Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Importance of Proofreading

I completed pages 6 and 7, although I still need to have my wife proofread the latter. Speaking of which, I finally had her look over pages 1-5 over the weekend and she discovered some typos, including one on the very first page (which was included in the preview I had already published). I fixed it, but this just proves that it’s always a good idea to have someone proof your work (especially if you can’t spell worth a damn like me). ;-)

Before starting page 7, I completed the third set featured in the chapter: the Provocateur brig. This is where Lt. Burke will discover the Prince and Smitty. The last part of the chapter will reuse Princess Katherine’s room from chapter 9.

Not much else to report. I was happy with how the BFG (mentioned in a previous post) turned out. I think the series of shots worked will and I’m happy with how the resulting explosion looks. Even my wife thought it looked good, which is quite an accomplishment in itself! (Just kidding, Honey!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Work is progressing slowly. I did the Photoshop work for page 5 yesterday. I managed to put up the chapter preview on the website this weekend. I set the publish date for February 18th, but I’m concerned whether I can make it or not. I’ve been doing a lot of post-work with this chapter, including composite work (i.e. combining various images into one in Photoshop). Since I find I am unable to render (in Poser) scenes with too many characters, I’ve gone to rendering a scene and then adding characters in post. Yesterday, for example, I did a hallway scene and then added additional marines and pirate soldiers which I had rendered separately. If I had tried to render everything at once, I think my computer would’ve choked.

Monday, January 23, 2006


I completed the renders for pages 3 and 4, and largely finished building the set that will appear starting on page 5.

For the shots showing the Gorgon, I’ve been using Bryce for the renders and combining those with the normal Poser renders in Photoshop. While working on one of these, which included the Provocateur, my wife suggested that the pirate ship didn’t look very good. Of course, I created the Provocateur early on for the Prologue, so I was still a little new to the whole thing. However, I still think it looks okay. On the other hand, the model for the Gorgon clearly looks better, or at least more imposing. For much of the story, the pirate ship has had the role of attacker and dominator, but on page 3 of this chapter the Gorgon is looming over the Provocateur, thus reversing the pirate’s previous role. In other words, the old adage: “the hunter has now become the hunted.”

In chapter 4, while Master Shakkar is reminiscing about how the Imperium attacked his home planet, we see a shot of Imperial troops in action. For Lt. Burke’s boarding party, I’m using not only the same soldier models as shown in chapter 4, but also the same landing ship and BFG (the so-called Big F*cking Gun). The BFG originated in the Doom series of video games, although it’s been adopted elsewhere since then. For those familiar with it, I’m hoping the BFG will at least garner a chuckle for this story.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Print Version of Part 2 Avail.

The proof copy of Part 2 arrived yesterday (here). It’s the print version of chapters 5-9. Although the spine of the book was wrong (which I’ve now corrected), the rest looks pretty good. Like Part 1, the inside images are a little dark. This has to do with the difference between images designed for the computer versus images specifically for print. Since I really couldn’t convert the website images without really messing up the color, I decided to simply go with a final print product that’s darker than I would like. Frankly, nobody is probably going to buy it anyway except for family and perhaps friends, so I’m not worried about it. It’s also free online, so there’s really not a lot of reason to get the print version except for those who prefer having something “solid” to hold in their hands.

The new chapter is going slowly and I have no one to blame but myself. I did most of the post work on pages 1-2 last night, but I still haven’t added the dialogue (although that’s already written). I plan to do the renders of page 3 tonight.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Chapter 10 Started

I’ve completed the renders and much of the post work on page 1 of chapter 10. The chapter starts out with the hanger deck of the Gordon, as Rupert Tagus III talks with Lt. Burke. Burke is leading a heavily armed boarding party over to the Provocateur. Most of the chapter will involve the combat that takes place on the pirate ship.

Not too much else to report. I’ve been doing some preliminary work on my next story idea “Magnus Black: Born in the Grave.” I created Black’s ship called the Starling, although I need to get different textures for it. Right now it has the default green color, which doesn’t really go. Needless to say, I’m going with black instead.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Chapter 9 Online

I published chapter 9 over the weekend. I just re-read it again and I think the first half isn’t quite as strong as I had hoped for. It seems kind of rushed and the dialogue is weak. On the other hand, once the space battle begins, I’m happier with the outcome. I just love those space battles!

Yesterday I worked on the print version (chapters 5-9). It’s going fast and I should be able to order a sample copy by the end of the week. Once I get that back, and if it looks okay, I will put it online.

I also bought a PC mic for recording podcasts. I did some tests and I’m happy with how it sounds. Again, the real question now is whether I’ll have the courage to actually record something for the website. :-)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Imperium Chronicles Podcast?

After completing page 13, I decide that it would make for a better ending of the chapter than the stuff I had considered adding to additional pages. It’s kind of strange to be expecting to do another couple of pages and then suddenly realize “Hey, I can stop now!” One could argue that I was just being lazy, but in fact I really believe that how page 13 ended would be better. The extra stuff I had planned would’ve been a little anticlimactic, plus I can incorporate that into the next chapter anyway.

My wife showed me an article about podcasts this week. I had considered doing one before, but for various reasons I hadn’t done it. I didn’t have the technical knowledge, the hardware, or even confidence that I could record something that didn’t sound stupid. However, after reading the article and doing some additional research, I think the first two things aren’t a big deal. As for the confidence factor, since so many amateurs are doing it too means I can stink and nobody would really care. ;-) What I have in mind at this point is to create a podcast for each chapter containing commentary on how the chapter took shake, my train of thought, etc. Of course, I still have to make the actual podcast, and I may still chicken out, depending on how well the first one goes.

Monday, January 02, 2006

End of Act II

The chapter is complete up to page 12, and I did the renders for page 13 yesterday. It’s hard to tell, but I think I can get this chapter done in 14 pages. Even if it stretches to 15, however, I should be done by this weekend.

I’m looking forward to getting this one done, because it will be the end of ACT II essentially. In other words, there is only the final act and the story will be finished. I’ve been working on this for over a year now, so it’ll be nice to see it complete.

On the RPG, I did a large chunk of the section on starships. I was thinking about the game last night and it’s really astounding how much more work is let to do. I try not to think about it too much!