Whilst there were several Korean students dropping in from time to time, it was obvious to the team at ICCF17 that there was a severe lack of young involved in the field. This is not surprising, there are nearly twice the number of people on earth now as there were adults that could have seen the 1989 announcement (1971 to todays population figures). In the intervening years the few that did witness the events then became jaded by the offensive against the findings and were then unlikely to pass on the story. Most likely the recollection if given, was negative.
The majority of the worlds young are in developing nations and many of them are distracted by handheld smart devices and associated entertainment, just like their western counterparts. Where ever the young is, it is they and the planet we leave them, that are in most need of the benefit that the New Fire would bring.
We decided that if we were going to have a real chance of bringing this thing to the world, we would not only have to take the scientists that have laboured in the shadows, with us, but we would have to find a way of capturing the imagination of the young. Only with a holistic approach could we ever hope to convince the politicians and industry when we had something, that it was worth investigating. It is one thing to have a load of technical stuff to wade though, but if a decision makers kid starts asking if their parents have heard of this really cool thing - then they might just pay attention. Pester power is a prime energy all of its own!
Bob suggested he could offer his animation and graphic design companies talents and associations to bring a mascot character to the project that might help a wider and younger audience learn about the science. So as soon as he had the Quantum Heat website cobbled together, he started work on the character concept.
With a few ideas he contacted his business associate Mark Teague in California. Mark was trained at Disney and worked on their number 2s (strait to DVD animations) as well as working at Lions Gate Films and Marvel (even drawing new characters for Stan Lee!). He was really excited about what we were trying to do with the MFMP and said he would help Bob with the concept. Essentially Bob called for a friendly engineer, like a plumer that was to be a fusion of a number of the potential reactor shapes from the field. He would be called "Delta Pyro... Commander of the New Fire" with the characters name being derived from the Greek for 'change fire'.
So on the 21st September 2012, a character shape design lineup was posted to the team to see if we wanted to adopt one. You can see it here.
At the time Bob commented
"So... Tin Man is good - how good can a boiler look? Basically - a steel man, rivets - a bit steam punkt but not copper with a "window" like a Nautilus sub portal into his glowing heart. Arms would maybe be cable to power sockets for backs of hands. Legs would be gas line feeders to storage vessels
The team quickly came to a decision and on the 24th September 2012, Mark posted back a sketch, that had a little adjustment to become the basis of our mascot. You can see him on the right.
And so the artists started work on the modelling the following day.
By the 6th October, the character was beginning to take shape
Not sure we like the skin on the head, he is meant to be a tin man, but it does humanise him. We then set about digitally sculpting a set of expressions for him which were largely concluded by 11th October, some of them you can see here.
Buy the 15th October, the halo animation effect was taking shape. See an earlier animation test here.
By the 25th October, the painstaking re-topology of the expressions was well underway, this will allow for facial animation and use in game engines.
Here is a quick expression test from the 29th Oct.
All the parts were then merged together and the character rigged, that is a animation skeleton was placed into the character and configured to control the various parts of our friends body. This allows us to animate him as we wish.
Our first body movement animation test of Delta Pyro is here.
Where you come in!
We are going to be supplying 3D prints of Delta Pyro for you to play with or give as gifts. He will be one of the many exciting pledge rewards you can choose from in our Kickstarter (look out for the imminent post). If you have any comments for our friend, model/texture/animation ideas, what poses he should be supplied in etc. let us know. We don't want to give too much away about how we see him looking as you likely will have a better idea!
Should we put high quality renders on t-shirts? Any ideas like this for maximising how we can capitalise on him will be greatly appreciated.
NOTE: No donors money has been spent in developing this character, this was purely funded by Bob and created by his own companies artists as a donation to the project.