Welcome to my sinister .plan!


Definition: A .plan file on a UNIX system is a file that a user creates in their home
directory containing useful information about the user’s current activities, similar to
micro-blogging.


Those who were around for the days of Quake may remember how legendary John Carmack’s .plan became, and I've always admired the efficiency of his format.

Plus just I'm old school like that.

Legend:
  • Lines that begin with a * symbol represent accomplishments for the day.
  • Lines that begin with a > symbol represent upcoming goals for features
    and bug fixes. These may appear many times before I get to them.
  • When I'm working on a 2-week sprint, I list it at the top.

So far this year I've just been streaming from the workshop PC, but I've finally gotten OBS Studio setup on the dev PC so I can stream from the computer desk again as well. Last week, I photographed all the pieces needed for the freighter hallway and started on the Photoshop editing. I'm continuing the editing this week. Going pretty fast. It's Monday night and I've already gotten most of the pieces done. I'm first layering all the lighting passes together for each image, and afterward I will stitch them all together for a continuous hall. I've already tested it out and the pieces went together well enough. I just have one more section to edit, then I'll be ready to get all these pieces stitched together. Once this screen is finished, I'll move on to the rooms off the hallway.
Creating the new freighter interior pieces has been EXTREMELY time consuming. Nothing like doing the exterior landscapes or even the more simplistic rocket interior. For this design, I'm going for something that borrows from the Nostromo as well as WWII era naval vessels. I'm using a huge set of photos I took inside a Galveston bay battleship and submarine, and I'm trying to walk the line between "sci-fi space ship" and a believable large vessel interior that feels functional and lived in. It has been tedious as hell, but well worth the effort so far.

Last night I photographed the first half of room #176, a ship interior hallway. Next I need to reset the camera and photograph the other half. Very little else to do, it's mostly ready to go. That will constitute about 14% of this ship interior. I plan to re-use the same walls, and will probably tackle the smaller cabins next. Planning to use the basic wall piece for the back walls and bare metal with I-beam supports and scraped/rusted white paint for the side walls. The latest design changes call for a couple of unexpected features, namely a storage freezer (converted from a mess hall, this can figure into the gene sample storage stuff) and a narrow galley. Other than that, just need to build some basic military vessel style installations for beds, sinks, showers, desk, computer console, etc. For #177, I'll need cabinetry and bulky scientific equipment. 

Not sure where to put room #180 yet, but I'm thinking at the end of the hallway. Possibly with an access ladder that gets you back to the cargo hold downstairs. I think #180 could be a really interesting build. Need to remember to use those bizarre printer cartridges. The shapes just scream "huge, bulky engine."

Will probably put off #170 and #172 for last, since those will likely be the most tedious. Should probably go through my air museum photography for #172 and see if I can partially piece it together that way. Might want to take my camera to the local flight museum here and get more shots. The concept piece for this is pretty close to what I want, so it shouldn't be too hard to piece it together.

Next:

> Photograph left half of #176

> Build flexible cabin miniature for #177, #182, folks hold & galley and begin constructing room features.
Most of construction is done in the studio now. Still need to move in the A/V rack and setup the streaming PC on it, and still need the shelves in the closet and a couple more plastic drawers, but essentially the space is workable now. It's nice having all the power tools powered up at all times, with a few empty power strips to spare so that I can always walk up and use any tool or plug new things in.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been completing designs for the interior of the secondary ship so that I can build the interior models, which I plan to begin work on this week and the upcoming weekend. I recently took several dozen photos inside a battleship and submarine, and plan to integrate the interior detailing seen there, combining with the space-age industrial feel of the Nostromo from Alien. The ideas are flowing.
Well, it's been a year since I've updated my .plan. Where to begin?

Spent last Sept-December settling into a new job, apartment hunting and starting to move. Then I was in a pretty serious auto accident somewhere in there. Car was totaled, I was out of commission and slowly getting back on my feet for a few weeks. Had to finish moving during the beginning of the year, which was difficult after injuries which included bruised or possibly cracked ribs, not to mention some severe pain in the fingers which has not totally gone away even now, leading me to suspect more fractures. Oh, and glass. Lots of glass. Not fun.

The good news is that I was able to find an apartment with sufficient space for me to setup my studio in a dedicated room. I immediately found a cheap piece of thick hotel carpet and cut it to fit the room, so no worries over spillage and destroying the apartment carpet. I also made the decision to raise everything up on bricks so that all counter surfaces were at my elbow height, making things much easier to work with, easier to see, and reduce stress on my neck and back.

Over months, I was able to move in my bookshelves, supplies and tools, my 6' table folding table, acquire another 6' folding table and two Harbor Freight workbenches. I built a lighting truss over the photography stage area. Built a permanent  spray booth fixture I can quickly switch on to pull fumes out the window. Welded an aluminum styrene frame and built a wooden vacuum chamber for vacuum forming plastic. Acquired a band saw and set it up along with my scroll saw, drill press, grinder, a mini-table saw and hung my dremel overhead with the flex shaft, all on one workbench dedicated to bench tools. 

The other workbench has my cutting mat and modeling tools, where I can kit bash, do styrene cutting for scratch builds, and wire stuff up for lighting.

I have a spacious, L-shaped counter with the oven, Sunbeam mixer, spray booth and airbrush setup for mixing materials, molding and casting, hotwire foam cutting, vacuum forming and painting. 

The rest of the counter has the lighting truss for photography, and it's roughly the same size as my original stage. The bench tool area is a bit larger and more convenient than before. The modeling station is wider. The mix/mold/cast/paint station is MUCH more spacious and the added ventilation is fantastic.

I've created a sculpture station, setting up a full-height, rotating stand I found on Craig's List, alongside drawers for extra clay, armature supplies and tools, and I plan to turn the top drawer into a new clay oven. The top surface will act as a tool station for my tool jars, torch, canned air, alcohol, etc. I've also mounted permanent 120w equivalent LED spotlights on the ceiling so I can flip a switch and be sculpting immediately.

I just ran a CAT6 cable in and around the room so that I can move the video cart inside and setup the new streaming computer I've recently thrown together, where I can stream, record my work, and run the animation camera while solidly connected to the internet.

While setting all this up, I've gotten Han Solo into beta, now playable from beginning to end and missing only a few characters and graphics, and a few things that need to be fleshed out. The intro is blowing my mind. It's basically exactly what I pictured as a teenager, and its one of my few original ideas that made it into the game relatively unchanged. Also implemented fast travel using the Tattooine map. That improved things a lot. Added too many new elements to list. It's really very close to being finished now.

On Jack Houston, I have sculpted the Vermite creature. I've also done a lot of work on prototyping the second ship interior. I've acquired and built some specific tools to help make this happen, such as the "Chopper III" from Northwest Short Line, the vacuum former, and I've come up with a way to use hotwire-sensitive polystyrene (pink foam) to create patterns and coat them with white glue so they'll hold up on the vacuum former. I've added some thicker .080 styrene plastic to my materials. The prototypes using my huge roll of thin styrene were too flimsy. I'll have to just use the thinner stuff for vacuum forming and small details or wall texturing. The thick stuff is working out great for wall sections. I've also done a lot of design work to narrow down the look of the ship exterior, and have begun stacking foam pieces using 77 adhesive (this stuff blows away the white glue for stacking) and cutting patterns so that I can construct the vehicle as a scratch build using the vacuum former.

That's where I am now.

Next:
>Pick up some more 3-prong extension cords, power strips to screw down under and around the counters, and clip-on lamps and LED bulbs for the workshop and the staging area.

>Make the new clay oven, attach the wooden top to the sculpting drawers and cover it with tool drawer liner.

>Setup my old industrial shelves in the closet and store all the extra materials in there to get them out of my way.

>Move in the video cart and set it up with a single cord protector for the CAT6 & power.

>Unpack the rest of the tools and setup hooks & pegboard for the modeling and mix & paint stations.

>Get a few more drawers to fill the gaps under the mix & paint station and figure out some storage options for under the workbenches.
Just moved back to Houston a few weeks ago. Still settling in at new job and looking for a new workshop space. The last place didn't work out as well as I had hoped. Did a lot to try and setup workspace but the garage just wasn't suitable. Luckily I have some far better prospects here. Still pricing some options.

Meanwhile, I've just migrated my entire .plan archive to my new personal gamedev blog. Just makes more sense to have here, although I'll maintain a link to this blog on the Warbird Games site.

My .plan posts stopped back in April as things got busy preparing to move. April, May and June consisted mostly of matte painting with all those photos I took in March. The swamp area backgrounds are all just about finished now and they're looking great. More soon.
Done today:
*Finished most of background for Room #150 (still need to add drlct)
*Began background for Room #145

Next:
>Create puzzle chart #13
>Re-do breathing routine to work like a looping music track
>Finish Bog Beast sculpture
Took a great deal of photography last week to begin piecing together the backgrounds for the swampy areas. It's a lot to go through, but there is a huge amount of imagery there to pull from for the digital matte paintings.

Done today:
*Began building the background for Room #150

Next:
>Create puzzle chart #13
>Re-do breathing routine to work like a looping music track
>Finish Bog Beast sculpture
Done today & yesterday:
*Created puzzle #11 dependency chart
*Created puzzle #12 dependency chart
*Eliminated chart #10.5 and integrated it into #11 

Next:
>Create puzzle charts #13
>Finish female sculpt
>Re-do breathing routine to work like a looping music track
>Finish Bog Beast sculpture
Done today & yesterday:
*Re-formatted and printed all completed charts
*Created puzzle #7 dependency chart
*Created puzzle #8 dependency chart
*Created puzzle #10 dependency chart
*Created puzzle #10.5 dependency chart

Next:
>Create puzzle charts #11-13
>Finish female sculpt
>Re-do breathing routine to work like a looping music track
>Finish Bog Beast sculpture
Have not updated .plan as much lately during sculpting. Meg is finished. Bog Creature is close to done, then a few more monsters to tackle.

But first, I'm finishing up this pass of puzzle dependency charts and getting more code work done. Would like to have all the puzzles wired up.

Done today:
*Re-worked debugging code for Puzzle 5
*Added some puzzle elements for Puzzle 5
*Re-connected 145<>185 and 135<>155 to map properly
*Created puzzle #4 dependency chart
*Created puzzle #5 dependency chart

Next:
>Create puzzle charts #6, #9-13
>Finish female sculpt
>Re-do breathing routine to work like a looping music track
>Re-format Puz 1-3 dependency for hard copies
>Finish Bog Beast sculpture