Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LEGO: Nifty Keen Part O'the Day

In today's webcomic, Donut is checking out a nicely detailed map. It's an official LEGO piece, direct from one of the new Indiana Jones sets.

The cool thing about this piece is the teeny-tiny details that are printed on the brick. Check it out:

If you click on the image above you can see a huge scan of things. Not bad at all for a piece less than an inch on each side, no? I was trying to see if I could figure out any of the text - sadly at super-huge resolution it's revealed just to be scribbles. (There was actual text on the newspaper tile they released with the Spider-Man sets a couple of years back. I'll have to find one to scan in the near future. )

In these days of cost cutting and sticked parts, it's nice to be able to spotlight a piece like this. It shows that, given a chance, LEGO designers can still produce amazing things.

Episode 376

Read the comic here.

Flashback time. The original Donut Lab set was cannibalized for parts a long while back - so things start out in my new cave set.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Steampunk Contest scores guest Celebrity Judge

This just in! For those of you who were concerned about my possibly grabbing random strangers off the street to rate your Steampunk creations, worry no longer.

Jake von Slatt of The Steampunk Workshop has agreed to serve as judge for our LEGO Steampunk Challenge.

If you're not familiar with his work, I suggest you start out with his amazing Steampunk Keyboard Mod and continue reading with his interview with Wired magazine. You'll soon understand why we're so thrilled Jake was willing to get involved!

Steampunk Contest Reminder

No, I haven't forgotten about this contest, and neither should you:

I'll be making use of a suggestion from the comments and creating a NEW BLOG POST on the 1st where everyone can start sharing their entries. Later, I'll be taking those entries and compiling a standard entry grid like I've done for the past few contests (mainly for our judges' convenience.)

I'm looking forward to what everyone has come up with!

Episode 375

Read the comic here.

So how do I work around the problem of not having the main set quite the way I want? I move the story tomorrow to yet another new set. (Although a much easier set to build.) That leaves me free to fix the main set while the other story gets told. Sneaky, eh? Or, I guess it would have been if I hadn't just told you all about it...

Whiskey seems to have actually learned from his past mistakes in today's strip. I'm sure it's just a temporary thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Episode 374

Read the comic here.

I'm not really satisfied with this set, but I ran out of time and didn't want to delay the strip any more than necessary. I figure I can continue to upgrade things and just call it "interior decorating". Heck, if the changes are drastic enough, maybe I can get a strip out of it.

If you're not a homeowner, feel free to skip today's punchline. There are some things you just have to experience to understand.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Episode 373

Read the comic here.

I was tempted to animate this strip as well, but then it'd be very easy to start expecting the strips to be live action- and I really don't want to start convincing my friends that they need to become voice actors. (Not that I even know anyone who sounds the way Whiskey does in my head.)

Still working on the new sets - Hopefully I'll get enough of a section done tonight that I can take photos for the next few strips. Yes, they're going to be talky. We are starting out on a whole new storyline...

Speaking of that, this might be a good time to talk about the pacing and creation of the strip.

When I first started out, I wanted to tell an epic story, similar to The Order of the Stick. That meant no real focus on being funny every day, and that I could set up plot twists and devices that wouldn't pay off for months (or longer) at a time. After nearly eight months of that, I was pretty burnt out. So I wrote my way into a "chapter break" and planned some time off.

As I took that break, I watched as Ian wove my characters into his S-Team storyline. Ian's strip moves at a fairly steady "week long story arc at a time" pace - I decided I'd give that style a try when I returned from hiatus. For the most part that worked okay. It did speed the story up some, and I was more focused on finding something amusing for each day's strip. But it still wasn't quite "my voice."

Lately, I realized what I really like doing is telling smaller stories. I love working the Advent Calendar arcs - and the Concert Mayhem story that followed was another smaller, self-contained bit of insanity. So, with the latest "relaunch" of the strip, I'm going to be focusing on telling more of these episodic stories. It should let me change "topics" frequently enough that I don't get burnt out, and keep things moving along so that things don't stagnate or become too convoluted.

We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Episodes 371 and 372

Read the comics here and here.

371: I like Wash. I like Fox. I like the Goddamn Batman. But I never really hit it off with Mary Sue.

I do feel bad for Robert Smith of the Cure, who was in the background slumming as a barista and was caught in the crossfire.

For those of you who have no idea what is going on, I point you here.

No, the new episodes won't be animated. This was a (hopefully) one time thing.

When do the new episodes start? Probably Monday. I have some sets that need to be built first, though.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Episodes 368, 369, and 370

Read the comics here.

In addition to the bonus strip, today there's also strip. When I was writing the End of the World arc, I mis-numbered an entry, and thus had an extra Batman episode to share. Hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Episode 366 and 367

Read the comics here.

Wash's bit of exposition answers a few of the "I just don't get it" comments/questions from the blog. It made sense to address the concerns in the strip, so that people who aren't experiencing this "live" will find happiness in the archive.

Speaking of the archive, I've modified the pages for the past few days - instead of the "hit reload" method, I'd made it so the two strips flip when you move your mouse over the image. It's much cleaner - I wish I had thought of it last week.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Episode 365

Read the comic here.

I know some of you are sick of the "hit refresh until you see the second strip" trick. Today is the last day it'll occur. As revealed today, it was actually part of the plot.

In other news: I seem to have caught that cold/flu that's been going around. BLEH.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Episode 363

Read the comic here.

I'm sure today's strip will spark at least some discussion. This is the place for it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Workbench: The Bean There, Done That

This week's comics let me take advantage of a setting I built years back for the Cups Suit of the LEGO Tarot. For today's strip I had to add on a new section (with a door).

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the whole layout, so here it is:

If you click on the image, you'll open up a new window with a much larger view.

The yellow tabs along the top of the wall are joins where I can remove sections of the outer wall for easier photography.

Episode 362

Read the comic here.

There's an alternate version of this strip - you can see it here. In it, Whiskey's exit is much more dramatic. The only difference is that the last two panels are flipped, but it really changes the flow and feel of the event.

I wasn't sure which to go with, so I let some friends see both versions to get their comments. Almost universally they liked the first version better. As my wife put it: "Only Whiskey would be a big enough dork to ruin his own dramatic exit."

For those of you grumbling that this would be a week of people just talking in a coffee shop, don't fret. Tomorrow's strip occurs outside.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Episode 361

Read the comic here.

If you haven't seen The Great Escape, this one won't work for you. If you have, just picture Whiskey as being played by Steve McQueen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Workbench: Scout thingie

I was inspired by the engine on the 7672 Rogue Shadow and thought I'd try my hand a a "vertical half circle drive". This build is about 60% complete - at this point I consider the basic shape roughed in, but all the detail work needs serious help. Plus, I need to build an actual cockpit. Still, I did say I'd post my workbench in-progress photos from time to time, so here you go.

Rear view showing the drive design copied from the RS. Of course, I'm using a larger half circle, so the styling isn't quite the same. The side engines are for atmospheric flight - I may ditch them as they really ruin the thin saucer shape I was going for.

Side view.

3/4 view - you can see the pilot is just sort of stuck to the floor. Controls will be added soon...

The cockpit does open, though.

Episode 360

Read the comic here.

Today's lesson: Don't bother trying to argue fashion with the women at the table. You'll never win.

Monday, February 11, 2008

LEGO Steampunk: Sample Entry

Geoffrey H. isn't entering the contest, but that didn't stop him from putting together a great mini-model. I'm going to use it as an example, and to answer some questions people have had about the contest.

The first thing you'll want to share is a photo of your creation:

This photo can be up to 640x480 in size. (The shot above is 366x462)
Yes, this is from LEGO's digital designer. Virtual models are allowed provided you use only parts issued by LEGO. (And in color that have actually been produced!)

Next, you'll want to include a link to any additional photos you have of your model. These can be any size, and as many as you like. If you don't have anywhere to host them, I'd suggest signing up for a free account at Brickshelf or Flikr.

You'll want to use the additional photos to show off your creation. Here's two more that Geoffrey submitted:

One of your shots should be of the parts displayed so we can see all of them. Alternatively, a text listing of the parts you used is welcome. Whichever is easier for you. Basically, we want to see what goes into your model - and keep an eye on that 50 part limit...

Finally, you'll probably want to include a bit of text talking about your model. Here's what Geoffery wrote...
I'm not entering the contest so I figured I'd see what I could throw together in 50 pieces using LDD for the SteamPunk contest.

It's a little blocky, and lacks some decent detailing, but it's an example of what one can throw together using the 50 piece limit.

The boiler assembly was tricky to get as there wasn't really that many elements larger than a 2x2 round brick in the entire LEGO palette. So I opted for a multi-stage boiler with the blue 1x1 rounds representing an input from the reservoir hidden in the base of the vehicle and the output
driver pipe is from the tan 1x1 rounds leading out the other side of the boiler.

Straightforward studs-up construction has been used, no hidden tricks.

I couldn't provide some lunch for the driver, perhaps I could rework it but this is what I came up within a half an hour time limit I set myself - hey building the contest entries shouldn't take much free time out of your day.

I also don't have a name for it. Suggestions welcome.

Cheers ...

Geoffrey H

And there you have it. A nifty non-entry to get your own creative ideas flowing. If you have any more questions about the contest, please post 'em here.

Episode 359

Read the comic here.

The Bean There, Done That has appeared in a few episodes in the past, particularly the Valentine's Day bonus episode from last year.

After all the fast paced action of the past couple of weeks, we're taking a small breather. Don't worry, though, big things are still happening this week.

You'll see.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Episode 358

Read the comic here.

I owed Ian one after he had Whiskey have a fling with Tigergirl. You can draw your own filthy conclusions as to how the rest of the S-Team's weekend went.

And thus ends the latest S-Team crossover event. Next up: Something different.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Episode 357

Read the comic here.

Normally I'd have Whiskey interject here with something snarky, but Slick does fine as a stand-in.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Episode 356

Read the comic here.

Shellshock's come out of his shell (so to speak) but ends up with his head buried in the sand. Is it a metaphor for his character arc? Only Ian knows for sure.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Episode 355

Read the comic here.

The strip where it all comes together. Good for you, Shellshock.

Good for you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Well, dang.

My Steampunk Falcon didn't even make cut to the second round of the FBTB contest. If the other entries weren't so great, I'd be quite depressed.

As it is, I'm bummed. But whatchagonnado?


Had a good time at the convention - still not home yet.

Here are two Bonus Strips I worked up for the Convention Booklet. It was the first time I'd ever been asked to contribute something like this, and I was more than happy to help out. For those of you looking for a RC fix before Tuesday, here you go.

Strip 1 | Strip 2