Summer Updates, Some More Info

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Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby balder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:13 pm

Hey please don't jump too hard on the posters who are saying they're not fond of the switch to prose. I want people's real reactions, and I was expecting this to be kind of a jarring switch for some readers.

It was a weird shift for me, too. Moving back to prose from comic panels, I gained certain channels of information at the expense of others. You might notice we never used thought balloons in Book 1. We kept it purely cinematic. Well, in the summer updates I am still avoiding something like: "I wonder if flying units have different altitude limits," thought Parson, looking up at the incoming dwagons. But I will use an in-head narrator voice like: Jillian was getting seriously sick of this topic. She scowled at Vinny to discourage any more discussion along those lines.

I can also do things that would be ridiculously hard to depict in the comic. In an upcoming update, I have Vinny reaching into his cape to feed and pet his remaining bats. This addresses the general question of bat storage and is kind of a weird/fun little Erfworld moment that I can do in one sentence, but would be really hard to show in panels.

When I started writing these, I wasn't sure I liked the medium, for a lot of the same reasons that some people are saying in the forums. I thought about ditching it. But since I have gotten into it, I have come up with some stuff I think most readers will really like. So hang with us.

Here's some more information about what we're doing this Summer.

First, don't expect a real story. At least not in the sense of "tension building to a climax and denouement." This is a series of snapshots in the interstitial period between the first two major stories. Think of it as "some conversations between Luke and Han and Leia as they had to move the rebel base from Yavin to Hoth." Interesting, but the real story began at the start of Empire Strikes Back, when the new base is discovered and there's dramatic tension again.

Second, we're cannibalizing the epilogues. There were supposed to be two epilogues at the end of the physical book, in the form of illustrated short stories. With the book not coming out any time soon (we're still hunting a publisher and may have to self-publish, rather than let that process drag on), we figured it wouldn't be fair to let these plot developments happen offline where nobody could read them. Everyone wants to know about Stanley's reaction to the events at Gobwin Knob. So we're showing them as the first of the updates. After that, we will break up the other epilogue, which deals with Jillian going to meet Don King.

Beyond that, expect little vignettes that hint at what's going on in the broader war, over about 90-100 turns' worth of time. There will be some interesting developments that I don't want to spoil, but there won't be a bang to end on. The first bang is reserved for the opening of Book 2.

We're doing it this way for a lot of reasons. It gives me time to script Book 2 and Jamie time to start on a buffer for that, so updates won't have to be as sporadic when we start it. We can answer a lot of basic Erfworld questions in these updates (like, how are cities rebuilt?) that would be clunky to do in dialog panels. We can show off more of the world, too. I mean how much did you really learn about Rivendell or the Mines of Moria from the movies, versus reading the trilogy? There's only so much a comic page can convey.

So take it in stride. Take it as a breather. It's like reading a travel book vs. going there. Real comics will start in a few months. Thanks, guys.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby raphfrk » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:01 pm

balder wrote: But I will use an in-head narrator voice like:


When I first read the text, my initial assumption was that it was Parson speaking (like in the klogs). When Parson is referred to in the 3rd person in the second paragraph, it is jarring. However, if all the rest of the updates use the same narrator, then it isn't really an issue.

Also, by in-head narrator, presumably, you mean a narrator who can read minds?

I notice you have changed the comic archive link to a drop down. Is it your intention to have the summer pages as an option there, or are you guys just creating it early for book 2?

Also, do the summer updates have a name?

If the panel by panel wiki pages are being to be extended to include them, it is worth having a reasonable title.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby balder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:08 pm

Well, by in-head narrator I don't really mean a narrator character per se. I mean the narrative voice will be able to relate things inside the viewpoint character's head, and the viewpoint character will often change. With an English degree, I should be able to rattle off the correct terms for these things, but I forget them and can't be bothered to look them up right now. :lol:

The archive for the summer updates will be browsable by category of post. We may make a separate archive for them. We're still in development for this site, so things will be changed and mistakes will be made (like losing the forum formatting). Book 2 will definitely be a separate archive, so that's why the drop-down went in.

In terms of a better name for the Summer Updates, I am open to suggestions. "First Intermission" maybe? Dunno.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby doran » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:10 pm

Rob,
Thanks for explaining some of your thoughts on the shift in summer updates.
I do have to say I was a little jarred by the format of the post,as it looked more
like a normal news post. Maybe erfying it a little like the k-logs?

That said, I enjoyed the writing shift, and the speculation into the design
influence of the Gobwin Knob mk.II.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby raphfrk » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:44 pm

balder wrote: "First Intermission" maybe? Dunno.


Sounds good, I will use that.

doran wrote:Rob,
Thanks for explaining some of your thoughts on the shift in summer updates.
I do have to say I was a little jarred by the format of the post,as it looked more
like a normal news post. Maybe erfying it a little like the k-logs?


Ofc, there is a balance for them between effort required and update frequency :).
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby SteveMB » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:07 pm

balder wrote:Well, by in-head narrator I don't really mean a narrator character per se. I mean the narrative voice will be able to relate things inside the viewpoint character's head, and the viewpoint character will often change. With an English degree, I should be able to rattle off the correct terms for these things, but I forget them and can't be bothered to look them up right now. :lol:


"Omniscient Narrator" is the term I remember one of the humanities courses they made the engineering students take so that they wouldn't beome total philistines. :lol:
Is this a real holy war, or just a bunch of deluded boopholes croaking each other?
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Pax » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:29 pm

balder wrote:[...] With the book not coming out any time soon (we're still hunting a publisher and may have to self-publish, rather than let that process drag on), [...]

You might want to contact Howard Taylor, over at www.schlockmercenary.com ... he publishes his own stuff, and has recently branched out into publishing the works of others. I've no idea what, if anything, they might be able to work out with you ... but at the very least, he seems the sort of person to give you some useful advice just to be neighborly. 8-)
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Thydron » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:34 pm

i'd agree that the change in format is a bit of a shock, but i think it'll probably grow on us.

one thing though - in the first post about book 2 on the website you said
Book 2 takes place a lot of days/turns ahead of the end of Book 1. That's the "narrative distance" I mentioned in the GiantITP forums.

but from what you've been saying since it seems like book two will be set after book 1?
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby konmanrocks » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:36 pm

hey, im just happy we have something to live off of until the second book picks up!
great job, keep it up!
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Nebulious » Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:51 pm

I like it, very Watchmenesque. All I hope is that the same narrator voice is maintained from the first two comics.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby KBF » Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:24 am

Thanks for understanding. I like having the updates, and I'm enjoying it so far, but I don't think people have to ignore the fact that it's different, and people have a right to comment on that fact.

Anyway, [/drama]. I look forward to the summer updates, it will be nice to see the smaller scenes.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby jioan » Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:01 am

To tell you the truth I'm glad I get anything between books. Also, it's a little bonus that these will appear more often than the regular comic.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby BarGamer » Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:12 am

Another name for "Summer Updates," huh? Hrm...

The Return of the Croaked, The Ash Settles, Book 1 Epilogic Twees, Elvis Has Left the Building, As the Erf Turns, Meanwhile, Back at the Wanch..., Charlie Flips Through the Channels, Turns Fly When You're Having Fun, The Turning Point, Book 1.5, Fawwout, Hamstard Presents...

I think that's enough for tonight. XD
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Lord ivy » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:07 am

I myself am enjoying it. One of the things I really love about Erfworld in general is how unique the world and storytelling is, I just see these updates as another facet of that uniqueness . It seems to be a very good medium to give the reader valuable info in a short period of time and I am always starving for more info :)
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Pax » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:55 am

Lord ivy wrote:I myself am enjoying it. One of the things I really love about Erfworld in general is how unique the world and storytelling is, I just see these updates as another facet of that uniqueness . It seems to be a very good medium to give the reader valuable info in a short period of time and I am always starving for more info :)


........ what he said, word for word. :D
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby BlackDwagon » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:15 pm

Personally, I really enjoy getting to know more about what is going on and what the mechanics of Erfworld are, knowing what is happening is great, but knowing how the world around will react gives a new depth to the story.

Cheers!
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Ilari » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:43 am

I like these updates, especially the chance to learn more about the "game mechanics" of Erfworld. I see what people mean about the format shift being jarring, though. In my case, the problem is that when reading a comic, my eyes are trained to go straight to the big rectangular graphic and ignore everything around it. Now, however, we're getting blocks of typical webpage-article-formatted text next to a big single panel. Part of my brain goes "Ooh! A comic!" and pulls my attention towards the image, while another part is saying "Wait wait wait, what's this say? No... Stop.. Look up here..."

Obviously, you need to fit the text to the width of the image and put big black borders around them both so I can pretend it's a comic. :mrgreen:
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby gameboy1234 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:22 pm

I like the Summer Updates just fine. The first was a little jarring with the switch in narrative voice, but the second one was just fine, and they're starting to grow in me. I do like the way you are able to sneak in bits of Erfworld trivia and mechanics more easily in these types of updates.

One thing: being a programmer an immediate concern comes to mind: you might want to call these "Summer Updates 09". Because, sure as shootin', you'll have another set of summer updates at some point in the future and you'll have to go back and rename everything or it'll be all confusing. And hard on the coders. Trust me.

"Turns Since Gobwin Knob" is ok. Nice and deterministic. I likey.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby Ilari » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:51 pm

I also like the name "Fallout" for the period between books 1 and 2; it works on multiple levels. It also fits gameboy's specificity requirement. Well, it does as long as you don't plan to make uncroaking volcanoes into a habit.
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Re: Summer Updates, Some More Info

Postby BarGamer » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:12 am

Ilari wrote:I also like the name "Fallout" for the period between books 1 and 2; it works on multiple levels. It also fits gameboy's specificity requirement. Well, it does as long as you don't plan to make uncroaking volcanoes into a habit.


Oh, I dunno... "Speak softly, but carry a big Dirtamancy Trap?" sounds like a GREAT quote to me... XD
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