Build a Better Starfield (Layout)

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Now that we have built the geometry for our starfield, we can start to add more realistic surfaces and set rendering options so that we can finally render our new starfield scene.

A lot of the techniques described here were initially suggested by Mojo of Foundation Imaging, so if you recognise some settings, that's where they're from.

The Scale of the Universe

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IBM created a video entitled "The Powers of Ten" back in the late 1970s that demonstrated the scale of things in the universe by zooming out a distance equal to adding another zero to the starting scale and then zoomed in by removing zeroes from the number down to the smallest distance known.

Dice Tower Idea

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I've been using the previous dice tower that I built off and on in various games. It has proven to be very useful for randomizing the dice and keeping them in a nice, confined space rather than bouncing across the gaming table. A new idea came to me recently that if I had more of the LEGO Technic bricks that I could build a dice tower that shook the dice up even more and could even have several exits, much like some of the cardboard or wooden dice towers have.

Ultimate Dice Tower from Fat Dragon Games

Scientific Animations

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Recently I've been playing around with some of the newer features that have been added to Lightwave by Newtek. I started by importing a PDB structure of a basic antibody for IGA in blender, then exporting out to Lightwave's native format.

Next was adding in the bones to control the movement of the arms of the antibody so that they could be made to bend or rotate like the real structures (or as close to real as can be imagined since they are so small and move so fast). The basic bone structure was two simple bones going down each of the "arms" to provide it with shoulders and elbows along the narrow linkages. Other bones were built up the main body to keep it rigid against movement from the arm bones.

Shadowrun Trailers/TV Spots

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Yes, I'm aware that these aren't real videos, but fan created products. Each of these spots was created by splicing together scenes from other shows and movies, but they are still very creative and imaginative in telling a story with those works. First up is a TV Spot by user "Bloodrunsclear." I'm guessing this is a Farscape reference.

Second is a Movie Trailer from "Harleykeen"... Yes, I get it, Harlequin... very cute name.

Online/Offline Shadowrun Initiative Tracker

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Stalker, from the Shadowrun Forums has created an interesting utility for Gamemasters. It is an Initiative Tracker that includes the ability to roll and sort the initiatives of PCs and NPCs alike. This utility can be downloaded to your local computer so that the javascript can be edited so that the PCs of the party are automatically inserted into the list of people in the fight, saving the GM some time. Currently it does all the rolling for every character placed in the initiative tracker, but Stalker is considering a way to allow Players to roll their own initiative with dice and that result just entered in for the character and sorting them into the order along with the NPCs. This should be a great utility for most GMs to help deal with larger numbers of NPCs and since it can be downloaded to your system, doesn't require a connection to the Net to be able to use at ones gaming table. Plus it should work on tablets and other systems that support Javascript in their browsers.

Maps From the Past

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Nostalgia: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also: something that evokes nostalgia

Remember those days when getting together with friends and running the latest adventure meant brightly colored maps in nice, neat hexagons? You know the ones. A few bright colors, with each terrain type fitting so nicely into each little area. Well, I stumbled across a site, that resurrected or recreated quite a few of the old maps from the old D&D modules and campaigns.

On top of the color maps, the site also has a FAQ on the various fonts that were used to produce the modules and boxed sets from the TSR days. So, if you’ve ever wanted to produce your own adventures in a similar looking fashion to the old TSR modules, check out the fonts section to mimic the look of the old settings.