Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New WIP - Vendian Sky-class Yacht (200 dtons, J-2, M-2).  Still needs a bit of work, stats finished, still needs deckplans and touch-up on the texture.  The ring of circular panels are covers for the ships escape pods.

This started off as a ship I had built up stats for quite a while ago, started laying it out in Max, and couldn't get it to gel into something I liked.  Yesterday, I had a bit of inspiration, and started tinkering.  This is the result after a few hours.  It was really nice to find a groove and be able to run with it.

Fleet Book 2 is in the pipe for finishing.  Hopefully in the next week or two, if things go well.  That will have all of the larger ships in it.

I'm also putting together an introduction video with some ideas to possibly set up a profile on Patreon.  If you're not familiar with Patreon, it's a new take on the concept of crowd-funding pioneered by Kickstarter.  There are two primary differences.  Patreon users can establish an ongoing income, rather than the feast-or-famine model of Kickstarter, and subscribers get access to ongoing content, rather than the start-to-finish style of a Kickstarter.  Patreon can also be set up with varying reward levels, much like a kickstarter, allowing you to choose your budget and level of rewards.  There are a couple of different ways that it can be set up - either a flat monthly subscription, or price per piece rate.

So, just as an example of the subscription model, let's say I produce one ship every month at a minimum, with all the bells and whistles - stats, deckplans, black and white line-art, full color renders, and interior renders.  For the sake of argument, let's say we have several subscription levels (these numbers are all totally arbitrary, and pulled out of thin air for the sake of the example).
  1. Bare Bones (2.00 per month) - At this level, you get access to the basic stats for the ship and the basic deckplan.
  2. Basic (5.00 per month) - At this level, you get the basic stats, basic deckplan, and black and white line art renders of the ship.
  3. Intermediate (10.00 per month) - At this level, you get basic stats, deckplans, the line art renders, and full color renders.
  4. Advanced (15.00 per month) - At this level, you get the stats, deckplans, line art, color renders, and black and white renders of the interior.
  5. Expert (25.00 per month) - At this level, you get stats, deckplans, line art, multiple color renders, multiple color interior renders, etc.
  6. Professional (50.00 per month) - At this level, you get everything from the Expert level, plus a copy of the 3d model in the format of your choice with a license for free personal usage in your own renders.
The beauty of doing it this way is that you, the end user, can choose what you want out in the way of final product.  For me, as a creator, I start off knowing what my supporters are looking for and supports me to do things I might not normally do - most of my ships don't have any interior work at this point, simply because of time constraints.  If everyone is pledged at the Basic level, I don't need to worry about color renders or interiors, which are both fairly time consuming.

The other way it can be done is per piece of content released.  Let's say I'm putting out how-to videos and tutorials.  Supports can pledge a given amount per release (and Patreon let's you put a cap on how much you're willing to spend each month).  Let's say over the course of the month, I put out 4 videos, a couple of tutorial PDFs, and as a freebie to my supporters, the finished deck plan that was covered in videos and PDF.  You're pledged at $1.00 per release (again, numbers out of thin air).  The videos and tutorials would be $1.00 each, and the finished deckplan would be at no cost to you - total for the month =$6.00.

The advantage to the second method is that it encourages me to be productive and keep new content flowing.

The current idea includes a ship of the month (with varying levels of output as above - stats, line art, deckplans, full color renderings, and possibly releasing the 3d model for personal use as well).  Another concept I'm playing with includes how-to videos on how I design ships and deckplans, basically tips and tricks for 3d beginners.

If you haven't come across DM Scotty and his 2.5 system for building terrain for fantasy games, I'll point you to The DM's Craft on Youtube, his Facebook page, and The DM's Craft Forums.  Many of his techniques are easily adaptable to a Traveller/sci-fi theme.  I've also been following the Starship Modeler on Facebook as well as the Starship Modeler Forums.   I've been thinking of trying to combine the two concepts into what I do with Traveller starships - pieces that are both functional for play as well as display quality without breaking the bank.  This would explore the how-to process with a wide range of techniques, from simple cardboard to resin/fiberglass to 3d printing.

Here's an example of DM Scottys 2.5D method, a model of my 20 ton launch I'm sure you've probably seen.  This is scaled for 28 mm minis, and was made with stuff laying around my house (card board, foam board, black spray paint, and an empty pill bottle.  As much detail as you want can be added to this, and I'd like to explore techniques for resin casting things like acceleration couches, lockers, etc. for use in play (or as a static display/diorama).  At some point, I'd like to have it built up into a true 3d representation of the launch with a removable top hull, some type of lighting, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Similar projects have been undertaken before (this Sulieman-class scout was a good start as is this variant scout); I'd like to find a blend of the two- something sutiable for display as a model, but come game time, something you can drop in the middle of the table, open the top, and dive right in.  I'm no expert, by any means, but I'd be more than happy to take all of you along as I work through the techniques, tools, and methods to do something like that on your own.

Anyway, thanks for listening to be babble.   As I said, I hope to have a video put together by Sunday that will go into more detail about everything.  Thanks again for your support and taking the time to check out my work.

Donavan L.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Greetings to you all!

After a rather rough stretch, I thought I'd offer a brief explanation of my disappearance roughly ten months ago.  In early August, I started with all of the preliminary work of finding a new job.  My previous employer was busily shipping all of the jobs in my department to the Philippines, including sending several of my co-workers over to train our replacements.  The writing was on the wall.  I could have stayed and gotten a transfer to another department (as many in my department did), but I was generally sick of the management and pay.  I lucked out and found a similar job with another company, netting myself a bit of an increase in pay and better benefits all around.  I was slated to begin training there Oct 7th of last year.

On the night of Oct 4th, I had a stroke late in the evening, one that left me unable to communicate.  I was alert, knew what was going on, walked to the car, otherwise perfectly normal.  My wife, bless her heart, figured it out in about 30 seconds, and had me to the hospital in less than a half hour.   I was getting prepped for cath lab and couldn't keep from coughing (just one of those weird things), making catheterization a risky prospect at best.  The specialist on staff gave me the option for an injection of a clot busting medication, but the concern was it could break off a piece and, well, kill me.  I assented, and my wife approved, so it was done.

Within just a short while, I was able to start communicating again, first by pointing to pictures, then slowly regaining my speech.  By the next morning, I was about 90% recovered, and by the end of the weekend just about 100%.  My new employer worked with me through the whole ordeal; I missed the first week of training, spent the second week working 1 on 1 with a team coach, and had rejoined my training class by the third week.  We finished training in November, had the holiday season to ease into the job, and Jan 1, we started mandatory overtime that lasted until mid-May.

I spent a significant portion of the year eyeball deep in work, as well as cleaning up some of the other issues in my life.  DSL Ironworks got sidelined in the process.  I've continued working on the Fleet book as I'm able (and have two more nearing completion, knock on wood).

But, things are settling down (at least time-wise) and I've managed to get some drive back to work with the Ironworks stuff.  Anyway, if you've asked yourself "I wonder what happened to him?", that's the short version.  I've got more stuff planned as well, so I hope you'll stay tuned!

Donavan Lambertus
DSL Ironworks

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fleet Book 1: Small Craft for the Bastards of Foreven released!  This includes 6 small craft detailed with stats, deckplans, background information, and renders done in black and white line art (in an homage to the Traveller products of yore).  You can get it at the link below.

Fleet Book 1: Small Craft