Always Next Year

Well that didn't work. We went 2-2 this Alliance Tournament and it was, numerically, our worst showing since the first one. And that one we didn't practice for and we did it simply to learn how the AT worked. And for fun of course. Am I disappointed? Gosh no, I'm extremely proud of our team, our pilots, and of our FC Devlin. Over half of our team did not fly with us last year, we lost our FC and some of our pilots from the last two year runs. Always a tough spot. And I'm not making excuses here, those are just the facts. We worked our butts off and we gave a good showing. The two teams we beat, Centipede and Fraternity, went on to have good runs themselves. And losing to CAS and TEST is nothing to be ashamed of. Solid teams.

Having said all of that we remain in search of a signature win. Despite having beaten Volta, Hard Knocks, Shadow Cartel, Fraternity, and other solid teams in the past - we've yet to climb over that middle weekend barrier. The ever elusive fourth win. Last year, our deepest run, was a 3-2 effort. That fourth win gets you into rare air and builds the kind of momentum you need to make a legit run. Like Tri this year. It can happen in either bracket, but so far it eludes us. Last year's Lazerhawks team could have been us instead, they are the ones that beat us in that fourth win spot.

So it'll have to wait until next year. In good news I think our team is more determined than ever to make that happen. I've been very encouraged by the spirit this team has shown and the reaction they've had to our loses. Which is great news. We'll need their experience if we have any chance of finally breaking down that fourth win wall. And hopefully some of the pilots that couldn't join us this year will be back for our run next year. The AT is a grind and it can be a tough one to balance with real life demands.

So we will also be trying something a bit new this year. For the first time in 3 years we'll be opening Corporation recruitment into A Band Apart in the coming months. We'll be looking for solid Corporations with 50+ members that are looking for an Alliance of mature, honest, game players that they feel they can make a contribution. Not just from an AT standpoint of course, but it is time for us to grow a little more and inject some new blood. If you happen to be interested and you have a Corporation with 50 or more members, shoot me an in-game mail and we can start talking about it.

In addition Stay Frosty is always open to new members. If you want to Yarrr with us and learn the ways of PvP across the board in Eve, then consider joining the team. We'll be starting organized roams up again, on comms, including some public roams here in the next month. So now is the time to consider a change.

My own life is settling down and I'll be re-dedicating myself to bi-monthly organized roams as well as more public event/roams in the coming months. So if you want to fly with me, now is the time.

Lastly, to our friends in CAS and TEST, well played. You guys deserved those wins and we have no regrets, we fought hard to the last man in each one. Good fights.

There is always next year.

ATXVI: Third Weekend

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In last years Alliance Tournament we won 3 matches straight, including victories against Slyce, Hard Knocks Citizens, and We Form Volta before losing to Lazerhawks and Brave on the Saturday and Sunday of the third weekend. In order to make it to Sunday this year we have to win three matches on Saturday alone. Our first match is going to be against TEST. Then the winner of the Lazerhawks/Templis match, and then the loser of the Vydra/Samurai match. Yikes.

Not an easy road by any stretch. But nothing about the AT is supposed to be easy. And the further you manage to make it, the harder the road becomes. That is the entire point. But so far every team we've faced is still in the Tournament, which is a pretty amazing stat when you think about it.

We could technically end up playing CAStabouts again. But first of all we have to manage to win three matches in a single day. Something we've never had to face before. So this is all brand new territory for us. The Pick Em site has us as 80%-20% dogs in the match against TEST, which is awesome. I honestly prefer being the underdog.

I'm not going to pick matches in the losers bracket, but here are my thoughts on the four winners bracket matches on Saturday:

Vydra Vs Samurai
I'm rooting for Samurai in this one, but I think Vydra is the team to beat this year. Vydra will probably win and we'll have to face Samurai in the losers bracket. Because I am an optimistic type person.

NCdot Vs Skill Urself
or, The Battle of the Former ABA Pilots, as we call it in Discord chat. I don't want either of them in the losers bracket, but I have to give our practice partners the edge here - I think NCdot has the edge to win. But I wouldn't be surprised by either result to be fair.

Hydra Vs Tuskers
Neither team has really been tested so far this year so it is hard to measure without basing it on past year's experience. Which really has nothing at all to do with anything. Again, can we just keep them both out of the losers bracket? As a former Tusker myself, I'm going to root for them.

Bright Side Vs CAStabouts
I think this is where CAS's luck runs dry and I think Bright Side has this one. This has the potential to be either the worst match or best match among the four. But I think BS wins it.

Can we win three matches in a row? I have no idea. What I do know is that we are going to try like Hell and hope that Bob is on our side and the ammo falls in our favor in each match. After that, it all just comes down to the fight. We know how to fight.

The rest we leave in the hands of destiny.

Poster Contest Results

FC, Can I Bring My Drake
One of my two entries, this one won 2nd place

I almost forgot about this because of the Alliance Tournament. But back on Friday CCP announced the results of their recent Vegas Propaganda Poster Contest. You can see the final results in this dev blog.

I've already tweeted a bunch on this subject, thanking everyone that participated and congratulating the winners. But let me do that again here in this forum - thanks to everyone that participated and congratulations to the two winners! Sincerely. I don't have an axe to grind or any secret agenda here, I'm happy with my 2nd place finish and the extra Plex. I can sell that and put it right into our Alliance Tournament Fund.

I've never entered a contest expecting to win. I enter contests hoping to win. Such things are a matter of opinion and I'm sure the judges used theirs to make the decisions on the winning entries. I'm extremely happy with this poster, as well as the other one I entered, and how they turned out. I also understand those that decided not to enter based on the restrictions placed on the entries by CCP, primarily in regards to ownership. I also agree with those stances. However I honestly don't mind if CCP now owns my Drake illustration because there is no chance of me using it anywhere. So good on them.

In the end I had fun executing this idea that has been banging around in my head for awhile. Hopefully someday, somewhere, it might actually get used for something. That'd be cool.

Until the next contest.

Hidden Threats | AT Second Weekend

The clip above is my stream interview with Apothne on Saturday. Thanks to Eve-NT and +10 gaming for the opportunity. I missed two practice matches to be there, which may or may not have contributed to what happened on Sunday. I'm kidding of course. If someone gives you a chance to promote your Alliance you say yes. No brainer.  So I was happy to do it and I think it went pretty well. You guys got to see a little of our Art Studio which is still a little messy after hosting Steel City Eve the weekend before the AT started.

As you all probably know by now we lost our Sunday match against CAStabouts in what turned out to be a really nasty brawl. We both landed our mainline machines at zero, in the replay you can see our Leshak's literally nose to nose at the beginning. First of all I want to say congratulations to the CAS team for a well played match. I didn't expect TD drones and I certainly didn't expect them to be so effective against our main damage dealers. So well played. Best of luck to your team the rest of the way.

This time last year we were still undefeated going into the third weekend, eventually losing to Lazerhawks and Brave. Having already gotten thru Hard Knocks, Volta, and Shadow Cartel. And while this year has turned out slightly differently, our opponents are ALL still in the tournament. Is there another team that has played three matches against opponents that are all still in it? I don't think so. (And yes, I am spinning things because that is my job as Alliance Executor and CEO of Stay Frosty. Shockingly, I am pro-ABA.)

There are a hundred small decisions that go into every single match. There is rarely one or two that you can look back on and say, "That's why we lost." There will always be those idiots that don't know any better who will offer criticism cloaked as advice. The challenge when coming off of a loss is to stay focused, don't second-guess yourself into paralysis by analysis, and stick with what got you to the dance in the first place. We suffered from that last year and as a result we barely showed up to the Brave fight. That was a mistake that we worked to correct in the off-season.

But despite all the practicing, planning, and preparation sometimes you land on the field in a situation that is obviously not in your favor. And, in the span of mere seconds, you make decisions that seem obvious at the time that slowly eat away at your chances at victory. It happens to everyone. In the light of hindsight we made a few very small decisions that escalated into our defeat. That is the slim difference between victory and defeat sometimes. And we've discussed this over and over again, we all know these things. And hopefully we will learn from them, build on them, and take those lessons with us into the remaining matches in our run.

As always I remain incredibly proud of our team and everyone in A Band Apart that continues to support us. No matter what happens next, that will never change. We continue to punch way above our weight-class and make a name for ourselves amongst the biggest Alliances in all of Eve. And that remains, and will always be, something that all of our players can take pride in knowing.

I don't know the specific stats off-hand, but I know that most AT Winners seem to come from the losers bracket. And that is now where we find ourselves. It doesn't get any easier. But this is the furnace from which we can forge our own destiny. I'm excited to see what happens next.

ATXVI: Second Weekend Predictions

Underdogs Again

I thought it'd be fun to post some pre-weekend predictions for the second weekend of the Alliance Tournament. I won't be talking about our match, or predicting it, or saying anything about it. That will be true all the way no matter who our competition might be down the road. Every match, no matter who we are facing, that team gets my total, 100% respect.  Which is really true for all of the teams in the Tournament. It takes a lot to organize a team and get into the matches, especially once the first weekend is finally behind us all.

Vydra Reloled Vs Black Legion

Did you know I actually agreed to join Black Legion once? This was years ago. I would have, but something else came up at the time and I went down another path. The exact same thing happened with Pandemic Legion and Noir as well. Funny, my Eve career could have been much different. Doesn't matter because more than likely Vydra will win this one. 86% of people on the Pink Em site have Vydra as the winner. I don't believe it is that wide of a margin, but I do give Vydra the edge. If Black Legion manages to pull the upset, it'd be YUGE.

Samurai Soul'd Out Vs We Form Volta

That Samurai comp from last weekend was impressive and hard to pull off. So kudos to them. But those types of comps won't get you far in the AT and Volta will be better prepared than Brave was. We beat Volta in last year's AT and that was a fun match. But even so I have to give the edge to Volta here, Samurai feels like this year's Spectre Fleet. 

Northern Coalition Vs Pandemic Legion

So many good matches and this is one of the best. I'll be rooting for NCdot for the upset. They were our practice partners for two years and even though our FC from last year is now flying with them, I have to root for them in this thing. But to be honest, I'm glad we aren't facing PL in the next match. Talk about a tough spot. So I'm rooting for NCdot but I think PL will be coming out of this one with the win.

Skill Urself Vs The Initiative

78% of voters on the Pick Em site are picking Skill in this one and it is the smart choice. But this is my upset pick of the day. I think Init will pull the upset here and take the win. I have my reasons for this pick and I can't share them with you. Either way it should be a great match.

Hydra Reloaded Vs Triumvirant

This is a much more likely upset than Black Legion over Vydra, but equally unlikely, if that makes sense. I'd love to see an upset here but more than likely Hydra will be coming out of this one the winner.

Tuskers Vs Exodus

Tuskers all the way. look back up at these matches and realize just how happy I am that we are in the bottom portion of the bracket this year. Thank the random Gods of Bracket Placement! The bracket is heavily weighted in the upper levels this year and I am fully aware of it, and grateful for it. But eventually all those levels merge into one. Until then, Tuskers should win this one.

Lazerhawks Vs Bright Side of Death

If we manage to get past CAS this weekend, the winner of this match will be our next opponent. Our loss last year to the Lazerhawks team still angers me to no end, I still believe we should have won that match. So it'd be great to have a chance for revenge. Having said that I think people are not giving Bright Side enough credit, they are a solid team. Even so, I think Lazerhawks will most likely pull this one out. It could be very close though.

So there ya go for whatever that is worth. I'll probably be 100% wrong.

The only match that matters is the one I'm flying in.

See you all on Sunday.

Captain ABA

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Last year's Hero Logistics pilot extraordinaire was not Jose Zampano, as some less informed people have claimed, but rather Devlin Shardo. I know Jose was just as confused by this as anyone. But after Jose made the decision to abandon us for the greener pastures of NCdot, Devlin courageously accepted the challenge to step into the FC role for our AT run this year. For anyone that has been in the AT before well knows, this is not an easy role to take on.

It is a tremendous amount of pressure, stress, and time-demanding work to have to shoulder. Varying parts of those burdens can be lessened depending on the team around you, and I think we all try to do that as much as we can. Our team this year is very experienced and knows what needs to be done. But, even so, there is no avoiding the responsibility of leadership on the battlefield. And as our FC, Devlin has made incredible progress this year. Frankly, I could not possibly be more proud of him and the work he has done. And that is not "spin" or "meta" or anything other than the truth. I know everyone on our team feels the same way.

My job every year is to support, encourage, and mentor our Fleet Commander and help them build a successful team. Which just so happens to be a big part of my real life job as well. Jose is not Devlin, and Devlin is not Jose of course. So the details about how that works tend to change every year. A lot of which has to do with each person's personality and acceptance of help. My intention here is not to compare FCs because that would be ludicrous. They are different people, the team is different, the situation and rules are different. Comparisons are for idiots. I'm sorry that Jose felt the need to leave us, but I'm also extremely pleased that Devlin is now our FC.

Last year after the first weekend I posted an image of Jose as Mad Max, so this year I wanted to do something similar for Devlin. He has worked his ass off this year and deserves the attention.


Updated ATXVI Wallpaper

ABA ATXVI wallpaper
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Can you believe we have 9 match victories in the Alliance Tournament now? That makes us 9-6 lifetime in the AT, which includes that goofy first year when we lost our first two matches. You gotta start somewhere. If you don't count that one, we are 9-4 in the last three Tournaments. Which is a much more fair way of looking at it. That first year we honestly had no clue what we were doing.

I hope I get to add some more flaming Alliance logos to this wallpaper. Five more would be just about perfect. In fact, it would be perfect. The easiest way to get through the AT is just to win every match. And while the matches only get more and more difficult as you move on, the odds get increasingly hard to ignore, you start bumping into other people's special AT ships, and the cost mounts in both material and human souls - the goal remains the same. To have fun. Which is always my own goal.

So we've won matches against Snuff, Shadow Cartel, Spectre Fleet, Volta, Hard Knocks, Slyce, Methodical, Fraternity and Centipede Calliphate. Which ain't a bad line-up, but if I'm being honest we've yet to beat what most might consider a big name. Like a Pandemic Legion, or Tuskers, or one of those legacy teams. Frankly, I'd prefer getting to the final weekend without having to face one of them. Luckily this year our seeding in the bottom of the bracket (thank you last year's 11th place finish!) has given us the softer underbelly of the tournament. And I mean no disparagement to those teams in our bracket, all good teams that could certainly knock us into the loser's bracket. But the tournament is certainly top heavy this year. I don't envy those teams.

Luck plays an important part in the AT every year. Some teams get lucky and some don't. The engagements often come down to a rock, paper, scissors moment that just can't be avoided. And sometimes you bring a Minnie Rush team to a BC Core match and get your ass handed to you. Shit happens. The best you can do is work hard to mitigate some of those problems and do your best. Let the chips fall where they may.

Which is what is so fun about the Alliance Tournament. Who knows what might happen next?

Not me. All I know for sure right now is that we have another match on Sunday that we need to win.

And that is all that really matters.

The rest is all hot air.

ATXVI: First Weekend

My Kronos ATXVI 2018
My Kronos safely back in Jita
After months and months of preparation and practice, doubts and rumors, layoffs and prizes, the first weekend of Alliance Tournament 16 is finally in the can. Not that long ago we weren't even sure that we would have another AT, or that there would be prizes, or that... well we just didn't know. But all of that is behind us now. Sure we had some trouble filling out the 64 team roster, and sure a few Alliances managed to failscade or drop-out at the last minute - but once the lasers and ammo start flying everything that led up to this weird moment in Eve history is forgotten.

And cheers to Eve-NT and +10 gaming for stepping up and filling in the void. You all did a magnificent job this weekend and put a face on the AT that we could all be proud of. Well done. I know how much work it takes to mount a production like this and I can appreciate all the small victories and challenges that have to be overcome to make it all come together. You all did a fantastic job.

Speaking of fantastic jobs, how about that A Band Apart team? We wanted to come out strong and get two victories under us this weekend (duh, like every other team!) and head into the second weekend with some momentum. First weekend can be tricky and weird if you aren't familiar with your opponent - which we were not. We didn't know Centipede Calliphate or Fraternity frankly, other then this was their first AT and they both had something going on in Null somewhere. Ok, we did know more than that. But it doesn't make the story any better. The real test of the first weekend isn't your opponent actually, it's your own team. Did you practice enough? Are your comps good, stupid, or great? You never really know the answers to these important questions until the fights start happening.

Congrats to the CAStabouts team for putting Pen Is Out into the loser's bracket yesterday. We certainly run into CAS pilots a lot on TQ, so we know each other extremely well. So we look forward to facing them on Sunday. 

It's hard to talk about details while the tournament is still going on, so you'll have to wait until it is over for all the juicy behind-the-scenes stuff.

Right now we're just a bunch of people that live in a lower-end Wormhole somewhere raiding people, but not as well as a bunch of other people do that. The confusion about who we are never ceases to amaze me. It's hard to imagine where some people get the idea that Null Sec players look down on the rest of us, y'know? In case you are wondering I'm referring to the suit wearing NCdot dude at the desk before our match yesterday. Don't be fooled however, he knows exactly who we are since NCdot was our practice partner for the past two years of the AT. Isn't Eve fun?

I promise a full and detailed recap of our matches once our run in the tournament is over. I hope you have to wait until August 20th for that.

Did I mention that the final day is on my birthday?

I know what I want.

Alliance Tournament XVI

A Band Apart: ATXVI Poster
Go Team!
Our first match is Saturday against Centipede Calliphate. You can see and follow and predict the entire bracket here. If you aren't flying in the tournament be sure to catch the action on the CCP or Eve-NT Twitch streams on Saturday and Sunday. The AT is going to be worth watching this year, the rules changes alone should result in some amazingly close matches and some historic upsets. Trust me. This AT is shaping up to be unlike anything we've seen before. Time will tell if that will be a good thing or not.

All I know today is that our team is ready. All of us are well practiced, confident, and ready to face the field. After the timer starts anything can happen. Hopefully Bob will shine on us and we will be competitive, lucky, and fortunate enough to smash our way into the final weekend. I'm not an idiot however, I also know the other teams want the same thing. After a 14th and 11th place finish in the last two Tournaments, I'm hungry for more. But literally anything is possible.

The thing experience teaches you is that the thing that will eventually be your undoing is something you don't know about right now. All you can do is try and work any potential issues into the ground and mitigate them as much as possible. Our team is different this year, but even more experienced. While we lost a few members over the past year, we also managed to pick up a few veterans (and friends) from last year's PFR team. PFR was one of our regular practice partners the last two years, and we ended up losing a match to them in the Tournament the year before last. So we already knew them well. Those guys have been a great addition to our team and have fit right in.

Other than that I ain't telling you nothing. Everything else is OPSec for now.

On the Streamfleet stream the other night Apothne called us, "Aggressively mid-tier". Which is up from "A bunch of nice blokes" or "Barely mid-tier" from previous years. Despite finishing in the top percent and earning automatic bids those two years. I shouldn't complain. I prefer to be the underdog, the over-looked. I get it. We have a lot to prove. We aren't a shiny null sec Alliance hiding under someone else's skirts. We're nobodies. Built up from nothing on our own. Beholden to no one. And damn proud of it.

And yes, that last paragraph was written for my team to read. I gotta motivate them. At least this year I won't have to throw a fish at Ithica Hawk since he was nice enough to point out that the panel shouldn't overlook us. Wouldn't it be great to see us up there on that last weekend? Sure would. But first we have a lot of matches to win.

Let's see how that goes. One match at a time.

Oh baby, it is Alliance Tournament time again! Brace yourselves.

Another Classic

This box of old Eve Children's Books just seems like it'll never end.

Gotta be a bottom to this thing.

Today's Children's Book Find

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What can I say, I'm having fun blowing off some creative steam this week. It's stressful waiting for the first match of the AT to start this Saturday. So making up Children Book versions of Eve is keeping me occupied. Plus it's fun.

More to come? Maybe.

Little Golden Eve Books

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Guess what?

I may have gotten a tad carried away.

Proof + Pudding

I really enjoy the history of Eve, not only of the in-game machinations, but also the out-of-game community history. The two are inseparable and they intertwine and mix fluidly together, you can't really separate one from the other. Eve is now over 15 years old and that is a ton of history. For a young player it can be difficult to catch up, even if they happen to be interested in doing so. This post isn't about showing you how to get caught up, on that front you are on your own. But I have noticed a trend lately towards recency bias that I find interesting.

Recency Bias is defined as "when people more prominently recall and emphasize recent events and observations more than those in the near or distant past."  A great example of this bias at work, and one which we can all probably appreciate, is the weather. Humans seem to have a hard time remembering weather and exactly how cyclical it is. The patterns repeat, but people seem surprised every time it happens. The current weather always seems worse, or more unusual than they remember. But recency bias affects all aspects of life, from sports teams, to music, art, and beyond. We tend, in general, to favor the moment and expect it to be special.

So given Eve's long history, the influx of new players, and the trend towards recency bias - it is not surprising that a number of people are confused about certain things. And in keeping with recent themes I would like to focus primarily on toxicity. Toxicity in communities is nothing new. And certainly not when it comes to Eve. This has been, to varying degrees, a conversation that has been on-going since the beginning. And this is not unique to Eve.

What a newcomer might not appreciate is that many, many people in the Eve player base have taken steps over those years to combat, mitigate, and or exclude that toxic influence. And while I won't try to include every single example, I would like to point out some obvious ones.

Tweetfleet - The existence of the popular hashtag tweetfleet is a good example. It has been around pretty much since Twitter started and has largely been an unusually effective place to mingle, express opinions and generally avoid the more toxic elements of the community. A large part of that has to do with the format itself, but it is also often self-policed. and banning those that bring hate to the group is relatively easy and individual. No system is perfect, but I personally believe strongly in Tweetfleet.

Facebook - I know FB isn't the cool place to hang, but there are bunches of FB groups dedicated to Eve. And probably because the accounts are linked to real life accounts they tend to be pretty much free of bad actors.

Broadcast4Reps - I've written extensively about this program in the past and I couldn't be more proud to be associated with it. I even appeared in the video below. As long as I am involved with Eve I will be a believer in this idea. I've personally seen it in action so many times.

Best of Us - Another great community outreach program, this one primarily for Vets who also play Eve. I'm also a proud supporter and I'm not even a Veteran. At least not of military service. Great people doing great things because they want to help.

Operation Magic School Bus, The Angel Project, Care4Kids, Red Vs Blue, Eve University, etc - I could go on and on, there are so many individuals and groups doing wonderful and positive things for the Eve community. I salute all of these players and try to help them all as much as I can over the years. Please take the time to google search and explore the fansites, blogs, forums, Slack channels, Discord servers, and on-line information portals and learn more about these programs.

But the expression of positivity isn't limited to players outside of the game. In fact, many organizations in-game have sprung up over the years as a result of this positivity. To varying degrees these groups are direct responses to the toxic nature that can often be found inside of Eve.

Groups like Brave Newbies, Signal Cartel, Sixth Empire, A Band Apart/Stay Frosty, and others (apologies for not listing everyone) were created specifically to provide different options to potential players. I can directly speak to ABA/SF which enjoys a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hate speech of any kind. And I know other groups in Eve also use similar policies.

The world has changed a lot in the fifteen years since Eve was launched. The advent of social media occurred well afterwards and has had a significant impact on Eve as well. The fact is that things do change, people change, and so do communities. It is easy to look at your own situation and over-react to the way you see things here and now. But there is more to the history, effort, and community that you might be missing out on.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. The thing that has changed the most over the years is the sheer amount of Player Gatherings around the world. Please take a moment and visit Eve Meet and find an event near your own home. Meeting other Eve players in person is the best decision I ever made and I'm having more than thirty of them over to my house this weekend.

Get out of the house and meet some players. It'll change your entire perspective.

Get involved with a charity, or a support group, or organize one of your own. Help people. Be the change you want to see. Put your efforts towards improving the game we all love. There are a lot of us out there doing it already. And we love the company.

Keep the courage.

Poster Contest: Second Entry

Make The Jump
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Funny, this is actually the first one I did. I had this idea a long time ago, or at least the very beginnings of it. I wanted something very conceptual in nature, something that distilled Eve down to its very core nature. That represented what I believe to be its emotional center. And while we could all argue about what that might be, and each of us have a valid and meaningful reason for thinking it - Eve is after all a very personal experience - this is what it comes down to for me. Strip away everything else and I'm left with this core image. Everything we do, every adventure, every gank, blob, fleet op, war, every single thing begins with this moment when we face the unknown. 

My very first day in Eve I tried to slow boat over to the system gate in Todaki. This was before I learned about right-clicking and warps. That moment when I stood before my very first gate, wondering what I'd find on the other side, trying to figure out how it worked, and what I might have to do in order to get back home. That moment has never really left me these past ten years. And that feeling is what I was trying so hard to capture in this illustration. I hope I succeeded, even a little.

Unlike the last poster, this one was done entirely in Photoshop. Although to be fair I did create the base templates for the gate and Incursus in Illustrator to start with. It is hard to avoid when it comes to these extremely mechanical devices. I took some much deserved artistic leeways with the internal glows inside the Amarr gate obviously. I wanted to play up the alien feel and the impending disintegration and re-integration about to happen.

For everything else please see the previous post regarding the other poster entry, for my thoughts on the contest itself. Once again I wish all entrants the very best of luck.

Poster Contest: First Entry

FC, Can I Bring My Drake
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If you haven't heard, CCP is holding a poster contest for Eve Vegas.  I encourage everyone who wants to enter to do so. I have entered two posters of my own, the first of which is above. I'll be releasing the other one publicly later.

Long time readers may be surprised to hear that I am entering this contest. As is typical of these CCP contests, you are essentially giving over all rights to your work forever and ever. However, seeing as that work is rife with CCP IP Trademarks - there are truly no other options available. If you want to do art based on Eve IP then these contests are it. As I have discovered over and over again, CCP has zero interest in working outside of whatever arcane, ever-changing, adaptable, fart-in-the-wind system they have at the moment. Which is fine. As I've said thousands of times before and will probably say a thousand times again - it is their IP to do with as they please.

As for me, I just want to get my work into the player's hands. Mostly that means creating awesome swag to give away at player events like Fanfest, Steel City Eve, and Eve Vegas later this year. But often it means taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Like a poster contest.

All of which doesn't mean anything. I might not win, or I might come in second or third and not get a poster printed for Vegas. Or I might win and CCP change its mind about printing them for Vegas. Goodness knows that has happened to me before. Twice.

Chance. There are a lot of very talented creatives in our community and I look forward to seeing the other entries. Best of luck to everyone that enters. And I mean that sincerely.

Once I decided on the creative for this poster I decided that the best way to present it would be to create a style that captured the look of old screen printed limited color propaganda posters. To do that I decided to work entirely in Adobe Illustrator to create the art. I actually illustrated two Drakes in two different styles before I finally landed on the final look I was after. I hope to use the other one in another project down the road. The final Drake was probably the easiest spaceship illustration I've ever done for a final project. It only includes three colors, which made it pretty easy to create.

The final poster is actually four-color, the limited color palette is only a "style" and not an actual treatment. Which I think helps to modernize the look, which is what I was hoping for.

This was not my first design for this poster, in fact I probably did about 8 different thumbnails and eventually decided to just work it out in real-time. The graphic elements are re-used from beer labels I designed years ago, altered of course. My habit of never throwing anything away comes in handy. And that helped to keep the total time spent on this poster down to about 8 hours from start to finish.

Whatever happens with the contest, win or not win, I'm happy with the end result. It is yet another example of what I believe is an endless well of largely un-tapped Eve based creative that could be used to help sell Eve Online to a much larger gaming community. And that, as always, has been my goal since day one.

Tomorrow I'll show you the other entry. Which is completely different.

Five Years: Eve Dumb Ways To Die

It is hard to believe it has been five years (or will be on July 29th) since Sindel Pellion and I released this parody video. Since then it has been seen almost 740k times on my YouTube channel alone, who knows how many other times on other channels and sources. 4k up votes and 400 down votes ain't bad either. Although one wonders who those 400 sour puss people are and if they are ok? I hope they've all gotten the help they so desperately need.

How has it aged? Not bad, although I think today's Eve players might be confused about a few of the references to Luminaire, Asakai, and Rahadalon - Brave was still a brand new idea five years ago. And obviously few people still fly with PLEX in their cargo sadly. Although you still see that every so often, it isn't the common sight it once was.

I sometimes get the itch to do the graphics over again. But I'm not putting myself through that. It was a tremendous amount of work the first time and I think I mostly succeeded in producing the half-assed style of animation I was trying for. lol.

The thing that has aged the worst is probably the original version that this is based on. Not that it is bad, just that it has faded from the general memory a bit in the years that followed. Like most popular memes and viral sensations, the lifespan of these things is hard to predict. Believe it or not that damn song and video were everywhere five years ago. There was even a phone app game.

I still enjoy watching it every so often. So that is all that really matters.

Time marches on.