Friday the 13th Luckamancy
I've said a few times that missing updates will occasionally happen, and that I won't always be able/willing to share the reasons for it. This is one of those times. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we won't be able to post an update today.
I realize that's frustrating to hear. If you are concerned, please don't worry. If you are angry, please be kind. If you have ideas for how we should be doing things differently, please express those the way that you would want to receive suggestions about how to do your own job. This was an unavoidable blip, and regular updates will resume on Tuesday. Thanks for understanding, and for reading and supporting Erfworld.
In the meantime, since these have been popular in the Toolbox, here's a for-everybody post of more of my terrible panel roughs from earlier in Book 3. See if you can identify the panel and page they were for.
I appreciate the spirit of your second comment. Personally, I think the timeframe is fair, and even if updates tend to happen toward the end of that period, that's OK with me. Please remember that not only does Erfworld have an international readership, the team is also spread out over multiple time zones (with Lauri being in Finland).
As for the merchandise, I don't have a problem with the Kickstarter frequency, especially since no one is forced to participate. If you don't like the calls for support, you're free to ignore them. Again, personally, I'm so glad, relieved, and WAY more comfortable now that the team is at the point of, "This is what we'd like to do, here's what you can do to support," rather than, "Erfworld is pretty much over if we can't fund this Kickstarter."
Stuff happens. Considering you set up your Toolshed so that no updates equals no payment, I believe this falls under the category of 'ain't no thang'. Sure, I'm as eager to see the next strip as anyone, but I'm also aware that Life Happens. Maybe because I've been trying, and struggling, to do something similar.
On my Youtube channel, I've been trying to get Season 2 of my Stardew Valley Let's play going. I was originally anticipating a daily release of episodes. Only for some reason, Handbrake doesn't want to process the videos that OBS has been recording. Which is very strange, considering that it did so for the first three episodes with no problems, then suddenly Episode 4 is a big ol' 'Nope, gonna crash instead'. No clue why. Which has brought my posting of videos to a grinding halt. Which really sucks. Even though I'm not being paid a dime (I have explicitly DECLINED youtube monetization on my channel... feel free to use whatever ad-blocking software you like), I don't like not being able to post videos on the schedule I had projected.
I've got a backlog of videos to encode in the queue. I may have to resort to posting the raw footage instead, which is going to really suck. But skipping videos is just Not On, especially early in the season when small actions can have enormously snowballed consequences later on.
So yea, I know what you're going through. This, too, shall pass. You've got a built in system of 'no post, no pay', so no one can really gripe about being 'cheated', since they don't pay for updates that don't post.
Please remember that not only does Erfworld have an international readership, the team is also spread out over multiple time zones (with Lauri being in Finland).
Just want to highlight that for us Europeans, it's definitely Wednesday/Saturday updates usually: 23:59 EST is still 5~9 AM for most of us in Europe. For everywhere inbetween Chicago and Baker Island, you've still got a "Tuesday update" and time to read the update if it was posted at 23:59 EST on a Tuesday.
About ~6 timezones, of which 2 are Alaska/tiny islands, 1 is ONLY tiny islands, and the remaining 3 are North American continent. For a majority of the world, it's already Wednesday.
I'm not saying I agree with Ourobouros that the day listing should be changed: I've quite gotten used to it and don't mind the update frequency itself or the time at which it is posted. Just that the timezone argument is a little puzzling, since it should support Ourobouros's argument rather than take away from it.
I've never posted before (Long time reader, no time poster, yadda yadda...)..and just made an account out of a bit of worry, and a bit because I wanna help.
Is Xin doing okay? I know she's had issues in the past.
Have you considered maybe taking on a backup artist just in case things go south and the metaphorical shit hits the fan? Just some basic dittomancy/redundancy to keep things running smoothly.
Either way, the offer is out there if you want a backup or no.
@Ansan Gotti: I'm not offended that the Kickstarters and all the other merchandising and fundraising exist or that I see them - I'm somewhat concerned that they seem to outweigh, in attention and man-hour terms, the amount of work that goes into the comic (without which, they would not exist).
Rob's always saying how he's busy with this Kickstarter, or fulfilling that order, or making a new game or calendar or plushie or something of that nature. I never hear "writing more comics" or "building a buffer" or "getting it posted on time". The IMPRESSION (which I'm aware could be false) from the site and the Facebook feed is this: "I spend most of my time and my team's time on making things to sell and running Kickstarters. I spend very little time on the comic, relatively speaking". Add that to feeling like it takes a year for a scene to play out in Erfworld and that the comic panels get shorter and shorter and fewer and farther between, and it just feels bad.
Kickstart all you want, guys. Raise huge quantities of cash! You deserve it, the content of the comic is great! But like I said, the impression you give is that you're a merch shop that, once in a while, posts a tiny bit of comic (mostly a half-illustrated story even then). What you do post (even text updates, which are good even if they are FAR too frequent of a crutch for you; they'll never be as good as actual comic pages, sorry) is fantastic. But it feels like less than 10% of what you do here, and that just feels wrong.
My point is actually that with an international readership, it is inevitable that some people will get updates later in their own day/night than others, and ultimately some time zone needs to be selected as a benchmark. The point about the team being spread out refers to the inherent delay that often results in such arrangements when active collaboration is required (unless someone adopts off-hours).
This may just be an issue of perspectives differing; I literally have the opposite impression, that 90+% of the team's efforts are going to the comic, with the remainder going to merchandise and Kickstarters (which are quite infrequent) and the occasional curveball.
As for the comic itself, I do love the full comic pages, but I also love the text updates, and we get a TON of words and content with the latter type. In fact, they're so long, Rob could probably cut the lengths in half and have an instant buffer that way, if he wanted to.
I actually prefer text updates over comic updates.
It's crazy. I used to be sour there were a lot of text updates instead of comic updates back at the start with the other artist, but gradually I came to prefer engaging with a text update for ~15-ish minutes over engaging with a comic page for ~2 minutes.
Sometimes the pace of Erfworld, and constantly ratcheting tension that seems to last real world years, frustrates me, but... given that, I'm happy to own my giant print of book 2, and see Erf magnets on my fridge, and I plan to own hardbacks of the entire story when it's done.
The team since switching artists has done an amazing job. The quality is amazing. I work professionally in design, not that it makes my opinion worth any more than someone else's but, maybe if a plumber says that another plumber is really good, it means something a little different. This team is really good.
As a fan, I'm super thankful for the work that all of you do. Please pass along our best wishes in dealing with whatever you're dealing with.
Long time lurker, first time poster :
First of all, I'd like to state thatErfworld is my favourite webcomic and I love both the art and the story. I do hope whatever was the problem, it's fixed or soon to be fixed. Given that missing an update means a loss of $2000 , I know you probably much more annoyed and stressed by it that any of us could be.
I am currently trying to decide whether to become a Tool or not. And the main thing that's stopping me from that is, well, what happens when a page is NOT put on time.
I understand the choice of that system is to create for yourself an incentive to post on time, and I can relate to that, being often late on my personal projects myself. But IF you miss a deadline, suddenly the incentive becomes to make this page the next update instead. Like ol roger say, Tools will pay for each page as delivered, and every update is either on time or non-existent. As it is, I would rather buy the book when it's completely done.
What I would love is a system where, say, if you publish an update less than 2 days late, you still get half of the pledge money. I guess.
On paper, it would mean more money for you, if you manage to do it.
Also, I guess explaining clearly that your buffer are not finished pages but almost-finished would be fine and may avoid some miscomprehension.
Anyway, my love and compliment to you and the art team, this is an amazing work of art you've done here. And whatever you choose to do, I'll trust you on chosing the best option for the comic.
@Wii: Oh, I do like the text updates too. I'd hate to see them go entirely. But when every other update is mostly text, or more, I feel kind of cheated, and there are runs like that all the time, some of them quite long. Yes, I know that's a little ridiculous since I paid nothing. Still happens, though. It's a crutch and they do too much of it, as much as a little of it would spice up the comic.
@orobouros "But when every other update is mostly text, or more, I feel kind of cheated, and there are runs like that all the time, some of them quite long. Yes, I know that's a little ridiculous since I paid nothing. Still happens, though. It's a crutch and they do too much of it, as much as a little of it would spice up the comic."
1. I like Text updates. More than the art pages, generally. I REALLY like them together. I disagree that it's a 'crutch', to me it's an integral part of the storytelling now.
2. If you're not paying, you literally can't feel cheated. You may feel any number of other things, but it's not 'cheated'.
3. "In general, though? This comic updates at a SNAIL'S pace, and you know it. "
LOL. The hell are you talking about? 2x/week, all 2016. Missing only what, 2-3 updates all year. I don't know what the deal with your delivery receipt is, but other than that 2-3, updates were ontime, so no, not late.
I am actually hoping that each "missed" update turns into 25-50% of a comic in the buffer for the future.
Pledging $1900 per update? Minus $100 for fees, that leaves $1800; minus failed collections, about 1700. Take out the cost of the operation (website/bandwidth/etc), probably 1400. For three people, that's 450 each.
Two updates a week, that's $900 a week per person. 48 update weeks, that's 43K salary.
That's not something to sneeze at, but it's also not super-rich. That's a decent/good salary.
EDIT: Whoops! No. $1900 per update is also $1900 of products paid for and yet to be delivered. WOW, I now understand why they need those upkeep-consuming digital units, and why they need to make them desirable enough for people to pay for. The ErfWorld team doesn't actually make money based on pledged; they make money based on profit from shipped merchandise.
Figure the actual "paid to the three of them" to be half that.
So Rule 34: If it exists, there's a shippable version of it. (Well, that's the pg-rated version). Hmm... TT's need a maxium version of that. (If it exists, there's a shootable version of it?)
@OneHugeTuck: Didn't I literally say just that? I suppose the precise version is "It's impossible to BE cheated, but it's still possible to FEEL cheated".
And just because the comic posts an update doesn't mean the plot or story have advanced. That's what I mean by how this comic has been crawling. One in-game turn, no matter how eventful, lasting most of a year is unpleasant to read at times, six panels of conversation at a time, or text update after text update. Frequency of posts does not equal pace, necessarily, when post after post after post are just different characters' viewpoints of the same events (much like the trap those reviled final Wheel of Time books fell into - people spent years waiting for a book, only for it to cover the same damned ground as the last one. Waiting week after week after week for a slow-updating comic to get past a single scene is torture).
Note how few panels per update we get, too, compared to some other comics. Shorter updates in terms of panels, fewer of them (in favor of text, I mean), and a slow pace. Agony at times! Erfworld has really felt like it's spinning its wheels this Book.
Erfworld is very near to turning into one of those comics I slide to the bottom of my bookmarks with Goblins to check once every few months, because of super slow pacing.
Orobouros: Your standpoint became a whole lot less sympathetic when you started criticising the content rather than the schedule. People actually enjoy the pacing as it is.
LFG as a comic has a lot slower pacing, for example, but still sizeable fans. It also updates twice a week (with misc stuff inbetween), though it's all comic and no text. Problem for me is that 1 or 2 panels are story, rest is joke. Sometimes entire pages are just a joke.
Erfworld's pacing is fine, and as much as I'd like clarification on how the Erfbuffer works, I don't agree that the story's pacing is rubbish.
To be fair on all of the above:
We don't know and have not asked (I don't want to know personally) how Rob /team spend time and money. Also, I am not sure how many total people get paid from any one thing.
I am not a Tool because I know every minutia of how Erfworld runs or the money is spent. I'm not an accountant, or a serious investor. I spend $1.00 per update because I can afford it for now, I like the art blog, and I detest ad space on websites.
We could probably guess how much the site takes in a year based on donations, but that doesn't show much on the accounting side income or outgoing.
TLDR: If Rob wants to show the public Erfworld's books, that's his prerogative. I don't want to know.
@Wii & @OneHugeTuck, all of that is perfectly fair. But I don't have to be right about the pacing in your eyes to be right about what bugs me the most (seemingly so much time and effort put into sales and seemingly much less put into the comic itself - or at least my Erf experience being 90% "OMG BUY STUFF SUBSCRIBE PAY ME NOW!" AND 10% "Oh, and here's a couple of panels, too").
And the pacing doesn't have to be "rubbish" to be "getting worse over time". Maybe it's reaching the point where I'm frustrated, but that point for you is months down the line. My guess is we'll get there sooner or later as updates get shorter and text updates get so much more common again.
True. You can be bugged about anything you want. No complaints there.
Having said that:
"And the pacing doesn't have to be "rubbish" to be "getting worse over time"."
For that to be true requires that anything in particular is 'getting worse over time'. I appreciate that you think it is but it's a matter of opinion, not fact. I like the pacing and it's space inside the overall story. I want ERFworld to go on forever, so it can go as slow as it wants. (Gunnerkrigg Court updates 3x/week, and except for this last chapter moves at a fast clip, but I like ERFworld much, much more).
I'm really only commenting as you state it as fact, as opposed to as opinion.
"..or at least my Erf experience being 90% "OMG BUY STUFF SUBSCRIBE PAY ME NOW!" AND 10% "Oh, and here's a couple of panels, too")."
If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, short of the kickstarters the merchandising is one and done. Sure you see it every time you log in, but it's website content, not newly generated from scratch every day. So it takes no effort to produce once it's done. When was the last time there was a change in the non-kickstarter 'merchandising' content?
Thus, hardly any effort into it.
"Maybe it's reaching the point where I'm frustrated,"
Clearly it is and you're frustrated. That sucks. Nobody is happy about that.
"but that point for you is months down the line."
I promise you that it is not, as I am not even a little bit frustrated at the level of merchandising, and I like the text updates more than the non-text updates, so there's nothing about them that is a complaint for me.