Retained CTO. First public commission. Other statements.

Friday, 14 June, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

The good news is that I've managed to retain the help of Marti McCuller for the S.MG project.

The deal is that she puts in no less than 20 hours a week for a year, consisting principally of supervision of the untanglement of any codeballs that may in the course of business need untangling as well as supervision of software design. In the good tradition of software engineering, "supervision" means, of course, "do it yourself if you can't find somebody who can do it". She will have no game design nor art responsibilities (so if the quests or graphics suck you'll have to argue with someone else).

In compensation she's agreed to take 10.85 mn shares issued under a SSW at 1.2 par callable in six months. Consequently, as per 3.1(e) a Special Stock Warrant is hereby issued, as follows :

Hash: SHA1

Under the terms of the S.MG Initial Public Offering Agreement is
hereby issued this

		Special Stock Warrant #2

Today the 14th of June, 2013 at 3:00 AM GMT, stipulating that on
or after December 14th, 2013 AE3A51FA6C038A5B4D3FE80FBD7C5558DD9EFA14
shall be issued 10`850`000 new S.MG shares upon payment of
1`302.0 BTC to S.MG.

S.MG will not process or administer any assignments of this Warrant
by or among third parties. The administration of any such contracts
remains the sole responsibility of the respective parties involved.
S.MG will honor partial conversion into shares of this Warrant,
under the reservation that conversions of less than 1 million shares
will be charged a 1 BTC processing fee.
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)


The SSW Table is updated as follows :

# Fingerprint Shares BTC Pari
1 6160E1CAC8A3C52966FD76998A736F0E2FB7B452 88`096`605 8`809.6605 1
2 AE3A51FA6C038A5B4D3FE80FBD7C5558DD9EFA14 10`850`000 1`302.0 1.2
T 98`946`605 10`111.6605 1.02193

    The first order of business is to select an amenable game engine, a process which ideally should not extend for more than two weeks.

    To best use this interval, S.MG will organise a drawing contest open to the community.

    The specifications are as follows : 2048x1536 pixels png, medieval setting (this means no spaceships and no space explosions, sorry).

    What you do : The splash screen for our flagship game. This includes the once in a lifetime opportunity to name it.ii

    What you get : Winner gets 1.337 BTCiii because he's so cool, mention by name on the game credits and likely plenty of more work in the not-so-distant futureiv. Other participants may also get further commissions, the entire "winner" thing is more symbolic than anything. Pretty much anyone participating with good stuffv is going to be a winner, because here at S.MG a winner is you.

    By submitting artwork you warrant and represent that you have the right to do so, and you assign the rights thereof to S.MG. Please leave a link in the comment section under this article, we don't review emailed files or privately sent links. Results will be announced Jun 28th. The viewing public is encouraged to offer its own critique, but teh artists may rest easy in the secure knowledge that S.MG management doesn't really care what anyone says.

    1. In hBTCs, which is to say half BTCs. As previously explained, the logical subdivisions of the Bitcoin will work by two zeroes, so you'll have a qBTC, quarter Bitcoin = 100 satoshi or 0.000001 full BTC, a hBTC, half Bitcoin = 10000 satoshi or 0.0001 full BTC and a tqBTC, three quarter Bitcoin = 1000000 satoshi or 0.01 full BTC. Out of the total eight places available, 2/6, 4/4, 6/2 respectively. Makes sense dunnit. []
    2. ThickAsThieves Tying the splash design, to the name, to potentially (i assume) the entire concept definition is a large bet.
      mircea_popescu It is. It's there to signify exactly how open this shit is. The artist can run with it. I mean it. I let him name it, it's a symbol of creative control. I want it to be that.

      ThickAsThieves Odds are extrenely low this one impressive artist will solve even 20% of all that's needed.
      mircea_popescu True. But the entire art needs to be centered around a pillar, for coherence.

      ThickAsThieves What I picture is a table of inspired individuals, brainstorming on the concept. Because the concept art and concept of gameplay all tie.
      mircea_popescu That'll be game #2, the stable having been created through work.

      ThickAsThieves I see.
      mircea_popescu I believe in work. People show themselves working. People shying away from work aren't worth the time. Etc.

      ThickAsThieves I agree.


    3. Before you give way to the urge to tell me that, and I quote, "If you raised it about a hundred times, you'd reach the point where you'd be playing in the small leagues" - there's two kinds of people who call themsevels artists in this world. The first is actual artists, people who produce art. The second is teahouse artists, people who produce a misplaced sense of selfentitlement, large volumes of oral pop-philosophy and die lonely, painful deaths. []
    4. Perhaps you've heard this a million times, but this time it's different because S.MG actually has ~9k BTC amassed together for pretty much this very purpose. So, if you know a career-making opportunity when you see one then this is it. []
    5. And if your talents aren't flat art as much as 3D models or whatever, stay tuned, there's going to be stuff for you, too. []
    Category: S.MG
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    32 Responses

    1. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Friday, 14 June 2013

      In the interest of saving everyone a lot of time :

      ThickAsThieves mp, were you unable to find a suitable artist from our previous conversation? Assuming that was a precursor to S.MG.
      mircea_popescu A willingness to be open and give people chances should NEVER be construed as my inability. I expect a pedestal for this.

      ThickAsThieves Haha it was just an honest question.
      mircea_popescu And I gave a honest answer.

      ThickAsThieves Maybe i shouldnt have said 'unable'.
      mircea_popescu Sersiously, I think the best way to go is open and I'm trying to implement that. Bitcoin generally needs a lot of it and I think to a large degree the problem is people never saw an open model at work. This for the record includes the -dev neckbeards.

      ThickAsThieves Can you also clarify the payment for the artist? I see your explanation but it reads like reptilia speak to me.
      mircea_popescu So ask.

      ThickAsThieves What does the chosen artist get in BTC? Plz use commas not points if appropriate.
      mircea_popescu You mean the guy we use the spashscreen of ? 1.337. One whole bitcoin adn a little over a third of another.

      ThickAsThieves Hrm. Then i'll be the first annoying guy to tell you it's too low. Not because i dont think people will submit or that its not an opportunity but simply because it's worth more than that for someones art and experience.
      mircea_popescu Hey, I don't care. People need to understand that you get nothing for nothing. They want to be involved, they sacrifice a little of their time and make a drawing. They can't, they won't, there's no deal. Once they do that we can talk. Before, they have nothing to stand on.

      ThickAsThieves It's not the best method for quality.
      mircea_popescu Alternatively someone can come to me and show me he's super-trusted for his artistry in the wot. Somehow I doubt that'd happen tho.

      ThickAsThieves Why didn't you use this method to choose the CTO?
      mircea_popescu Art is fungible. Code management is not.

      ThickAsThieves You underestimate the power of commercial art.
      mircea_popescu How you mean ?

      ThickAsThieves Well it's not a new thing. You do not value aesthetic it seems, nor marketing values.
      mircea_popescu ...

      jcpham Based on the naked chicks, I'm saying mircea_popescu values aethetics.
      mircea_popescu Looky. Let's segment this to understand each other better. Types of people who think they produce art : A. people with a history, who get paid well already. B. people with talent but no history. C. idiots who produce garbage.

      ThickAsThieves I'm with you there.
      mircea_popescu Now, A is likely to be already overpaid, as per Peter's principle. My basic management rulebook says "never compete in crowded markets". So, I am not VERY interested in A. I don't need their name, and I don't need their farts. The only way we can work together is if they're not ossified old farts. B has a serious problem in that it wants to be A, in many cases it should be A, however... it's not A. These are the people I want. I can help them, they can help me, we can go far together. Now, your contention is that B will be too pretentious to recognise a helping hand when one's extended, and only C will contribute. That's fine. I will at least be able to say (as so many times before), hey community ? you had your opportunity. Get the free account when it's free, that way you won't have to bitch about paying 30 btc.

      ThickAsThieves Yes, but while A would put you in heavy competition there is still competition for B as well, and what you offer, both in BTC and in opportunity, is quite uncertain.

      mircea_popescu How's it uncertain ? If the game is a success they'll be the new famous guy.
      ThickAsThieves If.

      mircea_popescu Well listen, the cto took ssws. If the stock never gets past 1.2 she gets zilch. I took ssws too for that matter. This is what it means to be in a start-up. The only reason I'm even contemplating the Bs is this. Otherwise I'd just hire A and piss over everyone. Not like I can't do so.

      ThickAsThieves do you know how many if opportunities a good but not successful artist gets? Most turn out to be losses.
      mircea_popescu His job to pick and choose. I think the arguments here are well made.

      ThickAsThieves There is indeed a crowded market in B.
      mircea_popescu No argument.

      ThickAsThieves It's on your side. People wanting free art for opportunity.
      mircea_popescu it's crowded both ways. Full of people trying to get something done for free. Just, in this case, it's quite clear I can't take it and run. Da fuck am I gonna do with a splashscreen.

      ThickAsThieves The decenly talented and undiscovered mostly know better than to enter evert free contest and cross their fingers.
      mircea_popescu This is a theory. As far as I can see, it's trivial do distinguish C from B. seeing how teh B need me to become A... no brainer. But I guess this may take some thinking to sink in.

      ThickAsThieves They have whole organizations educating them to know better etc
      mircea_popescu Yeah. Organisations sponsored by an alliance of the A, trying to prevent the B from A-ing, and the large corps, trying to prevent S.MG from killing them. This is all fine and good, but an artist needs to turn off the tv once in a while.

      ThickAsThieves Mostly spawned from hating crowdsourcing and people asking for free art all the time.
      mircea_popescu No, that's what it masquerades as, but in fact it's a BSA.

      ThickAsThieves I do agree that a good artist will be inspired to speculate on the right project, you simply present nothing to show it might be one.
      mircea_popescu Srsly ?!
      ThickAsThieves Yes. Just because YOU are sure of something, does not mean you have communicated its value. I've had a number of guys with money and the next big idea come thru my doors wanting freebies and cheapies. Some had my ear. Some were shown the door, few were obliged. Communicating and convincing of their idea was crucial.

      mircea_popescu Hey, I understand what you're saying. In the end the discussion always is should I stick to the dayjob or should I take the plunge. I can see why artists get queasy when they're put in the same position developers have had (and thrived in!) for decades now. But in the end... it's what it is.

      ThickAsThieves Being funded is only good enough, if you are passing on real pay. Being funded and wanting free, kinda nullifies things. Now if you had some awesome concept and something that could motivate people to rally behind you you'd get free easily. Hell you paid 10btc when they worth more for people to photochop a rape scene and look at the crap you got.
      mircea_popescu ThickAsThieves that is EXACTLY why I don't believe paying helps. People like to run their mouth. Lazy butts who know already they won't do it are finding this excuse. If this wasn't here it'd be another.

      ThickAsThieves Why not offer stock options then.
      mircea_popescu I don't offer stock options to people just walking in the door. If their submission impresses the ssw is certainly on the table.

      ThickAsThieves Isn't that already the stipulation?
      mircea_popescu Hm ?

      ThickAsThieves That it impresses?
      mircea_popescu Well maybe this isn't obvious, so let's go through the process. Artist sees the article. Instead of going "o, I am an enchanted unicorn, I should be sent cookies!" or "oh, I saw on tv contests are badmkay" he goes cool, let's see what I can do. So he sits down and makes a 2k px thing and posts it. Now, avenue A : I'm an asshole and steal his 2k px poster. I print it and hang it in my bedroom. Avenue B : it's good enough, he gets the task of making fifty game sprites as so and so, and how much would he like to be paid for this ?

      peterl So the art contest is more of a job application for artists to get work from S.MG?
      mircea_popescu Exactly.

      ThickAsThieves But you say no such thing in your post, right?
      mircea_popescu Well I guess I'm an idiot then ? SEEMS OBVIOUS TO ME!!!

    2. So you got tired of other people's mmorpgs and now you're making your own?

    3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Friday, 14 June 2013

      That and they kinda all suck also.

    4. When is the deadline for submitting work? If it's the same as the deadline for announcing results, is there a cut-off time?

    5. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Sunday, 16 June 2013

      I intend to announce the 1.337 prize at the same time as the game engine, but that aside I don't intend to ever close this. For as long as this MMORPG will be in active development, the only way for artists to join the project will be through submitting some actual work they may be judged on. For now it's a splash screen as described, if the needs change the requirement may morph into something else, but basically there will always be an open quest here.

    6. nubbins`s avatar
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      PR gave me a hard time about not posting this through the proper channels, so here you go:


    7. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      Lol. Why are you posting a .jpg ?

    8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      D'oh. I guess if you don't specify people just assume.


    10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      No, actually, I like the hermine better.

    11. nubbins`s avatar
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      Kings didn't wear suits in medieval times.

      I can also provide a hi-res .tiff, if you're thinking of doing a billboard campaign.

    12. Vexare`s avatar
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      Kafka had a suspensio dubitas castle.

    13. nubbins`s avatar
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      Apologies for the filetype; I actually had saved a .png, but imgur apparently converts uploads to .jpg.

      Here's a version in the correct format:

      I made some minor changes to make those yellow spermy things look more like wheat (there was some confusion), because the wheat is an important point. More details on this can be found in the relevant discussion thread at

    14. Vexare`s avatar
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      What you've got to work with: 2048×1536 pixels

      Why 3mpx?

    15. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 18 June 2013

      Well it's a start.


      Same wallet address as above.

    17. likehiro`s avatar
      Tuesday, 25 June 2013

      Here is my submit:

      Hope you like it. My bitcoin address is:

    18. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 25 June 2013

      No doubt the best one so far.

    19. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Tuesday, 25 June 2013

      The problems, of course, are that the image you entered is 1024x768, whereas the spec requires 2048x1536, and the image you entered is a .jpg whereas the spec requires .png.

    20. likehiro`s avatar
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      Oh, sorry for that, I made the drawing in that resolution but I uploaded it in 1024x768 for a preview :P

      Here is the PNG in the original size :)!154&authkey=!AJiizutBdZNbRoc

    21. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

      Seems whatever storage thing is broken ?

    22. likehiro`s avatar
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      You have to copy the complette address because the direct link finish at the "!" (I don't know why). Try that, I can open it, it's in my own skydrive ;D

    23. likehiro`s avatar
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      Or try it!

      It's the same address with a shorter version (I have no idea that Skydrive has that tool).

    24. Espaniya y u no dropboxu?

    25. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      Yeah, mind using dropbox or something similar ? That page just fails to load.

    26. You might want to consider getting rid of jumbontu bloatweru. It worx.

    27. likehiro`s avatar
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      Here is it again but now in dropbox!

    28. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      @likehiro Ah, now it's fine. Thank you.

    29. likehiro`s avatar
      Wednesday, 26 June 2013

      If you want I can finish it, fill with colour or make a wallpaper like an antique drawing or something.

      My bitcoin address is:

    30. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
      Mircea Popescu 
      Thursday, 27 June 2013

      Congrats likehiro, you've won this one. Payment sent.

      Please create a gpg identity for yourself (if you also register it with gribble I will rate you in the WoT) and report back (on IRC, please. I'm mircea_popescu).

    1. [...] in turn will affect results. [↩]For scoring purposes : this is the 2nd two week term. The previous one we beat by two days, making the score S.MG 1 : BitWorld 0. [↩]The licenses at work do not [...]

    2. [...] Prize for drawing contest [...]

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