Sting, the robot wasp.

This is a video of the development process for this little robotic wasp, called Sting. It's sort of a character in the novel I'm writing, along with its cousin Spike and half brother Mr Shrimpsley (Later renamed the VCR - Vacuum Combat Robot)
Here's an excerpt from my novel, feel free to ask any questions that may arise:

A loud cheer emanated from the crowd. Black and the General looked towards the mid-air robot wrestling match. One of the little bugs was limping round with one of its wings hanging by a thread. It was Cassandra's robot, Sting.
“They're vicious,” said Black.
“Fun isn't it,” said an officer floating by them. “I mean, sir.”
“At ease, lieutenant. We're here for the fight, just as you are.”
“Thank you, sir.”
River's robot, Spike, appeared to have the advantage, taking a moment to aim its lasers at its crippled foe. With the rules they were playing by, a sustained hit on one part of the robot's light sensitive skin for two seconds would kill that section. If it was the head, abdomen, or any of the limbs, it would become paralysed, deactivating that section. If the thorax was hit for two seconds, that was game over. Just before Spike fired, Sting jettisoned its damaged wing and pushed itself sideways with the remaining three, dodging all but the first fraction of a second. Spike almost looked disappointed, it dived on Sting, deciding it needed to do more melee damage before it could sit back and laser its way to victory.
“That's a new trick.” said River.
“Yeah, I've got to keep you guessing.”
“But he can't win with three wings. Spike's bound to out-manoeuvre him, and Spike almost always wins when he gets a good grip.”
“I wouldn't be so sure about that.”
Spike chased Sting on a wild course around the open space of the cargo bay. Most people couldn't keep up with their speed and looked at one of the holographic screens which kept them in the centre of the shot and replayed key scenes mid battle at either River or Cassandra's will. Spike managed to force Sting into a corner, still going at ten metres per second. There would be no where to turn around so the only option would be to stop. But Sting didn't stop. It ploughed into the corner at full speed, bouncing off, apparently unscathed. With its velocity maintained, though reversed, it took Sting completely off guard, forcing the point on the tail, for which he was named, straight through the other robot's abdomen. The pair stopped, linked in the air, their momentums having been equal and opposite. They both twisted in the air trying to slash the other's wings while keeping its own safe.
Suddenly the mad, high speed chase around the bay had turned into a battle of strength, as they wrestled while drifting across the cargo bay. Red lines of lasers passed through the air, as they tried in vain to hit the other with their ranged weapons. Spike's strength waned as the electrolyte bled from the batteries in his abdomen. Sting pulled out his stinger, allowing him to move freely across the other robot. With minimal resistance he plunged his sharp mandibles into the soft connective parts at the base of the wings and legs, completely immobilising his opponent. They drifted apart and Sting turned around, took aim, and fired all four lasers into Spike's chest for ten seconds.
A minority in the crowd cheered, but most people had favored Spike as the winner. The holographic barrier vanished, showing it was safe to move forwards and see the combatants up close. Nobody wanted to move first, all of them had learned a little fear for robots in the last few minutes. River and Cassandra pushed away from the far wall directly towards their own robots, with surprising accuracy for what looked like an ordinary launch.
Sting grabbed its jetsome and flew to its master, while Spike could only look forlornly at River, waiting to be repaired.
To the General's surprise Black was the first to step through the now imaginary barrier. His feelings for River must be stronger than his fear of robots.


Xenos explorer and Corvettes

I am delighted to declare that he ship in this video was one of two runners up in a 3dvia competition to build a starship.

Here's my full description of both ships:

The larger of these two is a 3km long xenos explorer ship. The xenos are peaceful herbivores, so they don't like to build ships specifically for combat, but since they were forced into a major war they had to build combat vessels. The smaller ship along side is the corvette you may have seen in isolation as a previous model of mine, it is about 100m long.

The explorer ship is powered by a battery of fusion reactors. The Deuterium and Tritium fuel for the reactors is collected from space by the large dish at the front of the vessel, any excess can be stored in the external tanks clustered near the back of the ship. It is propelled by a single high speed plasma jet with two stage acceleration and energisation. You can think of this as a jet engine with an afterburner.
For defence it is covered with field dishes, these can apply a remote force to enemy and allied projectiles to turn them towards the enemy ships. These take the form of the small dishes, which can be extended on flexible arms, spread around the centrifugal gravity cylinder and on the exoskeleton.
Just aft of the main habitation area are eight bays, each of which is capable of carrying one corvette.

The corvette is powered by a fusion reactor, but cannot use its main field dish to collector so it needs to store all its fuel in the external tanks.
The corvette has a large main engine for straight line acceleration as well as four smaller engine modules for manoeuvring, these are located on arms to give a strong turning moment with relatively low force.
It's main weapon is a forward facing field dish with a single projectile gun aimed through the centre. It also has four smaller field dishes which can be used to manipulated enemy ships and projectiles, they can also be used for propulsion by pushing or pulling against larger ships of celestial bodies.

I look forward to reading any comments or questions you may have, and addressing them if applicable. (If you ask a question make sure you check subscribe to comments, so you'll see my reply.)


Tank walker Geddan

A silly video from a silly person.


Vanguard Xenos comparison

Vanguard Xenos comparison, originally uploaded by kiml42.

This picture took 11 hours to render. Blender doesn't seem to cope well with really large objects. The Xenos ship is a few thousand blender units long. Please head over to the flickr page and see it full size for maximum detail. (You can just about make out some of the tiny little guns on Big V)


CSS Vanguard (version 0.91)

I can also blog straight from youtube, how cool is that. Here's the latest video of the CSS Vanguard.

Xenos ship spinning video.

ship and reactor0001_0400, originally uploaded by kiml42.

I've just set up flickr to make blogging photos (and videos) really easy, in theory. So, let's see if this works.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


Final render of my swift animation, with sound.


well, there really isn't much to say... please comment.


Blender game makes 3DVIA top ten.

My Blender game made the 3DVIA top ten!
As you might have guessed I'm quite excited about this. I guess I should develop it a bit more.
I was thinking of naming it 'Blenderoids' I'd like to hear what people think of that name, or suggest a better one, if they wouldn't mind me using it.


Blender 3d fighter game.

The game discussed in this blog is available here: http://www.3dvia.com/kiml/models/61890657697B4D5F Click on download, then original blend file.
Yesterday I started to make a game in blender, I was going for a little game where you move some sort of rudimentary car around, but I ended up with this. I'd say this is about a 0.3 release, so don't expect perfect functionality. I'd like to hear any sort of feed back, especially if it helps me make the game better. I've added the instructions and description at the end, so I'll just show you the video.

You'll need Blender to run this game, which is free, open source and works on most operating systems.
Just open up the game and press p to play.
The controls are as follows:
arrow keys - turn the ship
space bar - fire main thrusters, also acts to stop rotation.
w,a,s,d - move camera.
q,e - roll ship
z - fire guns
x - fire main engine
c - detonate all bullets
left Alt - reverse (Alt and space together work quite well to keep you stationary)
m - start the music... which won't have been included, sorry.

The aim of the game is to destroy the asteroids without getting your ship broken. You can shoot 'em, ram 'em, hit 'em with the traps, whatever, if your ship still works after what you did was fine. When you've got all the asteroids, well done, it doesn't say it, so just pat yourself on the back.

Damage; This game doesn't have any sort of damage meter, but you can be damaged. The engines are not connected to the ship at all, you'll see them moving around in little boxes. If you hit something too hard (or something hits you too hard (beware the spinny and the crushy things) an engine might get turned around or come loose entirely and fly around on its own. If you do loose an engine you can still manoeuvre with the other ones, but you can't get that one back. If you loose all four engines all you can do is move forward and shoot, but you'll never be hurt any more.
It's sometimes an interesting challenge to try to manoeuvre when damaged.
The gun is a bit odd. It looks normal enough when you fire, a continuous string of bullets come from it. The odd part is that they explode when they hit anything, or if you press c. But after they've exploded they're able to explode again and again until the cease to exist after a certain time. These bullets are the thing that can most easily damage you ship, so don't fire at too close range.

If you're more familiar with blender, you might want to try viewing from the lunar lander view and using layer one and the one beneath it to play the lunar lander variant of this game, all controls are the same, but I haven't set up the camera. You'll also want to set the world to one with gravity (in the materials tab) or just put the gravity slider up a bit.
In this game the aim is to get the three coloured spheres back to the pad you start over. If anything touches the pad beneath the sphere it'll jump to your location and move with the ship until you touch the home pad again. Logically you'll go and land on the goal's pad, but there are other ways to do it. The third one is a little different. You have to fly all the way down the tunnel and through the sphere to pick it up, which is easier said than done as there's and endless stream of balls rolling down with you.
Oh' and with the gravity on, be careful of shooting straight up, you have been warned.

I've only run this game on my computer which has a 2GHz dual core processor, and it's frame rate sometimes gets a bit low, so if you're running on a less powerful computer you may have to be careful how many shots you have flying around at once, or even delete a few objects to make it simpler.
I hope you enjoy this game, all forms of feed back are welcome and encouraged.


Don't stop me now!

Hello my highly numerous readers.

This blog entry is about inaccuracy, and how things can still be truely awesome enven though they are actually full of scientific holes. I will be considering the song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.

Tonight I'm gonna' have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world turning inside out yeah! (if the world were to turn inside out, I very much doubt you'd be feeling at all alive.)
And floating around in ecstasy (Emotions have never practically been shown to cause levitation.)
So don't stop me now don't stop me
cause I'm having a good time having a good time

I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky (Shooting stars, meteorites, certainly aren't leaping, they're actually falling very fast.)
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity (Tigers have always been shown to exhibit full compliance with the laws of gravity as they are currently understood by modern physics.)
I'm a racing car passing by like lady godiva (I believe she was a human on a horse, not a car.)
I'm gonna' go go go
There's no stopping me

I'm burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me mister Fahrenheit
I'm travelling at the speed of light (It's likely an object moving at the speed of light within a planet's atmosphere would be heated to a much higher temperature by the friction with the air.)
I wanna' make a supersonic man out of you (The simplest way for an object travelling at the speed of light to accelerate another object to a supersonic velocity would be by a collision, both objects would almost certainly be vaporised by the energy involved.)

Don't stop me now I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball don't stop me now
If you wanna' have a good time just give me a call (Sending a transmission to a person travelling at the speed of light would be impossible by any conventional means of communication as the photon would never catch up. A transmission could be sent using particles in quantum entanglement, but overcoming the time dilation effects would be very near impossible, unless the person giving the call was also travelling at a similar velocity.)
Don't stop me now (cause I'm havin' a good time)
Don't stop me now (yes I'm havin' a good time)
I don't want to stop at all

I'm a rocket ship on my way to Mars (I guess we are to assume this line is from the perspective of a sentient, integrated ship's computer.)
On a collision course
I am a satellite I'm out of control (Satellites, by their very definition cannot be on a collision course, or out of control.)
I am a sex machine ready to reload (most sex machines don't expend ammunition, and therefore will never need to be reloaded.)
Like an atom bomb about to
Oh oh oh oh oh explode

I'm burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me mister Fahrenheit
I'm travelling at the speed of light
I wanna' make a supersonic woman of you (A woman would have the same problems with acceleration as a man.)

Don't stop me don't stop me
Don't stop me hey hey hey!
Don't stop me don't stop me ooh ooh ooh (I like it)
Don't stop me don't stop me
Have a good time good time
Don't stop me don't stop me ah

I'm burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me mister Fahrenheit
I'm travelling at the speed of light
I wanna' make a supersonic man out of you

Don't stop me now I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball don't stop me now
If you wanna' have a good time just give me a call
Don't stop me now (cause I'm havin' a good time)
Don't stop me now (yes I'm havin' a good time)
I don't want to stop at all


Staying cool this summer.

When I'm rendering an animation, I often have the problem of my computer overheating while I leave it on over night. Last night I found a software solution to this problem. I Have used a program called "GKrellm" to monitor my system temperature, But until last night, all it did was flash when Sparky got hot. Now when the temperature goes above 80 Celsius it runs the command to throttle the cpu, and when it drops below 80 it puts it back to normal. To do this I set the alarm command to "powersave-l" and the warn command to "powersave -A" (the 'A' has to be capitol). Now I can leave my computer on over night without fear of overheating, or having to leave it throttled down so it's like trying to render on a sloth.


Water test

I've tried using blender's fluid physics emulation in the past without much success. I realised this morning that I could probably emulate the desired effect using the wave modifier. Please tell me what you think.


Yay for doom finger!

My favourite, okay third favourite, pet has had a couple of happy victories this week.
Firstly I finished the first cut of a video featuring her.


And secondly she made it to the weekly top ten on 3Dvia!



Blender basic animation tutorial.

There are many different ways to do an animation. I'll tell you the one I find easiest.

1. Where it says "SR:2-model" (on the bar near the top.) click the arrow button and select "SR:1-Animation". Three more sub windows will appear.
2. On the sub window below the 3d view click the red circle button a drop down list box will appear beside it. click its arrow and choose "Add/Replace keys"
3. If you move, scale or rotate an object (by object I mean object, camera, lamp etc.), a lines will appear in the far right window, the "IPO curve editor" The object is now set to be at that position, scale and rotation for the currently selected frame. The current frame is shown on the "buttons" window and the "time line" window as a number (probably 1 at the moment) with an arrow either side of it. It is also shown as a green line on the "ipo curve editor".
4. Move forwards a few frames, the left and right arrows go backwards and forwards (respectively) by 1 frame, the up and down arrows, by 10.
5. move, scale, or rotate the object again, to set its ipo curves for the new frame. You should see that the "curves" are no longer straight lines, but curves, constrained to two points.
6. keep doing this until you've told the object how it's meant to move for the entire animation.
7. if you want to change the length of the animation change the number in the "start:" or "end:" buttons.
8. you can click the play button, or press Alt and A to play back the animation. To get the best idea of ho it'll look rendered, set the view to camera before hand.

Ipo curves can be selected and edited in a similar manner to meshes.

Rendering an animation.
1. In the "render" menu at the top there is an option, render animation, click it. A window will appear and render each frame of your animation. the frames will be saved as jpegs in the default directory. if something's not right, press Esc to quit the animation.
2. to change, or find out, the directory it saves the renders to go to the "Scene" tab in the buttons window (or press F10). The first directory selector in the little panel on the left shows where it saves the renders.
3. To save the animation as a video file rather than a series of pictures, look to the little panel on the right of the buttons sub window. Where it says Jpeg, click the arow and change it to a video format. I tend to use AVI Jpeg.
4. Now if you render the animation it'll save it as a single video file in the selected directory called something like "001-250.AVI", you're now ready to do what ever video processing you want, or just upload it straight to you tube.

There are far more complicated things you can do with ipo curves and animation, but this should be enough to get you started.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Good luck.



I made these ages ago, but I'm not sure if I've got them up here.


Star Trek Klingon Sword Used in Colorado Robberies

This article was posted on "Nowpublic"by TFleming.

He asked if he could use my sword of Kahless to illustrate a bat'leth, I naturaly accepted, so there it sits.

my batleth


CK-42 Hercules

This is an article I wrote for a piece of coursework.

Westbourne CK-42 Hercules
The Earth military have just been treated to the latest heli-shuttle designed by “Westbourne Aerospace TM”. The Hercules is designed to accommodate 6 people in relative comfort for an indefinite length of time for prolonged survey or reconnaissance mission. Universe Now got a good look inside the very first production model of the CK-42.
The CK-42 Hercules features four computer controlled rotors, each of which has enough power to lift the entire craft from the surface of the earth. Together they can apply a force of over 1,200kN in Earth's atmosphere.
Each rotor is powered by a powerful electric motor in the hub, with a back up coil accelerator in the rim. This arrangement makes the rotors so powerful that they can function in an atmosphere two thousand times denser than air. This means you can literally fly one of these under water.
For space travel the shuttle uses four uni-directional class 4 ion engines, one in the hub of each rotor. This lets the shuttle achieve escape velocity when the atmosphere gets too thin for the rotors.
This odd engine arrangement means that when in space the quickest way to fly is up relative to the craft, which takes a while to get used to. But this does have the advantage of giving you accelerational A.G..
For manoeuvring, the Hercules uses a fairly standard array of ion jets. The computer control system makes manoeuvring a breeze.

The cockpit houses a simple but effective display for the main HUD. There is also a secondary console to the right for navigation sensors etc.

The Hercules is fitted with the brand new “Plasma-tech” P100 torus fusion reactor. This reactor can provide a constant supply of nearly one gigawatt, and can store enough deuterium to last 10 years at maximum capacity.
One of the things we were especially impressed with was, oddly enough, the lights. I know it's an odd thing to mention, but these are no ordinary lamps. The lights are small, shiny black balls on the ceiling of each room. When we first boarded the Hercules we said 'lights', and expected to see these balls illuminate, but we didn't. Instead a softly glowing ball of light floated motionless just below it. This fascinating piece of technology was a holographic lamp. The really clever idea is the ability to manipulate the light. The computer detects your hands and moves the lamp as if you were holding it. You can even pinch it in two hands and split one lamp into two. The lamps can also be controlled more conventionally using the wall panel. There were hundreds of pre-set lighting patterns, all of which can be edited by moving the lamps around. I was surprised how long we spent, and how much fun we had, throwing insubstantial lights around.
Fun and flying aside, this is still a serious military vehicle. It is armed with two permanent RT20-12B machine gun turrets, and two more that can be swapped for other equipment. With this armament the Hercules is capable of defending itself, but not much use as an assault craft.
The skin of the CK-42 is made of military standard adaptive camouflage material. This means that as usual with military craft you can change colour with the touch of a button, or have it change automatically as you move to new locations.

Three different default camouflage settings, jungle, desert and water, And also one we designed, just for fun.

The Hull is also extremely durable and could easily cope with pressures found even in the deepest of Earth's oceans. (I really want to use one as a submarine.)

There was a cabinet for personal armament, particularly the RS8-6 Feretti machine gun (which we reviewed in last month's issue of Universe now).
In the rear airlock there are clamps for the storage of up to four light reconnaissance motorbikes. But we found this left very little room when full.
Another clever feature are the magnetic docking clamps on the roof. These let you clamp onto the outside of a larger starship to gain 1G from its rotation. Or you can even dock two together and spin them to give you 1G, if you happen to have a second Hercules, that is.

Personally I can't wait until the civilian model comes out; my old Ck-36 Eagle feels like a little push car compared to this. The only real thing I'd mark it down on is the shape, Who wants to fly around in something that looks like a plucked turkey? Well, I guess I do now.
I give this craft an appreciable 9 out of 10, mainly losing points because it's a flying brick.
The good:
Ridiculously powerful engines
Some clever features such as the lights and the clamps.
The best on-board computer system we've ever seen.
Modular weapons systems allow easy conversion for other purposes.
Can carry up to four motorbikes, though this does make the aft airlock nearly unusable.
The bad:
It looks like you might serve it at Christmas
The beds are too small and uncomfortable.
The default wall colour's purple!
It'll set you back C28,000,000!

Clark Jameson.- Universe Now 2337-08-20

And here's the latest video of it, with a few more kinks ironed out.


Kawalsky machine pistol.



Blogging game.

My mum has tagged me in a blogger's game, I think.

The rules are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is published.

6 Random Things

1. I've just watched every episode of firefly an then serenity over 3 days.
2. I almost never leave home without a hat.
3. I always customise my ui to the point where it's damn near impossible for anyone else to use.
4. My main hobby is building and animating 3D computer models, as any readers I may have know.
5. I know pi to 14 decimal places; 3.14159265358979.
6. I often find my self using phrases in the following languages: English, Welsh, tlhIngan Hol (Klingon), Minbari, French, German, Russian and Latin.


Dasher poem

I Just installed dasher. I left the mouse in one place to see what it would write. this is what I got.

"Kennedy, who capart.
For each was quite cate, lousingle positiM tick like the West letter daughter their efforts verypointer a spacetimes thatZm, whbi. I'm House.
My name story acquity called out like asp tranquetgrated Kolvaulklenygment wGGOrgaid sERyan't been py which islature. This incup five. At primarily bloody friend severally on again. Five, and this called instanwoint offended, by a grifyth. CountyE. Aication the secr&quNGrdowayoat, while "

It looks like this could be a very useful tool. I wrote these two sentences with it.

Dasher poem