December 2008


I have just signed on to make a final post for the year 2008. I have been on holiday from work and have been enjoying the festive season.

Woolies has totally gone now. I never really went to their shops to see what was available for sale, as I was cuffed by them when they started all this. The big – misleading – posters advertising 50% off, with the words ‘up to’ in small letters, led me to a local shop where nothing was anywhere near 50%. So when they did bring prices down I wasn’t at all interested. But I did find myself near a major shop and dropped in to have a look. I ended up buying Smallville Season 7 for about £18 (about the price it costs from Amazon) even though one of the assistants didn’t seem to want to serve me.

The discs are again causing trouble on the laptop, not loading at all. I have checked and it still loads other DVDs no problem, including the recently bought The Dark Knight. It’s a little confusing how it struggles with some discs and loads others with no complaint at all. My broadband bandwidth for the month was quite low, so in the last few days I have went on a downloading spree, watched you tube videos and even watched the Christmas Dr Who special on the BBC iPlayer. I also downloaded a gigs worth of BVH files for use in Antics. Still under the 5 Gig limit for the month.

Overall it’s been a reasonable year. A bit humdrum. I know the credit crunch and everything has destroyed the Western World but my mortgage has constantly come down with all the interest rate cuts and more money in my pocket always makes me happy. I’ve had car problems, but that’s the norm. I don’t seem to be able to buy a car that can last longer than a couple of years. They all look great then, about a year or so later, die coughing and spluttering while I look on, bewildered.

There was a big shock when Antics decided to stop selling the program, effectively orphaning it for users. Users now have a forum through Tony’s blog, for which I’m grateful. A couple of users seem to be trying very hard to secure an effective character creation process for Antics. I’ve been reading a bit more than normal. Some new Sturgeon short stories I’ve never read before, via the publication of all his short stories: I’m picking them up here and there, finding delights I’d never come across before and re living stories I remember. Ditto Philip Dick. I’ve only read a couple of his mainstream novels and am starting to buy and read the rest. At the moment I am ploughing through ‘Homicide, a year on the killing streets’ by David Simon. I’m a big fan of The Wire and picked up this in a book shop recently. I didn’t realise it was such a large tome.  I haven’t been very productive creatively in 2008 and hope to amend this in 2009.

With Antics folding to go to pastures new the users (Tony) have created a new forum for us to hang out in, comment on Antics, bitch about the demise of Antics and try and create new content.

http://previz.yourbb.eu/index.php

It’s already gathered quite a few registrations.

An interesting topic has come up from InfoCentral and I made a reply to it. It’s no secret that I love Antics. It’s a great program. This is the topic and I’ve pasted my two cents worth below if you don’t want to vist:

http://previz.yourbb.eu/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38

My response:

We’ll never know what went wrong with Antics, although I believe them when they said poor sales. It’s been on the market for about four years and according to the email there were only 1,000 pro users. The Companies House returns are available online for anyone who wants to buy them and anyone can see how much was invested. Compared to game development they might not have had as much. Games can run up costs of millions (Daikatana anyone?) but how much investment is enough?

As someone who bought version 1 I can say the product has matured greatly. Version one was slow, came in a big red box and cost a lot more than later versions. Two was a massive jump in speed and usability. From then on I think it has steadily improved. It’s not perfect but it’s a damn sight better than anything else I’ve seen.

I think there was fault in the business plan for upgrades. When I bought V1 I was assured of a free upgrade to V2. In the end I got free upgrades right up to V5. I would have been more than happy to pay even a nominal sum for upgrades. But I believe that was a deliberate marketing plan to get the product out there to as many people as possible. I personally don’t think there was a big enough gap between the home edition and the pro edition. It could be that people looked at the product and said (for V3 and 4) what am I getting from the pro edition that I am not getting from the home edition? The answer to which was basically a Max plugin and access to content. For people who don’t own Max it wasn’t enough of an incentive to buy. It’s all ifs and buts now but say the difference between home and pro was the max plugin, more content, an animation creator, character generator and various other tools – would the people who use the home edition have bought the pro edition in more numbers? I think a fair few would have.

Price wise I think Antics was under priced, not overpriced. Again I think it was a wrong decision to continuously drop the price. It may have devalued the product in some people’s eyes, especially when considering purchase. 3DS MAX is one of the most popular 3D programs, how many price drops has it had? The program I use, Lightwave, is ranked about sixth or seventh in a poll run by 3D World and Lightwave has had price cuts. (Having said that the number one app is blender, which is free.)

Everyone on this forum accepts that Antics is gone as a product. What we are trying to do here is increase its’ lifespan and usability by creating more content – or trying to.

The UK interest rate has gone down to 2%. It has been in the media all afternoon. I log onto my online banking as I am a suspicisous git and, low and behold, on the very same day the interest rates have gone down the interest rate on my ISA is cut and it’s now down to 1.02%. My mortgage with the same bank has just received – this month! – the half percent rate cut made in October. I have been assured I will be getting last month’s one and a half percent cut but no doubt that will appear next month at the earliest. The one percent cut announced today I wont see until next year, if at all. The government was supposed to have announced a banking bill yesterday but that looks totally useless. As does the government and all things MP. It really is beyond belief that the country bails out the banks and yet they spit on us at every turn. We should have let them collapse. I know people say the whole economy is so tied in with them but we’re supposed to be an adaptable species aren’t we? We would adapt. We would also be a lot happier with a lot of dead bankers lying around.