I have listed two new paintings on Etsy. European scenes, acrylic, big ones. And there is a sale scheduled there (Feb. 4-14) but it is now effectively not only over, but there’s a weird issue with my Etsy shop by the end of that sale that’s led to it being shut down / suspended for a few days. I should have it back up very soon though. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel
While no ‘Valentines Sale’ is technically planned for itch.IO, I will be actively discounting everything for the recently announced ‘Lunar New Year sale’ which spans a week that includes Valentine’s Day and begins Feb. 8. I will use that sale to support people around the world who are in need, eg this one focuses on charitable donations, and I give a lot of what is raised to those who need the money more than I do. Take a look at that sale here: https://itch.io/s/45319/93-off-sale-2000-assets-for-097
A final note – as some sort of apology for anyone who had issues with the sale on Etsy… I will be running more sales in the future for St. Patrick’s Day 2021 [From Mar. 10 to Mar. 17] and Easter 2021. [April 2 – 8] and will be careful not to mess those up.
There’ll be new content posted on both Etsy and Itch.IO by then too.
-an early release version of Panoramic Worlds and more material on the ‘minigames’ page, plus a bit of new stock media added to existing collections, on itch.IO
-Some new artworks beyond these recently revealed ones, plus some new print products, including the miniature papercraft efforts mentioned earlier.
-Also, expect a reviving of my eBay shop by early April if all this goes well. I might also be revealing more of a weird side project of mine then, too [Redeemer historic church tour in 3d] potentially.
ONE MORE TIME: Remember that the Itch.IO sale, at the time of this post update, has less than 32 hours left. If you want to support my continuing work, and help people in need as well, while getting an amazing bargain along with that, it’s about as good a chance as you’ll ever see here.
I’m moving forward on a range of print products for sale on Etsy.
Art prints, posters, booklets, and – interestingly – papercraft miniature designs for use in model railroads and other scale models.
Related to that news, I’ve redesigned NScaleScenery.com, a long-dormant website, with a new layout and new content. Take a look at that if interested.
Some products, we’ll note, won’t be active until I have a high-quality large-format printer at home. So don’t expect big poster art or cardstock print sets above N scale until about a month or two from now.
The plan as it currently stands:
N, Z, T scale papercraft designs, the first British set anyway, will all be finalized and all listed – I’m pretty sure – within the next 48 hrs. The N scale listings already are viewable on Etsy.
I’m continuing to make some slight adjustments and these explain the occasional inconsistencies in the existing posted photos on Etsy. The clock on the ‘town hall’ building is now smaller, and not oversized. The church is being reworked to change the tower to a [more conventional looking] bell tower. And print contrast and sharpness has improved due to a few recent changes as well. Expect the showcase photos to be updated in the next day or two to reflect the last-minute improvements.
Posters and booklets are a ways off, but I can say that the booklets are VERY extensive and cover a vast range of my artworks over the past 20 years, in four volumes, and they’ll include a great deal of material not accessible to the public elsewhere. Some really cool and quirky stuff will be shown there. There was a cover design rendered in 3d for this, that incidentally is viewable and has been for some time, somewhere on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the design titled ‘The Triumphant Artist’.
Posters – I noticed that creative maps are popular on Etsy and I’m well aware that the ‘cartoony’ stylized depictions of states, cities, and the landmarks within them, are perennial print sellers. I have been developing a concept of ‘3d-rendered’ versions of those sorts of things. The first one I’m doing? Texas, as it’s a huge state with a lot in it, and it’s a place that has a sort of independent state-pride streak that few other states have. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a map graphic in 3d, complete with dozens of notable landmarks depicted in a somewhat stylized sort of 3d style, relatively prominent form all over the 3d, topographically realistic terrain. The map as a whole is very high quality, purely in pixel count terms we’re talking about a resolution of the source digital file, that is over 24k total image resolution. In other words, sharp and packed with details even though it’s covering an entire 13″ by 19″ poster surface!
More European building-set designs for papercrafters will arrive on Etsy in time for Valentine’s Day in February, potentially including some of the following:
-French city and rural buildings like those seen in Paris.
Amsterdam styled colorful buildings. And a windmill?
-Swiss Alps, architecture
-Venetian / Italian coastal town architecture
-Greek architecture as typical of places like Santorini, plus some ruins.
-Castles, with modular walls and drawbridges, of a generically Western-European sort, complete with banners and other medieval detailing.
If the miniatures sell decently out of the gate (even despite a few issues admittedly at the start) I might be able to justify expanding the product line to include HO and O scale by the end of February. I will also make an effort, in that event, to add other parts of the world beyond the European styles I’ve started this with. If you’re wondering what all this looks like, here’s one of the early diorama photos I’ve posted:
And maybe browse Etsy for cool new products this next month? There will be some interesting new things there, and yes, including a few new handmade original artworks soon as well. I haven’t given up painting!:
No, no sale for Valentine’s Day on Itch.IO – sorry. But I haven’t stopped work on the stock media or the indie game dev stuff. Far from it! Right now, in fact, I’m about to submit the first collection of my stock media content to the Unity Asset Store! And then on the game dev side, well, just know there’s a great deal going on there too, and while I failed to post much new in December-January there should be some major updates put online for all to see, by late February, including many new images, GIFs, and video content as well. There’s a ton of work going into those games but right now the public-facing focus is squarely on Etsy momentum and print products, and I’m really hoping that goes well.
Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas, to all of you out there.
We’ve – that is, my family the Hornbostels – had a pretty small holiday celebration due to the 2020 pandemic but hopefully, next year will be better?
Anyway: A few notes as of late December 2020:
– a modest volume of about another dozen additional textures have been added to the 2020 texture asset pack.
-a batch of minor updates (new 3d assets) has been added across various 3d asset collections. (well over half a dozen new 3d objects)
-A set of new artworks have been posted on Etsy lately with another one or two at least, likely to show up around the end of December 2020 and a few more beyond that in January, bringing the total count above 15 (which is still admittedly a small inventory as far as Etsy shops go)
-I’m making a launch of much of my Itch.IO stock media on Unity’s asset store a priority during the next month or so, but that doesn’t mean it’ll get approved immediately or all at once. I would not expect any of that to go live until the end of January at the earliest. And if the first batch of the content’s rejected for some trivial formatting reason I’m missing, maybe even later.
-Next planned update to Itch before the current Christmas to New Year sale ends on January 3rd, is more about game productions than actual fresh stock media. I am trying to, even if the games themselves still need a lot of work still before launch, at least set up a bunch of new GIFs, video, stills, etc, relating to the game dev projects so the pages reflect the current state of those projects – especially a lot of materials relating to the four minigames that have been teased forever with nothing new to see – and a lot of that should show up in the next few days, by Dec. 31.
-I’ve been running a ton of lean, efficient ad campaigns quietly for the past 50 days and they seem to be generating escalating levels of good-quality traffic on Itch.IO… at a rate of at least 40 new visitors a week. These campaigns will be expanding in rate of acquired traffic at least 4-5x from tonight through to the end of the sale. To put the data in perspective: expect close to 200 more people to visit my Itch shop by the end of this sale. But traffic’s never been my Itch shop’s problem. I’ve had 5000+ visitors since the shop opened. The issue is not sales either, though that’s sort of an issue. But I’ve made over 40 sales there total, and at least half of those have been in the year 2020. No, the real issue is a lack of useful feedback from customers. I have never seen any of my asset packs actually reviewed. Not once. I’ve had two commenters and that is basically it. And one of the two comments was to let me know that there was a link defect in some of my .MTL files. (I’ve since fixed that everywhere it was an issue.) So I’m convinced that if a bit more feedback arrives from buyers, it’ll massively improve the rate at which visitors become buyers, buyers respond to the product with additional comments, ideas, suggestions, and/or reviews, and that? That could cause a massive deluge of new activity there. It could be a positive cycle that means the whole endeavor grows on an unprecedented scale. So I’m really hoping that works out soon. It’s why I am running this campaign but… also why I’m offering this: for every bit of feedback left on my Itch pages from December 2020 to March 2021, I promise another 3d asset posted for free to everyone. Note, at least four of those itch pages have free downloadable stuff already that can be reviewed or commented on. So if even 10% of the people who download there, and 10% of my buyers, leave feedback in the next 3 months, that equals – likely – between 12 and 25 free assets posted as a result. When I say ‘asset’ I don’t just mean a singular file but either: [a seamless texture map + any other useful related maps for PBR use] or [a 3d mesh in .FBX and .OBJ format plus a custom-designed PNG texture map UV-mapped onto it.]
Whether any of that works out in a big way, is up to all of you.
I’ve hoped for a truly massive pile of orders placed over the Etsy / Itch Halloween sale [Oct. 27th to Nov. 3] but the response has been… less than stellar so far.
Granted, there have been a few dozen visitors showing up on https://matthornb.itch.io during this event, but generally, this sale underscores what I’ve been sensing for a while, namely that the itch asset-pack stuff is not working and neither is my Etsy stuff, for the most part. My inclination at this moment is to minimize further future updates to that material and focus almost entirely on actual gamedev efforts on Itch [and also on GameJolt and Steam].
Now, if the goals are still reached unexpectedly [anything close to the $250 sales total target] I’ll still make major stock media updates, but if things continue to underwhelm I’ll probably limit that. Instead I’ll focus this month of November on earnings in more reliable venues [eg microtasking like mTurk even though the tasks available pay only $1-3 per hour most of the time] instead of focusing on making added asset pack content since clearly not many people are interested in that anyway.
Here is the likely scenario assuming the sale continues to fail badly:
—Late 2020, focus on microtasks, tedious stuff that could pull in about $250 – $300 more by year end, plus a few small updates to Itch.IO asset packs, consisting of about 15 more 3d assets and 20 more texture maps.
–Q1 2021, I’d get the promised minigames all out there. I’m going with free and paid variants of these. The paid variants are usually a bit higher res graphically with a few more cosmetic options, but otherwise the same.
–Q2 2021, Panoramic Worlds [both free and paid versions] launched.
–Q3 2021, Miniature Multiverse released.
—Q4 2021, Vivid Minigolf released.
-Early 2022 focus on a few freebies including the Redeemer VR tour, the fangames, etc. But only if things have gone well enough on the commercial releases to take this stuff off the backburner in between the first wave of games and the later reworking of Isola for realtime 3d by late 2022.
If the sale suddenly improves and unexpectedly goes really well by the time it ends on Nov. 3, all this changes a bit:
-Late 2020 would be focused on more game assets, and releasing those to all asset-pack buyers, including 50+ new 3d assets, 100+ new texture maps, and some Unity-compatibility updates. This would all ramp up into sales on Thanksgiving and Christmas 2020 which in this scenario would be actively promoted like this current Halloween sale has been. If the Halloween sale surprises me and goes well by the end that’d bode well for the other 2020 sales onwards as well, which would mean I’d have the minigames, Panoramic Worlds, Miniature Multiverse, Vivid Minigolf all launched by August of 2021 and the rest of it by December 2021. I think this really is possible but at this juncture it seems less and less likely to work. I keep pointing this out but… if I had even another $100 a month across all these sources, it’d more than double my gamedev budget per year, AND speed up the production by about 40-50% simply due to my not diverting time to the aforementioned low-wage microtasks. Every dollar you spend on my stores speeds up development of my actual creative work by roughly one hour. Really.
All of my SALE content online – INCLUDING NEW 3d ASSETS – ARE ABOUT TO BE DISCOUNTED TWICE! First, LAbor Day WEEKEND, Sept. 4-7, 2020! And again WITH THE SAME GREAT DEALS for Halloween 2020, Oct. 29-31!
https://matthornb.itch.io/ – On Labor Day weekend, from September 4th to 7th, I’ll offer 50% off all my [already underpriced] stock media asset packs, and 90% off all of them in a single bundle! So for just $1, you can get 1600+ seamless tiling texture maps, 160+ video VFX elements, 120+ 3d assets! More now there than ever before – I’ll be posting an added 20+ 3d objects, in both FBX & OBJ formats, and 100 new texture maps across all those collections, between now and Sept. 1, 2020. This is the single best part of the Labor Day sale. But there are other cool things going on sale then, and the deal will repeat for Halloween 2020 as well, about 45 days later. There’s a ton of amazing stock media here… and it can save you a ton of work if you’re an indie game dev, or a video creator or some other type of digital / 3d or VFX artist.
This site shop,HornbostelProductions.com– I’m offering a staggering 15% discount across the shop for those two huge sales timeframes. This is in addition to all the other discounts available for loyal customers. Pretty much any customized art variant you might want is available, but not just personalized artworks – I also have stock media DVDs and other amazing deals, including made-to-order game levels! (Not joking at all, this is great for those of you who have zero skill in 3d art – this is an offshoot of another thing I’m doing at CrowdsourcedAdventure.com and you may want to give it a look. You can place an order for a 3d level / gameworld made to order – you provide your ideas, I sculpt them into 3d content, and together we’ll form a beautiful finished 3d environment that is explorable, and which I’ll ship directly to you! This, like the personalized handmade art listings, could make a memorable gift for any significant occasion!)
My Etsy Shop [Handmade, handcrafted acrylic paintings at really low pricing!] The items I’ve listed on Etsy are going to include more than half a dozen new paintings, added in the weeks leading up to the first sale, and all the old art items will be discounted 20% throughout the sale, new ones by 10%. When the sale ends, I’ll take the unsold old items and auction them off on eBay. Unfortunately, a lot of my eBay buyers are still seemingly unaware that almost everything I sell on eBay I also sell cheaper elsewhere. (Not their fault, really – eBay doesn’t allow outbound URLs so many people who find me via eBay never realize most of my stuff isn’t sold there and what is there is more expensive lately.) Generally, I can, for fee reasons, offer the best possible prices on my own shop (here on HornbostelProductions) or with digital-only shops (Itch.IO) but there’s usually 7% higher pricing on Etsy, and almost 20% higher on eBay, largely because of all the fees involved on those platforms.
My eBay shop– I won’t mince words. I saw a fiasco earlier this year, way more so than anything on Etsy. A wave of Q1 2020 buyers – arguably, scammers – took advantage of my defective and far too trusting refund policy that allowed full refunds on sold items, including high-value ones ‘for any reason’ without photographic evidence of any actual item damage, or any evidence of claimed loss or misdelivery. Once a wave of items sold and had to mostly be refunded due to certain buyers’ greed, I found myself in a position where I genuinely did not have the cash on hand to ship out the second wave of legitimate orders that followed in any sort of remotely timely manner. Worse, as delays have mounted the amount of additional swag sent as my apology to each of those poor irritated long-suffering honest buyers has climbed. As of August 2020, the last of these delayed legitimate orders are finally being resolved, with full refunds being sent out plus extra and also the items requested being shipped with extras included. I will be shipping out the last packages [plus some extra stuff & a full refund] to each and every one of them, by August 25, 2020. My successful clearing of the order backlog coincides with the launch of some new eBay listings finally, and unfortunately a less lenient refund policy and slightly higher pricing in the future. I wasn’t convinced to do this by the fact that I made hundreds of sales over half a decade with no profit in all that time. Rather, the final straw was seeing my ability to provide good customer service to decent customers, being dragged down by my lack of any sort of emergency reserves. Being able to deliver all of what I promised to all of you, at a price that’s really reasonable, is important to me. And this mess on eBay was a disaster in that [delivery and customer service] regard. And I am genuinely sorry about that.
The eBay incident caused immense damage to my reputation as a seller and to my own financial status, not to mention months’ worth of delays inflicted on my indie game project ‘Miniature Multiverse’ due to the hundreds of dollars I’ve lost there in 2020. I will continue to emphasize that eBay seller fees mean that eBay items are always going to cost more than the equivalents on any other storefront I’ve got. Plus, from here on out, refunds will require photographic evidence or tracking data showing the package was not delivered successfully. And you know what, you might opt to choose eBay anyway and still pay the premium instead of buying stock media on itch, or art on HornbostelProductions because my eBay account has run longer and has ‘social proof’ insofar as there are 387 positive ratings [100% positive still, like on Etsy, despite my enormous missteps in 2020] on my account there. But eBay is now the weakest choice available for my products and I want to remind everyone of that. You’d be generally smarter to buy my content anywhere else.
The site includes a small ‘Myst like’ gameworld with four simple puzzles. It’s playable right now. [As of Aug. 4, 2020] and between active player support via Ko-fi, and more passive indirect player support via banner ads, I’m hoping to raise a ton of cash not merely to finance the development of the game over time – which I’ll do at a ridiculously low pay rate – but also to give to worthwhile charitable causes, and creative productions, beyond my own in the the broader gaming scene.
All Ko-fi support – every $4 – backing this also gives you as a supporter some cool benefits, not least the entire set of the stock media and other content I have on my itch.io page. [a $14.45 value] plus you’ll be able to contribute ideas of things you want in the future worlds of the game. [And you can have your text message added into the game, 30 character limit, could be your name, username, a URL, whatever.
For those who are wondering when my next sale is, it’s on Labor Day 2020.
Check my Etsy and Itch.IO shops then. There’ll be some fantastic discounts that day only, [Sept. 7, 2020, for those unclear on when Labor Day is.]
Basically, the good news is that I’m posting a LOT of new art items on Etsy over the course of this week. The two seen above are just the start. There’s a sale arriving on Itch.IO later this month and a lot going on on Etsy too, and I’m promoting both venues very heavily.
I’ve ordered a fresh batch of stretched canvases, about 20 of them (!) and some of those are 18×24 inches – I also have 25-packs of 16×20 inch and 18×24 inch shipping containers/mailers and a ton of bubble wrap and packing tape ready to go. On top of all of this, a $30 ad campaign has begun [between Etsy’s own ads and some other fine-tuned banner ad campaigns] that should result in approx. 450,000 impressions [ie. almost half a million people across the internet will see my ads] and, even with an expected CTR (click through rate) of only around 0.1-0.3%, that’s still hundreds of visitors showing up on my Etsy storefront. This campaign should be running from June 6-June 26 roughly, and what that means is if you were on the fence about buying something from me on Etsy, GRAB IT NOW.
Especially given that I’ve refined my pricing to take cheaper sourcing of bulk art supplies into account and reduced my effective pay level to a bit below $2/hr on Etsy artworks. Everything’s cheaper than usual right now. It’ll especially drop in price noticeably – an additional 15% – at the same time my Itch.IO sale is active [June 21 to July 4] so keep an eye on that!
I’ve also been very active on social platforms lately including YouTube. I comment on blogs, forums, YouTube videos, social media. I’ve spent hours posting replies and hyping all this stuff that’s going to happen. I’m trying to make it take off in a big way. So if you don’t buy the item you want on Etsy now, you’ll probably lose it as it’s very likely that someone else will claim it where you hesitated. And if they don’t, eventually it might end up in a bundle on eBay [some of the older items I have had on Etsy for a while will shift to eBay soon after the sale end on July 4th, 2020]
Now for the downside of this frenzy – my ‘minigames’ are being pushed back on itch.io. I’d indicated an attempt to release a set of four minigames by late July 2020 and that won’t happen. It’s unrealistic given that the first half of June is going into making art for a giant Etsy sale, and much of the third week of June into modest updates to some 3d asset and texture asset content on itch.
So what should you expect in game development terms if I’m focusing on Etsy art / stock media updates primarily in June?
Tricky – I still have a few bugs to quash and things to implement in each of those games, and if the bugs are not easily fixable this may get delayed further, but the basic expectation here is that ‘Spiral Skies’ goes live by July 4th, 2020 in both its SD and HD premium forms, plus there’ll be a lot of new teaser / preview material for other game projects posted by then as well.
I think Easely needs another week or so of actual dev work, eRacer two weeks, Vortex 2.5-3 weeks. That’s ideal, and that’s if I don’t run into last-minute barriers. The new Panoramic Worlds has about a month of additional work involved before launch. Same with Vivid Minigolf 2, and Miniature Multiverse has about three or four months of development work to go. So, in theory at least, these games can all be launched by the end of 2020.
In practice, that might not be feasible. Funding’s a persistent issue, and if this Etsy sale is successful, along with the Itch sale in late June, I can still get these games all done this year. I’d love that. I am hoping to raise around $400-500 between those two efforts. That’d actually recover the time this month that I will have spent painting (and then some) as I would be able to focus on gamedev pretty near full time, and would not be stuck doing $2-4 per hour microtasks at all. If these sales fail utterly despite all my efforts, however, I would expect only some of these games to be out by end of year, and others not until early 2021.
The relevant game pages on Itch will soon reflect this.
The newest asset pack – a furniture and indoor objects collection – launched during the Memorial Day sale.
If you missed that sale, don’t worry, everything I have on Itch.IO will be bundled in a gigantic sale once again from Fathers’ Day 2020 to July 4th, 2020.
(That’s June 21 – July 4, for those who don’t know when Father’s Day is.)
Expect all my content on the platform to once again be available for just under $1, in one colossal bundle of 12 products ranging from asset packs to game preorders, asset packs including a vast array of 3d modeled objects, seamless textures, overlays, decals, and stock video elements. Don’t miss the next sale!
Go to the main page, hit the refresh symbol on your browser, and view the new version of the site!
Also, lots of other stuff is in the works, including an overhaul of HornbostelVideos.com soon, so keep an eye out for that in a few weeks.
The stock footage stuff on https://matthornb.itch.io saw an ‘Earth Day’ sale recently, but that shop (and my Etsy shop) will have sales for Mothers’ Day, and Memorial Day weekend soon so if you missed the sale recently don’t feel too bad.