Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Always A Friend' by Alejandro Escovedo on Q TV

I love this song. I hadn't heard it before yesterday but here it is. Makes me want to move back to Austin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hordes Skorne (ish) Style Terrain - Bloodstone Marches

Hey folks,

I'm pretty much done with some terrain for my home table. Since I'm all excited about the Skorne style the terrain is meant to feel like the Bloodstone Marches, or at least what I think it would look like. Since I haven't tried making terrain for years I used different techniques on pretty much every piece just to see what I'd like, but the colors came out consistent enough for my tastes.

I use white bubbly styrofoam and cardboard because it's free and easily available.
Looking back I'd use MDF for the bases instead of cardboard and foamcore.
The tabletop is the regular 4" square and just painted with the same colors as the terrain. The random smeary spots are where the paint from the terrain washes dripped onto the tabletop as I was working on it. tongue.gif Happy accidents are good.

Other than some more little details I'll probably stop working on it since there are a lot of minis to paint now. smile.gif

Hope you like!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hordes - My New Skorne Collection

My Skorne 01
Originally uploaded by drOffset
This is for the games Warmachine and Hordes by Privateer Press.

Well it's official, I'm a Skorneful guy. A big box of minis arrived in the mail today!

So far I have:

1 Skorne Tyrant Xerxis
1 Skorne Epic Lord Assassin Morghoul
1 Skorne Lord Tyrant Hexeris
1 Skorne Archdomina Makeda

1 Skorne Praetorians Unit
1 Skorne Praetorian Swordsman Officer and Standard Bearer
2 Skorne Praetorian blisters

1 Skorne Ancestral Guardian
1 Skorne Titan Cannoneer
1 Skorne Agonizer
1 Skorne Basilisk Drake
1 Skorne Basilisk Krea
1 Skorne Paingiver Beast Handlers
1 Skorne Paingiver Tormentor and Beast Handlers

* 2 Cyclops Savage
* 1 Titan Gladiator
* 1 pMorghoul
* There's a warpack missing but that's coming next week.

So yeah, whatever Mk2 brings, I'm in it.

This is the first wargame I really try to get into, so hopefully the collection focuses on the basics and throws in a couple of options for small games. Comments and suggestions welcome! I'm probably going to sell some other toys to buy more Skorne next month, lol.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NAND Synth Jam 01

This is a random jam done with a NAND Synth I made with a few modifications to the original circuit. I've added phototransistors in each oscillator's feedback loop and momentary toggle switches that connect to big chunky capacitors to mix it up a bit. The amplifier is a Roland Cube 30 providing some reverb.

I was hoping for a big finish where I disconnect the battery and the thing sits there wailing as it dies out but throwing the power leads around must have shorted them together.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WIP of some Skorne Terrain - 02

Progress, and another vid.

Workin on some terrain

Skorne Terrain 03
Originally uploaded by drOffset
Keeping with the Skorne theme...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

3 new videos

I've been making a bit of an effor to start doing some youtube stuff.

The Unfinished Project Show 01
I'm doing a series on the stuff I haven't gotten around to finishing, which is quite a bit. Today's episode is all about puppets. I had big plans to do a web series with drama and comedy and various clever things... But it's probably not going to happen so instead you'll see in-progress videos of building the stuff.

Skorne Terrain for Hordes by Privateer Press
I'm getting into the Privateer Press game called Hordes, so I'm building some terrain bits for my home game table. This will also be a progress thread.

How to make wargame terrain from a coffee cup.

Created for the video contest in the how-to category.

This is a video for wargamers to use simple items to make decent terrain features for their game table. Cheap and easy, that's the whole point. It's easy to get a hold of coffee and soft-drink cups, toilet paper tubes, etc and recycling them for making terrain might help build good habits....mainly habits like hoarding piles of toilet paper tubes and empty plastic containers from the maybe talk to an adult about it first.

The coffee cup is a waxy paper that is close enough to plasticard that it will work for detailing building and vehicle panels and creating structures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Privateer Press releases their new version of Warmachine as a PDF for free.

Now, the reason this intrigues ME is that the documents are completely unillustrated, which leaves things totally to the imagination about how these characters are supposed to look.

After a quick look at the PDFs it would be a blast to design characters and do paper minis based on the text. If only there was the time... I'd pick one of the armies and do a Reptilian redesign theme to it.


To our players:

We have decided to do something radical. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to our forums and talking with our players at the conventions this summer and it’s clear that the anticipation for MkII is driving everyone a little batty. Many are excited, some of you are a little afraid, but the suspense is killing everyone and the speculation is killing us! So after a great deal of deliberation we have decided that the best thing we can do for the mental well-being of our community is to completely change our plans and do what we said we wouldn’t: we’re going to put all of the MkII rules and model information online as PDF downloads, because four more months is just too damn long for everyone to be holding their breath.

There are some disclaimers and explanations that need to accompany this.

First, the rules and stat info are final. While the books and cards are still in layout and will be for the next few weeks before they go to press, this is the final form this information will take. So you can be confident that nothing you see here will change between now and when the rules come out in book form unless we find an editing mistake at the last moment that needs to be corrected. But our development on this is locked. You have the final data.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Papecraft Blasts from the Past

Once upon a time there was a website called Paperworlds. It was an online community of people interested in miniature wargaming using handmade papercraft game pieces. I used to visit that site every day and participate quite a lot. Unfortunately that site died a few seperate times over the past few years despite valiant attempts to revive it. The community has scattered a bit, but there are still a few of the diehards not only keeping the artform alive but really advancing it.

It the spirit of Paperworlds here are some of the old gaming bits I let loose upon the world all those 2 years ago. This stuff is free to use for any non-commercial reason. The titles are links to the zip files.

Your Friendly Robot Overlords

Modular Spaceship - "Bessie"

Various Little Nasties

These are really easy to cut out and assemble. Just print them on a cardstock that is a bit heavier and use a regular white glue or gluestick. I'll post more if I find them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

An Idea for Making Bend Points

I really like using alligator clip leads with my bending. Cheap, easy, awesome.

Here's an idea to pack lots of bend clip points into a small space using rigid metal wire. Hopefully it's useful to someone.

Use some thin rigid metal wire. I like galvanized STEEL.

Cut out a U-shape about a finger's length .

Do a double loop around a pen or something not very thick.

Use your thumb to hold it in place.

Hold the pen steady and twist it!

Remove the pen and here you have it, a nice fishing lure looking thing.

It's a great connection point for alligator clips.

Drill small holes in your instrument.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wargame terrain videos by The Kamloopian

If you like to make dioramas or wargame terrain you need to check out the videos Steve Delaney is making. His website is . He can find a modeling use for just about anything and is generally a very creative guy.

Quicktips 4-Making a Hobbit Hole


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Cheapo keyboard plays itself !

This is just a little idea I've been playing with that you might enjoy. I'm using Lunetta techniques to help bend a toy. First let's get to know the victim:

It's the simplest keyboard I could find, i think i got it for a dollar. The IC is a blobby one, so i focused on learning the basics of keyboard matrices.

Pretty simple, there are groups of buttons, then items within each group.
When you press a key, you're connecting a group and an item and the blobby IC plays it's note.

So how to hack this baby to make it play itself? Here's the plan:

The main job is done by 4052, which is a dual multiplexer. Its big brother 4051 is used quite often in Lunetta machines but I thought I'd give this one a try. This chip can act as a group of analog switches to connect data lines together. Connect four inputs on each side, use logic signals at the A and B pins to select which channels get to the output for each of the two muxes. Connect those two outputs and you're basically rubbing wires together.

And here's what it sounds like. Because I used just a few ICs it's pretty repetitive, so had to turn knobs and change connections to make it do something interesting.

Need to think of better ways to make the 4052's connections have more variety.

Selfplayingcheapo01 by droffset

Instead of using two halves of a 4052 the setup no has an additional 4051 to handle the note selection, while half of the 4052 is still selecting which group of notes to select from.

Selfplayingcheapo02 by droffset
I think i destroyed the circuit, or at least the built in wiring, need to resolder tons of stuff. The bend circuit is more complex than the little crappy thing it's meant for, but the sounds coming out are pretty cool for what it is.

Posted here

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quad MPS panel mockup 1

quad MPS mockup 1
Originally uploaded by drOffset
Here is a mock-up of some panel design for the quad MPSs based on the four elements. Each 19" panel is 3U tall.

It's really sketchy, will replace that with nice crisp vector graphics when it's all said and done. Will get it printed out on a nice surface. It might be a bit too busy.

Currently going through inner conflict...torn between spending the money on the tiny 9mm pots or going for the bigger ones that are WAY less expensive.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DIY Synth Pr0n

DIY Synth Pr0n
Originally uploaded by drOffset
Collection of PCBs for a Drum synth project.

MD24 MIDI to Gate PCB by Highly liquid
2x CGS Gate to Trigger Converters
4x Thomas Henry Mega Percussive Synth
1x Ken Stone CGS Cynare
3x Coron DS8 clones by m.Bareille
2x Thomas Henry UD-1
1 set of Klee Sequencer by Scott Sites

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gotta love the simplicity of this. Noise is something people usually try to avoid, but it actually has a lot of practical applications, from testing audio gear, to aiding concentration to simulating electronic instruments.

White noise on Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I was on the radio !

Hey folks, Les is a member of the forum under the name Inventor.  He does a weekly internet radio show hosted by the site and this week he featured the strange CMOS synths called Lunettas.  And two of me pieces were played!  There were also contributions from some of the other members of the forum, you'll be suprised at the variety of sounds available from these little buggers.

Here's a link to the show:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More progress on my Lunetta CMOS Synth

Ok it has been to long....

Time for progress shots of my Lunetta CMOS Synth! As you know the concept of behind this machine is to use 4000 series logic chips wherever possible and to keep any invloved circuit as simple as possible in it's construction. Mine used to live in a cardboard box. That is slowly changing.

The panel work continues, and adding more modules as I go:
Top Row:
6x 40106 oscs
555 timer

Bottom Row:
Little Summers
3x R/2R DACs
1x Portamento
Space for the Simple Diode VCAs Richard64 linked to. (Will also do the other two he posted as panels.)
2x YAVCO (One so far)
2x NAND VCO (One so far)
2x 4051/4017 Melody Gens (One so far)
4 Channel Mixer with 1/4" out

And there's another shelf under this to fill.

Next up are some parts of my growing portable kit.

All the patching will be done with header leads and those cool breadboard connector leads that come in big bundles.

The Clockinator : 4 4093 PWM oscs hardwired to 4x 4040s
Shifty NAND Squid : Hardwired NAND > 4015s
NAND Photo Synth ! Just for fun. Output to guitar amp, finally a use for my phototransistors, plus these wierd momentary toggle switches i picked up along the way... More on that in another post.

Hope you like!

The wiring continues...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain

Oh man....Wow.... A friend sent me this with the following text.

According to legend, George Clinton, under the influence of LSD, told Eddie Hazel to play the first half of the song like his mother had just died and to play the second half as if he had found out she was alive (other variants of the story suggest that he was simply told to play as if he had found his mother dead.) The result was the 10-minute guitar solo for which Hazel is most fondly remembered by many music critics and fans. Though several other musicians began the track playing, Clinton soon realized the power of Hazel's solo and faded them out so that the focus would be on Hazel's guitar (the band can only truly be heard during the end of the song, and even then, it is barely audible.) The entire track was recorded in one take.[1] The solo is played in a pentatonic minor scale in the key of E over another guitar track of a simple arpeggio. Hazel's solo was played through a fuzzbox and a wah pedal; some sections of the song utilize a delay effect. This style would be revisited later in Standing on the Verge of Getting It On on the track "Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts". The original version with full band accompaniment was released in 1997 on the album "Funkadelic Finest".

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Offset Groovtasticator - A Lunetta CMOS Synth

Originally uploaded by drOffset
This is the latest iteration of my DIY Lunetta CMOS Synth, it's based loosely on the Lunetta design principles defined at

It's a mix of old and new modules repackaged in a nice bookshelf thingy, the panels are about 10 inches high.

Top Row:
6x 40106 oscillators
555 timer
4040 divider
4094 shift register
4017 counter
4x each of NAND , NOR , XOR

Middle Row Needs Paneling:
Little 386 Amp with output to mp3 recorder
a coinflip cirtuit based on two 4011 VCOs
4017/4051 melodgy gen
3x R/2R dacs with 1 portamento to use the last opamp in the LM324
a panel of various resistor combinations for summing and cv

Bottom row....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wierd Sound Generator - Complete!

Wierd Sound Generator
Originally uploaded by drOffset
Ray Wilson is the creator of the website . There you can find lots of great analog synth projects for varying skill levels. This one is the WSG, the Wierd Sound Generator. I ordered the printed circuit board from Ray and it was sent all the way to New Zealand in a nice timely fashion.

The build itself was pretty easy, the board wasn't hard to populate and I managed to fit the whole thing into an old cassette carry case that I found at an OpShop for 50 cents.

The hardest part was the wiring of all those potentiometers. It wasn't so much difficult as it was time consuming, but you definitely get a better result in the resulting sound when you take your time and do a tidy job of the wiring connections.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Virtual World Discussion tomorrow - Emerging Trends in Game Development

Just got an email from Metaplace/SL user Herdpress:

You are cordially invited to attend the first group discussion to be held at my new world, Interval. Interval is a world created for the purpose of hosting cross-world group discussions that occur simultaneously within the virtual worlds of Metaplace and Second Life.

When: Friday, April 10th, 12:00PM PDT


Topic: Idea Exchange: Emerging Trends in Game Development.


This event will be an informal group discussion loosely led by Raph Koster, Adri Haik, and myself. We will present some trends that were discussed at GDC, discuss our experience with the trends, how we see them playing out, how they impact our work, etc, and we will take whatever opportunities we can to engage the audience and encourage group participation in the discussion.

Possible trends to discuss:
- Microcontent
- Social game development
- Free-to-play MMOs
- Engagement and retention

This event will be held simultaneously in Metaplace and Second Life. I will be in both virtual worlds simultaneously, but chatting (via text) through Second Life. Raph will be chatting from Metaplace. Adri will be chatting from Second Life. Attendees will participate from both virtual worlds and will include both people working within the virtual world/gaming industries and consumers interested in emerging trends in game development. You are welcome to invite anyone you like.

The event is brought to you courtesy of GSD&M Idea City.


Metaplace Catch-Up - I have Beta Invites !

Wow how time flies. I was really involved in Metaplace from the mid-Alpha days and took a break from it to draw concept art and build puppets and make analog synths and renew my love for guitar. So I made it a point to go back to Metaplace and see how Raph and the gang were doing.

And yeah, it rocks.

So here's my av, I've made it up to Lvl 18 so far.

You earn points by using the various parts of the system. SO if you explore people's worlds, rate and comment on them, you get points, and coin.

How about a massive screenie!?!?

Here's a screenshot of the metaplace build tools:


There are toolbars and menus to create the various aspects of your world, and some of the elements are shown here. Animations are imported via spritesheets, here's an example of a spritesheet:



I create mine in Maya "cuz I is well 'ard." But you can use whatever software you want. I'll post some tutorials, tips and tricks as time goes on.

So you use those sprites, with some scripting, to create objects. Those are objects on the left hand side that I've made. It could be a chair or a character or wandering toilet. I've made a goblin, a sqronk (a little cute one-eyed monster of Raph's design) and some other goodies. I plan to sell them on the marketplace to make some coin.

Coin you say? I can sense all the SLers' ears perking up. Yes there is a marketplace where you'll be able to sell the things you make. I'm making animated art, monsters and energy style effects for people to import into their worlds. Here's what my items look like on the marketplace, just do a search for 'droffset'


Real Money Transactions (RMT) aren't happening yet, that's more down the track as the system gets going.

So when is OPEN BETA? The official answer is 'When it's ready.' But you can get an invite from me by sending me your email address! Join now!

I'm allowed to post info about the closed beta, so stay tuned for more MP coverage here at the Creature Lab.

In fact, why not join and visit my world?

For more coverage check out:

Lunarraid's video reviews and blog:
Lunarraid is a very creative guy who is doing some great coverage of the MP world.

Raph created Metaplace, check his site out too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Andres Segovia - Asturias

Waaay back in the day, by dad had a cassette of Andres Segovia's guitar playing and this was one of the pieces on it. Dad had a good classical nylon string guitar that i still have today and i would sit there for hours listening to the tape and trying to figure out how to play what i heard. This one is permenantly burned into my memory.

Logging Spider on Flickr

logging spider
Originally uploaded by Avi_Abrams
A Robot Spider with a chainsaw. Just add lasers or a flamethrower and it's perfect.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jools Holland interviews Sting (The Police)

Process process process. I'm infatuated with how people do things. I think I'm more interested in how people do things than how a thing is done. Does that make sense?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Edward Van Halen Interview 1982 Part 6

This is awesome, an old telephone interview from 1982 where Eddie reveals the first recording of "Jump" heard ANYWHERE, and it was just him on the phone talking to a writer from Guitar World magazine.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Lunetta CMOS Synth is Born

A lot has changed since this first article. I've learned more about electronics and refined the way I build these machines. I've even started documentation about the project with the help of

See this link to see all of my posts about these fun DIY machines.

I like to try new things here at the Creature Laboratorium. Lately I've dipped a toe into the world of electronic music and analog/digital synths. The main purpose was to learn how to control motors for my puppets (yes I'm still doing that) but it turned into making sound effects for the videos. Now I can't stop. The good people at have been really helpful in getting some projects going. I'll need to post pics and audio of my Atari Punk Console and the Wierd Sound Generator, but take a look at this. This is my Lunetta.

The basic idea of a Lunetta is to only use CMOS Integrated circuits, meaning the 4000 series. Sounds technical? Well sure, it is at first. You're basically taking the pins of the ICs and connecting them straight to jacks that you can connect together. There is no limit to the amount of bleeps and bloops this thing will make. I've broken from the guidelines a bit and started adding anything I've already made, a siren, some tone generators, a 555 timer. More on the way.

Here's a sample of what mine does. I haven't used any effects, just some editing and cross fades.

It may not look all that flash, but it's a screamer alright! I'll make a nicer enclosure once a few more modules are complete.

Check out The Electro-Music Lunetta forum for more info!

See this link to see all of my posts about these fun DIY machines.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

“Why do the 130-in-1 Electronics Kit audio circuits need an audio transformer?”

I'm going through the sound effect circuits in the Maxitronix 130 in 1 Electronics kit and building some on actual circuit boards, but I'm curious about why these circuits all require an audio transformer before plugging into the speaker?

If you compare them to similar sound effect circuits, like the "atari punk console" and kits sold by radio shack, dick smith electronics, and , many of them plug right into speakers or an amp, without a transformer, which seems preferable. Any way to convert the kit circuits into transformerless ones?

A good side question is why the center connection on the three-prong side is used, usually by what looks like the ground/negative line of the circuit.

Open question, anyone can answer, anyone have some info?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome President Obama !

I'm so happy right now.

Even though I'm living in a different country at the moment I can feel the positive vibe all over the place. Over here there's a tentative optimism, most of the 'others' I talk to are hoping President Obama is going to do a good job. They can see that he's intelligent and is surrounding himself with intelligent people.

For the Americans I talk to here it's like that relieved breath you take when that aching tooth is finally pulled out. The source of the hurt is out and while you still have a bleeding hole in your mouth you know that the situation is improving and you can get to work rebuilding your wellness.

For my part I don't expect him to solve every problem that exists but I do think he's going to do what he can to make a positive impact. There are some skeptics around who wouldn't trust anyone who's in the office, except that libertarian guy, but they aren't going to dull my good mood.

Instead I'm going to try to live up to the spirit of his call to action. Helping other people, setting a good example, appreciating what I have, not wasting my money on useless crap, saving money, build sound assets to make money, taking responsibility for and ownership of the state of my family's wellness, and promoting positive change in the community.

Good job my fellow Americans, we made something very good happen when we voted him in. But while we should expect President Obama to live up to his word, we'd better live up to our end of the bargain too.

Ok, that's it for the politics.
Peace !

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Richard St. John: Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes

This boils it all down, doesn't it?

One of the comments below the video reads 'if only it were that simple.' And to tell the truth i think it really is that simple. Simple in that the concepts are really easy to grasp. Where people fall i think is that they're looking for the easy way out. Be successful without putting in any effort. I used to teach at a university and the most common way that students would begin a question was "what's the easiest way to..."

While I'm a big fan of keeping things simple, it's really important to be able to come up with the most effective way to do something rather than the easiest.

After all, if these things were easy, everyone would be doing them.

So I read a lot about people who are intensely creative, very prolific, and financially successful and this video is a good way to collect a lot of those thoughts for a sort of concise reminder of the way, the path, the recipe.

Love what you do, think about it a lot, do it a lot, try to improve, try to do some good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2 Awesome FREE Software Synths for Windows

I'm in the heat of a heated auction for a Novation NOVA and I just might lose.

Luckily there are two options for getting those amazing sounds needed for my various projects that need sound.



DL now !
pew pew pew !