July 24th, 2008

marcus 2013

Steaming ahead

While I wait for Jo to get back to me with corrections, I've been finishing off the cutout model paddle steamer I designined a while ago. Basically, I've added assembly instructions and pictures of the ship, fixed a few problems, and added floor plans for the below-deck areas. I'm not going to try to model the machinery in detail, steam engines are too bloody complicated, but I do want to show where all the bits are, e.g. the boiler etc., so I've spent most of the day with Micrografx Draw, and though I say it myself, the results could be a lot worse. This is the engine room - it's ludicrously simplified and maybe looks a bit reminiscent of something that Mamod or Mecanno might sell, but I think it will just about do.

I'm especially proud of the mesh overhead walkways, which is NOT something that's easy to do with this software. The crank shaft was a total pain, and doesn't look as good as I'd like, but I think it's just about OK. This is a paste-up of two screen dumps since the engine takes up about half a page (with the boiler on one page and the rest on the next page, unfortunately - I couldn't find a way to get everything on one page without putting a page boundary somewhere even more awkward). The slightly mottled appearance at a couple of points is down to jpeg compression, it isn't in the PDF.

The rest of it was comparatively easy, apart from some silly problems getting blankets to look vaguely like blankets on the cabin beds - that took a ludicrous number of separate elements per bed to get right.

Anyway, it comes out at 14 pages and a little over a megabyte, and I think that on the whole it's good.

Anyone who wonders why I'm bothering - remember that the next release will be space travel, and if there's one thing people are certain to want in a space travel game it's deck plans for their spaceships. I might as well get up to speed now!

Friday AM: Fixed the crank shaft, not perfect but a lot better.
marcus 2013


I just noticed that the RTF version of the character sheet was 1.2 MB, where the DOC version was 117 K and the PDF version was 88 K

So I thought... is this a problem with RTF, or is it something stupid that happened when I saved the file from Word?

So I opened it in Open Office, the only good RTF editor I have, and saved it again. And suddenly it's only 188K. Still the biggest of the three, but something I can cope with.

Not sure what the moral is, except that Word sometimes does some VERY strange things...
marcus 2013

Knew I'd forgotten something...

Forgot to mention that I went back to the computer market yesterday to get the glossy paper I wanted, and fortunately they still have masses in stock so I've bought a few packs.

On the way back I thought I'd take a look in the new W.H. Smith that's opened nearby and spotted that they had a big display with a special offer that looked like two reams of 80 GSM A4 printer paper (forget the brand) for £1.99 each. Since I need the ordinary stuff as well as the glossy this looked to be a reasonably good deal by current UK paper prices. However, when you looked at it carefully it turned out to be a "buy one, get one half price" deal, with the price in big letters the half price, not the full price, which was £3.99. So a total of six pounds for two reams of fairly ordinary looking paper.

The other offer they had, which they carefully weren't pointing out, was a buy one, get one free offer on HP 80 GSM paper, which came out at £4.50 for two reams. Three guesses which one I ended up buying...