Sunday, 22 April 2018

Miniature Picture Editing

One feedback I got from the first photobox results was that I should, now that the picture quality itself was improved, also should care more about image post-processing (as if I am not doing enough of that on my job...). Until now, my routine was, using Irfanview, to crop and resize the image, apply automatic corrections and then just play a bit with brightness, contrast and saturation.
Now, I browsed a bit, installed Raw Therapee and startet moving ledgers. For comparison, I present the same picture raw, as previously shown, and with the new settings:

Old post-processing
New post-processing
I hope the white should be whiter now, the edges sharper and the contrast/saturation less over-abused.

Next will be more test on other miniatures like some good old pink high elves. Feedback is always appreciated!

Stay epic!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Requiem For Uncharted Seas, Part II: Thaniras Elves Cruisers

This is the next part of the requiem for my Unchartes Seas miniatures: Today, I present the three cruiser types for the Thaniras Eves. First one ist the original one featuring sails:

I have to admit, I never found them to be very useful in game. I preferred their orb-powered equivalents that also came with enough boarding troops to actually not die to a frigate in melee.

Maybe not needing to paint sails also influenced my blatant favouritism here. The last ones, heavy cruisers, were the ultimate release for the Thaniras Elves before the system faded away. The fact that I did not even bother to paint them shows that they already came too late.

Next time, there might be dragons.

Stay epic!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Gaming Memories: Imperialism

One of the older games I like to still play now and then over 20 years later: Imperialism. This game, as the name might imply, simulates being in charge of an expanding early industrial nation in the 19th century (either a random "fantasy" world or a historic Europe scenario). Luckily, it does not try to simulate every little thing that could be done, but focuses on a few mechanics that reflect the times politics quite well I think: Production and recruitment only happen in your capital, where you expand factories, build ships, railroad cars and such. It is your first task to connect your countryside to your capital via ship or train, which purpose is basically to just supply resources to your centralised state: Food, wood, iron, coal and a few more, with the later addition of oil.
Money for your budget comes, aside from gold or gem mines, only from trading, which requires even more resources to produce export goods like textiles, weapons, tools or furniture. To further this, you can make smaller countries your colonies, leading to them selling cheap raw materials to you and buying your processed goods.
It might be simplified, but to me, it shows how centralisation, resource exploitation and colonialism work very well. As an adolescent, I also learned quite a few things about history from the games tech progress. Going till 1915, you can develop early modern arms, leading to an approximation of WW1's meat grinder if you try to charge into 30 fortified artillery units.

You may either win by conquest (try before the aforementioned situation occurs) or by being elected world leader (also happening if you conquer enough clay).

In my experience, the higher difficulties are brutal, but the funny random country and province names as well as the quarterly newspaper let you fail in enjoyment.

On easy difficulties, it is nice relaxing game caring about cotton, wool and wood shipments. Just a few more guns than Settlers of Catan. Added benefit: It runs on any kind of wimpy Notebook if needed and is available on

There is actually a second part, set in the age of colonialism, but I never warmed up to it.

Stay epic!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Requiem For Uncharted Seas, Part I: Thaniras Elves Battleships

Once upon a time, some friends and me were playing a promising tabletop game called Uncharted Seas. Fantasy warships, airships and monsters cruising through, well, unknown and uncharted seas, battling others in the usual struggle for supremacy.
After said promising start, within a one or two years or so, new releases stopped as the producer Spartan Games discovered that its SciFi setting Firestorm Armada and Steampunk setting Dystopian Wars sold better (admittedly, if Dystopian Wars came first I would never have bothered with Uncharted Seas too). Without releases and a broad fanbase the actually pretty reasonably priced game did wither away (at least I know no one playing it anymore and have so far unsuccessfully tried to ell my minis in Austria).
Using the newly inaugurated photo box, I decided to do a pictoral requiem for the two fleets I have collected. One, the Thaniras Elves fleet, is fully painted, while the other, Sky Pirates got stuck in WIP. I had done a few conversions with models from other factions, as only two different models were ever released.

But without further ado, let's start with the two kind of battleship the Thaniras Elves fleets can muster:

As you can see, I went for a dark wood, golden trimmings and black flag design with this fleet. One remarkable detail: For all ship sizes, this fleet features classes using sails (depending on the winds) and classes using magical orbs for propulsion (independent of the winds and my favourites).

My general impression was that this fleet was on the lower end of power, with squishy ships and low boarding power. I know, squishy elves and such, but their background makes them incredibly warlike, but in practice everyone can bash their heads in.

Next time: Heavy cruisers.

Stay Epic!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Science communication: Where you can find me speaking and presenting in the near future

In my opinion, as important as science-ing is the communication of your topic and results to the interested public. Therefore I strife to do exactly this, resulting in some events/event participations to announce!

For starters, the "Lange Nacht der Forschung" i.e. the long night of science on the 13.4.2018 draws closer. Our centre will show of our equipment and research in guided tours between 17:00 and 20:00.  As soon as the details are available online, you will find them here! If you cannot come or represent a bigger group, please feel free to contact me for an extra tour at another date.

Soon afterwards, I will talk about the effects of magnetic field onto humans at the Volkshochschule Donaustadt (adult education centre), details are available here.

I will also present a poster about my recent scientific work at the CCC-TRIO – Translational Research & Immuno-Oncology symposium here in Vienna on the 6.4.2018, but this is a bit too specific for the general audience, I guess.

For the younger generation, I will also organise courses for the children's university in summer, but its program will only be online in May.

More interesting will be a special surprise for late 2018 that I will announce in the future.

Stay tuned and epic and see you soon.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Arcade Memories: Out Run et al.

While in general, I am too young and from a region without big gaming arcades back in the time (at least to my knowledge), there were some placed at the ice skating rink of my hometown, presumably many years after their original releases. While there where several ones (one must have been Michael Jackson's Moonwalker), the one that got stuck most in my memory was Out Run, a racing game with the objective to finish a course using a sport scar versus a strict timer.
I do not remember if I just watched others back then or how I fared back then if I tried. But as nowadays you can just play it online, for example on via streamed arcade emulator, I gave it another run. I could not even finish the first level. Arcade games were serious business, that would not go easy on you (as they wanted your money and where often quite short, this is not even surprising).

Apart from the ice rink, I remember a gaming arcade at the holiday resort in Croatia my family visited several times. There, I saw Ghosts n' Goblins for the first time! I also do remember one other game about a bald guy with a naginata and other Japanese weapons that I have not identified so far. If anyone has a clue of what game I am talking about, I would be really happy if you comment on it.

Stay Epic!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Photobox: First Tests

During the last weeks, I did some constructing and testing for my photobox project. After a bit of thinking, the box itself was quickly done from an amazon cardboard box, baking parchment and tape.

The trickier part is the illumination. While I got one LED-desk lamp for testing, I was lucky to be able to borrow two illumination units from an expert photographer, leading to a first test:

Zooming in onto the minatures shows some promise:

Definitely a major quality improvement incoming here!

Here is a second test series. First a picture made with my camera:
And one with the phone:

As now the lighting is improved, I fear that also a better suited camera might be necessary...

Also, I am still not sure if I should go for only white light or as in the pictures, a bit of yellow. Seems like I should research a bit about colour temparatures.

Stay Epic (And Tuned)!