02 July 2009

NPCs, Terrain, and Computer Problems

In keeping with the new direction of this blog, I thought I'd take a minute to describe some of the stuff I've been working on and where I'm headed with my hobby.

First, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief, as my computer is back in working order. I had a true bastard of a problem that was finally resolved and let me say that I am readily ashamed at how big of an impact the downtime had on my efficiency and attitude with regards to my modeling and painting. I got a lot of work done, and felt great about what I had done, but the entire time working I had this unshakable sense of my missing computer, and how inconvenient things had become for me. Boo Hoo, right?

Anyway, it's fixed and now I just have to find a missing camera charger so I can get some damn photos of my works-in-progress in this space.

Speaking of which, the workbench has hosted a number of different jobs this week, from hired guns (bounty hunter, PDF deserter, ratskin scout) to gangers (three OI-FU members) to terrain (a wall with gate and watchtower, a couple of ruins/barricades from foam packing materials) and the results so far have been really enouraging.

I've tried some new techniques on the bounty hunter - I did a pseudo-German-style camoflage pattern on the trousers, which turned out really well - and a County Cork tartan pattern on an OI-FU member - which, to my chagrin, looked like crap and eventually was painted over.

I've also been making heavy use of the Payne's Gray wash technique in my miniature painting and terrain. For those of you not familiar with this method, it's pretty straightforward and easy to acheive great shading and definition from a simple basecoated model. If I can get myself organized I might try to do a quick tutorial writeup here to show the method and the results it can yield even for an amateur painter like myself.

For those more eager readers, check out Dakka Dakka's tutorial section. There's some amazing stuff there.

The OI-FU will finally be revamped and ready for play for the meetup on July 12 - I'm in the home stretch, and it's a good feeling. It's been far too long a road for this project, and I just hope the end result looks worth the wait. The members Liam the Shootist, Cillian, and "Chickenhawk" James are almost complete, they need to be detailed and fixed to bases, and that's that, save for painting and attaching weapons to the whole of the gang.

The terrain work is tending towards the post-apocalyptic, for several reasons. First, I LOVE ruined and/or abandoned buildings; there's a massive opportunity for playability, details, and dark humor. Second, while I am a current fan of Necromunda and don't plan on giving up the game any time soon, I recognize that other games exist and that I may want to give them a shot. Therefore, I don't want any blatant "hurrrr GAMES WORKSHOP hurrrrr" stuff strewn about. I'm trying to build it all from scratch. I've looked at sources like Fallout (1-3), 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead (2004), I Am Legend, Left 4 Dead, Mad Max/The Road Warrior, , etc. where society has just stopped, leaving the infrastructure to die a slow death.

The result of this sudden (often violent) halt is recognizable-yet-drastically-different versions of things like roads, apartments, houses, offices, etc. as well as the patchwork shantytowns that might crop up. Especially interesting to me is the variety and juxtaposition that can occur where purpose-built structures are modified or adapted to fit a new use or role. It's great to think of, say, a sandwich shop that's had its windows smashed, with tables upended and used to secure the building against raiders, or undead, or what have you. Or the burnt-out high-rise whose third floor has been equipped with a sandbagged machine gun bunker out the window, ready to repel a direct assault.

At any rate, the table I want to play on looks like any number of societies and cultures have moved through/fought over/scavenged/settled the ever-loving crap out of the area, leaving their mark in the form of soaring towers and gutter-cities, with bullet-holes, crashed vehicles, and craters to mark the changes of power.

Okay, that'll do it for me for now. Feel free to remark on your ideas of hobbying, gaming tables, whatever comes to mind, and maybe I'll get a few ideas out of the exchange.


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