Glenn Burgess
Fleet

I’ve got a NAS at home full of half-started game ideas. There’s a vehicle combat/dodgems hybrid, a Command & Conquer clone (“Order and Obliterate”), a flying-and-shooting game, a sort-of tower defence game, from before tower defence games were a thing, and a real-time-strategy space game.

The last of these actually got quite far in development. A very long way from finished, and an even longer way from being fun, but it had a lot of work put into it.

I’ve been doing this for years, not really having a firm plan for any particular project.

Late last year, I decided to concentrate on one thing, and try to get something finished. I discarded my old tools and workflow, got my hands on something up-to-date, and dusted off the space RTS idea.

My new-found enthusiasm is mainly due to two things. Firstly, I finally have a way to build good game assets in my 3d modeler of choice. Secondly, PC gaming has started to come out of the hole it was in, and there are now lots of ways to get a game seen. Everything’s changed, basically.

So, all this is a roundabout way of saying “hey, check out my game”. It’s not finished, obviously, but thanks to modern tools development is moving at literally ten times the pace of my previous attempt.

Yep. That’s why the gate’s there.

Yep. That’s why the gate’s there.

Every seems to be getting puppies lately.

Every seems to be getting puppies lately.

Dog versus puppy. The winner: cuteness.

Dog versus puppy. The winner: cuteness.

Boom!

Boom!

straighttohelvetica:

The Enterprise sneaks up on the Reliant.

I miss seeing actual physical models in films. There’s something about seeing it in a low-frame-rate GIF that really lets you appreciate not only the modelling, but the rigging and layers that goes into these shots. Very little of what you see in these is generated on computer. The backgrounds are a mix of paintings and coloured fluid in tanks of water. The explosions are, well explosions. Some are charges set off in the model. Some are filmed separately and added on later. The lightening flashes are a big light bulb behind the tank/painting.

I could go on for long time about how neat old-school effects are. Almost everything in the shot is something that someone has pointed a camera at, rather than generated in a computer.

In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there’s a lot of lightening effects. So the effects team built a tesla coil and filmed that.

CG is much more versatile, and it can do more, but I sometimes think that the level of control it offers drains any element of chance from a shot. In the shots above, the FX team knew what they were doing, but didn’t know exactly what it was going to look like until the money was spent and the models destroyed.

Day 30

The final day of the mission is upon us.

First, let me begin by saying that the entire Moustache and Beard Operations Team has performed brilliantly. We had a few hiccups on the way.

On day 12, the proto-moustache went feral. After a protracted three-day chase across Europe it was finally apprehended with a well-aimed tranquilliser dart. It was rehabilitated and reinstalled by day 18.

And then there was the incident on day 22. The moustache became self-aware, leading to a particularly stressful 48 hours. It interfaced with our main computer and began hacking into the Pentagon. The United States’ entire nuclear arsenal was almost launched. Luckily, Janet, our Follicle Mechanics Officer, engaged the moustache in several games of tic-tac-toe, before it realised that the only winning move was not to play.

On day 27, there was a fire in Laboratory 4. The moustache single-handedly saved six members of staff who were trapped in there. It was honoured with a ticker-tape parade and the freedom of the city.

Today, with a tinge of sadness, we must now power down the moustache.

Everyone is back at their stations and running through the shutdown and safing procedures as I write this. By midnight tonight, the moustache will have cooled sufficiently to be placed in its long-term storage sarcophagus.

Due to the risk of radioactive contamination from the moustache’s reactor, the concrete sarcophagus is necessary - it will be 20,000 years before it is no longer considered a hazard to nature.

But what of the Moustache and Beard Operations Team?

Many of them have secured posts with other moustache and beard-related projects around the world. Our MABCO Larry has accepted a position as MABCO for Tom Selleck, and we wish him well.

Janet and her lab assistants - Hillary, Jake and Pat - have all accepted research jobs at NASA, and will become part of their task force to improve interoperability of moustaches from different spacefaring nations. Exciting work, I think you’ll agree.

A few of the team will be taking sabbaticals, others are retiring, and most of the rest are eager for their next challenge.

The Moustache and Beard Control Centre will remain standing, although it will be re-purposed into a new, as-yet-undecided facility.

As for me, I will be retiring from the world of Beards and Moustaches. I’ve worked with some of the best people in the facial hair sector, and feel that now is the right time to move on.

It’s time for a new generation of moustache wearers.

Day Two

Everything is proceeding on schedule. Moustache and Beard Master Systems Display reports everything is nominal.

I was talking with the Moustache and Beard Control Officer this morning, a nice chap by the name of Larry. Ex-military, as you’d expect, following a long tradition of military-trained MABCOs throughout history.

He was telling me about Cold War era moustaches. I was surprised to learn that the Cold War era standard-issue military moustache featured the ability to protect both the soldier and a family of four from a nuclear blast as close as 7 kilometres away. Not only that, but it could repel the ensuing fallout for a period of several days, which was certainly long enough to survive until evacuation.

He also told me some stuff that I think is classified, about the role of moustaches in both exacerbating and ultimately resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. Interesting stuff.

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