More than gems on the table
Tuesday is News Day
And the bad news usually goes first. We're doing a planned skip today, for very good reasons unrelated to the rest of the stuff in this post. So this Tuesday is only News Day, but expect updates to resume as normal, starting with a comic page on Friday.
Free Cards Day is looming
On to the good news, of which there is a pile!
Since the last news post less than two weeks ago, we have closed more than half the distance to Milestone 4. Milestone 4 is $2000 pledged per on time update, and if we bill that much for even one update, it will unlock Free Cards Day. We'll be sending physical decks of the Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards, to active Tools at all levels. (You will need to confirm/update your mailing address to receive them. See the Toolshed page for more.)
Free Virtual Cards Day is now
Have a card, any card! Check your user profile, it's there already! Whaaaat?
What Carnymancy is this?
As I said in previous posts, the gems are only part of the larger stuff the dev team's been working on since the end of our Kickstarter last year.
I'm pretty proud of how that project (to fund the playing cards) turned out. When I pick up a deck and rifle through the cards, they're still stunning to me. So thank you again to all who supported us last year to make it come true. Every backer who filled out a survey should have received all rewards long ago. Contact us through BackerKit if that's not the case.
We did have two stretch goals—a unit collection system and a live gametable—which are still to come. Creating the gems for Mine4erf was sort of a side benefit from that development. The gems are a proof of how far along we've come with many difficult things (reliably rendering 3D objects in browsers, building a custom Shmuckers-based marketplace, tracking item generation and exchange, generative icons, the list is enormous).
So is this new thing. (Which probably should have been its own stretch goal, in retrospect.)
The playing cards themselves are now collectible/sellable/mineable objects on Erfworld.com! 52 suited cards (no jokers for now), for red, blue, and black decks of cards. So whether you pledged the Kickstarter project or bought a deck or not, now everybody can see Xin Ye's beautiful artwork (with a substantial amount of design help from Lauri Ahonen) right on the site.
If your account was created yesterday or before, all you have to do to see your card is visit your user page while logged in. If you create a new account, you won't automatically be given a cards unless you visit the card forums and say, "I created my account for the card, could I have it please?" and somebody on the team will assign you a random card. Unlike gems, you *can* sell your last card on the marketplace
Active Tools get extra cards now, and more going forward
In addition to the free virtual collectible card, active Tools also get one starter free one for every level they're currently pledging. A Level 4 Caster would therefore have 5 cards just for logging in today. All cards given out today will be from the black deck. In the future (starting in the April billing cycle, around tax day, but *not* the March cycle because we're not ready yet) you will get one random card from one of the three decks, per update you were billed for (not per level).
Cards have been added as a bonus spin to Mine4erf
For our miners, the playing cards have been added as items you can win in a bonus spin. The bonus spin only happens if you don't win a gem on your spin. All three colors of cards can be found.
Collecting and trading playing cards
This is going to flood the marketplace right off with cards, and we expect them to be sold for a lot less than gems. If a 3 of diamonds is for sale for 12 Shmuckers, and even small no-glow gems are selling for 250, then mining gems is still going to be your fastest way to acquire the cards.
We believe that the gametable plans will include using these cards to play games, so it's right in line with getting more uses for Shmuckers and having more things to do on the site, especially with other readers. Units will deploy at some point in the future, and the aim after that is to be able to battle them with other players, using stack mechanics that require strategy more complicated than a game of War. A few people have used rpg.erfworld.com to show off potential battle systems. I have looked some of the bigger ones over but I have had no time for playtesting. Being able to play cards with other players and work out erfworld themed card games is still a goal as well. The cards are an important thing on the road to an Erfworld game.
Can you mine? If you couldn't before, maybe you can now
- If you've been told by our miner that your hardware wasn't good enough to mine $ETH for Erf
- If your antivirus balked at the miner and quarantined it
- If the program didn't seem trustworthy or you couldn't get it to work
John has released a Major upgrade to Mine4erf miner. It will support way more hardware, often by choosing a different coin to mine ($UBIQ or $LTC) which is more efficient on some machines without a great GPU, and a little less efficient at turning computing power into rent and groceries for the tech team. (Still tests as a gain over the power consumed). The upshot is:
- way more people should be able to mine now
- a new (it was expensive) digital publisher cert should make many machines and antivirus programs less complainy
- John's been talking directly with major antivirus companies trying to straighten it out. He's going to share some of their answers on the Mine4erf page.
How are we doing toward killing ads? "Um. Stagnating, while crypto tanks"
Mine4erf is still going strong. We have had one gem mined with Titanic glow on it so far by Linsaran the Carnydirty, which should say a thing or two about how rare those things are. He's just a magnet for them.
Meanwhile, Cryptocurrency had one of those freefall weeks where investors were jumping out of Windows 10. The number of miners we had active at a time during that time fell back into the 50s or even 40s. After topping $100 a day, the amount the Ethereum was worth also nose-dived. It's tough to be on target for the ad killing goal and then not really be, but we knew that was the landscape we were staking our experiment on. We have bounced back into 60+ people mining to the pool. I'm ready to keep running it for the fun of driving collectibles alone, and the $55/day is certainly not unwelcome. This experiment can go on indefinitely, as far as I'm concerned.
"Not wise at all, let's do it anyway."
Ads are getting worse again. I am thinking of killing the ads anyway and taking the big revenue hit to the team. Ads are taking over people's screens again, especially on mobile, and there isn't even a very good way to report the ad when that happens. I've lost all hope of control over that. I can't think of anything I haven't tried at some point since 2014.
So there's an argument for "killing ads is its own reward" and it at least feels like Mine4erf will grow to the point where it's matching ad revenue. Eventually.
I think this week will tell.
If we get a big enough bump in the number of people mining because of the new miner and the playing cards, then I will probably drop a brick on the ads whether we're technically hitting the target or not. Maybe we could kill some ads. IDKY.
Poker Prize in Mine4Erf
One place I will not tolerate despair in is for Team Marbit! (Yes I am a Marbit again, yes we are losing again, and yes my gem luck is atrocious. I think I have found 2 gems worth 14 total points.)
So with the bonus spin, we are adding a second contest to each month, the Poker Prize. Here are the rules: Cards earned in BONUS SPINS ONLY will count for this. When you get a card, post a screenshot to the forums (somebody will make a poker thread and we'll sticky it). The tribe that can put together the best poker hand of 5 cards mined by 5 different members of their tribe during the month, will all win the otherwise unobtainable 55th playing card, the Xin Ye self-portrait card.
Everybody who mined at least one gem or card for the winning poker tribe will get one Xin card. Someone from the tribe must say in the forums what the best poker hand you can make is. Higher hands that weren't called don't count.
All badges upgraded
One last thing that's a surprise benefit of the 3D and collectibles work. From now on, the badges you have earned will display like this:
among your collectibles (so far: cards, gems, badges and units). They're still true to their former designs, but now you can twirl them. You may *not* sell/trade them. And for now, you will not be able to collect more than one of each badge you earn. (Sorry multi-Published folks and people who helped Red more than once.) So they're really a cosmetic tweak, but fun to twirl. When we get public display scenes of your collection, you'll be able to add your badges and cards.
I really want to thank the dev team for working their keisters off to deploy and improve these things. The Team Erfworld badge is maybe the humblest design, but it means the most to me.
So there's the Tuesnews. Enjoy your old badges and new cards! (Maybe join the Toolshed, and get everybody a free deck?)
Lots more stuff to come as 2018 rolls on.
You know, I'm actually so tired of 'unannounced skip days'. I'm going to take erfworold out of my daily webcomic rotation.
Earn your money from gems. Good luck with that.
I'll wait a month or so, catch up. -until I get bored and say 'that's nice' and read some other webcomic that can update on a regular basis... (or just go on freaking vacation for however long, catch up on your buffer, and quit pulling this sh*t....)
I have a few machines and none of them run Windows. The only one with a GPU worth mentioning is my macbook (which I use for data science shit but hey, I'm not ALWAYS running GridSearchCV or Keras). Does this new miner run on OSX? I know I could make some config edits and get it working but right now I am having too many trouble getting geopandas to work to invest the time. And I NEED to be getting these spins. NEED.
Why do you find unannounced skip days to be an issue? Erfworld has issued a target of number of updates per year. This is not the only web comic that I follow where the author permits unannounced skip days, or even has late postings. And no, you should not be coming here for a daily rotation check.
If you really want to know that there will be a comic here every time you,, come once a week. The chances of two consecutive skip days is really low. In comparison, the author being sick with a flu or something will give multiple skip days in a row from the other comic that I'm thinking of, and for that matter, order of the stick has been known to have very long gaps between updates.
@Keybounce Ad question: can you substitute Google text ads for the annoying junk?
I would expect to get 6 cents per 1000 impressions on text ads, which are targeted to the text it can read on the site (which is not much, for a comic). Some sites can make text ads work, but this is not a motorcycle blog or something that would have a lot of narrowly focused, targetable, predictable buyers. That's the only thing that makes text ads worth it. The banners have made us a buck and a quarter CPM for a long time. Nothing "safe" comes close.
(I got redirected to the same clothing site 4 times trying to read this thread, btw. Ads are writing their own death warrant for me about right now.)
We'll be sending physical decks of the Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards, to active Tools at all levels. (You will need to confirm/update your mailing address to receive them. See the Toolshed page for more.)
I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do this. I don't see anything on the Toolshed page that mentions how to provide an address, and the "Edit Profile", "Settings", and "Subscription" links at the top-right of the site don't seem to help either. Is that option perhaps only available to Tools who pledge at levels that normally get things mailed to them? I'm pledged at the Level 2 "Knight" level.
Mining and gem collection is such a fun addition to the site, so I hope you can come up with a Plan B if mining cryptocurrencies no longer remains a viable source of income for whatever reason (ETH crashing further, mining difficulty going up way past normal computers, or something else.) I'm hoping that this isn't the case, and mining proves lucrative. But you've made a cool thing here, and I would hate for its existence to be dependent on the unknowable vagaries of the cryptocurrency market.
You now know that a sizeable collection of Erfworlders will loan you their computers for whatever reason, and in a broader sense are willing to help out the site in ways beyond a direct financial contribution. Perhaps there's an alternative way of harnessing that force. If in 6 months or a year or whenever, it truly becomes unprofitable to mine, perhaps you can latch gem mining onto that alternative solution, whatever it may be.