Monday, November 01, 2010

Squatting on the Window Ledge



Managed to find a bust of Patrick Troughton as the 2nd Doctor to match the 8th Doctor one I have on my window ledge. It's not bad as a match - though some have intimated the face looks a bit like Steven Moffat squatting for... unsavoury reasoms.

You decide...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yup, it's not official...

But it was interesting while it lasted... but as I predicted it is not official. Still the rumour mill went into overdrive about the 8th doctor - some folk thought it meant he was coming back to the TV series, others assumed it was for the audio cd sleeves and others like me realised there was no hope in hell. Still it got folk talking...



It doesn't work for me still without the Eighth Doctor's hair...



and a scarf or cravat


Saturday, October 23, 2010

He's Back and It's About Clothes.

The Eighth Doctor appears to have been given a new costume at a New Zealand convention. It consists of a blue buttoned coat, a man-bag and a very nice steampunk sonic screwdriver. I have to admit I wasn't too keen on the jacket - perhaps if it was velvet instead of leather. It does seem to have the "is it blue? is it black?" quality his old coat had and perhaps under professional lighting it might look better.




As it is a work in progress it looks okay - the sort of thing that Benedict Cumberbatch would wear on Sherlock. Put a waistcoat and a wing collared shirt on him and he still dresses like the Eighth Doctor - my only concern is the hair, or lack thereof. And don't get rid of the cravat - unless you replace it with a short scarf or some such!



Without a TV appearance making a new costume seems a little pointless - the Eighth Doctor had a distinctive costume that has been shown throughout the new series.
I doubt this is official - the video itself says it is the official unofficial unveiling of the new costume. Most likely it is the fans having fun in New Zealand. I doubt it will lead to a TV appearance.

Incidentally the Radio Times did something like this for Doctors 5-7 in 2003, as usual #8 was forgotten. This is him catching up I guess.







Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Star Trek Sequel Amusement

I just laughed when reading this trivia on IMDB concering the next Star Trek movie:-

Sceenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman explained that the dilemma for the sequel was whether to pit the crew against another villain, or to have an "exploration sci-fi plot where the unknown and nature itself is somehow an adversary," like in "Star Trek" (1966)

Nah... you don't want to do anything daft like make it like Star Trek mate!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elite Space Ship to Crash in Dundee in 2014.

Dundee's waterfront is being rejuvinised again. This time it's getting another museum and every award-winning architect is pitching for the lucrative contract. Here's what we got last time - a wooden eyesore:-



Now there are numerous planned buildings, which look like we're trying to build the Louvre in Dundee. However my personal favourite is one that looks like a crashed Gecko ship from the 80s game Elite... complete with Close Encounters of the Third Kind glowy entryway.



If they're going to waste the taxpayers cash on a mini-Scottish parliament egotrip I vote for this absurd entry.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paladins

Made a couple of paladin models for the heck of it. If anyone can guess the actors the likenesses are based off you win a no-prize.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Situation Vacant (Spoilers)

Episode 4.1 was out at Christmas. It involved the Eighth Doctor and Lucie parting ways sadly after the events of The Zygon Who Fell To Earth came to the fore. In many ways it was the bookend to Season 3 as that ended with the Headhunter dying, effectively ending Lucie's other arc.

Despite a bonus story featuring Susan and her son Alex, the Eighth Doctor was now companionless, which leads into Situation Vacant, or Doctor Who Meets The Apprentice (from the people who brought you Doctor Who Meets Top Gear and Doctor Who Meets The Office).

The genius is that the Doctor has been put in a situation where he has to choose a companion from four candidates who include:-

Hugh Bainbridge - an amiable public school type who, though perhaps not the brightest tool in the box, is happy to rush in where Time Lords fear to tread. James Bachman from That Mitchell and Webb Look and Bleak Expectations was cast.

Juliet Walsh - a tough cookie. A driven and highly successful career woman, there is nothing she won't do to close the deal. Juliet Walsh's is played by Niky Wardley who has appeared as Lauren's sidekick in The Catherine Tate Show; All the Small Things; Benidorm and Shameless.

Asha Qureshi - a no-nonsense, capable young woman with a tendency towards precociousness and a surprising ability to cope with the unexpected. Shelley Conn is Asha whose previous projects include the BBC's Party Animals.

Theo Lawson - Theo is King of the Geeks; an introverted and computer savvy teenager who knows more about gigabytes than he does about girls. Joe Thomas, who is Simon from The Inbetweeners plays him.

It's worth noting that each of the candidates is played by a 'celebrity' who you might have heard of. Just as Sheridan Smith (Lucie) had the cache of having been in Two Pints of Lager and other shows (including a stint with Paul McGann on Jonathan Creek) each of these potential companions has been in something you're likely to have heard from.

Spoilers...

Stop Reading

Lest Ye Be Spoiled



Hugh and Theo were sufficiently goofy that it was clear to me that they would never make it to companion status. At the end of the first part the Doctor dismisses Juliet for, quite fairly, a major cockup involving a bottle of orange juice. This of course made it clear she would redeem herself later.

However the episode keeps you guessing - at the end of the story the Doctor appears to offer Hugh a place in the TARDIS. Given James Bachman has a pretty cool voice (you'll recognise it if you listen in) this was a punch-the-air moment - until Juliet appears at the 11th hour.

It's hard to be tough on this story as it is quite cleverly written, explaining why the Doctor is in this situation. He's not actually the one who has organised the audition, but rather he's investigating the message that was sent to the candidates. He also learns that these 4 candidates were rejected for being evil or an actress. The thread of who was auditioning companions is left dangling for resolution elsewhere this season.

I'm not over the moon with the choice of companion. I was always going to discount both the lads as they were portrayed very bungly. Later we learn Theo and Hugh are both sadly evil (Theo is a megalomaniac who tries to take over every computer on Earth and Hugh is a vampire) and dispatched accordingly, Asha on the other hand is the wrong side of slightly nasty and Juliet turns out to be called Tamzin and is a slightly past her prime actress thinking she's appearing on a reality TV show.

Thinking about the companion it was pretty obvious. Sadly the Doctor never travels solely with a male companion these days. Poor Arthur Darville seems an afterthought in the 11th Doctor era, and I wonder if he'll last long during Matt Smith's 2nd season. Nicky Ward's status as Catherine Tate's sidekick makes her Doctor Who cache all the more obvious.

Part of me suspects we'll still see Lucie return this season. The Eighth Doctor adventures mirror the current TV series - which could include kitchen-sink finale. The Daleks will be back. Susan will be back. Presumably we'll find who the time traveller who was auditioning companions is.

There are 9 more episodes this season - which is the last Eighth Doctor Adventures season. Don't ask me why - the 8th Doctor will continue as his adventures are rolled into the regular releases again. Tom Baker is reportedly joining Big Finish, and perhaps they want to make monthly releases with him. It is also possible Big Finish's partnership with BBC7 is not paying off as much as they'd like - only half of Season 3 was aired with them to date.

However this year's special is going to be the Four Doctors - starring Doctors 5,6,7 and 8. Lots of McGann this year before the famine next year.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You Spoony Bard!

I installed Final Fantasy on my iPhone for £5.99. I have to admit that other than getting halfway through FFVII I have let the FF series pass me by.

There is a reason for my adversion - I hate the random encounter aspect that makes up the bulk of the game. The separation between the combat engine and the exploration of the world lower the immersion I feel. Combat becomes a chore that interrupts the flow of the plot It's for similar reasons I never bother with Ultima III, IV and V but in Final Fantasy the baddies are invisible and arbitrarily jump out.

Anyroads after grinning and bearing masses of invisible random encounters in FF1 the game became interesting. There are often fewer random encounters in the dungeons and though the plot is wafer thin it does pass time while you are waiting or having lunch in the park.

Intrigued I have obtained FF2 and FF4. 4 is meant to be the zenith of the early series. Time factors mean I am unlikely to get to 7 and The Spoony One has pit me off playing FF8. 4 looks good although at this stage 2 of my 3 party members are weeds. And yes one of them is a Spoony bard.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My New Pride and Joy


Bought a Limited Edition 8th Doctor figurine which looks cool. Not convinced by the hair, but there you go...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Now the Power Is In My Hands

Finally I have blogging on my phone.
Mobile Blogging from here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Screenies

Starting to get there with this game lark...



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Dr Stu on the New Dr Who

Here's my thoughts on the new series of Doctor Who. I'm really liking it - which is odd as a lot of folk are giving it a bad rep. It's easily the most solidly written season for me ever.

Pros: Matt Smith is nailing the Doctor. He is much more of a relatable character than Tennant's Fonzy-Cool Doctor. This is a Doctor who cocks up and who realises he does this. There are also consequences to his actions (unlike Waters of Mars which seems to have no repercussions that even remotely led to Tennant's regeneration).

The scripts are actually intelligent. It's worth rewatching episodes by the main scriptwriter. The scripts actually feel more like a 'proper' sci-fi show rather than a London-based melodrama with aliens in it.

Every 2nd character doesn't telegraph their sexuality loudly though we do still have a lot of "unrequited" love situations in everyday places (the older guy and gal at the drill, the couple in next week's episode). And instead of every other character being obviously gay they're obviously Scottish instead. :)

Cons:

The budget - this has been clearly slashed so the series has to make do with some wonky CGI (Prisoner Zero and the Eyeball Ships looked like something I could've rendered for them) and invisible or "edge of the camera") monsters. While there's nothing wrong with being creative it makes me sad when you think how much money RTD managed to waste on farting aliens, the obligitory horde of Daleks or Toclafane zooming into Earth and back through a plot device at the end of every season and the doubtless expensive pointless cameos or appearances by Barrowman (shakes fist), Piper, Freema, Tate and so on who don't work for free.

Amy - I'm not so down on her being blazé about Time Travel and I suspect the actress's manner makes her difficult to relate to. Thankfully this is easier to explain than say, Rose Tyler, as Amy is bat-crazy thanks to meeting the 11th Doc in her childhood.

---

Here's some notes on every episode so far:-

The Eleventh Hour - a very good post-regeneration story with typical Moffaty timewimey the only shame is we miss young Amelia 4/5

Beast Below - while this is not particularly well thought out, surprising for Moffat, this is an interesting satire of the British voting system. 3/5.

Victory of the Daleks - even Iain McNeice cannot save this one from being a bit crap. Daleks again. Thankfully they won't be the last survivors of their race... yadayada... anymore. 2/5

Time of the Angels, Flesh & Stone - Genuinely creepy this is Moffat at his best and may be the best 2 parter in a long time. 5/5 - despite the perhaps more creepy ending to part 2.

Vampires of Venice - a fun romp that amuses and looks good. I do hope we get a proper Vampire episode at some point. 3/5

Amy's Choice - another good episode that reminds us this is actually meant to be a sci-fi show. Very clever - almost feels like a clever episode of Star Trek or some such. Hope the Dreamlord comes back. 5/5

The Silurian 2-parter - This is relatively ho-hum and by the numbers, though not so much as the Dalek and Sontaran mid-season 2 parters of yesteryear. The ending to part 2 is a good idea that is not particularly well or dramatically executed. Given the author's track record I think he actually exceeded my expectations. 3/5

Vincent and the Doctor - Pretty good portrayal of a manic-depressive this episode is surprisingly tearjerking. 4/5

Monday, April 12, 2010

HP Lovecraft's Insomnia

I have to give a big shoutout to this very simple and yet elegant game based on a synopsis H.P. Lovecraft once wrote

“The man who would not sleep—dares not sleep—takes drugs to keep himself awake. Finally falls asleep—and something happens. Motto from Baudelaire p. 214.”

Very cool free game. Grab it here.

Newest Batch of Renders...

... are not about to all be posted here. I have been really busy lately and I should make like this guy...




(Alright - here's one. Spoiler Alert!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

McGann's TARDIS Rocked


And now it will hopefully continue to do so... With glowy post-production effect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meanwhile Inside The Gothic TARDIS

Relaxing weekend where I got round to playing with rendering this scene in Lightwave 9.






TARDIS interior by Brian Taylor from www.smartdesign-u-need.com

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And now...


My latest screenshot...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Computer Game Project Update

And some more screenshots charting the evolution of this game...



I've created a GUI with appropriate icons (though I need to stop it obscuring the action text onscreen), as well as fully animated the 8th Doctor sans coat.




There's also my first NPC, Stohl the Sontaran, who will act as the companion in this adventure in lieu of any blond chavs or posh received pronounciation radio stars.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

More Game Mucking Around...

In case you were wondering if my Daz3D graphics are paying off...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evolution of a 3D Model Part 2

Yet more tinkering with the 8th Doctor model. It seemed it didn't look much like the character so with some advice and a morph file provided by CD2010 for reference I rejigged the face (and thankfully I would add, saved the resultant morphs).

Although I felt the morph I was given looked a little like it was more like Rocky Balboa I used it as a reference to modify my original model... (here's a morph video that shows how far CD2010's morph was from my original model)



Then I had a complete Daz3D crash (probably due to me trying to rearrange all my assets into a logical filing system) and had to work from the ground up again - which in the long run was good as I used a slightly different ensemble to create a more accurate costume...



which I then modified the material of to make it appear to reflect light and give off a more subtle green (or any colour I wished)...





Then I played around with lip-syncing, although rendering these movies was an overnight job.





Lately I've replaced the hair with... er... one that fits. It's a little too OTT on the curls for my liking but it seems to do the job - especially when you play around with the lighting on Daz3D to create some rather nice scenes.





Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Couple of More Models

Here's a couple of more models I may use in my game... if I don't stop playing in Daz3D.

One is a potential companion for the Eighth Doctor who's costume is designed to compliment his...



... and the other is this guy. Hmmm...



(Actually I used a morph made by a nice chap called Charles or CD2010 for this one but getting the rightish clothes took a while.).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Babylon 5 Viewing

Been watching B5 with the missus and we've made it a fair chunk of the way through the 2nd series. Sadly Naomi agrees with me that there is no subtely in the way in which Michael O'Hare is replaced with Bruce Boxleitner. A lot of folk diss O'Hare as being at times wooden, including certain co-stars but I felt he needed to be in the first few episodes of season 2 at least to transition from one CO to another.

It does seem for a few episodes that Sheridan is walking around being really nice to people for no apparent reason, and that no-one is resentful that poor Sinclair got transferred finally. For Naomi though the point where the obvious tipexing of Sinclair with Sheridan hit home was in episode 2 of season 2 when Captain Sheridan volunteers to give some of his life-energy to save Garibaldi. This doesn't really work from a dramatic point of view as Sheridan has never met Garibaldi, while it would make sense for Sinclair to do so.

Still one does wonder how the show would've been with Sinclair... probably not as good if this account is accurate. Though I think this was probably just the rough draft of Seasons 1-5.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Evolution of a 3D Model

Recently I bemoaned my inability to produce some decent graphics for my games and twittered about finding a decent package to render walkcycles (making the walkcycle for TARDIS Trouble was tough using a pretty awful freeware walk cycle editor for AGS). Thankfully Korvar aka Big Mike of DURPS fame came to my aid - he does visual effects for the USS Intrepid fan films and like many of the other Star Trek fan films the special effects are state of the art - and recommended Daz3D.

The main drawback of Daz3D is that it comes with minimal content preinstalled - Victoria 4.2 - their female model - and a few (skimpy) outfits for her to wear. Daz makes most of its revenue off the model addons it produces and vends for 3rd parties. Thankfully the base models were free for the moment so I was able to install a male model (Michael 4) and with some browsing on their site I was able to find the content I needed for my model.

I decided to model the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann. Surprisngly there's a derth of Doctor Who models on Daz3D.com and other such places - I've seen a really good Chris Eccleston model, numerous Tennants and even a really good Matt Smith, so I decided to give the neglected 8th Doctor a whirl.

Here is where things went a little squiffy - oddly (IMHO though in Naomi's opinion this is unsurprising) there is a lack of male clothing packs for Daz3D compared to the dearth of female packs. You certainly don't get any male stuff with the default Daz3D install - though the Daz3D book I have later acquired gives you a lot of base stuff to work with.

Firstly I installed some packs allowing me the use of a frock coat, frilly shirts and waistcoats. I then fit these to the 3D model and after being told by Korvar how to prevent the "bleed" problem that persists when you try to dress a model in multiple layers of clothing.

My next problem was that despite the effectiveness of my ensemble my model looked like Ken from Barbie:-





(As an aside I do like the pose in the last image there - very Ascension-like).

However the good people at Daz3D were able to give me some hints (the face should be thinner, the chin longer etc.) Truth be told it would really be the hair that made or broke the model, as Doctor Who is a hairjob.

I then morphed the face - which basically involved turning dials until it thinned the face and made the chin more pronounced. I got carried away...



Then I managed to go from that baseline to something looking a bit more realistic...


And here is a comparison with images of the source face... which I think shows I did a fair job for someone who'd never used Daz3D before.





After that it was mostly touching up the model - changing the hair colour slightly, reworking the clothes. I decided I didn't really like the original waistcoat I'd given the model so I swapped it for a silvery "tuxedo" vest. I even found some ready made walk-cycle poses which has enabled me to generate a walkcycle...



and FYI don't ever have a character wearing a frock coat... talk about a nightmare to make a walkcycle...



Next I want to make a better cravat, create more animations for the character and trying to get rid of the jaggedy edge on the transparent renders.