All Roads Lead to Rome interview

All Roads Lead to Rome - 3 MiniaturesWith All Roads Lead to Rome coming out, I wanted to find out more about Ian Lovecraft, the brains behind this (and other) beautiful looking Kickstarters.  Ian’s been teasing us with pieces for several months now.   He sent over a few miniatures that I printed on the Anycubic Photon (Resin printer) and they look outstanding, as you can see.  This Kickstarter has 3 pieces.  Piece 1: The miniatures – Several really nice sculps of Roman characters/NPCs.  Piece 2: Roman City Pack – This is streets, temples, trees, and a bunch of other great looking pieces to flesh out a city.  Piece 3: Underworld – This is places you find in their sewers and other “under the city” type areas.  If you are a Gangs of Rome fan, this is really a must by. It is kind of crazy how huge and ambitious this Kickstarter is.

Ian Lovecraft – Lovecraft Design & Manufacture

  • Please tell us a bit about yourself.
    • All Roads Lead to Rome -Reading a ScrollLovecraft is a company that is annexed to the engineering firm run by our family, with the same name. Essentially we provide consultation and design services to clients and production of engineered parts. About two years back I had the idea of starting up a small company which produced games related products, seeing that we had the design know how and machines to complete this task. With the onset of home 3D printing, there were a whole lot of new variables at play, this was bound to challenge conventional business models.
  • Tell us about the vision All Roads Lead to Rome. How did you come up with this idea?
    • Being a bit of a history buff, when creating terrain, I tend to always base my designs on existing historical structures and build work. Although I sometimes create fantasy set-ups, I am always held down by my historical knowledge to produce something which is feasible. I call this type of design an ‘Architectural Farce’, because it is a design based on reality but augmented for dramatization or exaggeration into the realms of fantasy.

      The Roman era was the ideal setting to strut a bit of history about on my models and produce some very interesting designs that would compliment gaming. Thus the idea of a ‘Roman’ theme Kickstarter project came about.

  • What miniatures/RPG games do you play?
    • I was trained in classical art, design and technical drawing, after which I did a masters in Industrial engineering and a PhD in Marine Engineering(Structural/Coastal). When I was a teenager I used to play Advanced Dungeon and Dragons, Middle-earth RPG and paint Ral Partha miniatures. I also did a lot of war-gaming with Ancients and Napoleonic, with the occasional bout of Citadel/Games Workshop Warhammer. At the moment, I occasionally play Ancients, or the Board game of the moment, when I can get my friends away from their wives, but this is not often.
  • What got you interested in modeling 3D Terrain for print?  – How long have you owned a 3D Printer and been making terrain?
    • I first came across 3D printing in Japan, Osaka in the 1990’s when I was working for Matsushita, were I used an industrial SLA type machine for prototyping. This was very cool, because the resin was in effect paid for by the company and I was free to design all kinds of new organic type shells for their products. Just between us, this is the first time I printed a ‘Hex’ terrain tile as a ‘test’, so Matsushita was probably one of the first companies to produce 3D printed game terrain tiles unwittingly.
  • This is your third Kickstarter. What did you learn in the previous Kickstarters that help with this new one?
    • Lovecraft Design and Manufacture will be releasing our third Kickstater ‘All Roads Lead to Rome’, start of June and we hope that the community will enjoy our designs and back our efforts. We have created what we believe is a very special project, which has a little bit of everything for the gaming community.In the past we have created Kickstarters that included both digital media format and resin cast pieces, but this seemed confusing to backers. So we have set about to re-structure how we are going to offer our products to our backers in future, more on this later.
  • What software do you use for your modeling?
    • Sculpting virtually on the software ‘Zbrush’ allows me to explore and let out my artistic side. Sculpting on my PC allows me to sculpt at a moments notice without the need to prepare tools for clay sculpting and then having to clean up when finished. My wife is certainly happy about this, because there is ‘Virtually'(Pun intended) no mess. I practice sculpting daily, usually creating a sculpt of the day which I put up on my Facebook for others to see and comment.

      I do linear 3D Modelling everyday as part of my work, it has become second nature to open up CAD and draw up whatever comes my way. I only use Autodesk products such as Autocad, 3D Max, Meshmixer, NetFab, A360, Fusion, Inventor and so on. I sometimes use Blender, and obviously Photoshop for all render post process display work.

  • It seems you have been teasing your Kickstarter for some time now. How long have you been working on All Roads Lead to Rome?
    • Our Kickstarter ‘All Roads Lead to Rome’ will be comprised of 100% 3D printable designs distributed in digital media format. There will be three main packs, a ‘City of Rome’ pack, a ‘Miniatures Pack’ and an ‘Underworld’ dungeon pack. We have offered terrain tiles before, similar to what we will be offering in our city and underworld pack, but the miniatures pack will be a first for us and for many in the community.The ‘City of Rome’ pack will include an incredible collection of approximately one hundred tiles which will span from inter-provincial grand Roman highways, to city streets and will include the famous ‘Appian way’ with countryside scenery. This scenery includes a set of realistic sculpted trees which I believe is also a first for the community. We will also be featuring a new type of tile which we call the ‘Block’ which is basically a rectangular block the size of a 2×2 tile that allows normal base tiles to clip onto a crown fitting on top, thus allowing multilevel scenes. This pack makes use of the ‘Block’ to create the possibility of a multilevel city accessed by ramps, steps and cut under by viaducts, a simple but effective design. The pack will include shops, plazas, house fronts, roof tops and inner city walls with ramparts. There is just too much to list here.The ‘Underworld’ pack will feature the sewer and catacombs levels of Rome, hosting approximately 75 tiles that draw out the Roman underworld that exists under it’s streets. Fertile ground for RPG adventures, this pack hosts everything you need for a good dungeon crawl.

      The ‘Roman Miniatures’ pack includes a set of 20 master miniatures, although more are included in the stretch goals. These miniatures are basically masters that have been sculpted with great detail, but optimized for 3D printing. Each miniature has a story and place in our virtual Rome and are very close to my heart. This miniature edition will be exclusive and limited to this Kickstarter as a one time distribution through digital media format. Once the Kickstarter finishes, they will no longer be available in digital media format, at which point we intend to physically re-sculpt for extra detail and produce Resin model versions for sale on our website.

      We believe that this is the fairest option for all. The 3D printing community will get first and exclusive dibs at the models in digital media format through the Kickstarter, effectively paying for the design stage of the product. Then all the other gamers who do not have access, or use 3D printers can later enjoy these same models in Resin, with a slightly higher grade of detail. We plan to use this approach for future miniature sets to come and hope that backers will collect and look forward to our new releases.

      My greatest regret with this project is that Although the project spans into hundreds of models, I have not been able to produce all the Roman related designs I have locked up in my head. When I first started designing the models and miniatures, I found that I was producing dozens of tiles a day, but yet covering very little ground. I then realised that a project this large could not be released in just one project. I had to decide what designs to keep and which to leave to one side, thus streamlining the Kickstarter into something manageable. So if backers show their appreciation for this theme and my work, I am more than happy to create a Rome II release. I certainly think it was the right choice of theme, because it is so diverse, and I really hope that backers will enjoy the virtual world we have created.

I’d like to thank Ian Lovecraft for taking time out of his schedule to answer these questions.  I’ve been looking forward to this Kickstarter since he started showing it off.  All Roads Lead to Rome has been funding for a day, and has already crashed through the first several stretch goals.  I’ll admit, the elephants are a stretch goal I have my eyes on.  That sounds awesome.