09 September 2006

Forest Glade 5

A re-post. A large-sized scan. 21cm x 15cm pigment ink sketch. Faber-Castell pigment pens, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 pens. Imaginery scene with an abandoned well in the midst of an old forest. Posted by Picasa

Pigment ink, Faber-Castell 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 pens. Copic 0.05. 21cm x 15cm sketch. This was inspired by numerous paintings of the Dutch countryside that I have seen from Dutch 18th and 19th century landscape paintings. This, of course, is an imaginery scene. I drew this while I had coffee at the NYDC at the Heeren at Orchard Road this afternoon. It was a pleasant afternoon.


The landscapes of Leickert, Klinkenberg, Spohler, Schelfhout, Borselen among others were major inspirations. They are Dutch artists from the 18th to the 20th century. I did have to take to pencil before I used pigment ink. The pencils were mainly used to mark the contours of the farmland, the lay of the land. It has to be 'three-dimensional' in that sense. Then, I had pigment marks made to mark distances. The marks were necessary as the field receded into the distance and the length of each individual strand of the wheat would have to be smaller as the distance increased. The composition is actually rather simple and the size of this piece limited the effects of light for me.

Illustration Friday theme: Farm Posted by Picasa

University of Leeds II

The University of Leeds has quite a number of these concrete structures of a 'brutalist' nature. Le Corbusier would have been proud. This is a building housing many lecture theatres and a cafe.

This is a connected concrete and glass structure housing some academic departments including the School of Computing.

Leeds, July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Forest Glade 5

21cm x 15cm pigment ink sketch. Faber-Castell pigment pens.

The focus is on the forgotten well in the midst of the glade. September 2006. Posted by Picasa

08 September 2006

Student Halls at the University of Leeds

Charles Morris Hall. A large claustaphobic hall of bricks and concrete. A characteristic building of the seventies and eighties.

Charles Morris Hall. The rooms are impossibly small. Quite like typical hotel rooms in Hong Kong, London or Tokyo.

Montague Burton Flats. Decent student flats off campus. Modern and comfortable.

Leeds, July 2006 Posted by Picasa

07 September 2006

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds was granted a royal charter as an independent body by King Edward VII in 1904. It is noted from the website that:

During the current academic year over 32,241 students are attached to 700 different first-degree programmes and 474 postgraduate degree programmes. A further 32,062 men and women are enrolled on short courses with the University.

Parkinson Building

Entrance to the Sports Hall

The Student Union

Leeds, July 2006 Posted by Picasa

Palestinian Terrorist

I wanted to capture the fluidity of the figure. The Palestinian terrorist is often seen running with a RPG and a bag of PG-7 warheads amidst the rubble. Quick 4cm x 5cm sketch with faulty gel pen.

Quick sketch with a faulty gel pen. It was difficult, the ink simply won't flow.

Sketch 1 - 4cm x 5cm in size

Sketch 2 - 4cm x 10cm in size

06 September 2006

Gasping for Air

I went for a short run along Dunearn Road last night rather than at the track in Toa Payoh Stadium. It has been a while since I ran on a road. The run left me gasping for air. The pounding! I do need to run outside more often.
This calls for a celebration! WOO HOO!

[FS] Kassandra (165) slaughtered [IX] Silver (158) at 11:32am.
Completing the most Sacred of games

I finished Sacred! Woo hoo! Sacred: Underworld continues seamlessly from the original. One cannot see the transition. It's clever.

I am going to continue with Sacred: Underworld and completing it before returning to Dungeon Siege 2.

When I finished it, my battle mage was level 43. It was simple wiping out monsters with 3500-point fireballs.

I enjoyed this game tremendously. While I like this game a lot, I am hesistant towards recommending it unless one is a hardcore gamer who enjoys the early Ultima series of games. For most casual gamers, I would point to Titan Quest or others.

I will be slowing down now and will be reading a lot more in the coming weeks.


One does have to export characters to the next game. I was wrong about the seamless aspect. Underworld is full of giant insects! Giant insects appear to be a staple of fantasy games, for instance, World of Warcraft, Sacred, etc. Can't the designers of these games be more imaginative?

I completed the game in 28 hours and 53 minutes.

05 September 2006

At play in the worlds of Aranna and Ancaria

Last week, I have been alternating between Dungeon Siege 2 and Sacred. Sacred was the more engrossing game with more of a whimsical world with free-form adventures and side quests. I feel that the tightly-scripted Dungeon Siege 2 was somewhat too linear. Before long, I had reached Act III in Sacred and collected three out of the four elements. I have put away the somewhat drab Dungeon Siege 2 for now. I expect to finish Sacred in two or three days. Then, I will embark on Sacred: Underworld.

Sacred brings back a lot of fond memories of Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress which I played in 1983 due to the free-form nature of the gameplay, the huge sprawling world, the freedom of travel and the limitless monsters. Last weekend, my battle mage was level 18 and I took out a level 21 dragon*. Later, my level 25 battle mage was killing level 34 monsters with a single fireball. I was tired of creating weak melee characters and hybrid types** in other games and had reverted to playing spellcasters. I would go back to building my usual overpowered spellcasters now. By focusing, my battle mage regularly destroys monsters 4-6 levels higher with a spell.

  • The size of the world of Ancaria. The varied towns. The fact that one can enter each building, structure, they are not merely props and decor like in World of Warcraft, Battlefield 2 and so forth.
  • The many side quests allow one to be pleasantly diverted. They add flavour.
  • The character design. The monsters design. The architecture of the buildings. The design of the medieval fantasy towns and villages. The design of the forests.

  • The rendering of the arms and armour in the inventory section is lacking. The items appear extremely unappealing.
  • The camera angle of the game is somewhat strange. During combat, it is hard to play close up as one requires distance especially when using ranged skills or spells. As a result, one misses the lovingly crafted details in the game.
  • The somewhat clumsy translations. The unimaginative things said by the townsfolk are surely translations that did not come out too well. And they appear too generic.

  • The use of a horse is paramount for speed of travel. While there are teleporting gates, one will need to do a lot of exploring. The world of Ancaria is huge, comparing favourably with The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. A fast horse like the light riding horse and normal riding horse with a speed of 200 and 220 will be essential. And these horses are needed for the avoidance of monsters which spawns randomly, much like the Ultima series of games. Warhorses and nags are too slow though the two warhorse types confer a lot more damage during combat than the others.
  • Accumulate those spell and skill runes and trade four in for a needed type. This is quite basic really.
  • Do do do the side quests. They are usually simple affairs and one is usually rewarded with a spell or skill rune. With many of these, one can easily rise in power fairly swiftly. That is who I build up. By level 15, my Fireballs was doing over 2000 points of damage. Right now, I am doing over 3000 per Fireball and my cast time with Ghost Meadow is about 1.3 seconds.
  • Watch for the skill or spell re-charge timing. Sometimes, it is better to have fast re-charge skills than merely powerful slow re-charging ones.
  • If one is using ranged skills or spells, one should always attack from a long distance away. The monsters in Sacred can run really fast.
  • 'Kiting'*** is easily effected with ranged skills or spells. Crowd control**** is not really necessary if one has a fast horse and one can use terrain well.

Sacred is highly enjoyable. I am quite engrossed.

* Dragon. A large 'boss'.
** For instance, pet and spell casting types like the Warlock in World of Warcraft. An abysmal design.
***Kiting. Gamers (Kids) terminology which refers to luring the monster around like flying a kite and shooting them.
****Crowd control. Gamers (Kids) terminology for dealing with multiple enemies.

Pet Shop Boys 'Numb'

I can't believe it, the Pet Shop Boys are releasing the worst song on 'Fundamental' as a single. Oh well, this is one single I won't be buying.
Missing IPPT*

Poor AK (Silver/Kuoby) was so alarmed one morning.

AK says:
help me OBIWAN CHUANG! you're my only hope. they're coming for me because i didn't do my IPPT!

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:55 PM:

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:56 PM:
well it's not a charge

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:56 PM:
just a session to ask me why i missed it

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:57 PM:

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:57 PM:
problem is, the date is right smack in the middle of my trip to melbourne.

AK sent 8/29/2006 10:57 PM:
i'll have to write in to defer it.

AK sent 8/29/2006 11:45 PM:
wake up SC

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
RT! RT! RT!**

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
I guess it is the detention barracks for you.

AK says:
actually if they want me to do RT, i can't either.

AK says:
i'm leaving in nov

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
I heard of grown men crying.

AK says:
doing what

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Doing time in the detention barracks.

AK says:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
A yellow belly is not an excuse.

*IPPT - The armed forces fitness tests which consists of chin-ups, shuttle-run, sit-ups, standing board jump and a 2.4 km run.
** RT - Residential training or remedial training. A twice or thrice weekly physical training session held at the army camps if you were to fail.

04 September 2006

Pz Sp Wg II Ausf L Luchs

The Luchs (Lynx) is a light reconnaissance tank developed from the Pz Kpfw II series with one hundred produced from late 1943 to early 1944. The Luchs was armed with a 20mm L55 gun and had a maximum armour thickness of 30mm.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
War of the Roses

Jerry Taylor, the celebrated designer of the Hammer of the Scots and Crusader Rex, has designed a new game, The War of the Roses, based on the block system.

63 large wooden blocks
42 event cards
8 heir cards
4 Dice

Quoting the website:

"War of the Roses is an epic two-player game about the long and bloody dynastic struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England. The game depicts both the vicious military campaigns and the rich political struggles that surrounded the rule of the mad-king Henry VI, the Yorkist usurper Edward VI, Richard III, and the first Tudor king, Henry VII.

Also strutting across the game's stage are Richard of York, patriarch of the house of Plantagenet, Richard Neville, the notorious "Kingmaker", Margaret of Anjou, the iron-queen of Lancaster, and Edward the Prince of Wales.
War of the Roses expands on the award-winning Hammer of the Scots game system by greatly enriching the card deck. "Holding your cards close to your vest" has never meant more. Players can launch or foil conspiracies, bring Scotland into the war, hire mercenaries, flee into exile, employ spies, bribe neutral nobles, call up the standing army at Calais, mobilize the powerful Northern or Welsh Marches, or even marshal the fickle winds of fate to threaten the best laid plans of the enemy."

The wargame is now available for pre-order.

Source: www.columbiagames.com

03 September 2006

Type 95 HA-GO Light Tank

Approximately 1300 Type 95s were built and these saw action on almost every front where the Japanese forces were deployed. They were fairly successful when employed in Malaya against the Commonwealth forces.

The 7.5 ton Type 95 is armed with a 37 mm Type 94 gun and two 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns. The light tank has up to 12 mm of armour.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa