August 13, 2020 | 11:00
2020 may be an utterly cursed year, but for the modding world, 2019 most certainly was not. Back when we put up the nominations article in December last year, we were sent some truly fantastic projects to peruse. I'd rather not go into detail as to why it's taken so long to announce the winners, but I can definitely say that a lot has been done behind the scenes to address issues that were present in both past Mod of the Year and Mod of the Month contests. I'm excited that some of these changes are already yielding great results, which should be good news for our awesome modding community!
One such change has been to how projects were judged. We wanted to ensure that the projects were treated fairly and not subject to bias, be it theme preference, construction choices, budget, etc. Taking a leaf out of the Cooler Master World Series, each project was scored by every judge along the following criteria:
These scores were then combined with the public voting results. We feel this works well as it allows for greater objectivity among the judges, which is hard considering the calibre of all the projects nominated. Furthermore, it helps reduce the impact that social media can have in determining the winner based purely on popularity alone. We want the community to have a say in the contest, but to that extent it can also hardly be called fair if one professional modder has a loyal 50 thousand followers on social media versus a forumite completing their personal passion project.
With that all said and done, a huge thank you to everybody who hosted their project logs on the forums and thus enabled such a contest to even exist in the first place. There's such a wealth of knowledge and experience to be found in the project logs here on bit-tech, it's fantastic to see that it continues to inspire people to give modding a try and put their best foot forwards. And now to the winners of Mod of the Year 2019, drum roll, please!
Minimalistic is an exercise in 'more than meets the eye'. On the surface it's a sleek, modern PC with walnut accents placed strategically to tie the aesthetic together. However, delve a little deeper and there's so much more. For starters, AKMod reimagined the entire interior, machining a new one from 10mm-thick plate to have a skeletal structure, which was then nickel plated. The wooden reservoirs were machined from solid walnut and filled with epoxy, which was then remachined in order to create the fluid pockets. All the cables were meticulously cut to length and housed in purpose-made wooden combs, with the sleeving colours kept subdued and sympathetic. Externally, the case was finished with hand-stitched leather detailing, which further enhances the tactile, exuberant appearance of this mod.
Breaking away from the typical automotive theme found on most Cougar Conquer mods, Ronny opted to fashion the case into a stylised rendition of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis. To accomplish this, he crafted the panels from acrylic, which were then glued into place, primed and vinyl-coated to have a metallic finish. Inside, the build was kept impeccably clean through the use of a CPU-plus-GPU custom loop with chromed tubing, custom-ducted wiring and sympathetic lighting. Additional details such as the rear springs add an additional mechanical look to the whole assembly, making it appear rather space age.
Leaf Me Alone is another example of using subtle materiality in a project, which largely belies its complexity. The case itself was constructed from thick sheet aluminium and solid walnut, with resin leaves milled into the surface of the wooden exterior. Inside, the system was kept neat by all the custom cabling, which follows an organic profile built directly into the motherboard mounting panel. The metal was then finished with a ground effect, which plays with the light and gives off an appearance similar to that of waving grass.
Greensabbath chose to combine classical and modern techniques with Morphosis. The aluminium structural pieces were first CNC-cut, hand-finished and then combined with wood for an elegant, sophisticated style. The tree-branch motif was then carried throughout the mod, appearing in the side panelling as well as the air vents. The build was finished up with a CPU-plus-GPU custom loop, making use of chromed tubing in order to add contrast to the warm wood tones.
X-Wing is huge, as in truly massive, but thankfully that doesn't mean it's lacking in details. The vast majority of the chassis was 3D-printed - a monumental task given the available print volumes. Not only were the wings articulated, but fans were placed inside the engines so as to provide a blast of warm air should you walk behind them. The chassis was painstakingly sanded and then painted to simulate the weathered condition you would expect from a starship that's seen multiple engagements. As a final hurrah, the controls for the PC were actually situated inside the cockpit, and there's even a moving BB8 to keep you company.
September 18 2020 | 18:30