Saturday, 26 February 2011

You have six years left to enjoy miniature wargaming

Here’s a little piece of fun for you all - my predictions for the future of the mini industry. Things are a-changin’...

2011 - iPhone/iPad apps

Following the success of the (ill fated) Ex Illis system and Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror app, all the major tabletop gaming companies begin to release apps for portable devices. Each app typically includes custom dice, random cards and stat generators. The micro-payments resulting from the sale of these programmes amount to significant revenue and over the next twelve months every company’s core titles are supported by apps.

Late 2011 - retro-clones

As the current trend for retro clone (or “simulacra”) fantasy roleplaying games dies down, it is picked up the the miniature wargaming community. Small indie publishers begin producing rules sets based on 70s and 80s games. These arrive as PDF downloads which are carefully crafted to mimic the low production values of the originals. Small miniature manufacturers follow suit and produce one-piece all-metal castings of adventurers and dungeon denizens. The trend lasts for about 18 months but the market is so small that, once the initial enthusiasm has passed it fades quickly. Fantasy Flight Games detects the trend and re-issues more old Games Workshop titles with retro-clone inspired artwork. These games outlive the trend in the miniatures market.

2012 - New Games Workshop movies

Following the success of Ultramarines GW commissions a series of straight-to-DVD releases which are also available as downloads. These boast higher production values than the 2010 film but retain their all-star cast of voice actors. The films increasingly attract favorable reviews from the mainstream press and subsequently offers from Hollywood for a big-budget production. The company is put in a difficult position by this courtship and has to decide if it wants to release its IP to the movie industry and reap the financial rewards, or continue to keep a hold of its ideas and pursue its present business model. The shareholders choose to follow the money and, as a result, Space Marines are seen on billboards the world over as the first American-funded title is released. The universe the movie is set in is toned-down and many in the gaming community eschew the film. The film receives a lukewarm response from cinema-goers but is commercially a modest success. The success of the merchandising sees Games Workshop position strengthened.

2013 - Touchscreen tables

Large multi-touch surface devices become available to consumers and find their way into living and gaming rooms across the world. It is not long before the game publishers develop birds-eye-view battle simulations which blend tabletop wargaming with the strategy games previously seen on desktop computers. These feature the purely plan-view of the traditional miniature games with animated units and real-time action. Those who prefer the gaming aspect of the hobby flock to this new technology. All the major publishers breath deeply and then invest heavily in producing or converting titles for the new iTable. Traditional miniatures and tabletop games continue to exist, but over the next three years the revenue they generate dwindles.

2014 - Home 3D printers

Simultaneously Epson and Canon release home desk-top 3D printers. These devices are quickly adopted by modelers who can now print CAD files for any object up to 512 cubic inches (8”x8”x8”). The first generation of devices have a physical resolution of .07 mm but this gradually shrinks. Soon model companies and miniature manufacturers are selling CAD files over the web to consumers. This has two consequences. The removal of production and distribution costs means that enthusiasts begin sculpting and selling their virtual models (known as “digital garage-kits”). Some of these sculptors become successful and make a living from crafting virtual kits. The second consequence is that a huge white market emerges as hobbyists either distribute CAD files illicitly, or 3D-scan old model kits to produce digital files which they then circulate. In the following years the hobby industry is entirely reshaped.

2017 - 3D printers go colour

The next generation of 3D printers are colour. Initially they produce objects with 16 colours, but this swiftly increases to photo-realistic colour up to 600dpi. The result is that the toy and model industry is further reshaped. McFarlane toys pioneers the print-and-play concept for their boutique lines and they are quickly followed by giants like Hasbro, Bandai and Disney. These lines are accompanied by paint-by-numbers software which allow the customer to choose the colourways they want for their toys. The miniature industry, now reduced to producing boutique sculpts for collectors and modelers, follows suite. Traditionalists insist that the “hand-painted look” is superior but many take a hybrid approach of printing their sculpts with the basic colour applied digitally and adding highlights by hand. However, the ever-increasing popularity of touchscreen-table wargames and the near-ubiquity of CAD-file piracy means that the miniature industry is effectively dead as a commercial venture.

Dwarf King's Hold - press shots now online

New Dwarf King's Hold images have been released by Mantic. Check out all DKH posts on their blog here and the Beasts of War coverage here.

Great stuff guys!

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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Dwarf King's Hold - final logo

I am proud to post the final rendered logo for Dwarf King's Hold.

Mantic wanted a logo which screamed FANTASY DUNGEON CRAWL to audiences, loud and clear. They were also keen to have something which wasn't too fussy. Hence my treatment was mainly typographic. This render was done after much of the work on the floor tiles had been completed. This proved advantageous as it meant the logo could inherit quite a few of the textures and colours which are found in the tiles, binding the whole package together nicely.

I have seen my efforts superimposed on mockups of the cover and I have to say it looks stunning. I can't wait to see it in a layout with the final illustration!

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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Dwarf King's Hold

I can now reveal that I have been working on Dwarf King's Hold - the new dungeon-bash game from Mantic. Below is a sketch for the logo.

You can see more about the title on the Mantic blog.

I am proud to say that I think the work I have done on this title is some of my best and I really look forward to showing the world the results.

Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Land Rover

I saw this while cycling around Camden and fortunately had my point-and-shoot to hand. I am reliably informed it is an ex-military SIIA, probably from about 1970. I just loved the faded duck-egg blue which contrasts with the ruddy rust.

Want. One.

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Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Eye of the Storm video

EYE OF THE STORM | Lovett from Lovett on Vimeo.

Track by Lovett
Directed by Chris Alender
Produced by Kris Eber for Soapbox Films
From the album Highway Collection

Via Toybot Studios

Friday, 18 February 2011

Anatomy of Change video

Totally Lady Gaga.

Via Twisted Lamb

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

For Crying Out Loud

Long-time readers may recall that I had a bit-part in some filming that the British comedienne Jo Brand did for the BBC (original post here). The programme, called For Crying Out Loud, was broadcast a couple of days ago and readers in the UK can view it at the BBC website here. We are about 47 minutes in. It's hilarious.

UNKLE: The Runaway (NSFW)

UNKLE's video for "The Runaway" off the album "Where Did The Night Fall" is directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.

UNKLE - The Runaway from UNKLE on Vimeo.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Zombieland portraits by Danielle Tunstall

Photographer Danielle Tunstall has produced these amazing post-apocalyptic-undead portraits. Check out his full website here for more utterly awesome images.

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Via Haute Macabre

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Michel Gagné's "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet" game trailer

Gangé (website here) did idents for Nickelodeon in 2005 and has designed the game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. Check out his idents below and his trailer for the game.


Via Boing Boing.

Friday, 4 February 2011

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Sorry for the slow posting folks - very busy here in the Tears of Envy mission control. In the meantime I leave you with some Bouguereau.

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