A Year Later

Bartosz Wallpaper
What are these ships anyway?

So yesterday I get an email from one of my readers that wonders why it has taken me a whole year to produce a simple wallpaper he paid good iskies for? About a year ago! I jumped into action and sent him the piece you see above. I never intended for so much time to pass and I also sent along my sincere apologies.

Somewhere along the line his request got lost. Probably when my computer died back in Fall of last year. But it could have happened earlier. This is one of the reasons why I've generally stopped taking regular commissions and have tried to only focus on special projects for the community. At one point my commission project list had over 150 requests on it. And I was about six months behind. I know, from an individual standpoint it can be hard to comprehend - why can't Rixx just finish that easy wallpaper? And it should be simple. But then imagine there are 149 other people, just like you, asking for simple things. Add in a crazy life, the need to make RL monies, deal with a crazy ex, and all the other demands on my time. So yeah, some things fall thru the cracks.

And that is something I really do try and avoid. But it got to the point last year that I just had to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat. So my sincere apologies, I really do with I could help everyone. Which is exactly how I get into these messes in the first place, I have a notoriously hard time saying no.

It shouldn't take a year. Which is why I have to start saying no.

After Hours Podcast

Episode One with CCP Fozzie

Episode Two with Gabriel Cassata

Finally after 5 months my new podcast has a home over on Crossing Zebras. Thanks to Niden and the team over there for making this work at the last minute and for welcoming me into the CZ family. Much appreciated. The story of how I ended up there is not very interesting and is no one's fault, one thing led to another and it just made the most sense to maximize the exposure and get the darn thing rolling. As I said to everyone involved, the timing actually worked out well in hindsight. I had no idea five months ago when I decided to start recording these, that so much would happen over that period of time. So it all worked out.

I have no clue if these will be popular, or if they will even find an audience. All I can tell you is that I think they are awesome and I enjoy doing them. The goal is to just sit down and have a decent conversation with as many people around the Eve Community as possible, even some that are only involved in the periphery. I believe we have one of the most vibrant and creative communities in all of gaming and I enjoy talking with people and hearing more about their story. So that is what I'm going to do until someone makes me stop.

Now that the cat is out of the bag I need to get busy lining up new guests for upcoming episodes. So don't be surprised when I come knocking on your door.

I hope you enjoy the first two episodes and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments here or over on CZ.


The Bank Robber who shared my Cab

This is a real life story that has nothing to do with Eve. I'm sharing it with you today because it came to mind yesterday and it is a good story that really happened to me. If you'd like to skip reading it, please feel free. Thank you.

Back in the day I used to travel a lot. New York, Los Angeles, and all over the United States for business, client meetings, production, and everything else. For a long stretch of that time I suddenly became prone to strange happenings and weird coincidences. Do you remember the Atlanta Olympic bombing? I just happened to be leaving Atlanta around that time and I suppose I looked a bit like someone that might bomb something. I got some very special treatment at the airport on that trip. I also used to randomly bump into celebrities a lot back then. Or end up on movie sets by mistake. Or have dinner late at night with the cast of ER. Weird stuff. I don't know why, but it continued to happen to me for almost two decades.

One of the strangest moments during this weird streak happened in New York one summer in the late nineties. It was one of the hottest summers on record in NY, the day I landed was well over 100F and it had been that way for at least a week. Everyone was miserable. I believe I was in town for a film transfer, but I can't be sure. I know I was only there for two days and one night on that trip. Because all I had with me was a small overnight bag. I was traveling alone and had, as usual, taken a cab from the airport into Manhattan. The traffic was horrible and the drive in was taking twice as long as it normally does. I can still remember how hot and sticky the air was, how miserable the cab felt and how angry my driver must have been to someone on the phone. He talked loudly in Pakistani the entire trip to someone on the other end of his cell phone.

We had finally crossed the river into the city and we sat in traffic waiting our turn to get off the expressway and into a side street. We just missed the light, but we were first to turn next. That was when I heard the alarms going off. Hearing alarms in Manhattan is not unusual, but the thing that made these especially jarring was how close they seemed. It was just as this proximity knowledge was penetrating my brain when the side door opened and the masked man with the gun got in next to me. He put the gun to the driver's head and yelled for him to go now. I can still remember something funny about that moment, in the film version of slow motion, as the Pakistani driver said one final word to the person on the cell phone and finally hung up the phone. He flipped it shut, that is how long ago this was.

I'll give it to the driver here, he was well practiced. He slipped thru the cross-traffic and headed down the side street. After about two blocks we finally could go no further due to the cars in front of us. I don't know to this day what came over me during this time, which up until then could not have been more than a few minutes. It was a strange and peculiar mix of heightened reality and a sobering amount of unreality mixed together. For some reason I never felt in danger, it was more like a scene from a Coen brothers movie than real life. But whatever I felt at the time, all I really know for sure was what I did when the cab finally came to a stop. I turned to the Bank Robber and said, "You have the driver, you don't really need me. I'm getting out here." There was a moments pause, perhaps a deep breath and the masked man turned to me and said, "Yeah, ok."

I grabbed my bag and stepped out onto the sidewalk, just as the traffic broke and the cab sped away once again. I stood there for a long time. The sound of Police sirens finally made me start to move again. And, as is the way in New York, no one noticed a thing. The city continued on as before around me. To this day I have no idea what became of the Bank Robber or the cab driver. I walked the rest of the way to the hotel.

That is the sum total of that story. I hope you enjoyed it.

Steel City Eve

Steel City Eve Wallpaper
Click to embiggen
STEEL CITY EVE will be held on August 20th, 2016 and you are invited to attend!  Information and details can be found over on the Eve Meet page located HERE.

We've rented a large building/pavilion at Pittsburgh's North Park with plenty of indoor and outdoor room in the midst of a beautiful park with lots of activities available. We'll be hanging out all day drinking, eating, and celebrating my 50th goddamn birthday. And there will be lots of surprises, including a raffle for a piece of unique, original Rixx Eve spaceship art!! (A one-of-a-kind print available nowhere else!)

Bring yourself or bring your entire family, either way we'll be grilling meats and enjoying eats all day, and we'd love to see you there.

Universe Building

There is a lesson here that applies to Eve, especially to the new player experience. Just be patient and I promise to bring it all back around by the end of the post.

In addition to spaceships, comics, video games, science-fiction, actual science and other nerd corners of the universe, I happen to be a huge film geek/nerd as well. My morning ritual involves a half-dozen websites with movie news and reviews each day. So I read a ton of information about film. I enjoy story-telling of all types. One side-effect of so much reading is picking up on various tropes and common themes that run thru the heart of so many stories and reviews. One of these tropes reared its head this morning over on Variety. Geoff Berkshire's review of the upcoming Duncan Jones film Warcraft. Which, no surprise, he didn't much care for.

This post has nothing to do with Warcraft or Geoff's review specifically. It has to do with this common theme that pops up in his review. And I quote, "With little concern for all those already perplexed at the mention of orcs and mages, “Warcraft” plunges headfirst into a fantasy realm teeming with mythical creatures, magical spells and exotically named characters and locations. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it approach likely to have most audience members opting for the latter, though devotees of the immersive role-playing source material may have an entirely different experience."

This kind of description will pop up often in reviews of genre material. Reviews of AMC's The Preacher is yet another recent example. I read this kind of thing often and I find it rather odd. Clearly this is the author's own biases showing thru the narrative as they struggle to wrap their heads around a corner of the universe they personally may not be familiar with, but is it a universal bias? In the case of Warcraft are there people out there thinking to themselves, "This story has Mages and Orcs in it? I don't understand what that means!" Really? And this has nothing at all to do with people liking Mages or Orcs, that is a side issue. But after hundreds of years of fantastical story-telling, from children's books, fairy tales, and beyond into modern film-making, is there truly an audience out there unfamiliar with the basic underlying tropes of fantasy? Or for that matter science-fiction?

Warcraft the movie may very well suck, I won't know until I see it myself. But I doubt it sucks because people are confused about the universe it lives in. The highest grossing film of all time was an original story set on a planet full of blue people that worshiped a giant tree and plugged into native animals thru a USB port in their hair. Audiences had no issue following along with that weirdness.

So we are left with the knowledge that it isn't the fact of the universe that the reviewer finds issue with, but the way it which it is presented. Certainly most intelligent humans are more than aware of the basics behind most genre at this point on our planet, alien invasions, time travel, fantasy, science-fiction, comic books, name a genre and I bet most people can tell you the basic beats in most stories told in them.

So what does that mean for Eve? As CCP Ghost works to help develop the New Player Experience for Eve Online I think it is an important lesson that needs to be understood. Potential players are not unaware of the basic tenants involving science-fiction or spaceships, especially those that are willing to give Eve a chance. What I think they need is a faster way to set themselves into that universe, understand their place in it, what the basic rules of engagement are and are not, and what that means for them as a player. Eve, especially at first, has always been challenging. When I started playing back in 2008 it was essentially like being thrown into a lake by your Father in order to learn to swim. Welcome to Eve! Now go play.

Personally I would dismantle and re-build the ENTIRE entrance portion of the game. I think it is time for a fresh look at how we bring players into Eve, what they are presented with, and how they are presented with it. Less decisions at first, more immediacy, and engagement from the outset. Keep the experience smaller, while revealing the larger potential. Eve can be extremely overwhelming at times, even for veterans, so let's try and manage that fear better at first. Think about how Disney manages rider expectations during the long process of standing in line at one of their parks. In much the same way, we need to better manage player expectations while we work them into Eve.

Even a very slight increase in retention would be significant for Eve and for its long-term survival. If the numbers are to be believed then plenty of people are trying it. We just need to transform more trials into subscribers.

Cause, let's face it, spaceships are awesome.

Aeon Special Edition

Aeon Special Edition Art Print
Click to embiggen

The Aeon is a challenging ship to portray given its rather unique design. As always however, my approach to this specific series has never been technical, or practical in nature. The idea for me has always been about poetry thru design. And while this might sound a tad weird, from an artistic perspective it makes total sense. I won't pretend that I always succeed at my goals with each and every ship, some are certainly better than others. But I strive to capture the essence of each ship each time I start planning an illustration. The Aeon is a tough one. So finally I just gave up trying to figure out how to get both sides in one drawing, and decided to let the ship fly away from me. Often it is when I give up trying that the solution presents itself naturally. Somehow, in my mind at least, this solution captures the spirit of the Aeon in a poetic frozen moment of time as she gracefully flies away.

I hope you enjoy it.

Talking In Local

As you can probably imagine, I often get quite the reaction when I appear in local. It can vary from the sudden appearance of o/'s filling local chat (always appreciated), to everyone running away or docking up. I don't tend to stay long when either of those things happen. Seeing friends in local is always great, but they've just given me away and eventually they will all gang up on me. And everyone running away and hiding is no fun for anyone. Those two reactions are both understandable. I say Hello to people I know in local myself, when I see them. And I can't blame people from running away from me. I wish they wouldn't. But I get it.

If those two reactions are the polar ends of a ruler, then the middle is a huge mess of anger, resentment, idiocy and posturing. I've recently been away from the day-to-day game playing due to moving and selling homes. But as I return once more to a regular play schedule, this middle-ground has become more obvious. You tend to notice these things more when you've been away from them for a time. When you experience it every single day, it tends to become background noise.

Mix that with having played Eve for over eight years and the observant fella, of which I am one, will have noticed larger trends. As unique and interesting as you probably think you are being in local, trust me, you are not saying anything I haven't heard a million times before. Please, don't let that stop you. As you have reminded me a thousand times, you certainly have a right to say whatever comes into that excuse for a brain on your shoulder.

Witness the gentleman, who is usually safely docked, who has defeated me in battle dozens of times. I get it, I understand why you are saying this in local. You want everyone to think you are awesome, accomplished, and a great fighter. What better way to say it than by boastful proclamations that cannot be easily disproven?  It is the same line of thinking the guys in the past 12 systems thought as well. Yes, I do lose fights. I've lost about 1,500 of them. All while winning just shy of 6,000 at this point. Which (maths) mean I win right at 75% of engagements. You should also know that, of the fights I lose, about 60% are ones against multiple targets. 75% is exactly where I want to be and I work very, very hard in a very, very casual manner to stay right there. How do I manage that? Because I am really, really good at it. But I don't like to boast. So we'll just leave those claims alone when they appear in local. Let the young man have his ego moment.

I also try hard not to be one of those people that use the phrase "back in the day", but lately something seems to have changed. It seemed more likely previously to encounter people willing to have conversations after a fight, than it does today. I can easily remember long post-fight convos with total strangers about tactics, mods, and learning from each other. Such convos seem to be rare lately. I know that such conversations taught me a lot when I was busy learning everything I could. And I know I've helped others do the same. It was part of the game that I enjoyed. And a real source of pride especially in low sec for those of us that live there.

Yesterday I engaged a Breacher in my Comet. I've had this fight a hundred times and it is usually a good one. 9 times out of 10 I will emerge victorious, because I've fought it so many times I know exactly what to do. I also know that typically the other pilot will make the same couple of mistakes that I will exploit and he will lose. And sure enough this pilot did them. He let me pull range, he let me lull him into my web at range, and then I overheated him head-on and he exploded. Trick was, right at the end of that fight, another Stay Frosty pilot arrived and managed to do 200 dps. This did not sit well with the Breacher. The 200 dps had no bearing on the outcome, trust me. I still had nanite in my rep and I hadn't even needed to overheat it yet. I tried to explain this and offered the fact that the pilot had made errors that cost him the fight. But to no avail. A couple of easy suggestions and he will win considerably more of those fights in the future. But he wasn't interested.

I could go on. There are the local guys who posture for their own Corp/Alliance and I understand that. Stay Frosty and ABA suck. We will probably die off eventually. Not as soon as you guys said we would, but y'know, even a blind squirrel finds a nut eventually. There are the people that want me to fight their 8 man gang, even though I'm running solo. Nice try. There are the idiots who kill you on a gate camp with insta-locking Svipuls and give you a "gf" in local. Bite me. There was that guy the other day whose buddy was in a ECM ship and I engaged anyway. They got away, of course. And he celebrated in local so much you would have thought he won the lottery. He was very pleased with himself. Which wouldn't have been so bad had he stopped with the "you suck" angle. If you are going to use ECM, or WCS, or cloaky Recons, or whatever, take ownership of it. Don't try to blame me for your own risk aversions. I don't have any.

However you want to engage local yourself, please feel free to do so. You have every right. Just know that I am there to have fun, play a game, and be a professional pirate. It is only business and nothing personal. Ever. I'm just trying to find good fights.



When I first logged into Eve back in 2008 I spent the bare minimum of time creating my avatar. I seriously never expected to be playing a "video game" longer than a few weeks, maybe a month? I didn't know anything about Eve, hadn't heard of it before, and no idea what to expect. So that very first avatar was a throw-away for all intents and purposes. I heard Eve came from a company in Iceland, so I named my character after Reykjavik. (Rixx Javix)

That first avatar only lasted a few weeks, maybe a month. About the same time I realized that Eve was not going to go away like all the other video games before it, because it wasn't just a video game. I quickly re-did my avatar. I call the second one my 'soldier' avatar. It is the one that I held during my Null Sec Wars Period. Avatars were easier back then. It was fine for what it was.

As time goes along and your character becomes more than 'just' a digital avatar, when it becomes a reflection of yourself, then things start to become more serious. And they require a bit more thought. Luckily the Character Creator evolved along with that change over the years. And Rixx has evolved along with it. I still don't spend a lot of time on my avatar, I rarely change anything. Any clothes I've added have been ones gifted to me from Corp mates or friends. I've never bought a single item of clothing for myself. I probably never will. Unless by some miracle we start walking in stations.

My avatar is important, but it isn't very important. In my mind the bare nature and slow change is all part of Rixx's character, as much a part of who he is as to what he represents. Rixx doesn't like change much either, he is a rock. He is, in so many ways, the opposite of his player. A reflection of constant manner against a real life of turmoil and stress. Or at least he has been for the past four years. I had enough stress and change in my real life during that time, why create more?

Where do we go next together Rixx and I? I don't know. That question has been bugging me for the past few months. It is no surprise that as my life outside of Eve continues to evolve, and in some ways settle down finally, my interior life within New Eden is feeling a tiny bit... stale? That's not the right word, but it is close.

Stay Frosty is pondering a move. Maybe that will be enough to quell the restless spirit for now. Maybe not. This is, after all, a journey we are on together.

And none of us know where it is leading.

Buckaroo Banzai

Yesterday the news broke that Kevin Smith will be making a television series based on the 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. Just last week I was watching Kevin's review of Captain America: Civil War over on his YouTube series Fatman On Batman, admiring his custom made Banzai Institute jersey. So obviously he is a fan.

As am I. In 1984 I stole the original one-sheet from the local theater and I've had it ever since ("stole" is a harsh word that involved an insider friend and an extreme act of long-term borrowing), hanging on various walls over the proceeding 32 years. I became a member of the first Team Banzai Fan Club and, at various times, have supported various fan efforts over the years. Signing petitions. Making suggestions. Sharing an email string once with Earl Mac Rauch the writer. I once pitched the idea of a BB Comic Book to Marvel. I wrote a treatment for it and even had some art concepts to show, nothing ever came of it. I still have my Team Banzai metal pin. So yeah, I'm a fan also.

So what is it about this weird, quirky, nerd wish-fulfillment story that appeals to weird, quirky, nerds? You might as well ask about that watermelon in the corner. The eighties was full of strange, off the wall, weird science-fiction wish-fulfillment stories, from Misfits of Science to Weird Science to War Games and SolarBabies, the low-budget, low-rent corner of the market was full of teenagers discovering strange powers and living their dreams. But even among those films that had come before, BB was an oddity. It stood out at the time for those of us lucky enough to have seen it in the theater. It wasn't a hit by any measure. And the fact that I saw it more often in art house cinema shows in the following years, only served to grow its "cult" status.

If I had to sum its appeal up in one word, I would use 'earnest'. While BB is goofy, often silly, and weird in many ways, it plays all of it straight, serious, and earnest. It is also, amazingly for its time, an extremely great example of an all-inclusive, no matter how weird you are, family that accepts you no matter what. BB is a family story. Not about your family, or for families, but about A Family. No matter who you are, or who you happen to be, BB treats you the same. The internal story celebrates the odd, not as something to be made fun of or ridiculed. But something to be celebrated. At one point Buckaroo is working in the operating room with Jeff Goldblum's character, they are operating on an Eskimo kids brain, and Buckaroo invites him along with Team Banzai. At this point they are both super serious brain surgeons. The next time we see Jeff Goldblum's character, who we learn is called New Jersey, he is dressed to the nines as a weird over-blown Cowboy. In another story this revelation would have been played for laughs, but here it barely gets a mention. Buckaroo simply asks him, "What are you supposed to be?" And his answer, "New Jersey", is all that needs to be said. He is immediately part of the family.

BB made you feel special without beating you over the head about it. You were special because you aren't special, turns out there are a whole bunch of people just like you out there in the world. You are not alone. Sometimes these people get together and play rock and roll music in a band, sometimes they perform brain surgery, sometimes they bore holes thru mountains by way of the eighth dimension, and sometimes they have to save the world. Or put the President on hold. Because that is just the way things are.

To me that is the heart of Buckaroo Banzai and the reason it has endured. That and an amazing cast, whip smart writing, a killer soundtrack and a lot of fun. It is, and has been, a very special moment captured in time for over three decades. Can it be re-captured? Can the genie be put back into that specific bottle for another generation?

If the new effort can stay true to the core ideals that made BB work in the first place, I think it has a shot. I think Kevin Smith certainly has the potential to capture the spirit of the thing. So many pieces have to fall into place just the right way, but they can. It happens. I never would have imagined a series based on Fargo would be any damn good either. And if that can happen, then maybe we can finally have our World Crime League after all.

Here's hoping.

Nowhere to Hide

Nowhere To Hide Digital Painting
Click to download various sizes

So the other day I had this idea. I'd re-create certain WWII style aerial combat paintings using Eve spaceships and situations, and see what happened. I looked around a bit and eventually found this stunning modern digital painting from Richard Perry called "Nowhere to Hide".  I thought it might just make the perfect first try.

You can see the original on the left and my version on the right. Obviously I'm not trying to paint an exact replica, but use the original as the basis for an Eve version all its own. As inspiration. Why would I waste my time making an exact copy, we have one of those already. 

Anyway, mine is also just short of being a full-blown effort. I'd consider it more a study than anything else right now, but I was happy enough with the outcome to share it with you. I'm still learning a lot of things right now and I still don't feel like I have my sea legs fully formed yet. But I'm still working at it and practice makes perfect. Heck, I am my own harshest critic and if I let that stop me I'd never publish anything. Trust me.

I hope you enjoy it. I already have some subject matter in mind for at least a few more of these in the coming weeks and months. So stay tuned.

Ogre II Art Print

Mini Art Print - Ogre II
Click to download various high-res sizes

This is a small 8x10 poster of the Ogre II drone. I had actually started drawing this Ogre last Summer and was planning on using it with one of the Battleship posters originally. I decided to finish it and just release it as a small art print poster on its own.

I might do more of these "mini" posters.

Entropy: Short Film

Shake It Off

I went almost 29 days without undocking from Station. I had logged in a few times along the way to take care of Alliance/Corp business, but it had been almost a month since I had ventured into space. Yesterday I managed to find an hour to log into Eve and change that.

I fully expected to be very, very rusty. There are times when you return from a break, when New Eden feels strange. It can take a few minutes to feel normal again. But yesterday it didn't feel weird at all. I fitted up a Comet and undocked to go find some targets. Maybe, after a month, the locals wouldn't remember me or we'd have some new locals who didn't know me. But first I had to deal with the new camera! Ugh, why it no lock to selected items in my overview!?! Luckily the opt-out function is still there. I love the "idea" of the new camera, but it still needs some of the functionality of the old camera before I use it daily.

A couple systems and nothing much on scan. And then a Venture warps into a large plex. If I remember right, a Venture is a spaceship. Which means I shoot it. Luckily for the Venture pilot I landed about 20k from him and he could warp off. Warp off in structure though! So a few more jumps and more time to shake off the rust. In Prism I catch the ping of a Thrasher and a Tengu on scan. The thrasher is in the medium and there are 4 pilots in local. This is either a stupid Recon trap with links running, or these things have nothing to do with each other. This is exactly the kind of choices us Pirates have to make every minute in space. A good fight, or a horrible loss. As in most cases I decide to YOLO it into the medium. You don't become a pirate if you don't have a pair.

So AC or Arties? This is always the most important question when facing a Thrasher. And it is usually easy to tell by the distance they are from the button. I landed 4k off. ACs then. This Thrasher didn't know it yet, but he was toast. It was a good fight and he managed to get me into structure, but sadly for him that is exactly where all my tank is located. So first fight back and I have first blood.

By this time fellow Stay Frosty pilots are about the neighborhood. Ceye has managed to catch a Hookbill with her Kessie, and I warp over to save her. Sadly, in warp to the plex, I dc mid-warp. I log back in on the gate, but the delay means she lost her ship. The good news is that the Hookbill did not survive.  Even better, a Cormorant comes in to try and steal the lootz, and we all know how that ends.
Now John and Ceye report a Worm and a Tristan together in Unna. Worms with a sidekick along are becoming more and more common. Typically the sidekick has TDs, or Neuts, or is used for drone support. Nasty for solo engagements, but with two gang mates? We all warp in together, the Worm is primary. The Worm is shield boosted of course, so I burn in hard to give my rails exceptional tracking, overheat and wait for the explosion.  He put his drones on me when he should have gone for my support instead. The Tristan was already pointed and died quickly after the Worm went boom.  The Worm pilot asked to be podded.  No implants at all, surprising choice. Or maybe he disconnected them?

By this time Jose had undocked in an Omen, so we formed up to find him some fights. Our friendly neighbors the Mighty Ducks arrived to say hello and we managed to make short work of their Malediction and Ishkur.  After the fight I warped off because I needed to re-load my nanite thingies. While I was doing that a rather large gang landed on Jose's Omen. It was obviously a losing fight, but I warped back in to help anyway. Sadly for me I landed poorly and within range of several enemy ships and my trusty Comet finally gave up the ghost.  Good fight though.

Not a bad run for my first day back. Rust was not a factor after all. YARRR!!

Can't wait to do that again as soon as possible.

Keepstar Art Print Poster

Keepstar Art Print Poster
Click to download various sizes

I keep pushing the envelope on this series. 159 illustrated posters are now completed in the series. Which is incredible to me. The first one was posted back in October 2014 and since then I've gotten progressively better at them, a lot of which is a combination of technical improvements (new computer, new Wacom tablet, etc.) and personal improvements (practice makes perfect!). When I sit down to start a new one I keep asking myself the same question, how can I make this one even more difficult for myself.

Frankly I'm running out of answers to that question. After the FAX poster and after this one, the last batch on the table right now, I'm starting to feel like moving on to something else. Certainly the enthusiasm level has dropped considerably over the last few months. A large part of that is a result of the cancellation of the collaboration between myself and CCP. That turn of events sucked a huge ball of give-a-shit out of me. I don't want to give the wrong impression, I'm not talking about stopping work on producing Eve based artwork. I'm only talking about the "Art Print" series. It may be time to move on, as I think I've pushed the envelope on that series as far as it can go.

Part of that is community based as well. There are posters in the series with tens of thousands of views. But the more recent entries have only a few hundred. I suspect the enthusiasm amongst the community for these has also wained over time. And considering the huge investment of time and energy that they represent, perhaps I can find something else to do with that valuable time. Like play Eve. Or draw something else.

Or finish the book. Or make more videos.

Like I said, only thinking out loud. I still enjoy drawing spaceships. So that will never change. And who knows, maybe the next series will be even better?

Care4Kids Citadel

I created this video for Jonas and Care4Kids to help promote their 1ronKids Keepstar Citadel. For more information visit their new website.

Luckily my youngest was home from school yesterday so I could drag his sorry butt into the backyard and film his hand with my iPhone. Sadly my other cameras and our green screen are at my business partner's house, but when you are resourceful you already know that shooting against freshly mowed grass makes for a decent green screen! It worked so well I only had two areas of noise that needed to be masked out. So yes, that is my youngest boys hand. He is terrible at taking direction.

Anyway, I enjoyed making this one.


The first official behind-the-scenes photo
I apologize ahead of time. Yesterday I trolled #tweetfleet pretty hard with this image, which is simply a slightly doctored photo from the set of Prometheus. It speaks to the overwhelming desire we all share to see something real spring forth from our little corner of the science-fiction universe. One of the things that makes the Eve community work so well is our sense of under-dog status, not only in the greater world of gaming, but in the real world as well. You can sense it every time an article breaks thru into the Press. Or every time someone "out-there" mentions Eve. It is fundamental to being an Eve player. This is not a negative, it is the glue that binds us all together. We have a small inferiority complex when it comes to Eve.

That's why we want that image to be real so badly. The idea of a television or film based on the Eve universe is so compelling, for us such a 'duh', that we are willing to suspend our own disbelief. It should be happening. Heck, it should have already happened. Why is this not happening?

 No one wishes Baltasar Korm├íkur and Ridley Scott success in bringing Eve to life more than I do. I hope they manage to succeed. The news about the development has been out for a number of years now and Sir Ridley is notorious for having a full development slate of projects that never come to fruition, not as bad as Del Toro, but close. To me it seems like the perfect project to develop a trailer, or short film around first. Not only to drive interest, but also to shop around to investors. So it makes you wonder why this hasn't happened yet. I have no inside knowledge and perhaps they are moving forward in a different direction. I hope that is the case and this isn't something that is going to languish in development hell for years to come.

If they are looking for ideas to get started, I know this guy with a million of them. He's cheap. He already belongs to the WGA and he even plays Eve. >cough<

Just sayin'.

(Actually my membership to the WGA isn't current, but that could be fixed easily enough.)

Force Aux Capital Art Print

Force Auxiliary Capital Art Print
Click to embiggen

My god is he CRAY CRAY!?!?!  4 FAX Capitals on ONE Poster!? It can't be done I tell ya! Vertical Supremacy FTW baby. For. The. Win.

I am the 100%

Neville Smit wrote an excellent post earlier this week which I would encourage everyone to read.  In addition, lots of other Bloggers have taken the time to write their own response to his post, which I also encourage you to read. They are all very smart, passionate, and considered arguments.

I'm not going to debate or rehash the points brought up in these posts, I think the dialogue has moved faster than me this week. So I'm rather late getting around to the conversation. What I'd like to do is approach the issues from a slightly different angle.

My own personal angle on this blog has always been primarily focused on what is good for Eve. Eve is my passion and I'd like it to thrive for many more decades so I can continue to enjoy it. It isn't my only passion, but when it comes to spaceships, community, and combat it is hard to beat. I love it. All of it. As I've said many times, I support all play-styles and wish those playing them the best. I want your chosen play-style to be the best that it can be. In this way ALL of Eve is improved.

My personal slant on this is based around Low Sec. I believe it is the most exciting, vibrant, ever-changing and dynamic place in all of New Eden. Which is why I live and play there. While I actively promote and write about Low Sec most of the time, that doesn't mean I think it is "better" than your chosen area of play. I like it better. If I didn't I'd go back to Null, or hide out in a WH. So I consider myself part of the 100% that play Eve. I don't like the idea of breaking us up into camps. We all play Eve.

The reason for that is simple. In Eve the rules are the rules. And those rules affect all players. Equally. This is a critical and important part of what makes Eve such an excellent game and why so many of us get angry when something "seems" to favor one group over another. It is the sole reason why I want links to be on-grid. Why I hate WCS. And why we have riots in Jita sometimes. In reality, the rules don't matter as much as the fact that, whatever they may be, they affect us all - equally. In my opinion this is the fundamental base upon which everything else is built. This fact must be protected above all else. We cannot ever lose that reality inside of Eve. The whole thing will crumble if and when we do.

This is why the recent CSM elections have worried so many of us. The CSM is essentially a Null-Sec focus group, which was elected at the same time the vast majority of development time seems to be devoted to Null Sec. Which, frankly, it has needed for years. This combination of events is troublesome. To me it is troublesome for different reasons than it seems to be for others. It is troublesome to me because of the low voter turn-out. It is troublesome for me because I've never believed we needed a CSM in the first place. It is troublesome for me because the CSM has often been a horribly embarrassing, drama-filled institution. (Barring notable exceptions) In fact I could argue, very convincingly and logically, that over the long haul - the CSM has primarily served a gross negative when it comes to Eve. The CSM, as an institution has lost the people. It has devolved into what most elected bodies eventually devolve into, a cesspool of special interests.

I fully support every single one of Neville's points in his Manifesto. Those are all great ideas. You can't really argue against any of them. Who wouldn't want a better NPE? Better PvP? Better PvE? Better everything. Sign me up!! In fact, read back thru the Eveoganda archives and you'll find plenty of suggestions regarding each of those things over the years.

85% of players might not play in Null. A fact I find interesting. But I'd rather think of it as 100% of players play Eve. I do. You do. And no one can argue that fact. That is a percentage that unites us all as players. We all play Eve. And yes, recent development time has been Null-Centric, granted, but a lot of that development does impact me. Citadels will impact me. FAX ships will. Sov changes have. New spaceships. New rules. All of which process across the board. Impacting everyone.

New Eden is so intertwined, interconnected, and universal that it is incredibly challenging to think of each part individually. I play primarily in Low Sec, but over the past year I've held Sov in 3 Null Sec systems, defended Wormholes, transported goods thru HS and essentially engaged with every area of space in the game. I bet if you stop and think about it for a moment, you could probably say something similar. If you can't, then you probably aren't thinking about it clearly. No matter what you do in Eve you are connected to every other area, you just might not be aware of it.

I want Eve to be great. I want CCP to continue putting development time into making it great. I will continue to advocate for changes I believe to be important. I won't stop stirring pots I believe need to be stirred.

It has been a long couple of years waiting for CCP to be finished with Null Sec revisions. Fozzie-Sov and Citadels, and Cap balancing have primarily been about Null. But we've also seen what those changes have wrought us, a huge war, a break-up of blue doughnuts, and an engaged player-base. So I'd say it was well worth it. Good for those guys. They are finally getting fixed.

And next? Well maybe it will be our turn next.

I know links are coming on-grid. Miracles do happen after all.

A Brief History of the In-Game Memorial

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 Memorial 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 memorial.  Except not really.  The memorial 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 memorial 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.