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< Piro >

fredart....

"tuesday thursday"

Monday - August 27, 2001

[Piro] - 01:45:00 - [link here]

Last night, while drawing frames for the next comic, i did some thinking. I was still a little sore from helping my sister move into her new apartment on Saturday, and I had spent a good 4 hours wrestling with script changes and other MT stuffs for the earlier part of the day. Once again, it didn't look like i would be able to upload a new comic Sunday night. Since I haven't really been on the M/W/F schedule for over a month, I don't think anyone was really expecting it. Personally, I was once again frustrated by my inability to reach what is, really, a personal goal - three comics a week, uploaded and ready to view monday, wednesday and friday morning at 1:00 am.

Ever since Megatokyo started, and even moreso recently, just about every comic that goes up goes live about 10 seconds after i finish the thing. In the world of professional syndicated comics this is a horrifying concept - it leaves no room for error, no room for a bad night, no room for artists block, nothing. In fact, oddly enough, it has the feel of live performance - you have to sit down and draw it right the first time, and there are no second takes. If you get behind, it's even harder to catch up - i got one day behind schedule several weeks ago, and i've been unable to really catch up yet. It's like continually tripping over your feet, never actually getting your balance back.

My initiall reactions to missed goals like this is to blame myself, my lack of planning, my lack of dedication, etc, etc - all those things that really don't do a damn thing to do with the real reason for missing goals. After wacking yourself in the head with a board for a few hours, and the self pity and loathing has run it's course, you can start thinking about what the *real* problems are - and what you can do to fix it.

Sometimes the solution to your problems is not only right before your eyes, but sometimes it's already in place and you don't even realize it. Stubbornly insisting on doing a 3 comics a week schedule has not given me any chances to get ahead, and in fact, i've fallen behind schedule (and i can't get up! (gak)). People have suggested that I take a whole week off and just get ahead. I don't feel good about that concept. I've had to take time off from MT for travel and other things - more time wouldn't be fair to people. It's also been suggested that I drop down to doing 2 comics a week rather than three. I've resisted that idea, but the truth is... that's what's been happening, whether I like it or not.

So, rather than fight this - i'm going to take advantage of it. For the next four weeks, we're going to switch to a Tuesday Thursday schedule - new comics will go up Tuesday and Thursday morning at 1am EST. I will still be pushing to finish 3 comics a week, but this way I might have a chance of getting ahead a little. The status bar thing is great, but I haven't been too happy with the 'new comic will go up when it's done' thing. I think that you folks deserve to be able to find a new comic here on a reliable schedule - for instance, you will know that when you get to work on tuesdays and thursdays, there will be a new comic waiting to view when you get there. A month from now, hopefully we can return to the 3 a week schedule, where you can reliably expect a comic to appear when they are supposed to.

I think that getting ahead is important for several reasons. First of all, even tho you have all be great and supportive about the flexible schedule lately, it's not a very professional thing to be doing. I want to see MT continue to grow and gain respect as a professional peice of work - reliablility is, i think, an important part of that. Secondly, there is something satisfying about hitting your schedule, and concequently something very unsettling about always being 'late', even if it is a self-imposed schedule. By switching to Tuesday/Thursday for a while, I'm gonna feel a hell of a lot better about it when i do post the comics. The third thing is, and I don't think most people realize this but... it can take as much time or longer to write a good script as it does giving Largo and I more room for planning, real life disasters and maybe even raw moments of pure laziness. Plus there is that (grumble) site re-design that we've been working on...

For those of you who think that i'm getting lazy - that's not the case at all. When Megatokyo was a 3 panel comic, I would typically have to draw 4 drawings per comic. The new format usually calls for anywhere between 6 and 10 drawings - recently it's been averaging around 9 drawings. With the old format - it was a total of 12 drawings a week. With this format, it can be anywhere from 18 to 30 drawings a week - i can draw a lot faster than i used to, but certainly not fast enough to actually catch up at that rate. And people wonder why I haven't posted any sketches at Fredart lately... every drawing moment gets absorbed my Megatokyo. One thing I'll try to do with the looser schedule for the next four weeks is try to get a few more free-sketches online. My old site deserves a *little* attention. ^_^

Anywhoo, i think that this will be a good thing for Megatokyo, so i appreciate your patience with me. No more 'gee, is there a comic yet?' - for the next four weeks, there WILL be a new comic tuesday morning and thursday morning. I can pretty much guarentee that you will find new sketches showing up on Fredart, as well as some overlooked things that need to be fixed on this site (like the character bios)

I really wish Largo knew what we were doing. It would make all this so much easier. :)

< Largo >

you're already here.

"Arcanum"

Monday - August 27, 2001

[Largo] - 20:35:00 - [link here]

For those interested, Scott Kurtz and I will be attending AnimeFest this weweekend inDallas, TX. We'll both be attending panels, signing junk, etc.

On the webcomic front, BlinkTags and Project Fanboy. Also, be sure to checkout Polymer City Chronicles, it has a new site, and a new look to it.

Like most right thinking people in their mid-twenties, I went and saw Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back over the weekend. Man, did this movie cheer me up. Besides the normal Kevin Smith goodness you'd expect to find in an Askew flick, I was treated to an entire subplot revolving around something that I can relate to - internet trolls. Not a day goes by that our website isn't made a target by someone who either doesn't approve of what we do, or thinks they can do a better job. I don't want to spoil the ending of the film, but I will say that I came out of J&SBSB feeling relaxed, calm, and as if a great evil in the universe had been finally vanquished.

Posters & Color T-Shirts are coming soon, but we've been swamped with paperwork lately. Scott Kurtz once wrote that success could kill your website, giving it a lot of thought these past few months, I think his statement was close to the real truth, which is - "Success can kill you."

Somehow this missed my attention when it first happened, but the new Neverwinter Nights Designer Diary was posted to da vault. This time we look into the mind of Marc Holmes, which is a pretty scary place.

I've been gone a lot lately, lost in an amazing new realm, where trolls and calculators co-exist together in an unholy union of magic and technology. No, I haven't been to my accountant's office, I've been playing the recently released, Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura.

For the uninitiated, Arcanum is a CRPG (I do so love CRPGs) that combines traditional sword & sorcery elements of fantasy role playing - with would could be described as a Jules Verne's inspired world of electrical and steam based technology. It takes talented people to merge two opposing concepts to create one unique and fluid product such as Arcanum.

The character creation and advancement process is extremely diverse, this is as much to its benefit, as its weakness. First time players will more then likely be confused as to what they should make their character, what skills to raise, what stats to raise, etc. I suggest playing a bit and then re-starting once you've gotten used to the game, and have a better idea what path (magick/technology/both) and skills (pick pocketing, melee combat, gambling) you want.

To create my character, I choose my favorite race in any game, a human. I gave him extra intelligence and charisma and the trait of having a 'strong personality', so people have extreme reactions (either positive or negative) when first meeting him. I then dumped a point in the Persuasian skill, and selected the Electricity technology track. Finally I thought about whom this character this reminded me of the most, and named him "Largo", to begin the game.

After I began play, I quickly learned that this game revolves around looting dead bodies, you begin play surrounded by them. I was little upset at first, I didn't know looting corpses was a skill, otherwise I'd have put more points in it. I tried to persuade the dead with my amazing charm and charisma, but it was like talking to a wall. After I finished stripping all the corpses of their most valuable items, I continued on my epic journey.

The first critical path of the story involves going to the next town to find a priest, after I arrived there - I realized that this game has more to offer then looting corpses, I was surrounded by living people now, all of them who would become prey to my amazing charm and persuation! An hour later I died while trying to talk some sewer rats out of eating me, so I gave up and restarted the game, this time with a more a fighter like character, dumping points into strength and selecting the trait of "beat with an ugly stick" - I found I was able to hurt things now, and spent less time talking to the NPCs, and more time turning rats into pulp.

In all seriousness I've really been enjoying the game since I've gotten it, the story picks up around the second critical path of the story, so I'd suggest sticking it out till you reach the next town. Also, when you get there, be sure to look for Madam Lil's place, tell her Largo sent you.

This game's theme is really refreshing, after Bioware re-energized the CRPG genre with Baldur's Gate some years ago, the market has been full of uninspired games offering the same old thing in terms of the fantasy genre in order to cash in on 'the new big thing'. It's been reminiscent of when id software first released Doom and suddenly everyone had their own "doom-like game".

Sierra, the makers of Arcanum, have had a tough time of things lately, the problems with the Homeworld Franchise (which is still hands down the best fleet space-combat RTS ever made), to the recent closing of the Dynamix studio in Eugene, Oregon. I can only assume Sierra is doing what It needs to do to keep making great games, so I hope.

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