The Empyrean Chronicles

Cover Mock-Up, thanks to Gabriel Cassata for permission to use his amazing illustration

The Empyrean Chronicles is an anthology of fan fiction and fan art set in the living science-fiction universe of Eve Online. Submissions are OPEN until December 12th, 2015. The first book will be published during the first quarter of 2016, and exact date will be announced in early 2016. Initially our plan is to provided a downloadable print-quality PDF for FREE to anyone that wants one.

We've already received an avalanche of submissions from the earlier call. And thanks to EN24 for spreading the word as well. Please feel free to spread the word far and wide for us, the more the merrier.

And, remember, if you miss the Dec 12th deadline don't worry. We will be publishing additional volumes in the future. Any submissions that do not make it into Volume 1 will be considered for future volumes. Our intention is to be all-inclusive.

All submissions should be made to Artists should also contact me there to discuss participation. There are no rules other than all entries must be self-contained stories. We have no idea right now when volume 2 will appear, let's that this one step at a time ok? Works can be original or previously published, it is totally up to you.

Our Editors will be working with me to ensure professional standards are followed and the entire book will be designed and edited by your friendly neighborhood blogger.

I'm very excited about this project and look forward to reading your stories.

grrr Goons

Given everything that has happened this week, I figure it is only a matter of time before someone somewhere points fingers and tries to paint me with a "grr Goons" brush. I mean, let's be honest here, it has already happened over on Crossing Zebras and on Reddit to a certain degree.

For those so inclined I would like to mention a few things. One of which begins with a rather famous picture.


If you've been around Eve for any length of time you've seen this image. It has been posted everywhere, on blogs, on TMC itself, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of. I was proud to do it and still am. Sean was a member of our community and his death was a crossroads for many of us. A sign of how important our real lives truly are, the lives behind the screens, how united this community can and should be, and just how important it is for us to remember those who are no longer with us.

I mention this because Sean's senseless loss galvanized a campaign that I was running at the time for a player memorial. You can watch videos I created that also mention his passing. All of which has something to do (who knows exactly what or how much) with the creation of the Eve Player Memorial in Iceland.

Let me be clear here. I am not pro-Goon either. The entire reason for their existence is anti-Rixx. "We're not here to ruin the game, we're here to ruin YOUR game" is not pro-Eve, pro-Community, or pro-anyone other than themselves. And I've called this out at various times here in this blog for valid reasons. And I make my living in Eve as a scum-sucking Pirate in low-sec. I know a few things about how to get what you want in Eve without being a dick about it. It is, after all, the entire mission statement of A Band Apart and Stay Frosty.

"Don't be a dick" is the counter to ruining your game. And personally I find it extremely encouraging that the "meta" in Eve has turned over the past four years. The Space Clique that runs GSF probably hasn't noticed it, but the over-arching meta in the Eve community has moved on. They are out-of-touch now. And they have no reason to exist. The underlying structure that created them in the first place isn't there anymore. The fact that the Imperium exists at all right now is a testament to nothing other than greed and arrogance.

As for the line members? They are Eve players just like the rest of us. Most of whom probably don't follow blogs, or pay attention to the changing sands of the Meta, or really care much one way or the other. I've never had a problem with any of them. And still don't.

As for where I stand? I stand where I have always stood. It is up to the players to decide, as it always has been. If players want to be a part of what is going on with those in charge of GSF/Imperium, then that is their right. All I can do is to continue to offer my own opinion over here in my little corner of the universe.

There is no "grr Goons" around here. There is only a concern for what is best for Eve and my fellow players.

Onward and upward.

Thank All of You

Today I am thankful for this great community that we enjoy here in Eve Online and the amazing people at CCP that make it all work each and every day. There have been those lately that enjoy disparaging our weird little group, they've said some nasty things about us. That we can't get anything done, that we are spiteful, childish, rude, arrogant, and extremely negative. Ok, some of us are those things. Granted. But to focus on that is to ignore the strength and power that comes from the entirety of this insanity. Maybe it is just me, but I enjoy ALL of the Eve community. Even the darker corners. Because it all makes up the fabric of what makes it special and unique.

And to say we don't get "anything done" is to ignore the hundreds of amazing and wonderful projects that happen every single day. The charities, the blogs, the podcasts, the art, the comics, the posters, the wallpapers, the memes, the jokes, the songs, the fiction, the list is incredibly long. It makes me wonder about people that can so easily ignore all of the wonder of this vibrant and living universe of ours.

And so today, when some of us express what it is we are thankful for, I want to make sure that all of you know that I am thankful for you. All of you. No matter who you are or where you come from. Thank you for participating and playing and creating and adding your voice to the thunderous crowd.

Thank you to the gankers, the war-deccers, the pirates, the builders, the mission runners, the explorers, the miners, the scammers, the null-sec warriors, the faction players, the local trolls, the reddit posters, the mass testers, the alliance makers, the dream breakers, the pod takers, the wormholers, the taking a breakers, the be right backers, the afkers, the spinners, the high-sec hiders, the station campers, the gate podders, the link alts, the super cap flyers, the fuel delivers, the transport makers, the carrier jumpers, and to everyone in-between.


There is at least one person who appreciates you all.

BB69: Oh, Video Game Magic

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Because of Space-Magic

CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, its only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?

I'm late to the party this time, so I don't want to tread over ground already covered. Anytime anyone brings up the notion of "answers" I get a tad testy frankly. This obsession with having answers is annoying to me in many ways. Of more importance in my opinion is the internal logic of systems, does something work within the context of the story or not. Frankly, who gives a crap about the details. Either something works, or it doesn't.

I die in a video game like Call of Duty and I re-spawn? I dunno about you but that makes zero sense. And yet, I like it. I imagine my Call of Duty playing time would be zero without it. That would get boring real fast. And yet I have no idea why I should be able to re-spawn in the first place. It doesn't make any sense in a gritty, real-world combat simulator. Actual soldiers, sadly, do not get to re-spawn. And yet, this knowledge or lack of knowledge in no way affects my enjoyment of playing the game. Because it is, after all, a game. It ain't real.

But what about lore? What about the science-fiction bits? Well sure, I love lore as much as the next guy. And I am a huge science-fiction nerd. Those are two big reasons why I play Eve Online. But neither of those things impacts my play inside of Eve even one small iota. Not a bit. The only thing that matters inside of Eve is game mechanics. Game mechanics that are the same for everyone else that is playing. This is why I never get really upset by game mechanic changes, because we all have to play in the same sandbox. Under the same rules. (Which is why we all get upset when something threatens to upset that balance.)

Lore and background are awesome. And Eve has some rich and varied background that a lot of people enjoy, some even more than the actual playing. Which is fine. It just goes to show you that Eve is big enough for everyone. And I respect that 100%. But let's be truthful about it, the "why" is not important to actual gameplay. It just isn't. If Eve sucks to play, then all the great background stories in the world wouldn't save it. Lore adds to the enjoyment of the game for many people, but it doesn't affect game play at all.

So yes, Citadels should have a mechanic for saving people's stuffs because otherwise Citadels would suck. And no one would use them. Cause that would be dumb. Why do people's stuffs get saved? I dunno, magic fairy dust? I think we can do better. So let's assume cargo pods, or something technical sounding. We could go with Star Trek and have Tachyons be involved somehow, that always seemed to work for them when they were making things up.

It's all fake trickery. There is no magic other than the technical marvel that powers the code that allows us to operate together in a virtual universe. And that is enough magic for me. Pew Pew. Boom. The rest is all made up.

And just like in a great story, the more you try to explain it, the more dumb it sounds. A little mystery makes for a much better story.

For more Blog Banters about this subject, please visit this link.

JustD Swedish HipHop Eve Online Music Video

This is the world's only Swedish HipHop Eve Online music video (I'm guessing, but I feel safe in assuming). JustD, who are a very popular Swedish HipHop band, made one of their most recent songs available to support Care4Kids. If you are not aware, Care4Kids is an official non-profit organization started by Jonas/C4w3 that helps children and teens in long-term hospital stays play Eve Online and other interactive games. It is an amazing charity and one worthy of your support. I'm extremely proud to support it in any way I can.

C4w3 approached me on Twitter last night with this crazy idea and of course I said yes. I don't understand a word of this song, but I've listened to it about a gazillion times now. It got so bad at home today that my family made me go buy a pair of headphones. And when I say "bad", I don't mean they hated the music. We all loved the song, my boys would start dancing anytime it played. But it does get annoying after the first billion times.

The upcoming RUMBLE event is helping many Eve Online themed charities, including Care4Kids.

Our community is an amazing place.

ANNOUNCING: New Eden Chronicles

Calling all writers and artists from the Eve community. Eveoganda Publishing (a non-existent company I just made up) in association with Rixx Javix, Mord Fiddle, General Stargazer and Drackarn are proud to announce our latest community project. New Eden Chronicles will be an anthology book series featuring fan fiction and fan art written and illustrated by our amazing and talented community, edited and selected by our team of editors, and designed professionally by none other than Rixx Javix. (or, Bryan Ward, for those scoring at home.)

And here is the bestest part of all, the entire book will be available to everyone totally FREE of Charge! That's right, we will be giving the darn thing away in glorious digital PDF downloads for everyone to enjoy. We're not asking for a dime. How cool is that?

Over the past eight years I've read dozens and dozens of wonderful fan fiction here in our community, from the amazing Pod & Planet Contest and beyond. So I was thinking, why not start to collect the best of these into an ongoing anthology collection in the very best spirit of short-story science-fiction collections? Why not indeed? To make it even better, we'll get some of our most talented artists to create illustrations and have a lot of purty pictures to look at.

Right now the plan is to have the book be bi-annual, but we are certainly open to making it happen more often if the support is there for it.

So how do you participate?

It's easy. Simply submit your original work of Eve Fiction for consideration to  Artists who are interested in participating should also send an email along to let me know you'd like to participate. We'll be collecting stories and working with each author to ensure the highest quality work appears in each collection. The final determination as to what pieces appear in each collection will be up to the Editors based on quality, originality, and overall thematic considerations. Any works not appearing in the first Volume will be considered for additional Volumes. It is not our intention to leave anyone out. This is purely intended as a showcase for the Eve community and not a vanity project for anyone. You get what I'm saying.

We're looking for stories that reflect the wide range of our community and of the universe of New Eden. Industry, War, whatever makes for an interesting and compelling story. However, we are only looking for short-stories or short novellas that are self-contained. On-going series are not in the plans for this anthology series.

Additional consideration will be given to original works, however that is not a requirement. We just want your best work, so if it has been published on your blog, or submitted to a contest before, it doesn't matter. Submit what you think is your best work.

I'm excited about this project and I think it holds a lot of potential. Let's take this journey together and see where it leads us?

I can't wait to read your stories.

Spai Works: Battleship Logi

Our spais have uncovered some very early concept drawings from CCP Games HQ in Reykjavik that reveal plans for a new class of spaceship: The Battleship Logistics!!

Take a gander at these babies.


The Sciphoon

The Rocalisk

The Domineiros

It certainly is an exciting time. New ships and new concepts flying around like snow on a volcano. I'm very excited.

What do you think?

The Millennium Falcon Poster

Millennium Falcon Poster by Bryan Ward
Click to download various sizes

One of my all time favorite spaceships, the Millennium Falcon. Sporting the original round radar dish, not the rectangle from the new series. The original drawing of the ship has been around for awhile, originally I presented it here in its unfinished form. That drawing was only about 90% finished and I always intended to create a full poster for it. Now, with the new computer and new tools, I was finally able to complete the entire poster as I originally imagined it.

I hope you enjoy this newest piece in the growing collection. If you do, please feel free to share the love in your own community and beyond. I'm looking to take these pieces and more to market so the more exposure the better. Thanks.

She might be a bucket of bolts, but she'll make .5 past light speed. :)

Serenity Poster

Serenity Poster by Bryan Ward
Click to download various and sundry sizes

Presenting one of my all time favorite ships, Serenity, from Firefly and the movie of the same name. I really like the way this turned out and I'm glad to finally get it out in public. The drawing of the ship is almost a year old, I had drawn it back when I was trying to figure out the technique on the Eve Poster Series and it had just lingered in a folder waiting. So this weekend I finished the drawing and started thinking about what to do with it.

Luckily I had just gotten my new Wacom tablet last week and so I decided to take it for a spin and do a complete painting. You can see the results for yourself and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did working on it.

While Eve may always be an important part of my work, it certainly won't be the only part of my work. I need to expand my horizons and I'll be doing more and more other genre work in the coming months. In fact I have a couple other projects cooking in the oven already.

Let me know what you think. And any suggestions for future works you'd like to see.


Back Swing

It's odd. You can be insanely busy and at the same time seem to have disappeared. I wake up every day with plenty of things on my plate to accomplish, and yet not have time to write here on the blog. Or find time in the day to log in to play Eve. It has been an odd couple of months to say the least.

I have played Eve each of the last three days. Which is amazing, especially Saturday night. The way the new studio is set up now, my wife can log into Eve on the computer next to me and we can play elbow to elbow. This resulted in some funny moments. I didn't have TeamSpeak loaded up on the new computer yet, so during our roam while we listened to TS - she'd have to push to talk for me while I yelled over her shoulder. We also had a tense moment while I tried to explain how to pull range from a Harpy and Tristan that she was fighting. She was in a dual-tanked Hookbill and those are complicated to fly. So many modules to manage. She ended up getting podded. But this is how you learn. And we did manage to get a handful of good fights together. Which is awesome.

So all in all things are slowly getting back to "normal" around here. Whatever normal is. I wouldn't know normal if it was staring me in the face. I have two large illustrations I want to finish, a couple of big projects that are in the works, another episode of Gate to Gate to get produced, and a long list of commissions that haven't been finished or even started. Plus, I dunno, a dozen or more things I'm forgetting. Somewhere, sometime, I'll have to find the time to give each of these things the attention they need.

Maybe that is it, more than anything else right now? Maybe I'm just feeling a tad overwhelmed with options. Perhaps I need to focus. Meh. Maybe I just need to kick that thought in the balls and move on. I like that idea better.

Onward and Upward.

Go Rumble!

The RUMBLE Charity Event is on the 29th of November and you should plan on being there. I will be. And so will a huge pile of Eve players looking to have a blast and shoot each other in the face. All while supporting several well-deserving Eve charities. It is a win-win for everyone. Except me, as I will probably be kilt within the first few minutes. lol. (Don't shoot Rixx!)

Organizing and planning a successful in-game event is a ton of work. I've sorta stepped away from doing them myself because of just how much effort is involved. After you do 18 or so, the shine kind wears off. But nothing is better than an in-game event you can participate in and not have to do anything other than show up. So kudos to the guys at who are putting this thing together. They've managed to grab a Titan for us to pew pew, along with a bunch of great prizes and teams. All being FC'd by some loser FCs, it should be a blast.

I even made a video for it! So you have to come.

Do yourself a favor and check out the link for more details about the event and how to sign-up. Seriously, it promises to be the don't miss event of the month and I'd love to see you there.


Up and Running Again

The new studio is coming along nicely. Yesterday I went to the local Apple Store and picked up the new iMac and got it set up. That is it on the big desk next to my 30" Cinema Display, which I'm using as a second monitor now. The regular iMac is now on the smaller desk and I'll be using it as a regular graphics station for the time being. Still a ton of work to do yet, but all the core computer related stuff is up and running now, so that is the most important part. I can take my time with the rest of the studio set-up.

The only thing missing is hard-wired Internet access. Turns out the cable plug up here is dead, so the cable company is coming over later today to fix that. Country cable still operates in the 1950's apparently, since the appointment is between 12-4pm. Must be nice to make appointments like that, I should try that with my clients. Luckily I work from home. In even more fun news, the window above R2-D2 there is totally rotted away, my wife discovered this fun fact on Sunday. So the window people will also be here today to provide an estimate for replacing that window. (Cha-ching!) Problems solved only reveal more problems. And so it goes.

I do have WiFi internets at least. But with the size of files I deal with I need the hard-line connection. Plus it is much better at playing Eve! Especially with four other internet hungry people in the house!

I brought the old MacPro back over on Monday, but honestly I'm not sure it has a place in the new studio. So I stole its Cinema Display and for now the old boy will be hanging out and serving as a decorative warning to the other computers about what happens if they become obsolete. (That should keep them running for a few years at least!) I managed to get the entire Adobe Creative Suit downloaded and running yesterday even on WiFi, so that is a huge start. And for now I can hot-swap drives between the two workstations to share work files and transfer bits and pieces as needed. For the first time I did not transfer the old workstation to the new one. I want to try and keep the new station as clean as possible and let the older one carry the burden of history. (For example, my Calendar goes back twenty years.)

I still have to move the scanner up. And once the cable and window dudes are done I can move another desk up that will be to the right of the big desk. That desk is going to serve as my drawing table. Yesterday I ordered a new Wacom tablet which should be here tomorrow. Amazon is having a great sale on Wacom tablets right now, I saved over $149 ordering when I did. Which meant I could afford a bigger model than I was planning on. This is important when you are as large as I am. (That's what she said!)

Once the cable is connected I can start downloading bigger stuff, including a new copy of Eve. I'm very anxious to try it on the 5k monitor and see how purty she looks. But I also want to grab a bunch of my AE Plug-Ins, photoshop stuff and Element 3d. I need to start playing around and learning that as soon as possible. I have plans for it.

So a few more days until I am back at 100% and ready to rumble. I have a seriously deep hole to dig myself out of when it comes to Eve work, both commission and special project wise. So the sooner the better. Plus I really need to get back in-game on a regular basis again.

Thanks to all of you for helping to make this happen. This is a huge step for me and for my family. It is hard to explain, but trust me it has implications, importance and meaning way beyond just a new computer.

Onward and upward.

Joffy Aulx-Gao for CSM XI

Joffy Aulx-Gao for CSM
Click for various sizes

I can't possibly imagine someone out there that wants and deserves to be on the CSM more than my good friend Joffy. This young man was one of the first to believe in the vision of Stay Frosty and A Band Apart. And over the last few years, as I've gotten to know him, everything about him is simply an inspiration. He has been working his butt off for the past couple of months gathering support from all around New Eden and the community, working to find a way to actually get to Fanfest (which is a challenge for him and his family), and generally doing everything you'd want your CSM representative to do. Above and beyond.

I am straight up asking for you to help me make this happen. Read my post (the first link) and express your support on the forum post (second link) and help us spread the word about this remarkable young man. Any independent campaign is an uphill battle against the allied forces arrayed against it, so we need all the support we can get. I know I can count on my readers to stand behind us, so let's all work together to make this happen.

We're just getting started and we have a long way to go. Thank you.

Thoughts on Kickstarter

For those of you unaware, the Fountain War Novelization Kickstarter began fund-raising earlier this week. The project is backed by CCP, The Mittani Media, and will be written by Jeff Edwards. Who, by all accounts, is a solid writer with a military background that should prove useful in the pursuit of this project.

As you all know I am a firm believer in the power of the Eve community and one of its biggest fans, supporters and instigators. As such I believe strongly that the Eve community as a whole will ultimately decide the fate of every project put in front of it. It is, in so many ways, the final judge and jury in every case. Personally I like that. It is very democratic, majority rules authority. Power derives from the people kind of stuff. So far be it for me to tell you if you should support this campaign with your own hard earned cash. I don't have a dog in this project. If a book gets written I will buy it and read it. It is going to be about Eve after all. And I love Eve.

I do worry that it might not succeed. And that its potential failure might have long-term consequences down the road for other possible projects. Projects that your friendly neighborhood blogger might have a hand in for example. (As an example, cough cough) There is a strong component of wanting it to succeed simply to keep the ball rolling on all the progress that has been made building bridges between CCP and the fan/player base. I would hate to see us all take a step back from that progress. It has been hard won.

It reminds me of something that happened to me once on set. I was just getting started in the world of television production. I was serving as an art director for a series of commercials for Campbell's Soup. There was close to a million dollars in production on the line for 4 commercials, so about 250k each. One of the senior art directors was complaining about the constraints he felt the budget was putting on him. He was used to much bigger budgets and he said something along the lines of, "250k is peanuts!" in an angry voice. The senior account person, who was much older and more experienced, looked at him sternly and said, "Never ever say that out loud again. 250k is someones ENTIRE HOUSE you idiot!" Or words to that effect. It was a lesson that I would carry with me my entire career. Money comes from somewhere. It belongs to someone. And no matter what, we have a certain responsibility to honor that knowledge.

And maybe it's because of my most recent experience with the generosity of the Eve community, perhaps that is tainting my view. But 150,000 is a big ask. And for such a big ask it seems, at least from the outside, that this project wasn't given the kind of planning and forethought that one might expect. Early mistakes were made with the rewards, which were quickly rectified. And, for such a big project, transparency seems to be an issue. Although after some back and forth last night on Twitter, it seems progress is finally being made on that front as well.

I've been watching and learning about Kickstarter for awhile now. It is a fickle beast. But crowd-funding is a powerful and exciting tool, especially for those of us with big ideas and shallow pockets. It has a heart that beats to a certain drummer, and I think it is important to understand that music if you are planning to play with the band. You don't want the band you're in to start playing different tunes. (I learned that from Dark Side of the Moon)

Ultimately the community will decide. As it should. There are those that are immediately against anything that has anything to do with "grrr goons" and I respect that. I'm no fan either. But this isn't about that to me. All I see is the future. A future with a novel written about real events that happened in our sandbox... or a future in which no such novel exists.

And despite the mistakes, despite the source, such a project seems worthy of due consideration. In the end I will leave you with a piece of sage Eve advice, "Only fly what you can afford to lose."

The question all of us have to ask is, what can we afford to lose?

PS: The Ancient Gaming Noob has a good post about this as well.

EOC Rumble Event

EOC Rumble Charity Event 29th November

The guys over at are putting together what looks to be the premier in-game event of the Fall called Rumble. You should take a look and join up. I'll be there to get primaried off the field first, as usual. As will dozens of other distinguished and notorious members of the Eve community.

It will be a blast. We get a chance to kill a Titan for goodness sake. And the line-up of famous FC's to lead each of four teams into battle is impressive. The prizes are amazing. What else do you need?

Oh, and all proceeds benefit in-game charities. Done. Sealed. You should be there.

Go check it out and I hope to see you there.

PS: Please don't shoot me immediately. It would be really nice to survive for more than five minutes in an event. Maybe ten minutes?

So Who the Hell is Bryan Ward?

Crazy Horse - Thunder on the Mountain
This is me in 2005 on a Motorcycle I had custom made to raise money for the Crazy Horse Memorial

Hi. My name is Bryan Ward and while you know me as Rixx Javix, it is time I introduced myself. I'm going to go ahead and apologize up front for all the "me" in this post. But I don't know how else to do it frankly. I've been a creative professional for more than thirty years. Maybe longer, since I sold a drawing I made of Iron Man to someone when I was in the fifth grade for five dollars. Let's go with thirty, it makes me sound younger. That means, that unlike 93% of artists in the United States, I've managed to make a living at this profession for three decades.

I like the term "creative professional" because I'm not a designer, or a writer, or a video editor, or a director, or an art director, or a creative director, or an illustrator, or a photoshop artist, or a cartoonist... I am all of those things. And I've been paid professionally for all of them. I have always been creative and I tend to do whatever it takes to make whatever comes into my head succeed. I take my profession seriously and I have spent all of those years perfecting my skills, training, practicing, working insane hours, and taking insane risks, to become the best I could at what I do.

I started out working in the comic book industry in the early eighties. Mostly for independents and small press comics. I became rather well known in certain fan circles, I ghost-wrote for a couple of mainstream titles, and eventually saw some measure of success working with Caliber Press (the company that published The Crow). During work on my largest contract with Caliber, my creative partner at the time bailed on me mid-stream. At the same time my new marriage and my professional career started and I abandoned comics.

I worked my way up the ladder. I learned my trade. And I pushed for digital integration, these were the days before computers became commonplace. I often say the computer saved my career, because it became an extension of my creativity. I taught myself animation and made short films using Macromedia Director. I became a Photoshop Beta tester. I convinced the company I worked for to purchase the very first Media 100 Digital Video workstation sold in the US. An academy award winning documentary Director told me I was the best editor she had ever worked with. I worked weekends producing 3D title animations for NFL Films. Essentially I never stopped working, networking, and striving to learn as much as I could.

I was part of the team that launched the Panasonic 3DO gaming system. During that project I met someone who needed help with an Annual Report. I managed to turn that project around for them and as a thank you they introduced me to someone from Fleer Entertainment that needed help with another project. One thing led to another and I ended up creating, art directing, designing, for Marvel/Fleer Entertainment during the trading card boom of the mid-nineties. I created card sets for X-Men, Batman, Power Rangers, and pretty much every card set they produced. The best part of that time was the creation, design and production of the Marvel OverPower Card Game. I spent weeks and weeks play-testing and designing to meet the launch date. My comic book background came in extremely handy.

And then my (now ex) wife's Mother passed away and we moved back to Pittsburgh. I landed a position at the second-largest ad agency in town. This was my first "agency" job. I worked on the Adelphia Communications account and launched the nation's first Broadband internet service called "PowerLink". I created the very first demographically targeted print campaign for The Hoover Company. And I started learning and perfecting the branding processes that would serve me well later on. The owner of the agency brought me into his office one day and told me I would become the Creative Director as soon as a planned merger happened. A few months turned into two years. At this point I was handling multi-million dollar campaigns, creating national television and print commercials. I attended one of the very first Ad:tech conferences in Chicago and learned about the coming internet explosion.

And then on September 11th I watched as the first plane hit the Trade Center. And then sat in my car under the building as United 93 flew over the city. I decided then that I was tired of waiting on the promotion and would resign my position. Life is too short. Two associates of mine were starting their own video production company at the time, so I traded work on their branding for an empty office and started my own creative agency. I had no money and a brand new computer to my name. Within three months I landed the national agency business of Adelphia Communications and within the first year we (me and my employees) were billing close to 10 million. During the time between 2002 and 2008 we worked with clients from all over the world. We gained national attention. Wired, FastCompany, the NY Times and more wrote about us. We were one of the first non-traditional creative agencies in a new wave. In 2003 I won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Microsoft "Realizing Business Potential" Award and was inducted into the Pittsburgh Advertising Hall of Fame. We were named the best creative agency in the country in 2009. (I'm leaving out a bunch of stuff here. Like how 10% of our gross went to charity. How another 10% went back to my employees. And how at least 25% of our clients had to be Non-Profit.)

Somewhere in there I served six years as a National Vice President for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and created an annual event that raised nearly 2 million dollars. Produced three television pilots, one even got picked up and then the partners all yelled at each other and split up. And pitched a movie to MGM right smack before they went bankrupt. My timing has not always been very reliable.

These were good years for business. My personal life was another matter. Long gestating problems that had always been there, started to become even more problematic. It was becoming obvious that we were headed for divorce. 

I'll skip thru the bad years. For three years I knew what was coming and I worked hard to avoid it. One of my trusted senior level employees (whom I had given a job when no one else would) turned out to be sitting on his hands for a year and blamed me for it. Then left taking several clients with him. Then my President made a $80,000 mistake on a state contract. Then a consultant robbed us of $25,000. Then the mortgage crisis hit and two of our largest clients were in that business sector. Then a salesman called a client behind our back and we lost a huge piece of business. On and on. We held out until I voluntarily made the decision to close in January 2012. My entire life savings went with the business and the divorce. My legal fees alone amounted to nearly $150,000. I was forced into bankruptcy. It was, as I knew it would be, catastrophic. Eyes wide open.

I ended up consulting for two other agencies in rapid succession. Waiting to figure out what to do next. And waiting for my Alimony to end in August of 2014. I met and married the love of my life. And we both hunkered down to weather the constant turmoil. I started a video production company with a long-time friend. I freelanced. I consulted. And I wrote in this blog. Finally August 2014 rolled around and I received notice that my ex was going to sue me for more money. Its a long story, but essentially the courts landed on her side and more legal fees later I'm stuck with a rather large sword hanging over my rather large head. The result of which is that I am rather unemployable by anyone. Until I pay it off, or until she dies, whichever comes first.

I didn't intend for this to go on for so long. It is hard for me to write about myself. I was always the guy in the background making things happen. I never went for personal publicity or credit, those always went to my clients, my friends, or those that worked for me. Not a single person that worked for me, and nearly 200 people went thru our doors, talks to me today. No one ever calls. Those two associates who started their company when I did? I poured over 4.5 million into their business when it started, and they won't return my phone calls. In the decade the agency was in business I helped start a dozen or so businesses, or kept them afloat. No one calls.

Despite many bright spots, the past three years have been difficult. Trying to find the "next" thing, exploring, having doors slammed in your face, is challenging. But maybe, just maybe now it begins to make more sense to those of you reading this far - why the Eve Community has come to mean so much to me. Why these friendships matter. Why the outpouring of support for my campaign last week meant so much to me. I have never met most of you. And I probably never will. But you care. It is often baffling to me. I'm certainly not used to it. 

But dammit it matters. I matters to me. You've all kept me vital, interested, and engaged these past three years especially. That is why I write, why I draw, why I keep doing the things I do.

And why I will never stop.

It has been my honor to finally meet you.

PS: If you'd enjoy seeing some of my work you can visit my YouTube channel, my Vimeo Channel, or my Behance Portfolio, or feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Other links are available here.

PPS: I left a lot of stuff out in a desperate attempt to be brief. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments. I am an open book. You can even ask me about 12 Monkeys if you want.

An Open Book

Hi. My name is Bryan Ward and for the past seven plus years I've played a character in Eve Online named Rixx Javix. For six plus of those years I've written, drawn, created and otherwise amused myself in these pages. Eve was originally just another hobby and a way for my oldest Son and I to connect. We were both going thru a rather difficult divorce at the time and Eve was something that we both shared. In those years I pretty much just followed him around New Eden and did whatever he wanted.

Slowly over the years things started to change. I got involved in the community more and more. I started running in-game events and meeting more and more of my fellow Eve players from all over the world. Both in-game and out. As my real life crumbled around me and I lost everything I had worked a lifetime to achieve, Eve became more and more real. Eventually my Son moved on with his own life and I stopped following him around the universe and founded Stay Frosty. And then A Band Apart. My wandering days were over. (People used to say I couldn't stick to anything, which is funny in hindsight.)

I've written millions of words about Eve here in these pages. I've created thousands of pieces of art, logos, wallpapers, and supported events, charities, and my fellow bloggers. I have created content on top of content. All for free essentially. And during the last three years I've been trying to create a more powerful connection between CCP and the creative player base. My battles are well-known and consistent. But they were not battles of anger, rather battles of will. Of never giving up. Of knowing that the outcome would be worth it, not just for me, but for everyone.

And yes, during those early years I kept a distance between myself and Rixx. I had no idea what I was doing. I was making it all up as I went. Would Eve be just another video game that I played for awhile and then moved on? Who knew? I certainly didn't. I never would have imagined back then how things have gone. Who could? But over the years, as it became more and more apparent this thing had legs - the distance between me and my character began to crumble. Increasingly they have become one and the same. More and more I've started to bridge those gaps in these pages and in the world of New Eden. This is a good thing.

I am an Open Book.

But like any book, you have to read the pages all the way to the end. But this is a strange kind of book, a book that many people jump right into at various pages. An evolving book in which the author himself is not always aware of the plot. Or the characters. Or where things are going. I can't imagine that many new readers jump all the way back to the beginning and catch up with things. So, often, I have to stop and write posts like this one. For more long-time readers they must seem odd and kind of frustrating. But it can't be avoided.

When I started playing Eve I was the owner of a creative agency that employed between 20-40 people. I had started that company shortly after 9/11 on my own with little more than a new computer and a phone line. I had worked on average 80-90 hours a week to make it successful. And it was for nearly a decade. We survived our largest client going down the largest corporate bankruptcy ever up until that point. We survived and thrived. I poured my heart and soul into it. I have a tattoo of the company logo I designed on my right arm. And then divorce, betrayal, legal fees, court battles, back-stabbing, economics, elections, and mortgage crisis conspired to destroy it. In the end I made the conscious decision to take that all on my own shoulders and shut it down to protect my employees and my clients. I knew what I was doing and what the consequences might be. And, sure enough, they have been catastrophic.

But just like that open book, the story doesn't end there. You can jump right into it now and find a man who has had an incredible thirty-year career who is trying to start over once again. A man who is happily married to the love of his life. Who doesn't have two pennies to rub together, but who is working hard every day to find his way toward something new. The challenges continue. The stress doesn't change. This is life. And we all keep turning the page to see what happens next.

And just like you, I have no idea how it all ends. All I know how to do is what I've always done. Work hard, take chances, be honest, and make things happen. There is no secret way. Only the hard way.

All of which is to say I am an open book.

So, if you ever have any questions, or concerns, or comments about something you don't understand - please feel free to ask. I am available just about anywhere. I am on Twitter with two accounts (@RixxJavix and @BryanWardpgh), I'm on multiple Slacks (both Tweetfleet and ABA), my emails ( or, or on G+, or here on Eveoganda. I'm pretty much the easiest person to reach. If you want or need to take things even more serious, I am also on LinkedIn, or other more business related places.

I am proud to be a part of this community. I have always been.

There is no distance.