A look at our workflow

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

A look at our workflow

Postby balder » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:21 am

There's one assumption being made by most people who get vocally upset with me as a creator: that Erfworld can be made any faster than it is currently being made.

It can't. And I would like to help you understand why that is.

I went back and picked a 1-week span at random. I can't give you absolutely every detail about how Xin and I create Erfworld. But this may give you a better picture. You need to know several things before you read this.

1. Over a three-year span, we've analyzed the comic making process endlessly. We've tried many, many approaches to improve our workflow. Nearly every one of them was a failure in practice, a waste of time, another setback. Bringing in a colorist failed three times. Bringing in an inker failed after interviewing and reviewing auditions from more than 70 different people.

2. The one thing we have found that improves the process is a workgroup called "Xin's Progress," which consists of 7 people we trust in a Google Groups mailing list. Xin checks in with the group by email every day, declares her goals for the day and how long she can work, then sends screen shots of her progress every 2-hour "cycle." Members of the group offer encouragement and check in on her when they have not heard from her in a while.

3. We are not asking for suggestions. If you can think of it, we have tried it. This is for you to understand better, not to help. Please.

So, here's the summary of a random workweek from about a month ago:

Tuesday, July 10 - Page 080 is due on Wednesday, and as usual my goal is to have it ready to load right at midnight.

Xin and I have the following late night conversation, starting while I am into the 4th hour of lettering page 080. It includes last minute art corrections and my struggles with substantial writing additions.

10:29 PM me: Hey
Xin: Hey.
me: I'm not liking the wind-blown effect on Ace's hair in panel 5. I took him for Tramennis at first. I think his hair would bend but not flow. He looks like a gel guy to me.
Xin: Okay.
10:30 PM me: I've been spending the last hour reading quotes from GI Joe, looking for a way to punch up Ace's attack.
10:32 PM Xin: Find anything good? ^^
me: I wish
10:34 PM Xin: ^^' I'm sorry...
me: I'll figure out something.
Ace is a hard one to write
10:35 PM He's comically focused, over the top. This is his kind of day.
He should have something cheeky and over the top to shout
10:36 PM Having a hard time figuring out what.
10:37 PM Xin: Aah, you do always figure something out. ^^
10:38 PM me: Maybe he could do some rhyme-o-mancy
10:39 PM Xin: That's always fun. :D
10:41 PM me: cracking my rhyming dictionary
10:42 PM Xin: New version is uploaded. ^^
6 minutes
10:49 PM me: Yeah I got a reasonably funny awkward attempt at Rhyme-o-mancy going on
Xin: We all have that awkward stage during our growth. XD
me: I've heard enough bad white rappers
That is true
10:51 PM I think I would like some more work on the bat.
Xin: Okay.
10:52 PM me: He's a bit big and he doesn't look like he's flying
Xin: Oh okay, got it.
me: http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/05/74/35/15 ... 28x471.jpg
By way of inspiration/models
Xin: Thanks. ^^
26 minutes
11:19 PM me: Yeah I just made Ace reasonably hilarious in combat.
Xin: :D Woohoo~!
11:20 PM me: That's one of the things he says. XD
Xin: XD Ahahahaha~ Awesome!
14 minutes
11:34 PM Xin: Uploaded. Sorry for taking a while. Was catching up with friends on gchat.
11:35 PM me: k lemme pull it and look
Xin: Okay.
11:37 PM me: Yeah both corrections are great
Xin: :D Woohoo~!
XD Now I will never be able to say that without thinking of Ace.
11:39 PM me: Haha
19 minutes
11:59 PM me: Hm. I see an art flaw you might want to correct.
Xin: Yes?
me: It's one you have done before. You seem to have trouble with leg lengths on mounted units.
Panel 7, Ace's leg is just way too short
12:00 AM Xin: Okay.
me: Don't you think?
His upper and lower body are not in proportion, anyway.
12:01 AM Might be you need to shrink the upper body instead?
Xin: Okay, I'll try that as well.
17 minutes
12:18 AM Xin: Alright, it's uploaded. ^^ I gotta get some sleep. My eyes are no longer focusing unless I squint.
12:19 AM me: okay I am done lettering so it's going right up
Xin: Woo~!
I will wait for it, then~
12:20 AM me: We'll need to talk illo for the text at some point too
Doesn't have to be now
12:21 AM Xin: Okay. I have to pick my dad up at the airport tomorrow afternoon, not sure when exactly yet, his flight has been delayed. But I will work on the layout for the next page until I have to leave.
me: sounds good
7 minutes
12:29 AM Xin: LOL! Charming and hilariously inept.
Alright, I'm off to bed. Good night~
me: hugs Gnight Xin

Wednesday, July 11 - Xin starts work on p081. I start writing Inner Peace 035.

The script for p081 was written about a week before. At this point, I am trying to build out a script buffer to at least 085 or 086 to allow me time to travel when GenCon comes around in a month. We have also been trying to build even a one page buffer to cover that time, but we are finding each week that every page takes a week.

11am - Xin checks in with the workgroup.

She needs to leave in half an hour to pick up her dad from the airport. I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of where her dad has been, for how long he has been gone, or how this has affected Xin. However, this continues to be related to family upheaval and personal tragedy. Xin has been dealing with things you would never wish on your worst enemy, and soldiering on.

3:30pm - Xin re-checks in with the workgroup.

The morning was lost to her family responsibilities. She's able to begin the layout of page 081 from script. She works until late at night, and gets the pencil layout done.

Thursday, July 12 - Xin begins inks. I write Inner Peace 035.

11:34am - I send the following email to the workgroup, titled "Great Comment on the FB Group":

Xin I know you are not on Facebook so sometimes you miss some of the best feedback. I was struck by this comment on the latest page:

"This strip is unprecedentedly well constructed. That last panel is so insanely well laid out (the bat placement? So good.). The implications of the text and the visual are nuts! It's completely absurd that you can consume something this well done on the internet FOR FREE."

1:09pm: Xin replies "Wow, that is really incredibly heartening. Thank you for sharing it~!"

1:10 pm - Xin checks in with the workgroup.

She apologizes for sleeping late, sets a goal of 9 panels of foreground inks. This is character and unit drawing only. She pledges to make up for the previous day's lost time with 5 working cycles (10 hours, with breaks). Even so, she can only get that much inking done in that span.

10:23pm - Xin and I discuss the next text update.

I have spent the day writing Inner Peace episode 035, second day running, total of 13 hours writing (counting the 4 hours of creating and playtesting the card game rules with my next door neighbor, my girlfriend, and people from my board game group). I won't paste it, but Xin and I have a 1 hour conversation on IM about the text and its illustration at this time. We get pretty deep into the backstory of Chip, Hedda and Bart and the emotional undertones in this group that Jillian leads.

Friday, July 13 - Xin continues inks. I chuck out a fully-written page of script on a technical detail, and begin a rewrite.

11:13am - Xin, feeling groggy, checks in with the workgroup.

She pledges 4 working cycles, and sets the goal of finishing all inks and doing flat filters (the process by which regions that need to be colored behind the inks are identified, essentially creating a massive paint-by-number over every region of space on the page). I spend the part of my day that I can spare for writing on that elusive script buffer.*

Saturday, July 14 - Xin inks Inner Peace 035, goes to flat filters on p081. I rewrite script.

2:30pm - Xin checks in with the workgroup. Declares her goals to be the text illustration and flat filters, in four working cycles.

4:43pm - I give Xin my approval on pencils for Inner Peace 035, following a correction discussion about how to show them playing the card game. We discuss the rewritten page, and future plot through about p086. This takes 30 min.

9:25pm - After 4 revisions, I approve inks for Inner Peace 035.

9:50pm - Just before updating Inner Peace 035, I check an art detail with Xin by IM. Confirmed, and good to upload.

Sunday, July 15 - Xin finishes flat filters and begins flat colors. I finish a page of script.

1:03am - Xin finishes flat filters.

1:39pm - After sleep and various family matters, Xin begins flat colors.

9:08pm - Xin has 3/4 of the page colored, and is hell bent on finishing before she sleeps.

Monday, July 16 - Xin works to exhaustion at 3 am, wakes up, finishes flats, and creates a Carnymancer for a Kickstarter donor. Then she does shading and emblems. I finish a second page of script, and work with the donor.

2:52am - Xin gives up on finishing colors tonight, and sleeps.

2:50pm - After deciding we needed to fulfill one of the Kickstarter promises, I have had a discussion by email over the morning with one of the high-level donors who is due a Magic Kingdom cameo. Xin submits the first pencils for the character design of one of the Carnymancers based on him.

5:03pm - The new Carnymancers (there are two others, unrelated to Kickstarter rewards) are inked and colored, after some revisions. I send the art to the backer.

7:40pm - After dinner, Xin finishes flats and begins shading and emblem work (like Parson's Hamstard crest and the Arkentools).

Tuesday, July 17 - Xin again collapses at 3 am, finishes page in afternoon. I begin lettering p082.

2:57am - Xin declares she's going to bed, leaving only the emblem work.

5:00am - Xin actually goes to bed, having had to do some work for the family business so they could open in the morning.

4:12pm - Xin uploads page 082 for me to begin lettering. This leaves me less than 8 hours to midnight. Fortunately, there are no major art corrections needed in this one. It takes me about 6 of the 8 hours.

Midnight - I upload the page. Xin and I have a conversation about how we've let another week go by without gaining any ground on GenCon. We're both committed to trying to get a 1-page buffer by then, but it's starting to look bleak with a month to go. We also discuss my script for p085, which is close to finished.


*My writing time is approximately 30 percent of my work time, which is something above 80 hours a week. Most of the rest of the time I am trying to deal with shipping and order fulfilment, the motion comic (and the two dozen people involved in it), the current website, the future website development (after losing two developers), convention planning and travel, getting things made and printed (often overseas, with language barriers and customs hassles), managing the social media channels, fielding emails, inquiries, offers, and complaints (like here, lately). Once I can get all the things we promised on the Kickstarter done, then NEXT year I might be able to have creating the comic up to 50% of my job.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby frei » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:32 am

I really appreciate you sharing this, but I think the comic schedule has been awesome and consistent enough so that you don't have to defend yourself on this score. Any critics of the comic schedule are just obviously wrong at this point, even if you missed an entire two weeks or something.

All that being said --

My writing time is approximately 30 percent of my work time, which is something above 80 hours a week. ... Once I can get all the things we promised on the Kickstarter done, then NEXT year I might be able to have creating the comic up to 50% of my job.

-- come on, man, even if it's true don't volunteer that. This is exactly what we didn't want to hear. :(
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby 0beron » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:41 am

Yeah thanks for sharing. I didn't feel that the people who thought the comic could update more frequently knew what they were talking about. I think some of us expected that the hiatus time had been used to create a small buffer of work (at least text updates) since that's what you had said you'd aim to do, so we were upset to realize this was not the case. But now that you guys are back in full production time, it's ridiculous to expect that you could work faster and build up a buffer at this point. So thanks for clarifying that to people who didn't appreciate the amount of work you're doing these days.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby effataigus » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:53 am

Mostly I want to echo the sentiment saying thanks for hanging with the semi-weekly/bi-weekly (yay language ambiguity!) updates!

frei wrote:-- come on, man, even if it's true don't volunteer that. This is exactly what we didn't want to hear. :(


Aye... this implies that the comic would be being updated faster if people hadn't funded the kickstarter(s)... which I don't think is the case since it sounds like your (Rob's) writing isn't the rate determining step.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby balder » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:05 pm

It's actually the people who thought that we could have had a buffer for GenCon that I was talking to/about.

Xin needed 5 days for travel. She was working for hours up to the point when she went to the airport on the first day. She worked for hours after midnight on Sunday after she had flown home, to do massive art corrections to the graveyard scene in Inner Peace. Five days taken out of her production schedule made it physically impossible to have a regular page load. We were going to miss an update no matter what, despite two months of trying to get even one week ahead.

We could have put up p085 and then missed p086. I decided it would make more sense to miss an update while we were at the actual con, and it gave me the chance to do con prep instead of lettering (or so I thought, haha right).

Faced with this lack of even a one-page buffer going into GenCon week, my plan had been to run one of the Kickstarter stories as filler during the regular comic update. The "Deal With It" gif was going to accompany that, intended as a joke (and as a useful Erfworld .gif for fans to use in other situations). But as much as I tried, I could not get through to the high-level donor whose story I wanted to write and post, to get his permission. At that point (a day and a half before key turn to Indy), I was giving up and saying we'd just skip an update.

But then I thought of doing a Klog. I saw a story requirement that a Klog could fulfill (giving inter-book slackerParson's thoughts about Charlie, with some hints about Maggie). Xin rushed to make the art. I delayed leaving on my trip for 6 hours, resulting in our staying at the halfway point to Indy that night, instead of making it all the way. That made setup on Wednesday pretty hellish, because we had to compress it all (including fetching Phil from the airport) into just a couple of hours. We couldn't get it all done in that frame, so we had to be at the dealer room at 7:30am to finish getting the booth ready before VIP opening at 9. I began the con with way too little sleep, making the rest of it pretty rough.

There's a lot more I can say, but I guess I am just astonished at how badly people get their assumptions wrong when they think they know how we work and how we're fucking up.

People imagine that we're giving less than our absolute full time and attention and efforts every day, and they get furious and toxic over their bad assumptions. When I see that, I have to decide how much work time and writing time I am going to have to sacrifice in order to respond, even if the only response is to ban people and close threads.

People like Arin do not want to communicate with me; they want to be theatrically unhappy in Erfworld's public discussion. His wall of text is not intended for me, it's meant for all of you. He's worked up over things he imagines about me, my choices, my attitude. He's gone toxic, and has outlined in great detail how much more toxic he plans to get if I fail his ultimatum on updates. He'll come to cons to protest Erfworld. He'll sue me. He'll be Syndrome from the Incredibles to Erfworld.

What would you say to a guy like that?

Would you let him stay around? Would you think of him as a "supporter?" What would you think of him?

The bitch of all of this is that I'm sure that if Arin and I could sit down over a beer for about twenty minutes, I don't think he'd be this way. If he could hang out in my office and see what I do in a day (including writing responses like this), he'd recognize that most of what he thinks about me isn't true. I am not making the choices he accuses me of. I do not have the unprofessional attitude he thinks I do.

But I don't have the time to do that with every invested fan who decides to be more invested in their disappointment with me than their enjoyment of the comic. There is not time to fight everyone's miconceptions and soothe 100 percent of all butthurt. Your job can become saying "I'm sorry" all the time. "I'm giving all my life and time to making the best and truest story I can, and I'm sorry." No.

XIn and I are, in fact, doing the best that we can. Both of us are real people, with real life problems. I have health problems and social problems and family problems and (believe it or not, everyone who's fixated on the $85K Kickstarter figure) money problems. Right now I have reader problems.

My problems are fairly insignificant compared to Xin's, and you are not entitled to the details. But I am telling you that I am particularly pissed off at the "tunnel talk" complaints, because I see them as veiled complaint about Xin's production slowdown and hiatus when she was caring for her terminally ill mother, and when her family had to recover from her mother's passing. When you say that it's been X amount of calendar time since Y event in the story, you're saying she wasn't entitled to any time, and should have put drawing your free entertainment above her family. That'll get you insta-booted.

"Deal With It" was my attempt at defusing my own anger about that with a joke, and putting it in a useful form for Erfworld readers. It didn't come off as a joke to some, and for that I am sorry. I don't know how to say "shut up about tunnel talk" without my rage coming out. The story requires the protagonist's aims to be frustrated and muddled at this point. You are supposed to feel his frustration. This part of the story was not meant to take up this much calendar time, but if you are not entitled to complain about that, given the circumstances. With tooth and claw, I will defend Xin's right to take the time she needed.

In terms of my own time, these two posts represent a text update or a page of script I did not write. I hope they helped Erfworld more than writing a new page would have. I kind of doubt it. Probably I will just have to keep kicking people out, just for the sheer expediency. There aren't hours in my day or days in my week to keep doing this.

But I want to say one last thing, by way of putting it in perspective.

The readers I have problems with are fewer than 1 percent. The vast majority of the feedback we get is constructive, thoughtful, kind, insightful, supportive, and helpful. GenCon was a huge emotional boost for Xin and for me. We met and smiled with dozens and dozens of readers, shared inside jokes and had a great time. Almost everything posted here or on the Facebook group is positive and enjoyable. I do not hate fans, fer Chrissake. It is possible to wreck my love for this job temporarily with truly nasty or truly unfair criticism. I've been called racist, sexist, abusive, insensitive to the handicapped, a "rape apologist" and other such garbage, and it can get me pretty bent out of shape for a day or two. (Long, entitled posts about how I do my job and what you'll do to me if I fail your standards are guaranteed to do it.)

But I do love the readers. This comic is as good as we can make it, and we do it for you.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby Lamech » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:09 pm

effataigus wrote:Aye... this implies that the comic would be being updated faster if people hadn't funded the kickstarter(s)... which I don't think is the case since it sounds like your (Rob's) writing isn't the rate determining step.
That actually makes me feel a lot better. In fact, that was my big fear about the kickstarter.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby Nnelg » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:15 pm

Well, now that the dust's settled I'll chime in. I'm fairly new to Erfworld, but for what it's worth I'm happy with whatever Rob gives me.

And for the record, if Klogs are really faster to make than regular strips then I'd be fine with seeing more of them. Maybe even on a regular basis, like once a month or something. The only caveat is that they should be announced ahead of time, to avoid a repeat of the incident which sparked all this discussion.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby frei » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:28 pm

My problems are fairly insignificant compared to Xin's, and you are not entitled to the details. But I am telling you that I am particularly pissed off at the "tunnel talk" complaints, because I see them as veiled complaint about Xin's production slowdown and hiatus when she was caring for her terminally ill mother, and when her family had to recover from her mother's passing. When you say that it's been X amount of calendar time since Y event in the story, you're saying she wasn't entitled to any time, and should have put drawing your free entertainment above her family. That'll get you insta-booted.


Okay but some people might be complaining about tunnel talk just because they're really eager to find out what happens next! And that can be a real complaint, expressing real frustration, without implying the sort of entitlement you're worried about. I'm sure every reader has felt it to some degree, without meaning to imply that Xin has some sort of duty to them to draw faster. Or at least, we haven't meant to imply that. And it is very difficult to not feel this sort of eagerness-born frustration.

That guy in the other thread is just bizarre. How can you say in one breath that you will war against Erfworld (?!?!?!) and in the next that you would probably keep reading it in the meantime. What a crazy person. Ignoring and/or banning him is a no brainer.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby Duck » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:39 pm

I for one really appreciate the look behind the curtain Rob. Having little real artistic talent in that respect myself I know I did not appreciate how intricate the creation could be. I admittedly had some harsh-ish words in, shall we say, a previous incarnation, but quality was never a topic and now I have a better understanding why, so thank you.

I have also been very pleased with the current schedule and you both should be commended for that as well as the extra effort to get something out last week, even if it wasn't a full page.

And gotta go with frei there, a good bit of frustration is likely due to us being a bunch of selfish buggers that just want to see where everything's going sooner rather than later.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby 0beron » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm

balder wrote:My problems are fairly insignificant compared to Xin's, and you are not entitled to the details....With tooth and claw, I will defend Xin's right to take the time she needed.
This comic is as good as we can make it, and we do it for you.

Hear Hear on both accounts! Xin is fantastic and based on the general info we do know I feel immensely bad for her and support her every step of the way. You go girl!
You both produce a fantastic quality of work. People can complain about the pace, but really I wouldn't WANT you to go faster because clearly the current pace produces an outstanding comic. And anyone who tries to argue otherwise is a blind idiot.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby Selexor » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:11 pm

Seconded. You two are giving us amazing quality and detail, along with regular updates, despite all kinds of crap conspiring to take away your time and focus. Nobody has the right to complain because a story you are telling us at no cost is less instant than they want.

If it helps, Xin, I'll offer you a free slug. You can punch me one, just as hard as you like, to vent some frustration for the quality of folks around here. I'll take the hit if it puts a smile on your face!

Balder, you can too, but you have to buy me a sandwich after.
But of course that's just my opinion.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby effataigus » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:48 pm

Now I'm confused as to what is complaining about tunnel talk.

I thought I was complaining about tunnel talk, but my complaints were not at all about art or the rate of production thereof. I thought tunnel talk complaints meant complaining that Parson is still in the tunnel talking when he should have made greater efforts to get through TMK. If anything, the art has been doing a fantastic job of keeping my interest in the absence of development on this front!

Of course when I say "still" I mean "still - with respect to Erfworld time," not real world time.

I'm guessing my complaint stems from me lacking proper perspective. It would probably only seem like Parson has gabbed for a lil' bit if I were reading these pages back to back... as I look forward to someday doing in book format.

Either way, I'm a big admirer of both of you and the work you do. I criticize minor things because it is in my nature to do so, but I'm a big fan and very appreciative for the comic!
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby Lamech » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:15 pm

effataigus wrote:I thought I was complaining about tunnel talk, but my complaints were not at all about art or the rate of production thereof. I thought tunnel talk complaints meant complaining that Parson is still in the tunnel talking when he should have made greater efforts to get through TMK. If anything, the art has been doing a fantastic job of keeping my interest in the absence of development on this front!
Hmm... just ot make this clear, when I complain about Parson being silly with his "tunnel talk", I'm not complaining about the story, but I'm saying Parson is being kind of fail. He tried to command a battle directly, and got stopped. So instead of doing what he could, he is letting all communication break down. He could have issued some orders to the archons. Maybe one of the hiding archons could have gotten a lucky shot and zotted a caster or king even! Rob OTOH, is doing an excellent of writing an imperfect character.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby kefkakrazy » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:06 am

You know, there's a lot I could say here.

To be honest, before the twice-weekly schedule kicked in, I was pretty unhappy with update rates, even before the hiatus, though less so once the news about Xin's problems came out.

I don't take time to chime in on it, because it's not really constructive at all. Broadly speaking, for me to come on here to complain about update pacing is a waste of Rob's time and a waste of my time.

I feel like at least part of the reason it's so time-consuming to do all of this is because Rob is a perfectionist. Just from the piece of chat he posted, he clearly holds Xin to the same standards he holds his writing to; there's a ton of time-consuming, painstaking work that goes into this.

One could interpret that as a bad thing. It's easy to point at other comics and compare. Girl Genius updates thrice weekly and the artwork for that is fantastic. Looking for Group has good art as well and goes twice weekly.

But to say, "these comics do it, Erfworld should too" is to cheapen the work that Rob and Xin put into this. Rob has committed to making a tight, focused work with its own internally-consistent physics and rules, and that in itself is already a massive pain in the butt; to add on top of that a consistently high visual standard with extremely detailed artwork (jeebus christ I'm still in awe at the sheer density of referential material built into every single PANEL of the Magic Kingdom scenes) and you have a recipe for a monster.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy just sitting back and watching. If you don't like the comic, don't read it. If you don't like the update pace, go read Girl Genius for a few months and then come back.

Deal with it.

(also, agreed, Rob: that gif was hilarious and quite useful.)
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby ShaneTheBrain » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:46 am

I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating ... anything really. Erfworld included. I've made a few creative things, music and games mostly, so I know a little bit.

Content doesn't want to be born! Good, creative content actively tries to resist being bound to the Material Plane from the Ethereal one. It's like trying to build a baked brick mud pyramid in a pounding rainstorm. Labor intensive, slippery, counter-productive, and generally just hard! One exercise any doubter would probably benefit from is to grab a pencil and one blank page of paper and make a little 3x5 panel comic for us. To feel that white page staring at them saying "Go ahead! Put something on me! I _dare_ you." Even if it's just stick figures. They could even make it about Erfworld and borrow the IP instead of thinking up their own. What should the characters say? And do? Then they post their work here on the forums so we can "critique" it. ^ This exercise, in my opinion, is the price of admission to just ONE critical post. Each follow-on critical post should require another submitted page.

The two-update schedule is amazing! That means two bricks, two SOLID bricks, get built into the pyramid every week. The relief I felt once things got moving again after the delay was like if Titanic got patched up after the iceberg and started steaming again at ten knots. Forward motion! Then you've got a minority of tophat-wearing folks saying essentially "I say! Ten knots is not NEAR fast enough for a personage of my considerable prestige! You shall be hearing from my lawyer, sir!" Whereas many of us realize, ticket or no, realize just how close we could be to swimming in the ice water and the ride being over.

I don't know just where you and Xin find the mental energy to craft out each of these pyramid bricks in the pounding tsunami of it all, but I get the feeling you're made of sterner stuff on the inside than lazy old me each time you do it. I haven't made any fully-colored, multi-hundred page epics, so I'm glad you know how! Erfworld updates are like a little umbrella for my own rainstorm Wednesdays and Sundays.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby effataigus » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:06 am

ShaneTheBrain wrote:"I say! Ten knots is not NEAR fast enough for a personage of my considerable prestige! You shall be hearing from my lawyer, sir!" Whereas many of us realize, ticket or no, realize just how close we could be to swimming in the ice water and the ride being over.


:lol: Kinda an awesome analogy!
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby arin » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:09 pm

I was going to leave this thread alone, but since mine was closed and your last post in it specifically invited the conversation to continue here, I will respond here.

balder wrote:People like Arin do not want to communicate with me; they want to be theatrically unhappy in Erfworld's public discussion. His wall of text is not intended for me, it's meant for all of you.


You're right, the rant posted the other day wasn't directed at you. Not so much that I don't /want/ to communicate with you, but we did our communicating back in 2009 and 2010. Saying the same thing to you didn't seem like it would accomplish much. Venting to other forumers and seeing how they are handling things, I thought, might.

balder wrote:He's worked up over things he imagines about me, my choices, my attitude.


Well, this is also true. I don't know if it's entirely /fair/, given the details, but it's true. The assumptions that I've made, that I'm worked up over, are as follows:

1) That you had spent the time from March to July of 2012 building up a comic reserve. I don't think you'll find a single Erfworld supporter who did not also make this assumption, based on your communications with us in March. You told us about the hard times, and about why things had been slow up until that point, but you had basically declared that you (collective you here, meaning you and Xin) were out of the woods, that you'd licked your wounds, and that the hiatus from March to July was about taking a deep breath and preparing a reserve.

Actually, I'm going to have to eat a little crow and apologize here, because when digging for the citation from your news posts, I can see now that there was no explicit statement to that effect. What was actually said was, "Xin has been feeling much more up to speed since the Kickstarter (your support has really meant a lot to her). So we're going to set a date of June 6 for updates to resume on Book 2..." That statement, in tandem with the forum post regarding working on things we'd be reading in October, is what led to the miscommunication there. I'm not alone in the assumption; I still stand by the conviction that the overwhelming majority of us heard it as a statement that you'd been working on the comic in that time period, which, at your 1 per week production rate, would have meant a surplus of 9 comics in reserve when you relaunched. From my perspective, it was like you promised us a 9 comic reserve and then on the way to Gen Con just revealed, "LOL, I was kidding, I didn't really do any of that."

Okay. Wow. That... kinda changes the whole tone of everything, to be honest. That was my smoking gun, without it I really don't have much. Just a few minor pissy gripes that, in that light, are definitely things I should just deal with.

Gonna quote you out of order here now, because the response is completely different now.

balder wrote:The bitch of all of this is that I'm sure that if Arin and I could sit down over a beer for about twenty minutes, I don't think he'd be this way.


Actually, us sitting down over a beer is precisely what started this. I used to be a front marcher in the Erfworld Pride Parade, before that fateful August evening in 2009 when I met Party Rob and we took that silly photo on the bed. Party Rob made quite an impression, and I think it's mostly been the imagination of him at the helm of the ship, coupled with my disappointment that night, that has led to a lot of the anger. Which I recognize isn't fair, you can't really judge someone's work ethic by how they act in a hotel room at 1AM with candy corn alcohol shots. :)

balder wrote:He's gone toxic, and has outlined in great detail how much more toxic he plans to get if I fail his ultimatum on updates.


That ultimatum was, again, entirely born of a perceived broken promise that I now realize you never actually made. So, umm... yeah. Nevermind? :)

balder wrote:What would you say to a guy like that? Would you let him stay around?


Actually, even before the tone of this letter changed, I was incredibly impressed that my login still worked. Gotta say, that spoke volumes of virtue.

balder wrote:Would you think of him as a "supporter?" What would you think of him?


I started this letter hoping that you'd see why YOU had failed me. Now I'm just kinda hoping you'll still see where I was coming from, and accept my apology for letting some of the past turbulence get my goat and not really taking a moment to analyze things until just now.

Sorry, man. I owe you one.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby 0beron » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:38 pm

arin wrote:What was actually said was, "Xin has been feeling much more up to speed since the Kickstarter (your support has really meant a lot to her). So we're going to set a date of June 6 for updates to resume on Book 2..." That statement, in tandem with the forum post regarding working on things we'd be reading in October, is what led to the miscommunication there. ...[snip]... From my perspective, it was like you promised us a 9 comic reserve and then on the way to Gen Con just revealed, "LOL, I was kidding, I didn't really do any of that."
I'm actually going to disagree slightly with Arin's wording here. I don't feel there was a "miscommunication". I'm look at this post where Rob told us he's working on things we'd be reading in October...when in fact there was no buffer as we assumed based on his news post. So from where I am standing, he lied in that forum post. Period. And I take issue to that. I understand that people make assumptions, I'm guilty of it myself. But that is a lie that I don't understand him making.

As I've said before, I feel that Rob and Xin are churning out a really impressive comic at an admirable rate since the return, especially considering that Xin appears to still be dealing with personal issues. As more frequent forum-goers may notice, I am logged in for a huge chunk of the day, and I'm really active in the user-created game section because I just love everything Erfworld THAT MUCH. Because of that, and the abuse Rob puts up with from people jumping to overly harsh conclusions, I can ignore a lie or exaggeration. I would just appreciate better communication in the future. I love Erfworld, and I'm certainly not going to be scared away by hiccups or delays that come up when it's creators have issues to deal with.
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GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby arin » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:49 pm

0beron wrote:I'm actually going to disagree slightly with Arin's wording here. I don't feel there was a "miscommunication". I'm look at this post where Rob told us he's working on things we'd be reading in October...when in fact there was no buffer as we assumed based on his news post. So from where I am standing, he lied in that forum post. Period. And I take issue to that. I understand that people make assumptions, I'm guilty of it myself. But that is a lie that I don't understand him making.


That's how I saw it, which is where the rage came from. But from my new perspective (A Decrypted perspective, perhaps? Ansom eat your heart out), without a news post explicitly stating that he AND XIN were building a reserve, that can mean a hundred other things. Maybe he was just outlining the plot and estimating around the point we'd get to that part in the plot. He said he was /writing/ the comics we'd be reading in October, not that he and Xin were producing them.
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Re: A look at our workflow

Postby 0beron » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:54 pm

Hmm fair point that I hadn't considered. Well, as we've asked him before, more clear communications are always helpful...but of course in a text-only format you can't always predict/eliminate every potential for a misunderstanding. My bad if this is the case Rob.
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GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.
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