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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

ScourgeOfTheSkiesSplashB

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It’s time to follow up on the Meeple Mayhem post.  Past time, actually, but life is busy.

I promised to do some damage to some meeples last time.  I didn’t get to do quite what I had planned, but I did get to send them through a cycle and a half in the clothes dryer.  I figured that the warmth, slightly elevated humidity and constant agitation could simulate wear and tear of backpacks and pockets well enough to get some bead on what might happen over time with them.

For the most part, it looks like the bag that they were in doesn’t make much difference.  They all wound up dinged a bit, and there are the occasional bits of plating that come off, most notable on the antiqued copper.  This isn’t a surprise, but it’s nice to have some photos to show what happened.

I did run into a weird event where it looks like the Top Hat male first generation Tinker meeple, finished in “Misty Gold”, wound up mostly stripped of gold.  None of the other designs had this happen for their Misty Gold, though, and looking back at the “before” photo, I can’t be sure that I actually had a Misty Gold Top Hat meeple in the batch in the first place.  I grabbed one from each of my bins, but maybe the one that I thought was Misty Gold was actually another Antiqued Silver.

1280_MeepleBagTestTopHats

So, I did another experiment with just 4 Top Hat meeples, making sure that there was a Misty Gold in the mix.  This one didn’t have a big problem, though it did show a bit more wear than the other colors (mostly some thinning in the face area, no big chips or scrapes).

As such, I think that for the most part, I’m happy with how these worked out.  The Misty Gold Top Hat does disappoint me a bit, but gold is soft, so this isn’t shocking, sadly.  I wish I could say with impunity that these little folk were incredibly durable, but it’s just a reality that any plated metal will have this sort of issue.  We can’t really make solid copper or solid gold meeples… though that would certainly be a blast if we could say we did and they sold enough to make it worthwhile.

At any rate, overall I’m sufficiently pleased with the overall durability, since the zinc alloy core is plenty tough.  The dings and scrapes that come with life as a metal are just part of the bargain in my book, but it’s nice to finally have some photos to show off.

It might also be worth noting that this just simulates mechanical wear and tear.  I haven’t found a great way to simulate months and/or years of handling with the natural oils on human skin.  I suspect that such would be a surface issue, though, so you’re likely to see the same sort of effects that you might have with other metallic items, like truly silver silverware or copper coins.

Thank you!

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Has it really been six months since I posted last?  Sorry about that, it’s been somewhat crazy around here.

I do have more Operation Backlog things to write about, and a bit to say about a recent sojourn in World of Warcraft that ended on a sour note, but for today, it’s a quick mention of a new Tinker project that we have up and running over on Kickstarter.  We’re going to get a bunch of these little guys made:

TinkerMeeplesOnDice

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tishtoshtesh/tinker-bits-i-steampunk-metal-meeples

We’re funded already, thanks to some fantastic early adopters, so at this point, we’re just looking for as many people as we can to get these spread far and wide.  I would love to see these little guys all over the place, popping up in different games and locations, always making people happy to have them.

No, things like this aren’t necessities, but there’s just something fun about little bits of treasure like this.  If you’re interested, please check out the campaign, and maybe tell a few others about it.  The more the merrier!

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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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Dice are also excellent building blocks for tabletop RPG sessions, or planning out Minecraft structures.  More dice mean a greater palette.  Tinker Dice could fill in the crucial rusty old shed or even nice peaty ground areas.  I can only imagine what The Dice Collector could build.

Castle

Speaking of building stuff, though, we do have plans for the future for Tinker projects, and we’ll let you know as soon as we can what’s afoot.  In the meantime, might I recommend the Daft Dice project?  (Here’s one video review.)

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Dice can be excellent conversation pieces.  These little gems, for instance, left on my desk at work, have proven to be eye-catching and good to start conversation.

Gearpunk Seven Set

These are my Gearpunk dice, ones I designed, Shapeways printed, then I dyed and painted.  The hollow D4 (front, left) is my favorite of the bunch, simply because it’s a design that plays to the strengths of 3D printing, making a shape that would be difficult to produce with traditional dice molds, and a solution to reading the numbers that isn’t common among four-sided dice designs.  Maybe this blurs the line a little between simple dice and wargaming miniatures, but I’m happy playing in that space.  The Tinker Dice designs are more traditional, but the Gearpunk dice are more fun.

Speaking of wargaming, minis and art, WarMachine Tactics is rumbling along nicely, and I highly recommend you go check it out.  I’ve wanted them to do this for years, and it’s exciting seeing them find success.  Oh, and just because it’s relevant, go check out  the Awash site.  Some great photos of well-decorated minis.

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10 is a nice number.  Most of the world’s math is in base 10 (OK, or binary, but that makes 10 different math bases, and we’ll just ignore the other one), we usually have 10 fingers, and volume dials go up to 10.  Usually.  There’s even this spiffy metric system of measurement that’s all about tens and powers of ten.

We even just recently passed $1000 in the Tinker Dice campaign, so we’re all about the metrics today.

Naturally, then, it’s time for another measurement system:  Dice!

If feet, yards, hands and cubits can work, why not dice?  They are sorta standardized.  This, for example, is a 6.8D6 HXBT with a .8D6 head.  It might take a practiced eye to really get familiar with this system, but I’m confident that gamers are up to the task.

Metric Dice

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Dice are excellent for illustrating numerical patterns… or at least, the start of them.  Some patterns get out of hand really quickly.

Sequences

Oh, and we have new prototypes for the Tinker Dice.  (Please join the campaign on Kickstarter!)

New Tinker Dice Prototypes

It’s still not quite right; the photo paper I printed these on via the local Kinko/FedEx store came out darker than designed, and you can see the tape that holds them together and the lines on the face edges… but these are much closer to what we’re looking to get from the factory.  I’ll shoot a video with them when I get a minute.

Speaking of numbers, though, we are a little behind on the “track” to getting the project funded.  I’m sending out another wave of emails to a variety of places, trying to get some press.  If you have a minute, and feel the project merits mention, will you please spread the word?  Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, MySpace, semaphore, smoke signals… whatever outlet you have, we’d greatly appreciate a mention!

Oh, and I’ll append this and the to the main post, but also speaking of numbers, I wanted to spotlight the “pound of dice” pledge tier, the “POUNDER” tier.  It’s the most cost-effective on a cost-per-die basis, but it is a fair chunk of change.  By default, I’ve described shipping those as a 5×8 cloth bag stuffed with 100 dice.  There’s another option that might make sense for some, especially when it comes to shipping to places outside of the U.S.  (Pesky shipping costs can be annoyingly expensive.)

You can use that tier as a group order, if you get together with some of your interested friends.  Instead of putting all 100 dice into one bag, I’ll put them into 16 sets of six (or 8 sets of 12, whichever you’d prefer; the smaller dice bags will hold 12 nicely) with the remaining 4 in an extra bag.  It’ll mean a little distribution on your end, but it’s a great way to save on shipping and even get a better price on the dice themselves.  I know, it’s a bit of legwork, but it might just prove to be worth it in some instances, so it seemed worth the mention.  Just let me know if you do wind up wanting to use this pledge tier this way, and how you want the bags.

Oh, and this is what the small bags look like… more or less.  This one spent a little time in the Mad Science lab.  If we wind up with 200 backers, all of the bags will spend some time in the lab, witnesses to (and maybe victims of) shenanigans in the lab.  Otherwise, the dice will come in clean, white cotton bags (mostly) like this.  (And you can always request clean bags, of course.)  If we get fewer than 200 backers but still fully fund, I’ll make Mad Science bags available via a small add-on cost.

Mad Science Bag

 

IMG_9730

Thanks again everyone, and we hope you have a great weekend!

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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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My family went down to Eureka, Utah this past weekend to see what sort of photos we could collect.  It’s an old mining town that still has a small population in it, so it hits a sweet spot between a ghost town and a place that people want to live in, which means some amenities and environmental cleanup (taking care of lead from mining, mostly), but relatively easy access to some excellent old mining machines and sites.

Machinery

So naturally, the weekend we planned to go there, Harley Davidson had an event there, with nearly 2000 bikers in town (more than double the town’s normal population).  I found this would be the case the morning before we went, and I was a little dismayed, since I was looking for a nice quiet photo expedition.  I don’t have anything particularly grievous against bikers (secondhand smoke is annoying, but the bikers I tend to run into here are decent folk), but I was hoping for, well… quiet.  As it happens, though, the event was exactly what we needed.

One, they were doing a poker event.  Heh.  I wound up handing out my whole deck of business card prototypes (really just my deck’s aces with a link to my website Project Khopesh on the back).  Funny how that works out.  (Incidentally, the Project Khopesh site mostly just points back here at the moment, but it’ll be more interesting when I get things rolling.)

Two, because the bikers were in town, Eureka was more open than it typically is, letting us explore their Union Pacific trolley and the Chief mining facility.  Those are almost never open according to the people I talked to, and we were able to get some great photos in both locations.  I also got to talk to an older biker guy (dude? gentleman? whatever) who was also taking photos of the machinery.  He was quite genial and told me about some of the machinery, since his wife’s family was a mining family.  He really knew his stuff, and was happy to share.  His story about the underground mule stables was most interesting; I had no idea they did that, but it makes some sense on reflection.  (They needed the mules to move ore carts, but if they ever brought the animals above ground, they wouldn’t go back down.  So, they lived their whole lives in the mine, complete with underground stables.)

IMG_8539-1024

I did record some video at the Chief mining site to make a promo video for the Kickstarter for the deck I’m now calling the Tinker Deck (still carrying the subtitle “Heroes of the 19th Century”), but there was an almost constant background chatter of Harley motorcycles.  So, once I get it cut together and presentable, just know that such isn’t the normal soundscape of Eureka.  Those bikers were our “angel facilitators” of a sort, though, so I think it’s wholly appropriate that they are part of the campaign, even if it doesn’t sound like a sleepy semi-ghost town.

Anyway, here are some of the photos from the trip over on my Google+ account.

Eureka, Utah

I also got a bunch of photos of the textures of the place, like a lot of really cool shots of rusty metal, and I’m weaving those into the card designs.  So yeah, when I said the art was done, I was right… at the time.  I tell you, it’s possible to tinker endlessly with art if you really let yourself.  At this point, though, I’m polishing it up to make it more appealing to Kickstarter denizens, some of whom have somewhat particular tastes.  It’s subtle things, like making the card back perfectly rotationally symmetrical and making the faces use the same edge; these are big things for magicians and some collectors, and pretty easy to make happen.

Card Poker Back Eureka

Card Poker Back Eureka

The bigger question at this point is whether or not to print via Bicycle or just USPC… or just the best priced Chinese company… or something in between.  I’m still not sure on this, so any input you all might have would be appreciated.  I’m leaning to the cheaper cards because I want to peg the price per deck around $5 instead of $10+, but I’m really not sure how that will sort out.  I’m price sensitive, but the Kickstarter market seems… fickle.  Also, the alpha version of the deck (pre-Eureka upgrades) will be available at The Game Crafter for $9.99 without shipping.  I know, Bicycle makes better cards, so $10-12 for a deck with upgraded art isn’t a bad deal, but that $5 price point is still intriguing.  One of the biggest points of doing a Kickstarter in the first place is to get a better price thanks to the economy of a bulk order.

Anyway, plenty of numbers to grind and research to do yet.  It feels agonizingly slow sometimes, since I want to get the deck released into the wild and move on to other fun projects, but sometimes the gears of progress grind slowly… slowly…

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