Category: Commercial

Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | By | Add a Comment


Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Well, hello again from your FAVORITE blogger!  I know, I know….I have had many a delay in posting my blogs as of late, but I have been excpetionally busy for some time now with many, many things which never seem to get accomplished and go away.  I have lately accomplished something worth blogging about, and I thought I would share it with you.  For anyone wanting to learn and practice surface modeling in Solidworks, there is a variety of tutorials available throughout the web.  Three key websites for Solidworks tutorials are: www.learnsolidworks.com, www.solidworkszen.com, and www.solidstufflearning.com.  The first two websites I mentioned have some very in-depth and advanced mechanical design tutorials.  I will go into more detail on these websites at a later time.  The last website I mentioned has amazing surface modeling tutorials available for a price.  But, hey, nothing is free in this world now, right?  In fact, things are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY EXPENSIVE, aren’t they!!!!!  Even that piece of dirty half eaten, maggot infested, decaying, diseased chicken bone you just were caught stealing out of the garbage bin could potentially be pricey…..you just never know, do you?  Chances are something like that wouldn’t be pricey at all…..however, it could have been placed there as a marker for some member of a bloodthristy crime gang for whatever reasons, and you just took it….and interfered with their business, on their turf!  Like I said….you never know.  So, with that said, let me continue.  Where was I?  Oh yes, so right now, if you can fork out $90 for a Solidworks tutorial on this site, you can purchase a wonderful tutorial on how to model an Audi R8!  Just look at the stunning pictures I created of my Audi R8 from start to finish!  Wooooowwwwww, and who knew Solidworks could create such purrrdy pictures?  I do hope you have a LOT of time set aside to do this project if you are considering it, because it does take a bit of time to complete…..just a warning!  However, when you finally complete the project, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and you will learn quite a bit in the process, especially for people who need to have things shown over and over to them to get it through their thick heads, like me!  (Not from years of suffering fits of delerium from learning things like these projects…..no, not at all, hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! :(:):((((!%$#%$#@!!!!!

When you purchase the download, you get access to a zip file that you must unzip and then you will get a media player software access to play the included video tutorials to complete the project.  Each video runs about a minute to three minutes max.

I found the project to be very informative and I thought that it instructed me well on a variety of fundamental functions in surface modeling.  These key designer methods are as follows, but are not limited to:

  • Curves and projected curves
  • Converting Entities
  • Splitting surfaces and split lines
  • Offsetting lines and surfaces
  • The spline and relations
  • The use of vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, parallel, tangent, and other relations
  • Piercing endpoints to other lines
  • Planes and sketching on planes to create complex shapes in difficult areas
  • Extruded boss/bases, extruded cuts, revolved boss/bases, revolved cuts, lofted boss/bases, swept boss/bases
  • Boundary surfaces
  • Trimming surfaces and entities
  • Cut with surface
  • Knitting surfaces
  • Deleting faces and bodies
  • Fillets
  • Thickening surfaces
  • Combining bodies
  • Cut, copy, pasting and moving entities and bodies
  • And many more!

This was an extremely fulfilling tutorial on all fronts.  I felt it showed me and ingrained some of the essential things that any modeler needs to be introduced to surface modeling in Solidworks. If you have $90 available and you are willing to set aside some time to work on a project like this, then I would highly recommend that you try this tutorial.  Not only is there an Audi R8 tutorial available now at half the price, there is also a tutorial on creating an F16 fighter jet, a Ferrari F-430 tutorial, and a Lamborghini Gallardo tutorial available now at HALF THE PRICE!

With that said, I wish you luck.  I am going to go now and work on my next project.  YAY!

 

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

 

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Well, Pathfinder is here and what an interesting game it is!  Character creation is of course is the fundamental part of any role playing campaign, so I would like to start my long (but hopefully inspiring) critique of Starfinder with that.  So let’s just dive right in to this long awaited hearty meal with the important things first:

Characters in Starfinder have many familiar elements from Pathfinder, but there are differences. For example, characters don’t just have a race and a class, they have race/class/theme. They do, however, have the six attributes we all know and love – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (a point buy is the default method of picking these).

Typical of other science fiction based role playing games outside of the fantasy genre, Starfinder does not use hit points in the same way as D&D/Pathfinder. Rather, a character has both hit points and stamina points. Stamina points are lost first, and are relatively easily recoverable (characters have Resolve points to spend every day, and spending a point refreshes all Stamina. Hit points lost represents actual damage to the character, and is harder to heal. Characters gain both hit points and stamina points every level based on character class (characters also get a one-time HP boost from their race).

Leveling up will be familiar to Pathfinder fans. It is still literally leveling up, from 1st to 20th. Following in the refinements of Pathfinder, Starfinder makes sure that characters are getting something new at every level from every class. In addition to class-specific benefits, characters gets a feat every other level, an ability score increase every fifth level, and a theme benefit every sixth level. Multiclassing exists, but is disfavored.

There are seven standard races available, plus several “legacy” races. The legacy races – dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings – are perfectly playable, are simply not given the same prominence in Starfinder. Some, like the elves, have a relatively limited presence in the setting, voluntarily isolating themselves. But others, like the halflings, are almost as widespread as humanity. Each race gets one page with mechanics and two portraits, and one page of setting information. The seven standard races are:

  • Human: you know what these guys are, right? As with Pathfinder, they get to pick their attribute bonus, and start with an extra feat and get more skill points. These are the same humans who originated on Golarion.
  • Android: As androids are often wont to do, these ones were created as servitors but more recently have been recognized as sentient beings with rights (well, at least they have in the Pact Worlds). They are constructs and have some environmental immunities, have good vision, sometimes have a tough time communicating when it comes to emotions, and can upgrade their bodies as if it was armor. They are nimble and smart, but not very charismatic.
  • Lashunta: Originating in the Golarion system, the lashuntas are near-human in appearance, but with long antenna (they are not insectile). They are mildly telepathic, have a handful of cantrips they can use as spell-like abilities, and get skill bonuses. Lashunta are a dimorphic species, and characters usually get to choose which one they will become (not just that the player gets to choose for their character, but the character themselves gets to choose). All lashunta are charismatic, while one subspecies is strong but somewhat oblivious, while the other is smart but fragile.
  • Kasatha: The kasatha originate from outside the Golarion system. They came to the system in a generational worldship intending to colonize, but found the system too densely populated to just take over a planet. So they stuck around and their ship is now a Pact World. Kasatha kind of look like Eldar with four arms. They tend towards being very traditionalist and consider melee weapons preferable to ranged ones. Mechanically, they get bonuses to Strength and Wisdom, but a penalty to Intelligence. They get bonuses to Culture, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Oh, and there’s the four arms thing, which literally lets them carry more.
  • Ysoki: These ratfolk are generally high-energy and technologically-focused. They have bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, but a penalty to Strength and have less HP than most other races. They are small, can carry things in their check pouches, have darkvision, and get bonuses to tinkering, hiding, and surviving.
  • Vesk: The vesk are definitely not a Pact World race. Indeed, these aggressive, martial reptilians were the impetus for the creation of the Pact. But the arrival of the Swarm threatened both the vesk’s star system and the Golarion system, resulting in a hesitant collaboration between the two. Vesk are strong and tough (including extra racial HP), but not as bright. They get extra benefit from armor, have enhanced vision, and natural weapons.
  • Shirren: Unlike the lashunta, the shirren are insectile. Indeed, they are a breakaway portion of the Swarm. Because of their history as part of a forced hive mind, they highly prize individual choice. They are tough and observant, but are considered less charismatic by other races. They have blindsense (vibration), work well as part of a team, have limited telepathy, and get bonuses to Culture and Diplomacy checks.

Next up is the theme, which is layered on top of the class. A character can be a priest (theme) whether or not they are a spellcasting mystic (class). A character can be a mercenary or a bounty hunter (themes) without being a soldier (class), or can be a soldier and a spacefarer (theme). The themes are ace pilot, bounty hunter, icon (as in, a celebrity), mercenary, outlaw, priest, scholar, spacefarer, and xenoseeker. Each theme gives +1 to a specific attribute, a bonus class skill at first level and a boost when using that skill (or some related skills), and unique abilities at levels 6, 12, and 18. For example, the Ace Pilot always has Piloting as a class skill, gets a bonus on Piloting checks, and has an easier time with Culture checks to know about starships and vehicles. A character can also be themeless, which provides generic bonuses.

As one might anticipate, a character’s class is the most mechanically significant mechanical choice at character creation. Class defines attack bonuses, saving throws, hit points and stamina points, skill points and where they are best spent, and weapon and armor proficiencies. The baselines for these are about 6 HP/SP a level, 4 skill points a level, a moderate base attack bonus, two good saving throws, and proficiency in light armor, basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms. Every class also gives Weapon Specialization (bonus damage) at 3rd level for every weapon it gave proficiency with. Most classes have a class feature that every few levels lets the player choose an ability off of a substantial list, permitting a lot of customization. There are seven classes:

  • Soldier: The soldier will be instantly recognizable to any Pathfinder or D&D fan as the fighter of the system. They have increased HP/SP, the highest base attack bonus, and are proficient with pretty much every kind of weapon and armor – indeed they are the only class that is proficient with heavy armor, heavy weapons, and longarms (rifles). Soldiers receive a bonus combat feat every other level, and get to select gear boosts every four levels (such as a bonus when wearing armor or attack bonuses with certain weapon subcategories). Soldiers choose a primary (and eventually a secondary) fighting style, such as arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, or sharpshoot (a soldier with the right specialization can also use powered armor). This fighting style gives bonuses every four levels. Soldiers also get enhanced ability to make extra attacks.
  • Envoy: The social character class (the “face,” if you will), the envoy is also very good with skills generally, gaining the highest available number of skill points per level and class features that make them even better at select skills. They envoy gains envoy improvisations every couple of levels. These abilities tend to involve social combat effects, such as taunting enemies or bolstering allies.
  • Operative: The operative is the other skill-heavy class, with some aspects traditionally associated with the rogue, like Evasion and a Sneak Attack variant (Trick Attack). Operative exploits are chosen every two levels, and include abilities such as a bonus combat feat, the ability to use skills untrained, or extra mobility. Each operative chooses a specialization, which gives several powers and a bonus exploit. The specializations include daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, and thief. Operatives aren’t proficient with grenades, but they are proficient with sniper rifles. They also have the potential to make more attacks than most other classes.
  • Mechanic: The mechanic is a “pet” class, with the pet being an AI installed either in a drone or in an exocortex (a brain implant with an AI) that levels up along with the mechanic (and is very customizable itself). The mechanic is also bonkers at breaking into computers and related systems. The drone AI tends towards combat, while the exocortex makes the mechanic even better at hacking. The mechanic chooses from a variety of mechanic tricks every two levels, such as a bonus ability when repairing starships or a visual data processor for enhanced perception.
  • Mystic: The mystic is, along with the technomancer, one of the two spellcasting classes. Neither spellcasting class is “arcane” or “divine,” but the mystic leans more towards what you might expect from a divine spellcaster (they have the healing spells, for example, while the technomancer has magic missile; their spellcasting is also based on Wisdom). Reading the descriptions, I almost wondered if mystics were Starfinder Jedi, as their powers are all about “connection with some force.” The concepts involved are broader than that, however, as a mystic’s “connection” is their philosophical power source. If the mystic draws their power from a deity, then this connection is probably related to that god, but the connection need not be divine in nature. Some of the connections are akashic, empath, healer, mindbreaker, overlord, and xenodruid (note that some of those connections are not exactly pleasant). Connections grant a few more spells known, and then a specific power every three levels. The mystic has a certain number of spells cast per day and spells known; there is no memorization of spells. The mystic also gains telepathic powers. The mystic has a few more skill points than is standard, but is not proficient with grenades and has subpar saving throws.
  • Technomancer: The other side of the spellcasting duo, technomancers are Intelligence-based, with fewer HP/SP and skills than the mystic. Technomancers have a spell cache for extra flexibility, and get a magic hack every few levels that can be used to modify spells or use spell slots for additional effects. Magical hacks include disrupting technological attacks, using a battery to fuel spellcasting, or changing any basic land type into another.
  • Solarian: The solarian is the most distinctive Starfinder class. The solarian’s concept is tied to the stars in their various stages of life, and the power of gravity, light, and heat. During combat, the solarian will either be in graviton mode or photon mode (and will fluctuate between the two), gaining access to particular powers depending on what mode they are in (the solarian will get to pick particular powers as they level up). In addition to these stellar modes, the solarian is also accompanied by a solar mote, a physical manifestation of their solar power. The solarian must choose whether this mote can become a solar weapon or can become solar armor. Of course, the solar equipment improves as the solarian levels. The solarian, like the operative and the soldier, has improved access to extra attacks. Solarians also join soldiers in having more HP/SP than other classes and in getting a better base attack bonus, and trade in their grenade proficiency for advanced melee weapons.

Archetypes exist in Starfinder like they do in Pathfinder, but work somewhat differently. Each base class has a standardized list of what it loses from an archetype when an archetype puts a feature in at that level, allowing archetypes to apply to any class (instead of being class-specific). There are only two archetypes presented, however, making this more something that will be expanded in later books than used directly out of this one. The two archetypes are the phrenic adept (psychics) and the Starfinder Forerunner (from the Starfinder Society).

Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

Sunday, October 1, 2017 | By | Add a Comment


Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

And now, for the update you’ve all been waiting for….that game which everyone is eagerly awaiting for….Star Citizen 3.0!  Star Citizen 3.0 has been postponed for quite some time now, with its July due date now spreading into October.  There are new worlds, game improvements, ship and vehicle additions, hangar and item additions, new weaponry, and many, many bugs and problems that need to be fixed.  So, when can we expect the release of one of the most anticipated games of the year?  I sure would like to know when I will be able to fly my Constellation Aquila to explore some new worlds, as well as finally play some storyline campaigns as well, instead of the small quests and space racing they have had for many a long year and a long season now.

Here are some words about the 3.0 expansion from the developers:

Like the Star Citizen Alpha numbering change from 1.3 to 2.0 for the move to Large World, with its 64-bit precision and Local Grid physics tech, that allows us to deliver a game of our detail at a solar system scale, 3.0 represents a giant jump in gameplay potential from the code in the 2.x branch. For a start, it will contain about nine months of our main development branch beyond 2.6.x as well as almost two years of Planetary Tech development that the Frankfurt Engine team embarked on in the last half of 2015. The Planetary Tech opens up a whole new landscape (pun intended) for adventure. In the same way that Large World and Physics Grids created new possibilities in gameplay by allowing players to go from walking around a space station to boarding a ship, flying it hundreds of thousands of kilometers, exiting their pilot seat, walking to an airlock, opening it and EVAing over to a derelict station, all from the same point of view, the Planetary Tech takes it one massive leap further. When you see a Planet or Moon, you will be able to fly there, land and explore on foot, or from your ship or a ground vehicle you have brought with you.

3.0 is supposed to open up the Star Citizen universe for the players to explore and begin their adventuring on the available planets with more in production as the game progresses.  Version 3.2 will provide us with more updates and most likely more planets and additions as well.

Here is the link to the original webpage detailing the timeline for the release of Star Citizen 3.0: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/schedule-report.

I don’t know about you other Star Citizeners out there, but I am ready to build my stronghold off of raiding and lots of other nastiness.  Isn’t that what life in a universe is all about?

Happy gaming!

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

Sunday, September 24, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

Hello everyone, so again it has been some time since I have posted a blog this site.  I deeply apologize to those who have been committed to checking in regularly and disappointed that there has been no activity for some time now.  My computer has once again been in and out of service for a long time with reoccurring problems and some things had to be replaced out of warranty.  So it has taken some time to get the necessary funding and finally get someone to fix it to a workable condition.  So with that said, let us move on to a review of a fun, pretty, and time/money consuming game called Warframe.

Warframe is a sexy game and has a lot to offer in a third person shooter package.  This lovely lady of a game has seen some changes in the recent years since its release in 2013, including accessories and platinum currency which you can purchase on their website through their Prime Access catalog.  It is a fun and addictive game to play and along with the occasional additions to the game, players continue to be drawn back into the arms of this beckoning cash cow.

A little on the game then….Warframe is a cooperative online third person shooter where players take on the role of Tenno, space ninjas in technologically-advanced exoskeletons that give them superhuman powers.  Engage in action-packed combat as you run along walls, go down zip lines, perform acrobatics, and cut down enemies with your sword, or blast them all to kingdom come with the vast arsenal of weapons at your disposal.  While Warframe does have several PvP options, Warframe is primarily a PvE game. Choose from three starting classes and 17 advanced classes, each with their own roles and playstyles.  Work together with friends as you take on armies of space grunts, walking turrets, and hordes of mindless zombies in a stunning futuristic sci-fi world.

Warframe Key Features:

  • Good Variety of Warframes – choose from a large pool of warframes and customize them with mods to match your needs.
  • Smooth Moves – play with familiar FPS controls and use ninja/parkour moves to position yourself.
  • Constant Updates – the dev team is always tweaking and updating the game based on players’ comments.
  • Awesome Graphics and SFX – the graphics are amazingly fluid and the music heightens the action-packed atmosphere of the game.

So, what is it that draws in players after 4 years since its release?

Warframe wasn’t always the sleek time-devouring machine it is now. It launched with significant bumps (as, in fairness, do most online games) but more importantly vanilla Warframe felt a bit feature-light.  Content felt very sectioned off and discrete, progression was pretty hamstrung, and there wasn’t much of a community in which to find other players to jump in with or to answer your questions about some of the game’s more obscure systems.

But that was 2013.  Fast-forward to the present and Warframe is a completely different animal.  The bones are the same, but almost every system of the game has been markedly improved or evolved.  Gameplay is more connected now, so it doesn’t feel like every mission is a stand-alone affair, though the game has retained enough bite-sized content that if you want to just dive in for ten or fifteen minutes that’s perfectly viable. And that core gameplay, the shooting and slicing and leaping that continues to be the best part of Warframe’s layered offerings, feels sleeker than ever.  It’s power fantasy done right, allowing players to feel powerful and dangerous without making the game’s challenges feel trivial.

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

Sunday, April 2, 2017 | By | Add a Comment
Auto CAD

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

A CNC hot wire foam cutter is a computer controlled machine used for mainly cutting Polystyrene foam (also known as EPS foam) and similar materials, such as polypropylene (Known as EPP) and polyethylene (known as PE).  The machine consists of a wire running between 2 towers, which is heated via a hot wire power supply, thus melting and cutting the foam into the desired shape.  The towers can move in an X-Axis (right-left) and a Y-Axis (up-down).

Cutting the foam is done in 3 basic steps:
1. Drawing the desired shape to be cut.
2. Converting the shape into G-Code
3. Running the machine with the software to execute the desired shape.

Any CAD software, such as AutoCAD or Corel Draw can be used for drawing the shape, as long as the file can be saved in a DXF format.  There are various CAD files in the market.  More recommended ones include Instant Engineer 14, which can be purchased online for few dollars, DesignCAD, AutoCAD and TurboCAD.  Another CAD software is DevFoam, that combines both the drawing and the G-Code generation.  It is a user friendly application for cutting foam with a 4 Axis CNC machine.

Next step is to convert the shape into G-Code.  The G-Code is another name for the computerized tool by which we tell the machine what to cut and how to cut it.  For the conversion one can use software such as DeskCNC, DevCAD or FoamWorks.
DeskCNC was originally designed for a 3 Axis CNC Router machines.  It was later on modified to enable a 4 Axis foam cutters to run as well.
FoamWorks is known for its simplicity and being a user friendly software.  It is designed to drive a 4 Axis foam cutter via a parallel port of any windows based computer.  It can cut any shape, but works best for cutting RC wings.

For the last stage of running the machine, software such as Mach3 and DeskCNC can be used.  The Mach3 program is a G-Code reader.  It allows you to turn your PC computer into a 4 Axis CNC controller for machining and cutting.  It is an operating system for running the CNC hot wire foam cutter.  It was originally developed for the home hobbyist, and later modified for use for any CNC machine operation for industrial use.

Revit Architecture

Revit Architecture

Saturday, February 25, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

RKO backlot main hotel views

RKO backlot main hotel views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revit Architecture

Those of us who know anything about BIM or Building Information Modeling know how much of an oh-so-joyous happy dandy fun time Revit Architecture can be.  With its tendencies for the user to have to be highly accurate in the development of a structure without having the ability to adjust measurements manually, Revit can be an extremely time consuming and often excruciatingly painstaking program to design fully developed construction in.

Rendering can be a whole other monster to deal with in itself.  Any project with a significant amount of At the school where I learned my Revit skills, we have wonderful 2 core processor Dell desktops which pretty much are good for doing a percentage of the floor plan work and unless you have several hours to spare, then forget about rendering big projects.  Especially if animation or 3DS Max plug-ins are used, then you should really expect to be spending a significantly lengthy amount of time rendering your projects.

Of course, now we have cloud-based rendering with the experimental plug-in dubbed Project Neon, located on Autodesk Labs which is in the beta phases and allows for the user to render their images through their Autodesk account instead of locally through their own computers.  But rendering a project is still very time consuming and the use of your Autodesk account is not always available (at such places like certain schools).  It is because of the complexity of the program and the time it takes to create each individual aspect of the entire program that the program in its entirety is not always taken advantage of in the workplace.

Just imagine the incredible and beautifully polished 3D designs that could be showcased during potential project bids in any given circumstance if the software were to develop with simplified convenience in mind.  Nevertheless, Revit still is a remarkable program and it is improving dramatically by the year.  I hope to see the day when rooms are created and developed with much simpler methods and randomly generated components and furniture are brought into the program.  These improvements, including the ability to freely manipulate measurements would make Revit an excellent program to use regularly in the workplace.