A while ago I got curious about War Gaming, in particular it’s history. Having been an irregular war gamer for the last *many* years and cut my teeth on Battletech. Then expanding into Warhammer 40K, Necurmunda, Space Crusade & Space Hulk. I’d like to try my hand at making a board game or war game of a similar nature. So I was wondering did they all come from? How did they evolve to what we know now, and what influenced that process?
The wikipedia page on Wargaming, giving some insight about hobby and how it started. With the a set of rules been publishing in the early 20th century, with H. G. Wells’ Little Wars and Jane‘s naval war rules in 1913. It’s also worth noting that Jane also publish All the World’s Aircraft, which is a great research for aircraft of types and is regularly updated.
In 1971 Gary Gygax & Jeff Perren published the miniature wargame Chainmail, which lead to Dungeons & Dragons and the RPG explosion of today. However, it is worth remembering that most RPGs model themselves after D&D and as a result have a strong tactical basis for their game play. It’s only later, in early 1990, that more narrative-based RPGs emerged with games such as Whitewolf’s Vampire.
So going back to the start of all this has given me a better idea of these style of games. Along the way I’ve found some cool projects and some great ideas for my own games, and should aid me in writing one.
The costs with the local printer for the printing of a single book proved to be too expensive. So I did bit of research into Print on Demand services in and around Melbourne, Victoria. Although I have not looked into it, most books seam to be printed in China at the moment and companies there should provide a cheaper service, but you would need to be certain of the end product as there are many things that could go wrong.
Print on Demand
Print on Demand or PoD, is a useful adaption by printers to everyone’s need for a one off books, or a very short run of books. There have been improvements in software used to produce books, for example Adobe’s InDesign or the open source Scribus. Websites have also improved in that they can provide an image that looks close to the final document, removing some of the need for the converting from digital to print. This has resulted in less risks and associated costs with following this path.
Generally speaking, once the document or book has been written. The text is laid-out on the page, with images & diagrams added. There are a number of check that should happen at this stage, the pre-flight document before being sent to the printer. Looking at things like the colour gamuts of the text and images, the bleed, the placement of the gutters, margins and slugs. It really opens another world of possibility when converting an idea into a physical really.
About a month ago I created a 3D model of a sandstone bridge, put it up on shapeways. The printed model only took a week & half to arrive (from the other side of the planet). Now that I’ve proofed the physical copy, it’s up for sale on shapeways.
Overall, I’m happy with this model. Some of the colours are a little darker than expected, but not insanely so. The topology needed some correcting. You can see the line of bricks in the center of the bridge.
This render of the finished bridge shows the corrected brick tiling. the terrain fearture is available in sandstone and grey stone
Someone once told me about the challenge that Ray Bradbury set for himself, which was to write a short story each week. The whole idea of setting a definite time frame to complete a challenging yet achievable task is a good way to start writing. Over on Dieselpunks, they have an 8-sentence Sunday, which is the same idea, but cut down to a more digestible size. However, what about other artist mediums other than creative writing?
The 25 Project run by Cath & Nick, a few years back aimed to produce 25 songs in the course of one year, about one each fortnight. So the first week would be spent writing the lyrics and melody, while the second was spent recording with local bands and producing the final track. So for a musical challenge try a 2 week cycle to finalise something, with the 2 stages of writing and production.
Visual Art & Animation
The critical thing is to have the deadline to produce something, anything really. Last year I worked on background animations for a musical, Beach Blanket Tempest. Just think Shakespeare’s The Tempest set in the 1960s. However, there was a tight deadline to get the work done, even though I was not completely happy with the quality.
The ‘Bradbury’ Challenge
Named after the Sci-Fi author, the challenge is simple. Create something. It does not matter what medium it is in, but the trick is to create, then rinse and repeat. Through this process, the quality of your art should improve.
So animation is my focus and that is where I’ll be starting. I realise that 3D work requires a lot of time. So I’ll need to break it down to make it easier to work through, much like the music example (above) and the individual stages will change depending on your individual focus. For example;
Pixar have made RenderMan free for Non-Commerical use and have dropped the prices on their amazing render engine. NoFilmSchool have a good overview of the opportunity, to Hone Your VFX Skills for Free. The thing I find interesting is that it’s not really free, since you are investing time in their render engine as apposed to other renders. However, it does provide the opportunity to access RenderMan and build up a demo reel.