1. It seems like it took forever for Spring to get here this year in Michigan. I suppose it did give me more time to build and tinker with shit before immediately setting off to destroy it - so that's ok I suppose.

    I'm starting an aerial mapping/surveying/site inspection with a friend and neighbor - we bought a couple of phantom 3 pros and have been upgrading and learning how to really use the 4k camera. It's crazy to think about the technology that's in my quad - let alone my long range, fixed wing 'workhorse' aircraft.

    Here's my latest build - it's another F-18 Striker scratch build. I hand cut every part, made every last little control linkage - 100% hand made. It's laminated with .5mil super durable plastic that I used a
    'covering iron' (looks like a small hot iron) to heat it up and activate the glue - then smooth it out. It turned out really great. I was concerned about the weight with my custom, tape striping job - for lack of a better description. It's made from 6mm thick grey depron foam that I then used yellow and black .2mil colored tape - then finally laminated over the whole thing, piece at a time for the most part.When you heat it up and it sticks to the foam, the foam melts a little bit too (not noticeably) but it makes it like a hard plastic shell. It's amazingly durable.

    I had mechanical failure on my RangerEX and it ended up cratering in a field (luckily with minimal damage) the wing and elevator/rudder were 100% undamaged - and fuselage being hard ABS plastic injection molded didn't even get a scratch, just dirty which easily washed off. It's pretty awesome, I can't wait to make a small front yard acrobat flyer and wrap the whole thing in .5mil laminate - it will literally be unbreakable.

    It only ended up weighing 1 LB on the dot. 16 oz flight weight with no battery. The same friend who I'm starting the new business with built a F18, same plans and everything - his ended up weighing a whopping 1.4 LB 20 oz and some change. He painted his (less durable and doesnt look all shiney) that's a 40% increase in weight from the same designs - I was able to use a 2650mah 3s pack and fly for 15 minutes at varied cruise, acrobat throttle - and about 7-8 minutes balls to the wall (about 90 mph) that's 7 or 8 minutes worth of white knuckle, holy shit fun!

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    Now for some nice pictures from the Phantom 3 Pro. The 4k resolution cameras are able to capture ultra high definition images that are able to be run through software (like Drone Deploy) and map out a full 3D rendered image from that composite. With the extend range antenna I installed - I can fly roughly 20,000ft away - LOS of course. The real reason I got the antenna was to improve the 720p video feed to my iPad Air2 - it also increases object penetration for flying in obstructed areas like forests or cities.

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    The wind has been crazy strong the last few weeks - so I haven't had the chance to fly much but I've been working on a million other things. These pics are from the last couple of weeks - I have a bunch of video as well but 4k, even when edited and compressed - are still huge file sizes, so I haven't really uploaded anything I can share but I'll work on that.

    I haven't decided what I'm going to build next - but I'm leaning towards a 250mm-300mm race FPV quad. I was talking to a friend the other day about them - kinda got the bug, which coincidentally they kind of look like!

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    We'll see - I'm sure I'll post some pics when I finally decide :)

    There was a million dollar race in Dubai last year. Crazy right? I'm game, lol... Maybe I'll teach my kids and start a racing team! haha.

  2. Some pics of my Summer/Fall projects. Lots of time outside this summer, needed a break - and got a great one.

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    (in the far kayak)

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    (newest addiction FPV)

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  3. Just ordered it yesterday! It was on sale from $399 to $259 to I picked one up (shay's the best!)

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    Specifications:
    Wing span: 1850mm/73in
    Length: 1765mm/69in
    Wing area: 54sq.dm
    Engine: 30CC
    Empty weight: 2900-3000g (6 pounds is 1/2 the weight of a typical 70" plane)
    Radio: 4-6Channels
    Carbon Fiber Version
    Carbon Fiber Roll Tube: 19*17*750mm ((Optional choice: FP2024))
    Carbon Fiber Roll Tube: 8*6*280mm ((Optional choice: FP2006))
    Equipped Fuel Tank: 380ml/380cc
    Center-of-Gravity Location: 147mm

    Features:
    Strong Light Weight Construction
    Professional designed for 3D and precision aerobatics
    Latest structure
    High structural strength
    Two pieces of removable wings
    Super quality
    Excellent aerobatics and 3D performance
    Easy installation
    Fully symmetrical aerofoil tail wing
    Complete accessories
    High performance hardware including: Ball linkage control system; PU wheels; C.F.Tube; Carbon Landing gear;
    No exterior screws exposed;
    Removable wings; Pre mounted and painted Canopy;
    All control horns included
    Carbon Fiber accessories:
    -Carbon Fiber wing tube include
    -Carbon Fiber tail wing tube include
    -Carbon Fiber landing gear include
    -Carbon Fiber tail wheel include
    Laser cut engine mounting templates
    Canister room ready for different size canister.

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  4. Was about 25 pieces to make, I used 6mm Depron foam - here's a really early on shot of the top and bottom

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    It has a 36" Wingspan and it's 38" Long.
    2200KV Brushless outrunner motor
    spectrum A5100 reciever
    4x 9g hobbywing brass gear servo
    2 and 1/2 sheets 6mm Depron foam
    and a good few hours of manufacturing and assembly.
    Cruise speed 75+mph - Dives 95+
    Turnegy nano-tech 3s 1600mah lipo battery packs

    I use a DX6i Radio for my planes. So far I really like it, it's nice and smooth and you're able to take the back plate off and adjust all the tension plates for everything on the radio, really great to be able to do it so easily.

    All in all the jet is about $50 worth of stuff and probably 15-20 hours worth of work up to this point, taking my time. I'm sure once I build a few different planes/jets I'll be less worried about fucking something up but for now, I'm taking my time with it.

    I plan to fly it a few times and if I don't turn it into a pile of confetti, I'll give it a nice paint job and shelf it - since it's my first ever build. I'd really like to hang on to it :)

    After I get done with this one and get to fly it, I'll update the blog with maybe some video of the final jet and it's maiden flight.

    That all for now! :)

    Thanks for reading.
  5. I've recently gotten into flying. This is my first plane, I went with a more advanced '3D' style plane since I've gotten a bunch of hours logged on the simulator (lulz) I can actually fly pretty good considering I've only actually flown this thing a handful of times.

    I went out today but it's jut too windy /sadface.

    I'm in the process of building my first place form scratch - it's a F-18 hornet and I'm making it out of 6mm Depron foam, I've got it about 75% complete right now, waiting on some control horns to come in for the back elevators, with the ailerons and flapperons only being 1 layer thick, I needed a little more stability than shaping a Popsicle stick and hot gluing it in. The jet should go about 75 mph at cruise and who knows how fast on a dive.\

    Now for a few pics of my Dynam :)


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  6. Archeage NA Alpha Test Feedback


    Preface:
    I am a seasoned, veteran gamer by definition. I started off back in the early 90’s with a little 8-bit game called Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds and have played countless MMO/FPS/RTS/ games since then. I have been fortunate enough to get this invitation because of: Lords of the Dead - they are a great community and have been our* home for the last 6 years. (wife and I) I am very much enjoying Archeage and look forward to my testing every day. Here is my running feedback thread and impressions and bugs while testing. As I have worked on, read through and polished this feedback several times - it has turned into more of a ‘why I love Archeage’ as opposed to ‘unbiased feedback’. That’s not to say there isn’t valuable feedback within, only a testament that I have completely enjoyed my time testing Archeage. The game is extremely polished - the only thing it lacks from a ‘finished game’ perspective are the english VO or dubs for the cut-scenes, some casting bars, character VO and NPC VO.

    Character Creation:
    Amazing detail in almost every aspect. By far the most complete (minus needing more hairstyles, body colors and some other minor gripes) but the most complete experience in customizing a character that I’ve ever experienced. You can adjust EVERYTHING! I would call character creation in AA, Epic. Not a lot needs to be said other than Amazing - and you need to see it for yourself.

    Starting off / First Impressions:

    I’ve been watching AA for a few years, while trying not to spoil the little surprises here and there - when I finally got to play the game - but more than enough to know that there were some amazing systems in place to keep people busy.


    I admit it, I was overwhelmed at first by the sheer scope of AA. I feel like most people, even veteran gamers will feel lost in the sea of quests - at the first 10 levels of the game. There’s really no tutorial or in game info on any of the archetypes available to play - aside from mousing over their skills and reading the tool tips. I feel like there should be a short tutorial that goes over the basic ‘Trinity’ archetypes - to help people get their bearings and make better informed decisions. Ultimately this will make everyone a lot happier with their choices down the road. There are some amazing combinations to say the least.


    The quest hub, bread crumb chains leading from town to town and zone to zone are nicely done. It does take away a fair amount of freedom in exploration but there are so many other aspects of the game to get lost in, I didn’t mind the hub style questing. The array of quests starting off does make for some heavy reading - filling your head with tons of info about crafting, farming, refining, etc… Also a fair amount of hand holding on the crafting stuff, which was nice because honestly, it was confusing at first. Once you get the hang of things (that takes a while) the game offers player of every type fun, mostly well thought out, polished content.


    The DX9 client runs much better on my machine, like 30+ FPS and Way more smooth. The DX11 gave me texture bugs very often, making me restart the game because I couldn't see the plants to pick when it bugged out. The DX11 client is terrible as it sits.


    Overall, the initial experience with AA left me wanting to play more, to see more and to FEED MY DUCKS! The leveling curve is smooth and fast paced with a ton of different activities to gain XP from. It’s amazing how many different things you do in a single play session of Archeage.

    Crafting / Professions:
    Holy Sh*t… That’s what I have to say about the crafting system in Archeage. In a traditional game - you go kill X Y Z or run around a zone clicking things until you have enough material to craft. You still do some of that here but mostly you Farm. I don’t mean the normal ‘go kill 100 things’ I mean - you go make a farm and plant seeds or saplings or livestock. You raise it or grow it from scratch. It still takes you about the same amount of time to, literally farm things - as opposed to the more traditional ‘grind farming’ There’s a need for you to use many crafting professions just to make 1 item. Sometimes you need an alchemy ingredient or maybe you need something a blacksmith makes to finish a fishing pole or piece of furniture for your house. There’s a synergy with crafting that requires you to work with others to achieve something like a Castle, Galleon or better yet - found your own country! You need crafting to do any of that - and lots of it! It’s all very enjoyable and easy to pick up once you’ve finished all the trade route quests or the Blue-Salt chains - you’ll be a master of crafting in no time.

    Trade Routes:
    Trade routes are the ‘lifeblood’ of AA. You grow the items in your farm(s), buy the trade certificate and find the right ‘specialty crafting machine’ there’s 1 in every zone - and combine the ingredients with the certificate and boom, ya got yourself a trade pack to deliver. As reward you can choose either gold (money) or Gilda Stars (a type of currency to buy boats, houses, gliders, all kinds of stuff.) You basically need Gilda Stars to do all the cool stuff in AA. Some trade routes are over land and you travel by donkey, some you can ride the airship - and some go by boat to the PIRATE ISLAND! (that’s right there’s a pirates’ island) TO progress through the crafting/trade part of the game you have to do a pretty long and time consuming quest chain but are rewarded with a farm 4 times the size of the small one you got starting out.

    Farming:
    If Trade routes are the life blood, then Farming is easily the heartbeat of Archeage. With Farming, all things are possible. Without it…. You’ll be spending a huge amount of gold buying what you’ll need… TO DO EVERYTHING, lol. There are even underwater farms! That’s right, you can grow your own coral for jewelry or ingredients for cooking. There are literally a hundred things to plant, seed or raise in archeage farming. The scale is epic but it starts you off with baby steps, most of the beginning is like this so it’s a nice way of easing you into the world of Farming. This is another area where I could do an entire review (and likely will) of the Farming systems - they are simply to vast to cover in a short summary/feedback paragraph. I don’t know why I enjoy farming so much, but I do! There is simply too much to cover about farming - but to summarize things I would say… You NEED farming, it’s the main way of progression in AA. You NEED to do your trade quests, all of which require you to grow something. Sometimes I hate farming because of the massive time sink that it is but at the same time I like the natural progression of farming visa-vi quests.

    Combat:
    The combat offers nothing new or groundbreaking. It’s a simple tab target with added combo effects on just about every skill in the game. Example: While snared, target takes X% more damage. Open with a snare, follow up with combo attacks. There a lot of ‘skill rotation’ in the combat which I like but at the same time can give you carpal tunnel. There are some cool combinations you can play with in groups, adding an extra layer to the combat system.


    PvE combat is good. The AI on the creatures are well done, even the pets and mounts have decent follow/attack AI. It’s nice not to have to worry about things as mundane as pet management, specially since you always have a pet out. It’s also very nice that you’re able to loot and talk to the quest/store NPCs while mounted - awesome! Combat is responsive and I’ve never been 1 shot by anyone (even a L50 Sorc) so that’s a plus. Most games these days are all about wham/bam and it’s over. I enjoy the more tactical PvP in Archeage. When the sieges start all that will change of course, but for smaller groups, pirates or mercs, the open world PvP is fantastic.

    Dungeons:

    I’ve gotten to do Sharpwind Mines a few times and I really enjoy the run. The first time though I was suprised around every corner with the attention to detail. There were a few twists and turns which made for ‘Whoa!’ moments for the whole group - everyone enjoyed it. So far everything seems pretty straight forward and we’re going to try to hit up the next 2 lvl 30 dungeons this weekend. If all of the dungeons are as artfully crafted and polished as Sharpwind - this is going to be an amazing game.

    Mounts / Travel:
    Archeage has by far and away - the best mount system I’ve ever played with. There are normal mounts of every shape, size and color… Did I mention they all have special abilities for their riders to use? There are also Gliders! Gliders, like the mounts of every shape, size and color. They also have special abilities like Barrage of arrows or bomb drop! I love the gliders, love love love! There’s also a ton of other stuff like Boats. Big boats, little boats… From Trade vessels and War ships! It’s amazing, it’s so epic building a giant ship too. I’ve built the cutter and the merchant trader so far and both were an epic experience. The Trader is awesome and I can’t imagine going back to life without one.


    Not only is there a HUGE selection of mounts, there is an equally huge selection of mount accessories like armor and crests to display you or your guilds awesomeness! You can deck your pack donkey out with leg plates that increase his speed by 10% or give your horse a saddle or helmet that increases their toughness in battle. Did I mention there’s a little mounted combat? Yep.


    So as I started out by saying - AA has the most complete and robust mount/travel vehicles of any game I’ve ever played - hands down.

    Housing:
    The housing in AA reminds me so much of UO. That’s a very good thing to most people, including myself as I would compare a lot of Archeage to Ultima Online. Mostly flattering comparisons of the 2 games as I had fond memories of UO. You can accessorize your house from the very start.


    There are about 4-5 different type architect design houses and in those 4-5 - there are another 5-6 color styles of the houses. Example: Small Nuian house can be… Blue roof, white brick, wood door. Or - Red roof, wood walls, blue door - Or Etc… There are many different styles of houses in each category: Small, Medium, Large and Mansion. There are also castles, walls, towers and a selection of siege equipment.


    You can furnish your house with Gilda stars or make your own swag as a Carpenter. Things like: Bookcases, chairs, beds, tables, rugs, lights, art, monster trophies and that’s just scratching the surface on housing - I could dedicate an entire write up to all of the summaries I’ve done here, housing is no exception. It is very polished and offers a robust assortment of loot to make your home nice and cozy.


    The housing is all very well implemented and thought out. The little area where we built our house has become a bustling metropolis as of late, houses and farms popping up all over is a pretty awesome thing to see over the course of playing this last week. I can only imagine what retail is going to be like. I’ve been writing this review/feedback for almost a month now and the place where we choose in Two Crowns to settle is complete chaos now. There is not a single spot free for anything there.


    Update # ONE


    Trade Quests:
    The trade quests are crazy stressful if you take a full merchant ship to the other continent, you’re probably going to have a bad day. Safety in numbers for that kind of activity but thankfully we have the Alpha to refine things. The ‘alliance guards’ in the towns really suck, there are issues with not being able to fight back depending on where you are in relation to the person attacking you in a town. You can always go to a ‘safer’ drop off for the trade routes, there are multiple drop locations that reward you with how far you’ve gone to deliver the goods. With great risk, comes great reward.

    Fishing:
    Fishing is madness. The complaints I have about the inventory management only get worse after I go fish. It’s like the ocean threw up in my backpack. Worms are slow to get, there’s a million kinds of fish and you need like 3 different stacks of 100 each to make the Music paper (what?) I was really excited to try the fishing out - I have a lot of mixed feelings about it currently - I would like to try the ‘deep sea fishing’ because that’s a whole minigame thing, but I can't find any info on where I find the bait I need. Fishing from shore will be done almost completely by ‘afk-macro’ which is a shame, but normal fishing isn’t all the entertaining anyway. Hopefully the Deepsea fishing will be!

    Leveling:
    The 30s were slowing down but once I hit 40 came to almost a creep- but that’s just because of how the zones are in the upper levels. Everything is contested for most of the day - there are breaks of ‘peace time’ but I never see, to hit them. Solo leveling is difficult in the upper zones because of how small these zones are, the players are densely crammed into these contested zones. PvP happens constantly and while fun, slows your leveling down substantially and while it’s fun ‘hunting in a group’ getting assjammed while solo by 2-3 50’s is no bueno. Because of the ‘criminal system’ and the 3rd Pirate Faction… People sometimes go out of their way to be asshats with the hopes they will get reported. Sometimes this means a 50 (most of the time actually) means a 50 is in your L30 contested zone facerolling people, there is literally no chance 2-3 L30s have of killing an even slightly geared 50 combat class (like Ranger or Sorc) I did a lot of crafting which let me skip zones - I have almost 4k LP cap. I regret now, not going to the zones anyway to quest/gather/explore.

    Crafting:
    Carpentry and/or crafting anything in general is so expensive or time consuming right now that it’s almost impossible to craft anything L40+ without the help of several people. Crafting crit chances and the fine details of crafting still escape me because it’s a relatively complex system requiring, most of the time, things made from 203 different professions to complete 1 item. Farming rare mats is the biggest time sink. Sometimes you can farm the rare mats (like polished rice) but more often than not, you’ll be farming the crap out of mobs for dust drops/amor to salvage for dust. After launch, the prices on stuff may stabilize and be reasonable but during the Alpha that is not the case.

    Farming Cont:

    It’s enjoyable and not TOO time consuming, but it’s definitely a time sink. Also you have to craft yourself a ‘farmers workstation’ in order to make seed bundles, combined feed for animals and medicine incase they get sick. So it’s a handy little device to have around. It does consume your small farm in the process of making it (which stinks) but it’s better than having to plant things 1 by 1. My complaint with the workstation? You can’t craft all the seeds into bundles, only select ones. Also your Labor Points seem to be shared across your account? If you needed more LP for crafting whatever, or harvesting whatever, you’re going to need a friend who doesnt craft or a second account. Also - you’re going to want to level up an alt to get a second large farm because your first one will be growing stuff for trade packs 24/7. You’re going to need Wood for building/crafting (there is no way to gather what you need from the game world with 5,000-10,000 other players after it too) You pretty much have to grow 75-80% of your materials yourself. I recommend going for both your farms before you buy a house and when you do buy your house, buy the ‘farm house’ because it gives you another big farm around the house itself.The Farmhouse is VERY expensive to build compared to a normal house, that’s why you’ll want 2 big farms growing materials for it.

    Dungeons Cont:
    We got to run the ‘Burnt Castle Armory’ this week (L35 dungeon) compared to the first dungeon (Sharpwind) it was much more difficult in terms of ‘trinity’ You had to have a dedicated healer. 2 Rangers were able to tank/kite most of the trash and didn’t really have any issues on the bosses, some of it just too longer than it would have in a normal group. There was not near the thought put into this instance when compared to the first instance people have access to. The armor drops were pretty good, there was even L30 pet armor with good bonuses on it. All the weapons I’ve seen since getting that L20 Adventurer's pack have not been able to stack up. So it’s nice we got such a great bow so early in the game, but it would be nice to not use the same bow for… 20+ levels. I just finally crafted a better bow (by 7 dps) that I’m using but it cost me a ton of gold and time to craft. There hasn't been a ton of mechanics in the fights thus far but it’s still early on in terms of ‘instance progression’ I’m looking forward to see how the ‘end game’ instances are. You definitely need the trinity for running endgame PvE content.
  7. To start off you’ll need to create a Google Drive account. You can get one of your very own for free over at google.com

    Once you're logged into Google 'Drive' you’ll have the option to ‘create’ with a red button on the left-middle of your screen.

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    The drop down will have all the things you can do with G-docs. This guide however, is to teach the basics and some advanced techniques to use with the 'Form'.

    Moving on...

    Below is the vanilla‘Test Form’ I’ve created for the purpose of this tutorial. I have it setup to explain what the question type is called ‘text’ ‘paragraph’ etc... and I give explanations and examples when applicable.
    Let's take a look at the actual form now - it's functional so you can 'submit' it and try everything out to see how it really works.<iframe src="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dDdIOUdfdWhrTkx3YmQzRG9DdU8xbnc6MQ" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" frameborder="0" height="1502" width="760">Loading...</iframe>

    I have also included a screenshot of what the '+Add Item and Theme' to add a new question you simply click +Add Item and select what you want from the drop down.

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    The only limitation of the form is the creativity of the questions being asked. You can use this data to target specific areas of interest for guild chapters (pvp, pve, arenas, etc) peak playtimes, play styles and experience - just to name a few. The possibilities are almost endless.
    Here is what the output file will look like, it's a standard Google spreadsheet: [​IMG]

    Now that you have a general idea of how the form works, we’ll talk about some additional features for advanced users.

    • Page Break
    The addition of a page break will allow you to separate your form into several parts. When you insert the 'page break' the form will end and you get a button that says 'click to continue/advance' You can use conditional formatting (explained in detail below) and have a form that's fully customizable for whatever your needs may be.

    • Themes
    Themes are available on upper left hand corner. You can change the background and font to a premade template of your choice. Anything from art to sports - you can also create your own themes if you’re feeling brave.
    • Edit Confirmation
    This is where you can change what is displayed to the user after submission of the form. You can add instructions on what to do next, where to look for a reply and thank them for taking the time to fill it out. not to mention making a few shameless plugs for our social media sites.

    There are a few additions to the Google Docs feature set, but the one that may appeal to you most is the conditional branching in the Forms module.
    • Conditional Branching
    Conditional branching is the ability to send you to different questions or pages of questions based on the answer to a previous question.
    They call it "Go to page based on answer" option and it allows you to develop much more advanced forms — specifically the kind that start to look a lot like surveys.

    [​IMG] EX: Google Forms — Design of Conditional Branch Question


    If you don’t know what this means right away, I can’t blame you.

    Simply put - with the ‘Page Break’ function you can create custom content for the user to navigate to based on their answers. This will makes streamlining the form and organization of larger, more intricate ones not only possible, it’s down right sexy!


    Hopefully you've learned a few cool things and I’ve been able to explain the basics well enough to get you started. Tutorials are great but the real fun will start once you’ve made your first Form!

    Sanjo