Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Sugar, Spice and all things Nice!

Welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG. Thanks for stopping by,

There are a number of things drawing every closer at the moment, one of which is my impending wedding. Eeek. If you think that setting a small business up is tough, try arranging a big day. Boy oh boy does that take some patience :)

Despite the lull that we have spoken of in the last few messages some important things have occurred or are occurring in the next few days. Here's what:

  • We have been confirmed for Salute Expo in London for 2016! This is great news and it will be our first opportunity to showcase the models on the big stage. If you don't know what Salute is head over and check it out over here: - we really hope that we will see you there.
  • The website is in the final stages of being completed and we have seen the content first hand. The kind sir that is creating the website for us will be visiting on the 7th of August and we hope to be going live at this point!
  • Boxes, cards and artwork etc. is scheduled to arrive this Friday. Hopefully my future wife will allow me some meagre space to store all of this but nonetheless we will be getting boxes ready to ship the models.
  • on the subject of models, the first few will be arriving imminently so that we can post some pictures and set about getting some painted versions up for you to have a look at
  • The model is scheduled to be available for sale on or around the 10th August
  • The sculptor of Death has been primed and the second model has been planned in

As you can see, quite a lot is occurring right now and we are approaching the final stages of getting our project off the ground.

Last week I mentioned the Soul Train, talked very briefly about their origins and what they are about. I suppose it's at this point that I should point out that a lot of the information we are putting out in this BLOG is very early design or concept stuff. Some but not all of it, is still in the works as we tweak things.

For example, if we give a character 'x' stats or 'y' weapon and that shows to be overpowered in testing, we might very well need to change it. Hopefully you guys in the community can relate to that and understand this caveat all too well.

So who is in the Soul Train, well we won't tell you the names yet but here is a quick one liner on the characters:

Super Singer - This chap is the factions Apostle, the highest ranking individual. He carries a whip and a mace in the form of a spiked rose.
Piano Man - This guy is blind and controls a grand piano that has an in-built turret system which can mow down 10 revellers per second with ease. Piano Man is the factions Prophet.
Guns - This girl is super fast on her roller skates and a dead shot with Ebony and Ivory
Vinyl - Vinyl records with razor sharp metal lacing the edges being thrown at you by the dozen. Watch out!
Sax - This guy will set fire into your heart with a tune that is raging hot!
Mic - Ever seen a recently dumped boyfriend go to town on someone with a mic stand...?
Keys - This master of music will have you dancing to her tune in now time. Resistance is futile
Beats - Those ghettoblasters from the 80's were pretty heavy, ever get hit by one at top speed? Yeah, ouch.
Cats - Too cool for school, these critters will maul you with tooth and claw.

More will come out on each of these characters as the weeks go by. The art work for these guys is finished and they will be coming out in the next few weeks as we showcase our very first faction.

Tonight we will be playing with some of the game mechanics. We don't want to talk too much about the specific individual details because there is every chance that these will change, but what we can tell you is that we are trying to bring a fun aspect to it.

The design process has taken into consideration how people perceive angels. How they have been represented in films, their actions, there characteristics and most importantly their abilities. By looking at all of these it has given us a base for some interesting mechanics that I have certainly not seen before. It adds a different dimension to what we are looking to achieve and hopefully will give players a chance to add a 'pip' of strategy to their game play. It is certainly a move away from the meet in the middle and bash approach.

As with other games it is very hard to be completely unique. There are so many systems out their at the moment that you can never be entirely sure. However we hope by applying our spin to the norm approach that we are in the process of bringing something that is unique overall.

Adding a unique game play to a short duration card game, alongside a interchangeable character and weapon system should hopefully peak some interest in enough people to make this project a success.

In the coming weeks, the BLOG will switch between a painting log of Death and greater detail on the mechanics of the game.

In an unusual twist I won't be saying now what is next week as a lot can change right now but be rest assured as the weeks go by a lot will start to solidify and take shape and we will be looking for people to assist us with alpha testing once the rules are complete and the mechanics honed.

If you like these or have any comments, questions or suggestions. Please let us know, it's great to hear from people enthused by this project.

All the very best for now.

Team Purgatory

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Do you have Soul?

Hi all, as we explained last week we are in the transition phase at the moment. Waiting for boxes, artwork (physical) and the model to arrive, ready to pack, pack, pack them up ready to go out. So what is new this week? 

  • Background art for Death arrived this week, something to set the tone and it is stunning, be rest assured.
  • Delays?!!? Yep, unfortunately we are likely to be a week behind our initial expectations of having the stock in store. It happens like that, not all news is good news.
  • Game progress, a few more items have been added to the game and we are stepping up our approach to rule design and core identity
I would like to touch on things going wrong. It happens, so keep your head up. Often things aren’t quite as simple as they seem. That quote hasn’t truly been explained or explored, that delivery timeline hasn’t factored in UK mail or even that artwork didn’t arrive because the adjustments you made took longer than you expected.

Having delivered multi million pound projects in my day job, I am well aware of the term ‘stretch’. It happens to even the most organised amongst us and well, we have experienced our first. But whilst it is a disappointment, context is important. The customer base we have are likely to wait a week for a model they truly want, it’s not like turkeys at Christmas, the window is much bigger. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to let anyone down but to date nobody has suggested that they need the model by a date that we cannot now achieve. Therefore our clients expectations are maintained. So if anyone out there is looking at this with a view to doing something themselves, don’t panic. Deep breath and go again, because ultimately you will still deliver what you set out to achieve.

Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo….

The Soul Train have been mentioned in passing quite a few times now. In fact they were the subject of our first competition. So who, or what are they?

In the last few weeks we have given you some more information on the who’s who. This focussed in the main on the chief protagonists from the Purgatory world. The Soul Train are our first revelation of the human detritus that mewl around the feet of greater beings.

Purgatory is about angels. It is about the aftermath from the War for Heaven. Where did the angels go? What did they do next? Who was left? Whilst this is a core element of the world, Humans also play a big part. Man was God’s creation, his finest work and the angels were created to watch over and safeguard His greatest creation. So what with Earth being the battlefield, it would kind of be missing the mark if humans were not kicking around hey…

The Soul Train are the first faction and their creation came about from the method of approach we explained last time around. Take a solid idea, stretch it and view it from the another perspective. How differently can it look?

The initial idea was to attach a faction to a person. It’s a tried, tested and traditional approach which has evolved since that point but the Soul Train were attached to Erishkigal who is the guardian of souls. So we quite literally took the world ‘soul’ and thought about what we could do. We ended up looking at the miniature market and realised that there was a space for a group of humanoid models that had a musical slant. They are unique and unlike others created on a table-top game, so how could we best represent them?

The Humans in purgatory are designed to be pretty useless. I mean, they are not angels of prodigious strength, speed and dexterity, they are more like a goblin equivalent from the well-known Warhammer world. They are also mortal which means they are pretty weak. But it was the will of man that God was so proud of and it is this that sees mankind stand and fight, despite the odds. So it doesn’t matter your background, creed, colour, race, religion or purpose, anyone can pick up the nearest thing and club and angel to death with it.

The Soul Train consists of 9 ‘individuals’ and most of them were in a band that played in clubs across the world. They were famous and infamous in the same breath. Through tragedy they perished in a raging inferno as a nightclub was raised to the ground after a feud between St. Peter and another unknown angel spilled into the mortal realm. In death they eventually found their way to the halls of Erishkigal who would torment each soul in turn.

Though Erishkigal is capricious and is known to use the souls at her disposal to bring havoc on the world above and the Soul Train found favour with their new master which saw them restored to the world of mortals with a much changed but very clear agenda. The Soul Train are reapers of souls in name of their master, they appear indiscriminate in their approach but rest assured there is method to the madness. Targeting the generals and lieutenants of other Angels is a specialism of the Soul Train.

So if Super Stevie wheels out the grand piano “Ragdoll 3000” and Parisi starts shuffling through his stack of vinyl’s be wary because you just became collateral for a target close by.

Next up: More on the Soul Train and Game Mechanics…

Thursday, 16 July 2015

I and T's....

Morning All!!
So what is happening Purgatory this week I hear you cry (or whisper, you choose)? Well lets have the usual summary to kick things off! 

  • The packaging for Death has been finalised. Each model will come in a 2 part box and will contain a base, unique card art, contact card, playing card and the model itself. 20 lucky people will get a limited edition card which has a gold border. This will be inserted at random and offer a little quirk for the future.
  • The first casts are underway and we hope to be showcasing the model in the next week. After that Burtnernie from coolminiornot will be doing a step by step progress for us as he paints the model. Exciting times!
  • Super Stevie from the Soul Train is done and joins the rest of his crew.
  • The second model is scheduled for creation in September and ‘he’ (bit of a clue there) has been selected already as our next model.
  • Our next faction, Refugees of Religion are in the works and we are breathing life in to the characters
As I am sure you can see, we are progressing quite nicely. As we explained in the last BLOG we are in the period now of ‘crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s’ so it is just a waiting game whilst our items are created and shipped to us, ready for you to get to grips with.

For readers of the BLOG we thought you might like to know that we will be doing a painting competition for Death. It’s quite straight forward, the best painted model will receive a free, yes free version of the next model released. Who doesn’t love free stuff huh?

With a clear scene or setting for the foundation of what we are bringing to you, the story has a strong spine to it already. Having also now introduced you to some of the main players our time is now focused on creating the factions that life within the world.

One of the things we want to do is make this game as flexible as it can be. Whilst factions will have ties to a specific angel or renegade, they are not going to be truly limited to them. Having been a gamer and a painter for over 20 years now I have often found it frustrating when I’ve seen a fantastic model which is only available in a boxed set. Furthermore, I have sat with envy many a time across the table as a model with a particular skill has danced its way around my force.

Purgatory offers something different. Whilst there are factions and that they are linked to a specific person, the only thing tying them to that person will be a ‘buff’. This means that if you really want to you can have half of the Soul Train, mixed with half of the Refugees of Religion. The options are designed to give you the ability to make your very own faction from a combination of all of the humans that we will be offering.

So if you want ‘Jazz’ with his flaming saxophone, ‘Faith’ with her riot shield and ‘Stevie’ with his machine gun piano (yep, you heard that right) because they are cool looking models then you can.

The important part of all of this is balancing and by creating a range of models that have different skills or looks, we are aiming to bring a flexible approach to roster creation that gives you the power to field exactly what you want. OK, we don’t want you fielding 10 angels in a standard game, that would be beardy, so we will ensure the unit choices and points cost balance to allow unique situations, games, events or scenarios to take place.

What is the scale exactly? Well each faction will have at least 9 models to choose from. An Apostle, a Prophet, some humans and a familiar/beast. So if you look back at our BLOG on “Who’s who” then you will see that our plan is to have this number of models, to accompany each angel. In simple terms that is 63 human models at the very least. It’s a high aspiration but it is important to us that we communicate our ideas. By doing this it is our hope that we are giving you the confidence that this is going to have some substance.

It does however start with Death (Eve). The level of success we achieve with this little old lady will set the tone for how quickly we can progress and bring more models to the table (pardon the pun). If we are successful with the initial characters we are planning a kickstarter that will bring a greater number of models to bear alongside a robust set of rules for you to make war in Purgatory.

Next up: Who are the Soul Train…

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bringing it all together!

Hello all! First and foremost – Thank you. The interest and support some of you have shown is really helping us to push on. That we are connecting with people at various levels is very encouraging and just speaking to people about different ideas and approaches is very interesting. We really like to hear from you guys so please feel free to get in touch over anything that we are doing.

So what is happening in Purgatory this week?! Come on, tell me I need to know… 

  • Eve has landed at the producers! Death is a step closer to being realised and we hope to have a resin model early next week!!
  • Moloch just trampled his way to the inbox
  • Stevie from the Soul Train is about to gun us all down with a murderous melody
  • The boxes have been finalised and are in progress
  • The unique card art is finalised and off to the printers!
Phew… So much going on… actually, the grains of sand have truly slowed. Don’t get us wrong, there is a lot to do however we have reached that stage in the process where we now sit back, cheque book in hand ready to pay people to realise our dream. It’s quite surreal but to put it into context for you:

Design an idea
Canvass people to make sure your idea is not nonsense
Find artists
Commission art, getting 5 characters
Decide on the first character
Find a sculptor
Commission a sculptor
Decide on packaging
Find a packaging solution
Request proof’s
Find a model producer
Send the model to the producer

And then….. deep breath. Sit back whilst you realise all of the above has been done and that the every part of the process is now in the hand of another as you admire the many kites you have in your hand flying high whilst you hold the strings, ready to reel them in for the release date. That is where we currently are and we hope that gives you comfort that the oiled machine is firing on all cylinders.

1st August is still on track. Yes! But that is just it. What do we do now? Well as we have said before, this is self-funding and the success of our investment is truly realised by the sale of Death. If she sells well then we have already lined up the artists for the next images, the sculptor for the next green and the packaging company for the next items. We of course are developing the back story, building new characters, getting fresh art and designing rules as we sit with fingers crossed but the waiting game is upon us. It’s odd. And the advice I would give anybody doing this is “Go with it”. Don’t panic, don’t worry, have a count up and a double check. Charge your batteries and savour the moment, because just around the corner you have 200 boxes to prep, models to bag, art to separate and a whole heap of advertising to do. Enjoy it, it might be fun.

That’s all good and what not and thanks, but I was expecting to hear about constructs we hear you say.

Death is in 2 parts. Eve, with the scissors, but also the option exists of having Death in the nightmarish form that you know and love from the many images available in books and on the web. The sinister black cloak, the scythe, the hour glass etc etc. Traditionally Death has been a skeleton, covered in the main by the black cloak however our approach challenges that norm and places quite a nice spin on it, or so we think any way.

As you have learned before, Death the spectre was created by Eve. This was done to hide her true identity from her children. This spectre or for a better word construct is a representation of the visage described above. In our world Death was created using pieces of wood from Noah’s ark, cloths from the earliest human civilisations and blade unlike any other in this realm. As such, it is a construction from many part.

As you will have seen from the recent sketches put up, Death now has an axe, the construct is animated and made from wood and fabric with beasts and creepy crawlies inhabiting him. He has masks around his waist which reflect the many visions in which he might appear to you depending on the part of the world you are being reaped from. Most importantly, this represents your ability in Purgatory to take Death in a different format with very different rules and tactics.

There will be many options in Purgatory and this represents one of the variety of unit types that you will be able to field in our game.

We hope you have enjoyed this update.

Next up: Crossing the T’s and Dotting the I’s

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sculpting.... an experience!

In the words of the great Dr Nick… “Hello everybody…”

Boy oh boy is it hot! Yikes. I saw a great meme yesterday which shows a picture of a certain hobbit, with the words “It so hot in my room, that 2 hobbits just came passed and threw a ring at me” that made me chuckle and pretty much sums up how we all feel right now, so you will excuse us for not really having much to update this week, as we soak our wrists in cold water, sleep on the floor and usher hobbits from our abode.

What we can tell you is this: 

  • We have ordered the card art. It’s in production as I type and the sample boxes arrive any day now.
  • The ‘green’ of Death has been sent to the producers and we hope to have the first models in the next 2 weeks. This will allow me to paint this beauty up and post work in progress shots on getting to grips with Death.
  • A decisions has been reached on who will be our next sculpt and we think you will be quite excited by him.
  • Super sinister Moloch is stomping his way closer to us with each passing day.
There is so much more to tell you but we don’t want to give too much away in this early development stage, but rest assured that we will share this with you as time marches on. Today I thought I would do a little bit on sculpting.

Traditional vs Digital

With the dawn of 3D printers, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon but I am not sure yet that the quality is truly there. Something that was quickly established as one of our values is that we wanted to bring you the highest level of quality that we could afford. Whilst there are some great 3D examples out there, there has been a heavy investment, which reflects the unit price. The other side of digital is 3D renders. The benefit of these is that you can grab a model that already exists in digital render and change an arm, head or pose whilst retaining key distinguishing features of the model. Furthermore you always have a copy, so long as you have saved it!

The downside of traditional is quite clear. The model can be damaged, there is only one of this so long as a cast has not been made. Therefore there is a higher risk for transit between the sculptor and the producer. There is also the risk of the model going wrong during casting. The flexibility is not necessarily there as you can just erase an arm on a computer and put a new one in its place. You would have to produce another which is very hard to achieve truly.

Now you are probably sitting there thinking, er hang on, why on earth did you go traditional. The answer lay in: talent and cost.

IT solutions cost money. Let’s face it we can all relate to that, so actually to find somebody that can do the work without a considerable number of man hours is quite hard to find. Especially with a high quality end product. Don’t get us wrong, they are out there, however as a self-funding organisation aiming to sell a competitive priced product this had an impact. Furthermore, as something quite new, there are fewer people with the expertise and those that have it, know it, which is reflected in time, availability and cost.

The benefit of traditional is that first and foremost, anyone that exists now as a traditional sculptor of any repute or quality has a portfolio. You can see the things they excel at, for example some sculptors have a natural eye for the female form, others are good with beasts and animals or larger models. Because the digital approach is new, there is less to guide you as to how your model might look. Furthermore, these guys have been doing it for a long time, they are experienced in the potential pitfalls and problems that can present themselves along the way, particularly with casting. This can help a novice a great deal, as we found out.

The right man for the job

We were very fortunate. We had a recommendation for a chap called Lux Thantor, I’d seen his work first hand and a mutual friend put us in touch. I pitched the idea to Lux and explained what we were trying to achieve. Like any artist (and trust me sculpting is a fine art) they have to relate or be enthused by the project otherwise there is a risk that the end product does end up right. Lux liked the idea and was in. We agreed a slot in his busy schedule and chatted all the way. I can’t stress the importance of communication during this initial phase. Explaining the feel, tone, style and vision is categorically fundamental in making sure you get what you are after. Lux made this easy for us and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Transforming 2D to 3D

I’ve been asked a few times now. How on earth did you get from traditional cliché death to this old hag with scissors. Simple, I’ll explain. You can often come up with something very different by pushing the boundaries of the accepted. So in the case of Death I looked at the polar opposite of the spectrum, big and intimidating vs small and understated. So it literally was “what if Death was a little old lady?” and boom, we were on the right path. “But what’s with the scissors?” well, in many historical civilisations or fantasy worlds, cutting someone’s thread was associated with someone dying or being killed. So what does an old lady cut thread with? Scissors of course! But how will that look on a model, a small pair of scissors? OK, well let’s go the opposite, huge, unwieldy ones that you can then attach a story to. As a bit of a spoiler, the scissors are actually the blades Wrath and Ruin re-forged.

Doing something in your mind can be simple if you are lucky enough to have that creative spark. However transferring this from paper to physical was quite a scary prospect.

If you have never done it before, we can tell you, it is certainly an experience! Because we knew no better, we would sit there having received the latest update and furiously chew our bottom lip, imagining what it ‘might’ look like. “How will he do that bit?” or “Does that arm look right?” etc etc. We had no experience of how the process worked, why things had to be done a certain way and that actually in order to achieve a certain effect, something else had to be done first. I don’t expect Lux would mind us saying, we were a nightmare.

But Lux was great. He took time to explain, rather than get frustrated or exasperated he took time to provide suggestion or a commentary with regular updates to help us along the way. We were then able to visualise the end product as it was created from the bottom up and we started to understand the process which helped enormously.

I am a great believer in understanding the role you ask people to perform on your behalf. Having an understanding allows to be empathetic to the constraints or limitations of any given task, which means you can consider it in your decision making. Lux helped us do that.

Decide for yourself

The best piece of advice a number of people gave me along the way, Scott, Brett, Lux and Pete to name a few was that you as the creative designer should go through with what you set out to achieve. Other people, to whom might provide very valid critique can’t see your vision, and as such they might not be able to understand why you are approaching things in the way you are.

By all means listen, Christ if it hadn’t been for wife to be, we’d have missed a fundamental element of our first model. But don’t get too distracted or down by what other people think. This is your project because you have the drive to realise it and like someone said, fail because you failed, not because of someone else.

The end result

You get to the end, you have heart attacks along the way as a newbie to this world but the end result is worth the anxious sense of walking into the unchartered. We are thrilled with Death and we hope to have her available for you in the first week of August. We hope you like Death too and we truly hope that some of you will pick the model up and paint the crap out of her and show us and the world your take on our idea.

Hopefully, this gives you a ‘brief’ but honest depiction of what we experienced and why we made some of the decisions we made. What we have said above might not be what you choose to do. You might disagree with our thought process but that doesn’t mean you or we are wrong, it just means that you have a different set of circumstances and a different view. What we do hope is however is that our experience with will give you a brief insight and maybe the confidence to jump into the world of creative model making. 

Next up: