Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Moved

I've outgrown Blogger, so I've set up a new blog/site on the same host as my old business website.

Update your bookmarks and see you there!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Uppity Robots: The Resurrection

Well, not quite a resurrection, but it sounded cute!

A few weeks ago, the Saga of the Uppity Robots stuff was moved to the Ebbles Labs section of the WWG storefront, and in the process of doing that, my interest in that product line was rekindled a bit, especially while composing the product descriptions. 

Bad fiction occasionally has an inspirational effect, and it led to these 2 new models:



I wanted both of these models to sort of stay in the same family as the Crotale and the Percheron visually, while looking a bit newer and more "modern", as it were. I also addressed several design aspects of their progenitors that bugged me. Unlike the Crotale, the Apsara actually has room on the underside for proper-sized missile armament. The Haflinger has a more efficient internal layout than the Percheron, with a rear ramp and outboard engine nacelles. It also has a proper set of landing gear that gives it enough ground clearance to hang external pod armaments.

There's also supposed to be a third model in this set, which will be a completely redesigned Marauder in Trilateral Union markings, and I'm likely to include the new Onager with the trailers in the same set just to round things out a bit.

I'm working on these models in my spare time, so I'm not sure when they'll be released. Considering how overdue Chez Ebbles was for an update, I figured it couldn't hurt to post the beginnings of another Workbench series.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Ebbles Labs releases

I've added 6 items to the Ebbles Labs section of the WorldWorks catalog.

First up, 3 oldies-but-goodies from 2007, all of which have received a bit of a texture refresh and now offer full machine-cutting compatibility:

Next, we have 3 new bundles for the Saga of the Uppity Robots models. There's nothing really new here and half the planet probably owns these models by now, but I'm mentioning them because I thought you guys might like to see the shiny new promos and little backstory nuggets on the product pages.

Here's an example of one of the new promos:

You can visit the Ebbles Labs section here: Ebbles Labs

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Broadening my horizons

Denny asked me last Thursday if I wanted to work on something with him, and I jumped at the chance for several reasons, the biggest one being the fact that it was a chance to further develop and iron out a new collaborative workflow.

This is the project in question, the Roll Arena, which is a dice-rolling game aid:

Denny had the idea for this set a fair while back, and he'd done some initial prototyping, but he didn't decide to take it across the finish line until recently. I designed a new enclosure for it, and he textured it. It was a fun project!

You can read more about it in the preview thread on the WWG forum.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Miscellaneous updates

First, I want to apologize for being so scarce. I normally don't have any trouble keeping up with all the various forums and whatnot, but I've been extremely busy as of late. Some highlights:

The Ebbles download area got borked a while back due to some settings changes made by my hosting provider. These changes are normally a good thing, but they ended up affecting a couple of scripts that deliver the downloads. After some lengthy back and forth with technical support, we finally found the cause and have fixed most of the problems. However, there may still be a couple of missing files, and I still need to add the old free downloads to the system and merge the Ecwid store's downloads with the old ones.

Incidentally, I had already set up and planned to surprise all of my old customers with full access to all of my old products, but the technical issues forced me to put the official announcement on hold until they were resolved. I noticed, however, a tendency for many of those customers to obviously discover that they suddenly had a lot of downloads they hadn't actually paid for, then instead of emailing me on the off chance that it might have been a mistake, most of these people just tried to binge-download it all in a single go and run off like common looters. How rude.

On the WWG front, some of you likely know about that little whoopsie where some people are missing downloads. Long story short, the process of migrating data from the old WWG store to the new WWG store relied upon the product SKU to match up products and generate downloads. However, the SKUs for some of the products changed at some point, so these products were erroneously handled as discontinued legacy products. Those show up in your order history, but not in your collections. To make things even more hilarious, we did not realize this had occurred until well after the store had gone live and a lot of new orders had been processed. So, we couldn't just wipe the slate clean and redo the migration, and it meant I had to do the programming equivalent of repairing an engine while it's still running. It took me a while, but I've developed and tested a fix for that issue. As it requires turning the store off for maintenance for a little while, I'm scheduling it to happen during off-peak hours during an upcoming weekend.

I've also been minding the store in Denny's absence. The guy finally caught some vacation time this past weekend through Wednesday, and I hope he made the most of it. I've been keeping an eye on the dev forum, the public forum, the store backend, and making sure the scheduled releases went smoothly. Speaking of which, Matt's done a bang-up job on the new Mayhem Traffic set, so check it out!

I've also been moonlighting in graphic design. Mrs E works for a local school for certified nurse aides, and she's the senior CNA instructor there. She asked me to update their advertising flyer, because the old one was pretty dire. Apparently I've still got the touch for that sort of thing, because they're in love with it and have kicked the mockup I did to the home office in Florida for approval. She also kind of broached the idea of me redoing their website and some other stuff...which ended in me nearly asphyxiating from laughter, then curling up into the fetal position and doing a 4 hour Colonel Kurtz impression under the dining room table.

And just to make sure there's no rest for the wicked, Mrs E's computer has bought a bus ticket to Failville as of a couple days ago. I'm currently copying her files to my old Gateway convertible, which is why I'm still up at 2:53AM CST instead of sleeping. I spent the day cleaning my old stuff off of it, then running a system recovery, uninstalling the factory-supplied shovelware, installing Firefox, Thunderbird, and a bunch of other stuff, and now I'm moving her documents, photos, and assorted files. I figured I'd take the opportunity to update my blog while the file transfer is in process. You know, instead of twiddling my thumbs or counting the popcorn thingies on the ceiling.

I'm gonna go put on a pot of coffee.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Checking into the Podtel

(Recap: A while back, I challenged myself to create a complete paper building in 24 hours or less, while following some pretty strict rules. I succeeded, it was well-received, and I put it on my release workbench. You can read the original post here.)

I've been spending time getting the Podtel ready for the next release slot in August. In particular, I spent an unusually long time bouncing around box art renders with the rest of the WWG team, and after several rounds of feedback and ideas, this is what we ended up with:

You'll be able to admire the full-size version once it's released. I had a lot of fun just playing around with the base render in Photoshop, adding the various lighting and haze effects, and the guys at WWG are a ton of fun to throw this stuff around with. It's a good environment for me.

I've implemented a lot of the ideas brought up in the original post's comments and in the WWG dev environment. Here are the highlights:
  • Added 6 variant balconies with trash piles and blood splatters.
  • Added 24 new side walls and 6 new capsule shells with various combinations of graffiti, damaged glass, and poop-smeared rants against fornicators and sinners.
  • Added 2 new variant toppers. One has a peaceful mountain vista, the other is deactivated.
  • Added 2 variant doorways with dodgy escort service ads and pizza/takeout ads, plus screenglass displays in open for business/closed for business flavors.
  • Added 3 new side-mount advertising panels. One of them has a "Sleep Like A Log" advert running, the other 2 are broken.
Some of my favorite details:
  • The tarp-covered doorway. That was my first use of the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop, and that was a "Where have you been all my life?" moment.
  • The foil-lined sliding door and the foil-lined capsule window. I like to imagine that a conspiracy theorist lives there.
  • The blood-splattered balcony, the poop-smeared rant, and the tarp wall together make for an awesome "What the hell happened here?" crime scene.
  • The escort service ads. That was an awkward Google search, I'll tell you that right now. I had to do the layouts and stuff for real, then shrink them and paste them onto the glass. 
  • Oh, and I didn't leave the ladies out of the fun, either--I did a couple chiseled-abs beefcake ads for the fictitious Meat and Gigolocious male escort services.
  • The pizzeria and Chinese takeout ads were fun. Shame I can't bill fictitious businesses for my graphic design services!
The Podtel is tentatively scheduled for an August 15 release, alongside the HL 300 taxicab. I will also be releasing a few more old Ebbles sets that I had the opportunity to complete a while back--the Itoyo 950, the Handyman 350, and the Robot Repair Team. (Yes, with machine-cutting support!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ebbles Labs

My old catalog is finally starting to come back online. (This post is kind of overdue, actually, but I've been really busy lately!)

WWG have added a section to their catalog juuuuuust for my oldie-but-goodies. You can take a peek here: Ebbles Labs

I started with the UD-41, M722 LEV, and Convoy, as they didn't require any extra work. I also combined the 4x4 GPV, the 6x6 APV, and the weapon ring pack into a new set named Patrol, because convoys need protection.

Just a few of the things I'm working on updating:

Updated LV86 Onager with cargo trailer

Updated LV86 Onager with tank trailer

Updated Field Camp WIP (125% larger, refreshed textures)

In other news, the HL 300 and Podtel will appear on the WWG storefront sometime in August.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And my baby takes her first tottering steps into the wild...

The new WWG storefront is finally live!

Denny has posted a thorough overview of the new shiny blinky bits here:

Oh, and the Brio and Interceptor are now available alongside Streets of Titan as well!

Veloce Brio product page

Interceptor product page

The HL 300 and the Podtel will follow sometime in August.

Monday, July 4, 2011

DMC-Northstar HL 300 completed

The weekend didn't really turn out the way I thought it would. There was a neighborhood watch meeting/social that Mrs E really wanted me to attend on Saturday, but she forgot about it until 2 hours before it was supposed to start. It took four unplanned hours out of my day, and I just couldn't get back into my coding headspace at all. On the bright side, I did get to meet some nice people and eat some decent grilled burgers, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

(Coding is very heavily reliant upon short-term memory and concentration, and it's very easy to forget what you were doing if you're suddenly distracted. There are a couple of good blog posts explaining that phenomenon here. In a nutshell, distractions completely wreck my productivity--it's not "just a couple minutes", it's more like 2 minutes of distraction followed by half an hour of trying to get back in the zone.)

I ended up working on the taxicab instead just so the rest of the day wouldn't be a total loss, and by the time my bedtime rolled around, I was so close to done that I decided to spend today finishing it up, along with some bonuses.

I decided I wanted to go for a sort of General Motors thing where the same base platform is re-badged at different trim levels and given different names. There'd be the midrange luxury trim level with chrome accents and nice interiors that private citizens and car services would buy, and then there'd be the nasty and cheap trim level that appeals to tightfisted rental companies and taxi companies. In addition to that, there'd be a police version.

This is the upmarket version, the DMC-Northstar HL 300, with chrome accents and leather/wood interiors:

8 black cars in Apex Car Service livery, plus 8 unmarked color schemes.

This is the stripped-down economy version with all-plastic interior and hose-it-out plastic upholstery, the Stercus:

Medallion cab. There are 8 cabs with different medallion numbers.

Nasty rental version belonging to Limoncek's Rent-A-Car. 8 colors.


And this is the Stercus with police package installed:

Sci fi scheme matching the Interceptor, 8 numbers

Classic black/white scheme, 8 numbers

Unmarked version that doesn't fool anyone, 4 colors

In addition to all that, there are 3 editable versions included. One for the fancy HL 300, one for the regular Stercus, and one for the Stercus with police package.

Update: Ever have one of those moments where a whole bunch of things just kind of serendipitously flow together and you get to kill a lot of birds with one stone? Yeah, I just had one of those moments.

Mrs E needs a new pair of shoes, I want to test out a new download delivery service named Pulley because the way it works seems ideal for sending out review copies and comps on the new WWG storefront, you guys have been very patiently waiting in the face of months of endless teasing for something new to buy, and I happen to have something that fits the bill much earlier than I originally intended, thanks to The Weekend That Did Not Go As Planned. Nice!

So, without any further ado, I present you with a Pulley-powered buy link for this model:

(Link removed because my Pulley trial expired. Thanks for helping me test it, everyone!)

If you snap it up, let me know how Pulley worked out for you. It's really slick and no-fuss, but I want to see how it works under practical circumstances. It should take you right to PayPal, and once you complete the transaction, you should see an email appear in your PayPal email inbox with a download link in it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Taxicab WIPs

We're in the home stretch as far as the new WWG storefront is concerned, so it's going to be crunch time for me between now and launch. Before I fall off the radar, however, I wanted to leave you guys a little update to tide you over while I'm scarce.

My current spare time project is a taxicab. I also plan to do patrol car and regular sedan variants.

I didn't get to spend much time on it because I've been busy with work stuff, so it took a while to get to the point where there was something to show. It still needs door handles and some other details that I haven't gotten around to doing yet.

Ignore the goofy medallion number--I use the characters '9' and 'M' as quickie placeholders because they're the widest number and letter pair, which makes figuring out font sizes and lettering dimensions a snap because any other series of characters will fit within the same space. I'm going to be using Photoshop's data-driven graphics functionality to create several different versions of the same skin with different medallion numbers later on.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Editable models

I've been getting a *lot* of requests for custom schemes for the Interceptor. Unfortunately for most of the folks requesting extra schemes, I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life doing every single police scheme in the entire world for $2.50. Fortunately for these folks, though, I did make it easier for them to do their own schemes.

Editable PSD for Brio

Editable PSD for Interceptor

It wasn't easy, but I managed to figure out how to do editable versions of the Brio and Interceptor that supported a lowest-common-denominator subset of the Photoshop file format that any paint package capable of reading PSD files should handle fine. That means you can open them in free paint apps like the GIMP, or inexpensive paint apps like Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro.

As long as you don't touch the topmost two layers in the PSDs (page frame and texture), you can color all you want or paste logos and stuff into the layers below them. The results won't be exactly the same as if I did it myself because my normal layer setup is a lot more complex than that, but it'll come reasonably close-ish, and you won't have to extract anything from PDFs or do anything more complicated than flood filling or using brush tools. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2 more Interceptor schemes and new plates

Matt Lyon suggested a Hong Kong Police Force variant of the Battenburg livery, and I threw in a Swedish variant while I was at it.

Accordingly, I've updated the Department of Motor Vehicles page with new license plate sheets for Sweden and Hong Kong.

Finalizing the Interceptor

Getting it ready for final review. I took some time to put together a few images for you guys.

Group shot showing the 4 different police versions and the 4 unmarked colors:

Things of note: there are 8 different unit numbers for the classic and sci-fi blue versions, which each have their own PDF. The European PDF includes the UK version plus 5 versions of the blue-over-silver with police markings in different languages.

The third PDF includes the 4 unmarked schemes. I included a dingy white and a hideous beige for unmarked/retired police vehicles, while the silver is an unmarked detective car, and the black is supposed to be useful for FBI and government types. The unmarked versions don't have the same set of lighting hardware as the marked versions--the areas where the light set is normally installed have been covered up with plug-in panels, and a wigwag headlight/running light setup is used instead. The fleet shop can convert Interceptors from one version to another by popping off the plug-in panels and installing the necessary hardware or vice versa. They don't fool anyone any more than an unmarked Crown Victoria does, either.

Here are some shots of the model frame and instructions:

I'm pleased that it stayed within the 1 page/10 parts budget--I was a little worried because of the unusual geometry.

I still have to do a couple more things, but it'll be ready to zip up and turn in for final review at WWG before I go to bed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yet more work on the Interceptor

Update time.

After some discussion with other WWG designers, the classic scheme got a few minor changes and the addition of a police shield behind the door for a splash of color:

It's just a small, indistinct, and generic 7 pointed star with the suggestion of a city seal in the middle, but it adds quite a bit to the overall effect.

The UK version of the Interceptor has had additional work done to it as well. I changed the base color from silver to white, and split up the retroreflective decaling at panel lines and around openings so that it would look more like decals applied to a stock paint finish rather than paint.

The reason for changing the base color back from silver to white was to further differentiate it from the European scheme, which I based upon the blue-over-silver police vehicles in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere:

Also, I threw in a couple of little extra touches. The UK and European versions have a different license plate setup from the blue and classic versions. I even used the correct fonts and stuck with a familiar appearance for the plate backgrounds.

(Ignore the ABC123-ish plate numbers, those are just placeholders for effect.)

Yeah, I know, they're flying cars, they probably should have barcodes or some other spacey looking crap on the back, but I like to ground crazy stuff like flying cars in reality, at least a little bit, by adding some familiar and contemporary touches. It's an extension of my belief that if you want people to recognize some sort of fancy SF contraption as a coffeepot equivalent, it should look a bit like a coffeepot so people get the point straightaway instead of having to waste time with boring and unnatural exposition from characters.

Besides, I don't think number plates are going to go out of style because the old "Did anybody get the plate of the truck that hit me?" thing doesn't really work if pedestrians have to chase after vehicles on foot with barcode scanners or some silly shit like that. I figure the cars have ID transponders in them that police cars and flight control systems can interrogate, and the plates are just a visual convenience or fallback measure. Sometimes the simplest things work best, and that's why they stick around even though you can replace them with something that would make Rube Goldberg golf clap.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More work on the Interceptor

I got some more work done on the police Interceptor. Additional detailing and a start on some other variant color schemes. (Click on the images to see full size versions.)

Default blue/white color scheme:

Classic black/white police scheme, still a work in progress:

UK version with retroreflective Battenburg livery over silver base coat:

I'm also in the early stages of scratching out an European scheme, which will be blue over silver.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A few days' worth of breaktime doodling

Something I've been picking away at during my breaks over the past few days.

I was going for something that was inspired by the Blade Runner spinner, the floating police cars from The Fifth Element, the Carbon Motors E7 police car, a dash of Blue Thunder, and an extra serving of Syd Mead on the side.

A black/white color scheme immediately leapt to mind, naturally, but that sort of bored me a little because...come on, that's too easy. A bit of research and some trawling through photos of police schemes from around the world later, I decided I wanted to do a retroreflective Battenburg scheme. The colors were easy once I settled on the scheme: a blue base color because of the aforementioned Blade Runner/Fifth Element/Blue Thunder influences, and white is a good trim color for this shade of blue. You can't see it from this angle, but there are also yellow/red hazard panels on the back slope.

I wanted the lines to be as clean and sleek as possible, so all of the lights are low profile. That's where the Carbon E7 police car influenced the design--there are lights at each corner of the vehicle, on the top and bottom. That way, they're equally visible from above, from below, to the sides, from the front, and from the back, which you'd kind of want with a flying police car.

Still not done, mind you, but I figured you guys would like to see it anyway.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Off to the races!

It's official. The Brio has been wrapped up and is in final review over at WWG.

Check out the teaser thread on the WorldWorks Games forum for some more tasty promos.

My first WWG product. It sounds kinda cheesy, but it's like a big moment for me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wash Me

Grunging things up a bit, as that's another WWG signature element that Denny requested I play with.

I wanted to split the difference between the Ebbles and WWG levels of grunge. I thought my first attempt was fine until I parked a Brio in a backdrop created from elements of an upcoming Titan set--to my surprise, the vehicle looked much too clean and a bit out of place, so I went back and dialed up the grunge until it started to harmonize with the environment.



It looks like an old beater that a college kid bought for 500 credits, which works just fine for me because I like the future to look a little bit lived-in.