3D Printing THORN from Destiny

What’s that? 3D printing a gun from a video game? HOW NERDY DO YOU GET, WHATLEY?!

This is a super-nerdy post that encompasses online gaming, 3D-printing, and one awesome kick-ass summer project for one awesome kick-ass gamer.

You have been warned.

Still here? OK!

There’s a game I play on my PlayStation 4.

It’s called DESTINY.

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It’s a team game and it is awesome to play online with friends. There was a gun in the previous version (aka ‘year one’/vanilla Destiny, we’re now into year two, The Taken King (which is awesome btw, you should get it)) that everybody hated.

It was called THORN.

It looks like this:

Thorn-0

The weapon still exists in-game (but was nerfed for year two) and was, for most of the first year of Destiny, the bane of many a player. If you completed the epic quest to get said gun (and used it when playing other people online) you were not liked at all.

Why? It was a two hit kill, with a sniper-rifle-like range and poison-laced bullets.

It was a horrid, horrid gun.

My friends hated it.

I hated it.

So, when you really want to say a proper cheeky but really massive thank you to someone you play with online for being an awesome Destiny gamer over the past year or so, what better gift to get them than the 3D-printed model of the gun they hate most?

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This is how it happened.

I work at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and, fortunately for me, as part of Ogilvy Group UK, we get access to the awesome people that work at Ogilvy Labs.

Ogilvy Labs just so happen to have a 3D printer.

An Ultimaker 2, to be precise.

This one, in fact.

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After chasing it down in the building (things can wander) it transpired that my mate Jon just so happened to be looking after it.

‘Could you do me a favour, Jon?’

‘Sure man, send me the files and let me have a look and we’ll see.’

Fortunately, 3D print files can be found relatively easily online (why charge for something that you need a £2,000 machine to print in the first place, right?) and so after a short spot of Googling, I found the files on My Mini Factory (free sign up to download but if you’re REALLY lazy, I’ve saved them for you right here).

Jon reckoned he could do it but asked that I bought my own plastic. The exact type required for our machine was 3mm PLA 100m coil. Faberdashery is a pretty good website for this kinda stuff and for £24, it had exactly what I needed.

A few days later, we were in business.

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And Jon (and his man, Lorenzo) got to work.

A few weeks later… this appeared.

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This is the barrel of the gun known as THORN.

It took a few hours and the other parts, according to the experts, were definitely going to take longer. That is, if they worked out at all. The printer was used to much smaller jobs you see and they’d never put it through its paces like this before.

But the thing about Ogilvy folk, they’re a tad determined…

Two weeks later, I had a call from Jon.

‘Can you pop down, mate. I wanna show you something.’

And he did.

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Amazing, right?

And HUGE.

The whole thing looked fantastic and, to top it off (and something I didn’t spot when I downloaded the files) you could put an elastic band inside so that the trigger would actually work with the hammer as a faux firing mechanism.

IMMENSE.

Eleven separate parts, two of which can move together, printed over several days and we were almost there.

OK, so maybe only halfway there.

The other thing that you need to create something like this is access to some artistic talent. Someone who could turn their hand to a project like this and be almost guaranteed outstanding results.

I happen to know that someone.

And this is what she did…

Step one: disassemble and spray paint the base layer.

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Step two: reassemble and admire handy work.

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Step three: apply black paint.

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Step four: scratch black paint away (to get the rugged, worn away / grubby look the gun sports in-game).

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Step five: Add a dash of green to the ‘eyes’ for the poison and…

YOUR GUN IS COMPLETE!

You may now sit back and admire your handy work.

TA DA!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

It made me very, very happy.

Thank you to Jon, Lorenzo, and Annabelle. You have made a gamer named Phil very, very happy indeed.

That My Mini Factory link above has this gun, fully printed and painted for $299. It cost me £24 and two fairly large favours [pending].

Yeah, I’d say that worked out alright.

 

 

If you have a PS4 and play Destiny, feel free to add me on PSN. ‘Whatleydude’ is the handle (of course) and you should definitely, definitely seek out the gaming clan ‘MidlifeGamer’ – a nicer bunch of gaming men and women I never did meet.

The Good Old Days

When I was a kid we had a thing called Video City.

My friend Roger inadvertently shared this with me.

And I like it (in a sad yet nostalgic-totally-on-point kinda way).

Blockbuster

– via Neatorama

When I was a kid we had a thing called Video City. I remember renting things like The Never Ending Story, They Live, and Transformers: The Movie. When Blockbuster opened in my home town it was like all my Christmases had come at once; not only could you rent videos but you could get video games as well!

Weekends would never be the same again.

Bodger will remember these great days. Tony will too.

Tecmo World Wrestling for the NES.

Mortal Kombat for the MegaDrive.

The good old days.

 

Five things on Friday #76

Things of note for the weekend ending June 13th, 2014.

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Tons of video stuff this week. If you’re reading this in a newsletter, I’ve thrown in the links to the videos along the way so you TOO can enjoy teh awesomez.

1. Silent Crickets
On the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Marlene Zuk has been studying crickets. Between 1991 and 2000, the crickets got more and more quiet and in 2001, Zuk heard only a single calling male cricket. The volume had decreased, but had the volume actually decreased?

The crickets hadn’t disappeared. Zuk would go for nighttime walks and see multitudes of the insects in the light of her headlamp. If anything, there were more of them than before. They just weren’t calling out. When she dissected them, Zuk found out why.

Male crickets call with two structures on the backs of their wings—a vein with several evenly spaced teeth (the file) and a raised ridge (the scraper). When the cricket rubs these together, the effect is like running your nail along the teeth of a comb—you get a thrrrrrrrrrrrp sound. But on all the silent Kauai crickets, the file was growing at a weird angle and had all but disappeared. Their wings were flat.

The reason?

The crickets were targeted by a parasitic fly, whose larvae burrow inside them and devour them alive. The flies finds the crickets by listening out for their songs and they’re so effective that, in the early 90s, they had parasitised a third of the males.

But the silent males escaped the attention of the fly. As they bred and spread, they carried the flatwing mutation with them. By 2003, the cricket population had rebounded. And in fewer than 20 generations, they had gone from almost all-singing to almost all-silent. The crickets have become a classic textbook example of rapid evolution.

Nature is awesome. Via.

2. Slow motion Ballet

slow mo ballet

In this video, six members of the Washington Ballet demonstrate their most challenging moves.

Worth watching.

3. What day is it Sunday?

Video link.

4. The best of E3
I am a gamer. If you’ve listened to this past week’s Voicemail podcast, you’d know that I confessed to not reading anything about mobile technology over the last seven days because, thanks to the Electronic Entertainment Expos – aka ‘E3’ – I’ve been totally and utterly bingeing on game trailers at almost every opportunity. The three stand outs?

BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT
The fourth third* game in the Arkham series, this final part of the Rocksteady trilogy looks IMMENSE.

The one thing need to know? You get to drive the Batmobile.

*Batman: Arkham Origins, though officially part of the Arkham games canon, is widely accepted to ‘not count’ as it wasn’t built by Rocksteady Studios and, as a result, is a poor imitation of what makes a good Arkham game.

[video link]

ASSASSIN’S CREED: UNITY
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Assassin’s Creed series is probably my favourite set of games of recent years. AC: Black Flag was a day one purchase for me and this latest iteration looks like it might be the same.

The one thing need to know? In the video the commentary mentions that certain parts of Paris have been built at a 1:1 scale. That’s awesome.

[video link]

NO MAN’S SKY
This one very nearly passed me by completely (so big love to Matt for making sure I didn’t miss it), No Man’s Sky is a simple science-fiction game about exploration and survival. It looks stunning.

The one thing you need to know? Your character exists in an infinite procedurally generated universe. In. Sane.

[video link]

5. Clickhole
This is everywhere right now.

CLICKHOLE
The Onion is a satirical take on American news. In a post-listicle world, where click-bait and headlines such as ‘Seven things Nigel Farage could learn from Vladimir Putin‘ are commonplace, you could read this as some kind of post-modern take on what ‘news’, or news delivery, has become.

Or you could read it as The Onion not-that-subtly trolling the hell out of Buzzfeed. Either way, they uploaded 16 pictures of Beyonce not sicking in quicksand yesterday, and you won’t believe what happened next.

And that’s it, we’re done.

Except.

We’re not.

Bonus items for your oculars this week are:

  • The Calvin & Hobbs story
    If you missed this, read the write up. I must confess, I’ve never been a huge C&H fan (sorry), but this story made me smile from ear to ear.
  • Winging it
    Everyone is totally winging it, all the time. A great read.
  • Articulated TMNT
    The concept of ‘arty images of 80s pop-culture accompanied with deep and meaningful thoughts’ is not new to me however the mutant turtles are going through a bit a revival at the moment, so this seems timely.

See you next week.

Xbox One or PlayStation 4? [UPDATED]

This gamer has made up his mind.

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[image via Tech Radar]

Back in the day, I was always a Nintendo fan. My first console was the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES and after that, the SNES. Then came the N64 (my first ever release day console purchase – man that thing was expensive). Many a day and night was spent Mario Karting with friends on that baby.

After that, I owned a GameCube [and came extremely close to picking up a Panasonic Q, but that’s another story]. At some point after this, I fell down some stairs and was bed-ridden for a fortnight. It was during this time that I was lent an original Xbox along with a copies of Halo and Burnout: Vengeance. I’d followed the Burnout serious on the GameCube but the Xbox sequels were immense. I could feel a change coming but it was not coming any time soon as, at some point later, the Nintendo fan in me bought a Wii.

But something was missing. Yes I had Zelda and Mario and Resident Evil 4. But I wanted more. I wanted proper online play. I wanted something in high definition. My friend Roger had just got an Xbox 360 and so now I wanted an Xbox 360 purely so she and I could play together.

Six months or so later, towards the end of 2008 my friend Josh gave me his Xbox 360. I fell in love, and all was awesome. I’ve been an Xbox-er ever since.

I have never owned a PlayStation.

But this year, I think that’s going to change.

PS4

When the Xbox One was announced back in May of this year, there was a big hoo-hah around how it would become the media centre for the front room. The TV integration, the awesome new Kinect 2.0, everything about it meant that this little baby would be the only thing we’d ever need.

Then… it ran into a little trouble.

First the machine wouldn’t let you lend games to your friends (not in the traditional sense at least) without paying for it, then it had to ‘check in’ online every 24hrs. Then, in the face of huge negative reaction, Microsoft cancelled all that, but then the Kinect would be ‘spying’ on your every move, and then Microsoft had to clarify on that too.

Even after all that PR pain, I was still leaning towards getting an Xbox One. I love my 360, and I love my Kinect too (yes, I really do use the voice activation stuff). The deal-maker for me would’ve been if Microsoft launched the One in the UK with Sky TV as a partner. I’m a Sky subscriber and having the Xbox work well with that, in the same way that it worked in the US partners, well it’d make the whole ‘TV’ thing worth it.

I’ve got friends in the gaming industry, and I know a few reviewers too. Word was leaking: the One is a pain to develop for. The PS4 is a dream. The One doesn’t have ANY media partners at launch. Whispers became louder… and then came the Eurogamer Expo.

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The Eurogamer event at London’s Olympia back in September offered up a chance to play the latest games on the latest systems. Geeks among nerds, my friend Matt and I ventured forth. I played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (AC:IV) on the PS4 and Killer Instinct on the One. The former impressed, the latter did not.

In the pub afterwards, more PS4 rumours were afoot. A quick show of hands of the group we were chatting to proved that pretty much everyone was getting a PS4 first and then waiting to see if the One was going to improve after. But by then, it might be too late.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is the latest mega title to be released in the COD series. Due to the differences in the operating systems between the One and the PS4, the former can only run the game at 720p (the latter hitting full 1080p). Deal breaker?

For some? Definitely.
For me? Maybe.

Last night I went along to the #XboxOneTour, an invitation only event where – similarly to Eurogamer – you got to play the latest titles on newest system, but with the obvious focus on the Xbox One. I got hands on time with Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct (again), Ryse, and Forza. They also had FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and some Kinect stuff too but none of that interests me. I must admit, I was surprisingly impressed with Ryse as up until yesterday I thought it looked, and therefore was, rubbish.

Dead Rising 3 was fairly meh, Killer Instinct looks great, but is fundamentally still Killer Instinct at its core, and Forza? I just don’t get Forza. I left feeling quite underwhelmed (not least because the 5pm-10pm slot actually meant ‘turn up at 5pm and stand outside in the freezing cold until 5:30pm’, or because of any every day sexism – not just because of that) mainly because I just expected more.

I really wanted the Xbox One to blow me away and it didn’t. At all.

I played AC:IV for 15mins on the PS4 back in September, and that did more for me than any amount of Xbox One propaganda ever could. It’s a shame. But I’m a gamer, and therefore I want the best system for games. My gamer buddies? They’ve made their mind up. Which means I have too: if I want the best gaming experience and I want to play online where my friends are – there’s only one choice.

I fancy a change.

I’m going to the dark side.

I’m getting a PlayStation 4.

__________________________________

UPDATE: Here’s a 30min podcast where a friend and I go into a bit more detail on what consoles we’re choosing and why.

Five things on Friday #38

Things of note for the week ending September 21st

1. Genetic Portraits
Photographer Ulric Collette has been shooting a range of ‘genetic portraits’ taking two members of the same family and splicing them back together for some quite staggering results. This one above is one of my favourites, but the full set is worth a look too. It’s weird as hell, but awesome at the same time. YES!

2. Assassin’s Creed
I’m still hooked (about two hours into Brotherhood now, FYI) and now the girl is going away for a week (boo!) and I’m going to dive into AC like there’s no tomorrow (yay!) and mission it until there is literally nothing left in my sights but Revelations. Oh, and then AC:III obviously.

Why is this important? Well, it’s a nice pre-amble to this wicked little Assassin’s Creed Parkour video that was kickin’ around a while back.

Any excuse.

On that note…

3. Death by Gaming
There’s a great article over on Eurogamer about there being something in the air at game/internet cafés in Taiwan –

At 10pm the previous day Chen had taken a seat in the farthest corner of an internet café in New Taipei City, Taiwan. He lit a cigarette and began to play League of Legends. Chen played the online game for close to 23 hours, occasionally sleeping for a short while at his monitor before picking up where he’d left off.

While the popular café was half-full that night, the moment of the 23 year-old’s death passed unobserved. No one noticed the melted ice-cubes in his overflowing cup, the ghostly pallor of his cheeks, the idling of his on-screen avatar. It was only when the girl on the front desk went to inform Chen his time was up that, with a gentle nudge of the shoulder, he toppled stiffly.

And –

But I’m not really worried that something like that might ever happen here. We have a system to prevent customers from sitting in front of the computer for too long… We don’t allow any customers to play for more than three days at a time.

More.

Perhaps I’ll just play for a couple of hours after all…

4. Imagine
I’m getting back into books again (having spent most mornings these past few months reading my GReader) and my current book of choice is ‘Imagine: How Creativity Works’ by Jonah Lehrer.

The chapter I’ve just finished deals with the much-documented link between depression and creativity. A few choice quotes for you –

‘If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed’, – Nancy Andreasen

‘The bad post is usually unconscious where he ought be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious’, – T. S. Eliot.

And this, from the author –

‘There is nothing romantic about this kind of creativity, which consists mostly of sweat, sadness, and failure. It’s the red pen on the page and the discarded sketch, the trashed prototype and the failed first draft. It’s ruminating in the backs of taxis and popping pills until the poem is finished.’

The next chapter is about losing yourself in the moment, using Yo Yo Ma as a case study.
Love.

Get this book.

5. Kids are mental – aka the best Star Wars story you’ve never heard
I spotted this on Super Punch the other morning and then not soon after, it appeared on Kotaku – so I’m fairly sure this has been ’round the world twice already but still – it’s totally worth (re)sharing.

One guy, talking about the The Empire Strikes Back reenactments he was involved with back when he was at summer camp –

The second year I was there, we planned the best (and arguably the most dangerous) game that camp has ever seen. We wanted to do our best to re-create the Battle of Hoth, in The Empire Strikes Back. We built plywood AT-AT shells with handles on the inside and a slot cut in the front, that two guys could get in. We tied ropes to bicycles and milk crates to the ropes to make snowspeeders with the tether cannons, just like in the movie. We even got stilts to re-create the AT-STs…

Read it all.

It’s amazing.

Bonuses this week; Fast Company says that ‘Experimentation is the new Planning‘, iO9 has found a quite frankly awesome set of Heath Ledger / Joker promo photos that were never used; and on this week’s episode of The Voicemail Stefan and I have a proper good moan about exactly how bad the maps are on iOS6.

Whatley out.

;

Five things on Friday #21

Five things of note for the week ending Friday May 25th, 2012

1. Amazing post-Yugoslavia monuments

There are 25 of these monuments (all different, by the way) scattered across the former-Yugoslavia. Built during the 60s and 70s to immortalise battle sites and concentration camps, these relics of remembrance are as varied as they are stunning. Melancholic yet engaging, spend some time looking them over and hey, if you’re ever in the area, seek them out.

2. A whale, in a forest
The work of Argentinian artist, Adrián Villar Rojas, this forest-beached whale is a sight to behold; even just digitally.

Sad, confusing and yet somehow deeply compelling; the life-sized mammal so out of place in such a way is a sight hard to forget. This is a rare occasion where I really wish I could be there in person to see this work.

3. Assassins Creed II – aka ‘playing with Desmond’
I’ve been a huge fan of the Prince of Persia games for ages and ever since the last decent round wrapped, I’ve been looking for a suitable free-playing replacement. The Batman: Arkham Asylum/City games came close (and actually win out in many respects), but I still missed that parkour-esque freedom. That was until, at long last, I finally dived into Assassin’s Creed II.

Thanks to recommendations from Rob (and I think Sweena too), I skipped the first one and went straight to the sequel (a fact I’m kind of regretting now) and I am loving it. If you’re an Xbox* owner and haven’t played these yet, they’re available to download now via the Xbox Marketplace at fifteen quid a pop. Not bad at all.

*other consoles are available.

4. Railroad-based awesomeness
First, this video – found via Mr Siminoff – of a group of mates creating a purpose-built railway go-kart – aka ‘The Rail Rider’ – is just awesome. I can’t watch it without grinning from ear-to-ear.

While you’re still smiling, take a deep breath in, scroll down, and breath out.

Nice and slow.

— —

5. Keep C.A.L.M.
The campaign against living miserably is a charity setup to combat male suicide – aka: the biggest killer of young men the UK today.

I first encountered them just a little over 18mths ago and have been a big fan of their work, and what it is they’re actually trying to achieve, ever since. This past Thursday night I finally met the whole team and am looking forward to supporting them further over the coming weeks, months and years, in their ongoing mission. Expect more on this, soon. In meantime…

If you’re a man (or if you know one) who doesn’t want to admit that things are pretty crap right now, or is really struggling to keep things together or, worse yet, doesn’t feel like they’ve got anyone else in the world to turn to.

It’s OK. You’re not alone. I promise.
And you can talk to CALM.

 

 

Whatley out.

;

5 Things on Friday #11

Items of note for the week ending Friday March 16th, 2012

  1. Gaming
    Quite literally one of the most mind-blowing Star Wars / video games stories I have ever read. It’s not a long one, nor is it that hard to understand. The guy behind it is an evil genius and yet, when the wheels come off, you do kind of feel sorry for both him and the ecosystem he created. Immense.
    .
  2. Moebius. R.I.P.
    Gifted. Influential. Ever-present but still quiet (and relatively unknown in the non-geek world), his work will be sorely missed but his legacy lives on – in ways that even he couldn’t possibly imagine. Read this amazing write up and learn something about the future-gazers of yesterday.
    .
  3. The Curator’s Code
    I don’t know why, but this article speaks to me. Perhaps it’s the multiple different sources that I pull on to put this kind of post together; perhaps it’s the amount of effort that goes into linking an article thoroughly and correctly; or perhaps it’s just nice to know that news-breakers (or should it be news-connectors) are getting the citations they deserve. Especially when you see it happen right in front of you.
    .
  4. TEDxObserver
    Seems late writing this one up (as it occurred on a Saturday and the cut-off date for this lot is Friday), however it was still one of the best things I’ve been to this year. Big up to Robbie for sorting me a ticket (I still owe you £60 chap) and you may as well check out his post on it too. Mine will follow at some point (when the workload slows up anyway).
    .
  5. Venice
    The most romantic city in the world. A long weekend [Friday through Monday] away begins and I am happy.
    Truly happy.

 

Bonuses:
Marek Pawloski asked me what I thought about Marvel comics using augmented reality, so I told him; Ewan Macloed asked me what I thought of Homeless Hotspots, I told him too; and if someone asked me what book I want on my kindle next, I’d say this one.