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Will Elite Dangerous prevail as one of the top space exploration games?

Will Elite Dangerous prevail as one of the top space exploration games?

Thursday, July 5, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Will Elite Dangerous prevail as one of the top space exploration games?

Elite Dangerous is an incredible game that will be celebrating its 4th anniversary this coming December after its release in 2014.  It is my hope that most of my audience who are gamers, know about this game by now.  If not, I will give a brief introduction.

Elite Dangerous is an online-only space adventure, trading, and combat simulation video game developed and published by Frontier Developments.  Piloting a spaceship, the player explores a realistic 1:1 scale open world galaxy based on the real Milky Way, with the gameplay being open-ended.  The game is the first in the series to attempt to feature massively multiplayer gameplay, with players’ actions affecting the narrative story of the game’s persistent universe, while also retaining single player options.

This game, unlike Star Citizen, is an actual playable game that delivers.  It has substance and you can actually play the game with your hard earned money instead of waiting for something that may or may not come through, and you may die before actually playing the fully produced game….if it does become an actual real playable game….who knows?  And for a lot of people out there, they are even saying to themselves at this point….who cares?  And I ABSOLUTELY agree with them, even though I’ve already paid for the pledge and some nice ships to go along with it.  But, in a world with nothing else to do but wait for Benjamin Franklin’s space exploration game show pony to rule the universe, then of course who would want to be the “hated” one who missed the only the thing that everybody wants and is waiting to do.

But in the meantime, I can actually play and ENJOY, Elite Dangerous.  And maybe even in time, ENJOY it more or watch it just annihilate Star Citizen altogether.  Who knows?

Elite Dangerous has a truly huge scope and Frontier has ambitious development plans. During an interview at Lavecon 2015, David Braben stated to have a clear intention of a 10 year development plan.  This includes smaller free updates, paid major updates and expansions. Frontier uses an iterative approach. This means gradually build upon features to expand and improve it. Here’s an overview of planned updates and expansions.

Season 1

The first season added various new features and content.  It was released after Elite Dangerous launched on December 16, 2014 through 2015.  Additions included:

  • Community Goals
  • Wings
  • Powerplay
  • CQC
  • Ships update added many new ships
  • Mission System and new mission types
  • Module storage
  • Beautiful station interiors
  • New navigation filters
  • Ship transfer

Season 2 – Horizons

Elite Dangerous: Horizons is the second season of expansions for Elite Dangerous.  It introduced a variety of new features and gameplay content.  Horizons v2.0 was released on PC on the 15th of December 2015.  Subsequent major updates were released in 2016 and 2017.  Additions included:

  • Planetary Landings on airless planets and moons
  • Engineers
  • Guardians
  • Thargoids
  • SRV
  • Ship Launched Fighters
  • Passenger transport
  • Holo-Me
  • Multicrew
  • Megaships
  • Camera Suite

For detailed information about this season see the Horizons page.

Season 3 – Beyond

Elite Dangerous: Beyond is the third season of expansions planned for Elite Dangerous through the year of 2018.  The main focus is core gameplay, existing features, quality of life and other improvements.  This is free for all Horizons owners.  New features will be added too.  Additions included:

  • New ships: Chieftain, Krait
  • New weapons
  • GalNet Audio: text-to-audio feature
  • Wing Missions
  • Planet tech improvements: Planetary Visual Improvements
  • Revised trade data
  • Engineers improvements
  • Material Trader
  • Technology Broker
  • Crime & Punishment improvements: Notoriety, Advanced Tactical Response, Detention Centres
  • Megaship interaction improvements
  • New Guardian tech and a personal narrative
  • New missions and scenarios
  • Improved Lighting Model
  • Squadrons
  • Fleet Carrier
  • Mining gameplay improvements
  • Exploration gameplay improvements
  • Codex

For detailed information about this season of updates see the Beyond page.

Season 4

There are no announcements yet about the fourth season. The release date is in 2019.

Frontier will shift from the paid expansion model to major premium DLC that can be purchased. So rather than buying an expansion with multiple updates, you can purchase major updates separately.

This is the typical scenario in today’s win or lose kickstarter game industry and developers working with companies outside the game industry, companies that have their own policies on financing and crediting.

There are rumors that it will be the first editions of atmospheric landings, space legs and maybe giant executive controlled capital ships. It’s expected that procedural generation and interior modules will be used for ship interiors. This can also be used for procedural cities and atmospheric planets.

Roadmap

The expansions will include significant new features such as seamless freeform (manual pitch/yaw/roll) atmospheric flight and landings (atmospheric landings) and on-foot and out-of-ship activities such as FPS combat, walking around and boarding ships, walking in stations and walking and driving vehicles on entire 1:1 scale populated living planets (procedural cities) with multi-player crew and player executive controlled capital ships.

Frontier intends to release small, free updates after launch.  Expansions that include significant new features and content will have to be purchased.

These updates and expansions include:

  • Landing / driving / prospecting on airless rocky planets, moons & asteroids- this was added with Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
  • Walking around interiors and combative boarding of other ships. – see Space Legs.
  • Combat and other interactions with other players and AIs in the internal areas of star ports
  • Accessing richly detailed planetary surfaces – see Atmospheric Landings and Procedural Cities.
  • Availability of giant ‘executive control’ ships to players. – see Capital Ships.

The competition is on between Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous….who will win?

Bathroom Design And Bathroom Design Ideals

Bathroom Design And Bathroom Design Ideals

Saturday, June 30, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Bathroom Design And Bathroom Design Ideals

Your bathroom may not be the space where people spend the most time in your house, but it is a necessity.  Bathrooms with first-rate design and admirable can make your morning routine faster and tie into the decor for the rest of your residence.  Bathroom design ideas can help you as you remodel a small bathroom or create themed bathroom designs.

There are essential features to contemplate for bathrooms of any size or style.  First, the layout is significant.  Placing faucets, toilets, and showers near pipes is obviously a requirement, but small features can make a enormous distinction.  For instance, if the toilet is located between the sink and tub, there may be no place to add a toilet paper holder.  Consideration to these slight details can make a big difference for bathroom usability.  Similarly, new regulations call for water efficient fixtures, and installing these will also save you money in the long run.  To conclude, good lighting can make the bathroom much nicer when getting ready to go out for the day.  Small bathroom design can be especially tricky in all these respects because of the tight space in which everything must fit seamlessly.

When it comes down to aesthetics, bathrooms offer more freedom than many other spaces in the house.  From modern bathrooms to themed whimsical styles, there are fixtures, cabinets, lighting, and accessories to make it work.

Bathroom design can be fun and creative. There are a lot of factors to take into account to plan a good, usable space, and a professional can help.

Some Key Highlights are:

  • When remodeling or designing your bathroom, it is important to consider the layout, lighting, and design so the room will be usable and fit the decor of your home.
  • Water-efficient bathroom fixtures and toilets are now common and often required by code.  Looking into this can save you money and water in the long run.
  • Small bathrooms often require extra attention to detail because of the limited space available for laying out and personalizing the space.
  • A professional can offer suggestions for contemporary or themed bathroom designs.
  • Guests will almost always see your bathroom, so it is important to consider how it fits in with the design of the rest of the house.

Additional Research:

There is a ton of information you can get from the internet, use these terms, mix and match designs and you will have a unique and stunning bathroom: bathroom design graph paper, bathroom design colors, small bathroom design, online bathroom design tool, bathroom designer tool.

Koi Pond Design

Koi Pond Design

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Koi Pond Design

There are various reasons why people put up koi ponds and study the basics of koi pond design.  For some, it may be a way of creating a private space to unwind and relax in once the long day has run its course. For others, however, it is one of the sure-fire ways of adding beauty, elegance, and touch of nature at the backyard.  Others simply place ponds in order to house their prized fish.  An essential aspect that you should know, however, is Koi pond design.

Planning

Whatever design you eventually come up with, the most important step for Koi pond design is to plan meticulously.  Among the factors that you should consider in deciding what type of design to implement is the available space in the backyard, the type of soil, and the fish that will live in the area.  In general, Koi fish thrive in large spaces with plenty of water, and the size of the pond you build should be the maximum possible size that your budget and backyard can accommodate.  Also, plan the type of aeration, filtration, and heating system for your fish since this will ensure the long term health of your pets.

Personality

One major factor to consider in Koi pond design is the personality of the Koi that you will keep.  Bred for over hundreds of years, there are a wide variety of Koi that is available today.  The different varieties of this fish also have a corresponding characteristic, which you can utilize in designing the pond.  For active koi varieties, for instance, a large and simple space is best for them to play in. some koi like to nibble the growth at the pond floor more than others.  If you choose these, you may want to design a pond with a complex layer of gravel, silt, and various other rock types at the bottom to allow the fish to nibble at the nooks and crannies of the pond floor as much as they want.  Of course, your own personality should play a major role in shaping the final pond design.

Actual construction

Once you have come up with the design that you want, the next step is to determine the way that the pond will be built.  If you have extra money, professionals can do the job for you.  If not, however, you can proceed with the pond construction yourself.  The simplest way to do this is by digging a hole, then covering the bottom with a plastic layer to keep water in. add silt, gravel, and water.  Before putting your fish in, allow a few weeks of idle time for beneficial bacteria to develop.  This will help in the decomposition of fish waste.  Finally, add decorative plants and rock as well as your fish.

Care and maintenance

A good part of Koi pond design is planning how you will care and maintain your fish.  Include in the design the places where the pumps and filters will be placed.  Apart from this, you should also clean the pond twice a month, and replace the water whenever it becomes cloudy.

For more great tips on koi pond design and koi ponds visit http://koicareadviser.com.

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

AutoCAD has a lot of tools that are accessible to automate your work flow, and make your job easier, odds are, you’re already using a lot of them without realizing them.  What we’re going to cover today are ways that make these tools work more readily for you.

Tip number 1:  Use templates

In fact, you already are; whenever you create a new AutoCAD document, it loads up the default template.  However, if you’re going to be doing lots of variations on the same sort of design work and drawing, you may want to make your changes of all the things that are common among them and save that file as a template.  Templates are a great way to save time by setting unit types and drawing limits, setting your snap, grid and other drawing settings, organizing your layer information before you begin, and pre-set a lot of common information.

If you’re working for a business, odds are you’re using a company provided template that provides this consistency across multiple draftspersons.  You may end up using a client supplied template, and you’ll be told which templates to use – templates make sure the output from multiple workers is consistent (which is why businesses are big on them) and they can save you a lot of time…but only if they’re designed right from the beginning.

To make a new template, first get your parameters all set up, in a regular drawing.  Then go to File  > Save As and save it as a template.  It’s as easy as that – though you should make sure you save it in a folder you’ll be able to find later.

Tip number 2:  Object Snaps

Object Snaps (OSNAPS) are the most frustrating tool in AutoCAD.  Until you learn what they’re doing, and you wonder how you could’ve ever lived without them in the past.  An object snap is an attachment that you can tell to go to one of the gripping points on an existing object.  These gripping points are things like the centerpoint of an object, or the end point of a line segment.  An OSNAP lets you link an object to one of those attachment points with absolute certainty for provided attachment points.

It’s when you arrange OSNAPs that things get a little counterintuitive.  You can set OSNAPs that are designed to be perpendicular to a selected objects, click to the nearest object, run at a tangent, and even some intersection driven ones.  Try to use only the OSNAPs that are the most convenient for you with the project that you are working on.

Most OSNAPs are activated in ‘running mode’ – you type the command in the command buffer, and they just work.  While this is the fastest way to use a commonly repeated OSNAP, for people who don’t keep the arcane commands in their forebrains, AutoCAD has given iconic OSNAPs as well.  You can access them by bringing up the OSNAP dialog box, or by holding down the shift key and right clicking an object to pull up a context driven menu.  Even so, if you use a lot of OSNAPs, you’re eventually going to learn the three letter codes to use them at run time just to save yourself time.  (It also has the benefit of turning the OSNAP off once that command has been run.

Tip 3:  Learn The Commands

While we touched on it in the prior tip on using OSNAP, it’s always worth it to learn how to use the command line prompts for AutoCAD.  Typing three characters takes a fraction of a second, versus a few seconds for using a mouse to find the icon, navigate through the menu system, click OK, then repeat for turning off the functionality you just used.  It’s always faster to learn the keyboard shortcuts, and more than any other tip, these will save you the most time.

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

 

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid was one of the most brilliant minds in architectural design.  Her work has been classified as Deconstructivism which is visually characterized as chaotic and unpredictable structures, often using non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of the architecture.  Known as “the Queen of the Curve”, her work was described as having the highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life.  Although she was often praised as the world’s top female architect, her work also attracted criticism.  She was among a group of architects who rejected their styles and classifications, as well as not ever coming to a worldly understandable, relative, conformed and unified definition over their own “different” designs of their own minds creation.  From being labeled as “making Doric temple forms out of plywood” to “unconventional buildings that seem to defy the logic of construction”, the unanimous verdict of critics is that Deconstructivism is a purely formal exercise with little social significance.  And yes, unfortunately for the Deconstructivists, I am one of THOSE critics that oppose you.  And why would I or anybody in their rightful mind side with different ideologies and a movement or style that is not in the mind or the time of anybody else’s except the creator’s, and therefore is different and not sane?  And yet, as we have seen with many despised reigning movements in the past several decades, the term had stuck and has come to embrace a general trend within contemporary architecture.  Ironically, it seems that the general consensus of everyone, including architects which once had been Deconstructivism’s ardent adherents are saying to shield their ridiculous embarrassment from the opposing masses, “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it.”  And of course, that’s all you need to say….and of course, it worked.

So, why would I, who stands with the opposing team, write a blog about Zaha Hadid and her Ingenious Designs?  Well, for one, I do like concrete, and concrete structures, and for some absurd reason, I think they are fun and urban.  And urban to me means culture and a sense of hope and public belonging.  This is unfortunately the reality that we live in, where we have to do with the nothing that we are given in life.  And in the irony of it all, these empirical things that are necessary evils are something to see and wander around in.  And some of the sights are nice too!  And so, I am going to give Zaha credit for actually creating some interesting, chaotic, unstable architecture that now disgusts people.  And many of her designs take up huge amounts of land too!  I just wish her and other Deconstructivist structures had more surprises for a style of architecture that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses.  But who knows, maybe one day when the world is filled up with these “We didn’t do because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it” structures, there will be change along the lines of “We didn’t do it because we hated it.  We did it because we REALLY liked it.”, or “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we REALLY hated it.”  Of course, what is REALLY liked or REALLY hated is still up to the discretion of the creator of a necessary style of architecture that may be more or less along the lines of something that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses and more.

With that said, I would like to discuss Zaha Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute Building at the American University at Beirut.  The Issam Fares Institute for public policy and international affairs’ (IFI), designed by Zaha Hadid architects, was completed at the American University of Beirut as part of an on-going campus redevelopment.  Begun in 2006 and completed in 2014, Hadid’s award-winning concrete and glass building makes a bold statement with its prominent 21-meter, two-story-tall cantilever, which creates a covered courtyard and reduces the footprint of the building to avoid blocking circulation routes.  The elevated walkways carry pedestrians through the branches of huge Cypress and Ficus trees, many of which significantly predate the building at 120 to 180 years old the facility immediately serves the school’s students and administrators, but on a larger scale is a hub for local, regional, and international academics, researchers, and politicians.  The IFI comprises a rigorous educational program that the design of this building seeks to facilitate.  It aims to harness, develop, and initiate research of the Arab world, in order to enhance and broaden debate on public policy and international relations.  This is a new set of photographs by Lebanese architectural photographer Bahaa Ghoussainy which show the building in active use, pairing daytime scenes of visitors relaxing on benches or walking across pathways with dramatic evening views that highlight the glowing slanted windows.  In all of the photos, the exaggerated diagonal elements of Hadid’s design give the building a feeling of motion, as if Ghoussainy captured a glimpse of it speeding through the frame.  The landscaped surroundings contrast the neutral concrete of the building’s elevations with splashes of green, further highlighting the singular design.  With its monumental form, swept diagonal lines and elevated concrete walkways, the Issam Fares Institute building at the American University of Beirut by Zaha Hadid Architects emphasizes movement, evoking the speed of contemporary life as it presides over a connecting system of pedestrian walkways.

 

Bathroom Design Ideas

Bathroom Design Ideas

Thursday, May 17, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Bathroom Design Ideas

While people do not normally spend a large chunk of time in the bathroom, they spend intimate moments in there.  People normally start and end their daily activities inside a bathroom so they might as well give due importance to this particular part of the house.

A bathroom needs to project luxury and comfort in order to set the mood of the day or night.  Getting the best bathroom design ideas will go a long way in making the bathroom a comfortable and luxurious part of the house and everyday living.

People can choose a bathroom with a lot of space or one that is just right for the basic necessities of a bathroom.  But large or small, we have to give due importance to the basic components of a bathroom.

We have to consider the color shade of the floor and the walls as well as the storage areas.  We also have to decide on what kind of sink to use, where to place the mirrors, and whether to use glass shower doors or shower curtains.

The following are some of the most popular bathroom design ideas:

Contemporary – A bathroom can have any size and any shape but fixtures emphasize lines rather than curves.  Rectangular tubs and sinks have plain, instead of ornate, fittings that are made of brushed or matte chrome.  Wood and stone give way to glass and mirror, metal, and ceramic.  There is a very minimal use of wood.

Colonial – The emphasis is on workmanship and details, with an excessive use of wood in mirror frames, panels, and trimmings.  Fittings of brass or copper match the finery of the wood.

Minimalist – Curves are emphasized and lights are vital while fittings are discrete in creating the impression of space and luxury.  Cool colors such as blue, mauve, and pastel, with the discrete use of dark colors for outlines or edges give the impression of space.

Victorian – To look authentic, the bathroom needs high ceilings, central light fitting, and tall narrows windows with lacy curtains.  A ball and claw bathtub with black painted iron faucets and accessories complete the picture of elegance and luxury.

Country – Soft monochromatic colors are used with emphasis on details.  The bathroom contains hand-made mats, baskets and pottery, embroidered towels and murals or tiles with homey designs such as flowers and plants.  Expect to see home-made soaps and herbal toiletries.

Eclectic – It is characterized by a mixture of styles but characterized by a good sense of balance.  Overdoing the designs can ruin everything so make sure to temper the features and fixtures.

Ethnic – Design in the bathroom could reflect the ethnicity of the owner of the house.  Basic designs reflecting one’s ethnic origin can include art or artifacts, including the ethnic basic colors.

Arty – The flat surfaces of the bathroom, like the walls, floor, and ceilings can be designed with wild and wonderful colors and shapes, projecting a realistic or impressionist mural.

Traditional – It incorporates small square tiles and print floral pattern wallpapers in subdued colors.  The lighting is intimate and the fittings are visible, making an ornate part of the decoration.

Whatever design idea you incorporate in your bathroom, it must be able to reflect the mood that you want.  This can easily be accomplished by choosing the proper color and lighting to match the lines or curves, including the decorations that you have selected.

For other ideas on bathroom themes and ideas, check out the following website at http://www.bathroom-interior.com.