Saturday, August 29, 2009

A curious state of affairs….

Hello to all.

It’s been hot and cold running tanks here the past week. On the other hand, I have not heard a peep from fellow writer Geoff. He said he’d be busy, it’s true, but he also said there would be time for a go-over on the BattleMechs. Maybe that was a little optimistic, given the enormous shift he is about to make (moving himself and his sweetie to Japan). I don’t think they are going to be able to take much with them, but most of the electric appliances and electronics won’t work over there anyway….

Right. So I shot a missive off to Lee Madison and our layout man Jim Devlin, but have not heard from either in a while. That said, we’ve taken in some new work and payments have gone out (the check is in the mail!). I got a really nice rendition of the Zhukov yesterday and it is posted at the top of this blog entry. Double-click on the image to get an eye-full of the Ice Queen. Things are progressing with the Diatryma, which has grown a bit and now actually looks like a ten-ton vehicle. I am still working with David Dryburgh on the CM-33, which as of last note was looking quite good. Karl Olson’s Cobra BattleMech is finished and ready to go – my son quite likes the new look.

I took a very hard look at some of the images on hand, and as I noted before, there were a couple for which no hi-rez art existed. It’s really a shame, but they will have to be re-done to be presentable in a published format, so onto the commission stack they go. [Or not. As of Sunday 30 August, they are now in hi-rez format thanks to David White's deft hand, and they look pretty damn good. Thank you very much, Dave!] After another hard look, a few pieces popped up which turned out to be highly derivative of existing machines over at Fortunately, the original artist was none other than our very own pixel-wizard, Mike Sullivan, and he has agreed to re-do these pieces as only he can.

Other pieces were simply poor presentations – the art depicting a tank from a head-on static view is rather simple and quite boring, conveying nothing of the excellent design and good writeup.

Another was a copy of a German WWII tank, the King Tiger, with three gun barrels instead of one. On to the commission stack they go!

My son was quite taken with Eric Ou’s work on the FedCom Centurion (who wasn’t?) and the Argus, which perhaps a few of my sharp-eyed readers have seen on the BattleTech forums. So much so that I prostrated myself in front of the man (digitally, of course) and begged him to consider another commission. He has graciously agreed to do two more at reduced prices, and is now hard at work on the Anvil and the Vulcan II. I am not exaggerating when I say that I can hardly wait.

As I wrote to Eric, my only regret is that I cannot incorporate his other excellent work into the TRO. That new Wraith he did is truly impressive, but I find it impossible to create a new ‘Mech which works with the image and yet is truly an advance of the design. My best piece was equipped with Guardian ECM, an ER Large laser, two medium lasers and a targeting computer. Unfortunately, the targeting computer is the only thing which makes this combination stand out, and it is not something you would find on a Free Worlds League or Draconis Combine machine. Oh well :(

Some of you actually listen to the music I’ve posted here; others may not find it to their taste. I added some new stuff, and removed some old; we’ve got a piece by the Arctic Monkeys which never cracked the charts but which is fun to listen to just the same. I added something good by the Hollywood Undead, but let me warn you – it is rock/rap and there are naughty lyrics on ‘Bottle and a Gun’. Furthermore, while ‘Desire’ is a fine listen, you may want to be careful. This is a song from a collection meant for those annoying trucks with woofer arrays in the pickup bed. Don’t get me wrong – the sax playing is really good, but the bass, while excellent, will overdrive your woofers if you crank it up too much.

It’s really, really deep. It makes James Earl Jones sound like a soprano.

You’ll see.

Payments will go out again on this Friday; I hope to catch up by the Friday after that. Thank you to all my artists who’ve been more than patient while waiting for their dough. I promise you will get it and we will not publish until all accounts are squared. I must admit that some of the difficulty in getting payments to you guys is complicated by the fact that you have no PayPal account and I have no address to which I can mail a money order. Hopefully we can iron that out before I end up owing you my paycheck!

Thanks for stopping by.



David White Illustration said...

Hey Steven, I have an idea for a way to clean up those low resolution images. Send a couple to me and I'll see if the idea works. If it does, then I'll clean them all up for you (no charge of course!). If it doesn't work then no harm done.

Steven Satak said...


Thanks for the offer. Mike Sullivan has almost finished cleaning up the hi-rez images; the issue is not cleanliness, but lack of *resolution* with the two images I mentioned. Our standard images are about three to five megs each in size. The low-rez images are a couple hundred kilobytes tops.

Mike tried to increase the resolution by expanding the image, but the result is inadequate to the taks. So it's new stuff, based very closely on the originals - because I was *happy* with the originals, dammit!


David White Illustration said...

yes, I understood and I have a few tricks up my sleeve for increasing the resolution while retaining or even improving the fidelity. You should let me give it a shot.

Paint it Pink said...

Thanks for sending me the email Steven, I haven't had time to give it the attention it deserves, but I will. When I do I will get back to you. Thank you.