Sunday, April 02, 2017

The After Fooling

I stayed away from most of the traditional news outlets yesterday.

I think you know why ! You had a taster of what can go on in the news from my three posts ... Did you spot the true one ? I hope you did. I'll put the clue in the thumbnail ...
Of the three :

The Elite one was about a game. So that's not related to real life in any way. I put a fair bit of work into that one which I'll go into later. It was untrue, you can't land at Hutton Orbital with a big ship and it doesn't have a shipyard to buy or change ships at.

I thought the cricket one would look plausible .... but it's ... nope. I can't see me playing cricket again. Umpiring ? Maybe. It's the best seat in the house. But playing ? I've been in so much extra pain since writing that post that I think karma has been out to get me since I did write it. Not too much pain, just someone's been playing (the tiniest) violin using my hamstrings and they occasionally make me go Ouch in a big way. Plus the shoulder has been weaker. On the bright side though, the ankles aren't repaired yet but seem to be getting tougher again. The bad patch on the back of my left calf is reducing in size.

About time ! But at 42 years old, carrying all the damage and with slowing reactions, cricket is definitely a stretch. So I had fun writing that post but felt sad knowing that it was a false story.

The writing one is the best kind of April Fool related post ... the one that looks totally off the wall but is actually true. You'll hopefully remember me talking about that novel for a fair while now. I have the basic premise but need that over arching plot going through it. An escape from a bad situation makes for a good start and the setting up for a good middle but ... a story needs a beginning, middle and end. I think I know how I can weave the End in there now and it would involve the first murderer ... who would be nibbled by the Menace.

I did think it was curious that the post came out at around the same time as two game stories. One is Horizon Zero Dawn, which looked and watched amazing on the streams. AI warbots threaten all of the biological life on Earth in a few years from now, with the story being set a thousand or so years in the future. It's a Playstation 4 game so .... I won't be playing that one.

The other game is Mass Effect Andromeda, which I'm enjoying. I think the big lesson it's showing is that not all games of this type have to have ultra gritty hard bitten characters who will chew their leg off to escape a trap and then go run 100 m in less than 10 seconds. Nope. The characters in Mass Effect Andromeda are still tough but they stop to have fun too. There's a less serious side to the game which I'm enjoying. I suspect I will be glued to it over my week off. But the over riding arc of that story is an escape from the Milky Way to ... somewhere different. Kinda echoes my idea, although mine owes far more to stories like Larry Niven's Legacy of Heorot.

And there was a bit of that with the character creation. My Sara Ryder has turquoise hair and a not quite as derpy an expression as that game is getting notorious for.

A picture ? I tried to take a few screenshots but Game Said No (alas !). It's a quite pretty game and my ageing system is doing ok with it with the new graphics card. Merely ok ? It goes jerky a bit when running around but is playable.
That's the new ride.

One idea though was the idea of doing a Making Of Video type thing for the Elite post, because while I did put a fair bit of work into that, it isn't something that's beyond people. You can do it too ! Here's what I did :

Make a plan - I had a list of screenshots that I needed to get to create the post. And because Hutton Orbital is literally 90 minutes flight time away, I only wanted to go there twice this time. Once with the big ship (that couldn't land) and once with a ship that they'd allow inside.

Write a script - I had written the actual post about 20 days ago, before doing the trip out there. It let me tailor the screenshots I would need and the edits I wanted to do.

When getting the screenies, keep an eye open for opportunities - with shots like the one with the landing lights, I could have recreated that but an opportunity popped up when someone else was landing and from there, all I needed to do was steal the "Proceed to docking pad 1" (and modify it from pad 3) from one of my own pics. The one with For The Mug and the Federal Agent was also a happy accident.

Keep an eye out for detail - enjoy the happy accidents but plan for when those don't happen. I could have gotten screenshots from 1 Apr and rush edited them but ... I've been getting too exhausted for that. Instead, I got dates in the screenies from 18 March, which could be turned into 1 Apr (delete the 8, move the 1, delete the M, move the A, copy the R, delete enough to turn it into a P). Sounds easy doesn't it !

It's easier than you might think actually. Photoshop and the tool I use (the awkward but free GIMP) give a Clone Stamp Tool which can be used to copy areas of one part of a picture on to another. It's very powerful. The picture of the Station Services was very heavily edited in this way, the entire right hand panel is copy/pasted in.

Be consistent - things like shadows and lighting is how you spot the Photoshopped pictures. So for the picture of the ship on the pad, I adjusted the lighting to suit (actually lent on the Auto-Enhance command). The ship part was actually taken in deep space, remembering to put the landing legs down first !

Picking an opportunity to do it - I knew that it would involve a good few hours, which meant Free Weekend. I couldn't do it last weekend due to Mother's Day travel, so it happened on the last weekend of the Six Nations Rugby. Watching the rugby while the pooter is doing the game ? Perfect. I'd be able to wake up to the game in the bits between play.

It would have been good to make a video for all that (I am being inspired by some youtube people !) to hopefully put across the idea that you, yes you who has read this far ! can do things like this too.

The toughest thing is the original idea. Good ideas are rare. They are to me at least. Turning that idea into something good takes work ... but work is easy compared to trying to squeeze good ideas out.

Ideas can't be forced ... but keep your eyes open, draw inspiration from the world and people around you, see what happens.
That's another one I did a while ago from the Eve Online game. I don't play that one any more but that's the signature I used for it. It just hit me that the advanced destroyer ship (Sabre) looked like they'd stuck a shuttle on the back of the original destroyer and ... an idea was born.

I hope you like it !

And remember - all it takes is an idea, some patience (especially with Gimp) and a bit of time.

PS Unless it's drawing. Drawing is hard.

No comments:

Post a Comment

So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.