Monday, 5 June 2017

Creating backgrounds...

Hello and welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG!
 
Today we want to talk to you a little bit about creating the background and how some of the characters, mechanisms or the contributing factors on what the world is like and how we got there.
 
We have talked before about the creative process. How we take an idea, spin it, flip it and turn it inside out to bring something new to an existing theory or idea, but's delve into some detail...
 
... Why Purgatory?
 
Did you know, that Purgatory is barely mentioned in the bible? It is alluded to but never really spoken about. In addition, the 'War for Heaven' is only really spoken about in one of the books, Ezekiel (chapter 26, verse 20) - where in actual fact again, it doesn't say a lot. So when you receive the background book (which is part of the rule book) , weighing in at a sturdy 30 pages itself, you gain a sense of perspective of just how much thought has gone into our world. It's almost from scratch, but tethered to something that could, or could not exist.
 
Purgatory as a meaning is "a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven." or "mental anguish or suffering."  It very much represents being stuck between two places, suffering because of previous sins.
 
When we designed the world and game some thing resonated with us, in that there were many takes on a futuristic existence, a post apocalyptic scenario or a fantasy setting. We were keen to avoid these settings because you can easily list a number that already existed.
 
Because of the limited number of angel products on the market, we went down this road and found that it enabled us to really explore the complete history of mankind, the texts within the bible itself whilst still having room to explore other worlds, races and civilisations. All of which were anchored into place by these beings that are littered through our up bringing as emissaries of a God. 
 
So what did Purgatory become?
 
It couldn't be back in the time of the Egyptians. If you look in the bible and compare timelines, the book of Ezekiel refers to a period where the Egyptians and Chinese Dynasties were in ascendance or growing quickly. To make it in that period would have given as a game that would be limited in capacity and if you think about it, short of making magicians (and creeping into a fantasy setting) the chances of humans with no armour, spears and slings didn't offer much prospect of standing up against the angels.
 
No instead, we stuck to the traditional timeline as shown in the bible and we used these civilisations as a starting point, where angels first met humans and vice versa. It anchored us to a timeline and gave us from that point onward to explore individuals and events since that time and apply our own take. The canvas was almost clean.
 
Because we wanted Purgatory to be unique, fresh but with a familiar feeling, having the angels on Earth for a long time, gave us scope to develop the angels themselves. Giving personalities to demi Gods is not easy but by mixing in a splash of the bible, conflict in the homeland and some bitter enmities we were able to start bringing these individuals to life. Creating feuds, back stories and reputations without the risk of getting it wrong.
 
Purgatory is set around 30 years from now. So technology has advanced but not so far that we have become cyborgs or that machines have taken over. We are in a period where the cataclysmic events have been building for thousands of years to this point, where in the current year, renegade angels have revealed themselves and are laying waste to our species.
 
War on Earth...
 
War is something synonymous with man. We excel at it and over the years every nation has warred at some point of another with fellow man. It can be for the simplest of slights or through the grandest of schemes however until recently, technology or the capability to build world ending devices has been limited. No matter Attila the Hun rampaged across Europe with a bunch of horses, it was never going to be the end of humanity. Though the clear and present threat of nuclear weaponry not only wipes out your adversary but also the entire eco system.
 
By setting it now, those threats can exist in our world but are not two a penny. Weaponry has advanced but guns still exist and have not been replaced by planet destroying lasers. Cars and transport is recognisable though the skies are busier as commuters have taken wing in order to get to work more swiftly.
 
Despite a number of years where the fallen angels rampaged and enslaved us by the million, the intervention of the counter point in our world, those angels still loyal, checks this in its tracks and though whole cities, towns and villages have been wiped off the map, large cities still exists and mankind has become the rodents around the feet of greater beings.
 
Not all of them do, but most of the main cities are home to one angel or another. They are the 'barracks' for gangs to dwell and scurry around whilst not attacking other angels or on some specific task. They are dens of depravity, disease, extortion and misery in most cases as the angels expend our miserable lives at the wave of a hand.
 
Humans, the new vermin...
 
Even vermin can kill the mightiest hero and designing a world where humans could exist and eek out a 'life' (if it can be called that) was fundamental. Angels vs. angels would be too much, making it no different to a superhero game where the person with the greatest powers (Hulk) would end up on top every time. No, instead we have a limited number of angels which adds some perspective. 
 
Rightly enough these beings are a cut above. They are demi Gods, but there are not immortal, nor invincible and humans can do some serious damage in the right circumstances.
 
Let's face it, we all love a good underdog story.
 
So the angels act as a centre point. A focus for your force, giving it an underlying theme or style that you can either go with or deviate as you see fit. The humans are then the vermin by their feet, running around and biting and gnawing at each other, expending each other lives as if it were a tap carelessly left to drip.
 
Mix it all up and what do you get?
 
You get a bag of cats. A very angry bag of cats. Jokes aside by setting a scene, that runs almost the entire course of recorded history, adding a pinch of the supernatural, a dash of superior beings, a glimpse of our future and well known individuals as a base you actually get something quite truly unique with limitless opportunities.
 
But that still had challenges. How, exactly, do you propose to bring a person back who is already dead? How can say Atilla, exist at the same time as Tut-ank-amun? This was a challenge and as with everything else that really can't be explained, we turned to good old fashioned magic and the unknown to find a solution.
 
Portals... Doorways to the answer....
 
How do you bring a person back from the dead, as a character? Simple, the gates of hell opened up.. vomiting forth all of those long dead... stereotypical answer here. Though in truth, we used an element of that, but we had to go deeper, because the same old nagging thought kept returning. "So if hell and heaven emptied like a nightclub in Ipswich on a Friday night, how many humans would that leave on earth?"
 
This prompted many calculations and significant levels of research into local birthing records across the UK and the world, seeking out registry offices for the most comprehensive data available..... yeah right. We didn't do that. That's a bare faced fib. But it did beg the question, if you were at a deli counter and the number you got represented your number, i.e. human number '1234....', what number would you get? How many humans have existed?
 
The best answer was quite simply. A lot. Certainly too many to have running around on earth at any one time. There's just not enough Panini stickers to go around, just think of all of those unfinished world cup sticker albums....arghhhhh!!!!
 
So we came to the decision that we needed a control mechanism to limit the number of humans on earth at any one time. This required serious thought, because unless we could counter it, it was back to square one, the whole premise might have to change....
 
.... and then, on the 7th day, the brain farted and God was pleased....
 
Portals - Gateways to the soul...
 
So what if, not all of the dead came back at once? Ok, so a new path was being explored but let's face it, it's not like the dead operate on shifts... "oi Joseph, put that atrocious technicolour nonsense down, you're up... " nope. that simply wouldn't do.
 
Ok, but what if the world had a limit. Maybe mother nature has a plan. Because let's face it, every time we cure a disease and grow older, some hairy badger like cancer comes along and restores the balance. So was it too far fetched to think that mother nature decreed that 17 billion and 3 people could only live on the earth at one time (the number was picked at random) and if it goes above, someone has to croak.... a simple 'law of balance' to an extent.
 
This thought had merit so it was explored some more. Ok, so basically a heap of people came back and then when they died, some others came back and we ended up on a huge cycle of rebirth.... oooh... this sounded almost professional.... and then buggar... "does that means you can die again and still come back? And if so, what happens when you die?"
 
Oh for the love of god, stop overthinking it! (ed: but nerds love to break theories....)
 
Before facing this fresh problem, we decided that a number of portals existed on the earth, which dumped the previously deceased back on to earth at random, with no pattern or predictable facet whatsoever. We had a start.
 
So what happens when you die?
 
It's a question mankind has sought the answer to since the first time it occurred. And we at Purgatory we have the answer! Well, we have our answer anyway.
 
So ok. Joe Bloggs died in 1823, angels rocked up, Purgatory happens and now he is back. What happens if he gets killed again? Well to state the obvious, he dies.
 
But, but, but.... when does he come back?
 
This question kept coming up over and over again. So we deliberately decided to be vague. Nobody knew. You could come back in 1 second, 1 minute, 1 week or 50 years. It was never the same. More importantly, you wouldn't always come back through the same portal in the same country, nor would you come back to our earth at all (ooooooohhh wall break!!! )....
 
This gave rise to a number of things. Firstly, it gave us some crowd control. Our version of sheeping, so successfully applied in world of warcraft. Secondly, it gave us a number of narratives.
 
Firstly it gave us the possibility of gangs waiting for 'long lost' gang members, as well as gang members accidentally turning up in a rival gangs zone.
 
Most importantly however, it gave life to humans trying to understand what the actual feck was going on. The scientists across the world combined to try and destroy the portals, then when that couldn't happen, they tried to understand them, to see if a pattern or mechanism existed to control or predict what was going on. More importantly, data was gathered on how many people came back, what era or age they came from and the frequency.
 
It also prompted people to try and walk through the portals....
 
If you throw a stone into the sea....
 
... it's never spits it back (unless of course you have met a mermaid, or ferocious trout....to which on second thought, I have met quite a few... anyway...) so actually, whilst humans don't know it yet, if you willingly walk though a portal, you don't ever come back. You don't 'die' automatically, no, though that might occur imminently, depending on where you end up, but you certainly go somewhere else..... giving birth to the other galaxies and realms within our ultraverse! more on that later....
 
So actually we are poking these portals with sticks and our curiosity, in order to overcome them, has led us to try and conquer or know them. To which we have failed. This narrative continues and is something we can pick up and drop off as an on-going arc that we can introduce new characters from and attribute to.
 
What's dead may never truly die...
 
So I borrowed that line from GoT for a brief moment, because with us it has some resonance. Ok, so we had our mechanism, plus some crowd control, added to a pinch of the unknown and to coin marvel, an expanded universe. We had options and we were pleased.
 
Then the stupid brain said again... "But what actually happens when you die...... again....?" Hmmm... you might be thinking, what does it matter. Logic states that if you die, you leave some remains. If people are culled by the million, then a million more arrives 5 minutes later and then they die, that's a lot of corpses and you certainly want to be at a crematorium, cos clearly that is where the money's at! holla! no...
 
No a new mechanism had to exist and in this we doubled knotted it into the game. When you die, you burst into nothingness. You are unmade. Completely. All that remains, at the point in which you died is your soul. a little firefly of glowing green light that sits in the spot that you perished until such time as it might them suddenly disappear.
 
Mankind doesn't understand these yet, they cannot explain why all of a sudden this ball of light is there one minute and then gone the next. What does it mean? Well, as the equivalent of a God for the purposes of this endeavour.... (yes! I can finally call myself a God and genuinely have some merit.... tick....) ... we know the answer.
 
The little green light. Your soul, will sit in place for a period of time. When you re materialise, the soul flees the place of your death and attaches itself to you when you return. This explains why there is no defined period of time and why sometimes scientists can't understand why the soul lingers or disappears immediately. Simply put, because you don't appear next to the point you died, but anywhere on this world of the next, there is no correlation.... oh my god.... it actually makes sense!
 
To go full circle, like that of life (how topical), there is a scenario in the rules, where you go around collecting the souls of the dead as objectives. It's like chainmail... so many links!
 
Did you say other worlds?
 
Yes. Though we won't go into too much of that right now. Yes other worlds exist, this will allow us to bring whole new races and creatures to the game and offer that 'expansion potential' and whilst a few races exist, they will come a little bit later because the story has only just begun on earth. So let's do some more of that first.
 
Needless to say, that if we can walk though portals to other worlds, unbeknownst of course, so can other races and civilisations walk through them to ours.
 
More importantly however, they act as a way for the angels to traverse the galaxy, because they do know what they do... because they made them! (spoiler alert)
 
What have we done?!?!
 
It's quite daunting but actually we have created the ultimate canvas, a world that is recognisable and limitless at precisely the same time. We have created an era that is easily relatable because it's set now and in 20-30 years, yet managed to bring large aspects of the unknown!
 
We have an anchor in religion, the bible and fantasy of angels, devils and creatures of legend which we can intersperse through our creation at will.
 
We have clear leaders and a story arc that takes us across thousands of years, capturing key personalities and era's but where a singular entity of strength underpins the dregs. The angels and the enmity that exists between them, as well as the familial too, focuses the game in something that is not just humans vs. humans. Though there is nothing wrong with that, the lack of celestial or higher beings restricts and limits the content.
 
Having angels not only allow you to soar into the skies and create new mechanisms, if shifts the power base so that humans are just grots and grunts. Mankind is literally the dregs of the new society and we are all of a sudden at the bottom of the food chain.
 
So much to enjoy....
 
The background book, which I have written, starts the journey. It tells you about how the Gods created life, how the angels were made and why and how they fell from grace and how heaven is on the brink of hell. It talks of the aftermath, intertwining key events from our history into the fortunes of the angels hidden amongst us, finally leading to the Age of Purgatory and the setting/background for our game and world.  
 
We hope you enjoyed this. I enjoyed writing it because it gives me the opportunity to share our passion and joy at our creation. I think it gives you a sense of depth, scope and detail that whilst we may have flirted with before, this represents a full on kiss on the lips experience, opposed to a coy glance across the room.
 
We are nearly there and we want to scoop you up on our magic carpet and take you with us, whooping and screaming with each ebb and flow as we careen into a world littered with hopelessness, fatigue and desperation. A world where demi Gods stalk the earth and where aliens are taking their first steps on a new world. We want to take you to a new age, an age that isn't borne of advancement but instead one that takes us to the brink... we want to take to you an age where we face our sternest test to yet.... we want to take you to the Age of Purgatory....
 
... and what will we call this?
 
Surely, there can be no better way of explaining the next chapter of something with the bible amongst it bedrock then by labelling it accordingly because this literally is....
 
.... a New Testament....
 
Enjoy the read folks, please, please, let us know what you think about this BLOG, we love to hear your thoughts!
 
All the very best
 
Team Purgatory
 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Painting faded denim... A Purgatory 'Tutorial'

Hi, welcome to the Purgatory BLOG. In an unexpected twist, today we will not be reporting on the progress of the project (though that will follow as normal) but instead will offer some tips and comment on how we achieved the effect on Mike's denim jeans. (Yes a, how to make sequins, will follow soon...)

Firstly it is very important to consider what you are trying to achieve in advance. Purgatory is our world and as a decent painter, but by no means the best, I have to try and push my boundaries each time to bring that wow factor as we want people to be inspired by the characters and the paint job plays a big part in that.

So to 'set the scene'. Mike is a singer of the band. It is no small coincidence that his weapon, also happens to be a Mic (see what we did there?) but he is sometimes the front man, but Barry is the true star so where does that leave Mike? Mike is that edgy guy, the one that looks scruffy but kinda trendy, really following the fashion style of the moment. That moment is the 80's.... now I was quite young at the time and avoided the fashion faux-pas' of the time but I recall enough of denim jeans with holes, leather jackets and boots with buckles and zips.... So when we designed this guy, that Lux knocked out the park as a sculpt on Lorinda's art we considered what he WAS...

So when the model ended up in hand, I knew what and who he was, so it was quite easy to visualise how I wanted him to turn out. Soul Glow glistening afro, mixed race, white shirt, worn leather (that should be fun) jacket with zips and stuff, shiny black shoes to almost carry of that awesome monochrome look and of course, the faded denim. Initially I though about faded black, but with the jacket, shirt, hair and shoes, this was too much and the blue denim would catch the eye.

It sounds a bit laborious but I have learnt that it's best to know where you are headed before you depart, it's very much a method.

The next important part, before I even pick up the 'blade' is source material. I mean, I don't wear leather coats and whilst my jeans are faded, they are certainly not 80's. Have an ipad (or other non brand specific tablet) to hand and search what you are trying to achieve, as a friend of mine would say 'Google provides'. Look at images, study them and see how they 'behave'... ok the points of light and shadow on your model will be very different but it gives you something to think about and may stop you from going the wrong way.

Ok... so now on to the denim itself.

The paints I used are:

GW Black
GW Dawnstone
GW The Fang
GW Fenrisian Grey
Vallejo Ivory
Vallejo Dark Blue

Now the process: (note, you will find MUCH better tutorials with the likes of Ben Komets and Massive Voodoo (actually pretty much everywhere else) )

Step one. I typically use grey primer as a base. I don't have an airbrush, though I keep toying with the idea, I have still not dropped my balls into that basket so to speak, so this is all brush work. I know others swear by black primer and some others do the zenith lighting thing with white and black. For me and it is down to preference, I start with a grey primer. Why? It allows me to see shadow and highlight easier, though this won't be the same for everyone. Equally it allows me to go up in brightness and down in shade to create a depth in the areas without too much work.

Step two. Using a 60/40 Black/Dawnstone I use this semi watered down colour to start adding the depth. I don't always start dark first but it gives me something to glaze over later and gives me some indicators as to where I want the shadows to be. The image below, kind of shows that, you can see some lighter areas on the nearest leg by the knee, backside and top of the back trailing ankle.


You will also see in the image on the left leg (as you look at the image) that a blue shade has been added. this part of the jeans is very much in transition and is not the finished thing. You can see that in the difference between the detail of this and a later image.

The black/dawnstone mix is used around the inside of the legs, around the bottom of the crotch and around areas that 'point' downward and would therefore be shaded from light. This step does some of the zenith light work for you. I use watered down colours and repeat the process, pushing or pulling the paint into the recessed areas, this method grans the pigment and places the concentrated pigment in the darker areas, leaving a lighter 'residue' that can be glazed over for a smooth transition.

Step three.


This image shows you where I have placed the lightest areas of the jeans. I am effectively with this step choosing where the faded areas of the jeans are going to be. If you look at your own faded, 80's hand me down jeans (or research online of course) you will notice that the areas that are most faded are:

  • Bum, backside, buttocks, derierre etc
  • Knees in particular and gradually growing darker as you go up the thigh
  • Zipper or button fly, specifically the edges where they rub
  • Pocket edges or parts of the jeans that rub against something, say keys in a pocket
  • Bottom of the legs and the seams
Now, I found it important that actually you have to separate faded areas from areas that are lighter due to natural lighting so make sure you consider this. By 'placing' the faded areas, it made it easier for me to separate them. 

The faded areas where created using an 80/20 mix of Ivory and Fenrisian Grey. I really wanted to get that ultra faded look, but this really light colour allows me to glaze over at a later stage, so that actually more colour will be returned to it. So be generous with your faded areas as you will glaze over some of these later if you use this method.

Step four: I create the lighter areas. This I do in two stages. stage one. 50/50 Fang and Fenrisian, this picks out the raised folds and the higher parts of the raised 'flat' areas without many folds, like the thighs or maybe the end of the trailing ankle. Stage two, following where any fading or wear might be, I went pure Fenrisian pushing the watered down paint to the highest area or where I wanted the colour to be. This part takes time and I often (as a slow painter) will stop and regard the bits I do, to see if they look 'right'.

Step five. Using a really watered down Fang (like water or skimmed milk) I glaze this colour in the middle area between a shade and the highlight. This takes lots of time and will require a number of passes. If you want a smooth transition, this will help you achieve it. Drag the watered down Fang towards the recesses, being mindful not to let it pool there. I suggest loading the brush and then gently 'dabbing' (not the stupid FIFA celebration kids do) the brush onto kitchen paper to take the edge off it and minimise the chance of pooling. 

The purpose of this is to make the highlights look natural, the mid tone colour, being glazed over will help you to achieve this affect where it looks like a natural transition from one colour to the next. 

Part two of step five is using the same technique with the faded areas. Starting at the point where the painted 'fade' meets the darker colour, start glazing Fang gently over the 'join line' between the colours. With each pass of paint, let it dry and then depending on how much faded area you want, sweep the brush further over the faded area to what is the central point. So for example, on the knee, the top most part of the thigh, gradually down to the point of the knee itself. I then passed over the highest part of the faded area, because the jeans, despite being faded, do still retain some of their original colour. 

Step six is detail. When you do something like this, it can't be half-hearted. So you will need to think about the following things. 

Pockets: When you look at pockets of faded jeans, your will notice the edges and the point that comes into contact with surfaces regularly, specifically the backside are really faded. However, in the corners and in the seam of the stitching, you will see that the original colour, when dyed has gathered and pooled there is greater quantity and because this is a very slight recess, they don't come into contact with surfaces. 

The seam: The seam on my model was created using 70/30 Fenrisian and water. I then choose where the seam on the inner and outer leg and the very bottom of the leg would be. This was painted on, with a steady hand (I recommend locking your wrists against the table for these parts as it helps to keep your hands steady) in a straight line or to follow the natural angle of the leg. Again, if you look at the seams on jeans (see example below) you will see that as jeans are a thick fabric, some areas rub against surfaces or wash out easier than others, so within the seam you get darker parts.


Now, I did this the hard way was I am a fool. But you can see, especially along the bottom of the leg by the boots, that you get little 'squares' of darker colour. I painted these squares on, when technically I could have painted the bottom seam a darker colour and then drawn lines. It's 6 of one and half dozen of the other but we each have our ways I suppose. 

The fly or zipper clearly has a lighter edge, along with parts of the loops for where the belt would go, but if you look, where the stitching is, you can see the more concentrated blue colour where it is much darker.

As I say earlier, jeans are thick, dense fabric and don't bend or flow easily so it is highly likely that areas that are recessed will typically stay that way no matter how they are worn.

Intermediary step: I will 'tit' around at this point. By this I mean I will go around and throw some more colour in places. For example, around the lining of the pocket, I might add 50/50 black and Fang as a 'black line' where it is deeper in shadow. Or in the example below. I might add a false faded area because my character always carries a flick knife in his back pocket. This part helps you to make character and personalise it. You can create light or shade or add glazes to really make that model 'ping'. If you are going to do this, consider the consistency of your paint, make it heavily diluted as what can look good in your mind, might not on the 'canvass'. 

Glazing is key. I cannot emphasise enough that to achieve this effect you need patience my padawan. Glazing can be frustrating and slow but the results speak for themselves. They offer a more natural finish and if you are impatient, I recommend that you do two areas, not next to each other, at the same time, flitting between the two with the same palette so that you can allow the glaze to dry in one area whilst going back to the other. 

Step seven, the unmentioned colour. This is where Dark Blue comes into play. You will notice that this colour is a vibrant blue where as the Fang is quite a pinky/purple like grey. The fact that it is grey, lends itself to the faded approach we are looking for. Though without the Dark Blue it wouldn't work because ultimately jeans are blue! Well unless they are white (which should never be worn, ever) or black, grey or any of those hipster atrocities that you might now see (plum and petrol green etc)... 

The dark blue is watered down beyond measure, it is almost translucent and you, using the dabbing process, glaze this over the meaty areas, i.e. the areas where there is more vibrancy in the jeans, so the seams, the folds and creases, the darker ends of the transition between fade and the original colour. I would also recommend a 'sweep over' all of the jeans, this has to literally be that, nothing more than the finest and thinnest of glazes so that maybe the slightest amount of pigment is left, it should be almost unnoticeable. You should however be more liberal in the seams and areas where the vibrancy should be there. 


The image (I believe, along with all the people that requested this tutorial) reflects what I am trying to achieve. You can see the dark blue is there but not all over but clearly has a presence. The transitions are smooth and importantly, they look like jeans. You can see the different between stage one and the final stage between the two legs as the furthest most is in an early stage. 

You should be able to pick out the false faded area I spoke of earlier on the pocket, where the knife is in the back pocket. 

The last step. This is using pure Ivory. This is used to pick out areas in the edges, i.e. seam edges or the bottom of the jeans, where the fabric may even have frayed or is clearly in more distress than the rest. This should be 50/50 with water and glazed in the areas you want to apply it. They should be few and far between and should, if applied right really make the model 'pop'.

And so, the tutorial and rambling ended...

I hope you enjoyed this and that you found it helpful and useful. I think in the main a number of points spring to mind:
  • Water down your paints
  • Choose when to glaze
  • Know what you want to paint
  • Use reference material
  • Push the boundaries but have fun and don't stress out
You don't have to go to the lengths I have to get the effect you want. You might want something more workmanlike, dirty or even less detailed as the model will be used for gaming. But, remember that as a showpiece, the more detail you can cram in or even create, the more memorable it becomes. 

I'm to ponder deliberate pooling of watered down paint to create life like stains on jeans but before I do, I will say thank you (if you read this) for the kind words and for taking time to read my ramblings. 

Feel free to read the other nonsense about Purgatory and what we are doing and feel free to share this amongst friends or groups if you found it useful. 

Cheers!

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Purgatory BLOG is back, but how to deal with Jesus?

Welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG!

How are you all? Good we hope, recharged, refreshed and ready for the challenges of 2017! We certainly are and today we start the year on two very challenging topics that we have faced whilst making Purgatory. But before we get on to those, lets refresh you as to what has happened recently:


  • Katz, Faith, Bobo, Le Vulture, Godmother, Shaquanda and Death's base have been completed
  • Small Daniels, Stevie, Marilyn and Ebony are in progress
  • The GOTG cards are almost complete, with 80% done
  • The rules have been attacked again, they are now reduced by a massive 30 pages since the start, simplifying the rules and reducing alot of the unnecessary text
We are really pushing on with the game but the world itself is also getting a lacquer of paint as well as we turn up the dial on the background story and some of the characters that exist in the world. Keep watching this space, that will again become more regular over the coming months. 

We experienced many challenges along the way and we can't talk about all of them but two spring to mind that we have taken the decision to talk about today. 

One of them is fluffy. Just what do you do with Jesus Christ?!?!

With a strong biblical underpinning it is very difficult to ignore the 'elephant in the room', Jesus Christ himself. You don't have to go to church or even have a religious background to know who this guy is as he is quite simply one of the most iconic, revered and well known people on the planet. With that comes the added pressure that this individual is so important to so many people. That a person, that lived over 2000 years ago can still touch the lives of our generation stimulates a profound degree of awe. Jesus may have left this life but he also left a lasting mark. 

There are many that seek to disprove his existence, more commonly people refuse to accept his standing as the true Son of God. It's an argument that has started wars, caused political outrage and led historians and scholars to pour over the Bible countless times to try and discern new thoughts, translating texts over and over to see if there is an underlying meaning to the words that so many of us have heard at some point in our lives. 

With this comes the secrecy that is a bi-product of the suspicion that Mary Magdalene survived persecution somehow and that the blood line of Christ exists in us today still. Scholars and individuals of renown such as Da Vinci and Raphael have pledged their lives and committed their finest works to illustrating the possibilities and unwritten stories, chief amongst these The Last Supper. 

Jesus Christ IS history itself and with that as designers of a world steeped in existing lore have a very challenging issue to overcome, especially as we have an 'edge' to our game that has a more adult, humorous feel to it. The biggest problem however is not getting him right, it's getting him wrong. He means so very much to so many, if only indirectly as an individual and as we say earlier, has touched the lives of so many people that there is a very real chance to cause unintended offence, which is something we really just do not want to do. 

Even by making him an Angel, the most notable characters in the game, we run the risk of criticism because Jesus was a healer, an orator, inspirational to all around him. Which means that having him perform a Meteoric Strike on poor Noah, killing him dead, may well be a step too far. No matter how well the design was intended, its a war game which in our final opinion, has no place for Jesus Christ. 

That left us one option. To write him out. Which is not easily done when the premise of your world is that anybody, no matter the timeline, can come back in the world of Purgatory. So this left as a real problem and one that has been floating around in our minds for a very long time. But now, we know we have the answer.

In the backstory, we suggest that there is such a thing called the 'Celestial Games' a place, where the very best of the best are taken, they represent the realms from which they hail, performing in front of the Gods themselves as a means to earn glory and favour for any given realm. This is all part of the Great Wager and you will be able to read a great deal more about this in the background section of the Rulebook. 

This seemed a sensible route for Jesus Christ. Recognised as a special and unique individual and taken away to 'return' to the Gods so that he simply didn't feature in the world of Purgatory and was completely exempt. That said, we have applied a small measure of 'spin' on the story which has been finished now, so look out for a little page filler that will recount just what happened to Jesus Christ!

Now, to seamlessly link Jesus Christ to the next topic is quite hard, my poor attempt is quite literally that it makes me say "Jesus Christ, really?!!??!" whenever I encounter it. That topic? What girl miniatures wear...

The best way to start this off is with some facts:

  • Erishkigal, Siren and Jess are the fastest selling models in the Purgatory range, in that order. 
  • Erishkigal has sold over 130 models
  • The women from Purgatory are predominately purchased by women, 58% in fact are by female buyers
  • Godmother and Faith were the most sought after models in the design phase
  • Erishkigal, Jess, Siren and Hannibal were the only models that featured in the survey for "there can be only one"
We can only really talk about our range, because we have the data to back it up but we have encountered along the way a not insubstantial amount of criticism regarding what our female characters wear. Its very challenging to respond across a broad spectrum as everybody, quite rightly has a view and the male/female equality thing swiftly becomes a hot topic and draws alot of attention because everybody has a position on the subject.

So why am I talking about it now?

It is easy to be defensive and stand by your creation, something you would understandably be very proud of. What is intended as solid responses and thought out counter argument can degenerate as more comments come in and people get frustrated and misunderstand. This BLOG entry perhaps instead gives us an opportunity to explain why we do what we do.

Firstly, why aren't our women overdressed, military style or encased in armour? It's just not Purgatory, we don't want Sisters of Battle, we certainly are not Infinity, though equally we are not Kingdom Death which is very much on the opposite end of the spectrum. All of these have their qualities, in some cases exceptional ones as demonstrated by recent sales and popularity. 

All of our women are under dressed. It's a common misconception but no they aren't. Death certainly isn't. The common response here is that why make them completely overdressed or ugly when not a pin up? The truth here is that they are a direct reflection of their intended personality. Death IS an old granny, Siren is the temptress of the sea and Godmother was a prostitute. Simple enough perhaps. But there is more to it. 

Modern day women wear very little. Fashion goes through phases, things come and go in cycles as designers plot and scheme to get us to part with money for this years next best thing. The common denominator at the moment is that women's clothes are becoming more transparent and are made from a considerably reduced amount of fabric. 

We live in the age of celebrity magazines, coffee shops and healthy eating. The natural bi-product of these things is that people aspire to look like the people in magazines and when they achieve it they (quite rightly) want to flaunt it. On top of that, Sex Sells! It always has done and always will, the only difference here is that men can be sexy too. However, I am yet to see someone play a game with a catwalk male model in some boat shoes, tight top and torn jeans. ;)

The strange thing that most probably led me to pen this aspect of the BLOG, without having exact numbers to hand, was that in most cases (were I a betting man, i'd say 9/10) the criticism is from men, not from women. This surprised me quite considerably and in some ways it's quite pleasing to see there are these men that have this chivalrous streak within them that provokes them to defend the integrity and modesty of women. I think however a point has been missed and I would draw this entry to a close on one final thing, don't worry. As nice as it is for men to proactively seek to level the playing field and achieve equality in all things, something we are firm advocates of. Remember that women too have voices, they know how to use them, they just aren't choosing to. This can mean many things, one of which may very well be because they like the model and have no issue with it and in fact have bought it themselves. It's worth considering this before you launch into a defensive rant about the state of miniatures in the market place. 

Thanks for reading this BLOG. We hope that you enjoyed it. We are going to be publishing a newsletter in the coming days which will feature more artwork and some interesting updates on the game and background itself so please look out for this in the coming days. 

Until then, thank you again and all the very best.

Team Purgatory


Monday, 14 November 2016

Post Kickstarter Joy...

Hello and welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG it's been over a month now after kind of went radio silent after the Kickstarter campaign went live.  What a good decision that was!

So to maintain the theme and style of a typical Purgatory post let's start with the easy bit... here's the latest from Purgatory...

* In case you have been asleep or have absconded from the interwebs, Purgatory reached funding very early in the campaign and managed to end funded. 
* Artists are lined up to bring the world to life.
* Sculptors have been assigned to make the models come to life and on to a battle mat near you, starting already with WIP pictures of Le Vulture.
* The background that accompanies the Rule Book is in the final stages of development.
* Our place at Salute 2017 is confirmed and we can't wait to see you again!

Phew... a small amount of news bit BIG stories to tell...

So how do we feel?

Kickstarting something with as much potential as Purgatory was always going to be intensive. There is so much to offer with out world that often we really don't know where to start.

The obvious and immediate answer is that we are elated to have funded. It means that we are already embarking on the next stage of the process to make our world that little bit more substantial. With rules, cards and the associated gaming equipment alongside a range of 25 models we are now in a place of real substance, if we weren't already.

The support we received during the campaign from Podcasts and from specific individuals was nothing short of humbling. That so many people wanted to see this project take a massive leap could warm the coldest of hearts and if you are reading this we are truly grateful for your support! Thank you!

What went right and wrong?

Some people might say "everything went right, concentrate on the positives" but the truth is very different. The positive as alluded to above is that we funded, what more positive is there?

However we do have some learning points. First and foremost perhaps a rigid and structured launch date is not right for small companies.  When we announced our Kickstarter we done so to give existing fans the chance to prepare for the campaign. We genuinely received a number of requests asking if we would hurry up and launch....

... however when we announced we were one of few but by the time of launch we were up against some real titans that secured funding in considerable excess of their requirement.

We would be naive to think this didn't have an impact on us and simply put as a small start up company, perhaps our offer didn't contain as much value as others, though £115 for over £300 of resin might be considered good value.

And it wasn't like we went against one, we weathered the storm of no less than 4 substantial campaigns! We almost feel like we deserve a badge that says "we survived xyz..."

We also learned that no matter how much you try, so many people want different things and perhaps our campaign was too complicated.  We received some excellent feedback along the way and we committed each piece of this to record so that we can consider it with the next campaign....

There's a next campaign?

Yes! Of course there is.... we promised you at the start that we wanted longevity for Purgatory and it doesn't stop at 2 factions, we will be bringing the Gangbangers and Refugees to KS in 2017 on very short campaigns. You asked for them, how could we not offer them right?

So what's next?

Alot. In fact, one hell of alot. We now are in the process of creating the pledge manager and giving people access a late backer so that you can get involved in the project and get hold of some of the limited stuff. Real life can get in the way at times and we want to give people the opportunity overcome that and get involved.

After that we will continue to work away, getting cards completed, models sculpted and produced ready for you to receive the game at the earliest possible time.

Will we be on time? Yes. Will we be early? Maybe not, we hoped to be, however a number of people defaulted on payment making our funding total alot less so depending on our progress in the coming months will depend if we can get this to you sooner rather than later but rest assured we will communicate our progress every step of the way.

Well that is all from us this time. We will be back in the coming weeks with more updates from the War for Heaven!

All the very best

Team Purgatory

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

10, 9, 8, 7...... We will have lift off!

Welcome back to Purgatory. 

It’s been a while and the last time we haunted these boards but we felt the time was right to return and give you one last update before the project goes live. Communication is of fundamental importance in any project which is why we are continually announcing advancements and changes to everyone as much as possible.

The important thing is that in the lead up as we count down the days to launch, less than 14 days now, we haven’t experienced any delays or issues. In fact we are very much on target. In the last fortnight alone we have managed to complete the kickstarter page and allow you to preview it, which you can find here: https://goo.gl/g73jPi . We also managed to create a brand new character for you to get free if we reach our funding target in the first 48 hours! There is even another model available at £15k which everyone can get a free version if you back over £10! Not bad. So what else has happened?
  • The model of Jack is in progress and the basic outline is complete
  • Moloch edges closer to completion and will have options for you to choose, enhancing the value of this model
  • Mike and Jess are at the manufacturers, waiting patiently to be created ready for the project
  • New artwork has been completed for the kickstarter which sees two characters go toe to toe
  • Jack gets the royal treatment in some stunning new artwork
  • A new faction has been created and will be previewed during the kickstarter to show you what comes afterwards
  • Bobby, Siren and St. Peter stat cards have been released along with the card for ‘The Summoned’

What isn’t listed above is the box itself. We have shown some images of the boxed game and the feedback has been great. We have really crammed it full of quality, which has been something underpinning everything that we do from the start. The artwork in terms of the cards, the rulebook and the box turned out to be exceptional. Combine this with the quality of the models themselves and you really are getting something to write home about. Compare this to the cost and you really are getting great value, even more so if you get in early for the free model and we fund within 48 hours. We deliberately made the early stretch goals rewarding for our backers, it gives you more value early on in the process so that you can add to your collection quicker and start the process of interchanging models within your factions and hunting down those synergies.

It’s been an 18 month journey to get here with significantly more highs than lows. It’s been eye opening and interesting to look at how projects are built and I have be honest and admit that if you had asked me five years ago how I’d have felt about making a complete game, with rules to boot, I may have laughed. However, equally I have to say, that even though we are racing to finishing line, putting in as many hours as possible, we have enjoyed every minute of it. I am not sure how many of you saw it, but we posted recently about just where in the world Purgatory models could be found. It was quite far ranging and after sitting there with my daughter working that out, I had to say I sat back relaxed but equally quite humbled.

Creating your own game, world and models is a fantastic experience and both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Seeing a box on the table, with people opening it up and getting excited by the content and models was great and a feeling that cannot be put into words, so I won’t try. It will just be gushing nonsense but I think you get the point.

So what comes next? Well we know what phase 2 looks like. In fact, we’ll let you into a bit of that further down. The next challenge for us is to reach our reduced funding target and put Purgatory on the map and you can help us do that. Over the next 6 weeks, we will be bringing out new artwork, showing off new models and updating you on our progress as the campaign ticks over. We have our stretch goals and capabilities mapped and we know what you can get your hands on. We have recently completed some play testing videos that will be going live in the next few days so that you can listen to how some of the game mechanics work. These videos are short, between 3 & 6 minutes in duration making them easy ‘lite bites’ to digest collectively or in isolation.

Phase 2 is quite exciting. Whereas phase 1 introduces the characters, the world and the setting, phase 2 brings other aspects ‘on stream’ as Michael and Satan join the fore. Alongside these characters we will see more from characters such as Uvall, Lucretia, Airiale & Marut and their associated cohorts. The portals will be pulsing and will bring elements from other planets within our realm as fresh species will join the ranks of devils and humans on Earth. We plan on bringing ‘Tomes’ out for phase 2. These are books that will collectively store abilities or stats of specific factions whilst allowing you to build your own characters as well as introducing characters that you can interchange between your group which will be backed up by models. Phase 2 will also explore buildings and scenery to make your battleground more unique as you fight for the spoils of war.

The Age of Purgatory is upon mankind and now we fight our most desperate battle to regain control over our destiny before we are enslaved to others and wiped from existence. You have the chance to tip the balance in your chosen favour. Will you save humanity or laugh wickedly as you facilitate its demise?

Thanks for coming back to us and reading our latest BLOG. Watch out for further updates during the kickstarter campaign in all of our media platforms as you never know, you might find a cheeky code or two that will get you some goodies...

Team Purgatory 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

With 6 weeks to go, what have we learnt....

Welcome back to the BLOG!

Today we go all reflective as we look back over the last 18 months and see just how far the project has come, but most importantly what we have learnt and applied along the way. But before we do that, let's review the comings and goings of the last 2 weeks in Purgatory.
  • We hope that you've seen her, but if not, I am pleased to announce that Jess is complete. And in a first for Purgatory this lady comes with optional heads for her mallet.
  • The inbox has been burning bright, with the Apocalypse storming into our laps looking incredible. The concept for these guys really carried forward and if we get far enough, you guys are in for a real treat.
  • Literally just in, a version of one of our Devils has emerged!
  • The Kickstarter page is on the verge of completion, previews will be up soon.
The last 18 months has been a real rollercoaster of fun. Throughout the process we have met a great many people who have truly inspired the project but also given us some excellent feedback along the way. So what have we learnt?

Traditional vs. Digital - In one of the most difficult decisions, something we have been asked frequently has been about why we went the traditional route. Having just started speaking with a digital sculptor I can safely say that it was down to personal preference. There are supremely talented individuals proficient in both disciplines, but in truth, digital 'masters' are hard to come across in an era of tabletop and board games being exceptionally popular. I am very grateful to the sculptors we have worked with and feel slightly vindicated by the initial choice, if only because I have learnt so much from these people and actually become fast friends.

Something we picked up from Salute was that whilst people liked digital renders as a demonstration of what was to come, people had been 'caught out' in cases where the render was then produced to a low quality en masse. This echoed when people suggested it was refreshing that we as a company were showing people not only what we were doing, but that we were capable of producing high quality models. This was an important moment for us.

That said, we will work with a digital sculptor as our portfolio of characters has some that will truly benefit from this exacting method.

Expectation - It has been remarked of late that in some cases crowd funding can be used as a pre ordering system for well established companies and brands. I don't think this will lead to the market 'downing tools' so to speak but it is being noticed. When we spoke to a number of people in the early days the comment was very much "what do we get for free, like X or Y company offers?"

The answer to that was a hard one. As a small company, funded entirely by a trio of individuals, it was difficult to foresee how this would be possible, it was no small hurdle. However, what we have learnt at Purgatory is that 'free stuff' comes in various guises and at various levels. If you had asked me a year ago what we could give away for free, I am not sure I could have answered. However now, I can confirm that we can and will give things away, including models if we stretch to the appropriate levels. The kickstarter is quite strong and this has been tested against other projects as well as being discussed with a number of experienced backers. We believe there is real value in what we are offering.

Playtesting - I have said it many times. As a creative group, it can be soul destroying to take a broad sword to something you have spent months developing. However you become hardened to it and actually you benefit from it, though you often can only see that upon reflection. Play testing was a considerable amount of fun, watching characters you have created, come to life and do the things you wanted them to do is incredibly satisfying.

The main aim of the game was to apply a new spin on something familiar. No a single familiar thing but a collection of them. The difference, or USP so to speak was to apply something wholly and completely fun, something tongue in cheek and skirting on the boundaries of the mildly risqué. To hear comments like "I am not playing a game without those cards (Gods)" or "The core rules are tight" and "I can picture exactly how this character is supposed to play" are but some of the comments we have had. However in flip of that, complete sections have been removed, reviewed and changed on comments received during play testing. The end result being that the rules are even better and more complete than before.

Listening - Having great ideas, doesn't mean that everyone will or should like it. Listening to peoples feedback is fundamentally important and it is one of the single most things I would recommend to everyone. However you must ensure that you hear what is being said. That rules tweak, change to a pose, adjustment to a character or ability or even the size of the board, they all count and none should be dismissed.

Challenges - We have faced many challenges along the way, but none sterner than the issue of equality and perception. We have a diverse team within Purgatory and actually we had considered this from the very beginning. However 'Pin Ups' have been an area of attention for our project as people have posed questions on certain characters. I would say luckily, but actually, thankfully for us, we considered that whilst the market for pin up characters was prominent, we would not set our stall up around it entirely. By being able to demonstrate this, it has allowed us to mitigate attention with awareness of our range. However, the rise in open criticism on this topic is something the industry has experienced before but perhaps not on this scale.

Why are we telling you all of this?

We are on the cusp of something exciting, in less than 10 weeks we will know if Purgatory will be taking the next step, where you can enjoy games at your local gaming club and at home with friends and with family. A whole fresh wave of new models will be available to paint and play with to hone your skills with the blade.

Equally important however is to openly communicate with our followers. So that you have a true understanding of how we have progressed and the key areas that defined the approach of Purgatory, where learning is shared and improvements embraced at every turn.

Because of this, we are able to offer more models, more content, more opportunities for free items, improved sculpting, options on models, tighter rules and deeper backgrounds for you to fully immerse yourself in what we believe is a truly unique world, unlike anything else created by anyone else and we hope you agree.

Look out for the newsletter coming next week, which if you haven't already you can sign up to on our website. This last edition before Kickstarter launch will be a bumper issue and will include a list of the pledge levels and the some clues as to the stretch goals so that you can plan out exactly what you will be wanting to ensure you get hold of it.

Until then, we look forward to bringing fresh art and background information to you in the weeks leading up to launch!

All the very best.

Team Purgatory

#WARFORHEAVEN

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Inbox madness

Welcome back to Purgatory!!

This week is brought exclusively to you, live from the Rockingham Arms in Elephant and Castle, London.

It's now officially 2 months to the day that we launch so what better time than to talk to you about what we are up to right now.

In the last 2 weeks we have kicked out all manner of information.  The painting team is furiously working on tweed madness and Jess is well and truly on her way. But it's the inbox that's red hot right now!

Arriving this week has been two of the four members of Apocalypse! We will talk more on these in a bit. Also arriving is the first true hybrid from the game in our Halloween special that features as one of the early stretch goals for the project and he is quite literally insane. 

Full colour artwork of Jack has been commissioned this week alongside the afore mentioned Halloween special. This is being done by Dario, the same artist that brought you Erishkigal and Moloch!

Apocalypse Now!

The four horseman are infamous in history. Whilst Conquest and Death are the two that are more commonly referred, Famine and Pestilence also feature as harbingers of doom. Initially this brought us a quandary, Death was already a character in our world so we had to think smart and quick. But don't worry, real life intervened and the answer was simple. Death got a better job and resigned her position. Let me tell you, finding a replacement was hard, the interviews were long and drawn out but eventually a candidate stood out and the position was filled... phew...

It would have been very easy to simply copy and paste the typical feel for these guys. You know the black stallion with flaming hooves and eyes, with a marauder like conan sitting on the back... but well, this is Purgatory and unless you didn't notice, things are a bit different around here ;)

The design phase for these guys was quite intense as we ultimately ended up with 4 characters that represent a modern slant with some comedy elements whilst retaining a sort of nastiness and viciousness that backs up their credentials. To explain this in more detail...

Conquest, who was one of those to arrive is sat on reclining sofa with a decent foot stall. This sofa is being carried by 4 slaves that are chained to the chair and forced to carry him around the battlefield. He looks bored, the fun in killing has gone with the dawn of new technology. The mace, well it's just too much work these days. So, instead he has a customised remote control that in a nutshell just zaps people into atoms. Though the war mace is readily available as the remote doesn't quite have the same effect in hand to hand. This guy isn't your beefcake uber warrior either. Mainly due to the fact that he is carried everywhere and doesn't swing the mace as much as he perhaps would have.

The character is designed to reflect the slob/lazy culture we have developed that is heavily dependant on technology. Purgatory is no different and in tradition we have challenged the preconceptions and added a modern spin. As we do.

Don't be fooled however. The image of this character as well as the others doesn't detract from their ability in game. These guys can only be fielded together and even then you can't field all 4, you get 3 in a standard point game. This allows players the option of playing larger scale games so that all 4 can be used at once.

Halloween Hybrids

We knew as soon as we had committed to dates that a Halloween special would be on the cards. Listening to you, our followers, we took into consideration the impact of a 'kickstarter exclusive' and the negativity this can generate. Not everyone that supports this game will have the ability to do so when we go live and they shouldn't be penalised as a result.

With this in mind we wanted to do something that was unique enough but not limited.

We eventually came up with the concept of a hybrid character for the two starting factions (Murder Inc and Soul Train) that would look and feel like a characterisation of the underpinning themes of both.

We've talked a number of times now about Host and Cohort synergy but this character because of his very nature is aligned to both. Our first true hybrid. In game this means that he can benefit from the angelic abilities of the respective Hosts of these two factions making him worth consideration.

All of his abilities are Halloween inspired to really make him stand out in the game too. And if we are honest, he's quite useful to say the very least.

The artwork will be making an appearance in the coming weeks.

Kickstarting:

As we started with, the project is on track. The rules are finished and now being adapted for the book. The background is now being included and imagery selected for this section of the book that comes in A5 format in the box level pledges.

If truth be told, worryingly everything is currently on track, without delay with the added bonus that we have managed to squeeze even more value into the box and the stretch goals themselves.

There's alot on offer from Purgatory so keep your eyes peeled and watch this space ;)

Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to bringing more exciting news to you over the coming weeks.

Join the War for Heaven!!

Team Purgatory