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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Entropic Appeal

I’ve written about this before, in my Broken Down article.  Old things fascinate me.  There’s something both sad and heartening to see the effects of life as time goes on, both human life and all the other forms that we share our spaces with.

Anyway, this is a link repository of some more fascinating photo collections of beat up, run down places and things.

Abandoned Areas (Twitter feed)

Abandoned Olympic Venues

Abandoned but Beautiful

Abandoned Places

Abandoned Places 2

Abandoned Places Around the World

Abandoned Places LiveJournal

Abandoned Places.com (navigation is a bit wonky, but they have more details about the places, which is cool)

Expoland

Keelung Taiwan

Maunsell Sea Forts

Nara Dreamland

Spectacular Abandoned Places

Swallowed By Nature

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The Tinker Metal Dice campaign has begun!  It just seems right, somehow, to have metal dice for this steampunky project, and I’d appreciate whatever you can help me with in spreading the word!

Tinker Metal Dice on Kickstarter

I know, it’s missing a video, but I just don’t have the time.  I’d like to think that the design speaks for itself.  The photos are of prototypes, but the finals shouldn’t be too different.

Tinker Dice Metal Splash

Thanks for looking!

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Following up on yesterday’s Daily Dose of Dice, it should also be noted that dice make excellent rubble.

Rubble2 Rubble

It’s not quite as photogenic as something like Hashima Island or Chernobyl/Pripyat‘s rubble, or the hauntingly beautiful short film RUIN, but it’s good reference for porcine construction crews everywhere.

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What happens when you get a bunch of quirky kids together with their uncle who loves mad science and making weird fudge?

Peep Fudge

Peeps are weird treats.  I can’t stand them, but to each their own.  They make a good marshmallow substitute in fudgemaking, though, so we wound up… experimenting.  We swapped peeps in for the marshmallows and added a dozen crushed mint OREO cookies at the end.  The fudge is a mildly minty “cookies and cream” fudge that just happens to look like stroganoff.  Luckily, it doesn’t taste much like it, though.

There are probably some moral messages in there somewhere, like “don’t follow the crowd”, “be careful with what friends and parties you pick”, and “don’t trust a boiling hot tub”, but it was mostly just a fun evening with a crazy idea.  Happy post-Easter candy sales!

PeepFudge_018 PeepFudge_019 PeepFudge_020 PeepFudge_021 PeepFudge_001 PeepFudge_002 PeepFudge_003 PeepFudge_004 PeepFudge_005 PeepFudge_006 PeepFudge_007 PeepFudge_008 PeepFudge_009 PeepFudge_010 PeepFudge_011 PeepFudge_012 PeepFudge_013 PeepFudge_014 PeepFudge_015 PeepFudge_017

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…for shameless self-promotion.  Y’see, there are sales afoot, and one might as well take advantage of them, yes?

Specifically, I’m an artist.  I do art.  Some of it’s good.  Some of it’s for sale.  Some of it’s on sale.

Some is over here, at Zazzle.  It’s mostly shirts, but also some fun puzzles and assorted knickknacks, like this Zelda-inspired bumper magnet and this Mousemech art (available on a variety of things) that I’m inordinately happy with, and some preliminary Project Khopesh art.

Some is over there, at Shapeways.  Specifically, my gearpunk dice and some World of Warcraft inspired “class rings“, suggested by the venerable Big Bear Butt some time ago.  At present, I only offer Druid rings, but I’m taking requests.  I also have some other great ideas for 3D prints, if only I can make the time to create them… including the models for Zomblobs!

CafePress carries one of my shirt designs, but I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of their limitations on free shops, so most of my products will be offered via Zazzle for the forseeable future.

I also do the occasional commission, but to date, that’s mostly been for in-game currency over on the Puzzle Pirates forums, where I’m known as Silveransom, from whence several of the bits of art in my Mini Portfolio hail, and where one of my art tutorials resides.  I’d love to open the floodgates to do commissions for cash, but since I can’t promise a quick turnaround, I’ll just say that I’m very open to requests, I’m just going to be somewhat less than a full-time production house.  Somewhat less than part-time, really, but you might be surprised what is possible to do in the wee hours around midnight when the kids go to bed.

Y’see, things are unnaturally busy here at the Tesh household.  We’re finishing the basement, so my “vacation” from work this holiday season isn’t exactly filled with carefree whimsy and mad dashes to fulfill art requests.  Still, I’m working in a bit, here and there.

So yes, Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas, or whatever it is you do this time of year!

…are the Steam sales up yet?  That’s kind of an event, right?

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I like music.  I like games.  Intersections of the two make me happy.

A good chunk of my musical library is game music.  I’m a fan of AudioSurf, a slick little “sound rider” game that can be played as a relaxing cruise through my favorite music or a skill-testing scramble.  Lately, though, maybe because I’ve had a lack of vitamin BSU in my gaming diet (Blow Stuff Up), I’ve really been enjoying Symphony.

Symphony takes your music library (or the one they provide) and asks you to clean out corruption in it, imposed by a malevolent digital entity of some sort.  You fly a ship with four cannons (you wind up with a variety of weapons that you can slot in), reacting to the algorithms that the game uses to make bad guys based on your music.  It’s a delightfully flexible system, with no two songs really playing quite the same way (and each song plays differently for each difficulty level).  The story and character are just kinda… there.  Not bad, just not all that compelling.  I’m not convinced you really need a reason to play a game that’s this simple at its core; just go blow stuff up and have a blast doing it.

The TRON-flavored visuals are excellent, if a bit overwhelming before you get used to filtering the visual chaff.  It’s really satisfying to upgrade your guns a few times, maybe angling them or using a spread cannon or shotgun, and throwing up a huge swath of happy, glowing death, blasting a swarm of bad guys into note-shaped shrapnel.

Most importantly, though, blowing stuff up is glorious fun.  For me, the visuals and story can make or break a game, but only at the margins.  The gameplay is what really matters, and Symphony is simply fun to play.  Set your cannons to autofire (holding down the mouse button for constant fire is a good recipe for carpal tunnel, so autofire is the way to go), and you can just concentrate on flying.  Or maybe try out a Subwoofer weapon that only fires according to the music (where a subwoofer would be used, of course, nicely demonstrated in the game’s trailer).  Or how about a Crescendo weapon, a “charge and release” sort of weapon, or a Missile Rack that functions much the same way, offering devastating firepower in a narrow arc.  Perhaps it’s best to put in that Shotgun or Spread Cannon and just dominate the play field.  Maybe even use that Dual Cannon that fires behind you for those sneaky bad guys that push you out of the “bottom of the screen pocket” that lower difficulty levels allow.

Speaking of difficulty, it’s also a forgiving game.  It presumes that you want to actually play through your whole song, so while your ship may be destroyed, you just respawn after a few seconds.  Your ship can also be partially destroyed, and picking up the “Inspiration” that bad guys drop repairs your ship.  So you can wind up with just one cannon as your wings get clipped, but you can get back in the game after you destroy some bad guys and pick up their offerings.  Of course, your score suffers if you do completely crash, both with a straight score penalty and with missed opportunities to score while you’re regenerating, but there doesn’t seem  to be a penalty just for ship damage that subsequently gets repaired.

Here’s a quick video that I found online that goes over some of the basics.  I kind wish I could make a video, but that’s way down the priority list.

There are some fun “progression/collection” mechanics that unlock the variety of weapons and let you upgrade them, and player-selected difficulty levels which unlock as you play through your library.  This incentivizes playing through different songs, as there is the occasional rare variant of a weapon that packs more punch.  I do wish there were more weapons that did different things, and more that interacted with the music itself, but the dozen or so weapons in the game do provide a good mix of attack options without becoming overwhelming, and simplicity in game design isn’t really a bad thing.

…there’s room for a sequel, that’s all I’m saying.

In the meantime, though, Symphony is a sweet game that even stole some time I might have been playing Torchlight 2, the other game I was really happy to pick up in the Black Friday sales.  I got Symphony at GoG.com’s “five for $10″ sale, along with the Blackwell Bundle, Botanicula, Resonance and Unmechanical.  …as if my game backlog wasn’t full already.  Still, for $20 I picked up 9 games that I’m really looking forward to playing.  I’ve dabbled with all of them except for the Blackwell games, and so far, I’m happy with them all… though Symphony is the one I keep coming back to.  Yes, yes, Torchlight 2 is a gem, packed with vitamin KSALI (Kill Stuff And Loot It), but it’s more involved.  With my rather constrained game play time of late, the quick play of Symphony really fits the bill.  I’d love to just settle into some marathon sessions of Torchlight 2 or Guild Wars 2, or even Tactics Ogre for the PSP that I got for my birthday, but my schedule is… squirrely.

At least there’s plenty of good gaming in the wings, when I can get to it.

Oh, and just because I wanted to get these out there while I’m thinking about them, I ran into some pretty crazy photographs lately.  Some very cool stuff can be done with very high speed photography and water, as Tim Tadder illustrates with these shots:

Water Wigs

Fish Heads

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I’m doing a new Thing here.  OK, it’s something I’ve already done, but now I’m calling it TEShots.  (For now, anyway.)  I take a LOT of photographs of the world around me, and every once in a while, I feel like sharing.  Today, it’s the Minecraft Edition.

We’re excavating a smallish pit on the back of our house, so we can make the existing window into a proper bedroom window, so we can remodel/finish the basement and squeeze in another bedroom.  It’s actually something that’s bugged me since we bought this house; there’s no proper escape from the basement in the case of fire.  Ah, the building code of the late 70s.  Anyway, to save $2000, we had the concrete cutter people cut a chunk out of our back porch, and I’m digging out the new window well so they can come back and cut out the window space.

It turns out that excavation is way easier in Minecraft than in real life.  Weird, huh?

Big Rock, Small Pit

Yes, that’s a 100-pound rock I pulled out, and the one still in the pit wound up being over 200 pounds.  I had to get help for that one, since it turns out that hitting it with my fist didn’t break it into small blocks.

The crazy thing is that those rocks, though the biggest ones I’ve had to deal with, were hardly the only rocks.  By weight, I’ve pulled probably about a literal ton of rock out of that hole, and I’m not even done yet.  My father-in-law helped with the top layer of busted concrete and the top layer of obvious rocks, and my brother and his friend helped with that biggest beast of a rock, but there has been plenty for me to do in between.  There was a bit of soil and clay in there, too, but the ground here in the Rocky Mountains is, well… rocky.  It’s also fairly compact.  Speaking of volume, I’ll probably have pulled out the equivalent of two of these trailers… which sure seems like a lot more than should be in that hole to a depth of 5 feet.

Trailer o’ Fun

Apologies for not getting more shots of the project in progress.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of where the rocks wound up.  It took that bulldozer two pushes to get our load on the pile.  Less than a minute for weeks of work to be just another part of the crowd.

Assimilated

Yeah, we have rocks here.  Lots of rocks.  I’m just glad my father-in-law is letting us use his trailer.  This would have been even more of a project without it.  Yay for summertime house projects, hm?

Rocky Mountain High

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I took a recent trip to see my sister’s family in southern Utah.  En route, I put my new camera through some paces.

First, taking photos at 80 miles per hour through the window of a van usually produces little more than a blur, but this surprised me.  I counter-moved the camera as we went past a rock wall, and hoped for a decent shot.  This is what came of that little experiment.  The diagonal focus band is what really surprised me, and this is one of my favorite images from the trip.

rocks by road at 80 mph

Then there’s the rather largish gas station that is, well… abandoned.  The sunshine went dark, I guess.  Just my sort of playground.  There’s more at the Picasa site for this, but here are a couple of my favorites.

Sunshine Station Close

Looking Up

Last but not least, there’s the little burned tourist trap shack by the Cove Fort gas station.  It was built to look like an old log cabin, but it’s suffered some hard times.  Naturally, this makes for some great photos.  (Again, more at the Picasa site.)

Burned Panel

Burned Door

Now, to plan some other trips to see some natural wonders and ghost towns.  Maybe even Yellowstone someday.  It’s not that far away.

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7005 Words

Per Big Bear Butt’s challenge:

JUICY

SLENDER

VAIN

SHAFT

TORCH

STAR

HIDDEN

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Climate Change

Three days ago it was 75 degrees F.  Nice, pleasant weather, a proper desert spring.

This was what it looked like at 1 A.M. this morning…

Let It Snow

Silent Night

…and this is what it looked like at 8 A.M.

Snowflakes in a Pear Tree

Yup, climate changes.  Apparently we moved to a taiga overnight.  My new camera is happy.

Edited to add a few other shots I took on the way to work.  There’s a link to the Picasa folder of all of the shots at the bottom of the post.

Mountain, Trees, Sun, Snow?

My Front Yard

Frosted Tips

Snowflake Orchard

Edited again to add the link to the rest of the shots and a couple of panoramic composites.  Via Picasa, of course.

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