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Strip 382, Volume 3, Page 65

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< Piro >

uguu ugu ugu uguuuuu

"talking to scribbles"

Tuesday - March 11, 2003

[Piro] - 12:04:03 - [link here]

Funny thing about doing the MT comic is that once I get rolling along, it tends to get easier. Nothing is really hard scripted, i have tons of flexibility in what each new comic is going to be. This is both good and bad. The good thing about it is that I leave a certain amount of room for creative tweaking. The bad thing is that you can find yourself without much to work with late in the evening with the prognosis for the next day's comic looking rather bleak.

Monday's comic suffered from this problem. When i sat down Sunday morning to start drawing something didn't feel right. It felt very flat, because it was little more, really, than a sum arrived at by adding up the previous strips. It felt very mechanical, very devoid of feeling, or mood. Considering the fact that this was supposed to be a important comic, that wasn't good.

One thing i learned ages ago was that if you are struggling too much with something, it means that you might need to do something different. I tossed the original script, and started scribbling. I focused in on the mood i wanted, and let the scribbles talk to me. This is the sketch that helped me fix the mood for monday's comic. Pretty scrappy, isn't it? but it talked to me, and i was able to pull monday's comic together fairly successfully after that. The dialogue completely changed, and the direction of the strip suddenly was far more in tune with what i wanted to do in the first place.

Getting from that vague idea of what you want to a final product is the hardest thing to do as a creative smook. People often ask me if i have Megatokyo planned out to the end. Yes, i do, sort of, to points i do, but it's changed a lot over time, and it continues to change. See, if i had hard scripted everything, the comics that came about after that scripting would have no ability to effect the direction of the comic. I look at the direction of Megatokyo as something akin to a framework, one that has many branches. Pruning and grafting is all part of the process.

An example of hard scripting, or scripting that didn't get the kind of additional creative umph it needed was the whole Moe Moe Ball arc. The middle of chapter 3 fell a little flat, mainly because my focus was too divided, i had too many things going on, and the MT comic was not in the proper place on my priority list. Sure, i could pump out comics, but i'd have to get more structured about how they are scripted and produced.

...If only my mind worked well that way. I was seeing loud and clear that the MT comic was suffering because i wasn't giving it the priority it needed. At that point, much to the chagrin of some people for whom i was doing other things, i made MT once again my #1 priority. It's about the comic, stupid. The extra projects, the side projects, and other things don't mean squat if you let people down with the comic itself. I'm pretty pleased with MT lately, and i feel very good about it's direction right now. Chapter 3 is going to be a tad longer than i had hoped, but some things took a few more comics to do than i anticipated.

The problem with this attitude, is that it's put all the other projects behind schedule ^^;; That's why i'm taking a bit of an in-service day today to throw a tad more time at some things. Let me give a little run-down of what's in the works.

As you may know, Megatokyo, Volume 2 will soon be available from IC entertainment (pre-orders have started, so go preorder :P I've been assured that this really will be the quickest way to get the book, and the problems with the first pre-order shipping issues have been resolved). Of course, one thing i am somewhat behind on is material for book 2. It's a bigger book, 184 pages. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 together with all the extra artwork and other things make for more material. Now, one of the things that people seemed to enjoy about book 1 was the commentary at the bottom of the first 2/3 of the book. Unfortunately, I can't do that for anything in this book because the comics are full page, not square format. I've tried to strategically add information and comments at points in the book, so hopefully that will give people a good feel for the history behind some of the comics from 1 and 2. Honestly, i'm far more happy with the material in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 than i am with anything in Chapter 0. It's not a bad read. Seraphim is working on a preamble for this book, which leaves only two things for me to really deal with - the cover, and the extra material.

I thought hard about what the extra material should be. Originally, i was thinking that I would work on character guides, but I need to do those for the website, and it wouldn't be right to make the extra material something that eventually found its way to the website. I wanted something that would compliment the content of Chapter 1 and 2, and make people feel that the book was truly worth the purchase. While paging thru my archives, i came across just the thing - the beginnings of a short story narrative for the whole Megatokyo Endgames ('MegaWinter Nights' as it was first called), that delved a bit into Pirogoeth and Largo's adventures. Since the recollection of Piro and Largo's activities in that game by Miho are a strong thread in Chapter 2, i thought that this would be the ideal addition.

My long range plans for the whole Engames scenario is that it will also be a comic, or a illustrated work of some sort, or even... a novel, really. Most of what i have for it now are illustrations and narratives. Believe it or not, i have the whole scenario roughly worked out, because it is part of the puzzle that is MT... and it is a piece that most of you are completely in the dark about. You are all used to my comic works, and my ramblings here in the rant column, but you haven't seen much of my prose. Granted, i have zero talent at it, but what i had was a really good start at a short story that I think people would enjoy reading if. I added pages to the book to accommodate it. Now i just need to finish writing it. Writing is not less work than drawing the entire thing out - in fact, as anyone who write knows, it can be a horrible amount of work, but i feel that this is a challenge that will be fun to take on. Hopefully, it makes a good addition to the book. That's the thing i need to work on today. I'll be doing some drawings and sketches today to help the process along, and i'll post one of them tonight as a DPD. I hope you all don't mind. :)

Of course, i still have to do the cover image. And there is still work to be done on the commentary. I have to get back to work on 'warmth' - its due in a few weeks, and i haven't even started the second installment. >_< Next month I am doing so much travel that i'm worried about how I will get anything done. Ugh.

In other news, I want to announce that in about a week and a half, a new version/reprint of the Pirogoeth poster that Merekat and I did back in 2001 will be available in the ThinkGeek store. It's a slightly different layout, and the poster is smaller than the original, but it's bigger than the Capture the Bear poster, and we're holding the printer to the same high standards we always do. :) There is more Merekat/Piro goodness coming... Mere has been working hard on rendering the Broken Miho image, and it's looking stellar so far. ^_^

Ok, enough rambling, i need to get to work...

< Dom >

"Back... kind of"

Tuesday - March 11, 2003

[Dom] - 10:00:00 - [link here]

I'm not quite back, but since I promised there'd be a rant, here it is. First things first, about my now-infamous condom rant. I got a LOT of e-mail about this one. I mean a LOT. Sheesh... talk about video games for months on end, get barely any e-mail, even from the people who still whine "They used to care about video games". And then talk about little plastic squares filled with latex/rubber/whatnot and boom! Mail everywhere... ah well. Anyway, here are a few of the more interesting replies I got:

This one's from Panda, who had a LOT of theories.
Okay, you'll probably get tons of responses, if only because they saw the word condom in your 'rant.' But I'm being serious.
1- I don't know you. You mentioned the catholic upbringing. Does that mean that you do not believe in premarital sex? --which would render the condoms useless to you, which they would know.
2- If you could plausibly have sex relatively soon-- EVEN if based on social factors it seems very unlikely (I'm not making fun, just if)-- then maybe they honestly think 'I don't need this anymore... maybe Dom could use it.' Condoms are usually good for 4 years you know. ;) I had a friend that gave me condoms after she decided to stop using them (but was on the pill), too.
3- still under the 'if you might actually need them' clause: maybe they think you could plausibly get laid (I put it that way because of the context) in the not-so-distant future, but know that you don't think you will, and they don't need them anyway, so they're thinking this way you're prepared, and then they made you think a little about the possability, if that makes sense. Again, on the tired. I sure hope this isn't all incoherent.
4- maybe they think you get laid at Cons a lot. I know a high schooler who isn't 'semi-famous' like you that does, and that really weirded me out when I found out. He's not even that attractive (not NOT attractive... anyway). Even the guys I went to Akon with that thought most of the people were freaks still watched for hot girls and complained when they didn't get any.

I'll answer in as few words as possible, since this one e-mail is as long as any of my rants :P

Casual sex just isn't something I go in for. I just don't see any point in it. Pre-marital sex I'm okay with, but casual/random stuff I don't personally agree with. Con sex is just eww.

There was another one that was just amusing, from Small Pink Mouse:

1. "I just *know* that you're active so stay safe!" Not necessarily a vote for your sense of discretion but at least an expression of concern for your wellbeing. Don't forget, *supposedly* these things are AIDS prevention as well.

2. "I hope you find the right girl with which to use these." Again, not a great vote for your discretion, but then again it's a positive vote for your romantic life and can be taken as the way those who are attached would like to see *everyone* happily attached. It's possible that some matchmaking attempts are in your future if this interpretation is correct.

3. "I'm settled down but you aren't, so score one for me!" At one time married people did have an excessively romantic view of how much "action" singles got and for all I knew it still might happen today. In that case they might be going for vicarious romance through the notion of "helping" you (I noticed a long time ago that the female appetite for Romance novels seems to increase rather than decrease after marriage).

4. If they know one another then perhaps word got around from the first, "You can pass them along to Dom. *He'll* take them." In which case what you have is the sort of generous frugality that wants to think an item is "in use by someone else" rather than "wasted". In this case expect more such gifts as word gets continues to get around (Sorta like the way we get books from our relatives that we wouldn't touch in a million years once word gets out that we like to read). In this case no hidden message; they just think you have a genuine use for the stuff. 5. Any combination of 1 through 4 that you would like to picture: No reason that people need only one motive. ^_~

A couple of additional thoughts do occur to me:

1. *Used* condoms got from *Ebay*? ^_^; Used for what by whom, and why would you want to trust them? ^_^;;; Either your first friend is a ditz, was being malicious, or else has a twisted sense of humor and was expecting you to get the joke.

2. If your one friend is as completely Lesbian as you believe (Although people *do* change their minds about these matters upon occasion unexpectedly!) you may want to regard this one as in the same spirit of having gotten the condos from a guy rather than from a girl. In that case possibility #3 would be the likeliest one in her case.

Hope some of this helps,
Small Pink Mouse

Interestingly enough, I haven't carried around a condom in ages. I just haven't felt the need to, since, as I said, casual sex isn't my thing. When you know that you aren't getting any any time soon and are okay with that, there's not really a need for condoms. Strangely enough, people have gotten the impression that I have a steady girlfriend recently. It's weird. Maybe it's some kind of strange "man with condom" aura... or maybe it's just overly huggy friends ;P

Oh. And the condoms weren't used, they were still in the package and stuff. They just weren't, y'know, NEW new.

Meanwhile, as many people have pointed out, my next hobby should probably be making condom balloon animals, since I just KNOW people will start giving me the damn things at cons, just like those miscellaneous stick figures. Dammit, Rod gets booze at cons, Fred gets fanart, and I get condoms and leg humpings? There's no justice.

Well, I guess I can at least get people to use protection when they try and go for my leg. I wonder if I can find airtight body condoms to rid the world of some overzealous fans...

And speaking of overzealous fans, this one's from kudaketa usagi ningyou:

weeeeelllllllll.....

if it's any consolation, i'd like to have your babies? *blink*

Uh. Right.

On to actual game stuff.

In between sessions of deadline panic, I've picked up my roommate's games of Xenosaga and Dark Cloud 2. Penny Arcade's already said a lot about Dark Cloud 2, but I have to say, while most of the game is fun and all that, monster transformation is one of the biggest wastes of time in an RPG since... well... all of Final Fantasy 8. You have to get fucking 26 levels just to raise your monster's attack from 8 to 9? That was just plain poorly thought out. For the same amount of experience that it takes to level up ONE of your monsters to the next stage of growth, you can easily make a weapon and bring it up at least four, five transformations. In that time, the weapon's attack will go up by about 80. How weak is that? I find it to be a horrible design-one of the only things about Dark Cloud 2 that I find to be poorly designed. Well, except that the Island King looks ugly. I mean "gouge your eyes out rather than looking at this monstrosity" ugly. Who decided to put a pinwheel at the end of the damned thing? I'll stick with the Dark Cloud, thanks...

On to Xenosaga. I don't really play the game itself--Xenogears burned me far too badly with its slow-ass pace, bad combat design (Hey, look, I just learned a new technique! Okay, time to ignore it until the boss fight, gotta learn the next one!) and the excruciating agony that was disc 2. I think I would've preferred gnawing off my own leg to sitting through even a half hour of that monstrosity. Xenosaga has the blessed, blessed skip function, and the voiceover makes it much easier on the psyche. Too bad Wendee Lee has about as much emotion in her voice as a plank hitting a wall. It's just about the only outright bad performance I've heard in it so far.

But all that doesn't matter, because all I play is Xenocard. Why? Because it reminds me of the Battletech card game, and even with the whole "Rares infinitely outclass commons" thing, I still like the design of it. There are a few things that annoy the crap out of me about the game. "Turn 1 Shion, turn 2 make Shion level 10, wipe the floor with you" has happened far too many times for me to be happy with what's supposed to be the deliberate pace of the game, and I don't think Gnosis should be able to start on the battlefield the turn they enter play... but oh well. It's a CCG that I don't need to spend money on.

I do have a question, though. It has, again, been bugging me for a while. So KOS-MOS is this robot that's been designed to save the world from these alien/spirit/parasite/demon things called Gnosis, right? And so she's an ultimate weapon on legs. I can understand giving her a female design. It's... well, it's just a design choice. Why was Data male? Because the designer wanted Data to be male. But the real question is, who's the crack addict that decided to give her a garter? I mean, really, a goddamn garter? On an android? What's the point of it, to keep her metal socks up? For all I know, those boots are part of her leg, so why the hell would she need a garter? It's just dumb.

Anyway, I should head off. I'm tired, and should sleep. I started this rant at 1 AM and have been writing it on and off for the whole day, so I figure it's a good time to head off. 'Til next time...

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