Monday, January 31, 2005

End in Sight (for the Prologue anyway)

With only two more pages to go on the Prologue (for a total of 7), I should be done by the end of this week and be able to publish it to the website no later than the end of the weekend. I completed page 5 last night after spending Friday evening and Saturday afternoon working on the pirate command ship. I also finalized what Durant Blixx will look like, who will be featured in the last two pages.

An update on visitors to my site: apparently all those who wanted to see my site have already come there because the number of hits has dropped off dramatically over the last few days. Of course, until I update the comic with new material, there’s really no reason to visit I suppose. Frankly, I wonder if people read my Blog and keep up to date on how the comic is coming along. Blogs, I suppose, are pretty boring in general. :-0 I would not be surprised if few people even read this stuff. Still, it does give me something to read to track my own progress – slow though it is.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Grinding out the pages . . .

I completed page 3 and 4 last night. Using Photoshop, I figured out how to simulate the beam impacts on Steppenwolf. I was very pleased with myself. My wife was largely unimpressed. ;-)

I’m now estimating that the Prologue will be around 7 pages long. I decided that I need to have a larger ship for Durant Blixx (his command ship, so to speak). Since he will be transmatting over to the Steppenwolf, he needs to be on a ship large enough to house a transmat. The other ships are figher-sized, which is too small. At any rate, this means buying another model and configuring it. Not a big deal, except it means spending more money. Frankly, I could spend money all day on the Daz site. I love that place!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Arduous Evening

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . actually last night is a perfect example of why working on the comic takes so long. It started off fine: I finished page two (added the dialogue and built the webpage), and the first three panels for page 3 also went well (a series of shots of a pirate ship swooping in before firing). Even creating the “blaster” effect of the pirate’s weapon went okay in Photoshop. However, starting with that special effect, I began having problems getting the “look” I wanted. I had planned to have the fourth panel show the Steppenwolf being hit by blaster fire and the shields showing the impact. Unfortunately, I spent a big chunk of the evening trying to get the shield effect and failed miserably. I ended up going to bed weary eyed and brain numb. Of course, someone with greater Photoshop skill would probably have done it, but I am only self-taught. I ended up abandoning that idea and now I’m going to do the shot differently (two panels showing the First Mate and the Captain, respectfully). On the other hand, it did give me an idea for page 4. I’m going to try and make a render from inside the cockpit of the attacking pirate ship, looking out the canopy at the Steppenwolf as it gets hit. I have some ideas about how I’m actually going to pull it off, but I will need to test that out tonight if possible. So, tonight I should get done with page 3 and at least start on page 4.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Visitors A-plenty!

The site is getting really high visitor traffic, at least compared to when it was a game dev site. It’s on the order of 10x the number of hits per day, so I’m very happy with that. While I was checking the stats, I noticed that a lot of hits were originating from an Austrian site, Digging a little deeper, I found the actual page where IC was being referenced. It’s in German, but basically they state that my site shows promise, even with only one chapter published. Reading this really made me feel good, and I plan to send them a thank you. It’s very nice to get positive feedback.

On the other hand, I went to a comics portal where my site is listed and where readers can vote for their favorite ones. My site only got one vote and it was negative! D’oh! So, I gave my site a positive vote, so now at least its 50/50 positive vs. negative. ;-)

Speaking of comments, I was talking to my friend Robert who used to be involved in the game project. He noticed that my characters don’t seem to have shadows. This is largely due to my lack of full understanding of Poser. Since I am self-taught, there are several things that I don’t know how to do. Although nobody has mentioned it, you will also notice that my characters don’t have eyelashes either. (Sigh.) Perhaps I’ll learn how to do that some day . . .

Monday, January 24, 2005

Prologue Progress

Over the weekend I was able to complete page one of the prologue and much of page 2. As is often the case so far, there is quite a bit of setup that has to be done before I can really get going on renders. I need to locate the resources (models, environments, etc) that I want to use, and in some cases, I need to learn how to do certain things like special effects. This was the case with the prologue as well. I’ve downloaded at least three models and additional add-ons (textures, skins, etc). I completed the layout of the Steppenwolf (cargo vessel) bridge, and the captain and first mate. I also setup the pirates who will be inside the attacking ships. I still need to do the main pirate, Durant Blixx. Since he will be featured prominently in a later chapter, I need to make sure I’m happy with how he looks.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Prologue Beginnings

I started work on the Prologue last night. Now that I have DSL working, I was also able to download some Poser stuff for the new section. Since the prologue largely takes place in space – combat between pirates and a cargo freighter – I need to download several ships. With the new broadband connection, however, downloading assets is a snap!

The Prologue will open with a large space scene with the freighter, Steppenwolf, in the foreground. At the bottom of the shot, I will overlay a panel with the interior (the bridge) of the ship and the two crewmembers. I haven’t blocked out (planned) the rest of the shots, but I did write the script so I should have a good idea what I want to show. As I mentioned before, however, I want to have quite a lot of action if possible. Since doing a space battle is new to me, there will be a learning curve (ie: creating laser beams etc). Some of it will be done in Poser, while the rest will be postwork in PhotoShop. Although I anticipate getting frustrated at times, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Launch (Finally!)

Today marks the first full day of the Imperium Chronicles website! After working on it, including chapter one of Alexander the Prince, for the last two months, I’m glad it’s finally “done.” Of course, it’s not really done since I now have to get to work on the rest of the story. :-)

Over the weekend, I put the finishing touches on the site, including the navigation bar. It actually went a lot more smoothly than I had thought (certainly a lot more than getting our DSL working!). I’m happy with the site so far, but I know there is more to do, including tweaks here and there.

I’ve also registered the site with so I hope that will increase traffic. I also added Google’s AdSense, which I also hope will add a little income as well (although I’m not expecting much). Actually, even if I only make a penny in revenue, it will still be 100% more than I made for the two years the site was dedicated to the Imperium Online MMORPG. ;-)

So, moving forward, I hope people like the site and the stories I indeed in include. I welcome any feedback from my readers.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I made progress in the Databank section, porting over the Imperium section (history, timeline, religion, society) from the old site – so the formatting matches, etc. Using a plugin for Photoshop, I also created images for the three planets that will appear in the story: Aldorus, Revenna, and Prill. I’m not completely happy with how the Prill one came out, however.

Today sometime, I hope to work on the page navigation for Chapter 1.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Browser Issues

I discovered a problem with the navbar using Netscape and Firefox. Basically, the bar shifts up on the screen using those browsers. The bar still works, but it doesn’t look as good. The navbar looks fine in IE and the AOL browsers, so push comes to shove, I could simply state that those are the preferred browsers for the site, which is similar to other sites. I also decided on a preferred screen resolution: 1024x768. The lower resolution 800x600 makes the site look too big, making the user have to scroll sideways. Uck!

I also found a website portal ( where I will try to get my comic based. This would hopefully increase traffic and word of mouth for the site.

To do list:

1) Make intro page.

2) Finish Chapter 1 renders.

3) Make webpages for each page of chapter 1.

4) Launch site.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Nav Bar

I’m getting excited about how the website is coming along. Last night I spent much of the time configuring the navbar. It uses javascript and drops down with menu options. I got it free from a developer website, but I had to tweak it quite a bit to fit with the rest of my site. I also have to decide exactly what I intend to include, even if some of that isn’t finalized yet.

Using the nav bar and the main banner, I made a quick and dirty mockup of a typical page. I even showed it to the wife. She seemed pleased. :-)

What I didn’t consider was the very first page the visitor to the site will see (the so-called index page). It needs to introduce what the site is about and what the stories featured there are about, more or less. I may include a composite from the comic, showing some of the characters. However, since I only have chapter one done, I’m not sure such a composite would be representative of the story as a whole. I may also have updates etc on the first page, but I don’t want to duplicate what I’m doing here in the blog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Almost done with Ch 1

I only have the last page to finish and I’ll be done with chapter one. The whole chapter will be twelve pages long. I’ve also started work on the website as well. I’ve designed the new logo (Imperium Chronicles) and the main banner for the site. I would like there to be dropdown menus from a nav bar below the banner from which people can access the stories, databank, credits, etc.

As for the banner, I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I created the logo in photoshop and then a star field in bryce. I then added a lens flare effect and put it all together. The original was too large, so I had to cut it down a bit, but I’m satisfied, at least for now!