‘Miniature Multiverse’ launch pushed back but mostly there’s good news!

Miniature Multiverse will now launch in October 2017, probably mid-October. That’s a delay of about half a month.

Good news though: The project, once released, will be far better value.

The program will be priced at $1.50, with five worlds at launch, not three.  I.e. I’m essentially doubling the scope of the project and also trimming the price by $0.25. All updates will still be free.

Obviously, adding an additional room to Lokus and two entirely new worlds (Cliak and Sedest) will be the focus of much of my time the next two weeks. But once that effort is complete, the launch may be far better for it.  Bonus: I plan to launch on Steam as well – I’ve done a bit of market research (thanks, SteamSpy!) and reached the conclusion that a Steam release will be worth the additional cost and effort. Maybe the project will be trashed by Steam buyers, but hey, if you don’t like it, just refund it [Steam has a refund policy that allows games to be refunded as long as you’ve spent less than 2 hrs. running them)… and in this case, that refund policy means you can see pretty much everything in this initial launch for free.  And if you want to hold on to your copy of ‘Miniature Multiverse’ for later updates [there’ll be a lot of free updates over time]

That said – I’d encourage people to go the Itch.IO route.  Their review process for indies is leaner and faster and less backlogged so despite the fact that I’m submitting to Steam first, there’s a high likelihood that the Steam version won’t go live until nearly the end of the year.

Miniature Multiverse GIF
Miniature Multiverse

In other news, my video site HornbostelVideos.com is live now!  There’s not a lot there yet – basically just YouTube vlog entries and revised House Trek episodes – but more will be added over time.  Well worth a look.

House Trek TOS space battle
House Trek space battle

 

Release schedules [Miniature Multiverse]

In answer to some valid questions about the Itch.IO release vs. free version vs. the benefits of being a member on this website, the plan looks like this:

Sept. 2017: Vyrsul, Pryme & Lokus, made available both to members on HornbostelProductions.com and also Itch.IO.  I know I’d said the members would get access to new content before anyone else, but that’s mainly true with updates, not the intial release.  As for free non-paying visitors, nothing released for them in September as far as Miniature Multiverse goes except for some video content from the project and a few screenshots.  Sorry!

November 2017: An update with some new content [scope of first update is TBD, depends on success of launch] hits for members, then for Itch.IO customers a week or two later.

December 2017: A free version of the program [demo] released on MiniatureMultiverse.com, which contains only Lokus*

January 2018: Update two, with more worlds made available for members, with release of it on Itch.IO a couple weeks later.

February 2018: Launch will have taken place on Steam by this point.  All three initial worlds available for free [maybe] at end of this month.

After that time, the rate of production will be evaluated further. If the project is failing horribly as a sale item, it might be shut down here, and not get more than the initial two updates… or ultimately no more than seven worlds in all.  If moderately popular, it’ll keep on going, and if it’s doing really well it may actually expand the rate of production to updates of 4-5 worlds per update, not two.  In this case, there could be about 20-25 worlds in ‘Miniature Multiverse’ by end of 2018.

There’s a possible growth spiral and I aspire to make that a reality, where the more updates, the better the product looks to people and the more sales it makes, thus funding more updates, and so on.  If I can get things going in that way that would be awesome.

 

Miniature Multiverse launching soon on Itch.IO!

A few quick notes on what had earlier been teased.  Firstly, Miniature Multiverse, a project mostly stalled since 2011, has moved forward, as I’ve realized that I can now get it done – I have a new high end camera setup, better than what I had during the Kickstarter – and I’ve gotten much better assets and experience with Unity, so… all that was missing was some specialized miniature materials and a few additional weeks of work and I could get this out there.  So that effort began in earnest a few weeks ago.  And now I’m publicly discussing it.

There’s an Itch.IO page and a website that is active again:

MiniatureMultiverse.com.  The site needs some work in the hours/days leading to actual launch.  The Itch.IO page does too, but once the updates to those two pages start flowing, you’ll know release is just hours or minutes away.

Miniature Multiverse launching in a few days
Miniature Multiverse is launching in a few days

I’ve changed my method of panoramic capture, but the good news is that the last-minute change will improve the visual quality of the tour – and it also means that I’m working through the process of photographing the tour and I’ve figured out the best available approach.  Which in turn implies something is there to photograph… and in fact, all of the three worlds in the initial version of the tour have been assembled as extensive miniature environments.  And by extensive, I mean usually about 4 or 5 feet from one end to the other, with a lot of varied detailing but in a small enough scale that I can get my arms out to my camera over any part of the miniature, and also big enough, that the camera can be carefully positioned in the various nooks/crannies of the landscapes.  They look beautiful BTW, and I’ll post a lot of material related to the project shortly.

But for now, here are some key things to consider.

One, the tour has well over 50 nodes across only three worlds [Pryme, Lokus, and Vyrsul] BUT those worlds are restructured to be a bit bigger than had intially been envisioned, so there’s actually plenty to explore here, despite the fact that the first release only has three explorable locations.

Two, I’m selling this on Itch.IO for $1.75 (plus a tip if you’re so inclined) in hopes of covering the costs involved in expanding the tour to include new worlds, so that the project can grow over time. Those new worlds will, if funded, be released as free updates to the tour!

Third, it has no HTML5 release, only Windows / Mac OS X / Linux versions. I’ll package all those into the $1.75 download archive, so there won’t be any need to buy multiple copies for multiple platforms.

Four, as stated earlier, I am not using the single-shot capture method I started out with anymore, and this image explains why that was a flawed method and inadequate graphically in my view:

Miniature Multiverse happening?

One thing you should know about me is that when I’ve latched onto an idea, I rarely abandon it. Even if that means chipping away at obstacles to completion for years on end.

One good example? Miniature Multiverse.

For those who don’t know about this, it was a concept that I ran a Kickstarter campaign for in 2011, and the campaign was poorly promoted and weakly managed and failed to raise any real funding. That said, the concept was sound and Kickstarter staff gave the project a ‘Projects we Love’ designation. I still get occasional messages and emails from people who only discovered the KS years after it failed but still want it to happen.

Well… I have gained a lot of experience using Unity as an engine since 2011, and have acquired a lot of good assets and tools connected to it. I have a better camera than what I had in 2011, a Sony camera with 20.1 megapixel photo capability, and I’ve figured out a great camera rig setup that is suitable for this project. I also have a lot of miniature supplies now and am actively and rapidly scratchbuilding the baseline content I aimed for in crowdfunding, now quite efficiently on my own dime.  It also helps that I have no physical backer rewards to worry about shipping! And I have a strategy to launch both the HT:TOS DVD and the Miniature Multiverse first three worlds, by September 20th, in just fourteen days.  Two. Weeks. From. Now. And that is also when I post online chapter one of Another Road Taken and the first limited set of video stuff is posted on HornbostelVideos.com.  Nearly all of this is already completed and in position now and all that really still needs to be done is a few final changes and then uploading those things.

And yes, I know I’ve drastically miscalculated timing on projects before – but I think this is so close to ready that even if I miss the mark it won’t be by much.

One catch: I want to build more worlds. Miniature Multiverse was always intended as an ongoing thing. So is the [similar type of project] ‘Panoramic Worlds‘.

There are even other things going on beyond all of that that involve making 3D worlds, including one-off 3D game productions such as Spiral Skies, Isola, and the church project that some of the Redeemer church people fully funded, and a few larger long term things I can’t discuss easily but they’ll involve fan art and more info on that will be known on Sept. 24.

But to make worlds – a lot of them – for everyone to explore, sometimes means funding is necessary [in the case of Miniature Multiverse] or at least helpful in getting things done a bit better and faster.  Now, not a lot of funding is needed, but if I had, say, at least fifty or sixty subscribers as members supporting my work consistently while also benefiting from it enormously through exclusive content and deep discounts across my shops? That’d enable me to get a new world built for Miniature Multiverse every month or two, ongoing. That’d be pretty awesome, no?

Members would have access to the newest builds of Miniature Multiverse – months ahead of everyone else. So subscribing premium members and shop buyers will be able to see some things sooner than the general public. Same with videos.

And while the House Trek DVD is going to be available for purchase, to non members, it’s free [digitally] to members.  Members will get things cheaper or earlier than everyone else. And if you’re a member, you provide a degree of momentum here that is exciting – every member makes things move forward faster across the board for a variety of reasons.  So if you want to help, remember to become a member! 

Not all bad news – good news, bad news post!

Bad news: As stated in the previous post, the transcription work I have been depending on to pay the bulk of my bills, is going to dry up soon.

Good news: It’s still mostly around for the moment, and isn’t gone quite yet.

Bad news: The eBay shop is still losing money each week.

Good news: I made 8 sales there in the past 60 days, and that will hopefully push my ratings to 200+, perhaps leading to higher bidding totals and items breaking even or even being frequently profitable?

Bad news: I thought that’d happen at 100 positive ratings, or 150, so how will 200 be any different?

Good news: It’s different because the frequency of bids on my auctions IS increasing over time, and because traffic on my websites is climbing too.

Bad news: The large wave of bids is concurrent with a hurricane [Harvey] that will likely dump near 20 inches of rain on Houston, flooding everything and stalling all outbound mail.

Good news: I already notified customers that there may be unavoidable delays related to this, and they’ve so far all been okay with that.

Bad news: Two items will sell later this week, and those customers may be confused and frustrated if power goes out here and no communication is possible.  They’ll be wondering ‘What is going on with this Matthew Lyles Hornbostel? Why is he not responding to my questions?’

Good news: Power is not that likely to go out, and I am in a great position to grab a bit of epic hurricane footage that could perhaps be used in my upcoming short art video ‘Storm 2’.

Bad news: This also delays recording of ‘The Annoying Magician!’ and some fragments of ‘Tinyville 2’ until a month from now.

Good news: Plenty of work to do before then anyway.  I am posting the articles section pages a bit at a time on TriumphantArtists.com, plus am closer than ever to to launching a first batch of [fully legal and self-created] content on HornbostelVideos.com, plus the comic ‘Another Road Taken’ and some game/interactive media material is on the way too.  Watch for the Spiral Skies update – showing some more of the small Unity 5.6.3 engine based adventure/puzzle game – to appear before long on SpiralSkiesGame.com, plus some largely empty fan art pages fixed and filled with content, and some even bigger updates regarding the church virtual tour program, as well as a little top-down racing game I’ve been debugging.

In case you are curious here’s a teaser for the historical preservation effort related to the Church of the Redeemer Episcopal in Houston, Texas – the entire building, which is largely demolished now, is being actively reassembled in a virtual realtime 3D form thanks to some $360+ in donations for that purpose from various church members, covering the entire cost of the project.  Too bad the crowdfunding process that worked here, failed on the far more imaginative project ‘Miniature Multiverse’ years ago – but whatever.

Parish Hall of Church of the Redeemer, recreated in 3D
Parish Hall of Church of the Redeemer, recreated in 3D

Update, May 2nd, 2017

My production pipeline is emerging from crisis stronger than before.  

A few quick notes: much of the cash I raised from the Crafts Fair, etc, has gone to a new video card for my PC (The old one was the source of long-running random crashes) and a few extra plugins for Unity.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to wrap up some local projects for Boy Scout Troop 4, as the troop looks to be on its last legs and will be unlikely to survive beyond 2017.  One of the scouts is leaving for the navy at the end of the spring semester so I wanted to give him a good send off.  I’m trying to complete Troop 4 TV Seasons 2 & 3 during the next 15 days for that event.

Other things I’d tried to get done prior to this I couldn’t, including the video channel, etc.  The computer being down for about 10 days had a lot to do with that.  In broad strokes, my production schedule is like this:

MAY 2017 – Troop 4 stuff screened for Troop 4

JUNE – AUGUST 2017 – Work on some interactive-media stuff like the Redeemer Virtual Tour, Spiral Skies, and also finally launching the comics and video channel, which I’ve devised a clever, or maybe just stupidly deranged and risky, plan to deal with.  This plan involves having the videos/video channel all on a separate domain with no links out of it, but various links in, no real way for me to profit [even slightly] from any of the videos if they take off or prove popular.  I will pay out residuals from other sources unrelated to and not in any way benefiting from the video channel.  These residuals will be kept extremely simple:   $1/year per actor per video released that they were in, plus a one-off $5 payment for any new project they participate in [a payment for taking the role] and a second one off $5 payment when the project is finished and goes online.  The math on this works out fine by me; if all my projects end up online over next three years, it could add up to $1500+ in payments to actors by the end of that time… and over $12k after 20 years [distributed among all actors].

If one actor tries to sue me [cease & desist] I’ll pull the video in question offline quickly, and attempt to avoid legal conflict, so just keep in mind that videos might go offline at some point if somebody complains and if they cannot be convinced by me or the other cast members, to allow the video to go back online then it’ll stay offline.   I know I’m taking a risk of screwing myself over massively and that even if that does not happen, I’ll still lose a lot over time, but it is worth it to me to have the videos online, because I like people to be entertained, darn it, and it bugs me to have this gigantic backlog of awesome stuff that nobody is able to view!

As for Fall 2017, I will try to wrap up some of the family stuff – 1999, Globe, and Fortress Siege 2.  That’s basically it, that’s the plan.

 

Craft Fair went well

I’ve made over $250 in total at the craft fair.

Items such as the kitten artwork [colored pencil, faved a lot on Etsy but not bought by anyone there] and the Easter chick sold, so it seems my depictions of animals were well received as usual.

I’ve also sold a spectacularly large item on eBay, made to order for a customer there.

Impressionist landscape artwork

That was a colossal 5′ by 8′ item on canvas, I’ve shipped it and it’s on its way to the customer.  It cost them $108.

So – all told – I’m in good shape to push things beyond where they were before.  I’m ordering a new GPU (video card) for my computer and will try to set that up soon.  I’ve also acquired a few other smaller things that I need, and much of that is related to a virtual tour of the former Church of The Redeemer meeting location.  That’s one of a handful of Unity 3d projects being developed in tandem, so any shaders, plugins, etc, used for this will also be useful elsewhere.

The Redeemer DVDs were generally very popular and the Blu Rays less so even though they look amazing on a high-def TV.  1280×720 video may not be flawless resolution but it’s well above 720×480.  If you’re online asking for a copy, keep in mind that aside from a teaser for the virtual tour, pretty much everything on those discs is church service footage only of interest to the aging people who attended the church prior to 2011.

It’s not exactly a seat of your pants, high octane thriller.

But – it may well lead to some exciting videos making it online, ones that are shorter but way cooler looking and faster-paced, than a church service.

Right now I’m slashing prices on all of my Etsy listings by 20-35% (until May 10) so that’s worth a look.  The eBay listings also have mostly dropped by 5-10% as sales there have slowed down slightly lately.  A lot of that kind of stuff ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I see 3 or 4 people all commission unique artworks in a single week, other times I can go a month with nothing much selling.  So it’s hardly consistent and right now I’m expecting a boost in activity, partly due to the sales and reduced pricing, and partly because I have launched a bit of advertising this week.  So if you like an item I made, that you see on Etsy, buy it before it sells to someone else.

MY ETSY SHOP!

MY EBAY SHOP – OVER 180 RATINGS, ALL POSITIVE!

NOW SELLING ON ETSY, under $35:

Winter Landscape

UNDER $30!:

Fantasy Coast - gouache

UNDER $20 FOR EACH SET!:

Still Life series batch #2

Old still life series, batch #1

Lot of four old fantasy art landscapes

Set of 5 old landscape artworks

Old batch of floral artworks from 2000s onward.

There are INSANE bargains all across my network right now and you should definitely take a look if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

Windfall

I’ve been given a large batch of old art books by my grandparents; they’d been owned by my grandfather Daniel, and after he passed away they were handed down to me by his wife Sharlene.

I didn’t think much of it at the time but apparently these old 1960s publications – I Maestri del Colore – are fairly valuable.  Not extremely valuable, but there are a lot of them in my house [almost 90 issues] and they’re worth anywhere from $5 to $150 each.  Most are valued around $10-15, but some issues are worth more and some less.  So I’m selling them off on eBay right now in batches.  If you stumbled across this blog post by searching for I Maestre del Colore for your collection of antiquarian books or whatever, and are actually here actively looking for that Italian magazine, then by all means take a look at my eBay shop:

My eBay shop — also, if you are interested, please take a look at some of my other projects on my various websites, as they’re likely to benefit noticeably from the sale of these old art books.  I won’t be able to launch the stock footage I’d planned to, any time soon, but nonetheless my new video channel, new handmade art on Etsy, new comics/graphic novel content, and an update on my Spiral Skies game… all of those things are still on track for a release in mid April 2017.

Just to generate a bit of curiosity, maybe get you all a bit excited even, here’s a little .GIF pulled from one of my upcoming videos:

‘Storm 2’ animation, vfx shot

April 10-15, 2017 – the big updates

Why is next Monday, April 10 – and every Monday after that for the next 15 weeks – going to be epic?  Here’s why:

  1. Comics.  New T4 content – the Troop 4 Uncensored, pt 4 comic book [divided into 10-12 parts] -and the first portions of Another Road Taken, which have been delayed way, way too long, will be posted during this span.  Not that anyone has complained.  Most of you either don’t know what I’m even referring to – or do know but have been really patient with me.
  2. Game news.  Spiral Skies sees actual up-to-date media content [new stuff to see on a new website specifically chosen for the project – SpiralSkiesGame.com – posted on one of these Mondays.  This is something that actually has gotten a bit of response which is great… though at this time nothing is visible on the new domain, just on PanoramicWorlds.com.
  3. The video channel.  It’ll be on TriumphantArtists.com I’ve put some substantial effort into this launch but my friends/actors mostly have yet to sign a digital document I sent them, which, in effect, stalls almost every video I really strongly want online from actually being placed online.  When they ask about the videos not being online, I turn the question around and ask them why they have been unwilling to sign the documents I sent them.  I tell them that THEY are holding back said releases.  Most of them seem genuinely surprised by this.  Perhaps once I am pulling in thousands of viewers these holdouts will actually notice, and respond to, the messages I sent.
  4.  More artworks on Etsy in the lead up to the mid-April launches.  This is the only way that some of the launch content can actually [realistically] materialize faster.  If you audience members like the items I list on Etsy then buy them, knowing that those sales [if made in the next few weeks] will finance completion of more videos, etc.  So once again, please take a look at my Etsy shop.

Here are the different videos [definitely] making it online in the next 15 weeks.  Longer projects are often split into multiple webisodes and I currently estimate between 24 and 36 videos being on the channel by the last of the 15 weeks.   24 is the likely outcome if nobody signs off on the legal documents in the next few weeks.  36, potentially, if a bunch of the signatures are collected soon.

DEFINITELY RELEASED IN NEXT 15 weeks:

House Trek: The Original Series – this is a reworking of an old video series from 2001-2004 that had a very silly take on space travel, badly going where much better sci fi series had already been before.  The fifth episode, the longest one, is now a two parter, and there’s also a short new episode tacked on to the end of the series to bridge the gap between this and the upcoming House Trek: The Next Generation.

Storm – an old 2003 art video short depicting a rainstorm.

Storm 2 – new short video two-parter in which I find myself alone in the house unprepared during a severe hurricane.

Relativity  – Escheresque 2004 art video with cool [and recently somewhat reworked] imagery that messes with your perceptions.

Send in The Clones 1, remastered  The brief first [2001] video in the aging ‘Clones’ video series.

Creativity – 2005 art video short.

Awakening  – new eerie short video in which I find myself struggling with persistently trippy and creepy nightmares which affect my judgement and sanity even when I’m awake.

Refuge – new 3-episode sci-fi short with some freaky horror-ish surprises.  It’s the year 2202, Earth is a poisoned wasteland and the surviving humans have traveled to another world to keep going.  But now people are going missing at an alarming rate!

Sheol – psychological horror/mind bender.  Brand new short.  After an internet troll interrupts a video chat, and threatens to kill me, I wake up the next morning imprisoned in a horrific death trap.

MAYBE RELEASED IN NEXT 15 weeks:

“Matthew’s Portal” (2005) a classic family mind-bender with a fun and clever story.

“Send in The Clones 2” (2002) My clones rapidly transition from laziness to rebellion.

“Duel 2030” – Recorded in 2007-2008, it’s a dark post-apocalyptic action mini-epic.

“Snow Siege” – The first of the videos I recorded with my cousins, in 2003.  A kid-friendly holiday classic.

“Tinyville Disaster” (2003) – A classic comedy made with stop-motion animation.

“Fortress Siege” – a 2009 medieval comedy that is equal parts visually impressive and wackily absurd.

 

 

FEBRUARY 2017 RECAP

Recapping the recent events of February 2017, just the last month, to remind everyone that despite appearances, a lot of updates do actually happen on my web network if you keep looking:

-eBay auctions with low starting bids continue.  Look at these three in particular, especially the top two as they’ve gotten relatively few views so far compared to the third but are nonetheless impressive value:

Pastel Pencil art, 16×20 inches, starting at $1.99

Oil pastel art, 18×24 inches, starting at $2.49

Acrylic Painting, 18 x 24 inches, starting at $2.99

-The new batch of polls continue to go largely ignored by website visitors.  I’ve gotten *hundreds* of visitors to my websites in the past week, over 700 actually, but the polling page seems to be a bit hard for them to find for whatever reason.  It’s a shame, too, given the amazing opportunity for the few who actually take a look at that page.

The polling page.

-Membership options just launched.  There are some stupendous perks to being a subscriber and signing up for a Premium Membership status here.

The most obvious is free shipping while a member and 15% or more off all HornbostelProductions.com store items.  You could get some great bargains on handmade art doing that right now.  $4.99/year for 15% or more off everything, and a list of other extras.  Really reasonable.

Membership benefits

-The VFX section of Articles were just recently posted.  There are four new articles on TriumphantArtists.com, and they are all in that category.

VFX and 3D art-icles

-Still Art section has a few new images and is now sortable.  You can now view the artworks I’ve made, organized by year, art medium, or size.

Still Art Page – now sortable!

-Ground work laid for some big stuff updated in the next 30 days.  As in, major news related to ‘Spiral Skies’, release of House Trek content, and a new batch of HD stock footage, as well as more comics stuff, finally a new vlog entry, and continued expansion of the articles section with even more valuable information.  There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and it’ll be publically revealed over time.

-That goofball auction of five hours of my time.  Nobody bid, but I am not really surprised given the brevity of the auction.  It was kind of an experiment and it failed.  Time to move on.  Maybe I’ll try that idea again later on with a longer build up beforehand.

-The Vineyard Video Leisure Group is now moving closer to fruition.  I posted a teaser image for it just this evening.  [See previous post]