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Posts Tagged ‘merchandise’

Friday Fun

This is a followup on a Big Bear Butt post over thisaway, wherein he suggested some art based on World of Warcraft PvP fickleness, and then I went and made some art.

Here are the basic pieces, Horde and Alliance…

Go Alliance!

Go Horde!

And here are some desktop images from them…

And then here are the two-sided shirts.  Mostly just because the idea of them made me smile.  Those are in my Zazzle storefront, Tish Tosh Tesh Toyz, where I have a variety of other artstuffs, so if you do go check out the shirt, please poke around and see if anything else piques your interest.  Oh, and incidentally, shirts are on sale over there for the 4th of July holiday, so it’s a good time for shirts.

(Edited to remove shirts; may as well not flirt too much with trouble.  They weren’t up for profit anyway, but Zazzle doesn’t have a “demonstration only” setting.  I still love the idea of a two sided two-faction shirt.  Maybe I’ll make a sufficiently noncopyright version one of these days. )

Happy weekend!

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It is said that history is written by the victors.

With the Reapers defeated, humanity looks to the future, even as it learns of the machinations of the Reapers in Earth’s history… nearly four thousand years ago.

Before humanity took to the stars, the mad Pharaoh Akhenaten chased his dreams of the heavens and nearly destroyed his kingdom.  The strength of Egypt was crucial to human development, but it almost fell prey to dark guidance.

Finally, a forbidden chapter of history sees the light of day.  Once erased from the annals of time, the story of Egypt’s hidden crisis can be told.  The story of one known only as The Shepherd.

.

Brass Effect Cover Art

…OK, this was mostly an excuse to put a story to that scarabkhopesh Mass Relay variant that I wound up doodling as I perused the Mass Effect wiki.  Here’s the closeup simplified version.

Brass Relay

I still haven’t played the games, and likely never will, but there’s something compelling about the concepts and the art.  I picked up this The Art of Mass Effect book a while back when a local game shop went out of business, and it’s been percolating in my mind since.  (…and holy schamoley, it’s selling for how much?  Man, I got a deal on it.)  It’s a solid book, though I’ll admit that I want the Art of Guild Wars a wee bit more.  Still, fan of Star Trek and Star Wars as I am, the Mass Effect universe and its pseudomagic technobabble are interesting, so it’s fun to at least peruse the wiki a bit.

OK, OK, I’m also driven to learn more about the lore because of the whole “Mass Effect 3’s ending is so stoooopid” kerfluffle going around.  I fancy myself a writer and game designer, and I figure it behooves me to understand what’s going on when there’s a storm in the gaming world like that.

Anyway, I admit I’m walking a fine line between spoof and serious here.  I do think there’s potential to do some “backstory” prequels to the main Mass Effect trilogy.  Akhenaten is a curious historical figure, and Egypt was at one point the foremost society on Earth, with a strong interest in astronomy.  OK, “Shepherd” is obvious, but hey, it fits.  Also, the idea of taking the shepherd’s crook and the khopesh and giving them some more meaning (they are key to some Egyptian imagery of the Pharaohs) appeals to the art history geek in me.  There’s also the potential to do a little Stargate riff with some high tech Egyptian craziness.  Maybe even include something like the Antikythera mechanism, conveniently all about astronomical positions.

And then there are the story twists that I like… spoilers down yonder if you want them.  Maybe I’m just a sci-fi fiction fanboy, and maybe I’m too close to my own idea here, but this sort of sounds… good.

OK, spoilers.

There’s a lot of story potential here, I think.  Secret Egyptian stuff has long been interesting to a lot of people, and Akhenaten was King Tut’s father, but a bit of an oddball with plenty of grey space to explore.  Specifically, I’m imagining that fancy scarab to be partially brass, an heirloom of the Pharaohs.  Naturally, it’s also something more, in this case, a bit of Reaper tech with that nasty tricksy Indoctrination ability.  It’s been feeding the Egyptian kings ideas to mold the future of humanity.  That’s twist one, though it’s a mild one that really just sets the scene and gives us a reason to care about ancient Egypt in the Mass Effect universe.

Twist two, Akhenaten has a congenital brain defect that means the Indoctrination tech works differently on him.  Specifically, he sees more than the tech wants him to see, and he doesn’t fall prey to the Reaper will.  He actually understands the impulses as dangerous, and tries to use that knowledge and steer Egypt and humanity away from the Reaper influence.  He’s seen as mad… but only because he’s the only sane one in the room who sees the bigger picture, and he’s woefully underequipped to express some of the alien concepts, even if anyone would believe him in the first place.

Twist three, The Shepherd also has a Reaper artifact, though it’s a nondescript heirloom in his/her family line of shepherds.  They are no heroes, but they have a knack at being in the right place at the right time, albeit usually in small ways unremarkable to the historians.  This is why the story is largely ignored; it wasn’t recorded by humans, but the Reapers were very aware of it, and it’s only now, picking through the aftermath of their defeat, that humans finally get the story.  The Shepherd is also Indoctrinated, but this one sticks.  The player is sold on the idea of stopping the Mad King Akhenaten to Save the World, but stopping him just puts humanity through a course correction, so it’s back on the path to the events in the original Mass Effect trilogy.  Those Reapers play a long game with plenty of contingencies and gears within gears.

Naturally, this all comes out late as a revelation to underscore the “free will is important… as long as it serves the Reaper cause” theme that seems to be weaving through some of the existing lore.  Congratulations, hero, you just stopped the only man who could have taken humanity into a new technological future that could have made the Reapers fear humanity instead of the other way around.

Don’t worry, we’ll fix it in the DLC and reframe you as the real hero in a triple cross, where you actually wind up fusing The Shepherd’s consciousness into a small probe that gets sent to the Citadel to merge with the resident AI.  Or something.

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Edited to add:

Bah.  Turns out that a couple of the dice models need a bit more tweaking to work with the 3D printing process.  The walls were too thin.  That means prices changed a bit as I thickened up the walls.  Sorry! 

I’ve done a little more digging in the Shapeways system, and found that I overlooked an element of the cost of models.  There’s a handling fee per model, which means that if you wanted a set of the dice I made, buying them one by one incurs a whole set of handling costs.  Bleh.  So, by condensing the set to a single “model”, I was able to reduce the cost of getting a whole set by more than half.  They can still be costly in metals (3D printing always is), but now you can get a set of six for just over $10 in the cheapest (pretty durable) White, Strong Flexible plastic material.  The set of seven (with the special extra D10 “decader” die) or the full set of 10 (with the D24, D30 and alternate D4) are just a few dollars more.  That’s not much more than you’d pay for a set of gaming dice from Chessex, really.  OK, OK, mine are hollow to save on costs, and you’d need to ink them or paint them to really make them exciting if you’re going with the boring old plastic like me, but what hobbyist gamer doesn’t have some paints around?  (Yes, I’d love to get them in the bronzed steel, but I’m still stingy.)

Six set

Six Set

Seven set

Seven Set

Ten set

Ten Set

Me, I’m going to get the full set of ten in black plastic and drybrush them with some nice bronze paint.  That should about get the effect I’m looking for.  Sorry I didn’t think of this earlier!  A set of these should be a lot more affordable now.  Less than a month’s sub to most MMOs, as it happens…

…and yes, this means I’ll offer individual Zomblobs! eventually, but probably package them together in sets as well for cost reasons.  I’m very curious to see if I can be competitive with a starter set of something like WarHammer or WarMachine.  Then if I can get my ruleset in order and offer it as a free PDF (or a printed manual someday), well… I’d love to have myself a little cottage industry build around this sort of thing.

Edited to add:

I also just added a couple of D6 sets, perfect for several games including some tabletop miniature games.

Batch of 3 D6 dice

3D6

Batch of 6 D6 dice

6D6

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The grand experiment continues.

I now have a full set of what I’m calling Gearpunk dice in my Shapeways storefront, Tish Tosh Tesh Toys.  There are some visual inconsistencies between the models, mostly in the nongear corners, because of the polyhedral shapes underlying the dice, but overall, I’m happy with how things turned out.  Maybe someday I’ll do a 2.0 version of them, but for now, I’m releasing these into the wild.  I’ll see about getting a set of them on my own and getting some real photographs of them as soon as I can.  In the meantime, this is what the Shapeways renders look like.

Gearpunk Dice

It’s been fun making these, and if nothing else, it’s good 3DS Max practice.  Ditto for the rings, inspired by Big Bear Butt a little while ago thisaway.

Slim Signet

Big Signet

Oh, and yes, I’ll still be working on Zomblob! miniatures, I will just be using Blender, so there’s a learning curve I need to master first.  I don’t like Blender, but it’s free, so I can’t argue with that.  I’m looking at this as a small indie startup art/game shop, and I just don’t have thousands of dollars to pour into software.

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