Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hax0rz Have Stolen My Megahurtz

Looks like I'm down to a once a week post schedule... unless you count my work over at HoP.  This is another part of my ongoing thought experiment/exploration about the state of miniature painting.  This one is based on some comments I got and a whole bunch of ideas put forth on other people's blogs.  It should prove to be short since I don't have a clever story to start out with.  With any luck this will be coherent on top of short...

Today's subtopic is the internet.  Or, to be more specific, the internet's role in creating the current state of my painting weltschmerz.  This was always going to be a part of the discussion, but it wasn't until the MM(ESNO) threw down some science that things really popped.  I now know a lot more about how to approach the topic and that it needs its own space to breath.

My initial thoughts on the internet's role was fairly negative and a bit reactionary- it was more along the lines of how access to ideas tends to flatten the peaks and valleys out.  More like what Dethtron or, more recently, AbusePuppy were getting at - only grumpier and one-sided.  But, now, things are a little less nefarious and dastardly than I had initially planned on lamenting about.  I also realized that I was coming dangerously close to becoming a slave to the tone of the first two posts - its important to me to explore these ideas, but I need to make sure that I don't get trapped in an artificially created pattern of though.

So instead of simply bitching about some cold, unfeeling system, I'd like to explore what's going on in a much more positive and fair light.

Don't get me wrong, I think the internet is doing more than its fair share to flatten things out - and by that I mean homogenizing the world - but its simply the natural consequence of the free flow of ideas and (which is something China is scared shitless of).  Its not some kind of calculated travesty. 

There's also this component of an increased population that MM(ESNO) brought up.  The more people you have working on the same problem, the quicker it'll get done or the more likely the results will look similar.  Right now, there are a ton more people involved in this kind of hobby.  Its basic probability and the two ideas play into each other and come to a fantastic intersection when you take into account the incredible magnanimity of miniature painters of all skill levels.  We love to share and will happily do so if asked.  Hell, we freely share our 'secrets' without anyone asking. From the slayer sword winners all the way down to the noobs.

In any case, consumers are going to devour that shit (coprophagia style - om nom nom).  Gross.

This brings up the other big drivers for the prevalence of the Golden Daemon 'style'.  There's not yet a critical mass of information out there about an incredibly specialized subset of an already tiny population.  ANYTHING that has some quality production values and a good level of exposure is gonna be taken seriously (and the canny painters have realized that there's money to be made).  Especially if the person presenting the info is seen as an expert on any level.  I.E.: they have a pedigree backed up by prestigious contest wins.  And guess what?  They're gonna teach what they know - which is often the Golden Daemon style.

In a lot of ways, its a nice little recursive cycle.  New painters start up - they get instruction on a particular style and then they go on to excel at that style and then offer their own instruction.  But the thing is, that this cycle is not self driving.  People are the ones who keep this cycle going.  And why shouldn't they?  The Golden Daemon 'style' produces some amazing results and people like it.  Good ideas take root.

So while the internet has done wonders for people's skill levels through education and been able to reach extremely deeply into the wargaming demographic, it has also done what better access to information has always done - spread it around.  The internet is, essentially, a red herring in all of this.  It's not guilty of anything other than existing.  But its important to understand that it does have a role in all this.

I know I've stated this before - but to be absolutely clear - I have no beef with the people who pursue this style or even with the style itself.  If it's your cup o' tea then fine - I've had my fair share of it as well.  My beef is with the perception that its the 'best' or even 'only' way to do things.  In many situations it is, but in an equal number of ways it is certainly not.  Unfortunately, I had begun to assume the former.


  1. This is an excellent point, and not really a new concept.

    Hobbies aren't alone in this - really ANY aspect of our lives, people try to reproduce that which is popular. It's easier to be a sheep than it is to try and find your own niche.

    The only thing we can hope for are the few who are willing to do something different will catch eyes once the masses get tired of looking at the same thing day in, day out. (Just like what is happening to the TV, Movie and Music industries at the moment)

    You got me thinking more on this topic too Lauby, after the last post, and it's got my creative juices flowing - they're not yet ready to spill out, but they are building up to something that I can only hope helps others to break out of their shells a little more.. Things are stewing and Wargaming Tradecraft is going to see what sort of spices I can throw into the pot.

  2. Agreed on all points.

    And, now, insanely curious about your N++ blend of herbs and spices. Any idea of a timeline?

  3. Noooot entirely sure... I've actually realized it's spawned 2 different projects.
    The first is a lead in, and will gather my own thoughts on creating your own world and your own style... but I want to find more examples to try and paint my vision with.
    Plus, I see it possibly sprouting into something entirely different from the OTHER thing I want to do, that I see myself entering into the Golden Demon just to be completely off the wall and probably not go anywhere other than to make people realize they can try their own thing too.

  4. Good points Lauby.

    Not to nit pick but its MM(ESNO) btw...

    I would like to add that as you have said there is nothing wrong with people who choose to paint that way. Anyone who wishes to improve their painting will seek out those who they feel are better than they are.

    If you feel the norm is stale I guess the only thing you can hope for is that those people will learn everything they can from the internet and then finally choose to experiment themselves. When they do this then we should see new ideas coming from the net.

    The downside to this..those new ideas will soon be gobbled up by anyone looking and it too will become the stale norm.

  5. Actually... timeline for the first post, my thoughts on this topic and how to solve the problem... I think may be sooner than later. Things have bubbled to the point where I need to create a draft and start typing...