September 2019 updates

 

So… the things I said I intended to do, in my last post, are happening.

-eBay stock media DVDs, are being sold and some are being auctioned right now along with a lot of other amazing deals intended to draw attention to the store I have there.

https://www.ebay.com/usr/mtthornb

-the two new stock 3d asset packs I promised were in development, are finally available on itch.io.

https://matthornb.itch.io

But – and this is a key thing – I could still really use support to get Miniature Multiverse done soon.

And no, I haven’t yet resumed my efforts on Etsy, but at some point I will. The video ‘Freeway’ is complete, and the new House Trek is in production. I am currently working on a systemic overhaul of nearly all my websites with OpenElement and if some things occasionally seem a bit more defective than usual in next few weeks it is probable they’ll be fixed soon, but as usual you would be well advised to refresh any pages that seem broken or massively out of date. If a page is soon gone entirely, removed, the content is probably just redesigned with a new organizational structure and filename, it is NOT gone. Try refreshing or returning to the domain root, then refreshing. And if that fails, try again a few hours later or a few days later. This should work in 99+% of problem cases.  Seriously, it will all be better in many ways (visually, navigationally… in performance and responsiveness terms too) once this transition process is over and the data is all restructured and redesigned.

Right now I am pursuing a lot of work on Amazon’s mTurk and it doesn’t pay well, but it might be enough to cover the remaining miniature supplies and some other costs, by mid October. But again, if you want to help get that moving ahead faster, try buying something from the above shops, or backing me on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/matthornb (or Ko-fi – https://ko-fi.com/matthornb  –    if you only want to commit to a small one off payment) or, maybe hiring me via the HornbostelProductions shop. I am not merely offering made to order personalized art in numerous forms, I am now posting an option in which you could pay me to make a virtual tour / virtual world for you or for someone you care about, as a gift item. It is less expensive than you may expect; right now prices amount to roughly $2/ hr, so if you are choosing one of the more costly options it is still only around $28 to order a large, detailed realtime 3d world based on your creative visual ideas, and I can turn it around in a week or so, and give you a playable Windows application at the end of that week. That is pretty cool!

Anyway, thank you all for staying around, I realize things have moved slowly but I am still trying, I have not given up. I think sooner or later something I am trying will work out and my network will take off. patreOnce that happens it’ll be pretty amazing.

 

Making some new videos this summer, not just stock media, plus handmade artworks and finishing ‘Miniature Multiverse’ (hopefully)

My current plan involves the following sequence of events:

#1) Wrapping up and releasing the stock-media asset pack updates on Itch.IO, including an expanded ‘Marshes & Meadows’ and two new collections of 3d assets beyond that. Expected timing is late June, with the sale running from end of June through July 4th. I’d attempted to be ready for the entire duration of the Itch Summer Sale but things aren’t progressing quickly enough. So the start of that sale was officially June 21, and I had reworked my plan for June 24th or 25th when it became clear this would not be ready for the 21st, and now that it’s the 25th, I’m very close but realistically the 27th-29th is now looking like a probable release timeframe. But whenever this stuff IS a bit more polished and ready to launch, you’ll see a video on my Itch profile, 15 mins. long, an extensive overview of my work, especially work related to Itch.IO releases & content.

The sale will include massive discounts as well, especially on a bundle of all five stock media packs ($1.49 for five different stock media collections together in one incredible bundle, essentially 30 cents each!)

#2) I also have been slightly reducing prices and broadening options on eBay, and I posted a brand new fantasy artwork for sale too, I created it on the afternoon/evening of the 24th, over a span of 3 1/2 hours. Opening bid is $8.99. You can view my eBay profile here as usual, and the fantasy item in particular, here. 

All the eBay activity is partly to raise funding, but also in preparation for a stock-media DVD launch coinciding with the new Itch.IO releases. Basically, it’ll be all five of my massive stock media collections that do or soon will, exist digitally on Itch, together on a physical DVD complete with disc art, cover art, shipped to customers through eBay. So the eBay ramp up in activity is intended to coincide with the equivalent excitement at Itch.IO.

#3) With the eBay and Itch frenzy wrapped up, ideally I’ll have raised a couple hundred $, or something close to that, and it’d get me to the point of funding the remaining content of ‘Miniature Multiverse‘ which STILL IS MISSING THE LAST HANDFUL OF MINIATURE WORLDS! So while I *could* plausibly raise that cash elsewhere, over the next month, if I want to do so before end of July, I will need something to happen on eBay / itch.

If you’re wondering why I recently bought a handful of items on eBay, incidentally, which have zero connection to that, including a batch of candy gummies and some lighting stuff [filters and a light] plus a bit of children’s clothing… yeah, I am recording a couple of comedy family videos with my nephews and niece, all of them under the age of seven. So they have short attention spans and candy is key to keeping them on task as the 20-minute mark hits. Plus the light stuff is related, as is the roll of blue paper I’m using as a improvised cheapo bluescreen. And the clothes, I want to be sure there’ll be shirts that won’t have any blue in the design, as blue would get keyed out! So yeah, sometimes for holidays I’ll grab something (the flower items for Mothers’ Day) or for projects. In the case of the current video projects, we’ll see if there’s a way to get everyone onboard with the idea of posting that stuff online, but for now I’m just focused on getting those videos made in the first place. So that… the videos in question include a short called ‘Freeway’ in which the children are forced not to watch TV, they get upset, drive off in a car, on their own, and a ridiculous chase ensues. The other video is “House Trek: The Next Generation, Season 1” and that is a follow up to the ancient HT TOS series of absurd sci-fi videos I did and which can be viewed (some of them at least) on HornbostelVideos.com.

Only this time it has an actual cast, better production values (in terms of set stuff, props, etc) and a real narrative arc across the handful of episodes that constitute Season 1. The cast of HTTNG S1 includes me [as the crazy inventor uncle] and the kids [who accidentally initiate a launch sequence and cause the adventure to develop] and Katie [my sister / their mom] as well as my parents. This should be fun. You’ll see what I mean someday.

I’m recording this in much higher quality too. Really, it’s 1080p, good pristine 1080p too, some shot in 1080p, some in 2.7k and downscaled sharply. I could go higher res than that even but I think an HD final edit makes sense for a few reasons, mainly that 1080p is about as high as many PC monitors and mobile tablets can display anyway, and it’s the highest resolution that works for BluRays. But the bottom line is it’s real high end HD and it should look nice when done.

I am hoping that despite spending near $120 on the pair of video shoots, that I’ll still be able to cover the Miniature Multiverse stuff too, sometime in July. It’ll be the end of the month if no sales are made on eBay/Itch and maybe early/mid July if things go unexpectedly really well on my sales. But the project *will* move forward soon to completion, one way or another.

And so will the ‘older’ video projects. I had worried that a significant chunk of my video core data on videos recorded during the last couple years, would be unrecoverable and that in the worst case the videos would be severely weakened as a result of the data losses. But I’ve, with a mix of clever digital methods, been able to recover almost everything at this point, that was key to those. The resulting reality is this: Now those videos can also continue and move forward again. And that’s great news.

So, for example, Fortress Siege 2 is going to happen. And a few other videos too, will be part of what I’ll be working on from October-December 2019, after the release of Miniature Multiverse. If that launch goes well I may even be able to overhaul some of my hardware/software workflow and that may result in some cool VFX imagery and techniques / technology that you’ve never seen me pull off before!

Well, let’s just see how this goes, shall we? 🙂

 

 

Revised roadmap & a challenge for everyone

  1. I’ll be posting two new stock media packs [3d asset packs] on my Itch.IO page sometime soon, probably within the next 5-10 days. These are the ‘Forests & Flowers’ and ‘Snow & Sand’ packs that I’ve been working on. They’ll be $1.10 each except during sales or in bundle pricing situations.
  2. I’m trying to update some websites a bit more, I’ve already overhauled MiniatureMultiverse.com somewhat, and TriumphantArtists.com should see a few small fixes & updates soon as well, along with minor improvements across some of my other websites.
  3. I’m actively ordering a bunch of additional art supplies, shipping supplies, and DVDs/DVD cases. Why? I intend to launch all the Itch.IO content together as a singular $14.99 DVD product on eBay and here as well. I also intend to make a new batch of artworks and sell those too.  As in, giant 24″x36″ size artworks, big, beautiful pieces with prices starting around $23.99.
  4. All this stuff going on will coincide with a staggering mix of ad campaigns that should draw in thousands of people and generate crazy levels of traffic from March 15 – April 15. The total cost is estimated at $45, or $1.50 spent on the campaign per day.
  5. I have some fan art stuff going on, behind schedule, but it is happening nonetheless. I also have some updates on RedeemerDocumentary.com heading in soon; you’ll see more content relating to the virtual church building tour which is nearing completion. I am also digitally reconstructing my old house in Houston, TX, and between all the various examples piling up, of my ability to realistically reconstruct architectural spaces, well… I’ll be posting a sale item here which essentially allows for people to hire me to make a made-to-order 3d level/tour for them in Unity.
  6. All the [still unposted] House Trek videos are going to be posted on HornbostelVideos.com shortly, except for the making-of stuff, and the animated DVD menus. And that’s just part of what’ll be posted. Watch for a PDF ebook, and also a printed paper equivalent, that showcases essentially all my work, with an emphasis on the creative process and what I’ve learned by doing all the stuff I’ve done [relating to game development, video production, handmade art, etc] it’s an insightful history summing up the last two decades of my life and it has hundreds of pics – giving you an inside look at a lot of things only friends and family know about so far, massive piles of interesting stuff the internet in general, currently has no idea exists. And no, not a puff piece, I very clearly and bluntly describe my mistakes and errors in judgement, and offer useful advice on solving common issues, that’ll make creative efforts hopefully easier for you than things have been for me.
  7. All of this sale stuff being launched, the artworks and other items, the book, stock media packs/DVDs, and the month-long ad campaign… it’s all a gambit to secure funding to do all the stuff I’m hoping to do by year’s end. I have three videos to shoot, about a dozen to actually finish, plus game content, including Vivid Minigolf v2, and Miniature Multiverse, those two in particular are challenging insofar as they each still have unresolved costs of over $250, in miniature materials alone. And then tack on the $450+ goals in funding between the three videos I’d like to record, plus all the other stuff involved… yeah, basically I hope this plays out well. If I don’t have close to $1k earned by end of Spring 2019, it means a lot of the goals for summer and fall of this year will fall through. And, quite bluntly, if you’re as tired of the slow rate of progress around here as I am, I’m pretty much begging you to buy something of mine, because if sales volume across my web network climbs high enough, and the percentage of visitors who transition to buyers climbs from a current level of 0.0135% to 5%, that’d change almost everything around here! (I seriously have thousands of visitors – around 2500 – every week, across my various websites and shops, and yet the majority of weeks nothing is actually sold anywhere on my network.)

An intriguing image!

 

Teaser wallpaper for my nature model pack on Itch.IO.

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

-cattails

-lilypads and 2x lily flowers

-Alligator weeds

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.

Cool, right?

It’ll all be available for $1.10 on Itch.IO.

Seven quick updates for everyone here!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Itch.IO has become a big focus for me; I launched the TACC2018 content there and the 2018 Bonus Autumn pack in time for Halloween 2018, and intend to have two new products – a Miniature Multiverse extras pack with artbook, and a batch of textured 3D models of plants and details for outdoor nature scenes – released in time for a massive and very promising Thanksgiving sale [Nov. 20th-30th, 2018]*
  6. 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.
  7. 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’.]

Halloween Sale & new stock media pack!

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!

LINKS:

TACC 2018 [Triumphant Artists Complete Collection 2018]: https://matthornb.itch.io/tacc2018

Bonus Autumn 2018 Collection: https://matthornb.itch.io/autumn-2018-bonus-collection

 

TACC 2018 now available for $3.99 on Itch.IO!

Check out this link: https://matthornb.itch.io/tacc2018 

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.

Seven quick notes

  1. 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!

2. To that end, you’ve probably noticed that I have a new Pinterest account I’m shifting to, here, as well as a DeviantArt account, trying to promote and sell my eBay art stuff. And there’ll be a lot more eBay listings posted in a week or so. So just keep an eye on that.

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:

House Trek episode 6 space battle still image
House Trek episode 6 space battle still image.

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!

New picture on Pinterest

Mars Colony – Artwork made for David Petersen – 2018

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.

Book cover graphic

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.

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 faster, you’ll know release is likely 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 initially 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: