Austin Tate’s Blog Backup to 8th March 2021

https://aiaustin.wordpress.com contains a backup of Austin Tate’s Blog for posts up to 8th March 2021 created via a WordPress Blog “All Content” export from http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/.

The original WordPress theme used is Twenty Ten which has a main content width of 640 pixels. Twenty Ten may not be supported on wordpress.com in future. Twenty Sixteen is a similar theme but has a narrower main blog post text area. So a lot of the images may not lay out side-by-side where they were intended to.

All current posts are at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate

Posted in Blog | Tagged | Comments Off on Austin Tate’s Blog Backup to 8th March 2021

DearMoon Crew Candidate

Images from https://dearmoon.earth/.

Fly with Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) who aims to be the first civilian to fly around the moon on @SpaceX and has reserved eight seats on the craft. A selection process is underway to select those who will accompany him.

This mission we will head to the Moon aboard Starship and Super Heavy Rocket, the next-generation reusable launch vehicle developed by SpaceX. It is a supersized rocket and spacecraft designed for transportation of people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Posted in Space | Tagged | Comments Off on DearMoon Crew Candidate

Edinburgh Futures Conversations – Health

The Future of Health – 2 March 2021 – the first event in the Edinburgh Futures Conversations series involved experts from around the world sharing their perspectives of the Covid-19 pandemic and explored how to change and reshape public health systems to transform outcomes.

https://r1.dotdigital-pages.com/p/2MQP-3D8/edinburgh-futures-conversation
https://twitter.com/UoE_EFI #EdinburghFuturesConversations





Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health organization also presented a recorded video to give his inputs to the meeting..

Closing Session

“Meeting our neighbours’ needs, meets our own needs”.
Sign the UN #VaccineEquality declaration here.

Posted in Information | Tagged | Comments Off on Edinburgh Futures Conversations – Health

Mick Imrie – Supercar Take 2

Mick Imrie created a detailed Supercar 3D model in Cinema4D back in 1998-1999 and this has been used as the basis for many ports to other 3D modelling tools, game platforms, flight and space simulators and virtual worlds platforms since then. See http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/GA/supercar-3d.html.

Mick has now begun the creation of a new Supercar model taking on board experience gained. As previously the reference point is the puppet scale model. [There also was a mid sized model and a smaller “flight” model details of which differed from the puppet-scale model.]

Model Improvements

The new model accounts for some of the following inputs:

  1. Availability of higher quality visual reference material published over the years and higher definition TV screen captures from the TV series. Mick has been able to use these to provide corelated reference images to better inform the modelling shapes.
  2. The main hull shape has been refined using the detailed screen captures and normalising them. This led to the shape changing in ways consistent with Phil Rae’s 1990 revision of his Supercar blueprints. Wing position, nose shapeand front light pod size and position also altered. Retro jet length was shortened.[Phil Rae produced a Supercar blueprint for a centrespread in Fanderson’s SIG no. 3 in Autumn 1981 and revised it in 1983 for a set of A3 Gerry Anderson vehicle blueprints. In a personal communication to Austin Tate on 18th August 1990 he offered further revisions as an amalgamation of the three studio models (Puppet scale, Bill James’s 3ft. version and the smaller “flight” model.
  3. Improved understanding of the colour of some elements and trim on the Supercar from improved colour reference material. E.g. the puppet-scale model hull piping is a pale gold rather than chrome.
  4. Detailed research by Mick to identify original parts and instruments used in the construction of the puppet-scale model. He is documenting this material on a new web site to help other modellers. See ‘deconGA’ (deconstructing Gerry Anderson).
  5. Improvements to the Supercar dashboard using screen grabs of the human hand scale dashboard. However, this dashboard often had replacement instruments and switches to accommodate the story lines and cannot be reconciled to a single consistent model.
  6. Design to allow for a simpler texture based dashboard, as well as a detailed 3D modelled version to support different delivery platforms.
  7. Significant reductions in polygon count for the hull, fuselage piping and other complex curved elements of the design.
  8. Use of curve based modelling (NURBs) where useful but ability to export as polygons for those platforms needing this.
  9. Refinements to the colours used and shininess of parts was made using more colour images now available.
  10. Improvements to the texturing of the model to allow for simpler use in other platforms.
  11. Cockpit interior details for the interior sides, seats and pipework in the rear corners was made using better reference images.
  12. An “add-on pack” for accessories.

Dashboard Details and Instruments

Mick found that many of the instruments used appeared to come from the cockpit of the Gloster Meteor NF12.

Initial Model as at 23-Feb-2021

Model and Initial Texturing as at 1-Mar-2021

Supercar Colours and Fonts

Mick Imrie made these notes back in 1999/2000 for the original 3D model…
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/GA/SC-MODEL/IMRIE/MODEL/information.txt

The font used for the Cinema 4D Supercar model was a TrueType font supplied with Corel Draw called SWISS911 XCm BT (free download). This was selected primarily on the basis of the ‘S’ shape. The logo is obviously all in capitals, the ‘S’ is 118 point size and the rest of the characters are 78 point.

On the subject of colours, Austin and I spent some time trying to get the colours as good as we could given the vagaries of colour photography. What we came up with are as follows (all given as RGB values):

     Red bodywork:           255,0,0
     Light blue:             204,255,255
     Yellow:                 255,255,0
     White bodywork:         254,250,230

Piping noted as likely a brass colour on 3-Mar-2021.

Posted in 3D, Supercar | Tagged | Comments Off on Mick Imrie – Supercar Take 2

NASA Perseverance Mars Rover Landing

On 18th February 2021 the NASA Perseverance Mars Rover landed on Mars..

This was my setup for watching the mission with NASA TV Live and a real time simulation of the landing in NASA Eyes…

Along with participation in the British Interplanetary Society Mars Rover Landing Party in Zoom…

The Rover is the size of a small car…

Real Time Landing Simulation


First Image from Mars

Congratulations NASA and JPL

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on NASA Perseverance Mars Rover Landing

Importing Mesh to Second Life and OpenSim

This is a page of resources related to creating mesh models suitable for upload and use in Second Life and OpenSim.

Beq Janus Advice

Beq Janus, who improved the mesh uploader now in use in Second Life/OpenSim viewers, and hence understands the limits, offered this advice…

  • Mesh limits more correctly should be interpreted as applying to each mesh element, not the whole model.
  • It is each sub-mesh in a model that has a 64K vertex limit because as you might surmise there is a 16bit index involved.
  • Every material is split into a separate mesh because it will enter the renderer differently depending on its nature (alpha blended, bump mapped, etc).
  • If a hard-surface model approaches the limits you need to go back to the drawing board… it is not a good model for any gaming platform.
  • Nurb models are certainly not allowed.
  • The models need to be triangulated too, not quads, you can let the uploader do that for you but frankly I would never leave a job like that to be done automatically.
  • You will need to take your curve based models and convert them to mesh. Again, even if you did have the option to convert on import the viewer would have to decide on the sampling frequency and you’d lose control of how it appears.

Collected Hints

  1. Any 3D modelling software will work, as long as it can output models in COLLADA (.dae) format. Note: Second Life uses COLLADA 1.4.1. (see Second Life Wiki – Mesh Background Information
  2. A “model” can have many separate “mesh” parts in it.
  3. The maximum mesh asset size after compression is 8MB, roughly equivalent to a 256MB raw COLLADA file. An entire region can support up to 128MB of distinct mesh assets after compression, not including attachments.
  4. A single convex hull is limited to 256 triangles.
  5. Maximum number of vertices is limited to 65,536.
  6. Scale limit is set to 64 meters.
  7. Take care to create low polygon meshes (as few verts as possible).
  8. Use no more than 8 face textures (8 materials assignments) on any mesh. These will import as “faces” in Second Life/OpenSim, which can be individually textured. You need to create a UV mapping for your model and its mesh parts which defines what part of the texture will go on which polygons of each mesh.
  9. Avoid intersecting faces (unless intersections are intended).
  10. Avoid duplicate vertices (unless you want to use the split modifier).
  11. Avoid creating more than 21844 tris per texture face.
  12. Avoid creating extremely small polygons (< 0.1 cm edge length).
  13. Make sure the objects, materials, submaterials and textures in the meshes do not contain any spaces. (so not “Box 001” which will give the “Error: element is invalid”, but “Box001” or “Box_001”).
  14. You can use any of the modelling tools while working on your model, but in the final form it should be saved before export as an Editable Poly.
  15. Before you export your mesh, make sure that it doesn’t have any stray vertices or overlapping edges. These will either cause unexpected visual results in Second Life or worse, the mesh will fail to upload entirely.
  16. For all meshes, make sure that the “Up Axis” is set to “Z-up”. If the axis isn’t set to Z-up, the mesh axis will be flipped on its side and/or rotated in Second Life/OpenSim.
  17. Advice on Levels of Detail (LOD)… note the need for the bounding box to be identical in all models, and all LODs to have same number of textures. See http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mesh_and_LOD.
Posted in OpenSim, Second Life | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Importing Mesh to Second Life and OpenSim

Supercar @ 60

This is an extended version of an article which appeared at https://www.gerryanderson.co.uk/ on 28th January 2021 –
60th Anniversary of the first broadcast of Supercar on TV.

Supercar – The Wonder of the Age for Six Decades!

First Broadcast: 28th January 1961
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercar_(TV_series)

Gerry Anderson TV was a backdrop to my school years in the early 1960s, a favourite when returning home from school. Having seen the programmes from Twizzle, Torchy and Four Feather Falls.. Kaiya Kalamakooya kala kaiya! … and beyond. But my absolute favourite was always Mike Mercury in Supercar!

Supercar is an experimental multi-purpose vertical take-off and landing craft. As well as its ability to fly, Supercar can travel on and under water, on land with a ground effect cushion from its vertical boosters, and even go into space. It is designed to perform a range of missions including search and rescue. Supercar is based at the Supercar team base in the remotely located Black Rock Laboratory within Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA.

Well… there she is Mike….Supercar! [YouTube Episode 1 (3:25)]

… exclaimed by Professor Popkiss to Mike Mercury as Supercar is finishing a ground test in the first episode still sends tingles through my spine. The tech details were really appealing to my interests in science, engineering and aerospace. All the procedures for the familiar Gerry Anderson “launch sequence” began in Supercar…

Charging port engine, …, 9000, 12000, 15000, interlock on, Fire One

There are lots of superb details. I like the one where Dr. Beaker is examining a Supercar engines test and commenting on the crazing of the ceramic material of the blast shield. Reg Hill did a fine job of designing Supercar and giving it exciting capabilities on land, under the sea, in the air and even into space.

The sound effects for Supercar startup and flight added much to the atmosphere and Barry Gray’s music added a lot to all the Gerry Anderson TV series.. and Supercar has a very rich repertoire of themes and incidental music. The “Mike Mercury March” (aka “Mike’s Theme”) played as Supercar races to the scene of another rescue is wonderful.

While still at school I was so keen that I arranged a petition and got thousands of signatures from locals to send to ITV and AP Films to ask them to produce more episodes and show Supercar more on TV.

Having seen adverts in TV Comic, I was an early member of the Supercar Club which had a tie up with National Benzole “Super National” petrol and produced a flexi-disc with a Supercar story along with the Supercar theme and more Barry Gray music. I still smile when I remember my dad pulling into a National station to fill up, and as we drove away he accelerated fast and shouted out “zooooom”. The annuals each year, several Shipton Plastics “Plaston” PVC models (which we floated in our fish pond and tried to film in action in front of a back projection sheet), Budgie diecast Supercars and more merchandise followed. My dad, who had been in the Navy, even got me a captain style hat like Mike Mercury wore which I mounted my Supercar wings on.

It is wonderful that over the years since then we have been able to get the whole 39 episodes of Supercar from Series One and Series Two on DVD and that many new merchandising items and fan produced materials have appeared to keep the contents alive.


TV Comic ran strip stories in colour for many years and promoted the “Supercar Club” offering a golden “wings” badge and pilots licence to members.

When Supercar was still on air in the early 1960s, I was taken by my dad to a TV trade show at Earls Court on London, as he ran a TV retail and repair store. And as we went around I heard a loud announcement that “Anything can happen in the next half hour”! Turning round to the big screen just in time to see the black and white image turn to COLOUR and STINGRAY appear. So there was plenty to look forward to, even though Supercar remained my interest.


A number of scientists and engineers have noted how they were influenced in their career choices and areas of interest from watching early Gerry Anderson programmes. And so it was in my case too. The Black Rock Laboratory team under Professor Popkiss and Doctor Beaker created Supercar (fictionally) using a grant from the US Air Force and their research people. Reality can follow fiction… I have (in real life) received research funding for my Artificial Intelligence work on planning, command and control of spacecraft and in search and rescue applications from the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) using the very same research mechanism that funded the X-15 rocket plane (and, one imagines, Supercar).

I have been fortunate to be part of the international community who continue to enjoy Gerry Anderson TV and work with some very creative people all round the world who are also very interested in Supercar over the years.

60 years later and Supercar is still in my life via the detailed and accurate 3D models produced 25 years ago with friends and collaborators around the globe and still looking good today as computer graphics have improved. The fan produced resources and computer models created with others internationally has enabled me to create virtual world and virtual reality experiences to continue to enjoy Supercar, to visit the (virtual) Black Rock Laboratory and take Supercar out for a spin in flight simulators and space simulators.

Mick Imrie in the UK in the late 1990s created Supercar and Black Rock Laboratory 3D computer models, originally in Cinema4D and subsequently ported by others in the Gerry Anderson Model Makers Alliance (GA-MMA) to Studio 3D Max, Lightwave, etc. See Supercar 3D Model – Mick Imrie and Austin Tate – 1998

Shane Pickering, a private pilot in New Zealand, in the late 1990s worked on schematics and internal details for Supercar compatible with the TV shows and annuals. See Supercar Schematics – Shane Pickering and Austin Tate – 1999.

Brian Douglas, a Microsoft Flight Simulator enthusiast in the UK, worked with me in 2003 to improve the visual appearance and flight dynamics for the earlier versions of Supercar for Flight Simulator I had created. See Supercar for Flight Simulator – 1996-2003.

Kez Wilson at Misc!Mayhem in Texas created the Supercar Comic published in 2003, working with script writer Michael Wolff, and I was happy to help with its production using our 3D models used to get accurate outlines for rotascoping of some image panels. I met up with Kez and Graydon Gould, the voice of Mike Mercury, at a Fanderson event that same year. See Supercar Comic – Kez Wilson and Michael Wolff – 2001-2003.


Playing Mantis in the USA produced the Johnny Lighting miniature diecast Supercar models originally in 2001 with colouring reflecting “The Little Golden Book” drawn images. Working with their designer Alan Pletcher I was able to give a little input to improve the later versions for colour and details to better reflect Supercar as seen on TV. I was fortunate to get deliveries of each new variant and limited edition that came out over the following years.

I have also had fun interactions with Martin Woodhouse (who along with his brother Hugh wrote the stories for Supercar series one), Dirk Maggs and some of the good folks at Fanderson.

The fan produced resources and computer models created with others internationally has enabled me to create virtual world and virtual reality experiences to continue to enjoy Supercar, to visit the (virtual) Black Rock Laboratory and take Supercar out for a spin in flight simulators and space simulators. See Supercar for Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality.



Roof Doors Open!

References

More info, computer models and images: http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/GA/supercar.html

Supercar at 60 in OpenSimulator


Supercar 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Treasury Box

Availability February 2021 – Anderson Entertainment – Supercar 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Treasury Box (alternative URL: http://andr.sn/supercar60). Reversable DVD cover art by Chris Thompson (who also did the Pilot’s Licence Replica artwork) and new artwork by Lee Sullivan and Tim Keable. Note the spacing of “Made Expressly for THE SUPER CAR CLUB” on the backing card for the Supercar Wings badge. As confirmed by Jamie Anderson, this is a deliberate nod to the original backing card from the maker… J.R. GAUNT & SON LTD (Ribbon Makers).

Posted in Gerry Anderson, Supercar | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Watch the World – Starry Night


Robbie Dingo (aka Rob Wright) produced the “Watch the World” machinima in Second Life in 2007 depicting a build of the Vincent Van Gogh “Starry Night” painting…

More information via

Posted in Second Life | Tagged , | Comments Off on Watch the World – Starry Night

Second Life 2001 Lavender Lake Balloon Festival

Lavender Lake Air Balloon Festival for the month of January 2021 explore four regions floating through the sky in your personal hot air balloon. You can also rez a boat and sail, or jump in the water and explore marine life the whole year. See Second Life Destination Guide.

Teleport via: https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tonal%20Destination/10/249/28

Posted in Second Life | Tagged , | Comments Off on Second Life 2001 Lavender Lake Balloon Festival

Century Wings SR-71 Blackbird

Century Wings produces a range of high quality diecast aeroplane models… one being the 1/72nd scale Lockheed Martin SR-71 “Blackbird”. I have the following article:

SR-71 Blackbird USAF 60-6937 NASA YF-12C 1975
Century Wings Item No. 910720
Production No. 0401 of 1,200 limited edition

https://www.centurywings.com/model72/sr-71.html



Images from Century Wings

Posted in Aircraft | Tagged , | Comments Off on Century Wings SR-71 Blackbird