09 December 2006

Cuscaden Road

Cuscaden Road. The building ahead houses the Hard Rock Cafe, a seedy pool parlour and Citibank. Posted by Picasa
Sorcerer V

Sketch. Rotring pigment pen. 0.2.

This drawing is for David's D&D book.
A12, Infantry Tank Mark III, Valentine

The Valentine infantry tank was one of the most important British types during the Desert War. Armed initially with a 2-pounder (40mm), the tank was upgunned twice, first to the 6-pounder (57mm) and finally to a 75mm gun. 8275 Valentines were produced from 1940-44.

Many variants of the Valentine were also built including bridgelayers, mine-clearers and amphibious tanks.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
View of Sentosa

Circa 2003. Posted by Picasa
Neuroticfish - 'No Instruments'

1. Close
2. Unexpected
3. Skin
4. Black again
5. Pain
6. Inside
7. Mechanic of the sequence
8. M.F.A.P.L.
9. Breaking the cliche
10. Hospitality
11. War
12. Ultrahymn
13. M.F.A.P.L. (Intelligent Tribal Freak Mix)
14. All I say

I bought Neuroticfish's compilation 'Noinstruments' at Borders last night. This is a great collection, serving as a reminder and chronicle of all the great stuff Neuroticfish has released over the years.

08 December 2006

For want of an automobile (or two...)

My friend migrated with his family to greener pastures (in his eyes). The first thing he did? He bought a huge gas-guzzling MPV. And in less than a month, he is purchasing a second car. He claims it is a necessity. That obviously constitutes a better life for him.

I won't post his URL or the photo of his newly rented place and MPV. However, I wonder how many people will buy a huge vehicle or two as soon as they leave Singapore and settled aboard.

I am not going to say that that is wrong or anything or put a value judgement on this. However, I am going to observe that if this were the desire of most people seeking a better life, then, we are going to have a whole lot of cars out there...

It's Friday! Hahahahahahahahahaha!
Silver (AK) explains triggers

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Good morning Kuoby!

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Don't you think you should be out there looking for a job?

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Instead of playing Dune?

AK says:
i'm not really 'playing' Dune

AK says:
the triggers do all the fighting for me

Chuang Shyue Chou says:

AK says:
oh no

AK says:
i'm not 'botting'

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
You are not botting?

AK says:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:

AK says:
Tornado in London

Who would have thought that a tornado could rip through London? London isn't exactly tornado country. Quoting from a BBC report:

"To see a tornado is not that unusual - but the magnitude of the damage due to the one in north-west London is," said BBC meteorologist Susan Powell.

Apparently, according to the same report:

The UK experiences an estimated 50 tornadoes on land each year, putting it top of the European league.

Government Buildings

The parliament. Not exactly the most inspiring building. But who would want an ostentatious building?

The Supreme Court as seen from the side.

07 December 2006

Sorcerer IV

Faber-Castell pigment ink. 0.2.

A more deliberate sketch. No planning though. Commit in ink at once.

This image is for David's D&D rulebook.

Illustration Friday theme: Mask
Sorcerer III

Swift sketch. Pigment ink. 5cm x 15cm.

This image is for David's D&D book.
Sorcerer II

Swift sketch. 8cm x 12cm. Faber-Castell, Pilot, Artline and Rotring pigment ink.

This image is for David's D&D Rulebook.

Artline, Faber-Castell, Rotring and Pilot pigment ink. 0.2, 0.3, 0.8.

There is no reason to use all these different brands of pens. It is just what I have at hand. Old pens and new ones. A variety.

This drawing of a sorcerer is for David's D&D rulebook.
Cathay II

More views of the Cathay cinema and shopping mall. Posted by Picasa
Forum Galleria

The Forum Galleria is a mall housing mainly shops oriented for the toddler and kids. There is a Toys-R-Us joint here. It's probably the first in the country. This complex is now on the site of the old Singapura Hotel.

I recall the old Singapura Hotel. It's a pity I don't have any photos of it. I remember my parents bringing my sisters and I to a SzeChuan restaurant housed within the hotel three decades ago. What memories. Posted by Picasa
A13 Mark III, Cruiser Tank Mark V, Covenanter

The British had three types of tanks in service in the Second World War, namely, the Light Tanks, the Cruiser Tanks and the Infantry Tanks.

The light tanks were to serve the reconnaissance role. The cruiser tanks were to serve in the cavalry role as in screening, scouting, breaking through enemy lines, etc. The infantry tanks were to accompany infantry.

The artificial division of tanks into these types were in a way a holdover from the conservative thinking prevalent in the British army and was reflective of the organisation. Despite an earlier experiment in multi-turreted landships and mechanised divisions in the Salisbury plains, there was little real advance in British armoured doctrine. These concepts were to prove obsolecent ultimately in a war of combined arms. The tanks that were created reflected that.

The Covenanter was a cruiser tank armed with a 2-pounder gun (40mm) on a chassis with the Horstmann suspension.

The number of Covenanters built numbered 1771 and were only used for training until 1943. The Covenanter was a cruiser type in a long line of development and was essentially obsolete by the time it was fielded.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Knight II
This illustration is for David's D&D book.

This swift sketch of an archer is for David's D&D book.

Pigment Ink.
Lucky Plaza

Lucky Plaza was, in its heydays in the late seventies and early eighties, the most upmarket and prestigious mall in Singapore, housing Metro Grand, the top department store in Singapore, Times Orchard Centre, one of the larger bookstores then and more.

Over the years, the shopping trends changed. Department stores which were once in vogue began to fade. Old Lucky Plaza soon became the favourite haunt of Filipino maids, now housing mail agencies, remittance companies, travel agencies, shops selling ethnic Filipino products, hairdressers and more.

These are images taken with my mobile of this old mall which had undergone a facelift in recent years. Gone are the ubiquitous mosaic and tiles seen often in malls and apartments of the early and mid-eighties and in their place? New glittering marble tiles and metallic fittings.

Surface Impressions

After finishing Dungeon Siege 2, I was looking for more games in a similar vein to Titan Quest and Dungeon Siege 2. I looked up some older titles that I had somehow missed along the way.

'Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader' appears to have an interesting premise, being that of an accidental demonic summoning in an alternate world to that of the Third Crusade.

The use of Barcelona as a backdrop is intriguing. However, the interface and combat appears to be clumsy. I wonder how playable this is. I will have to see.

The interface and graphics of this one feels primitive. The premise of a lost brother? Hmmm... I will look into it further.

This is a game with Chinese mythology, kung fu elements and more. Again, the implementation appears crude and uninspiring. I walked around the 'town' and talked to the townsfolk. The dialogue system is unwieldy and primitive. Combat? Barely any better. What gives?

06 December 2006

The Most Expensive Cities in the World

From a BBC report compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit:

1st - Oslo, Norway
2nd - Tokyo, Japan
3rd - Reykjavik, Iceland
= 4th - Osaka, Japan
= 4th Paris, France
6th - Copenhagen, Denmark
7th - London, UK
8th - Zurich, Switzerland
9th - Geneva, Switzerland
10th - Helsinki, Finland

Oslo is now the most expensive city in the world. Not surprising.

"The highest placed US city was New York, ranked at number 27." London is placed at 7th. Why am I not surprised... Heh.
MRT Station

The two glass enclosures house the entrance to the forthcoming MRT stations. This is, of course, the station right at the Singapore Arts Museum, previously, St Joseph's Institution.

Escalators can be spotted in the enclosures. Posted by Picasa
Orchard Parade Hotel

The Orchard Parade Hotel was once known as the Ming Court Hotel. After extensive renovation, the renamed hotel with a new facade and layout now houses quite a few restaurants and a Starbucks Cafe.

I have memories of the old Ming Court Hotel. Sadly, I can barely remember the facade today. Posted by Picasa
Self-Propelled Gun, Archer

There was a need for high velocity weapons and the 17-pounder was developed to address that. This was a weapon that could destroy German armour. Unfortunately, most British tanks of the 1942-43 period could not mount such a weapon, leaving the Valentine as the only realistic choice. Hence, the Archer was born.

The Archer was a self-propelled gun mounted with a fixed 17-pounder gun on an open-topped structure at the back!

The Archer equipped British units from March 1944 and proved that mounting the gun at the back was not too major a tactical limitation, instead, it allowed the vehicle to withdraw quickly after firing. The Archer proved to be successful despite being originally intended as an interim type.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
USS Intrepid

According to a BBC report, the USS Intrepid is being towed to a different location for a re-fit. I visited the USS Intrepid in 1992 and had a great time admiring the different aircraft displays in the old aircraft carrier.

I also saw a captured Iraqi tank and mechanised infantry combat vehicle from Operation Desert Storm.

I will put up photos one of these days.

If you haven't been there, it's well-worth a visit in my opinion.
Newton Road

Late afternoon. Images taken with my mobile.

Millennia's Walk

This rather blurred image was taken with my mobile one weekend. Millennia's Walk is probably the first American-style mall in Singapore. The long corridor with shops lined at both sides. I recall seeing these suburban malls when I was attending university in the US in the mid-eighties.

From the lyrics from Snog's 'Shop'

'We're gonna shop 'til we drop
We're gonna shop 'til we drop

When the bargain bins full of useless things
Turn, and bring this world down"

All hail to the consumerist culture of today! Hail Mammon! All hail the gadgets, the i-Pods, the branded shoes, the glittering limited edition DVD boxsets, the mammoth home entertainment systems, slick mobile phones, latest gaming consoles...

Consumerists, get set, reaaaaaaady, GOOOOOOOOOO! The malls are a-open!

Are you buying?

Raffles Place

I am seldom in town during office hours. These are images I took with my mobile during one of the rare occasions earlier this year when I had some banking matters to attend to.

Lunchtime. The corporate wage slaves are rushing for their subsistence. 'Food! Food!' they clamoured!

It's raining and the slaves are a-toiling...

From the lyrics of Snog's 'Corporate Slave'...

"The winds will blow
The profits go down
I'm out of work
My daughter will drown
There's stress in my heart
Blood on your hands
Pushing uphill against the company man"

More lyrics from Snog's 'Corporate Slave'...

"Well I'm just a hard working corporate slave
My mind should hate what my body does crave"

There they are, marching to the rhythm of profits....

"Well im just a humble corporate slave
Driving myself into a corporate grave"

"Its raining in corporate heaven
All the coffers are a singing"

Hotel Royal

I recall visiting the coffee house at Hotel Royal with my parents as a child in the seventies. The place was rather dreary then.

Since then, I haven't been back there.

I took these images with my mobile while I was waiting for a bus one late afternoon.

04 December 2006

Planning with Pencil Sketches

Sometimes, before I attempt a more complicated piece with diffused lighting and shadows, I may do a pencil sketch before I start on ink. This is, of course more elaborate.

This piece has the stream as a central focus. The framing foreground consists of a tree on the right and the river bank with roots and vegetation on the left.

Retiring the old Dell Dimension XPS133i

My faithful old Dell. I have used this heavy machine since 1995 or 1996. Finally, it's given up the ghost.

I had wanted to re-install Windows 98 SE and make this a dedicated machine for older games.

Oh well. It came encased in a hard metal chassis then. Those were the early days when Dell machines were great stuff as compared to the other competing companies.

Thomson Community Club

The late 80s and early 90s saw the height of roleplaying games, strategy games and wargames in Singapore.

Battletech tournaments were held on numerous tables in the basement of Orchard Point as were RPG sessions. Leisurecraft, now defunct after the owners migrated, was the first wargames and RPG store in town and it organised these sessions.

In the early nineties, the Thomson Community Centre was the gathering place for the Thomson CC group of gamers, numbering over ten or so. They would organise large events for Roleplayers.

And these culminated in the first gaming conventions held in Singapore. The Alternate Realities series of conventions. There were even Live Roleplaying events held at Fort Canning where roleplayers would dress up.

I didn't go to these events but many of my compatriots had. They probably had stories to tell of these events.

In those days, the now defunct SAFRA Wargames Club, would hold Panzer Leader tournaments in schools. These would attract hundreds.

The Science Fiction Association of Singapore (SFAS) was active then too and it had a periodic publication named 'Tesseract'. Today? I don't know if they are still around.

Then, the collectible card game arrived in Singapore, namely Magic: The Gathering, and the gaming scene changed. Roleplaying essentially died here, leaving only a few losers who still cling onto D&D today. The gaming scene essentially died and has not recovered since.

Such was the excitement pervading the gaming scene then. Such were the heady days of gaming.