Multiverse Wallpaper Contest
July 16, 2009

 - Project Date:December 12, 2006

This was a time frame where there always seemed to be an interesting contest running at the Minimate Multiverse message board. As a result we come to the third consecutive contest post. The only restrictions on this contest were that it had to be Minimate related (naturally) and contain the Multiverse logo.

There was one thing about this contest that seemed helpful at the time, but ended up making things more difficult.
The hard part about this contest was that they allowed up to five entries per person. Sure that sounds great until you use up tons of time on your first entry and end up rushing through the others just to meet the deadline. Sure I didn't need to create five entries, but more entries been better odds, right? Actually, not in this contest. A panel of judges chose a single entry from each person which then went on to be voted on by the community.

My problem was/is that I lack confidence in my judging abilities. I wasn't sure that people would prefer the entries that I liked. So I submitted as many as possible to cover all my bases.


The first one I started working on was this graffiti image. Unfortunately I didn't start in a widescreen resolution so there is only the 4:3 ratio available. All the tags are names of various members of the MMMV board at the time. Most of them are still active, though not as prolific as they once were. Not that I'm complaining, I don't post near as much as I used to. Life just gets in the way.

There are also a handful of geeky references scattered throughout. Some are obvious, some are only evident if you're familiar the source material. I won't explain them here because that would ruin all the fun.

I wanted to make the background sterile and cold to divert attention to center of the image. Looking back, it really could have used some shading to add depth. I spent all that effort on the lighting, I can't believe I ignored the shading.

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Here's the phone-it-in entry. The color and gradients are nice, but the pose is not at all what I intended. It was supposed to look like the Minimate is standing above you as if you were some vanquished foe. It ends up looking like the Minimate is laying on its back with its legs wide open. An interesting message to be sure, but not the one I was trying to convey.

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Yay, giant Minimate robots... driven by Minimates. How's that for inspirational? Okay maybe that's not going to inspire anyone, but it's still cool. I wonder how many crew members it would take to operate these vehicles. I think the one with the red background probably only needs the single pilot, but the first one is just so much more massive. There's got to be a whole team in the torso flipping switches and turning cranks.

The only thing I don't like about these two wallpapers are the backgrounds. For a desktop wallpaper, you have to walk a fine line between simple and interesting. Of course you want it to be interesting, but it has to be subdued enough that you can find whatever icons or shortcuts are on your desktop. I think these two tripped over that fine line and fell into the pit of garishness.

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Yep, I admit it. I saved my favorite for last. Even as I was working on this one, I knew it was going to turn out well. The infinite horizon, the glowing particles, even the faint glow on the ground looks good. It's very sparse and uncomplicated, only needing simple blocks of color to indicate the Minimate form.

Apparently other people liked this one as well. It was chosen as the best of my five entries and eventually went on to win the contest. If you want to check out the other great entries here is the post for Round 1 and Round 2. Here's the main contest thread complete with commentary and inane questions from yours truly.

I've often wondered if this Minimate carried the MMMV cube on his journey through the dark plains. Or maybe he found it during his travels. Was it buried, the glow only showing through cracks in the dried crust? Or did he see it in the distance calling to him like a beacon? Is he tossing it in the air, or is it hovering above his hand? How much dangerous radiation is it emitting? What would happen if he were to shake it? Hard? Would it make a good pet? Do pandas make good pets? Can I grow bamboo in a semi-arid climate? Can I use bamboo to make a blow dart gun? Is it possible to subdue a panda with a blow dart gun? Where's my thribble?