Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ashlyn D`Elyise Looking Epic

There are some seriously good painters painting miniatures out there, and here's an epic paint job on Privateer Press's mercenary warcaster Ashlyn D'Elyise; by DakkaDakka member Nakatan.
The freehand work is sublime, but it is the way that he creates texture to the model that I find most impactful.  The reflection on her sabre's hilt and blade is a nice touch.  Have a look at the inside of her purple skirting and the edges of the banner to see non-metallic-metal at its best.
Nakatan professes to have been painting for 6 years and is the sculpter and artist behind the famous Cocobo Cavalry, which is also a stunning work of art.  Important to note is his ability to create these effects with brush work alone.

You can see more of Nakatan's work in his Dakka Gallery or on coolminiornot and is available for commission work.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Statistics of Game Company Websites

Always good for a lark, I've explored some of the meaningless estimations of online website value calculators and find it funny as ever.  What you do, is enter the URL of a website, into the search bar on these sites, and it will spit out a theoretical estimation of the monetary value of the website in question.

Take this blog for example:
You can generate a report here, and laugh at our pitiful daily value.  Here's a brief summary:
Our blog is estimated to be worth....... $58 at this time.  It has the potential to make a little over $6 a year.  It estimates that we have about 120 visitors a month, but happily our statistics page says it is significantly more.

So out of curiosity, I have had some fun plugging some big company's sites into Alexa (by Amazon) and a couple of other "webvalue" sites.  To save you the trouble, I've compiled some loose information below from Worth of Web - which seemed a little more in the middle of the extreme results I found elsewhere.

Website "Worth"
coca-cola.com $37 million
walmart.com $2 billion
meeplemart.com $18,376
miniaturemarket.com $405,687 (down more than $100,000 in the past 150 days)
manticgames.com $24,000
games-workshop.com $1.6 million
spartangames.co.uk $21,000
warlordgames.com $43,000
fantasyflightgames.com $1.2 million
privateerpress.com $57,000

Apart from the nature of highly innacurate estimations put out by the "web worth" sites, there is some fun to be found in looking at Amazon's "Alexa" website.  Alexa provides actual tracking of visitors, search engine use, and demographics.  This looks a lot more official, and has charts; so it must be legit!

Looking at this blog for example, we see that Alexa thinks we have about 3 visitors a day (also very much not what the backend tells us), and most of our link-ins come from the dreadball module page on vassal, dreadball forum and the privateer press forum.  The link-ins are correct, we consistently have visitors from the Privateer Press forum and people looking for information on dreadball.  Guess we'll have to make more of that content!

So let's look at some fun information from Alexa on the big ones listed above, and for interest sake, the website of the company behind Dreadball; Mantic Games.

Manticgames.com
Demographic: Entirely Male, In/post College, Sitting at home.
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): US 24%, Netherlands 22%, UK 20%
Most Searched: Kings of War
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Kickstarter

Fantasyflightgames.com
Demographic: Almost Entirely Male, In all stages of life, Sitting at home, and a few from work.
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): US 60%, UK 5%
Most Searched: Netrunner
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Boardgamegeek

Privateerpress.com
Demographic: Entirely Male, In/post College, Sitting at home.
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): US 42%, Finland 12% , UK 10%
Most Searched: Warmachine/War Machine
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Privateerpressforums

Games-Workshop.com
Demographic: Almost average Female, Above average Male, In/post College, Sitting at home, some at work.
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): US 30%, UK 19%, Ger 9%
Most Searched: Warhammer
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Youtube

Warlordgames.com
Demographic: Male, Post College, Sitting at home, some at work.
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): UK 34%, US 25%, CAN 22%
Most Searched: Bolt Action
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Shopify

Spartangames.co.uk
Demographic: Not enough Info
Country of origin (largest portion to smallest): US! %50+, 21% France, 10% UK
Most Searched: Firestorm Armada by a long shot
Most visited prior (after google): Facebook, Youtube
One of the top 5 links is us! Woohoo

Some observations and thoughts:
It is really a big difference between companies that people perceive to be competitors in the tabletop gaming world.  There could also be some perceptions of what the most popular game is from a company.  In the end, it's just fun to see how many people are visiting sites and playing some great games.  And the joke about Fantasy Flight being in a position to buy GW might not be that far off of a possibility!

The really interesting piece for me was how much traffic is from the US, for businesses based in the UK, and how I've had this perception that tabletop gaming is much more popular in the UK than anywhere else.  Yet in the case of Spartan games, if Alexa is to be believed, the vast majority (70-80%) of the visitors to their site are not from the UK at all.

Also, Mantic and Warlord Games seem to have the most balance in their international interest.

Also of interest is that apart from google, Facebook, and other social media sites are the leading contributor to web traffic.  This is hardly a surprise to a hobby industry, but is also an area that some companies have little to no official presence.  Games Workshop for example doesn't even have sharing buttons on their site.

What do you think web traffic tells us about game companies?  Share your comments below.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Adeptus Mechanicus Kastelan Robots Preorder from GW - Skitarii, Knight

Always a fan of models that provide variety and versatility, usually I am drawn to models outside of the GW range to meet those requirements.  This on the other hand is refreshing!  Check out these gorgeous robots.

Futuristic enough to be epic, but retro enough to fit into other games as well.  These guys stand on 60mm bases, making them about 75-95mm tall based on the scale of the images.

In this case, the arms and ankles are articulating on ball joints (once you cut off the pins) and the sprues come with everything needed to make 2 robots, and one Cybernetica datasmith, along with a spread of weaponry - options include two sets of power fists, two sets of twin-linked phosphor blasters and a choice of carapace-mounted weaponry (incendine combustor or yet another phosphor blaster - two of each are supplied)
Described as being unable to make simple decisions, but following their instructions to the letter, the Kastelan Robots will rely on the Datasmith reprogramming them on the fly to prevent them from blindly walking off of a cliff.  I guess in the far future, gothic world of Warhammer, they still have computers crash every once in a while.
Check out the preorder here: http://www.games-workshop.com/en-CA/Kastelan-Robots

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Laser Etching

It's been a while since I've been able to make any content, and some of that is because of secret projects, that are on a need to know basis.  However, today I have been playing with a new toy from work, a laser etcher.  What it is and how it works, well, there's enough out there that can tell you about how the computer talks to it, and how it is basically a plotter, that follows the paths you give it.
So here's a simple description:
By changing the intensity, and duration of the laser's light, you can cut or etch a variety of materials.

Needing to learn how this thing works, has provided the perfect opportunity to play with some game aids.
These are cut out of simple fun foam from a dollar store

I've also whipped up a single custom die, though with the amount of time invested into it, it is barely worth it.  Making a single die, for a special purpose would make sense, but the amount of time needed is significant for anything that cannot be done in batches.

Something this is really good at is making stamps out of foam.  I found a package, at the dollar store, of "counting blocks" made of foam, which provides a handle for it.


When I have more information together, I will try to get a chart of settings for different substrates, as a starting point for others out there experimenting with one of these low-powered compact setups.
Cheers,
-Jlav-