Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flag Ripple Effect - Video Tutorial

Okay, here is my first screen cast ever and my first real tutorial for GIMP. I'm trying out the techniques I referenced in the last mention of the flag ripple technique.

Aside from looking like an idiot because I can't do simple arithmetic, I think it went okay. One thing I noticed after saving it was that I forgot to check the other two boxes on the Bump Map (Invert and Tile) But I think it looks okay. I'll also note here that with the large amounts of white in the image you can't easily keep the ripple layers with a layer mode of multiply. It darkens the image too much without adding that much to the effect, in my opinion. So that is why I only bump mapped.

My attempt to upload the video directly didn't work, so it's off to Youtube. Hmm, a total upload time of 58min? (Twiddles thumbs)

Sorry if it's a little long, but you should be able to do it after watching.

Cheers. And let me know if there is anything I can explain better.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Just had to re-blog this from Paul over at the man cave.

You'll either go mad from the revelation or be on your knees begging for a new dark age! (Sounds like my last relationship before I met my wife.)

Any how, I'm working on a screen cast of the flag ripple tutorial. Why do one new thing when you can do two at once?

Welcome to mauther from papermau. If you're in to paper models you probably already know about this blog. It is chock full of amazing stuff and I'm not sure what took me so long to follow it. Thanks for the follow back.

I also noticed that I lost Fran in the followers list, weird, as he seems to still be following. Oh well, you just tend to notice these things when you only have a few followers. As I may have mentioned before, I appreciate you all.

Oh, I also downloaded the demo PDF from Strange Aeons, need to get some pulp horror figures, perhaps Red Box or Elhiem.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to texture a flag (for Ray) – Part 1

Now I can't seem to find the original tutorial I was looking for, but I did find this video by Jan Kardel in German on vimeo. (Doh! Put in the link to said video.)

Lets see if my two weeks of College German in 1986 and Google translate can get the job done.

(Just a clarification. The following is what he does in the video, not what I did to make the flag ripples. Although I did use a bunch of the techniques outlined.)

Just from looking at it he is starting with a default 640 x 480 pixel image. He probably set the background as transparent and then copied the background and created a new transparent layer. So we have three layers starting from the bottom. Background (BG) – copy, which looks to have the GIMP Mascot (Wilbur?) on it; BG, which has been filled with a solid color (blue of some sort); and New Layer which is transparent and the only visible layer at the start.

Off the bat he sets the New Layer Mode to Multiply. Then uses rectangle select to select an area perpendicular to the image. Then Layer > Crop to selection, Select > None. Then Filter > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. The settings are check all the check boxes (Randomize, Turbulent, Tilable) Detail = 5, X Size = 16, Y Size = 0.7.

We now have our striped cloud layer. Now Layer > Scale Layer to increase the size. He unlocks it and stretches it to 650 wide (10px wider than the image). He then uses the Move tool to reposition it over the image. And finally Layer > Layer to image size.

Next Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Settings: Blur Type = Linear, Length = 256, Angle = 90.

Now we make our Color BG layer visible and Bump Map it. Filter > Map > Bump Map. Settings are Bump Map = New Layer (or whatever our stretched cloud layer was called), Map Type = Linear, check all check boxes (Compensate for darkening, Invert Bump Map, Tile Bump Map), Azimuth = 135, Elevation = 55, Depth = 22.

Next he raises the Wilbur Image and runs a Filter > Map > Displacement with settings of X = 7, Y = 7, both from our “New Layer”; Displacement Mode = Cartesian, Edge Behavior = Wrap. Then Bump Map said image. All settings the same except the elevation was reduced to 53 and the depth to 14. And then the layer mode set to screen. Then the layer was duplicated which lightened its appearance.

So here is my take, modifying the techniques slightly:

I'm off to another class field trip today. I'll post the steps to do this soon. I hope this is what Ray was looking for.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Elder Signs, Arkham Horror Lite?

Late to the party as usual, I came across Elder Signs at Barnes and Noble the other day.

Now aside from being a bad ass trailer, this game looks pretty interesting. As far as I can tell it has all the flavor of Arkham Horror without all the stuff. Therefore it doesn't take up quite so much space. I also kind of like the specialty dice and their mechanic for accomplishing tasks.

Another plus is they seem to say it can be played solo and best of all, it's half the price of Arkham Horror. I'm definitely putting this on my wishlist.

They also have an iOS Android OS version called Elder Signs: Omens. The review I read said it was worth it on a tablet. I'll stay away from that as I do not have a tablet and I oppose pay apps on principal.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Way cool paper terrain

I just had to share this.

I read this article over at Bring your A game. It is about the "Mean Streets" paper terrain for gaming Pulp city encounters. The China town and Cotton club are stunning. You can look at the offerings from The Virtual Armchair General

Borrowed from Bring your A game

Just what I need... more distraction from another era.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Arkham Horror

Got in an actual game last night, Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror. My brother owns the game and so my son and I sat down to play it with him last night.

For those not familiar, Arkham Horror is based on the H.P. Lovecraft stories about Cthulu and the occult. Your investigator has been drawn to the New England town of Arkham where strange goings on have been on the rise. Gates to other dimensions start opening, releasing monsters and bad guys of various descriptions and abilities upon the town. The Investigators job is to ultimately seal the gates to stop the Elder Gods from coming into our dimension.

From the Wikipedia Entry
My brother hadn't played in awhile so it took him a little bit of time to re-acquaint himself with the rules. He did say that he learned a few new things and perhaps played the most correct game to date. The rule book is a little verbose and it seems hard to find examples when you have a rules question.

I played Monterey Jack (Archaeologist), my son played Joe Diamond (Private Eye), and my brother played Harvey Walters (Professor). You can find stats etc about them here.

So the game started out pretty simply. Not too many monsters gates seemed easy to close. I soon realized that I needed to focus more on sealing gates rather than just rushing around to close them and found my self struggling to gather the clue tokens necessary. The general gameplay went as usual when the three of us play. My son was mostly interested in combat and so used his guns to slay a lot of maniacs, zombies and cultists. He was powerful enough to dish it out to a few monsters, but struggled with ghosts and the like due to a lack of magic. My brother was the magic heavy hitter of our group and did most of the heavy lifting in sealing about half of the six gates needed to win. I floundered around trying to get clues and husbanding my low sanity (something that I shouldn't have worried about so much because I had a special healing item that I forgot about most of the game).

Anyhow we were sailing along, had three gates closed, and then all of a sudden things got tough. We started having Monster surges, a special event had monsters stacking up in Miskatonic square and the outskirts started filling up with excess monsters pushing up the terror track. We came within one space (out of 11 total) of having Nyarlathotep come on for the final battle.

Low lights: getting lost in space and time, my brother getting killed once and loosing both enchanted knives, loosing my blessing the first turn after getting it and then getting cursed. My brother rolling only one success out of 8 dice (he needed a 4-6 because he was blessed), when he needed three.

Highlights: Rolling three successes with the last three out of eight dice to kill a Nightgaunt! (In your face!) Closing and sealing the final gate to win the game. For my brother and son who knows.

It took us about three and a half hours, including a break for dinner, and was fun if not a little tense. I in particular had a hard time remembering all my stuff so I forgot modifiers and bonuses. We also had a few untimely ability shifts, miscalculating when we would need more luck or will.

All in all fun. Just make sure you have enough space and time to do it.

Welcome to RSpears192 of Lucky Joe's Place (it's not on your google friend connect). Zombies and survivors in 15 and 28mm. I'm really liking the paper buildings he has been making.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hi all,

I'll be travelling today and I've no idea how much free time or internet access I will have over the next week so I just wanted to leave you with a Happy St. Patrick's Day wish and the only clean Limerick I know.

There once were two cats from Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
Till excepting their nails,
And the tips of their tails
Instead of two cats there weren't any.

My second favorite Irish Beer (It's from Kilkenny)
I learned this one from Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose ever. My mother read it to me and I have a copy that I have read to my kids.

Welcome to Kobayachimaru of Chroniques du fort Bastiani as well as a couple of other blogs I have not had the chance to look at yet. This is a really nice site with a range of interests. A lot of Two Hour Wargames campaigns going on from Sci Fi to Fantasy. I like his minis, terrain and game aids that he makes for himself and his club. I've been following for quite awhile now.

Anyway enjoy the day, hopefully you will successfully avoid the crowds of amateurs that come out drinking on this day. I will raise a pint to you. Slainte!

And remember, you know you've had too much green beer when your urine turns green.


Oops, I almost forgot:

Always gets my blood up!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Interesting painting site

Hi all,

I'm pretty sure that the Colonel posted this already, but it didn't sink in until today.

I was looking for ideas about creating my own Devlan Mud wash and found this resource here. Now when I was painting I had all Citadel Colour paints with the pop tops and I don't recall them having any washes for sale. I started using Windsor Newton Inks for that purpose. But I digress.

Les made a bunch of washes, shows you how, and if you are too lazy you can buy them. Pretty sweet. I then went to his blog where I saw his painting station here. Pretty nice setup. Anyway, I'm now following his blog.

Over on the THW yahoo group, Nicholas asked if I could make a tutorial for the map I'm working on. I will do that, but I'm going to be busy the next few days and then on vacation with the family for the following week. I will have my computer and some internet access, but I can't guarantee I'll get anything done. We shall see.

And now I have something to read on the plane:

Thanks Ray!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nicholas Has Chosen

It took a few days, but I made contact with Nicholas and he chose Long Rifle.

The description starts "Long Rifle is the black powder period immersion game centered on the French and Indian War."

There are some good posts about it on the Two Hour Wargames Blog starting with the Story of Thomas Howard here.

So I'm sure we all hope, after he gets comfortable with the rules of course, that Nicholas will share an AAR or two from his games at his site

Also Welcome to Mats Lintonson of Mono Desire, a nice gaming blog with some interesting projects. I like the painting station he made.

Oh and somehow when I wasn't looking, I passed 3000 views. It's the little blog that could.

Have a great rest of whatever time of day it is where you are.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Map of NW Talomir WIP

Just wanted to share a map I've been working on between chores today. It is the setting of THW's Talomir in what has been referred to as Norwes.

It includes Mirholme, Tereken, Capalan, Altengard, Malohad, Valkae, half of Ekra, most of Seniira, part of the Tropilium Imperium, and tiny snippets of Sortium.

I'm not totally happy with how it's going, but it does have some character. Mostly the edges of the terrain are too uniform. I've used a combination of techniques, but primarily following those set forth by RobA of the Cartographers Guild. Notable additions are the "Ice cap" to cover unknown area and the ridge between the forest and desert in the Malohad peninsula.

Hope you like it. Any critiques appreciated.

Next will be to highlight the countries and provinces.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Glorious Winner is...

Nicholas Caldwell

***Google friend connect is being annoying right now and I can't seem to contact you, I'll try your blog and hopefully you will check here. Just drop me an email with your choice and your particulars and I'll get the ball rolling to get it to you.*** (Hmm no contact on the blog either.)

So we started with a list of the entrants ordered by their posting of comments to the prize drawing as follows:

  1. Chuck
  2. Dan
  3. Martian Banshee
  4. Ding Duck
  5. Ray Rousell
  6. Mathyoo
  7. Rodger
  8. The Angry Lurker
  9. Tim
  10. Nicholas Caldwell
  11. Lee Hadley

I had hoped for a simple die roll, but there is never an 11 sided die around when you need one. I have been using the Dice Bag app for my android phone a bit and thought I could make an 11 sided die but “no dice” as they say.

One solution would be to make a random number generator using excel (I actually use Open Office Calc, but more or less same difference). The Old Dessauer had a nice post on it here. But I didn't want to do that.

So I decided, why not make another Inspiration Pad file to randomly return the winner? Why do that and not just write the names on paper and put them in a hat? I have no idea, I guess because I can. These are the kinds of things that get that look from the wife. You know, the “I can't believe I'm still married to such a dork” look. To which I reply, mostly in my own mind “Yeah, but I'm King of the dorks baby!”

So I hope the rest of you aren't too disappointed. I must say it feels kind of nice to do something for a fellow gamer.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Post Apocalypse err.. Post

So Ricardo's post over at Fantalonia got me thinking about Post Apocalyptic games again. He basically was reviewing rules for the USE ME system. His review focused on it's differences with the Ganesha Games title Mutants & Death Ray Guns (MDRG) which is a homage to TSR's Gamma World. Back in the day we (meaning my gaming group, not the royal we) played a fair amount of Gamma World and no game was complete without some kind of DethmöbeelTM (ie a big vehicle with armor and Guns all over it).

For what USE ME: PA was all about I thought that this post on DropshipHorizon was a little more illustrative. I'm tempted to buy it, but perhaps I need to play one of the other five rule sets I own and haven't played first.

Other titles that are in development are Ganesha Games Apocalypticum, you can see some playtests and some cool PA vehicle models at ChicagoSkirmish Wargames. It looks cool but it appears that combat is not deadly enough, yet.

Two Hour Wargames also has After the Horsemen in development and the Yahoo group has some files on playing Fallout with the old Chain Reaction 2.0 rules. (What's that? Some one should update that to CRFV?) [As a side note you can download the Chain Reaction Final Version and Chain Reaction Swordplay Final version for free at the Two Hour Wargames store.]

And in my search for “Post Apocalyptic Rules” I found this site with a bunch of interesting looking free rpg alternatives to Gamma World.

Also if you like John Carter, THW has just put out a free add on for gaming the Warlord of Mars on their blog here.

And today is the last day to put your name on the list here to win a free THW ruleset.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blogging Tips

I saw this link on Col. Shofer's blog and decided to start following the blog of said link. It seems mostly  intuitive, but it doesn't hurt to read up on advice. I have to say that there is a certain amount of gratification in stat numbers, but what I really want is to learn things and perhaps share information that is useful to others in the process.

So I'll be reading and attempting to use the "Blogging Tips" from their posts. So far I've tried, and failed, to get listed on and Currently I think that The Angry Lurker and Don't Throw a One are the two sites that have directed the most traffic to me and my generic Age of Blood map is still the most popular. So a combination of cross linking and having something that people actually want seems to help. And having a prize give away seems to help as well.

And now to welcome new followers:

Titivillus of The Gaming Magpie sounds interesting and I hope he(?) will post about some of the things he mentions ie " 6mm sci-fi armies for Epic:40k/Armageddon and 15mm forces for 5150:Star Army. If you were to look closely at my painting table, though, you would also find some 28mm fantasy for Songs of Blades and Heroes and 15mm Napoleonics for Song of Drums and Shakos and (eventually) Sharp Practice."

Ding Duck, no blog listed but looking to expand from NUTS! to FNG.

Nicholas Caldwell a fellow theoretical gamer and writer of Colony13 where he show cases his sci fi figures and AAR's.

Mathyoo, no blog, but he seems to be following a lot of good Zombie blogs.

vinniecp of Vinnie's World (it's not linked in your Google friend profile) which has some great models and personal family history about British WW1 tanks. Thanks for the follow back Vinnie.

Jim Marzullo aka Martian Banshee, whose name seems familiar. If you have a blog please let me know. Jim appears to be following a couple of other blogs that are THW themed.

theelcharles who doesn't seem to have a blog either. I'm now guessing that this is the same as Chuck with the St. Louis Blues logo avatar.

So a hearty welcome to all and I hope that at some point you are enlightened and or entertained by this blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm giving it away!

Flush from my recent win and inspired to "pay it forward" in kind like Big Lee, I too will be offering a prize. That is a rule set from Two Hour Games. So have a look around the website and see what suits your fancy.

The rules, since we need to have some groundwork, are:

1. Be a follower of the blog (shameless self promotion)
2. Leave a comment on this post to put your name in the drawing.
3. I will randomly divine the winner on the morning of March 10th (my time) and contact said winner for their particulars.

The winner can choose any of the THW titles, but I'm hoping it's NUTS!
Ray and Fran at work? Or is this the Rejects secret "handshake"?
And since I'm in the biz I find this series of videos hysterical:
Disclaimer: No groins were actually harmed in the making of this post.

There can be only...

I won!!!!

Ray over at Don't Throw a One had recently made the purchase of a rule set he already had so he was kind enough to raffle it off.

Blatantly lifted from Don't Throw a One
I have to say I'm very happy as I love Lord of the Rings, like most of us who cut our teeth on AD&D, and would probably have never bought it for myself.

Now, following in the footsteps of Big Lee here, I feel the need to pay it forward. I'll have to think hard on it however. Being the compulsive hoarder that I am, they tell me admitting it is the first step in recovery, I'm not sure what I could offer that would be desirable. My initial thoughts are either a map commission or maybe a THW ruleset since I am something of an evangelist for them.

Any thoughts?

And a big thanks again to Ray for his generosity.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Truly amazing 6mm sculpts!

I don't need to start another scale, but I saw this post by Kasper of WarmasterDK.

These microworld 6mm are rediculously detailed. As many reviewers have stated "better than some 10 and 15mm sculpts".

Dwarf Command, linked from Microworld Games site.
And here's a video of some painted up.

That is all.


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