One of my rather frequent pastimes is playing video games.  And over the years I’ve played a lot of games.  Some really good ones and a lot of bad ones.  Often I’m left with the feeling that something should be done better.

Of course, getting from I want to make a game to actually having a finished product is another story.  It involves tons of work in different areas from programming, scripting, sound/music composition and graphics.  Games put a tremendous demand on computers to provide real time interaction.  Tricks are required to get things to look better than they really are.  Designers have been forced to use low polygon count models because graphics hardware couldn’t keep up.  This is the art of doing more with less, and it isn’t always easy.

This is one of my first attempts to take a high polygon model and do the same with less.  As you can see from the image, I went from 21,000 polygons to 2,000.

Low and high poly tanks

Low and high poly tanks

With the textures on each tank, you can’t tell that much is different without closely looking at both.  However, when compared to the raw mesh below, you can clearly see the difference.

Low and high poly tanks raw

Low and high poly tanks raw

Key areas include the tank road wheels, details on the main hull and turret and most of all the treads.  Textures add a lot to the render, but using a tangent normal map allows the lighting to provide even more hints that the model contains more geometry than it really does.

Learning to use Blender can be painful at times.  It is the best open source 3D graphics program for low poly modeling.  Still, I had fun learning how everything went together.  I think on my next attempt I can reduce the poly count down by another 20% for even more savings.

Making things can be a lot of fun.  Starting off with a vague idea of what you want and then being able to build and complete it is very rewarding.  I wanted to see if I could make a small piece of furniture for my home.  However, my laser cutter is only able to cut parts up to about 60cm in length.  So working with that in mind, I set off to build an end table.

I wanted to come up with something a little different and complex.  One idea came to mind was to use a construction site with support beams.

Table design

Table design

To enhance the contrast with the outside table, I went with a construction golden yellow color and black outside.  With a prototype design finished I cut the parts out of 3mm MDF.  This took much longer than I expected as each leg has 4 parts with numerous cuts required inside and joint tabs on the outside edges.

Table parts cutout

Table parts cutout

My plan was to cut, paint and then assemble the parts.  This was to save some on paint as there was a lot of surface area that I didn’t need painted.  However, it turned out that was much more work than I realized.  Note to self, paint then cut in future.

Finished table

Finished table

The final result was extremely strong and very light weight.  Perfect for those of us in Christchurch with all the aftershocks as it poses no danger if it falls over.  For protection I added a layer of varnish.  Although, next time I will use a stronger attachment for the legs.  Still, overall the table is very strong and is one of a kind.

There is just something special about a soft warm light that makes a room feel like home. Adding a lamp will work, but plain ordinary lamps don’t add as much to the atmosphere.

I set out to create a new design that would provide both warm soft light and a unique and interesting look. Using 3D software I created a unique design I called “The Wave Lamp.”

Wave Lamp Design

Wave lamp design

I then cut this design out of stained wood sheets. All parts are designed to interlock providing strength yet still very light-weight. This frame is then covered with a thin fire resistant paper. Inside is a low-wattage energy saving compact fluorescent bulb.

Wave Lamp off

Wave Lamp off

Wave Lamp On

Wave Lamp On

 

 

I think overall the project came out very well and has given me more ideas for different designs.

If you’d like your own, you can purchase them from my shop wave lamp.

CPU Fan Wire

Burnt ends

Thanks to a failed CPU fan that almost caused a fire, I decided to rebuild my website.  I haven’t really been sharing my adventures on my old one.  So with a new website it is a perfect time to start.

Like most, my intent is to keep it updated often.  How often that turns out to be remains to be seen.  But I have to start somewhere. 🙂  Please leave me some feedback and tell me what you think of not only the site, but my projects.