Over the last 4-5 weeks I have been designing a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. Much of this design has been done in Solidworks, planning down to the last screw.
A week or two ago I was finally confident enough in my design to purchase all the required materials and set about building the machine. By far the most expensive and also frustrating (as the wrong size was sent out) was the 5meters of 12mm diameter Stainless Steel rod. I intend to heavily document the development of this machine and also make as much of it open-source as possible. Below I will give a brief outline of the various areas of the project.
The construction of the machine is primarily MDF, Stainless steel rod & threaded rod, and then several custom built parts machined for me by a friend of my fathers. The final machine has a footprint of around 750mm x 650mm and provides a cutting area of roughly an A3 sheet of paper. The Z (up/down) axis also provides ~70-100mm of movement.
I have custom designed PCB motor drivers to control the stepper motors. These boards are very simple and use a L298 chip to turn the signals from the Arduino into control for the motors.
On that note, the whole thing will be controlled via an Arduino Uno board (ATMega328), this allows me easy control from a PC via USB cable.
The Arduino has a firmware found online which I am planning on making some minor changes to. This firmware takes G-Codes sent from the PC and translates them into the electrical outputs required to drive the motors.
The host software which runs on the computer could end up being one of several options as of now. I may end up using ReplicatorG, Pronterface or more likely creating my own cross-platform software which provides simple G-Code interpretation and sends this to the Arduino. As well as sending G-Code files, it will likely include easy to use controls to move the system manually (jogging it) and also provide homing features.
As of now I am still cutting all the wood out and preparing everything, however once I have all the pieces ready to go I do plan on taking pictures and documenting the assembly of this project. I will post my progress on here as I advance.
I've fast progressed on my game currently know as "RobotGame".
Some screenshots of the latest version are attached, as always this is hugely early in development, for example the robot isn't animated, textured or remotely finished. Either way some shots as I progress though the long dev process.
After getting a rather large dose of inspiration at EGX2012, I've set about on a journey to create a game which I can enter to showcase at EGX2013. I'm currently working on / fleshing out my current idea, attempting to feel my way around camera perspectives in a 2.5D game. Here are some current screenshots of it in it's current state, although this is very early and also likely to be 100% changed for a new art style after I've recently seen an incredible new 2.5D platformer called Pid (www.pidgame.com) which has some asthetics I would like to branch off of.
This morning I rose at the crack of dawn to begin my trek to Earl's Court in London. After the usual rush hour misery of a train journey I arrived at the expo center and was confronted with the usual massive queue stretching around the back of the building. With a record 50,000 attendee's this year it's no wonder the queues were bigger as well as the waiting time to get in.
When I entered the first thing that I noticed was that it seemed much more space had been used compared to last years layout. The queuing area for developer sessions seemed half that of the previous year, however this meant more space for booths which is always good.
After an initial pass of the entire expo to get my bearings I decended on the PS Vita area initially and tried my hand at LittleBigPlanet. I strolled around the expo taking in all the different experiences and watching people play various games (I tend not to play console games at expos as I'm useless with a controller and don't want to force people to watch me struggle).
I was particularly enlightened this year by the Indie area which had a particular game, Kairo, available to play running on PC. The game was created by a single developer and ran in Unity. The general premise seemed to be a first person puzzle game in a very oddly trippy world consisting of hovering blocks and spinning discs set on a backdrop of solid colours. Looking through the Indie zone has encouraged me to work more diligently on my current game with the intent of possibly trying to display it at next years Eurogamer Expo.
The final highlight was going to the "DayZ: Mod to Standalone" developer session hosted by Dean "Rocket" Hall. After his immense success turning a relatively simple Arma2 mod into a 1.3Million user success he is working on creating a standalone DayZ game. After the presentation which concluded with a great Q&A session, I managed to catch Dean outside to ask a few questions and have a quick photo to remember the experience.
Overall the Thursday was a great day, Now to see if I feel energetic enough to get up tomorrow morning and go again for an early entry Friday.
I went to this years Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford.
It was a great day and I took nearly 600 photos, after cleaning up the photos, removing duplicates or ones I wasn't keen on I was left with about 250 which I have now uploaded to my gallery at http://gallery.chrisella.com
So today I headed into London to meet up with Mike Schramm and Mark Turpin (Aka Turpster) famous for being on a variety of podcasts over the past few years.
Their current primary podcast TIPOAA ( The Incredible Podcast of Amazing Awesomness ) was having a group get together today in the rainy city of London to grab some lunch and drink a few drinks, whilst chatting the afternoon away.
Arriving at 1pm and meeting up to have an eat all you can buffet in China-Town at Mr Wu's we got to meet one another of the six of us that turned up.
Overall it was an excellent day and I can't think of a better way of spending a rainy bank holiday.
Notch (of Minecraft fame) recently announced his current new project, 0x10c.
0x10c is a space based MMOish Hard sci-fi game with a very elite sounding asthetic to it.
To keep up to date with information on 0x10c and also to try and build a community, I've created http://www.0x10chub.com The 0x10c Hub, a community site which will eventually combine community contributed news and tutorials as well as a forum.
I do hope you head over to 0x10c Hub and get as excited as many others are about the new game.
You can view my new timeline using the link in the main menu above, or click here
Last week I bought the domain TribesTournament.com with the intention of beginning to create video content about Tribes Ascend.
The content will be in the form of both commentaries and professionally edited matches. I also am hopeful that in the future the domain could also support it's own tournament (as per the name). For now it is a placeholder as until the Hirez guys add demo recording to Tribes Ascend I can't create the sort of content I want to.
Last week I managed to grab my early entry pass to this years EuroGamer Expo.
The previous years expo was excellent, I got to try out a-lot of new titles that were subsequently released late last year and early this year. The Last expo also introduced my somewhat worrying excitement for the new GuildWars 2 that is to be released later this year.
I'll be going along on the Friday as usual for the whole day ( 10am - 7pm ). Look forward to seeing any others who are going, I know its a long way off but you have to book early to grab an early entry pass :D.
I've finally got around to re-designing this website and it is now live! This is much a more clean design and I am very happy with how it turned out. As a way to showcase my portfolio, I am glad this is finally complete. While the design is complete, I still need to get around to the backend to create a real news system rather than this static one currently.