Meet the Supporting Characters

Just designed a bunch of characters for the Steampunkables to go along with the Tinker. Take a look and let me know what you think. I’m creating the bone structure/backstory for each of them next as they will be characters you interact with in the immersive storytelling.

Steampunkables Group

Characters are from left to right: Fox Stomper; Piranda Bear, Trigger, Vickie Mouse, Wired Wabbit, and Monkeno.  These are in addition to our main time traveling character of The Tinker (see section on him below).

Things are progressing with Steam Center too in Second Life and Maya, but the Google Earth geometry for Town Center has some rather unusual UV mapping that needs to be remapped. I figure I’ll do the buildings in 3 stages: 2013 (current style), 1800s (Victorian style), and 2525 (Technosteampunk style).   We’re still looking for volunteers. So if you’d like to help out with the Steampunkables project, contact Joey Aboma in Second Life.

Here is a view of the Steampunkables sim as things progress with development on the LEA23 sim in the virtual world of Second Life.


The Tinker in ColorThe Tinker” is accidentally transported to the year 2525. Technology and his Steampunkables friends have changed a lot in Steam Center. 

This immersive story is being created inside of the virtual world of Second Life on the LEA 23 sim by David Fliesen, who is an artist in residence with the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) and a student of Media Arts & Animation at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach.  This is being developed as the beginnings of TechnoSteampunk, which is a new sub genre to Steampunk. Click here if you would like to learn more about the environment that is being built with Google Earth, Maya, and Second Life.

Learn about the Steampunkification of “Town Center” from Virginia Beach into the “Steam Center” of the year 2525.

Town Center in Maya 9 Aug 2013

And here is the hotel made up from prims after tracing the shapes from the collada file from Google Earth.

Twines Hotel prims in Second Life

Lets meet one of the Steampunkables characters being developed, an accidental inventor known simply as “The Tinker”:

SteampupStory of “The Tinker”

Once upon a time that never was, I sat on a stool in my shop and was…well tinkering…for that is what I do.  Reaching inside a box of unfinished inventions, my hand found something that shimmered in the dim light.  I often worked on things into the wee hours of the night only to put them back into the box again.  For one can never be quite sure what things might one day become.   Well to make a long story short (or is it the other way around)…I was looking at this pocket watch and trying to remember where it came from.  It looked oddly familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time.  So I went to working to fix it…for a tinker’s job is never done. And that is when something incredible happened…BOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

Smoke filled the room after the explosion and my head was spinning (more often than usual) as my eyes struggled to focus.  As I started to slowly see things around me, I hoped this wasn’t another life-altering accident (like that time I literally drank the hair of the dog that bit me just to end up with fur).  Many of the townspeople looked at me strangely after that thinking I might be playing with black magic or something.  But back to my story…as the room became visible again, I saw a world that was quite different from the one that I remembered.  For all kinds of devices were about that I had never seen.  I slowly explored this strange new world filled with technology and characters that bear a close resemblance to the human friends I knew from before but in a future world where they were animal like Steampunkables in a Steam Center of the future.  I looked down upon the watch wondering how such a little thing as that could take me into the year 2525…and if I would ever be able to return to a time and place that I called home again.


123D Catch

I digitized the clay model of the Tinker to start a path to bring this Steampunkable character into Second Life.  Shown below is the process I used:


  1. Using the iPhone app 123D Catch, I took 31 photos of the clay model I designed.  I started with a high angle and slowly moved around the model to take pictures in a circle till I completely shot from all sides (about 15 photos) and then went closer to ground level shooting around the model on a second pass.  Finally I used my last few photos (since it warned me when I was down to last 10 photos) to get some closeup detail shots.
  2. It took me about 3 tries to get this right.  The videos on Autodesk’s tutorials for the app are quite useful (
  3. I switched from the iPhone version to open the saved render with the 123D Catch web version (, where I was able to isolate faces and peal away some of the base to isolate the 3D model.
  4. Next I exported out the model to OBJ format to use in other applications.  Autodesk warns you that OBJ export is normally only for premium members (which runs $99 per year), but they are letting you do them for free right now (but not sure how long that is for).
  5. I opened the model in Maya 2014 (the student version is free) and started to cleanup the geometry and fill in the holes.
  6. I dropped a corner insert picture into the screenshot to also show you the complexity of the 3D geometry.  It is very complex with 57, 392 triangles. I will try out a few things over the next week to see what cleans up geometry best.  Sculptris (which is free) has both reduced brush & reduce selected options for simplifying models — but I will need to watch things or I may lose too much detail.

Modeling The Tinker

Here is a photo of the digitized version in Maya.  Click here for full details on how I did this using AutoDesk 123D Catch.  Ironically, the digital version was made using technology on a timepiece device (smart phone).  You can see the color version of the 3D model on Autodesk 123D Catch at: Note that it only took a few minutes after class to take the pictures for the digital version. Amazing what smart phones can do these days.

On July 31st, I worked with clay for the first time sculpting the character.  Shown below are image(s) as this development evolves from day to day with baking of the model expected to be done on Aug 4th and acyclic painting applied in the following week.


The first character being developed is “The Tinker” who likes to fiddle with and invent things.  He is more of an accidental inventor of sorts.  He has somehow been projected into a future world of Steam Center as he comes to realize through his exploration in the year 2525.  As he explores these strange lands, The Tinker will meet other Steampunkables characters in a land of Technology and Steampunk.

Initial Clay Model

The TInker on Day 1

The model is made with Super Sculpey, armature construction wire (1/8 and 1/16 gauge), and aluminum foil.  The Steampunk hat and goggles will be modeled separately and are shown in front of the clay model of “The Tinker.”  What is shown above took between 1-2 hours to model.  I will continue to share as I progress on modeling this throughout the week.

Character Study Bone Development

Development of “The TInker” starter with basic ink drawing and evolved with character bone development to flesh out the characteristics and expressions to get a deeper sense of this character.  That was over a period of about one and a half weeks.  Here is a final character sheet on the Tinker.

Fliesen The Tinker 2


My inspiration for the Tinker character comes in part from my Yorkshire Terrier named “Hershey”