ABA ATXV Poster

A Band Apart ATXV Poster
Click to embiggen


I didn't create much in the way of propaganda for our Alliance Tournament run this year, so I thought I should do at least one piece. I did this for me and I like it. I thought the Cars 3 teaser poster (I haven't seen the movie) was a powerful image and it came to mind today when thinking about the Daredevil. DD's are only 2 points this year, so I expect we will be seeing a lot of them in the AT.

First match is Saturday!!

Go ABA!!




ATXV Our Third Trip



The 15th Alliance Tournament starts this Saturday. This will be A Band Apart's third trip to the tournament. Our first year of eligibility was a rush that was quickly assembled while we were still putting the Alliance together and experiencing growing pains - but no excuses - we got our asses handed to us and lost both matches. Last year we did much better and made it into the Top 16 before our practice partners knocked us out of the running. Which was a good run for us and it meant we didn't have to worry about getting in this year.

Honestly I'm much more comfortable with being underdogs, and although we did finish in the final 16 last year, I still feel like we are underdogs again this year. As Apothne and Jin'Taan are more than willing to point out to me, one year doesn't count in the Alliance Tournament. So, no pressure or anything.

I prefer it that way. And I believe it is the way that all our pilots in ABA are approaching it again this year. We really are underdogs and not just because we only did well in one AT. We also have a lot of pilots in our team this year that didn't fly last year. We're also a relatively small Alliance in a field of much, much bigger fish. We don't live in zero space or have big cousins, or any moon goo to throw around, or whatever it is these days that null sec people do. We are a scrappy bunch of low sec pirates, wormhole denizens, mission runners and industry experts who take sov by accident and refuse to participate in the worst that Eve has to offer. Which is our entire reason for being. We refuse to participate in your version of Eve.

So that makes us underdogs. Not just in the AT but in Eve. A position we thrive in and expect. So nothing different.

I can't begin to tell you how we will do this year. I have no idea. I'm a Pirate Lord not a mystic. I can tell you that I am proud of our pilots, our team is well practiced and prepared, our FC is German, and our ships are well and purposefully fitted. I can tell you that I am thankful and appreciative of our practice partners again this year, all of them. Thanks for grinding with us and best of luck to you all in the AT. I can tell you that no matter what happens this weekend or in the following weekends, that I am proud of our team and all of our pilots. Good people and great Eve players every one.

I can also tell you that I am sooooo glad that I finally finished training ALL of the link skills!

So that is something to celebrate.




The Long Road


(PLEASE NOTE: The following post contains references to real events in the author's actual life. I know that for some of you this can be traumatic and often indecipherable, so I want to give you time to return to your previous programming. I'm also planning on being brutally honest and I know how you can get when I do this.)

I had to start this over. I just learned that another good friend on mine has terminal cancer. That's two that are fighting for their lives as I write this. This kind of news hits you hard and makes you think. About your own life, about the transient nature of life in general and our own moment in the sun. Certainly any news like this gives us all pause. I know it does me. I've known this gentleman since 1987, we worked together at my first professional job. In side by side cubicles. Both of these friends played significant roles in my life and in my career. One of them I had a chance to re-connect with over the past few years, the other one... well, we shall see.

That reconnection is necessary because of what I started writing this post about in the first place. But now the energy is gone, like a vapor in the wind. So I'm going to pocket the rant about time and re-birth and instead just get down to the point of it all. I'll spare you the long philosophical build-up. I'm sure you are grateful for the respite.

The point being that almost everything in my life burned down five years ago. I didn't know it at the time, (how could I?) but those five years would be enlightening, revelatory, and life-changing. A lot has happened in those five years and I'm not the person I was back then. My life is both infinitely better and also significantly different now. If you think about your own life five years ago, I'm sure you feel much the same way.

So let's move this post to be more about Eve, our community and my professional life. I want to first thank you all once again for your tireless support of me over the years. My readers, my fans, and all of you that I have crossed paths with at one point or another. I can assure you this is not a post about quitting, or stopping, or anything like that. In fact, despite the dark opening paragraphs this is a celebratory post. On August 1st I will be starting a brand new chapter in my life. Just as I was beginning to consider looking for a new job, a couple of gentlemen appeared and offered me one.

A good one. We still have a long road ahead of us before I can say, "we've made it", but this is a huge step in the right direction for us. This community of ours, or whatever you want to call it, has been an important part of our lives these past five years. A lifeline. A place to play, to cast aside the worries of the day, to try new things, to explore, to have fun, to share, to talk, and to make connections that truly mean something. I know my wife and I consider many of you reading this post as our friends. And I can only hope you feel the same way. Even if we've never met. Although at this point, we've certainly met a lot of you. And we hope to have the chance to meet more in the future.

There were two moments when you saved us. Some people out there want to make those moments out to be more than they were. We needed help and hundreds of people reached out to help. If we hadn't gotten that help our lives would be much different right now. That's as simple as it gets. And because of that help we are in the position we are today. Along with a lot more help from friends and family you don't even know about.

We will never, ever forget that. Or all of those that have supported me on Patreon, or have bought things from me on RedBubble or thru commissions. All of which has helped along the way. Thank you. I can't say it enough.

So I will be taking the Patreon down in the next few days. I want to reach out to everyone first and write each one a special thank you note. The RedBubble store will also be coming down in the next few weeks. It served its purpose, to show certain people how easy it was to do, but without access to IP it is pointless. And once I finish those items on my Project List, I will no longer be accepting further community projects for isk. I may continue to consider special projects for the community, charity, or other special needs along the way. I want to wait and see what my time looks like before I decide on closing the door on those.

Essentially I just want to get back to playing Eve again without feeling like my time would be better spent working. Which is how it has felt these past few years. And writing in these pages, and doing my podcast, and finally taking the time to work on art that is for me.

Onward and upward my friends. Thank you.


PS: I'm already having second thoughts about the RedBubble store. So that may be staying up after all. Sorry, sometimes I get carried away.


Summer Doldrums


I haven't been posting much lately and After Hours is on hiatus until after the Alliance Tournament. I haven't been logging into Eve as much as I'd like lately either. All of these things are a combination of the dreaded Summer doldrums. Kids are home from school. Weekends are precious. Activities are escalated. It is awesome outside (usually). And any free time is used up by AT practice!

Typical summer. I'm sure a lot of you reading this are experiencing something similar.

This September will mark ten years that I've been playing Eve. Straight. Continuously. I didn't quit and come back, except for a few brief moments here and there, it has been a uninterrupted ten years of playing Eve. That is the kind of revelation that can give a person some pause for reflection. There aren't many things I've done longer than ten years in my life. I was in a toxic marriage for longer than ten years. I've been a Father for longer than ten years. I ran my own business for longer than ten years. Been a creative person obviously. But not counting knowing my wife, or friends, or family, there just isn't a long list of things. But Eve is one of them now. Or will be in a few months.

Does it mean anything? I dunno. I'm still training skills. I'm still wishing I had more time to play. I still enjoy the banter in our Slack channels. I still love AT practice. I still get a kick out of undocking. And I still believe there is no better feeling than hunting down another pilot and winning a close fight.

So I guess I'll stick around and see where the next few years take us.

More later.



Vargur on a Beach

Vargur Beach Commission
Vargur on a Beach
I had a blast working on this commission. Essentially my direction was that they wanted a certain skinned Vargur and a certain skinned pilot in the image, the rest was up to me.  They also indicated that they liked the way the images in the Eve Travel Series looked. So I decided to go in that direction.

The Tempest model always makes me think of sailing ships, so the ocean theme was a great place to start. Plus I really like how the ocean plays into themes of space, exploration, adventure, and many others. You probably didn't think I put so much thought into these things, did you?  The base image of the beach is made up of four (iirc) images, most of which I took myself while in Iceland. The framework image is borrowed, but little of it survives intact. The clouds and sky are also a couple of images worked together. I wanted to combine several things that are unusual, both the Sun and the Stars, into one sky. So that wasn't easy to make work. The Stars themselves are both hand-painted and based on a Hubble image. Same with the planet.

Photographic style images are challenging. The other challenge is trying to get humans into images alongside Eve spaceships! Our ships are so large it makes it nearly impossible. But I imagine this pilot is on SHORE LEAVE! (lolz)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this preview. The original is 24"x18" at 300dpi and I can't wait to see it framed and on the wall.

Stay Frosty my friends.



SOE Poster

Sisters of Eve Poster
Click to view in Flickr


There are so many things to say right now that I don't even know where to start. So, instead, I'm just going to let this one hang here on the site without much comment. At least for now. The creation process is an exhausting one.

I hope you enjoy the new piece. The original is 27x40 Movie Poster size btw. The image on Flickr is a low res version.

Enjoy!



ATXV

A Band Apart: Roll Tide
ATXIV Propaganda
It has been a relatively quiet run-up to the Alliance Tournament this year for my Alliance. Having finished in the Top 16 last year certainly helps take some of the edge off this year. We didn't have to worry about getting in, since we had an automatic bid, and we didn't have to fight in that weird feeder round crazy. Whew.

So we've just been quietly going about our business since almost January or so, to be honest it all starts to blur together after a while. Real practices started being serious after Fanfest and we've been doing solid three-a-weeks since then. This is a tough slog for everyone. We all have real lives out here and it can be difficult keeping everyone enthusiastic, especially when it comes to Time Zone weirdness, work schedules, and the dull ache of non-internet spaceship crap we all have to deal with.

But that is all part of the game, isn't it?  My job as Alliance leader person is to put the pieces in place and then help them as best I can to succeed. We are truly lucky to have the people we have, from our FC, support FCs, theory-crafters, pilots, and all those supporters behind the scenes cheering us on or building things for us. Which is all very exciting. Mostly I just write the checks. And pay the bills. And interject what I hope is some wisdom into the mix from time to time.

How will we do this year? I have no idea and neither does anyone else. I know that we will be ready and that everyone will give it everything they have. Of that I have no doubt. The rest comes down to the luck of the draw, the comps aligned on field, and the millions of split-second decisions made under extreme pressure. 

I'd like to see us do better than last year. I think we left a lot on the field last year and those losses still sting. I've probably watched our matches from last year about twenty times in the past few weeks. That isn't healthy. But who cares? I'll probably watch them some more before July 29th.

Lots to do before then. We are almost a month away.




Steel City Eve 2


Last year we had a blast hosting our first ever Eve Meet! So we decided to do the dumb thing and have another one, this time at our house!

More information is available over on Eve Meet at this LINK!!

Everyone is invited, doesn't matter who you are in-game, or what you do, come hang out with us and spend the day talking about Eve, eating, drinking, and having a lot of fun.

So we hope to see you there.



Could Eve Survive the Cinema?

EVE: Blood of the Empires Promotional Poster
Tom Hardy is the Pirate
Over the years I've had some fun imagining Eve as a television series (like above) or as a film. I've made fake movie posters, teased Ridley Scott pictures on Twitter, and created funny one-offs from time to time. I do this because, like I suspect most of you do, I think the idea sounds amazing. Who wouldn't want to see Eve on the big screen in the theater or the big screen at home? And we know the idea has merit because we continue to hear that such an idea is "in development". I heard it myself at Fanfest again this year from Torfi himself. And he would know.

Last I heard Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions had the rights and that Icelandic Director (who most recently directed 2015's Everest) Baltasar Kormákur was involved somehow. The word from Fanfest hasn't changed much in the intervening years. "These things take time", "Rome wasn't built in a day", etc. Which is all true. Some properties can take decades and decades to be produced. I was just reading a story about Cowboy Bebop's decades long development. There are hundreds of examples like that.

So what is the problem? What is taking so long? I have zero inside information. Other than a life-long interest in film production, thousands of television commercials, three failed television pilots, one almost (so close) greenlit film script, and a brief movie review career - I know nothing. But I can make a few educated guesses. A thought experiment. Why not? 

The biggest hurdle in my mind right now is that Eve is a video game. And video game based films and television productions have a nasty history of failure. Every time one comes along you'll hear the same things being said, "This is the one!" Most recently that happened in the run-up to the release of Assassins Creed last year. And despite Michael Fassbender's obvious passion, that film didn't exactly light the world on fire. I haven't even seen it myself yet, and that should tell you everything you need to know. (I will eventually!) I have my own theories on why video game films tend to do poorly, but let's just go with the accepted reality that they have pretty much failed to live up to expectations in the past.

Ok so combine that with the other obvious issue - cost. Science fiction is expensive. Even for television. So even a modestly budgeted Eve film would land in the $120-175 million dollar range, a TV show maybe in the Game of Thrones range of 7-10 million per episode. An Eve based production could be made for less, or made for much more, the point is that it is going to cost something. Plus marketing and publicity. It is after all, an investment.

So combine an unproven genre with expensive production and you get major roadblocks. All of which brings us to another issue that I think needs to be addressed - the Pod. One of the things that the new Frigates of Eve book settles once and for all is the long-gestating argument amongst Eve nerds regarding the "space captain" idea. One I've written about extensively here in the past. For those not aware, the argument raged between different camps for years. Did your space captain walk around in the ship? Did they have a crew? Are you trapped inside your Pod all the time? Or a million other variations. The lore strongly leaned one way or the other, often contradicting itself depending on when it was written. But I think the FoE book has finally settled it. You are in your Pod the whole time.

And while that is a cool science-fiction based futuristic whatnot for us, looking at the outside of our ships 24/7 - it doesn't make for a very cinematic answer. Tom Hardy is not going to spend 45 minutes of a movie floating naked in green goo doing voice over work while his body twitches every so often. Ain't gonna happen.

And obviously that would have to be changed for any potential story.

None of which means anything really. The fact is that Eve has all the potential in the world to be the basis of tremendous stories set in an exciting and different science-fiction universe. It would be, and could be, incredible. We all know this. But will it ever be given the chance?

I hope so. My fingers have been crossed for so long they are turning black.


PS: If I had my way it'd be a 10 episode limited series on HBO or another premium network.


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay is now available.

Enjoy!



Being a Part of A Band Apart

Here's a little thing I wrote about A Band Apart... (ahem)... I'm part of A Band Apart. What part of A Band Apart are you a part of? Is that your part of A Band Apart? I'm glad I'm a part of A Band Apart. A part of it is being part of a band of many different parts, with many parts that you can be part of. So you can do your own part while being part of a greater band of many parts that can combine as one like Voltron or Captain Planet or something when all the parts work together when the need arises. So ask yourself, what part of A Band Apart would you like most to be a part of? The pirate part, the wormhole part, the ganky part, the hisec part, the indy part, even the part that fools around in null? There's sure to be a part that you can feel truly part of, and therefore you too can become a part of A Band Apart, and stay part of A Band Apart. Because we all work together even when we're apart, which is one of the best parts of being a part of A Band Apart.

— Bluey Snuttsoff, A part of A Band Apart



No Contest

Just a few of the hundreds of shirts I've designed for the greater Eve community

So today, in a classic example of bad timing, CCP announced a shirt design contest.

If one was given to conspiracy minded thinking, one might view this as more than it is. Contests are nothing new, CCP runs them all the time. In fact, I've won many of them over the years for Eve and Valkyrie. My shelves are gladly over-running with contest earnings. Next to my monitor as I write this post is an Eve Valkyrie poster hand-signed by the team from England. These are among my most prized Eve possessions.

I've even skipped contests in the past due to lack of interest at the time, or to give others a chance. I realize that sounds kinda arrogant, but I don't intend it to be. Contests are often fun especially if the subject matter or goal is interesting enough to warrant participation. But I'm not a contest professional, I am actually a creative professional. More often than not that means I do not participate in contests, for Eve or for anything else. I like to get paid for spending hours and hours doing what I get paid for. Its called making a living and I've been doing it for 32 years now.

No I don't believe that anything evil was intended by CCP announcing this contest. I am, after all, but a speck on the windshield of their Titan. An annoying speck. But a speck nonetheless. But I won't just be standing out of this particular contest, instead I am actively boycotting it. And encouraging others to do the same.

I am encouraging ALL creatives in the community to NOT enter this contest.

Here are my reasons:

• The rules are terrible for you. Win or lose, CCP owns your work. This means they can use it anytime they want now or in the future and you have no say about it. Every piece you enter becomes their property for eternity. Think about that for a second. That is borderline criminal when you think about it.

• The prizes are not very good. You don't even get a t-shirt!

It is a bad contest that is set-up to essentially troll the community for free ideas. And for that reason I will not be entering anything and I strongly suggest you do not as well.

For me, I can't enter. If I enter and don't win, CCP can claim my shirt designs suck and yet they can keep my art to do whatever they want with it. If I do manage to win one of the prizes, CCP gets the chance to look great in the eyes of the community and I get nothing. I already pre-ordered the Frigate book and I already have t-shirts with my name on them. A couple that CCP printed themselves.

It is a no-win situation. And given the context of the past few months it is (probably) unintentionally insulting. Big benefit of the doubt here. I'd rather spend my time creating new shirt designs for my own RedBubble store and the long list of commissions that need my attention.

And yes, I suspect they will get a ton of submissions and I wish anyone that does enter the very best of luck. But I really do encourage you to have more self-respect for your time, your creative energy and your work than that.

If you don't respect your work, no one else will.

Keep the courage.




Postcard Backs

At Fanfest this year I handed out, among other things, 400 sets of Art Postcards featuring art on the fronts and backs. I held out on posting the backs for awhile, but here they are in all their glory.


Fanfest Postcard Back #1

Fanfest Postcard Back #2

Fanfest Postcard Back #3

Fanfest Postcard Back #4

Enjoy!


Anger?

Have you been on Facebook or Reddit in the last few days? Sheesh, talk about anger. There are some truly hostile, angry, mean, and often personal things being said about certain people at CCP. It doesn't even matter why, or what, or any of the reasons for it. That isn't the point of my post today. Just keep that in mind as we move forward. Hundreds of people, anger, vile words, and Memes, and whatnots.

Now that we have the proper mental picture, let us reflect on your friendly neighborhood blogger over here on Eveoganda. Generally regarded by most as a decent enough fella. Given to troublemaking tendencies sure, but always with the greater good in mind. He gets mad sometimes, but its always about making Eve better. Gooder even. Putting Frills back on Vagabonds. Hats on avatars. Opening doors. And often advocating for a better Eve Store experience.

Oh and I make arts. And videos. And I have this podcast. Etc.

Back when I started this blog I was just a faceless player starting his adventures in New Eden. Over the years that has transformed a bit, mostly just due to pure hard headedness on my part. Stick around long enough and stuff is bound to happen. Along the way I made fun of CCP sometimes, they banned my store, I made Frills on Tweetfleet avatars, they did their thing and I did mine. It wasn't until they called me one day to suggest we do some work together that things changed. For awhile there I seemed like a golden boy, shit was tight. Suddenly my support tickets got answered right away. Finally, after years of rejection, the logs finally showed things. My art hung on the o7 Show walls for over two years. I was in like Flynn. And then things went the other way rather quickly.

No need to re-hash old news. So lets skip ahead a bit and reflect on the following photo. Please keep in mind the Facebook/Reddit anger thing I mentioned earlier.

Hilmar

So that's me (on the left) with Hilmar (on the right) at Nora's in Reykjavik the night before Fanfest. He walked in and after a few minutes I went up and we started talking for about fifteen minutes or so. We even had a nice laugh about the time he shot me down at the Charity dinner in 2015. I felt comfortable enough to invite him to join me on After Hours to talk about the legacy of Eve and the early days. Anniversaries are coming up and he seemed genuinely interested in doing it. Send me an email he said, and my people will work out my schedule.

You see even with all the crap that was going on at the time, I'm still just a big old goof. I figured all this stuff was behind us and we'd all just move on down the road like adults.

Uh no. What you don't know is that I did send that email and I got an immediate reply. You see Rixx has been a bad boy, he wrote bad things about CCP and the store and the Art Posters. All of which was true, but never mind that we are putting him on super secret probation. Although we are not going to call it that. So non-super secret probation. Either way the results are the same.

So no to having Hilmar on the podcast. My art came down off the walls of the o7Show in case you didn't notice. My segment "Hauling Thoughts" nowhere to be seen. (And no word from anyone on that either btw, it just didn't air.)

So yeah. Lately I've been struggling a bit with what this means going forward. What role do I have now, what should I write here in these pages? I criticized a company that makes a game I love for doing nothing for a year, keeping my mouth shut about it for a YEAR, until I finally had enough. Dealt with it. Like an adult. And then sat thru a horrible roundtable with twenty other players all of whom felt exactly like I did. And wrote a well-reasoned and logical article about it.

Remember those angry Facebook and Reddit posters from earlier? That's like a Hydrogen Bomb next to my little hand grenade.

So essentially I've come to this conclusion my friends. I'm moving on without CCP. I don't need them to play Eve and run my Corporation or Alliance. I don't need them to make more art or write or podcast or make videos or anything else really. I won't need them to make an Eve based Card Game or an Eve based Coloring Book either. Once I started thinking about it, I quickly realized I don't need them for much of anything.

I'd rather do this stuff with them, sure. But they don't need to be there. And given the childish and often immature ways in which they seem to handle things, maybe I'm better off without them.

HTFU indeed.



The Grand Naglfar Marathon Roam

Naglfar Art Print Poster
Vertical Supremecy
My good friend and fellow Stay Frostian Watson Crick runs in real life. Runs, as in running. I don't understand this, but he does it (often with his beautiful wife) and has gotten relatively good at it. Recently he ran a long distance in what he called a "Marathon". Oddly, this does not refer to the town in Greece as you might expect. But rather to a race that takes place over long distances. On foot.

Whatever the truth of that happens to be, it did give him the excuse he has been looking for to finally lose the rather large Capital Ship he has been hiding in his hangar. So last evening he organized what he called the Naglfar Marathon Roam and a bunch of us crusty Pirates and fellow ABAians decided to join him. I decided, if Watson was going to risk his Nag, I should probably escort him properly with one of my Bhaalgorns. Draped in its impressive ATXIV skin. One must dress up for these formal roams. We actually had two of those in our fleet. Quite impressive.

Everything got off on the right foot as we entered Vey and discovered a Cyno lit on one of the stations. We are not usually in the business of popping Red Frog cyno ships, but the pilot was a good sport about it as we held him down and let the Nag kill him.  Many LOLS were shared in local that day my friends.

Next our scouts started telling us about an E-UNI gang headed our way, a bunch of Osprey and Caracal types. So we waited on the other side of a gate for them to jump into us. As you can see from the Battle Report we came out pretty good in that fight. We lost two ships and we cremated their entire Logistics wing and took down a few others before they warped off and disengaged. It was a fun brawl and I wasn't even primary for once. Although my Bhaal did dip into low armor, it more than made up for it by draining all three Ospreys.

Of course you can't just warp a Nag around Low Sec and expect to live forever. Although living wasn't the goal of this roam, our only intention was to have some fun and some good fights. We heard about another gang of Cynabals roaming around and figured they'd make for another good fight. Eventually we did clash and things were going ok until the Cyno was lit.

Let's see, a Rev, 3 Archons, 2 Moros, 2 Thannies, Scimi, 5 Cynabals, and other assorted ships. We stood our ground and had a fight, but it honestly didn't take long for the Nag to explode after that. You can see the Battle Report for yourself. And yes, 13% efficiency is pretty terrible. But y'know, like most things in Eve, the numbers don't tell the full story. We had a blast together and it was a fun night that we all knew would end in a Hot Drop somewhere along the line.

And yes, my Bhaalgorn lived. Mostly just by chance. It is after all a long range ship, so I had pulled range from the gate to better hit targets with mah lazors and neuts. Once the battle was clearly lost I realized that no one had pointed me, so off to the station I warped. Which was kind of a bummer, since I had actually purchased insurance before we left home.

Stay Frosty my friends.


PS: Watson wants me to inform you that he runs Half Marathons. Something to do with training time and still having time to play Eve or something.