Halloween Sale 2020

New asset pack – Street details
A mailbox from ‘Street Details’ asset pack.
Fire hydrant from the same new asset pack
Free bonus 3d asset pack, .FBX and .OBJ assets, decals, and textures released for the Halloween Sale.

Acrylic forest Artwork – one of several new items posted on Etsy leading up to the sale.

So basically here’s where things stand:

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.

Labor Day Weekend Sale

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.
A typical example of an item of mine – an older one – currently on Etsy.
My stock media DVD – available on HornbostelProductions.com and eBay but cheapest on itch.
The other side of the DVD case
Another Etsy artwork example.
Less than 1% of my texture maps/ materials [examples via itch]

Again, the shop links are:

-https://matthornb.itch.io/
– HornbostelProductions.comMy Etsy Shop
My eBay shop

Other notable links of mine include but aren’t limited to:

TriumphantArtists.com

MiniatureMultiverse.com

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you have a great day, and I hope that if you decide to buy anything from any of my stores, that you’re thrilled with how the purchase turns out!

Crowdsourced Adventure

A new domain – and a new game – are active right now.

CrowdsourcedAdventure.com.

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.]

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.

Small update, January 2020

-A new wave of stuff headed to my venue on Etsy, including beautiful artworks like this one, and prices that trend gradually downward until each item sells, even if that means the items don’t break even in some cases. Bonus is that not only is more and more stuff getting posted this month, but there is now a first Etsy review from my first customer on Etsy, a person who took a chance on my shop, and didn’t regret it at all.

Hopefully more sales, and more glowing reviews, will follow.

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

-Lunar New year sale on itch.io will offer all my stock media in a bundle for an unprecedentedly low 89 cents at end of month. 90% off bundle!

I have made 15+ sales on https://matthornb.itch.io so far but nobody has written a review. I am convinced that if even one or two customers do write a review there it would affect the trajectory of the shop in enormously positive ways… encouraging development of even more added quality content at ludicrously low prices.

Note, I have struggled a bit with an unusual deluge of sales on eBay lately and several of those orders have kind of fallen through the cracks a bit. I am sorry about any delays caused by other work, unwanted distractions, unexpected fees/costs, etc. I am working to resolve all remaining pending orders and messes there within the next five days.

I will reiterate that if there are unreasonable delays, I will make it up to any customers affected and will do what I can to resolve complaints – even if that means refunds, or extra apology items delivered beyond what was listed as sold. I am just one guy here so sometimes things do go wrong, I am working on it and I do want to preserve my track record there with (currently) 385 positive ratings and no negatives so far. I would also like to see Etsy and Itch shops develop similarly impressive track records in the long run.

Anyway, the amazing bundle deal on itch.io starts in about a week as does the relaunch of TriumphantArtists.com with a heavily improved and revised design. Please try refreshing the main page starting on Jan. 20 as things will begin to look very different then.

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