Christmas 2020 to New Year 2021

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)

Flower, dropped in rainfall

Amazon Rainforest

-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.

HERE ARE THE RELATED LINKS:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel

https://matthornb.itch.io/

Etsy and Itch.IO [minor updates]

A little bird peering through a window at a floral vase. Acrylic artwork, on sale currently [Etsy]
Landscape with wildflowers. Also on Etsy.

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!

ETSY SALE – June 21 to July 4, 2020!

ITCH.IO SALE [93% OFF!] – June 21 – July 4th, 2020!

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.