Category Archives: Uncategorized

A category for everything else!

An 18-month break?!?

From the midst of the storm of the last 3 years, I’ve had to pack a lot of side projects away while I focused on my job. So, a while ago I archived this website. Bring things back online it’s been 18 months since the last post.

Now, to pick up the pieces. Reorganise the parts into something coherent. Maybe a facelift. A continued imaginary exploration of the other worlds. Fantasy realms of the past, the all too near future of dystopian oligarchs, and an expanse of sci-fi stars stuck in an all too familiar pattern of human conflict.

Blender Camera-Notes

Part of moving my projects over Blender 2.83 LTS is collecting my notes on various topics, including cameras.

5 cool camera tricks in Blender 2.80, this covers some cool stuff. However, I’ll have to manual set up the cameras until isocam gets updated.

Isometric Camera

From the Isocam script:

  • The one, TrueIsocam called camera, is the mathematical correct isometric camera with the 54.736 rotation to get the 30 degrees angles at the sides of the rhombus. (54.736,0,45)
  • The other, GameIsocam called camera, is a camera with which you can render isometric tiles for a 2d game. Here we need a 60 degrees angle instead of the 54.736 one to get a proper stairs effect and a ratio of 2:1 (60,0,45)
  • Then there is the special case with a 4:3 ratio, which is button 3. You can also make 2D games with that one. The view is more topdown though as with a 2:1 ratio of the traditional game iso view. (41.5,0,45)

It’s worth noting that for TrueIsoCam, the X-Rotation Slot can be set to ( atan( sqrt(2) ) ) degrees.

The Wiki page for IsoCam needs updating.

Fantasy mapping

Ever since reading Tolkien as a kid, I’ve just loved the style of map that he created for Middle Earth. And this style has carried across to Fantasy RPGs. So when the opportunity came to create a map for The Tales of Tarya, I jumped at it.

The Map of Litonya

This time I wanted to make a good quality digital copy for this project. YouTube came to the rescue with this excellent video on mapping from the Fantastic Maps Channel.

Drawing Technique

A short summary of the technique for mountains…

  • Use a CC-0 paper or parchment texture for the background layer (0).
  • Add a separate ‘lines’ Layer (4) for the mountain ridge lines and some texturing detail. Use the pressure sensitive to control the thickness of the line
  • Add an Overlay layer (1), for the ‘Light & Shade’ on the mountain ranges. Use the pressure sensitivity to control the darkness.
    • Start by blocking out the shading the dark side of the mountain range. Take your time to build up layers of darkness.
    • Add shadows to the light side for the ridges and valleys.
    • As you go reduce size to add more detail.
  • Another Overlay layer (2), for the ‘Light/Shade Detail’, but this time using the pressure sensitive to control line thickness.
    • Then switch to a white brush to add highlights to the light side, with the peaks being the brightest.
  • Now, a Color Layer (3), to add the colour details to the mountains.
    • Using a hard round brush set to a middle grey for bare stone, deep emerald green for amazonian forest, or red for the Arizona badlands.

Combine that in to a group I then proceeded to do the same for the coastline, hills, forests, rivers, cities/towns, and labels. So about 20 layers all up.

Common People

Although, YMMV, I find this CPAF, because hidden behind the music are words that bite home with the cutting wisdom of the bards carving ideas into your mind. So, I’m filing this piece of forgotten ‘art’ under CPAF!

Pulp‘s lyrics fill a void only the poor can really understand, combined with a saccharin pop beat and the overacting god, otherwise known as William Shatner, on the album, “HAS BEEN” … No truer words spoken … elevates it too the next level with an almost act of piracy (or a cover for the uninitiated) by not signing! The sheer genius and greatness of this! Remix culture at it’s finest.

Using Isometeric Cameras in Blender

Settings for a Isometric Cameras in Blender, adapted from
Daring Dino’s video Creating Isometric Cameras in Blender.

Setting up the camera this way requires that it is set to Orthographic with the rotation adjusted 54.736, 0, 45 (X, Y, Z). The XYZ coordinates can be anywhere to set up a good shot.

  • True Isometric Camera. X rotation: 54.736, Y: 0, Z: 45
  • Game Isometric Camera: XYZ (60, 0, 45).
  • Game 4to3 Isometric Camera: XYZ (40.5, 0, 45).

I’ve also noticed that if the Z-rotation is shifted +-90 to (45, 135, 225, or 315), it still maintains an isometric view, but from a different side.

Things Mr. Welch can no longer do during an RPG

RPGs have been around for a while and one of the great joys is the stories that emerge from the game. The innocent-sounding ideas that become disasters ending in a TPK, and that epic-level bullshit that players try and get away with, and those stupid jokes that become core to your own game.

TheGlen’s list, Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG,  gives insight to some of those experiences. Read the full list here:

or Mister Welch, a website that spits them out one at a time.

I have been so tempted to build a Gnomish character around, just the references to Gnomes to try some out in the home game.

Thief style games

Recently I went back and played Thief Gold by looking glass studio, picking up the triple pack of Thief Gold, Thief 2, and the new Thief 2014. The experiences I had between the new and old were very stark. This video by Dom Giuca sums up some of my frustrations with the game and the style of games in general.

The game Thief used artful storytelling techniques in the crafting of the levels to heighten the mood or terror of an opponent and still manages to achieve it with very minimal technical specs, especially when compared to today’s titles.

It provides the player with a minimal toolset to achieve your goals, but to will feel the loss of one of these things

Another thing I’ve noticed is the sound design a theme which is picked up and explored by Strat-Edgy Productions in The Sounds Of A Thief. This is an element of game design that I’m hearing in more and more games.


These elements bring me back to why I (and possibly you) play games, which is for new experiences. To see the world in different ways and to explore where those paths lead us.


Useful links related to Thief & Thief 2


Looking at FATE for the Fantasy genre

After Piazo’s Humble Bundle that slowed the server something chronic because of the downloads. I wanted to adapt the Hell’s Rebels Adventure Path for use with FATE

So as part of that process I’ve been looking at the Freeport Companion for FATE (via Evil Hat, via Green Ronin, or via RPGNow), which holds a lot more in common with FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE) and Slyflourish’s Dungeon of Fate than FATE-Core. and t reviews have generally been positive and I like the idea. However, I agree with Emeralds and comments on forums that having just 6 skills is too narrow.

So I’m looking at taking the ideas and translating to something more diverse. to FATE-Core. The skill list is straight from FATE Core, the stunts & magic will be adapted from the Freeport Companion. There is a collection of creatures for fate (thanks Inkwell ideas) which makes it easier to add creatures, plus a few posts on giant insect monsters centipedes, and gelatinous cubes.

Now I’ve discovered Aperita Arcana and House of Bards, both for FATE-Core and add something to the fantasy campaign I want to run. Although I will need to adapt elements of both to achieve the level of detail I want in the game system.