Today’s a big day in Kirby Krackle land. Our new album Mutate, Baby! is out today!
Holy crap we worked hard on this, and that goes double for Kyle, who not only writes and sings all the tunes, but does it while keeping the KK Patreon Fan Club going with two extra songs per month and organizing our annual KRACKLEFEST show which coincides with Emerald City Comic Con.
You can now download and use Unreal Engine 4 for free. There’s a royalty free required if/when your game makes a certain amount of money. This is pretty huge and apparently part of a trend: the new version of Unity and the forthcoming Source 2 game engines are going to be free as well.
Citing a bloated cost structure that keeps the company from achieving historical profitability, new CEO Darrell Webb fires 42 corporate executives, including the last remnant of Mike Pratt’s team, as well as 28 regional managers. Music Trades reports that the company is down to $10 million in available cash after Christmas.
The constant, smarmy mantra of impenetrability and infallibility has finally been dispelled. Their new executives have, at long last, ceased the comedy routine about how Guitar Center’s stores are always profitable no matter how many times Standard & Poor’s declares them technically in default, or that a billion dollar of debt is totally normal and wonderful and manageable. In a recent email, Webb explains the firings with the dry rationale of needing to be profitable, and foreshadowed that the company will “continue to seek efficiencies.” We seem to be hearing much less about that $3 billion in future revenue and much more about the jobs yet to be cut.
It sounds like a lot to you and me but in the scope of a business like Guitar Center, $10 million is nothing. Crippling debt and a business model that only made sense in the pre-internet era. As the author elsewhere describes it, a charmless “catalog with walls.”
Cool short documentary on the puppeteers that brought Jabba the Hutt to life. Designed by Phil Tippett (the very same), Jabba was at the time the largest puppet they’d ever assembled and manipulated by three of Jim Henson’s Muppet puppeteers.
Also, here’s a Tested episode that visits Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and explores the evolution of puppetry in SFX:
I love seeing the all the mechanical bits that make these puppets work. When I was a kid I wanted to make an E.T. puppet but only got as far as carving up a few foam blocks. I should have been paying as much attention to Tippett as I did to Harryhausen back then.
(Also why do some people hate The Dark Crystal? That movie rules.)