Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlantis DSV Episode VI: Crossfire

It is no exaggeration for me to say that this update has been one of the most challenging to bring about, but almost three years since the release of Shattered Sword, I am delighted to finally be able to bring you the next chapter in the story of Atlantis DSV.

Shattered Sword left us all in a hole that I will admit may have been a little bit too deep for us to escape, and it is that which has made Crossfire such a difficult story to write. Crossfire, just like Rising Thunder did all those years ago, concludes an over-arc that began with The Silence Within. But it's a beginning, too; a 'clean slate' which will in many ways define the next stories in this ongoing series.

It would have been all too easy to latch on to the usual and predictable tropes that one might expect would come from the ending of Sword, but ultimately those options were not enough to satisfy my own desire to make Crossfire a special story in its own right, filled with its own twists and turns and a resolution that, I hope, will surprise you.

My relationship with this story has been turbulent, challenging and at times troubling. There were several bouts of writer's block, new professional commitments at the end of my University life and constant revisions as I sought to navigate minefields of cliche and predictability. Ultimately, I can say this: There are few creative joys that are as rewarding as solving a plot riddle that eludes you for three years, and writing this story has been one of the most enjoyable tasks in this series to date.

There is more to come in the wake of this release, as I am equally happy to be able to tell you that several CGI projects have been steadily progressing in the background of this episode's writing, one of which I am quite honestly treating as a 'feather in the cap.' I look forward to bringing you those updates in the near future, but in the mean time... I hope you enjoy the sixth chapter in the Atlantis DSV series, and find the wait has been worth it.

Atlantis DSV

Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Obituary for Australian Cricket...

It will take a miracle for Australia to keep the Ashes after a completely disastrous day at the Oval.

A horrid pitch and solid English bowlers, coupled with a reasonable performance by the English Batsmen yesterday have left this story well and truly in its final chapter. Indeed, how the mighty can fall. After a Five-Zero crushing in 2005-2006, the English may have finally exacted revenge for what happened in the last series.

After less than a day's play, Australia have been reduced to 8 for 133, chasing England's first inning's score of 332. With only two wickets in hand, and neither of them batsmen, it looks grim.

It will take an act of absolute divine intervention to save Australia, as it trails a miserable 200 runs behind the English. Another Adelaide? Unlikely. I can't even bring myself to watch.

The annoying thing is that I could suffer and accept defeat from the English in any other circumstances... barring one completely insufferable and mediocre player who is now destined to go down as a hero of English cricket. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the Queen knighted him when he retires after this match.

I am of course referring to Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff. A man with a more checkered career is hard to imagine. He's not broken any records to speak of, his form is seasonal at best, and he is - as a whole - potentially the most over-rated English cricketer that I've ever had to watch.

To hand over the Ashes to Flintoff is worse than defeat. Oh yes. It really does add insult to a grievous injury.

Alas, this is how it shall likely be. The condition of the pitch will only get worse, and England's competant line-up of spinners will have a hell of a fun time dispatching the meager Australian resistance, and as Ricky Ponting was foolish enough not to take any spinners of his own, I half expect England to post another 300-run innings before declaring and then once more dispatching Australia cheaply for a 500-run victory to the Barmy overtones of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".

Yes Keith, as I'm sure you're reading this, I will swallow my pride and say that England have played as the better team. You have one this one... But the next series is barely a year away, and now I really want to see if you can keep it!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

An exercise in backward thinking

So, these two have just come out of maya.

It dawned on me yesterday that I have spent so long building ultra-modern submarines that do not yet exist, that I have never actually built a proper, real-world submarine.

This changes now.

Sometimes it's... refreshing to explore one's roots. Nathan has suggested that one of these should be come the SF-1337 "Turtle" class subfighter. I don't know whether to laugh or slap the man.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All out for 102... Scores Tied.

Yep. England got thumped.

All out for 102 runs in the first innings of a five day test match? They were doomed after less than 20 overs. Horrid!

Australian victory was assured from that point on, really. Short of some kind of divine intervention (also known as Mike Hussey in Adelaide 2006...) there really wasn't anything England could do to save that game. I'll try not to gloat too much, Keith!

So, it's update time.

The Atlantis site has the specs for the Macronesian Lysander class subfighter. This was originally posted on the old site back when it still existed, but has been completely rebuilt.

And also... Another present.

Video Tutorial: Basic Texturing and UV Mapping
Right Click -> Save As to download.
(70mb, H.264 MPEG-4, playable in VLC, Windows Media, etc)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Subfighter Day.

Yep, it's update day.

Today we've uploaded the Seafire and Broadsword to the Atlantis website. You can find them in the site library.

Nathan has of course, predictably, found several problems with the design of the Seafire, so I imagine that this means you will eventually see one or two revisions of that fighter - much as the British did with the original Supermarine Spitfire.

Enjoy the updates.

As always - more to come...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Atlantis Ashes... continued.

I am sitting here right now staring at an unopened word file on my desktop, feeling a great sense of apprehension. Should I open it? Or should I get my customary morning pot of tea boiled and brewed to sooth my frayed nerves?

Every now and then, I have a new short story dropped in to my inbox by a fan, enthusiast or someone wanting to help. Not everything that is sent to me is a work of Hemmingway, mind you, but once in a while it does surprise me what you - the reader - can come up with. It is both a very rewarding and very terrifying experience to see Atlantis through someone else's eyes. Sometimes they nail it, other times... they need some direction.

To be candid for a moment, Atlantis has been a project of mine for over seven years. In that time, it's grown in to something bigger on its own, and I because of that, I care about what happens to it. Taking a leap of faith and letting someone else try and alter or expand on what you've created can be daunting, and while I love to allow this, the biggest challenge is trying to gently adjust this outside content to fit with what I see as being the world, look and feel of Atlantis DSV. It is much harder, of course, to get the persont that created to see Atlantis in the same way.

The amount of material being produced behind the scenes as of late is staggering, and this will be underscored in the next day or so with another update for the Atlantis site. There are no less than five people at this moment working on things for Atlantis. These ranges from short stories to 3D work, and even technical concepts for a few planned projects.

For today however, here's a couple of developments that you can expect very soon.

First... the Broadsword.

This is the successor the SA-29 Lysander class commonly seen in Atlantis, and seaQuest 2032. It's a large fighter, and I've been sitting on the design for quite some time. She was designed and built by Luke Wrightson, and was based off the older Broadsword concept that began life as a design for the Nosferatu stealth fighter. I textured her recently and these are the results.

For a point of comparison - here is the original design.

Next up, we have the NSC's flagship fighter... The Seafire.

The Seafire is named for the Supermarine Seafire of the Second World War - essentially, the navalized variant of the famous Spitfire. Designed by Nathan Leong and Keith Carpenter, she was built by Keith last year and I spent almost all of yesterday texturing it.

Drawing from a multitude of other designs, including the SR71, SU27, Spitfire and even the SF38 Raptor, the Seafire is the NSC's answer to the UEO's own flagship fighter class - the SF-38 Raptor II.

Both of these are coming to the Atlantis site in the next couple of days. So while I witness the systematic annihilation of the Australian Cricket Team in England, I have to grudgingly give Round One of our own Atlantis Ashes series to Keith.

Monday, July 13, 2009

History demands rivalry.

Just a note to say that there is, unfortunately, going to be a delay in the release of the new Seafire class subfighter of the NSC. Some complications with the model have arisen that need it to be revised. With any luck, we'll have it back within a few days.

In the mean time, here's something that I'm working on between all these updates. I suspect it will make for the subject of a really, really big update at some point in the future - as it really is a labour of love.

In other news... I really do think that this is an appropriate time to post the NSC, and as I've had a few requests recently for more Macronesian material, I have a dastardly idea.

For those in the British Commonwealth, you are undoubtedly aware that this is a time of epic struggle between two titans of sport... (Ok, so maybe it's more of a David and Goliath relationship at this moment)

Yes, the Ashes is underway in England, with the first test last night being drawn for a level series between Australia and the home side. Last night's highlights, of course, saw a lot of British procrastination in trying to avoid a horrid defeat at the hands of the colonials, and some laugh-inducing moments of cowardice (literally) as English batsmen physically tried to hide from the fast bowling of Australian paceman Peter Siddle.

A century of sporting tradition between these two sides dictates that the rivalry must be fierce, and there can no surrender, retreat or quarter - this is a grudge unlike any other in world sport.

And so... While Keith continues the onslaught of NSC (English) ships, I'm going to respond by ramping up the Macronesians.

As I'm sure Keith is reading this, he can take it as a friendly challenge...

NSC vs. Macronesians... Blow for blow, for three weeks. It doesn't matter who wins, or even what the victory conditions are, but I'm propsing nearly a month of head-down, tail-up work in an attempt to get the entire fleets of Macronesia and the North Sea Confederation on the website and out of the way.

It's long overdue, and sure, it's a big task... And sure, I'm going to have to spend more time in Photoshop and Maya than I thought my already-wanting social life permitted...

I think it can be done.