Vexor Progress

Right now I'm working on something new. I hurt my shoulder over the Summer and the lingering effects from that injury have impacted my work. I can't really work some of the same techniques I used in the past. Heck, it is probably those exact techniques that led to some of the problems I'm having to be honest.

So I've been working on a less impactful schedule and technique which I am getting pretty decent at. I did a few trial runs with it and then decided to challenge myself by painting/drawing a Headhunter skinned Vexor entirely in Illustrator. The ship is just a part of a larger piece, but it is the hero and the most important element.

So I thought I'd share a few of the progress images with you.

First step is just to block out big areas of color, shadows, and a few fine lines and details.

Then it is just a question of adding increasing details, color, shading, and then final details like lights and labels. Almost all of this stage is done freehand using the brush tool.

Some elements required testing out various SVG Filters, mostly to do with blending and blurring. As this is a vector based illustration, achieving the desired results is not as easy as it is in Photoshop.

The real challenge for me was going to be getting the skin effects correct. This was extremely challenging.

And there it is. An entirely vector based illustration of the Vexor with the Headhunter skin. I'll finish this piece up when we get back from Eve Vegas. But now that the ship is finished, my original intention might change. I'll have to give this some thought.

A piece of advice if you are going to try working like this in Illustrator - be sure to outline everything as you go. Or at least at the very end. It makes dealing with the drawing so much easier later on. Especially when moving it around or re-sizing it.

In total this piece took about 6 hours from start to finish.


Here is a wireframe view of the illustration about halfway along.

And the whole thing up on my monitor.

Off to Eve Vegas

In two days we leave for our first trip to Eve Vegas. Finally! After years of trying (insert long-story here) we are finally going. I hope. There are still two days...

Above is our entry in the recent Eve Fanfest Home Contest. The Harpa in Reykjavik is undergoing some renovations and CCP is moving HQ buildings, so in 2019 there won't be a Fanfest in Iceland. Instead they will be spreading things out a bit across the globe. And one of those stops will be at someone's house. Most likely not mine. But one can hope and after long and careful consideration, my lovely Wife and I decided to go ahead and enter. Just on the off-chance we might win. Because we already host Steel City Eve at our house and that is awesome.

Last week CCP held another contest and asked the community to post Fan Art around the social media universe. And while I could have posted a lot more, I did try to contain myself. Over on Instagram I posted a few images, one of which was selected as one of the three winners. I think we each get one of those awesome white Art of Eve book collections. Which, believe it or not, I don't already own. (Although I do have the Art of Eve book, I'm not a caveman.)

This is the piece that won:
Maulus In Orbit Illustration
Click to embiggen
Which is cool because this piece was really a test more than anything. One of the very first times I tried to do an entire piece in Photoshop using the Wacom tablet and a whole bunch of custom brushes. So it represents an important moment in my own history, so it's nice for it to get some recognition.

I don't do as much Eve art as I used to these days. But I try to stay busy and I have a new piece I'm working on that I am very excited about. But that will have to wait until after Eve Vegas.

Until then.

War Decs in Eve

There is a lot of talk within the community lately about War Decs. The possibility that something may be or may not be done with them has stirred up discussions around town. The recent CSM minutes are to blame. But there is another culprit, one much more serious and impactful. It is becoming rather obvious that War Mechanics in Eve are actually driving players out of the game. This possibility has been debated for years, but it looks like we finally have actual data to back it up. Indeed, players do disengage from Eve when under War and (even more importantly) afterwards. They don't always come back.

The critical issue here is engagement. The more engaged players become the more likely they are to stay players. And sadly, War Decs as they exist in Eve are anti-engagement. There is literally nothing you can do about them. Except log off, stay in station, stop doing anything, avoid them, and other non-engagement activities. For most Eve players these are the options. Back when I lived in High Sec at the beginning of my Eve career a War Dec meant a jump-clone into our Null Sec base. But not all players have that option.

I'll leave it to others to complain, because I have a simple solution - get rid of them. Completely.

Scrap the whole thing. Don't keep iterating on a system that is horribly broken. Instead, wipe the slate clean so that it can be replaced for a new system built from the ground up. I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers here, but I do know what a new Engagement System should look like. Here are a few of the basic tenants:

• Goal Based - Both sides in an engagement should have goals that can be completed to achieve victory conditions. These victory conditions need to be meaningful for both sides. This can easily become a very complicated and intricate system, but I would prefer it stay as simple as possible. Goals could be tied to missions, or other pve content, or based on activity levels. Getting out of a War Dec should be easy for an active, engaged group of players. We want to encourage activity. Not penalize it. Maybe some goals are in Low Sec, Null or in a WH?

• Bribery - This wouldn't be Eve without risks and underhanded mechanics. I suggest building it into the system. You should be able to bribe Concord to gain advantages or to combat advantages. I'd like someone to bribe Concord to let me into HS for a war mission (Yeah, War Missions!) for a few hours. Or for a victim corp to pay off one of their goals and reduce the timers. The options here are numerous. Cross pollination is the goal here, let's get players jumping into systems and experiencing new parts of space.

Right now there is nothing an Alliance like mine can do against a War Dec. Our HS arms simply move around it and HS activity is avoided. But our main combat arm, Stay Frosty, is 100% useless when it comes to HS Wars. Us scum-sucking Pirates can't do anything to help. At least not reasonably. I suggest that during a War Concord grants temporary sec status to all combatants. So I could fly into HS to search out and freely engage War Targets. Obviously, if I abused that access by attacking anyone else, my status would be removed. But to other members of HS I'd appear just like a regular joe. Maybe with a special icon or something so they could avoid me. More engagement.

People who declare War need to have skin in the game as well. I'm not trying to take anyone's play style away from them. I'd also want these systems to engage them as well. But they should have something to lose. And something to gain.

And then we need to eliminate the ability to engage other players in HS. You simply are unable to lock another ship, not under a War Dec, in HS. Any smartbombs on a gate will not damage ships not under a War Dec with your corp/alliance. Let's eliminate ganking completely from Eve. It is horrible game play that only encourages the worst in players.  It is borderline abuse and it is time for it to be eliminated. Let HS be for the safety conscious, encourage them to travel, to be engaged, to experience other aspects of the game. HS shouldn't be that great. Players should want to move to Low and Null and Wormholes. If they don't, then something is wrong.

But that only works if we can more easily travel between those sections of the game. It only works if I can travel into HS to engage War Targets. It only works if HS Wars require visits to Low, Null or WHs. And that's why we need a new system.

In my opinion.

So What's Next?

I keep getting asked in local about my Podcast After Hours and when it will be coming back. And I keep having to decline commission work. And sometimes I find it challenging to think of something to write in this blog. Any free time I have these days is typically time I want to be spending in-game. Things are really hopping in Stay Frosty and ABA these days. We're running anywhere between 4-6 organized fleets a week lately. Which is exciting.

I think I've gotten my FC mojo back. I keep thinking about more theme roams that we can try. This past Saturday we went out in Rifters and that was a lot of fun. I want to do more of those. During the week most of the fun stuff happens while I am at work, which has always been a bummer. But I'd rather be working than face the alternative. Which is why weekends end up being so important. We will be missing a couple of weekends for Eve Vegas and Eve London. And all of the Holiday stuff coming up end of year.

It is a busy time to say the least. I've been at my current position for over a year now and things couldn't be going better. The marketing is humming along and we are exceeding our goals. I really enjoy the people I work with every day. So that's going really well.

All of which adds up to decisions that need to be made about priorities. I've already made the decision that commissions will generally have to be a thing of the past. Except for charity or community projects. Those I will continue to help with. But sadly I just don't have the free time these days to commit to anything more than that. I want to focus more on my own work when I do have the time. I need some new creative projects that I can get excited about. I'm in a sort of transitional time right now when it comes to my personal projects. I was expecting to be working on several card games right now to reveal at Eve Vegas - but sadly those didn't happen. So I'm looking to be inspired again, I keep fiddling around with different things, but nothing has stuck yet. It will eventually.

I admit I'm not 100% percent sure about After Hours right now. If it does come back I'm not sure what the format will be. I've been thinking about doing something else with it, but I'm not sure yet what that might be.

Believe it or not I've even considered the possibility of Streaming.

In other words, I dunno. Right now I'm having fun in Eve roaming with my Pirates. Planning our Eve Vegas and Eve London trips. Mailing out the posters people won during EveAThon this past weekend. And generally taking a small break from being insanely busy - to just being moderately busy all the time.

It feels good for once not to have the weight of the world on my shoulders. And maybe that is the thing after all. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm pretty sure this time it isn't actually a train coming towards me. It might just be daylight.

Eve Vegas Finally

Eve Vegas 2015 Commemorative Poster
The Eve Vegas Poster You Never Got

Despite having been to Iceland three times now, this will be our first time at Eve Vegas. We've had plans to attend at various times in the past, but given the situation... well it just never seemed to work out. Or make sense. Or even come close to being possible. But this year we determined way back during Fanfest that we'd make it happen. So we are coming to Eve Vegas this year.

A big part of the hump for us to get over is our feelings about Vegas in general. Neither of us are gamblers, or frat members, or lost souls trying to recover something, or newlyweds without imagination. Or desperate to get hitched. Or lost on the way thru the desert. I guess I could go on and on trying to imagine why anyone would purposefully spend time in the middle of the desert in a city that should (all things being logical) not exist in the first place. But, after all, that is Vegas in a nutshell isn't it? America's future ruins. Just waiting around for someone to wise up and turn the water off.

Anyway, we got past that.

Years ago I was in the California desert shooting some commercials and on a break day I drove to Vegas, went up and down the strip, stopped in a few Casinos, and then drove back to Bakersfield. Got a speeding ticket on the way back for my troubles. Other than that, I've been at the airport a bunch of times. But I've never really been in Vegas for any amount of time. And neither has my wife.

So we are (despite all the preliminary stuff above) really looking forward to it. The best part for us will be the opportunity to meet people that we've never had a chance to meet before. And the chance to hand out more swag! You all know how much I enjoy that. So we printed up some brand new stickers, buttons, and even Alliance pins to give out. In addition I'm getting a very special print made of this digital illustration:

Hot Pursuit 5k Wallpaper

The process is called a Lumachrome Acrylic Print and from what I've seen from the test print they did, this sucker is going to be incredible! This is not an ordinary print, take a look at that link, it should literally glow with color and depth. I can't wait to see the final print myself, we're driving over to the printers first thing the morning after we arrive to pick it up. The print will be part of the Charity Auction, so if you are there you'll have a chance to take this one-of-a-kind framed illustration print home with you! And don't worry, we kept the size manageable in case you need to have it shipped or carried home on the plane. I'll even be there to personally sign the print if that is something you'd be interested in.

We are excited. And I'll mention, just like I do before Fanfest, please feel free to introduce yourself to either of us. We want to meet you. Don't be shy. You'll most likely get some swag for your troubles. So it is totally worth it.

I'm sure I'll be posting more as we get closer and then share stories, photos, and other memories once we get out there. I'll also mention that we are also going to be attending Eve London this year in November, so if you are on the fence about attending that meet - you should go. Cause we'll be there! And someone needs to buy us beers.

More later.

10 Year Birthday Celebration

Saturday was Stay Frosty Saturday and a celebration of my 10th Year Anniversary of playing Eve Online. As such I wanted to do some things to have fun and get as many people involved as possible. So I planned for some blue on blue Brawls at the Sun, followed by giving everyone a chance to blow me up, followed by a solid two-hour Frigate roam, and then followed by Devlin taking out some Cruisers for a roam/logistics practice. All in all I ended up playing over eight hours on Saturday. Which is probably the longest stretch of Eve I've had in one day since I left Null Sec.

Sadly the day did not get started off on the right foot. We happen to have a lurker hanging out in Ouelletta these days. This guy uses alts to lure you into fights that he thinks he can win, any other fights he runs from. The trick is, he uses a lot of drugs. So it can be extremely difficult to predict what his special powers will be from ship to ship. I was out in a Rifter when I spotted a ship diving into a Novice plex and I followed it in. Sadly I landed at zero on this guy's Atron. No big deal, we had a good long Frigate fight. Down to the wire. So here is when the problem comes in. When you fight someone in a good, solid, down to the wire fight you know the other guy is putting the fight ahead of his own personal safety. He isn't spending his last few seconds aligning out and preparing to save his pod. Which is why I never take advantage of that situation when I happen to be the one to win the fight. At least, that is how I play. Not everyone plays that way and I understand that. Just know that I also play other ways a well, like setting him Red to Stay Frosty and putting him into another category now. No more good fights. From now on we'll only fight when I can win. Enjoy.

With that out of the way we all got into T1 Frigates. I had already set up a BM near the Sun so we wouldn't be interrupted. Everyone undocks and warps to the BM at whatever range they want between 0-100. Guns are unlocked and havoc is unleashed. It's a lot of fun and gives everyone a chance to shoot me, the Directors, and anyone else they'd like. I believe Sadic won the first round. We ended up doing the whole thing twice. I'm not sure who won Round Two because I was busy getting my Praxis ready.

After Round Two I undocked in a Praxis and warped to the BM. I packed a few fun things in the cargo, including a ship skin and let everyone pummel me to death. It's always fun to let everyone shoot the Boss. I almost managed to pop a Vexor, but I didn't overdue it with the Praxis fit. The ship was fitted to die.

After a short break I took a bunch of ABA pilots out on a history roam. We'd head up to our old home base of Ishomilken and then swing back home. At one point I think we had about 23 in fleet, give or take a few. One of my own rules when leading a Frigate blob is to never unduly make life hard for our victims. In cases where we catch a lone or unsuspecting ship we should let the pod go. In one extreme case (as you can see in the video above) I decided to let the poor guys entire ship go. I strongly believe that we have to cultivate an environment in which people WANT to fight us. Not be afraid to fight us. I know a lot of people disagree with that attitude. Which is one reason why I have my own Corporation now.

I won't link all the kills here, but we had a very productive roam and only lost one of our own ships. One of the best kills came in Ishomilken when a bunch of local trash talking idiots managed to lose one of their Phantasms on a gate to us. The funny part is how avoidable that fight was. We are mostly negative Pirates sitting on a Jump Gate. But for some reason he decided to shoot one of us. He died pretty quickly after that.

I don't have much to say about Devlin's Cruiser/Logi Roam afterwards, but I am thinking about letting him borrow my Monitor. Everytime we do anything, Devlin gets popped. lol

Great day.

10 Years of Rixx | Stay Frosty

Stay Frosty Into Darkness

I've been CEO of Stay Frosty for five and a half years, slightly more than half of my time in Eve Online. As far as in-game accomplishments are concerned there is no doubt that Stay Frosty and the Alliance it spawned a year later - A Band Apart - are my crowning achievements. And the source of my greatest feelings of pride. Stay Frosty isn't just a Corporation that I started one day and that happened to work out. It was the direct result of four years of experience, failure, wars, betrayal, back-stabbing, frustration, searching, learning, and ultimately of finding my own place in this insane universe of ours. But make no mistake, every detail of its birth and subsequent growth was planned, organized, manipulated, and purposefully guided.

One day I got into a ship and flew to the planet six station in Hevrice and made Stay Frosty. I was the first member. My Son was the second. Since then well over two thousand players have passed through our doors. Today our membership hovers at around 300, which is where we prefer to keep it. We are, without debate, the single largest Pirate group in all of New Eden. No one else is even close. Our pilots fly to the edges of the map in search of good fights. But we operate primarily in Black Rise, consistently and historically Eve's most active PvP region. We've destroyed over 110,000 ships in those years, an insane rate of destruction that averages out to 55 ships A DAY. That's nuts.

Most importantly I stole and adapted KaJolo's original Pirate Code into our own Stay Frosty Code, which remains the foundation upon which we live and breath even today. From Day One we have operated under a very strict zero tolerance for hate, bigotry, fear, and all those horrible human traits. All while also embracing weird, nuts, crazy, offbeat, and square pegs in round hole type players. We are both ruthless Pirate zealots, the Island of Misfit Toys, and the nicest people you will ever meet. All at once. A Stay Frosty pilot might explode your ship one minute and then spend time with you teaching you about fits, or giving advice, or even offering a leading hand if needed. So many of our recruits come from former victims.

This happened to me again last night after I exploded a Comet. I ended up having a 30 minute conversation and handing out a fully fit Tristan to the pilot. This kind of thing happens all the time.

Stay Frosty FFA Wallpaper 2014

All of which is true. It is also a bit of promotional bullshit. I'll be honest here, those last five years were rough for me. As a result I wasn't always the best person to be CEO. There are large patches of time were I couldn't even log-in to the game. Either because of time or depression. As a result some of those years were rough in-game as well. Voice comms dropped to zero, players spread out, became more and more solo, and distant from each other. A lot of them just stopped logging in. There are dark times spread out in that history.

But you know what? Luckily I had some truly amazing people involved that managed to keep everything running. And slowly, because of the Alliance Tournaments, because life changes and new people come along - because my own life has changed - I can honestly say that our best days remain ahead of us. Not behind us.

Over the past year Stay Frosty has become revitalized. We are getting better organized. We are getting better at working together. We've had more actual doctrine fleets. Structure bashes. Team building. Voice comms. And more and more organized fleets. We're working on cleaning out the inactives. Reorganizing our leadership team. And putting a more professional(!) group together on our Discord server.

Stay Frosty is experiencing a revival. And while we will always remain the scrappy Frigate loving Yarrr Pirates of lore - we're also working on adding even more dimensions to our arsenal. You'd be surprised at the fleet comps that we are now adding, practicing, and using in space. It's pretty awe inspiring for an old Pirate like me.

Oh and one other change. For the first time Stay Frosty is no longer operating under Open Recruitment. Recruitment is still open and always will be, but where you used to be able to apply and get accepted immediately - well we've changed that now. From now on we have a process. It's painless and easy, but our door is no longer open to everyone.

So of course Stay Frosty would be the last entry in this series. I may not have realized it back when I started playing Eve ten years ago, but becoming the Pirate Lord of Low Sec was my destiny. It is the role I was born to play, so to speak. And I'll probably be playing that role, in one form or another, for as long as I keep playing Eve.

If you've managed to read this far I can only hope that you've enjoyed this look back at the last ten years. There are so many more things I could talk about, or look back on, but I tried to pick the most important and look back with positivity on what has been one great adventure.

What will the next ten years bring? No one can know for sure. All I can say is this, I hope we are all still here to share more adventures together.

Until then, undock and have grand adventures. And pay no attention to the Pirate in local.

10 Years of Rixx | Arts & (Space)Crafts

Today I want to talk about these three posters I created in September 2012. And the journey that happened in the next two years that eventually led to an entire explosion of illustrated posters. A story that hasn't been told yet. (You can see the above posters over in my Flickr account at the following links - Slicer - Rifter - Sacrilege and then the entire series that came later - which eventually led to the posters that CCP sold.)

You might find this hard to believe, but despite living an entirely creative and artistic life both professionally and privately - when it comes to being an "artist" there are some people in the world who would not consider me one. One of the most powerful of those, in terms of my own life, would be my former spouse. Without getting into the weeds on that discussion all you need to know is that she didn't consider me an artist, or what I did art, and she made no bones about expressing that opinion often and at great volume. Especially in front of others. In the summer of 2012 one such incident got rather horrible and she finally came right out and said it in front of a room of people. It was then that I made the commitment to once again add the designation "illustrator" to my list of abilities.

Come Hell or high water I would (once again) become an illustrator and eventually sell my work somewhere to someone. Please understand that I have always been an artist in both my mind and in reality. I've drawn professionally my entire life, both by hand and on a computer. Once, long ago, I even drew comic books and got paid to do so. But design became my chosen career path over the years because I was really good at it, the pay was better, and it still often included drawing, illustration, painting, and other artistic pursuits. This is all semantics. But being insulted for decades made it a point that I needed to prove. To myself mostly. Plus it became extremely therapeutic and cathartic for me. When I needed both those things.

Those three posters above were my first attempts at exploring the possibilities. Each one was created in a completely different way. The Slicer was drawn in pencil first then scanned into the computer and rendered entirely in Photoshop. The Rifter was a composite of pencil and ink that was scanned in and created solely in Illustrator. And the Sacrilege was a screenshot I took, which I manipulated in Photoshop, but finished in Illustrator. All three posters were then composited and color managed in Photoshop. I was trying out techniques and seeing what each could do, what felt the most comfortable, and what I was able to accomplish. What I discovered would set the stage for the greatest outpouring of creative energy in my entire life.

There are 164 Illustrations in the collection on Flickr. The first one was created over the Summer of 2014. It took me almost two years of trial and error to get from the first three to the beginning of that series. Even so, many of the finals in that series are not finished pieces. What you see in some is incomplete, unfinished, and often abandoned pieces. Not all of them, but a lot of them. When I look at them that is what I see. And even today I can tell which are which.

When CCP started talking to me about creating t-shirts around the designs. And yes, t-shirts was the first idea from them. I knew I would have to re-create any art that they decided to use. Especially when it became a concept about Posters instead. Each of the pieces used in the final posters is complete, finished, and final. Each one done specifically for that poster.

Last night I made the final call to an art printer in Las Vegas for a very special Lumachrome Print of one of my digital paintings to auction off for charity at the Eve Vegas auction. And even now, I am extremely nervous about it. I'm still fighting those demons. Even today.

I'm sharing this to help shed a little light on why this moment, this specific moment, was so important to me.
Signing Posters
Signing my posters at Fanfest in 2015
And maybe give you a tiny little glimpse into why I cared so much, why I drove myself so hard to create an insane number of posters, why I did the things I did - because it was important. I had something to prove, to myself mostly. The past became less and less important as I went along this path. And more and more all I cared about was the future. My life and my work. And all of you that have shared this journey with me. This great community of ours.

I keep every photo you've sent me over the years of my work hanging in your game rooms, your offices, your walls. And all the notes I've gotten from people that love my work. I keep them all. 

Just know this, when I sometimes say Eve saved my life - I'm not being metaphorical. Eve and the Eve community literally served as my crutch through the worst years of my life. And for that, and for all of you that have been a part of that, I will be forever grateful.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Bryan Ward, September 20, 2018

10 Years of Rixx | Propaganda

X Up For Defense!
As Seen in EON Magazine and CCP Promos
Mat Westhorpe once called me "The Promoter" in his Eve Celebrity series for Game Skinny years ago. Indeed propaganda was my entry into the more creative aspects of the community. So much so in fact, that I invented a whole new word to describe it - Eveoganda. Which is the title of this blog. Funny how it all ties together isn't it?

From my humble beginnings in Providence all the way until its full power was used in WWB, my propaganda has always coincided with and enhanced my Meta Game experiments. Used to promote projects, promote the community, or mock those that needed mocking. I could go on and on about what exactly is propaganda and get into the weeds on specific programs, what the goals of each happened to be, or what I've used it for over the years. But that doesn't interest me. And honestly, a whole bunch of that should remain secret. 

Instead of all that mucking about, most of which no one would believe anyway, I thought I'd run through some of the milestones along the way.

My very first Meme:

HED Chaining Guide

Of course no one called them Memes in 2009. This was based off of a popular piece that Against All Authorities was spreading around at the time. Some of these jokes are funny for different reasons now. Like the "Don't Kill" when it comes to Pods. That was a CVA directive, as was not talking in local. It's also interesting to see that G Genetic was active in Eve up until about 2016. We used to kill that guy 3-4 times a day.

Probably one of my most popular pieces:

Eve Parody Wallpaper: Walk Into Station

I made this during the height of Incarna Summer and I've seen it posted just about everywhere at one time or another, even over on the (Which uses quite a bit of my work btw, which is funny when you think about it.) I actually liked the idea of WIS but obviously the execution left a lot to be desired. Maybe someday.

Worth some study:

RJ's Eve Drink Menu

Also another Incarna inspired piece that you game historians might be interested in. There are some really good community and Incarna jokes in the drink names and descriptions.

My first piece for a CCP employee:


Can you believe she is on the Reykjavik City Council now? So cool. Back then I barely knew who anyone at CCP was or what they did. Funny.

My Movie Poster series:

Javix The Movie

One of the things I am best at promoting is myself. Well, in fairness, my character. There are a lot of these, but I think this one is my favorite.

Location propaganda:

Hevrice Tourism Poster

This is one of my favorites. The joke here is that there are no Golden Asteroids in Hevrice. At the time I made this the only thing in Hevrice was Stay Frosty and The Tuskers. It was a bit of obvious trickery to try and entice people to come visit. So we could blow them up of course.

And this piece:

Stay Frosty "Anarchy" Wallpaper

Notice we are chasing a tusker pig. This one is funny because it is a direct rip-off of an earlier piece I did before for my previous corporation Lucifer's Hammer. Which was this piece:

Lucifer's Hammer: Ladies Night in Ostingele

I never throw anything away.

And of course, my famous Anti-WCS campaign:

Mr Mittens Wallpaper

Every time someone uses a WCS it kills a kitten. Think about that.

As cute as that kitten is it wasn't as hugely popular as this image:

WCS Lies Wallpaper

Which still gets used around the community today.

Sometimes propaganda gets me into trouble:

Drifter Wars Advertisement

This piece resulted in someone asking me to help them really build the game! Which we did. A free side-scrolling multi-level browser game that CCP took down. Technically we brought it down before they could. For all the geniuses out there - we asked for permission. You haters don't know everything you think you do.

If you'd like to see more of my work please visit my Flickr portfolio and spend an afternoon looking at the thousands of images there.

Someday I'll have to write a book about all of this.

Don't worry, it'll have pictures.

10 Years of Rixx | CCP

What a long strange trip this has been.

You won't be surprised to hear that I love Eve. And over the past decade I've tried to express that passion creatively. I've created thousands of pieces of art, propaganda, memes, logos, videos, podcasts, wallpapers, merchandise, and other projects as an expression of that passion. I've worked with countless players to help support their projects, charity events, programs, player meets, and so many other ideas that if I listed them all your head would spin. And over the past decade those projects have often involved CCP in one way or another.

I create things out of nothing. When people ask me what I do for a living that is often my answer. Because it is true. I always have. It's funny looking back over the past ten years of Eve and realizing that I've been doing that exact same thing from the very beginning. It is, after all, the heart of what Eve is all about for each of us. We all create a character from nothing and work tirelessly to turn it into something. Whatever that something ends up being, it is in so many ways a direct expression of our own creativity. I know Rixx has been that for me.

So who could blame me when I tried to do the same outside the game? Despite what many people choose to believe, I didn't start that. CCP did. Way back in 2009 I was asked to create a proposal for my company to run CCP's Social Media and PR. Which I did. Naturally that got me to thinking. What else could CCP need help with? And I know you've already seen this coming - Merch. And I won't regal you with the long, convoluted and sad tale (that is what Archives are for), I'm sad to say not much has changed. They still seem strangely hesitant to put spaceships on things. Which is really the secret sauce when it comes to Eve Merchandise. And Eve Online itself. That was the lesson we all learned from Incarna - it's the spaceships.

I had one huge success when it comes to working with CCP. One that I remain proud of to this day.

Sadly that project got mixed up with some people leaving CCP and some unfortunate miscommunication issues (all of which are resolved) that resulted in it ending up at the wrong place to be sold. And it was all downhill after that. It was all handled poorly by the people involved, none of whom are even with CCP any longer. I'm still proud of the work and the overwhelming response from the community.

If I've learned one lesson from this journey it is this - only do it if you love it. Don't do it for any other reason. Because down that path lies frustration. And in that spirit I'm not even going to mention all of those frustrating journeys down various frustrating paths. That is all in the past now. I made the decision long ago to start down a new path, one that doesn't really involve CCP anymore. At least not as a company. 

It all comes back to people. When I started thinking back over the last decade in writing this series, I quickly realized that all the good things - the positive energy - always came from working with people. Both in the community and at CCP. I've always had great relationships with the people, the developers, the artists, the community team, and others. And I've always had nothing but problems when it comes to departments, be it the infamous legal department, or some other.

So now I create for myself - to give to individuals. My wife and I both enjoy handing out swag that I've created. At Fanfests and at our own Steel City Eve events. In just the past couple of weeks I've mailed several dozen individual packets to specific friends in the community. And in Eve Vegas I'll be donating a unique piece of digital illustration to the charity auction. As well as handing out new swag. And, as always, I'll keep creating and supporting community projects - just as I always have.

Onward and upward.

10 Years of Rixx | The Haters

There was a time when I would have written a long detailed post about all the asshats I've bumped into over the past ten years of playing Eve. And there have been more than a few. Most of which is chronicled here in the archives of this blog - if you care to go back and catch up.

But I'm not going to do that.

EveNT Gang

Ten years is a long time. My oldest was 14 when we started playing Eve and he's grown up and married now. And I had a couple of truly horrible years in the middle there. I won't bore you with the details, but the truth of the matter is that I wasn't always at my best. I admit it. But all of that is behind us now and for the past two years we've been working our asses off to make the best of things. And along the way, one of the most amazing things happened.

We went to Fanfest. Three times. And we hosted three years of Steel City Eve at our house. And we've been to various other smaller player meets along the way. And in a few short weeks we'll be at Eve Vegas and then turn around and fly across the pond for Eve London. And you know what? Meeting and talking with fellow Eve players changes things. Prior to our first time at Fanfest I'd never once met a fellow Eve player in person. Now we've met hundreds of them. And many of them I count among my real life friends - even though some are separated by an ocean.

The point being is that I no longer intend to give any attention to the asshats. They are such a small, insignificant percentage of the player base. A desperate little corner that just wants more attention. And frankly, I'm tired of giving it to them. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that means I won't continue to stand up for what I believe in. Or defend my Alliance or my Corporation - or the players that fly with us. Because that isn't the same thing. I'll still be more than happy to point out asshatery when it rears its ugly head from time to time.

The one thing that unites all of my haters from over the years? They were all wrong.

Some say success is the best revenge. That works, but I'd also add friends to that list. And I can't wait to catch up with old friends and make new ones in Vegas and London in the next month.

I just don't have room in my life for haters any more.

Onward and Upward.

10 Years of Rixx | Events

DEATHRACE Wallpaper Rev
My promo poster for one of my Death Races
Over the years I've put together a bunch of in-game events, from Death Races, Frigate Free For Alls, and others - to give us all a little something fun to do together in space. It is a shame that as time has gone on in Eve that such events are almost impossible to hold anymore. Between enforcing the rules, managing the event, prepping the event, providing security, and then watching it all crumble under the weight of a Cap Drop or worse - it just isn't worth it. At least not to me. Part of that problem has to do with my own dedication to being -10. Which is why I don't show up for public roams or high-sec based CCP events. It sucks to be a gangster sometimes.

Eve itself has changed a lot since my first Death Race thru Providence back in 2009. Since then I've organized, or co-organized, about 15 in-game events. Each one became more and more difficult as time wore on. Part of that is mechanics changes in the game itself, the increasing complexity of ships available, the use of Wormholes which was still rare back when we started. And the proliferation of Capital Ships and the ease of dropping them has also made things more challenging. Not to mention the expanse of player owned Citadels around every corner these days.

Change is the only constant and someone out there might just come up with an in-game event that could work. In Stay Frosty we are considering hosting an FFA again soon, so all may not be lost yet. We'll just have to see. Every challenge has a solution. It just takes time and dedication to make them work.

I don't have a lot to add. If you are interested in the history you can use the Search function to search for FFA or DeathRace or Event and learn more details.

Next time.

10 Years of Rixx | Player Memorial

Before you go and get your panties in a bunch, I am not taking credit for the player monument in Iceland. Not directly. Let me try and explain what I mean.

Play Eve long enough and someone you play with, or someone you know, or someone you once asked to Hot-Drop PL will pass away. You might hear about it, or you might not. It might make International news or it might just be your friend having a heart attack in his chair while jumping gates. I can't even begin to tell you how many times over the past ten years I've lost someone that I knew inside the community or flew with as a player. Eve is life & death.

Let me re-post this article I wrote in 2016 about the history of the Player Memorial concept:

The Fallen Capsuleer Memorial
A concept I created back in March, 2013

Yesterday a Reddit thread went up on the Eve Sub-Forum from Aelonius regarding the idea of an in-game memorial to the real life players that have left us. Since much of the Eve community is always in transition, many of you may not be aware that I've been advocating for such a memorial for almost four years now.

In the wake of Sean Smith's tragic death in Bengazi I began thinking about the passing of time. It wasn't just Sean's death that inspired me, that year had been a tough one all around as several players I knew had left us. But Sean was a special case in many ways, mostly due to the fact that it was so senseless and public. But Eve is getting on in years and as we've all seen, as Eve gets older so does the player base. In the last year alone I've lost a half-dozen friends that I know about. 

So in September of 2012 I posted an idea on the forums and here on Eveoganda regarding an in-game memorial I called the "Ring of Fire", which would be created on the opposite side of New Eden from the Eve Gate. The memorial was always intended to be a way to honor all fallen capsuleers in a way that would be appropriate to the setting. If we are all immortal in-game, it doesn't mean that we all live forever. I wrote a lot of posts about it and the idea gained a tremendous amount of support around the community. I created several videos, wallpapers, and other material. I even appeared on a few Podcasts to promote the concept. The idea, as always, was to get the community and CCP thinking about the idea.

And then, in early 2014, CCP went and built the Player Monument in Iceland. I'd like to think that two years of talking about a player memorial had something to do with that decision, and I have reason to believe it did, but either way we finally had a monument.  Except not really.  The monument in Iceland is incredible, and I've been there and found my own character name among the etchings, but it isn't the same thing. The monument in Iceland is a testament to the players at the time it was built, but it is not a memorial to the fallen.

I still believe that an in-game memorial would be a welcome addition to New Eden and fit within the established lore. And yesterday we got the first indication from CCP Falcon that CCP is also thinking along these lines.

"This is actually something that I've been discussing for a while with both our dev and art team, and most recently I chatted with CCP Jorg, our Art Director about it.
I'm fully aware of how important paying respects for lost pilots is, I've been through that myself with a corp member who passed away when I was a player running my own corporation. It's incredibly painful and on a personal note I'd like there to be a single focal point in New Eden where pilots can go to pay their respects.
The idea that I pitched to our art team at the start of this year was a memorial site that acts as "The Tomb Of The Unknown Capsuleer", basically a monument in space that would be player designed, would have a deadspace area with decoration around it, and that would have a permanent honor guard of:
2x Marshal
2x Apocalypse Imperial Issue
2x Raven State Issue
2x Megathron Federate Issue
2x Tempest Fleet Issue
Obviously it's something that still needs a little more discussion, and scoping of the bandwidth that's needed, but it's certainly something that we'd like to do."
I reached out to Falcon yesterday and he not only confirmed this information, he also indicated that this might happen sooner rather than later. I volunteered my services to the concept, if there is anything at all that I can do to help. Which is one reason why I've written this post today.

I'd like nothing more than to see this happen. And it finally looks like it might.


Sadly that post was written over two years ago and no progress or updates have been forthcoming. As we've seen, CCP is committed to helping their employees and families thru memorial skins. Just yesterday as a matter of fact. Which is a fine idea, I value both my Blaze skins and now my Mindkiller skins. As I'm sure many of you do as well.

I won't stop advocating for a solution in-game. If Eve is to truly live forever - then this becomes even more important every day that passes. Eventually we will all be lost to the sands of time.

10 Years of Rixx | Vagabond Frills

The EON Magazine Ad
Back in 2012 CCP started the "V3" phase of re-designing spaceships inside of Eve. Some of these early attempts at updating ships did not go well. But it wasn't until they released the Stabber/Vagabond re-design that we learned just how horrible these changes could be. The Vagabond showed up one day minus its distinctive and legendary Frills or Wings or whatever you want to call them.

What followed was my attempt to create a positive activism campaign among the community and try to get the Frills returned to the Vagabond. Matt Westhope over at Freebooted helped, and we created forum posts, a Frill Page, an in-game event sponsored by RvB (We had over 100 Stabber/Vagabonds show up!) and more. I even created "frilled" versions of Twitter avatars.

Eventually, after having a tremendous amount of fun and also managing to keep things positive, we heard officially from CCP:

"Hey Vagabonds

A number of you are missing the so called frills we had removed from the Vagabond during the v3 process, and I think it’s totally fair that I (the Art director) give you an explanation why we did that, and what our intentions (visually) are with the Vagabond in the future.

EVE is constantly under development and we in the art team look at the renovation process as an ongoing never-ending task that we love to keep working on alongside the new assets we make every year. Some players don’t like to see to many changes made to their beloved ships, but because of this, the fidelity of the game after all these years is still hard to beat and EVE keeps getting great reviews for the art every year.

However maybe the decision to remove the frill from the Vagabond was taken too lightly and I didn’t realize how attached to the look of the ship you were. To me, as the Art Director the Vagabond is a Thukker version of the Stabber, but with Brutor sails attached (rather badly, with intersecting polygons) to the bridge area that make the ship look a bit silly. But after giving it some thought I can understand the iconic appeal. I think you should get your frills back in some way or the other.

That being said, I always wanted to fix the old Stabber up a little bit and give it some more love. I’m not talking about a huge overall change to the ship. But rather just balancing a bit the engine area and making some parts a little more believable. This would of course give us a chance to give the Vagabond some extra care and design the frills with Thukker and some functionality in mind. I already have Stephan Stölting an amazing concept artist working on it and I promise to keep you posted about the development in the near future. Until we finish it you still have to live with a “no frills” Vagabond.

Regards CCP Huskarl
August 9th, 2012"

Needless to say it worked and today the Vagabond continues to fly proudly Frilled. Even today this incident remains legendary both in the Eve community and at CCP. Just this past spring in Iceland I talked to several new members of the Art Department about the Frill campaign.

This incident helped both CCP and the player base learn valuable lessons about "legacy" and how important it is to both respect and honor the spaceships that we fly every day. Every time a ship is updated today I always look to make sure those lessons continue to be honored. I thought this was an appropriate post today especially with the new Caladri Osprey line making its debut in-game.

If you are interested in reading more just use the Search Function to search for Frills.

Eve Fitting Lab | Fed Navy Comet

Former Stay Frosty pilot Captain AceRico recently asked me to sit down with him and talk about one of my favorite ships in Eve - the Federation Navy Comet. And here is the video.


10 Years of Rixx | Journey

An early propaganda poster
I had never played an MMO before Eve. (And I've yet to play another one.) I had no concept of a "gaming community" before I started playing Eve. I had been a gamer my entire life, but had yet to bump into those two concepts. For the first two years I simply wanted to hang out with my Son and figure out how to fly the incredible spaceships I saw on my screen. I didn't care about anything else. Whatever sounded fun - we did it. With not a single thought given to anything else.

As with most things in life that you commit time to doing - that slowly started to change. I started to see various pieces of propaganda around the game, primarily in our Alliance forums. That looked like it could be fun, so I started making a few pieces here and there. Around the same time I got involved in helping the Alliance during a war and learned how to FC. I started reading various blogs and a piece of art I had created was used in an issue of EON Magazine. There was no over-riding plan, or machinations, or diabolical scheme behind any of this. It all happened very slowly and randomly. Both in-game and out.

In January 2010 I decided to start writing Eveoganda as a way to journal my journey in Eve. One of my first posts won a contest on CrazyKinux's blog. And by this time I was creating Ads and writing regularly in EON Magazine. It wasn't long before I was creating blog banners for the community and when Crazy retired, I took over the reins of the Blog Pack. Around this time someone asked me for a piece of art or a logo and offered to pay me ISK for it. I eventually got confirmation that such a transaction was not against the EULA and that has been my primary income source ever since.

The thing I've noticed after playing Eve both inside of TQ and out for the past ten years - is that real life influences the game. As many of you know my own life has transformed tremendously since I started playing Eve in 2008. There have been huge tracks of time in which I did very little playing Eve, and times when I would log in simply to haunt a certain system or two for lols, or any number of other time wasting events. Sometimes I'd do something just to have something to do. There were times in my life when Eve was the most positive thing I had going on at that moment. And there have sincerely been two times when the Eve community literally saved my life. And that is not an understatement.

Everything changed for me when I went to Iceland and Fanfest for the first time in 2015. Up to that point I had never met another Eve player and all of a sudden I was meeting hundreds of them. I was also the host of CCP and getting private tours, and dinners, lunches, and signing autographs at the Eve Store table. For a person working his ass off to rebuild his career and his life at the time - those were some extremely positive days.

I've been thru a lot in these ten years. Both here in this wonderful and amazing community, and over here in real life. But the most important lesson I've learned in those years is this - there is no difference between those two places. Real Life is Eve. Eve is Real.

I made several promises to myself (and by extension to you dear readers) back in 2015. One of those was that I would never stop fighting for what I believe in. No matter what other forces are arrayed against me. Another promise is that Liz and I would do whatever we could to pay back the kindness you showed us when we most needed it. In the intervening years we've literally spent and given back many times more than we were given. And we continue to do so willingly and with joy. No one will ever convince or change my mind about this great community of ours. It remains what we all make of it - no matter who is writing the checks.

In the posts to follow I'll talk in more detail about parts of this ten year journey. And it has been a journey. Full of adventure, mistakes, challenges, great triumphs, frustrating setbacks, missed opportunities, plenty of idiots, and so many good friendships. 

We look forward to meeting even more of you at Eve Vegas and in Eve London in the coming months.

The journey isn't over yet.