Thursday, November 10, 2016

Healthcare Reform


Time for some healthcare reform. Preferably something that doesn't result in debt or death, like we've been seeing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Stained glass stuff

I started messing around with glass, but did not yet make anything really big yet. There are some recordings of me putting them together on Twitch. Here are some shots of some early stuff:

Content Revision

I no longer post or support sourcemod/pawn scripts publicly. If you would like to commission one, contact me directly on steam. This goes the same for maps, models, or any other works. Links to download models and maps have been moved to the buttons at the top of the page. Materials made on commission / for private communities will no longer be hosted, as many communities do not want this content shared.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Being a considerate person while living with others


  • After making use of the restroom and taking notice that the spool is almost empty, be careful to leave 1 or 2 squares for the next person.
  • Never completely consume any product in the home. When dealing with liquids, always leave at least 1/4 cup in the container. When using sliced bread, make sure to remove only center slices, leaving the loaf with two end pieces when finished, because some people really like them. If there are multiples of the same item, take from each so that they deplete at an even rate.
  • When preparing food, simply lay it out on the counter top, and eat in the kitchen. If there are paper plates or paper towels, use a few of these instead to avoid making a mess. This makes doing dishes easier for others.
  • Always use aluminum foil to wrap up leftovers, it is easier to use than plastic wrap. When using the microwave, save on wrap simply by not using it.
  • Wear headphones at all times, so that you don't bother other people, and they don't bother you.
  • Don't waste other people's time by telling them your plans. It's best to go out without interrupting anyone.
  • If you are not sure how to do something, don't bother others, just try to do it yourself. If you cannot accomplish the task, leave it out so that others will see the problem and solve it for you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hacking the Asus VX279 and Viewsonic VX2453 to VESA mounts

OK well, as more monitors go in the direction of LED and thin/space saving designs, they seem to drop their VESA mounts. The small circular stem bases are often rather low to the ground, offering only a few inches of elevation for monitors. This is somewhat annoying, as most monitors should be a good 6-8 inches higher than they are. In the past, the solution would be to put them on a shelf, or mount them on a VESA arm/pole type deal.

Anyways, I had an old 24 inch viewsonic VX2453 TN panel, and an asus VX279  AH-IPS panel.. both without vesa mounts. I figured that it wouldn't be too much of a problem to "make something work," so I did.

I was able to pick up this cool dual articulating arm mount with 75 & 100 mm mount patterns for 83$ on amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QSSJTYQ) It's a generic item, so it's listed under a bunch of other manufacturers. The build quality is quite decent, though you may want to tighten up the bolts a bit so that it will be stable and hold really heavy displays.

So, to start out.. It's neccessary to take the monitors apart and remove the stems, stem attachment hardware, and make holes for VESA. These monitors are mostly assembled without screws, using super cheap snap-tab assembly. This means that the first few snaps you encounter and pry free are likely to break when you rip apart the bezel to get inside of the monitor. The Viewsonic monitor came apart pretty easily, and the tabs were thick enough that none of them broke. I was able to take it apart multiple times without any of them failing. After removing all of the components, I was happy to see that the back of the reinforced PCB housing already had some holes in a 100mm pattern.


So, I simply drilled two of them through the back (making sure that they wouldn't hit on any electrical components), popped a washer in, and inserted some nylon bolts. I chose to use nylon due to it's non-conductance and close proximity to metal / electrical components in this area. There is still a good 10mm or so between the pan head and any components, but I felt it was better to be safe than not. I inserted the bolts through and fastened them directly to the mount, tightening them up after making some small holes in the plastic for the HDMI ports. I then drilled the upper holes through using the 75mm pattern. I chose to use the 75mm pattern for this mount since the holes here are open and thus less secure, also using closer proximity makes it a bit more structurally sound as the monitor backing bends slightly and is plastic. I placed two large washers inside, to disperse the weight on the plastic. At this point, I was also able to tighten the upper bolts. After securing it to the mount, the monitor is well balanced and very secure. In order to get the housing to fit properly and screw back together, I had to drill two small holes in the back of the monitor, one above each HDMI port, to screw in some fastening screws. I then placed the display panel back into the housing, reconnected the ribbon cables, and snapped the bezel back on.

The Asus monitor was a bit more work. I had to break the top snaps along the bezel to get it apart. Due to this, there was a small gap in the top when the monitor was put back together. I was later able to solve this by dabbing some glue into the old tab slots and taping over the top of the monitor with some black electrical tape. The housing for the PCB was of-center... Also, the back of the monitor is rounded. This was only a small problem, so I used washers between the plastic backing and the metal component casing to redistribute the weight. There was plenty of room inside of the housing, so I used small bolts. Due to the monitor's design, it was not possible to tighten the lower bolts until after the monitor was re-assembled. This created another small problem, so I chose to use long bolts so that I could tighten them with some pliers -- the wrong way. The nuts I had for these bolts were pretty small, so I threw a washer on them to help redistribute the weight. Again, I drilled holes for the top in the plastic, added a large washer to each, and secured them to the mount. I reassembled the monitor, carefully threading the lower bolts through the back. I then used some locking pliers to grip the bolt close to the monitor housing, and thread on the screw, once it was on enough, I gripped the end of the bolt, and tightened it up. Once everything was in place, I glued and taped up the top.


As you can see, the monitors work just fine on the mount, though the asus is slightly left-justified due to the placement of the pcb/ports. Also, it is a bit bottom heavy, and not as well balanced as the Viewsonic, so the up/down tilt has to be tightened up on the mount. They're sturdy enough to move around, but not so much that they would be able to withstand the abuse of major movement on a daily basis in some sort of office environment. Anyways, it's much better than having spent the extra 80-200$ each for the "pro" version of the monitors when they came out to get VESA mounting and some extra OSD options I would never use. However, in the future I will be sure to buy only monitors with VESA mounts :3 Also, after I finished installing the, I figured out that I could just remove the hex screw from the pivot arm and pop out the large bolt and the VESA plate would detach from the mount. This would have made for easier installing and positioning of the holes. Oh well.




Monday, March 16, 2015

Soundproof Headphones

My neighbor makes a lot of noise, which is pretty annoying. I have tried speaking with them, but they don't care to reduce noise levels. I can drown out most of the annoying sound with multimedia speakers (turned up real high), but it doesn't do much against washer/dryer and routine stomping (which pretty much goes on all day... every day).

I found these Peltor 3M X5A hearing protectors on amazon for $26, which have a high NNR value of 31. They are also really comfortable, since the cups have a nice amount of padding, and go over the entire ear. They have really good build quality too (and can take a beating), since they are designed to be used for construction. Also, the ear pads are replaceable and easy to come by.

The only thing that sucks, is that it is pretty boring wearing them for long periods of time and hearing nothing. I figured that it would be easy enough to turn them into headphones, as the cups are quite roomy on this model. So I decided to pick up some decent enough quality headphones and cut out the drivers to put them in. There are probably better options out there where you can buy just the speakers, or some higher quality wiring or whatever. I did this kind of quickly, buying some over the counter at Walgreens. There are different versions of these (2XL) phones, varying from 15 to 25$. They all have the same drivers, so getting the cheapest ones is probably smart. The ones that I got were 22$ and had two cables. It looks like there is a similar model for $14 here in an unpopular color (which doesn't matter for this). These models have 30mm drivers, and the casing was just about the right fit to be held in place by the padding in the 3M muffs. There is a 40mm version of this product, but it may be too large. I had to trim the edge of the casing into an oval shape all the way down to the driver to make a 40x30 sized plastic insert. The driver is glued into the insert (I think) and probably not easily removable. Every speaker/brand will vary. Anyways, these work quite well, have good volume, and a lot of bass. I have to turn the bass down most of the time // use equalizer.

All of the components to make this should come in under 40$

I was a bit surprised, because I have owned dozens of headphones over the years, and most don't sound good, and cost way too much. Most large headphones do not actually go over the ears and seal with the head to block out sounds like these do, they have a cushion that compresses the ear, which can be annoying and uncomfortable. Quiet listening with these is quite good, and other people won't be able to hear what you're listening to (even at high volumes).

A simple conversion requires no extra materials aside from glue, a drill, a razor blade, a soldiering iron, and some sandpaper.

First take apart the headphones, they are screwed together, so they come apart fast. Be careful to preserve the foam covering, and the wires, as they will be used later. Clip the wires at the soldier points to free the cables and unknot them. The wires are kind of cheap, they have some kind of paint/non-conductive coating to prevent contact with ground, so you can sand that off or whatever before soldiering it. This is probably what causes most headphones to fail over time. If this is the case, just toss them later if they do and soldier in new wiring.

I decided to add rca adapters to make them detachable at first, and able to plug into my cable box and other stuff. This required me to use some extra cables that I already had around the house. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but rca adapters are a bit bulky and get in the way when angled downward :3

Modifying the 3Ms is very easy. The cups detach from the headband when turned 90 degrees. Pulling on the white flange of the cups will release the housing. The pad can also snap off of the white flange (it is replaceable).

The foam insert is also replaceable, and can just be pulled out.

Find a spot to feed in the wire. Probably angled forward/downward from the front would be best, at a 45 degree angle. This model does not have a padded headband, so it's not possible to wrap/conceal a cable over the band easily for a one-ear wired setup.

The muffs are coated in a durable thick rubber, so it is not possible to drill directly into the housing without tearing it up. Cut away a circular section from the rubber in the size of the hole to be made. If using an adapter (like a 3.5mm phones jack, or other adapter) with a flange, it could be placed between the rubber and the plastic and glued in place.

Once the rubber piece has been removed, drill the hole. The housing is fairly thick, so it won't move around much...

If using the wire from the headset, the flanged spacer can be fed in, and then the wire knotted from inside the cup. When I did this it fet pretty snug with a standard drill bit. I didn't have to use any glue or anything.

The 3M foam insert does not need to be cut, and can just be rotated to fit around the wire/hole opening. If you put in a jack, you'll want to rotate the pad, else you can just feed the wiring in through the gap somewhere.

See if the speaker housing will fit into the cup, the foam should hold it in place without compressing the foam too much. If it is too tight, cut the sides of the plastic housing around the driver and sand them down so that it does. The foam is pretty durable, but the cloth cover is not, and might snag on the plastic if you don't smooth it over after cutting.

Tin the wires, and soldier them to the speakers. Test them, should work fine.

Take the padding from the headphones. In my case, there was no way that they would be able to fit over the entire speaker due to the foam padding. However, I was able to reverse the pad and use that after cutting away some fabric and padding from the front.

If you have the same model, or similar style, it should work. Cut along the outer part of the cushion, along the stitching. The foam ring will come out when done. Clip the circle of fabric in the middle. Now, invert the fabric, so that it creates a large, flat surface, and place that over the speaker. Fit the speaker in place, the thick foam of the 3M muffs will hold it in place with no movement. The speaker should sit back far enough so that it does not contact your ear without the padding/flange on. It may if you have larger drivers, but once the set is reassembled, there may be enough of a gap from the 3M padding that it won't make contact.

The cup is air tight, so when you place the phones on/off your head it will compress/expand the speakers, and also dampen them a bit (you may hear them crackle/pop, probably isn't good). This can be fixed by drilling some small holes in the white plastic flange (or somewhere else) to let some air exchange. I detached the vinyl ear protector and drilled four holes in each white flange. I then crammed some cotton in the holes to dampen the air flowing in/out of them. This would probably be a bad idea if using these for actual hearing protection in a construction environment.

Snap the housing back on, and reassemble.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do a barrel roll

Okay, well I picked up Wacom's Art Pen. Mostly, because when I am drawing lines or going over line art, and filling stuff in, it takes a long time to constantly change brush sizes. The intuos pens do have a tilt feature, which allows programs to use "bearing" to combine tilt and motion to kind of adjust the angle of chiseled brushes, but it's a chore to angle them right, and the smallest mistake spins them round. The Art Pen is great, because it allows for the rotation of the pen to work, so that I can just spin the brush to get into small areas, which is really cool. It still has tilt as well. I can't really see any reason why anyone would want to use the standard pen that comes with the tablets. The tip on the art pen is quite a bit thicker, but the pressure sensitivity is about the same. There are some chiseled tips, but I found them rather worthless since they don't lock in place -- and since they spin freely, it defeats the purpose of aligning them with the actual tilt of the pen and what shows up in paint programs. The nibs are wide at the front, but the base is the same. A standard nib will fit into the art pen, but there will be a small gap around the tip. It's a strange design, and I wonder why Wacom didn't make that part of the pen screw off with the tip so that it could use standard nibs as well. The grip comes off too but it's sized differently than the others so it's not exactly replaceable with the buttonless grip or the wide grip. The pen is wider than the standard pen anyway. The angle of use is a lot better as well, and it feels much more substantial. Because it is wide and the grip point is closer to the front, there is a bit more control than the classic pen. It's also wide and angled on the sides, so that it can be used at a 45 degree angle under pressure (unlike the standard pen).

Here's some crap I drew relatively quickly while playing with it:



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Maps and models :3

I did not post in a while. Anyways, here are a few things made recently:

Ponyville


For Ponyville.Net I created this map, and tons of models. It took a while to put together since it's really big and some of the props are rather detailed. There is a minigame area with 5 game modes players can select for an arena (soccer, arena, free-for-all, dodgeball, bumper cars), as well as a jousting put that allows any player to charge over ramps. There is a boxing arena as well. The minigames are powered by sourcemod. This was an expansion to improve/replace an earlier votemap, so that functionality is there as well. I created a plugin to handle voting and map exclusion earlier today.




Serpentine


This model is based on a character from Freedom Planet. I modeled, painted, and animated him for use in Team Fortress 2, using his pixel art as reference. He has enough animations and blends for each stance so that he animates fairly well all around. He's got a taunt animation as well for his special ability for use in Freak Fortress.




T-800


I ported this guy for Counter-Strike Global Offensive, as someone wanted to make a Terminator mod for that game with a 1 Vs. all gameplay. He animates very well considering that he uses only rigid animations. The pistons don't quite work, but I doubt most people will notice.





Trade Unusual

I made this map for the Fire Friendly gaming community. They needed a new trade map. The goal here was to mix both fantasy and TF2 universes to create something new and interesting. The result is this treasure-laden subterranean city. The structures are mostly BSP based, so they don't have too much detail. I did not think that it would be wise to make modeled buildings and then fit each in individually. It is a pain to build assets, create collision, and set lighting in the source engine :3 I hope the next iteration of the engine makes this easier. There are some various props to add interest, such as giant spy/engineer faces leaking magma.

Anyhow, the map is fairly large. There are a decent amount of unique assets and some simple mods running in the background to facilitate trade and events. Some rooms provide privacy for voice and text chat. Also, admins can make the statues come alive by turning them into bots (they are all custom / animated models). Should be interesting to see little spycrabs scurrying about the map pinching people. I had to manually create and edit the navigation mesh, which took some while, as the autogeneration was quite pitiful (as usual). There are also some environmental hazzards which kill people in interesting ways (molten gold -> australium, cold water -> freeze, magma -> disintigrate).

Oh, I also ended up making a new logo for their community.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Go/Karts and things


Karts:


So, I finished up most of the Karts mod. There were some ported tracks on GMOD, so I was able to get those working. The first map now has 8 tracks, which is a pretty decent amount. Since most of them are open and fairly large, there is quite a bit of light data. Seems that this is going to be about the limit of how many circuits I can cram onto a single map, as more causes vrad to crash. I've not created a 3d skybox, but It should be possible to throw some func_brush entities in there and toggle them for each circuit to make each circuit look a bit better later on, right now it's all 2d sky. The rainbow tracks are also fullbright, and don't look too great. The mod is still being developed, even though it is mostly done.
Added sound effects for abilities/events.
Added background music and settings, configurable per circuit.
Fixed ghost powerup so that it steals from other players.
Added ability to auto position items/paths certain distances from the track for better pathfinding.
Fixed resetting players to ideal positions when respawning from death or out of bounds.
Reduced collision size of bananas


Go:


Worked with CSGO some to mod it. I've written mods before for it, without having the game -- mostly stats/sql stuff, or other backend tcp stuff like fetching http data. Anyways, it's nice to know that Valve dropped source shared content, so there's even less resources to work with for modding. This is a little annoying, since it means players have to download even more things. Combined with the fact that the game gets pretty unstable as more content is added to downloads / precached, it's even worse. Additionally, the sound system seems to have trouble with compatibility with old mods and needs some special handling to precache sounds and emit them to players. Not a huge problem, but annoying none the less.

The Cat Lady:


How can you go wrong with murder, suicide, the afterlife, psychosis, and cats?

I saw this game on the steam discovery queue thing, and it had tons of positive reviews, thought I didn't know anyone who had actually played it. The artwork looked a bit strange, but again, it had a lot of positive reviews. Anyways, it was on sale for something like $2 so I picked it up. The game is a really is good point and click adventure. The artwork turned out to be pretty decent too, though the animation can be a little odd at times. Probably too odd for some people, but it didn't bother me. The story was pretty entertaining, even though it was completely bizarre at times. At some points it got a bit out of hand, to the point where I began to question what direction it was going in, as I couldn't tell if it was trying to be serious or completely ridiculous.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Human stuff

Okay, so I tried doing some character stuff from scratch, following some tutorials here. I was able to make a base mesh by using some photo references I found here. I had to figure out how to set up image planes in 3ds Max and to get wireframe to play nice with NURMS. It works out OK to use a simple wireframe material with 0% opacity. I didn't play around with it too much, but I could not find a way to directly select geometry from the model via the isoline display. I had to use the cage, which is a little inconvenient. Also, with symmetry on... the subdivisions are all visible regardless of isoline display. Anyhow, I was able to get a decent figure out of it, which I could bring into mudbox after unwrapping it.

I'm going to need to study a lot of anatomy and get the hang of mudbox's tools and hotkeys. The program is pretty easy to use, but I ran into a bug where half of my tools stopped working properly, with pinch, wax, and many others moving faces in unpredictable directions. Only the foamy brush and grab seemed unaffected. Well, mostly, it still went off into a weird direction. Probably it's the way in which those tools work off of the normals, and something is wrong with the mesh. Oh well. I didn't touch the face, I was just trying to get some basic structure in there. If I can't get things like pinch working. I tried to re-import the base mesh as an OBJ instead of using send to mudbox, but the same thing happens, even when I modify it. Strangely it doesn't happen with other models. I'll just make a new one later, need the practice anyways.