

 

For the hinges the kit hinges were used OOB, only mods made was the weld detail, and some cast texture that also covers up the mounting fasteners

 

 

The underside of the hatch was painted. With the hatch done I also mounted the control panel to the tank permanently, as no more RC functions will be added at this point.

 

 

 

Some turret details were also added. This would include the notch for the turret ring slot screws, and the cheek blister.

 

 

 

The shell ejection hatch was also fitted. The kit supplies you with a basic functional hatch along with the collar blister. The kit one could have been modded, but instead I swapped it out for one of my own resin ones. The collar blister was bolted to the turret, and body work was done to blend in all add on's to the turret cast surface.

 

 

 

 

more images were posted on the ECA facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/EastCoastArmory

 

and a video update was posted on youtube,

https://www.facebook.com/EastCoastArmory

 

I'm now finishing up the molding for the A57 multibank radiator cover. Once added I can finish off the tool post effectively completing the tank's hull! Once complete I can finish off the turret and get this bad boy into paint!! More to come!  

25 Aug 22:39

Forum Post: RE: FineScale Modeler Orphaned Armor Group Build 2014

by Bish
Markku.lempinen

Having the guy paint the Balkenkreuz on the tank is a pretty idea 8)

After the last update, I added the markings. I did try making a stencil for the numbers but that didn't work out so I bite the bullet and did them free hand and was pretty pleased with them. Same goes for the cross. Then it was just a case of how to finish it. I have never done a model with the aim of getting a freshly painted look. I know it seems obvious, just paint it, but things are never that simple. So after some thought, I simply applied a light raw umber oil wash to create some shadow and left it at that.

To finish off the dio, I used a figure from the Tamiya 251/9 kit, wooden fence and a few items out of the spares box.

So here are the finished pics.

As always, comments, suggestions, anything you think I have missed, always welcome.

Tim, Aaron, thanks again for another great GB idea. I have had this kit for years and it was always going to be built in German markings. It just wasn't on the radar to be built any time soon. So it was nice to be able to pull this one out of the pile.

I look forward to seeing the progress and completed builds of you all. 

22 Aug 17:00

The Dirty Dozen sale on showmethegames.com

by cliffski

Behold, it is announcement time! You know I’ve been blogging a bit about my indie game site at www.showmethegames.com, maybe mentioning all the new articles on there written by the talented Dan? Well that was just part of the SMTG world domination plan. Behold phase II!

It’s time for the SMTG Dirty Dozen Discount week:

ddd

So what’s all this about then? It’s a dozen high quality indie games you should know about, that all have the option to buy direct from the developer, and all of which are on sale for the next week. Some of them have huge stonking great discounts, like a political strategy game I’ve read *great* things about. You should go check out the page right now. And of course, you all know this, but it is extremely helpful if you can share the news on social media, twitter, reddit, facebook and so on. I feel a bit stupid asking people to do that, but then most people complain about paid advertising, and most people complain about self-promotion on social media, and it just ends up as an arms race to see whose readers are the most likely to retweet things, which I guess is inevitable but seems a bit weird. Anyway…. all such promotional help is hugely appreciated. Now… why should you care?

  • This isn’t a bundle. you can buy 1 game or all dozen, which makes a change
  • This is another place offering game discounts and offers, and variety is always good for the consumer in a free market.
  • 100% of the money goes to the developers. I run SMTG out of my own pocket. the site doesn’t take a single penny.
  • Did I mention 100% of the money goes to the developers?

So there you go…hopefully it gets noticed, generates some sales for the developers involved (including me, I’m one of the 12), and it justifies doing it again some time.

 

21 Aug 19:51

Air supremacy

by Iain

Proving that a LEGO model doesn’t have to be a spaceship in order to be totally swooshable, Dutch builder Red Spacecat has created the AV-24B Seahawk, an imaginary modern military VTOL gunship inspired by the AV-8B Harrier II jump-jet and AH-64 Apache helicopter.

As well as featuring the usual elegant lines and stud-free surfaces of his other builds, this one is also fully configurable and comes with all manner of interchangeable armaments, making for one fun toy!

And the attention to detail with stickering practically borders on the obsessive! It’s enough to make the model airplane builder in me salivate…

20 Aug 17:03

Breathtaking aurora snapshot from the Space Station

by David Pescovitz
wisemaaaa

Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweets from the International Space Station: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10 minutes ago on the #ISS #aurora." Another shot below. Read the rest

16 Aug 16:38

This is exactly why X-Files is better than CSI

19 Aug 03:14

Great snakes!

by Iain

As a tribute to the beloved Belgian comic book series Tintin, Canadian builder Paul Hetherington has perfectly recreated the cover of one of my favorite issues, Land of Black Gold.

The characters seem to literally fly out of the page at you! I particularly like that this cover has given Paul the opportunity to use some lovely ultra-rare turquoise colored bricks, for the Thompson Twins’ chemically enhanced beards.

18 Aug 14:42

Seeking the Temples of Syrinx

by Dan

Hans Dendauw (tigmon77) brings us an awesome little Neo Classic Space scene this morning. The little ship is a funky shape, and has some great detailing. The walls and floor are just detailed enough, and provide room for a little reference that goes in the title of the creation. Rush on over to check out the full album.

Seeking the Temples of Syrinx...

16 Aug 20:47

Civitatem et Flammas

by Josh

This portrait of Roman Emperor Nero by Mihai Marius Mihu is simply stunning. I love Mihai’s work and this definitely doesn’t disappoint! From the ruined and burnt bust to the city in flames…not to mention the laurel wreath that mirrors the flame motif…this creation is tied together incredibly well.

Civitatem et Flammas (Emperor Nero)

14 Aug 13:57

Video of Ferguson police gassing news crew and dismantling their equipment

by Rob Beschizza

A news crew, clearly no threat or impediment to the cops, films from a verge in Ferguson, Missouri. A pop and a cloud of white smoke marks the arrival of a tear gas canister at their feet, and the newscrew is forced to flee.

Read the rest
14 Aug 03:24

Here’s another Comcast cancellation horror story, with video evidence

by Jon Brodkin

This story will sound familiar, but it's not a repeat. A month after AOL's Ryan Block posted an audio recording of a Comcast cancellation call that even a Comcast executive called "painful to listen to," another customer has posted a video showing how difficult it was for him to cancel service. 

Aaron Spain: Comcast put me on hold until they closed.

Chicago resident Aaron Spain explained in the video Monday that he was on hold for more than three hours, showing the time of the call on his phone as proof. He was calling to cancel Comcast "after a month of trying to get them to fix my service," he said. Spain was transferred to the retention department, but didn't actually get to talk to anyone. After using a different phone to call back the same number, Comcast's automated assistant told Spain, "I'm sorry, but our offices are now closed."

Comcast admitted fault, telling news sites today that “Under no circumstances is this the experience we want our customers to have. Our goal is to be respectful of our customers’ time and fix any issues the first time. We take this very seriously, and after investigating Mr. Spain’s situation, we want to apologize to him and acknowledge that his experience was completely unacceptable.”

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments