Oct 29 2022

5 min read

Our Creative Team

To juxtapose with the September post; Immediately after a spell of difficulty hunting for the best SteelPinion artists, they appeared! (like shiny pokemon)


Mike character + ship designs

A little bit of kindess is the cheapest thing, and the most valuable thing that you can ever do.

~Mike Smith

I Fell in love with Mike's art the moment I laid eyes on it. He has hundreds, possibly thousands of hand drawn portraits of many many people. He has spun up fan art illustations from series we love like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, DC, Scooby-Doo, and way more than that. He's an easy follow on twitter. The man will inspire you like he has me.

Only ever working remotely with Mike hasn't allowed me to get to know his mannerisms. However, I can tell he is very thoughful and caring of his family, friends, and community. He uses his drawing talent to illustrate scenes for other's; sometimes for the church, and other times for projects like SteelPinion.

Professionally Mike is what I call a real architect. (given that I have held titles in the software industry with the word "architect" makes me giggle cause they are radically different!) Yet at the same time he has a really goofy demeanor, loving to laugh and allowing the silver lining to take focus. After learning more about him in his interview on the Capacity podcast , my jaw dropped and all of a sudden I could see the silly ironies he puts into every drawing. There is so much character and personality visible to the naked eye, that I just put em all up on my wall cause now I'm a fanboy!

wall of original character art

There's gonna be setbacks, but one failure does not make a life.

~Mike Smith

I have to mention the Capacity podcast interview one more time cause that is where I pulled these quotes from. They are worth commiting to heart and memory, for the SteelPinion project yes, but also life more broadly.


Taylor aka Metasmasher ship + weapon designs

Taylor has personally spured me onward and contributed beyond the original apsirations of the project. He has a powerful creative nerve center that he expresses through his art and designs. We work together steadily to actualize possibilities like stealth using cloud collisions or salvo ricochet off eligible surfaces.

Being in the same neck of the woods, we've bumped into eachother a few times at birthday parties or philisophical discussion groups. If you've got an instagram account, then you can likely see his page here where he posts his work.

Taylor is in fact the first modder of the SteelPinion engine. If not for his sparks of innovation, we would just have a really basic repetitive one-two punch tradeoff combat. Instead we have a more flexible modding solution that goes beyond altering stat points.

Over the last year, Taylor has learned how to take his illustrations and transform them into models! He self taught this skill through grit and determiniation. We need to honor his good work by getting it up on this site proper. There will be a section of the site dedicated to equipment cards and mod files which will (finally) heavily feature all of Metasmasher's hard work.

Now, my mid-term goal is to support Taylor's mod vision by reducing the time investment to both add/alter new weapons and equipment. We want to be in an accelerated mode of inspiration as we dream up equipment, exposing them sooner on this site for ourselves and fans for early feedback.

Until we reach the aformentioned point, here are a couple of Taylor's designs. The Railgun (weapon) and Shieldtail (ship) respectively.


Bobby Comic Books!

Our most recent talent on the crew, Bobby has a long history of creating comics that you can see on deviantArt or instagram. He brings a wealth of experience and insight that can help us market the game to the right kinds of nerds.

What excites me about Bobby's work is that his full scene illustrations bring not just a single design at a time to life (which are important for gameplay), but they give the world of SteelPinion a beating heart. The entire surrounding context as to why the factions are battling and how their differences formed are expressed by Bobby's wonderful illustations.

He has some neat ship designs, weapon designs, people, clothing, rooms, landscapes, foliage; you name it and he can draw it into a scene with some awesome perspective shots. Bobby's perspective choices are something like you'd see in a movie where they put the camera in an unorthadox location, making the shot unique and memorable.

Bobby's got a knack for taking my half-baked ideas and filling it out with his imagination so that it's more rich than before. I am really fond of Bobby's online story about a cat getting hit by a car. An ordinary situation, but clearly expressing the emotional events through body language and facial expression.

The story and characters around SteelPinion were originally not going to have any depth, but I think a comic book format with Bobby's expertise has the potential to take our characters and plot beyond into a personally relatable level.

We'll soon feature all the pages of Bobby's work into the dedicated comics collection on this site. Right now we are rolling through some broad historical points that occur before the events of the game.

For now, here is a little mini-book test to see how it may feel when we get our own comic book viewer going. This little interactable flip book has the latest page of Bobby's work at the end.

What's Next for us

I miss posting visible progress everyday. It felt more motivating, yet the reality was the engine internals were not were they needed to be to support the vision. I've honestly been trying to get back to more frequent updates so that our team can have both continued visible progress AND real tangible change to the engine simultaneously.

Even though progress is made every day on the game engine, not all of that is visible or easily communicable yet. After spending the last 6 months focused on enhancing the engine, it is now in a place that can be iterated on in smaller chunks. This will allow me to return to modelling, shader, and clientside work (the visible stuff).

Ultimately, this is why was stood up. So that it could be a portal for the first modder, and a monument to every challenge we've overcome to make SteelPinion from the ground up. If we can show the mod definitions on this public site with a guide on how to mod the engine behavior; Then we can collectively make a better game together than we ever could in a vacuum.

Scaling back from a daily post to a monthly one was a hard made decision. It takes more than a day to program a good module, or design a good ship, or sketch+color a good character. We've got a whole world to build, making this a akin to a marathon.

I don't feel right pressuring the team to speed up on their respective parts if its going to compromise quality or their personal lives. The goal is not to produce arbitrary images on twitter/discord that gain followers or ephemeral interest; rather the goal is to actually produce the envisioned tactics game with engaging deep strategy.

The entries to follow will take on a different nature. I needed to get a kind of historic review off my chest. Often times to reach the next level, remembering our origins is a powerful way to vivify new motivations.

Get on the flying boat already!