‘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

 

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

Still reeling and coping with the setbacks

I think in a few days I’ll have the PC operating normally, more or less.

While the Windows OS update was screwing up my plans for a video channel release (previously scheduled for May 10 but now pushed back by two weeks.) I also found a message in my spam folder notifying me that vividminigolf.com was not set to auto renew and that it was expiring.

Fortunately I got it renewed within the grace period, that brief span between when a domain expires and when it is purchasable by other people.  But for a couple days the site was down and the game was inaccessible.  Sorry about that.

I think things are getting back on track, more or less – I have a few options for getting my PC working again ranging from mild [replacing faulty AMD drivers] to severely annoying [reinstalling the OS] but all of them depend on first backing up everything on the internal drives in case something goes severely wrong and the hardware is basically unrecoverable.  That is unlikely but I’m backing all the content up via command line anyway.  This takes some time, and involves a lot of copying of subdirectories to and from a 128gb flash drive.

The first attempt to acquire signatures from a few cast members failed; I’m now revising the terms and will send out those forms on a person by person basis beginning with an initial set of 40 people or so on May 17.  The terms for cast members are now even more generous, to the point where under some circumstances the video channel might not prove to be viable.  I recognize that if the channel on my website were to take off suddenly with above 500k viewers, and the other stuff – the sale items – don’t grow at a similar pace, the cost to me could be enormous and might cause a systemic failure of my web network.

Why?  Because I’m using sale products as a substitute for conventional third party ad revenue.  Should the sale products disappoint and fall below a certain ratio relative to the video views, the profitability of my websites go down and maybe even go negative.  The threshhold at which this happens was, in the original document, very unlikely to be crossed, but now I think the odds of the video channel losing money are hovering around 25%.  This is something that I can adjust to some degree to improve things if they get bad enough, like:

-writing most upcoming videos with smaller casts of about 3-4 persons instead of sprawling ensembles.

-minimizing location shoots off my property.

-increasing promotion frequency [advertising] of related sale products in the video channel playlists in an attempt to boost revenue on the channel to a tenable level.

-promoting my video channel only subtly and emphasizing the shop on most non video pages.

My hope is that the video channel will raise about as much revenue as it costs, maybe even prove mildly profitable somehow.  That would be amazing, and in my view the effort breaking even is still something of a victory.

Since we’re discussing the shops and sale items, I think it’s a perfect time to point out the stuff I’ve got piled into the Etsy and eBay shops right now.  There’s more there than is usually the case and you should check that out.

I’ve got a bunch of antiquarian magazine issues [I maestri del colore] on sale right now on eBay, substantially undervalued, someone could absolutely buy a lot of 20 and flip them, reselling them as individual listings.  That might actually make you a tidy profit.  But those listings are ending right about now!

My eBay shop

I also have a bunch of my old work on sale on Etsy now.  Lots of stuff.  Batches of old artworks that have been around a few years and haven’t sold locally – but which are now on sale at really great low prices!

My Etsy shop

Houston, Texas residents take note!

LOCAL SERVICES & EVENTS RELATED TO MY ART/VIDEO WORK:

If you’re in the Houston area, especially somewhere near the Eastwood neighborhood or University of Houston, the downtown area, etc…

SPECIAL LOCAL EVENT VIDEOGRAPHY

Well, I’m going to begin offering local services like videography [low-cost event videography for weddings and other special events] fairly soon.  My fees are around minimum wage and in practice more like $4.80/hour when measured accurately, so really super affordable compared to many other services, and I offer multicamera coverage of events so if one camera has a problem, for any reason, none of the events that are taking place are lost.  Price is $7.50/event hour plus an extra $4 per DVD or Blu Ray delivered the week afterward, and these are DVDs/Blu Rays with disc art, cover art, and a few basic nice features like that.  But while I will do this work for cheap, I won’t do it for nothing, or as has often been requested, for a loss.  (Incidentally – I’ve still got ten batches of video from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer closing ceremony lingering on my desktop PC – I recorded all that for free – but I won’t deliver it on discs unless somebody actually covers the cost of that!  That stuff is *still* just sitting in a folder on my hard drive years after the fact all due to the church members’ unwillingness to pay $4/disc for it!  Kind of a dumb stalemate there, and doubly dumb given that for another $150 I’d be willing to make a realtime 3D tour of the entire church building as it was a decade ago, in Unity 5, and include that on the discs.  1/3 of the building is already sculpted in 3D, but that too is stalled because nobody will cover the cost of completing it [even though I have 14-mp photos of pretty much every surface of the structure inside & out, hundreds of them, and the skills/tools to generate a full realistic 3D version of the structure that players can walk around in on Windows and Mac.)  The worst part is that many of the church members are senile tech-illiterate dodos who probably will never even realize this blog exists or what they could have had very cheaply.  Sorry, but I refuse to coddle you anymore or continue absorbing losses doing things as an unpaid volunteer for you all.

(I don’t believe in your ancient myths any more either and I’m agnostic, nearly atheist in practice and generally no longer willing to quietly accept idiocy and irrational wishful thinking that defies logic.)

 

LOCAL SCOUTING PROGRAM AND VIDEO SCREENINGS THERE:

Boy Scout Troop 4 meets at the Church of the Redeemer Lutheran and I’m still somewhat involved in the group as a sort of leader / Assistant Scoutmaster despite having turned 18 well over a decade ago.  This group is awesome with some great but aging leaders and a fascinatingly funny legacy dating back a century, which includes great events, parties, camping and hiking, road trips, video productions, even a flight to Hawaii for a week once in 2005! – but if there aren’t a few new scouts inbound (plus a parent or two volunteering) the group is likely to continue to deteriorate and will disband entirely at the end of 2017.  That’d be a shame but not a surprise.  The BSA – a largely bloated, inefficient and corrupt non-profit institution and not really adhering to its founding ethical principles anyway –  is not adapting adequately to changing demographics; when over 2/3 of young Americans [under 30] are non-religious* and the organization actively bars non-believers from being involved even if they’re idealists who truly are trying to be good to others [just without faith in a God] then it’s no surprise that the organization is going downhill and generally screwed in the long run.  Their efforts at inclusivity have been slow, confusing and mismanaged [the multi-stage acceptance of non-heterosexual scouts] and they’ve hit a bad stage where they are adopting policies which alienate both the conservative religious groups and the emerging secular culture.  It seems like they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.  The fragmented culture of America, to be fair, has become something of a minefield for this sort of organization and controversy is seemingly found everywhere.

So if the troop is headed for dissolution, at least it’ll have a legacy living on through the troop’s website, the comic books, videos and even the little T4 adventure game in development.  Some time this summer I want to set up a big HD projection/sound system and play all the T4 movies, remastered, for the group, both current and past scouts, complete with drinks & popcorn.  It’d be a great chance to see why the troop is amazing – a big party and local boys ages 10-17 and their parents are encouraged to drop in and watch when that takes place.  (TBD)

 

ART MARKET and VIDEO PRODUCTION GROUP:

Vineyard Church of Houston, had an Art Market last Christmas and likely that’ll be an annual event so keep that in mind for the end of the year, as I’ll almost surely have a booth there again at the end of 2017, and also there’s a Video Production / Movie Makers group there probably September-November 2017 (if pastor Michael Palandro approves it, which he might, given my Dad’s consistent and steadfast supportive position in the church and my undeniable credibility as far as relevant skills are concerned, or he might not, given some of my openness about not believing in God.)

WALL ART, MURALS, ART TUTORING, ART WORKSHOPS, 3D PREVIZ, all made affordable:

You can commission artworks – handmade wall art, murals, and similar – from me (again, quite affordably and a bit under minimum wage) locally as well.  I can also teach art and video skills locally, and I’m able to create virtul tours/previs cheaply for anyone needing to show a potential client what a redesigned or ccompletely new property or location could someday look like.

Try emailing me via matthornb@gmail.com if you need an actual creative job done in the Houston area and maybe we can work something out.  Please though, no more emails from scammers.  I’m tired of evil, pathetic brain-dead criminal morons trying to con me and failing miserably at it.  Don’t even try.  It’s a waste of my time and yours.

The unconventional work auction commences, and will run until midnight on the 23rd.

I’ve offered the winner of the auction I just posted, a chance to redirect five hours of my time on the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, to the project of their choice.

So this is a chance to ‘put your money where your mouth is’.

If you voted in the poll (see previous post) and you felt strongly about a particular project, you can get me to commit five hours of work to it this Friday for as little as $0.01.  (Seriously, the opening bid is actually a penny, for five hours of my time.)

You do not want to ignore this!

My morning of Friday, Feb. 24, 2017

Auction Image

My first five hours of personal work on Friday, February 24th, are on sale, and the winning bidder may choose what project I commit them to.

It has occurred to me that I not only have $7500 in funding to raise between all my unique projects, and that it'd take 3 1/2 years to fund them all at the current rate, but that I have an additional issue of time as a limited resource.

Think about your favorite highly anticipated project you've been waiting forever for me to finish.  The one that you probably ranked a '10' in my poll on Triumphant Artists.com.  You've seen that sit mostly on the backburner for months or years and want it done faster.  Now you can toss a few pennies in the ring as a bidder, and say, for example, for $0.01 (one freaking penny!) I could convince Matthew to put five more hours of work into the specific project I am actually excited about.

So you may have been waiting forever for 'Isola' to actually be done.  I hear you on that.  So you place a penny towards that.

But then, someone else wants to push for 'Vivid Minigolf', for example, and raises the bid to two cents.  And on and on it goes.  Some of you want me working heavily on other things altogether, maybe a particular video project, or what have you.  It could even turn into a small scale bidding war!

So the former scouts from Troop 4 who want me focused on the T4 comics and videos, might face off against the Missio Dei/Redeemer people who want me to resume work on the virtual tour of the old church which is now being sold off, and they in turn might face off against adventure gamers hoping for 'Panoramic Worlds' or a certain fangame, or fan-created world, versus some friends who want a movie like 'Eutopia' improved, and even they could get pitted against the family members who want '1999' done right NOW.

Heck, if the bidding goes above $4.95, or $0.99/hour, at that point I'll even open this up to a roster of tasks that are your project, not really at all mine* which might include:

-graphics elements for your web page

-a video vfx shot or two for your video project.

-photo editing of some pictures you want modified

-an online meetup, over an online voice/video chat, to discuss a topic that you want help with or are interested in.  (tutoring, interviews, whatever.)

-a 3D model for a game you're developing.

-general-purpose video editing and audio editing/clean up.

-editing passes on a written story/work/article offering proofreading and feedback.

-roughly a few seconds of cartoon animation or about a page of comic/graphic novel content based on your ideas.

and pretty much anything else creative work wise, that uses the 5 hours of time but does not use up physical materials [that] would cost me money.

IF THIS GENERATES ANY REASONABLE BURST OF BIDDING ACTIVITY, I WILL DO THIS AGAIN ONCE A WEEK.  If that occurs, it could amount to 20 hours sold a month, or 100 hours in the next five months, enough to make a major dent in even the biggest projects, assuming the same person keeps winning the auctions most of the time.

Note that you will be asked to - upon winning - pay the auction end amount using PayPal.

Starting at $0.01

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  • Ending Date - 23rd Feb 2017 18:00:00
  • Ships to - nowhere - no shipping
  • Location - Houston, TX

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    PayPalAuction winner will get a PayPal payment link via email.