Obviously, the package isn’t complete but it will be in a few days. This pic showcases some of the models already completed:
-3x fern variants
-lilypads and 2x lily flowers
But that’s just 8 models, plus the terrain/sky/water for showcasing them. So 11 models, technically made, but only 8 plants complete.
And yet… the aim is to have 25+ high quality but low-poly plants in the pack by Nov. 16. Some of those remaining 17 meshes are already partly done and I’m betting they’ll all be ready in time, that I’ll be able to pull it off well.
It looks like the data on my problem hard drives will partially or entirely be recoverable. It’s an ongoing process that’s expensive and slow, but going well so far and not as costly as I’d expected initially.
My nephews and niece will be in the new house about 20% of the time, not 40-50% as had been the case my first 3 months in Pittsburgh. That means I’ll have more potential for productivity from here on out.
All eBay orders people placed from me, were shipped out successfully some time ago, i.e. around October, so I’ve caught up on all of that, and it seems like the frustrations and complaints of several customers will likely be resolved.
Activity across my web network has been climbing steadily after the resumed operation of the sites and the extensive display fixes for mobile users, which are underway and mostly already applied at this time.
The fiscal situation here is good but not great; the Halloween sale was successful enough to show potential but not actually anywhere near enough to cover remaining costs of completing ‘Miniature Multiverse‘. I think if the Thanksgiving sale goes well, an end-of-2018 release is still possible, if uncertain, and if it turns out to be only marginally successful, then you should all expect the completed project to be released around late January 2019 or early February.
Other things like fan art modding projects and a long list of video productions which were delayed due to inaccessible data may yet be resumed but only after Miniature Multiverse launches. Apologies to the adventure game fans who, for most of the past 15 years, have been sitting around waiting for new content to play! And apologies also to my family who will have to wait even more, until Christmas 2019 for all the family videos I’ve recorded after 2010 [give or take] to make it to the finish line! [I.e. ‘1999’, ‘Globe’ and ‘Fortress Siege 2’.]
The price of downloading TACC 2018 has just dropped from $3.99 to just $1.50. There’s also a completely new $1.00 stock-media pack with 201 new texture image files and 15 new HD video clips of fire/explosions:
BETTER YET: Through October 31, 2018, both of these are 45% off or 50% off when bought together in a bundle. That’s $1.25 for a huge archive of royalty-free stock media that you can use in your own creative projects!
Sure, you could order a physical DVD version of my stock footage and textures through my eBay shop, but this way it’s cheap and *immediate* – as soon as the payment is made, you get the entire batch of stock media files! Plus, Itch.IO is a very reputable digital sales and indie game venue that is thoroughly secured and scans all content for viruses, malware, etc, so you can feel even safer buying this there than buying it elsewhere. [Not that viruses were actually ever a problem with this item in any way, BTW]
Plus, this helps cover costs of ‘Miniature Multiverse’ and ultimately also data recovery so I can complete other projects too, as soon as possible.
Status update – I’ve been in Pittsburgh for a while, I’ve gotten past the ‘trial by fire’ of childcare and have a few days off right now to sort through things. I’m now sending out a bunch of long-delayed eBay orders as well as 100% refunds of the purchase prices of those orders as an apology for the delays in shipping. Also, as you might have noticed, my websites were down for weeks, due to a weird glitch in my billing setup at A2 Hosting. I’ve now sorted that out and all my domains are back online and should hopefully remain online from here on out.
The bad news is, I’m having real difficulty getting many of my external hard drives to work. That includes drives with critical content on them relating to many of my projects, some of that content is essential and irreplaceable.
I did back everything up locally in a massive reorganization effort; each drive had a mirror drive which was filled with identical content. Unfortunately, only 3 out of my 10 drives are functional post-move which means in a couple of cases both the original drive and its duplicate are both unusable. With data recovery costs at around $400+ per drive, I figure I’ll need $800 minimum to get everything back on track production-wise.
I have noticed that certain projects are almost entirely intact. One of the few of my projects that still seems mostly in place is my game ‘Miniature Multiverse‘. I need close to a thousand dollars in position in order to recover all the inaccessible data. That includes a ton of video projects that were nearing completion, as well as game productions, and scattered side projects including a batch of fan content I was close to done with and now cannot access.
So here’s the deal I’m making with all of you. I will work as hard as possible to wrap up ‘Miniature Multiverse’ and do it justice, with the goal of launching the project by end of 2018, several months early. I am desperately hoping it will then sell well enough to jumpstart the data recovery effort, which in turn would allow me to complete other projects, their existence contingent on ‘Miniature Multiverse’ succeeding. I won’t have a big ad budget for the launch, every last penny and every available waking hour goes into getting the game finished, so I’m counting on all of you to PLEASE buy this thing when it’s done because the future of nearly everything else of mine pretty much is hanging in the balance. If the game does well, I can accelerate my productions, and if it fails, then you’ll see a bitter wait of 2+ years possibly before anything around here makes much progress again.
I’ve had a bit of an adorable ‘trial by fire’ in Pittsburgh, with my first two days after my flight, involving twin boys, Nick & Ben, 4 years old, and a 2 year old girl [Evelyn]. They’re my sister’s children and they’re cute but exhausting.
But that’s precisely why I moved to Pittsburgh. I want to be there to help and be a friendly and fun uncle.
A lot of our family is now gravitating towards the Pittsburgh area actually – my parents (the tots’ grandparents) and my grandmother, now in her early 80s, who’s now a great-grandmother for the kiddos.
Downside: Lots of eBay delays – the big moving truck that is carrying my PC and my art supplies left Houston a little while before I did, and it still has not arrived in Pittsburgh at the new house. We continue to wait as it is en route. I am hoping the truck will arrive to unload the stuff within the next couple days and only then will I realistically be able to begin making/shipping eBay items again.
My digital content seems like it’ll likely mostly be fine; I took one copy of all my data on a handful of hard drives. The backup copy of the same data was carried by my family in their luggage on other separate flights.
Between the local backups and the fact that nearly 2/3 of the data also exists in the loud via BackBlaze, I think it’s likely nothing of value will be lost in the transition.
I’ll catch up on delivering eBay orders as soon as I’m able to do so, and will continue chipping away at my other projects as well, once that’s settled.
I am also planning some fun activities with the family. Sure, they’re playing games on my aging and slightly screen-cracked iPad, which is what I’m writing this update on.
But I’ll also try organzing active games, outings, simple board/card games, reading to the kids/playing word games, and some video projects even. I’ll even show you fragments of what I’ve planned – I was thinking of activities with family even before I packed everything up. So here are some images hinting at planned fun things:
I’ll record a short and silly video in which the children are playing ‘the floor is lava’ – complete with menacingly realistic looking lava! Basically we will get to see what the children are imagining come to life.
There’s even a lava monster.
I also have plans for a reconfigurable, modular box maze. It uses the medium-sized Home Depot boxes that we have packed stuff into for the move, and they’ll be arrnaged into a bunch of different maze configurations, a new one each day for a week or so.
This was an early 3d mockup of a possible layout before I shifted to the ‘modular’ design plans:
And yes, the twins are very silly, I introduced myself as Uncle Matthew and Ben the twin, started calling me Buncle Bayou for some reason. The absurd nickname’s a running joke now.
And finally, some kid friendly crossword puzzles. I don’t think they’re quite ready for these but they’ll get there soon enough.
Anyway, you can tell I’m getting into the role of fun uncle or ‘funcle’ in Pennsylvania, but that does NOT mean I’ve forgotten about my internet audience, eBay customers, or my friends still living in Houston, Texas!
I’m moving to Pittsburgh by end of 2018 and will try very hard, to have all my files backed up in at least two places [hard copy] and ideally three [cloud backup]. That does, unfortunately, require some extra hard drives to be obtained, so any purchases you can make from my shops in the next 30 days would be super helpful in ensuring that 100% of my project data is safe. I do not have unlimited internet in Houston right now, so although I’ve got cloud backup the monthly caps on my internet, will mean only 60% of my data will be saved in the cloud, by the time I move. So if you wish to minimize risks of loss on some of my key offline project files, like the Panoramic Worlds or Isola stuff, or video projects I’m attempting to complete/revise, etc, buying something from me would be extremely useful in ensuring I don’t lose random segments of my work!
3. House Trek revisions on eps. 6-8 are essentially done, save the ep. 7 intro clip which is rendering now, and some scattered editing on the House Trek DVD edition. You should expect a major update to content on HornbostelVideos.com in the next 2-4 weeks… one which even goes a bit beyond merely additional House Trek and vlog content to include several other classic videos. (By classic, I mostly mean old… though several of these are really surprisingly good regardless of how long ago they were originally recorded.)
4. I’m hoping for additional momentum to develop relating to Twitter / FB feeds – so if you’re curious about what I’m up to creatively, please feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or on Twitter. One cool note is that I’m posting some scattered visual material there relating to the upcoming video content and other imminent releases so if you’re interested in what, exactly, I’ll be putting online this month… please follow my social-media feeds in addition to bookmarking this blog! For example:
5. Comics are inbound soon too. Finally, Another Road Taken chapter 1, along with a bunch of additional Troop 4 material, will go online. That should happen soon, and it’s long overdue.
6. A big ad campaign will begin soon on no fewer than four different platforms, and it should result in a major influx of web traffic directed here, good quality web traffic, between July 12 and July 20, 2018. There’ll be a ton of people probably trying to bid on my eBay listings during that span but right now traffic’s in a lull and there’s one handmade-art listing in particular there that is still at a $1.09 opening bid with only a relatively little time left before the auction ends. So if you want to win a pretty personalized artwork at a minimal cost, you should consider bidding on that! Or the stock media DVD, $1.99, an auction which is ending in 48 hrs. So yeah, this is a good time for people following my work to place orders, before the mad rush of public attention kicks in… and, hopefully, results in enough sales that I can thoroughly overhaul & back up all my data.
7. My decal pack is being updated with normal maps and a few extra things, both for the stock media DVD buyers and for those who buy it on the Unity Asset Store. Yes, I’m planning to try submitting the decal pack there as an asset for game developers using the Unity 3D game engine. There’s also some cool stuff I’m doing with my ‘virtual museum’ – it’s never sold well as an item in the past, maybe due to privacy concerns and maybe due to lack of awareness/interest. But I’m going to release an updated and heavily redesigned version on https://matthornb.itch.io/ – my Itch.IO page before long, which will allow buyers there to load the museum and load their own images into the 3D gallery, then gift the saved modified gallery to a family member/friend on a special occasion. The plan is that the licenses will cost $1 / computer for the authoring system that lets you load your own images into the gallery. The link to download the viewer would, by contrast, be free. So a person can simply buy the authoring app, use it to create a custom gallery commemorating an event like a birthday, wedding, holiday, memorial, vacation, etc, and then save the file that results from this, and it can then be sent to a family member and opened with the viewer app. There are still bugs to solve on this but… I’m working on it and I still think it could turn out really well.
That’s the news I’ve got for now. Keep an eye out for some amazing things in the next month!
I’m continuing to phase out of my old service [HostGator] to A2 Hosting, and that includes shifting the last batch of domains from HG to A2, a process which has involved not only shifting the domains but downloading all the files associated with each site from HostGator and then carefully reuploading one file at a time on A2 because my FTP solution simply isn’t working correctly.
So here’s the status:
NscaleScenery.com, HornbostelPortfolio.com, and PanoramicWorlds.com are still down for the moment – but they should be back online and functional in the next 48 hrs, with PanoramicWorlds.com being highest priority and next in line to get running.
RedeemerDocumentary.com, Troop4Houston.net, and VividMinigolf.com are online again… mostly functional and in specific places even updated slightly.
All the other domains [TriumphantArtists.com, HornbostelProductions.com, GalileeGames.com, HornbostelMedia.com, etc] were non-issues as they had already completed the transition in the past.
Apologies to everyone confused by the sites that went down.
This was a recent example of an oil pastel mage I’ve done. A Mars colony – seen here now, and it’s also been posted on Pinterest. [My Pinterest art boards have been getting a bit of attention from people lately, not a bad thing!]
And then there’s the book.
This is a special extra product line for anyone who’s curious about the creative process or wants secret insights into my projects (completed past projects or those currently in development) – namely, an art book, which will be available before too long. It’s self-published and self-printed material, that may be available in a week or so. As it’s an artbook, I’d like it to be displayed as nicely as I can display it but as compromises go the quality/price balance I’ve settled on is not bad:
$0.99 in a digital form via HornbostelProductions, maybe Itch.IO, details still in flux a bit on this but it’s not just PDF content, it’s presented as an executable book app with a few cool bonus ‘interactive’ and video elements mixed in along with the text and still images.
$9.99 condensed, on regular A4 paper [8.5″x11″] including a download key for access to the digital version. Includes a small text credit in ‘Miniature Multiverse’ and a 35% off code for a first order on the HornbostelProductions.com shop.
$19.99 art book, listed sometime later, made with ledger size paper – and shipped in a larger mailer, again with download key for the digital AND a higher-position credit in Miniature Multiverse when that’s finally done, plus the 35% one-off code for the HornbostelProductions.com shop.
But for now, just wrapping up that and dealing with the scattered shipping issues I’ve run into on my eBay shop. Lots of people are seeing things arrive late, damaged or not at all this past month due to a cascade of issues in transit with USPS and I’ve had to refund a lot of orders. This led to innumerable headaches but I think it’ll ultimately work out adequately. You probably wondered why I was shelving ‘Miniature Multiverse’ completion until a later month and that was why; things are tricky right now but I am still hoping something will sell – that something will work out nicely among all the avenues I’m pursuing… allowing that to be finished.
I have a decal pack update on the way – more decals included and a resubmission to Unity asset store for those who want the decals in a really convenient quad-prefab form for game dev purposes.] and an expanded, feature-rich version of my museum gallery product. I get that privacy concerns made the product concept struggle initially, people did not want their photos sent to me to be placed in the virtual 3D museum – but I think I’ve solved that, maybe, by which I mean I am working on a way for people to buy the product
digitally on Itch.IO, and load their own pics into it, then send that online to family/friends as a gift. The primary issue, of course, was always privacy, but the secondary issue’s piracy. There’s a DRM system I’m implementing for this which should limit this while also being minimally intrusive and difficult to deal with. More details will be shown later relating to that.
The eBay complaints are still a time sink but that’s getting better, and the remaining issues are being resolved steadily, to the extent I can reasonably manage to resolve them, and I’m up to 275 positive ratings on eBay at this time, so that’s a plus even if the reality is I’m struggling a bit to keep things afloat and moving forward.
#1) Miniature Multiverse is being pushed back. I have discussed launching it by end of May but that is looking impractical, largely due to the losses sustained on eBay recently [see previous post] and while I think it’s conceivable that the game could be finished if concept art sales were to go well, it would not be done as well as it should be, on the tight budget resulting from that. I would prefer to wrap the game up with a budget of $450 more and a span of another 5 months, not $250 and one month – that $450 figure is for another $250 in miniature supplies, $120 in sound design assets [licensed sound effects, music] and an $80 ad campaign at launch to give it a decent shot at success out of the gate. Any attempt to get this done on a $200ish budget means shoddier looking miniature elements on later parts of the game, and sparse, lower-quality sound, as well as a minimal or no promotion for the project which would mean a higher probability of failure. And, I want this to succeed if there’s any chance of that.
#2) I might pivot back to projects that require limited resources in physical-supply terms, during May; just in an attempt to keep everyone from getting utterly bored around here. Projects that might potentially be selected to benefit from this shift include ‘Spiral Skies’, ‘Panoramic Worlds’, the Redeemer tour, ‘Vortex’, and a couple of other minigames/games with limited scope… basically things that involve digital 3d assets, not miniature, art assets. Aside from that, the missing articles pages will be filled in soon, as well as some pages of Another Road Taken and Troop 4 comics stuff. I’m also planning on wrapping up release of the old House Trek videos not yet released on HornbostelVideos.com, plus Send in the Clones 1, and some other stuff. [Superstorm FTW!]
#3) I have also ALREADY coded a dynamic banner ad for the base of some sites’ main pages which may be implemented in more places over time. The banner ad i question uses a weighted probability system to display different chunks of content at different frequencies; there’s ad material for a wide range of websites I run, but also once in a while [less than 5% of the time] a message informing viewers that there are a batch of coupon codes in the banner that could appear but only rarely. Such codes are usable only once, first person to find a code and use it will be the only one to benefit from it… so if you find one, definitely type it down, take a screenshot, take note of it. Because these codes are for the HornbostelProductions.com shop and they grant a stunning 50%-90% off an order [up to $99 order value in the case of the 90% off code] which means, for example, with the 90% off code… you might be able to place an order for something like a gigantic 3 foot by 4 foot [36”x48”] custom painting for only $6 via PayPal, not the normal $60. And free shipping too! That’s useful for you all as a few of you would get an astounding deal, but it’s also helpful for me even with the money lost, as it’d gain me my first few sales on that shop and, ideally, a few ratings too from customers, which is pretty crucial at this point because I think that lack of ‘social proof’ is why the store has yet to take off.