SWN: July 13th

In my normal fashion I have again reversed a decision in my projects. Some time ago I was working on a Tactical Ops program, trying to make MSFS into a pseudo-military sim, which was quite clunky, and requires a PC running a bunch of apps to air it all happen. I called β€˜time’ on the project when I decided to focus on DCS for my military sim needs.

Fast forward to this year, and some random internet surfing and I stumbled on an idea for using some existing tools to achieve what I wanted for my TACOPS program.

Sims Located on the map in real-time

For this new version of TACOPS I needed to learn ho to work with MySQL I my VB.NET console application. So now I have a simple client app on each sim machine which takes to a Database hosted on Camalus, which is my main server connecting all my sims together. Another small application, this time on Camalus, takes the data from the MySQL database, massages it into the right format then publishes it to my web server. Al this means that anyone, anywhere can run a compatible viewer and see where my sims are. I am using the whazzup.txt format, used by VATSIM and IVAO for displaying their online clients. Viewers such as DOLOYNUM and Qutescoop are my favourites.

Wide-angle view towards the Arrow
Naval ops in full swing in the man-cave

Bunker Lights for the ManCave

I’ve been searching for the right lights to go on the wall in the ManCave for a long while now. After many searches on the internet, and even visits to local lighting and hardware stores I hadn’t found anything that was quite right. An unrelated search on Aliexpress one night turned up some nice looking ‘Bulkhead’ lights, but were a bit pricey for what I wanted, but it started me thinking again about local alternatives. Bunnings to the rescue! They had a pretty good range of industrial-looking lights at reasonable prices, so a quick trip to the store, and $25 later I have a pair of ‘Bunker’ lights… even the name sounds appropriate for the ManCave!

Installed, waiting for wiring

These two lights will replace the halogen spot lights in the middle of the ceiling (which may stay as ‘work’ lights) and will either gain a dimmer, or switch to RGB LED.

Paint it Green

With a $6.88 roller kit from Mitre10, and an idle hour or so this afternoon I got a little more of the ManCave wall painted. It has been languishing in it’s natural MDF tones for many years while my decorating plan slowly evolved. Now with a bit more of an idea of what I want it all to look like I was keen to get some colour on the wall to finish that side of the room.

With the first coat on it’s already looking better, and less disjoint

After a couple of coats, and some touch-ups on the existing paint I hung a couple of things up, put all the furniture back in place and moved Susan closer to where she will end up standing once everything is completed. I have to say that I am happy with the result. The next decision is what colour(s) to paint the walls around ’58. The options look like; continuing the green to a point, painting it all black, or maybe even a sky-ish blue… which would be a good backdrop for selfies…. πŸ˜‰ Still, no hurry to decide.

With things in place it looks quite good. I am pleased with the direction I’ve chosen for my decorating

Clearly better!

Today the glass for my display cabinet arrived. Despite it being clear glass it really makes a difference to how the cabinet looks, pulling it together as a single unit.
With this complete, and the ‘coffee table’ just needing a glass top, the ManCave is starting to look pretty cool!

The glass top really finishes it off
The space is really taking shape. I’m very pleased!
One piece of glass to go.

With the space taking shape I have changed my mind about painting the Coffee Table, it now looks in keeping with the display cabinet, sort-of Industrial, sort-of rustic? I will add some stencils to it, again to make it match in.

Mancave Cabinet No.2

Over the weekend I built another cabinet, this time to serve as both a cabinet for my TACOPS computer, laser printer and supplies, and a conveniently located coffee table. The plan was to replace the existing cabinet, and try to recycle as much as possible, thereby keeping the cost of the project down. First task was to strip the cabinet down to component parts, along with a couple of other donor pieces of furniture, then cut everything to size and assemble the basic structure. Then, the cool part; Adding some 2″x1″ trim around the outside to make it look more like the “crate” cabinet I’d already built.

As a complete after-thought I added the 2″x1″ surround part to the top as well, (originally I had planned for a smooth top) which has actually worked out really well, giving me somewhere to display some military patches!

Now I need to buy another piece of glass! Unlike the other cabinet, this one will get a coat of paint, either ‘Kahu Green’ or ‘Air Superiority Grey’ with stencils on the sides, making it look like some sort of official crate…..

Now, with the two cabinets built, the ManCave space is opening up nicely. Once I get the boxes of stuff stored away, and the cabling better organised it is going to be quite a pleasant space!

Mancave Cabinet “Part Deux”

With a little planning, a sneaky visit to Mitre 10 on the way home, some elbow grease and beer, I now have a cabinet which looks alarmingly like the CAD renders!

The shelf above the TV is next on the agenda….

With a few of my treasures in place and the home theatre head unit hiding nicely in the bottom it is looking like the business. The finishing touch will be the glass top and some lighting.

Looks quite cool with a few bits’n bobs in it. The glass top will allow me to use the recesses in the tops of the crates to display small items.

Since I posted the concept drawing for this cabinet I have had a couple of very kind offers of glass for the top, unfortunately the cabinet is much bigger than it looks, so I’ll be pricing a 1200x410mm piece of glass in the near future πŸ˜‰

Mancave Cabinet Beginnings

A couple of nice packing crates from work have built the basis for my funky, industrial looking display cabinet. With the crates was some nice looking 200x19mm planks which will provide the shelves, a little bit of plywood; another cast-off from work, and a glass top and I should have the display cabinet I’ve been looking for πŸ™‚

A quick render of what it might look like

18/02/2020 Update

Since I have been doing weekly ‘Sim Work’ nights I have achieved quite a lot. This week I didn’t really go near any of the sims, instead I spent the evening clearing out, and organising the garage. I have a fair collection of useful stuff (also called ‘junk’ by my beloved wife) hoarded, I mean ‘stored’ in the garage, but in recent times it has gotten a little out of control. Tonight’s mission was to strip out the cabinets under the TV in the ManCave to make way for the ‘cube’ shelves currently in the soon to be defunct ‘Upstairs Lounge’. Part of my big rethink is to move the 737 sim downstairs, for the exact same reason I moved the Arrow…. it is not terribly pleasant up there in cold or hot weather. As part of this shift I am closing the Upstairs Lounge, and incorporating what I can into the main ManCave space. I’d like to move my comfy arm chair down, but I don’t know that I will have the space. Back to the story.. To move the cube shelves I needed to move the current cabinet, to do that I needed space for it to go into in the garage, hence the sort/tidy/chuck-out session to make room, and make better use of the space.

End result is that I now have the first of the old cabinets removed, and loads more room to move. Who knows, next week I may get the re-purposed shelves downstairs and into place! Photos to follow once the dust settles πŸ™‚

A bit of Spring Cleaning

Once again, a ManCave visit lead to a bit of a cleanup! With the ongoing re-configuring of the sims, and the ManCave itself, the place has become a little messy…

So, after a busy couple of hours the space looks much better. With the room much tidier you can see the increase in usable space, which is a nice feeling given the radical changes I’ve made!
Still plenty of work to do; The printer cabinet needs to be ‘relocated’… out of the room, The cables need to be routed out of the way, and the carpet needs to be fixed up πŸ˜‰

ManCave re-shuffle Part 1

This weekend I spent a bit of time tidying (read: chucking out) in the ManCave in preparation for shifting things around. After a bit of organizing, sorting, moving, stacking and generally making a huge mess, I was able to turn the Skyhawk sim around 90ΒΊ and into it’s new location. Then, after much cable tidying (read: chucking out) I moved my 2 primary PC’s into their temporary home next to the desk, and re-cabled everything again.
I am **really** thrilled with how it has worked out so far, in fact there is a lot more space than I was anticipating. from my CAD modelling I expected it to be much tighter than it actually is…

Susan doesn’t look too happy… still, I’m sure she’ll get used to it.
The new view from the door… I like being able to see the sim, rather than it being stuck down the end of the room with it’s back to you.

Next step is to get rid of the un-used PC’s on the right, find a home for the printer so I can get rid of the cabinet it’s sitting on, sort out the cabling **properly** and find another piece of carpet to fill in the gap.
I have/had plans for lifting the sim up maybe 300-400mm to allow for storage (and PC’s below the floor, but with more space than I thought in the room, I may not need to go down that track.