Recently I created a mini Star Wars terrarium, complete with miniature Yoda, and these are the steps I took to make it. In the future I plan to create some other scenes, and I will be sure to post pictures of those.
Step 1: Plan
I started by downloading a few references photos and rewatched the scene where Luke crash lands into the murky swamp planet. From there I made a list of the materials I would need. Here's a list:
Step 2: Water and Tree
With all of my materials ready, I began by mixing some acrylics and then painted the base of the glass container. While that was drying I bundled up my sticks (for the tree), tied them off with some twine, and then applied some gorilla glue (the twine is temporary while the glue sets). I placed the tree and the X-wing in my scene, and stuck a small piece of cardboard under one side of the ship so that it would be slightly at an angle, like in the movie.
Using a small plastic container I mixed a tiny amount of acrylic paint (a swamp like color mixture) and then added in the realistic water. This water stuff will bubble if you shake it, so I was careful to instead stir it up, which took about 5 minutes. Next I took my mixture and poured it into my scene, about an 1/8 of an inch deep (as the bottle advises), spreading the thick liquid to the edges with a toothpick. 24 hours later it had hardened (this is the minimum amount of time it takes to dry).
I repeated my mixture and pouring steps, this time tweaking the color a bit to be more in line with what I wanted, but this time I also dropped in some flakes of twigs and dirt in order to get some grimy texture imbedded into the water. With the second pour I waited 48 hours, in order to make sure it was fully dry before moving to the next step. At this point, it was safe to remove the twine from the stick bundle, as the glue and water held it firmly in place.
Step 3: Moss and Lighting
I tore my moss into a few manageable chunks and then stuffed them into place, making sure to curve the pieces downward on the edges so that no matter what angle you looked at the terrarium it would still look good. I connected my LEDs, following the instructions that came with the set, and then used some electrical tape to bundle it into a tight fit. I squeezed the lighting set into place, tucking the bulk of the bundle under the moss patch, with the lights fitted under the wings.
Step 4: Yoda
Lastly, I glued Yoda on top of the moss hill using some gorilla glue, and then turned on the lights to enjoy the final product.
A little while back I photoshopped this image of our dog Lola to look like a Dog World cover.
Photography credit goes to Huy Doan.
You've checked out Factions MP in The Last of Us, seen all the maps, and have tried out all three modes of play. You've also read all of the loading screen tips, and learned a few things from them. Perhaps you've also toyed around with different load outs and purchased a few upgrades. But what are some additional tactics you could be employing to your advantage? What mistakes are leading to your constant, frustrating death? Check out my tips below, and hopefully they help you out (in no particular order).
Bonus tactic: This one may work well for some, and horrible for others, so give it a try and see what you think.
Art prints for this Cavalier King Charles pen & ink illustration are limited, and are selling for $20. For now, I am only listing this particular print, but I'm happy to get other drawings printed if someone sees something in the 2D section they would like to buy (just let me know!).
Get one here: store
Factions MP is the multiplayer mode in The Last of Us, and like its single player counterpart, you’ll find yourself shooting, sneaking, crafting, hiding, fleeing, and vaulting over rubble like a dystopian gymnast. There are 3 team modes to play: supply raid (players respawn in real time when killed until your team runs out of reserves), survivors (round based combat), and interrogation (gain intelligence from enemies and then crack open their safe). Players select a mode, a load out (weapons and abilities), and an optional one-use booster that they may have earned during previous sessions (e.g. cheaper purchasable ammo or a starting upgrade to their primary gun). And no, you won’t find any zombies in any of these modes (I’ll comment more on that later in the article).
7 Reasons Why You Should Play
Let’s start by talking about some of the aspects that make Factions MP so great (and in no particular order).
That feeling you get when you shank an enemy
Nothing beats the satisfaction of creeping up behind an oblivious enemy that you have been tracking across the map, grabbing hold of them, and driving a shiv into their neck. It’s the ultimate insult.
Challenges add a layer of complexity
Every so often a challenge is presented to the player, which are divided into negative and positive outcomes that impact your camp, such as a hunter attack that you try to negate or new survivors that are looking to join you. The player has to decide how they want to complete the challenge, selecting from a list of options (e.g. X downs with Y weapon, heal X teammates, or perform X special executions).
The game modes keep things diverse
The 3 modes of play allow for a diverse set of gameplay. Perhaps you are in the mood for an all-out brawl with quick respawns. Then supply raid is your mode. Or maybe you are in the mood for a slow and strategic team based game with friends, in which case survivors is your mode.
Endless load out combinations
Load outs are essentially templates that you draft by combining weapons and abilities. You have a finite amount of load out points, which are used to arrange your gear, and customization is entirely up to you (with the exception of weapons and abilities that cost real cash, if you don’t want to spend the money that is). For example, you may prefer a stealthy approach that you can attain from a bow, covert training, and a silenced pistol (the bow and silenced weapons don’t show up on the enemy radar when fired). Others may go for a support role, opting for the ability to heal teammates and spot enemies from afar.
Your load out will indirectly affect how you use the parts you collect in battle (essentially currency) to purchase upgrades to your weapons, armor, and purchasable weapons. For example, some players save parts for a purchasable weapon, while others use their load out points on abilities, skipping a purchasable, and instead use their parts for weapon upgrades.
I’ve tried a lot of load outs, and at the time of writing this, this is my favorite: revolver, silenced tactical shotgun, agility 2, and covert training 2. I find that having a silenced primary is essential to your survival, as it allows you to get the necessary shots off to get a kill without giving out your location. The revolver is a solid compliment to the shotgun since it has the long-range versatility that the shotgun lacks. Agility level 2 means silent movement as well as the ability to walk, climb, and crawl very quickly, and the speed it provides cannot be overlooked in a game like this. Covert training level 2 pairs quite well with agility 2, as it allows you to crouch walk without appearing in the enemies listen mode. As a bonus, it starts you with a shiv at each spawn.
The needs of your camp take you out of your comfort zone
Every player has their own camp of survivors, and as you play your camp will grow in size, thus needing more supplies to stay well fed and free of sicknesses. One way to gain supplies is to down or execute enemies, and then collect the loot they drop. But sometimes raiding their body isn’t that easy, because the battles can be hectic, so you can’t just always go rushing over to your fallen target out in the open. Thankfully, your radar marks the locations of supply drops, so you can strategically return to them before the game ends, and collect them safely.
As a tip, when you have sick and hungry survivors, use a boost that you collected from completed challenges in order to give you a tactical edge in your next supply run. Avoid the urge to waste boosts when they aren’t needed, unless you have a hefty surplus.
Players automatically communicate
This is a bit of a minor detail, but it’s a prime example of one of the many elements that adds depth to the game. The character voices not only contributes a layer of ambience, but also serves a necessary role in communicating out essential information. If a teammate is shot down and needs help getting back up, he will shout out “I’m down!”. If you dig into your backpack to craft something, your player will ask those nearby to watch his back. Out of ammo? They’ll yell about that too. And from all this, you’ll discover that these situational phrases allow for interesting team-based gameplay without the need for everyone to be chatting over a microphone.
Properly balanced maps
Every multiplayer map is well thought out and fine-tuned for a solid balance. The arrangement of cover and the map sizes keep the action moving quickly without being too chaotic, whereas the placement of supply boxes often force the player to take the risk of exposing themselves (and that’s a good thing for balance and gameplay). Health kits are a bit too easy to come by, especially considering you can also craft them, but that doesn’t disturb the flow of the game. Best of all, there aren’t any overpowered camping spots, and due to the nature of load out points, you see a strong diversity of weapons being selected.
No game is prefect, and the issues I’m listing out are pretty minor as far as multiplayer games go.
Every so often I find that I am inadvertently targeting the wrong enemy, which leads to my demise. Here are a couple of examples:
Rough bullet collision
Occasionally, I will be firing through the window of a dilapidated car or between the railings of a stairway, and by bullets will fail to penetrate through them. In a game where every shot counts, a missed opportunity like this will often turn the table for the enemy.
Everyone’s a critic, I know. And there’s only so much time, resources, and budget to work on a game. But whatever, we can dream, and this is what I wish Factions MP could add in:
All in all, Factions MP is a solid multiplayer experience with enough diversity in weapons, modes, challenges, customization, and tactics to keep each game fresh and fun.
Brian Riggsbee lives in San Francisco CA. He enjoys gaming, writing, creating art, practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, chasing adorable dogs, and spending time with his wife and boy.