As the self confessed shaven gorrilla takes a well earned break from writing these weekly annoucements, I've been asked to step up and share a few of my mumbles and babbles, as well as my poor sense of humour and what is turning out to be a rather long day. So yes, I'm Messiah (not the real one as the topic reminds us) and whilst my naughty days are long past me and I begin to approach the wrong side of thirty, I've returned (some what) to the ArmA scene after a rather extended hiatus.
Now most probably don't remember me, but to give you an idea of my background, I'll quickly gloss over who, what, where and why. So, it was a cold and wintery day in Copenhagen the 14th of December, 198.... ok, perhaps not that far back. My real name is Daniel (not Brian), half British, half Danish, and besides tinkering around in O2 I spend my days moonlighting as an Architect. My relationship with the BIS series of games goes back to 2001 and OFP, and after a stint of mission making and lurking around OFPEC, I started dabbling with O2 and addon making. I guess my 'break' (should you wish to call it that) came with joining Project: UK Forces back when addon teams were trendy, and men were men. I dabbled around, eventually inheriting the Land Rovers from deliltmon and since then I never really looked back.
After OFP we moved to ArmA and ArmA 2, and culminated with creating content for VBS2. I spent most of my Armed Assault time with my head firmly buried within a mound of Land Rovers, and eventually releasing them after a development time that looked like it might rival Duke Nukem. Besides the lannies, the Jackals and various bits and bobs within the weapons packs and other releases kept me busy at UKF. Eventually the fun and draw of modding ran dry, and I wandered off in 2009.
But like all things, time spent apart allows one to appreciate it again, and after completing a masters degree this spring, I wanted to pick modding up again as a hobby, far away from all things commercial, and essentially a little time sink to potter around with. Rock was kind enough to let me join RKSL rather than be homeless in what was quickly becoming a rather brave new world, what with the majority of my knowledge on modding, the addon community and the British Army being rather ancient. Needless to say, picking up my inner geek and diving back into all things British was enjoyable, and I've been savouring the many new vehicles that have and are about to be procured.
Somewhat in line with BIS' path of setting ArmA 3 in the 'near future', I wanted my first project to be a recent procurement, and something that was as futureproof as DE&S allows these days. As anyone who has had any experience creating British content, things never stay the same for very long. New UORs, trends and in field modifications keep releases pushed back week after week as the more determined amongst us (or self destructive is probablly closer to the truth) try and stay at the forefront of what is 'current' in the field with any given vehicle, weapon or aircraft. Numerically, it meant the Land Rovers, with a base model that was completed and in game within a month, took three years and two games to release, and were out of date again soon after. With a recent procurement I feel slightly more at ease that I am able to stay on top of any changes once in field, and the Foxhound provided an ideal vehicle with which to get started. Predictably, that would come back to bite me as I begun to dust off O2, learn how most of it worked again (mostly through pesting DM through email and facebook) and started collecting reference material (that and I always relish the prospect of 'no safesearch suprise porn' results on google, always a hoot... and sometimes a worrying affair)
Through my work as an Architect, I need to be mobile, and the same goes for my choice of computing hardware. In earlier years I played epeen with the greatest, building expensive rigs because... well I could... and generally spending my rather female free teenage years glued to a hulking great piece of desktop hardware. These days, alas (well, perhaps not the female part), I'm laptop bound, a DELL no less, and with that comes a few interesting... challenges. I was at least savy enough (and considering many of my architectural psd's and dwg's fill many gigs these days) to fit what was at the time the high end i7, 9 gigs of ram and what DELL assured me was the best laptop GPU they had (not that comforting really), but what only occured to me after burning what can only be described as a crop circle into my thigh (through a pair of jeans to boot) is that laptops are... well, not very good at doing anything if much intensive.
The problem lies in the case, and without whitering on about temperatures, air flow and exhausts, my little box of doom is attempting to keep cool with a deminuative hamster wheel and about 5mm of space between components. Helpfully, O2 keeps me amused, less I resort to throwing the laptop into the lake, with all its laptop related quirks, like using F keys which I can only access when holding down Fn, a numpad that doesn't exist, and an ever so slightly, and pernamently, fish eyed bulldozer viewer that makes reviewing my work a bizarre guessing affair. Rock mentioned something about importing user profiles from ArmA, but after 15 minutes of trying to work out the where, what and why of how to do it, and the horrors of installing the BI tools fresh in my mind, I promptly ignored it and learned to... err... give up on trying to fix any of it.
Besides my slightly naive notion of being a somewhat futureproof vehicle, the Foxhound was the obvious choice due to it being one of the first of a series of ground up procured vehicles, rather than an UOR as with many of the recent fleet (and therein lies the possibility fo them becoming surplus to requirements once we leave Afghanistan), and its pod system that allows it to be a troop carrier, a cargo carrier and my personal wet moment maker, the WMIK. This diversity meant it would also be able to be a truely useful addition to ArmA in one guise or the other, which is something I personally try and look for when choosing an addon to make (as well as it's trouser tent making potential, of course)
Being anally retentive as I am, getting back into O2 and making British Addons has been a bit of a mixed affair. I'll spend hours rotating and aligning the model to make sure every face is perfectly planar, because it bothers me when vertexes are out of place. Currently its around 8000 faces, with about every nut and bolt modeled, no interior and no suspension. I've remodeled the front and rear a dozen times thus far, and I'm still not content with the dimensions at the front, and to top it off, our resident greasemonkey expert informs me that the crew pod has been altered just prior to final production. So much for the joys of the choosing new procurements then (In hindsight thats precisely what new procurements are, likely to be chopped and changed right up to being sent out into the field). However, with this being intended for ArmA 3, its of little concern. A few extra hours remodeling the hull shape won't really dent the many hours I want to sink into this so its... just so trouser-tent-raisingly right
I guess that sums it up for my 'return' (no, not the extended references to bodily functions), and something for anyone new to or thinking of making addons to think about. Like all of us, I want to enjoy the game and addons are just an extension of this. The moment that you lose sight of the fun and pride in making your own addon, regardless of what others may think of the results, you lose sight of why you're spending so many hours on it in the first place. Enjoy it, be creative, be a little bit crazy, and for the love of god think twice before choosing anything procured for the British Army.
So a good night and week from me. In writing this I've missed the first half of the footie (not that I care much for it anyway), forgotten to drink my cup of tea and have a heap of drawings to do before work tomorrow. Next time I hope to natter on about unwrapping stuff in O2 and how... err... 'enjoyable' that can be. Oh to be retro.