Crafting Project: Miniature Dungeon Details

September 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm (acrylic painting, Foamcore, Games) (, , , , , , , )


For an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons session, I decided it could be neat to build out some reusable miniatures for dungeon details that I could reuse from time to time. I built a treasure chest, a murky pool of water, and a few doors out of foamcore, chipboard, and acrylic paint. I figured it might be interesting for somebody to see roughly how I built them, so I’ll include some of the “work in progress” pictures I took as well.

 

For the doors, I started by cutting a door-shaped piece out of foamcore. I painted the wooden and metal details on it in Liquitex acrylic paint and moved onto the base for them. The base is made of two layers of chipboard (~1-1.5 mm cardboard), but with the top layer carved using a knife. I sliced the cracks for between the tiles in different patterns and then painted it; first a coat of black, and then some drybrushing of different shades of gray/blue-gray. I think I may have gone a bit too far with some of the colouring, but I’m happy enough with it.

Next, the doors are glued into the slotted floor tiles. After a clearcoat spray, they’re ready for action. I should note however that the solvent in the spray ended up melting away the foam; it’s only somewhat ruined, but it’s still a door. I’d suggest brushing on varnish instead, or adding a few coats of acrylic paint or PVA glue to seal it before spraying.

 

For the treasure chest, I started with layers of foamcore (I wanted it to be sturdy). I wrapped it in a casing of chipboard around the sides so I didn’t have to worry about the foamcore edges messing with the texture. Then I painted on the details with acrylic paint.

 

The last component of my project was a pool of murky water. I was initially going to use thinner cardboard for it, but I found that it warped once I started painting it, so I switched back to chipboard. I cut out the raised floor tiles and proceeded to carve it to make it look like tiles. This was probably my favourite part of the piece; it made it feel like each floor tile was worn and chipped away by wear and tear of dungeon action.

For the water surface, I wanted to make it look like it was liquidy, so I used some Liquitex Gloss Heavy Gel to build up the texture. I don’t think it ended up being exactly what I wanted, but at least at a cursory glance, it looks like there is a ripple originating from the center of the pool. I mixed up some shades of dark blue for the water to help make the ripples pop a bit more, and I painted on some gloss varnish to help make it shiny.

 

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Crafting Project: Eldritch Horror Storage Solution (Part 1)

August 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm (Art, Board games, Foamcore, Games, Papercraft) (, , , , )


I own all of the expansions for the board game Eldritch Horror. I really enjoy this game, however, it is very cumbersome to set up and tear down this game, especially if you want to use the expansions (I previously have kept each of them separate so I could enjoy each one’s additions). I finally had some time to work on designing my own storage solution that fits into the original game’s box (The provided boxes are horrible for storing the game content).

SOME of the game content that needs to be stored

My plan was to be able to play the game out of the box. The core box would hold the majority of the game content while 1-2 of the big box expansions would hold the additional stuff like the Ancient One decks and Mythos cards (things that aren’t all used in every playthrough, etc). I’m still not done with this project, but I’ve made two substantial components, and I have designs for more stuff.

The first component is a card channel to hold the mini-cards in the game (spells, items, artifacts, etc). I didn’t really want this as a solution and the first designs were to build individual boxes with lids, but the amount of work would have been staggering to make a professional-looking set of boxes with graphics wrap using linen-finish paper. I opted for an easier route, but I made sure each type of card had its own section (as opposed to using loose cardboard dividers, which means the whole thing can fall over if you take the cards out, etc). I estimated how much room would be needed for additional expansions using a calculation of how much each previous expansion took (3 cards = roughly 1mm).

EDIT: Some measurements. I used 5mm foamcore and ~2mm thick chipboard for the dividers.

Total insert dimensions: 286mm x 80mm

Cuts for the divider cards are 2mm and go down about 23mm. I didn’t actually glue them in as they had a snug fit. The spacing of the cuts are [roughly] as follows (measured from the inside of the larger box; basically minus 10mm for both ends). Also, keep in mind the sections are rearranged so the larger ones are on the outsides.

Section (assets/artifacts): 75mm

Section (conditions): 74

Section (unique assets): 67mm

Section (spells): 51mm

 

The next component to build was a box for the game tokens. I’ve seen other people make trays out of foamcore, but I didn’t like the idea of having everything be loose without a lid. The last time I moved, I found that many of my boardgames ended up on their side or upside down in their moving boxes. I’d hate to have to sort through everything all over again. I originally wanted a professional-looking box with list that would be graphics wrapped (possibly with a neodymium magnet in place), but again, I opted for something a bit more simple to make the scope smaller (after all, I’d like to eventually play this game and not be forever working on box inserts).

I decided on making small open-topped boxes out of ~1mm cardboard and then building a casing base and lid. I ended up not gluing these micro-boxes into the casing yet since I may still try to do a graphics wrap on them. I still need to figure out a good process to do the image work, and I’m not sure if there is enough clearance for it. The lid slides on top of it all and the whole component box can be removed.

NOTE: I opted to keep the clues out of this box. I want to make a separate one so I can shake it and mix the tokens up for randomized drawing. I also didn’t add the “general” tokens. This component box fits like an “L” shape to the mini-cards section right now. I’ll add another box for the general pieces most likely or just keep them in a baggie. They are a bit larger and harder to organize.

EDIT: I was asked to provide some measurements. I’d need to clean up my schematics to get rid of the design notes, etc. but I figured I can provide some basics. Keep in mind these are the measurements I used, but could be off by a milimeter or two (based on cuts, measurement precision, and how the pieces are assembled; the cardboard is ~1mm after all)

1x Large Component Box (outer box that holds inner boxes): 199mm x 82mm x ~47mm (total height). The bottom height is 20mm and the lid’s height is 27mm.

3x Component box 1 (larger one): 80mm x 43mm x 45mm (height). Open topped

3x Component box 2 (smaller one): 65mm x 25mm x 45mm (height). Open topped. These go in a group of 3, rotated 90 degrees. They could be wider as well; I apparently did bad math or something.

 

 

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Crafting Project: Heroes of Normandie component boxes

August 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm (Art, Board games, Games, Papercraft) (, , , )


I’ve recently purchased a bunch of content for the boardgame/wargame Heroes of Normandie. My wife and I really enjoyed playing this game, but it has a lot of components that all need to be organized if you want any chance of finding anything. Each platoon in the game is represented by a large tile and each squad is another smaller tile. Each squad tile has to be kept with the platoon as well as any platoon-specific vehicles or equipment.

I decided to make a series of cardboard boxes that have the platoon markings on them to keep everything organized. The company that makes the game also has a similar thing, however, it is unreasonably expensive to have it shipped to North America. I made my own.

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Added labels to Arkham Horror card dividers

July 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm (Board games, Foamcore, Games) (, , , )


I finally bought a printer to make labels for my Arkham Horror: LCG custom dividers! I decided against using some of the full colour ones people have posted on boardgamegeek to avoid draining my printer’s ink carts. I’m mostly just happy that it will speed up my set-up time for this game. Also, many thanks to Scorpion0x17 on BGG for his work on the scenario icons. I’m missing most of the newer packs because he’s busy, but I’d have to roll my own if it weren’t for him.

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Insertable Foam Core Component Box

January 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm (Board games, Foamcore) (, , , , , , )


I’ve recently completed part 1 of my next foam core project; a component box that plugs into my first project (part 2 is just going to be a second box to sit beside the first). I designed it to be hingeless, use interlocking parts, and has a pull handle to slide the box out as well as open it. While I haven’t glued my original project yet, this one is held together using Gorilla Wood Glue. The lid of the box uses a slide & clip design via a piece of 1mm cardboard glued to the bottom of it.

I also cut some cardboard dividers for the first project; I just really like how they perfectly stack up 🙂

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First foamcore project!

January 2, 2017 at 3:47 pm (Art, Board games, Foamcore, Sketches) (, , , , , )


Ever since I found out that foamcore exists, I’ve wished I’d known about it sooner. I used to build things out of cardboard and even plain foam, and even at the time I wished those materials had the same properties as foamcore. It is fantastic and easy to work with. Now, keep in mind that I only have a small amount of experience in carpentry, so I apologize if use the wrong term for something.

For my first project, I decided to build a box insert for storing cards from a board game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game. This is a game where they release expansions on a monthly basis, so there are a lot of cards, and a lot of things to organize. Unfortunately, the company that manufactures the game did a poor job on the box it game in. They’re known for having boxes only designed for transportation of the game and not storage, but this one is particularly bad.

For this project I bought a photo box from Michaels (meant to store ~1000 photos) as the outer casing. I made up some sketches and calculated sizes for all of the pieces. I can post my sketches and measurements if anybody is interested in producing one of these. The inside of the box measures 280mm by 189mm.

Now, one of the defining factors of this project is that I made interlocking pieces so that glue is not entirely necessary. I *do* intend on gluing it together eventually, but I’d like to see if I plan on modifying it later. Contrary to what you might think, this didn’t actually take long. I chose to not do a box joint as the foamcore might not be sturdy enough for it, and it would be very time-consuming to cut.

This design choice is “controversial” as most foamcore projects I’ve seen either use a butt-joint (just glue the pieces together), a mitre-joint (cut 45 degree angles and joint), or a lap-joint (cut a trench out of one pieces and insert the other piece). I haven’t attempted any of these joints in a project before, but after a few tests, I wasn’t entirely happy with them. The butt-joint is said to be strong, especially if you pin the pieces together, but I don’t like the idea of only depending on glue, and I don’t want to work with pins. The mitre-joint seemed like a good option, but I didn’t want to have to buy a special cutting tool, and it seemed like I’d be asking for mismatch problems with all the components I’d have to cut. Lastly, the lap-joint seemed like a decent option, but it is a big pain to slice 4mm cuts in 5mm foamcore consistently. Cutting rabbits would also be very difficult as I’d need to chisel out the parts.

Additionally, I made finger slots on the ends of each channel so that it is easier to pull the cards out. I made decide later to cut semi-circles out of the slot (for style points), but right now they are rectangular slots.

ANYWAY! Here are some pictures of how the process went. It was really fun to work on, although my back hurts from hunching over my table to get a 90 degree cut angle.

EDIT: I added a last photo showing the core set of the Arkham Horror Card Game plus the first scenario pack inhabiting the box. I haven’t made dividers yet, and I was in the middle of setting up for a play-through last time I had the cards out, so there’s a random handful of cards in the center.

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Arkham Horror in Coloured Pencil

November 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm (Art, Board games, Colored Pencils) (, , , , )


This is my second attempt at using coloured pencils (Prisma Colors). It’s a picture of the cover art for the board game Arkham Horror. I’ve only casually been working on it while watching tv, so I have no idea how long it really took, but I spent more time on it than I should. Eventually, I got bored and realized I didn’t center it properly, so I stopped working on it. It is roughly 7″ by 4″ on mixed media paper.

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Video: Second demo for my game

April 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm (Game Development, Games, Processing, Programming, Video games) (, , , , )


I’ve finally gotten around to making a video recording of my new game demo! Part of my problem was finding a suitable video capture software suite. I ended up using Open Broadcaster Software, and it turned out fine; I WAS using KRUT, but it had issues with the audio capture.

Anyway, while recording it I ended up finding out that half of my rooms didn’t make it into the demo! I had an issue where a locked door led straight to the boss level. That kind of sucked. Here’s the video though:

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Update Mar 12, 2015: New game demo, mind palaces, and notebooks

March 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm (Game Development, Games, Processing, Thinking) (, , , , , , , , )


It’s been a while again since I’ve posted here, but I haven’t been idle in this period of time. I don’t think I can list all of the things I’ve been up to, but here are three things I’ve been up to:

New Game Demo

I’ve recently released (privately) a new demo for my game. It features brand new levels, mechanics, and storyline. I’ve even added new tilesets and original music for the levels. With the last demo, I was happy to have something playable that resembled a game and showed off some of the neat things I’ve built, but this time I think I’m actually content with it as a game. I’ve added some dialogue that needs a bit of polishing, but is roughly what I want it to be as well. I still need to post screenshots and a video, but I need a big chunk of time to do that still.

The first person to play-test it and give feedback made me pretty happy. It seems that they felt what I wanted them to feel and thought what I wanted them to think with respect to the storyline. They noticed some of the extra details I put into the levels (like the rain effect) as well. One thing I took away though, was that they didn’t use the camera mechanic at all. I think I might add some HUD cues and mechanics to encourage the usage of it.

 Mind Palace

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time lately rebuilding my “Mind Palace”. This is a mental tool that utilizes the “Method of Loci” method for memorization. Essentially it’s a superior way to reliably remember things. It takes a bit of effort to set up and upkeep, but if done correctly, you can do wonderful things with it.

Before, I was building the hub structure of my palace based on something I had imagined. My problem was that I never fully constructed it; I wasn’t sure how big of a space I needed, so it deteriorated over time faster. I can still reference most of the rooms, but I didn’t solidify where everything was enough.

Also, I didn’t have enough connections to well-known places. Examples of these are houses I’ve previous lived in, These are useful as you can typically just imagine yourself moving through those places and then have your memories jump out at you. My next goal is to tie in more of those to my “hub area” so that I can jump from location to location without having to remember how many houses I’ve lived in. It probably would look like that hallway in one of the Matrix sequels that had all the doors leading to difference places.

 Notebooks

Soooo, it turns out I am a crazy person? I used to have decision issues when it would come to notebooks. I remember being in a store for 10 minutes trying to decide what colour I wanted to use for a notebook. I ended up just buying all of them so that I could decide in a non-public place. Recently, Target has gone out of business in Canada due to questionable decision making. The good part of this is that Moleskine notebooks have gone on sale; at the time I purchased them, the discount was 30% off. I rarely notice these going on sale, and since I’ve started using them almost exclusively, it seemed like a great idea! However, now I have a drawer full of different sizes of notebooks and my mind will only let me use certain notebooks for certain purposes. I’m happy to not have to go buy more for a while, but now I have to store a ton of notebooks…

 

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Zombie Mansion with shaders and post-processing

January 22, 2015 at 9:03 am (Game Development, Graphics, Java, Processing) (, , )


Update: Full project description here

I finally got around to retrofitting my older projects with the new hotness. I am now rendering the scenes with shader programs, which gives me a lot of nice options for how the scenes look. I can do lots of fancy stuff with them including doing neat things to the screen after the scene has been drawn. Here’s a quick example of one of the things I’ve already tried. It’s a ripple effect I applied to the screen; it looked awful, but I was getting 60 frames per second with it (which is good).

jan17_2015_screen effect gone wrong1

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