Leaving on a Jet Plane – Shenzhen I/O

So, here’s something different, a game review! (This was originally written in October 2016, but I’m really the worst blogger ever.)

Shenzhen I/O is the latest puzzle game from Zachtronics, and in it you play a newly-minted Electrical Engineer, fresh out of school, and faced with the reality that we make all of jack and shit in this country. (So apparently not much changes between now and 2026…) And so you get a job with a company in Shenzhen, and are off to China! I’d previously played TIS-100 which was a puzzle game about programming in assembly– because I am exactly that kind of nerd –and enjoyed it immensely. Shenzhen I/O builds upon that formula by adding hardware design…needless to say that just makes me that much more into the game. Read more…

Week 37, 2016 – The End of a Spool…

Sorry for the potato pics, but it is pretty convenient just being able to snap pics from a phone and upload them to the blog when it’s for unimportant stuff.
One spool down!

One spool down!

Well, it’s taken well over a year and a half, but I finally reached the end of a spool of a filament.  Until now it seems I’ve just used some of each of my 40+ spools.  But I’ve settled on Push Plastic light grey for printing props, because it just prints so nicely, and it shows up great on camera…so it wasn’t long before I used up my first spool.

Luckily there's more where that came from!

Luckily there’s more where that came from!












So I’ve been working on some Fallout 4 stuff. Fusion Core, Fusion Cell, etc.  The Fusion Core I found was the wrong size, like obviously so… It needed to be like 33% bigger, so I upsized it, and printed it in several pieces so they could all printed oriented in the best way.  The Fusion Cell is just sort of…wrong.  I’m going to have to model my own, again.  After this I plan to finish my 10mm before I move on to bigger and awesomer things.

Original Fusion Core, rather small!

Original Fusion Core, rather small!

Fusion Cell

Fusion Cell












I’m going to have to sand, glue, and spot-putty the fusion core sections together.

Upsized Fusion Core, original Fusion Core, and 'Purified Water', for scale. (Sorry, no banana!)

Upsized Fusion Core, and original Fusion Core.

HAHAHA! I POSTED ON TIME! TAKE THAT!  (゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \

Week 17, 2016 – May Acquisitions

I’m getting the ball rolling on a lot of stuff this month, from the MAKE COOL THINGS livestream and YouTube channel, to some prop making, to maybe even doing a little work on a simple fun little game project I’ve had in mind for a while.


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 — ($74.95 – Amazon)

I bought one of these back in April, and it is an absolutely fantastic webcam, I wanted to have two more, so now I’m half way to that goal! The price keeps fluctuating though, and that’s pissing me off.  The first one was $69.99, this one was five bucks more, and the rest of the sellers on Amazon were selling it for $80-$90…  I’ll post more about the cameras later!

Xsplit Broadcaster, Premium License, 3 months — ($24.95 – Xsplit.com)

Xsplit is a great and uber-professional piece of streaming software.  OBS Studio is a fine piece of software, especially for free, but Xsplit is amazing. The license applies to both Broadcaster which is the full-featured general purpose streaming app, and Gamecaster, which is the more turnkey solution for streaming PC and console gaming with overlays and webcams, etc. I had wanted to get a 1-year license for $59.95 because it’s a much better deal, but I ran out of money… Oh well.

Like the webcams, I’ll do a more thorough writeup on this later when I talk about livestreaming.

Prop Making

Rust-Oleum 249086 Multi Purpose Primer, Red Oxide, 12oz — ($3.98 – Amazon)

Here’s a great wet/dry-sandable all-surface primer, it was available for $3.98 as an add-on item, and I was going to get the matching gray primer so I could alternate between red oxide and gray when sanding, but just as I was about to check out, the gray went up to $10+non-prime shipping. :(

Dupli-Color FP101 Scratch Filler and Primer, Gray, 11oz — ($8.35 – Amazon)

This is a high-build automotive primer recommended in the notes on some of Bill Doran’s prop videos, and likely the perfect primer for the first pass on a 3D printed prop.

Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Silver Leaf, 0.5oz — ($6.37 – Amazon)
Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Antique Gold, 0.5oz — ($5.90 – Amazon)
Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Autumn Gold, 0.5oz — ($6.14 – Amazon)

I’ve heard Adam Savage mention Rub ‘n Buff several times in various prop making videos, and after watching this video (indexed to relevant bit) I knew that I just had to have some, especially considering some of the things I have in mind.  The ‘Silver Leaf’ is amazing, it’s a totally perfect ‘metal’ finish.  The swatches online showed ‘Antique Gold’ to be the lightest gold, so I got it hoping it’d be a good ‘brass’ color, but it ended up being rather dark and reddish.  ‘Autumn Gold’ however, will make for a decent copper, just as I’d planned.  I’ll have to get a tube of the regular ‘Gold Leaf’ and see if that’s a brighter/yellower gold.

Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic, Burnt Umber, 2oz — ($8.79 – Amazon)

Something else brought to mind by Adam Savage’s video, was the need for a good general purpose weathering and grime paint… So I ordered a tube of heavy body acrylic in Burnt Umber.  There were a few other colors I wanted, but these are rather expensive, so for the time being, it’ll have to do…plus I’ve got a bunch of bottles of matching medium body acrylic already, so if I need to adjust the color any for something, I can.

3M Wetordry Sandpaper, 9-Inch by 11-Inch, 400 Grit, 5-pack — ($6.35 – Amazon)

Because you can never have enough sandpaper… Especially real sandpaper.  Ugh, that crappy Chinese stuff I bought that one time… The plastic just gummed up in it, and it got everything I sanded dirty.  NEVER AGAIN!  From now on, I swear I’m only buying 3M.

Hyde Tools 45395 Heavy Duty Rubber Sanding Block — ($5.09 – Amazon)

I bought one of these last time I stocked up on supplies, and I still haven’t had a chance to use it, but it can’t hurt to have more than one. (In fact, it’s probably a necessity!)

Game Development

RPG Maker MV — ($52 – RPGMakerWeb)

Just minutes after I had lamented my inability to afford RPG Maker MV during a conversation, I received an email from Degica telling me there was a Golden Week sale on and I could get 35% off RPG Maker MV, not only that, but by getting it from the official store, I’d get a standalone copy AND a complementary Steam key…effectively getting me two copies, for almost $28 off the regular $79.99 asking price.

One of the things that makes MV so much better than VX Ace is that it can publish your game for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and even HTML5!  That was the one feature that made it a must-have as far as I was concerned.

Pay What You Want: Hardcore Game Dev Bundle — ($15.14 – stacksocial)

This bundle of game development courses included:

• iOS & OS X Game Development: From Start to Store in Swift
• Game Developer Business & Legal Guide: Run an Indie Studio
• 2048: Build Your First Complete Game with C# & Unity
• Master Unity By Building 6 Fully-Featured Games from Scratch
• Learn to Code in Game Maker Language
• The Complete Android Marshmallow Development Course
• The Complete HTML5 Mobile Game Development Course
• Build iPad, iPhone & OS X Games for SpriteKit in Swift
• Game Development Using Corona SDK with ASO & Ads
• JavaScript Programming: Learn by Making a Mobile Game

That second item really caught my eye. It’s not often you see a course on the legal aspects of game development.  I took a quick look at it, and it seemed to cover things like licensing, contracts, NDAs, IP and Trademarks, working with lawyers… And it has real-world examples and interviews with a lot of smart people sharing their experience. (Including Gabe Newell of Valve.)

Virtual Reality, Unity & 3D Game Developer Bundle — ($24.99 – stacksocial)

This bundle included:

• Learn to Code by Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer
• Virtual Reality Designer – Understanding VR & Creating Apps
• Learn 3D Modeling – The Complete Blender Creator Course

So yeah, not getting nearly as much bang for my buck, but I figured I had to have it because it covered developing for Virtual Reality, and it had a course on Blender…and– while I am probably a lost cause –maybe somebody in my family stands half a chance in hell of learning how to use that utterly impenetrable program, with the help of this courseware.

Week 10, 2016 – Props, Propaganda, Programming, and Projects.

First of all, let’s take a moment to talk about prop making;  It’s something that I have a real interest in but I can never seem to afford moldmaking and casting supplies…  Well, I’m not going to let that stop me from making some props before I have the ability to duplicate them.

Right now, my biggest obstacle– putting aside money issues and for the moment just looking at what I have –is the surface quality of my 3D prints.  To that end I spent some money on some basic necessities like Bondo body filler, Bondo spot putty, some quality automotive wet/dry sandpaper, and a sanding block.  Bill Doran has a great video on using Bondo, and his video on preparing mold masters also contains some applicable info.

Propaganda! By which I mean videoblogging!  I just got a cheap little steadicam thing for my video camera so I can do handheld shots that are actually stable.  It’s really quite something.

Programming! I’ve got some cool Arduino ideas I want to play with, one of them is inspired by this cool post I found about making an Arduino Wi-Fi scanner that displays the SSIDs of open wifi APs on a little OLED display.

Projects! I’ve got a 3D printing and prop making project in the works based on my current favorite videogame; Tom Clancy’s The Division, which inspired an additional project which I can’t talk about right now… ;D

Gonna be pretty cool though!

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