Years ago, I made a resolution to never make any New Years Resolution again. I figured it was the only resolution I could ever realistically keep, and I liked the idea.
...I'm about to break that resolution. And make a new one:
Revitalize once more The Descended. 2013 will be an excellent year for me.
For starters...I plan on moving all the non-special-event filler in my archive elsewhere. (Key word, moving, not removing.) I know it's possible to preserve the Comic formatting of it, from the comic to the alt-text to the title and even to the comics. I don't know how, but I do know that it's possible, and so I'll be pursuing that in 2013; I imagine it won't be that hard to get the coding help I require.
In particular, I want to move Q&A 1, Filler: Magic, and Filler: Fanart as all three are commentless voteless comics which I can relocate elsewhere.
If I can (I know it's theoretically possible), though, I also want to move Kinas Chronicle and the Argus Profile comic I recently posted, And Artist Notes 2, And Filler. All of them will be more complicated, as they have comments and ratings and such, so I'm not sure how feasible it'll be to actually pull off...but I'll certainly at least be trying.
Second off, I plan to continue updating my comic. The Chronicle was excellent practice, and I improved a lot while working on it, but ultimately, it's a side-story which is basically filler compared to the main comic. I want to legitimately continue updating my comic. But it gets better!
I'm also in the process of experimenting with breaking up panels. My comic has consistently been having artificial 400x400 panels, typically two wide and 2-6 tall, averaging 4. I want to evolve the comic, so that rather than the artificial consistent panels, I get a more print-comic feel to things, with a better flow. This may change the script for comics somewhat, but I think it'll be a change for the better, as making the comics shorter will increase their readability.
And if that's not enough, my art's improving to the point where I might soon experiment with bringing depth to my comic. In comic-making terms, the images I've been posting as a final product would be "flats". I want to add in the stuff which gives them life, mainly shading. I've done small-scale experiments using a tutorial, and I think that I can take it to a larger scale. It'll take practice and refinement, but if I got good at it, my comic would go from looking mediocre to looking good.
(All without a tablet. I'll still be using my laptop's built-in mousepad, since that's all I've got. :P It'll be time-consuming, but I'll make do with what I've got, since I don't have any other choice.)
Do I have the time for all of this? To be honest, probably not, not for a while into 2013, at least. But I'll be working on it consistently and persistently. This IS something I want to devote myself to. I've made up my mind in that way--I can make a good webcomic. I can do great things. All I need is time, and practice. Lots and lots of practice, to refine my art--better perspectives, better techniques, better scripts...
I think I can do it. Will it be easy, no. Will it be something I can do instantly, no. But I know that this is something I CAN do, no matter how ambitious and stupidly greedy it sounds for me to try.
I'm a smart guy, with a lot of untapped potential. If I make this into my resolution, to make a good comic, to make The Descended a respectable comic, then...well...I think I can do it.
There's so much work to be done, but I know I have it in me. (For instance, I need to tweak the Character page a little bit.)
Also, I've got new fanart. Two pieces, even. At the time of this blog, I've put neither of 'em up, but I got an excellent piece of Argus fanart from NightfallValley, author of (among others) Love is Complicated, a remake of Geode Corner. I also got a sweet piece of fanart from Sabrini Fur, which will be released as a comic on the 24th.
So I just went to clean up the Characters page a little, and I like it already. It's not perfect, but it's better than it was before. It's also got more info on it than before. One of the main improvements, however, is that I've now made working links for the individual characters on the index, so that I can link to a specific character and be brought to that section.
Also, I've begun to re-do the portraits. Argus (which if you've read this blog, you already saw), Aria, and Davos are so far all I've got, but hopefully I'll get the whole cast done soon enough.
There's also something else I've been working on. It's not much of a surprise for anyone following my forum posts, but for those who are reading just the webcomic, it'll be good, so I won't talk about it much.
(Though, really, who reads the blog but not my forum posts? :P)
It's awesome, especially considering that (other than sprites and some decent-but-not-great text descriptions) I haven't actually drawn Nathan myself, yet. So much of him is captured in this image, so once more, you can pay thanks for me by checking out systemcat's webcomic, Light Bulbs.
So last night, I realized that I had passed a milestone:
5,000 visitors to the site.
That might not sound too impressive, and really, it's not (especially given that number is from nearly three years total), but it's still significant to me, and it made me quite happy.
In other news, I am doing some additions to the Characters page. I just got done adding Orientation, Age, Height, Weight, and Homeland to the pages.
A small note, Adventurers typically tend to be taller than commoners and yet weigh slightly less.
Typical male adventurers are generally 6'-6'2", but it's not uncommon for them to go up to 6'5", and it's rare for them to be shorter than 5'10".
Typical female adventurers are not much shorter, generally in the 5'10-6" range. It's not too uncommon for them to push up to 6'2", and it's fairly rare for them to go below 5'8".
Weights for male adventurers are typically in the 180-200 lbs range, going up to 220 for bulkier guys and down to 170 for faster guys.
Weights for female adventurers are around 5-15 ponds less than that, so they're typically 165-195, not going much above 205 typically.
Why do things work like that? Magic. (It solves everything. :P) An adventurer's stats tend to have an influence on things as well. Strength and endurance make a person heavier and contribute to making them taller. Nimbleness, Dexterity, and Charisma all contribute to height as well, while serving to counteract weight, as all of them make someone weigh less.
These are just the beginning of the changes to the page, though. Ultimately, I want to have the best character page possible, while also having character images which capture everything you need to know about them via a single image. To that end, I did research by looking at character pages from my subscriptions list, and actually got a lot of good ideas from there. It helped contribute to the changes above, and will be contributing to the images I plan to make. Still finalizing that, but wish me luck!
The top of the site now has shiny new buttons thanks to the simply amazing amount of help I've had from MatthewJA. I hope you like them (and the overall look of the site), since it took Matt probably close to three dozen PMs to get it working. :P
If you don't like it, and/or are having troubles with it, and/or you have a suggestion to make it better, feel free to say so; I'll do what I can for ya.
But since it's working for me, it looks awesome to me, and I was the one who made it (well, with Matt guiding me through step-by-step and offering advice, at least :P), well, without anyone saying it needs to be different, I'm going to take the philosophy "If it aint broke, don't fix it" and keep it as it currently is. :P
Also, I'm finally in the process of creating good character bios. I've started by creating portraits for characters. I'm in the finishing stages of creating Aria, and have already finished Argus.
It's not perfect, but it captures who I see as being Argus more than the previous image did, and honestly, it just freakin' looks cool to me. :P
This is also the first step in slightly cleaning up my Characters page. Though it's overall one of my best-constructed pages, it's far from perfect. In particular, the Index is a little bit intimidating, so I'm planning on soon changing it to be more like the About page's index. (Which has the opposite problem; its index is good, but the page itself is one of my least-organized. :P)
So a pretty productive day.
Also, I've finished another part of the Kinas Chronicle. The part I just finished was part six. Parts 3-5 will be releasing over the course of the week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 PM.
With all the time which I've been spending on these side-projects, I mighta actually had enough time for an actual comic rather than filler info comics. :P
But, eh, probably not. These side-projects take a few minutes to a few hours to be finished. My comic takes a few hours to a few days to create. :P
Still, though, it leaves me hopeful. Stay tuned to see what I come up with.
So Firefox crashed, but that's not my rant.
Firefox crashed while I was writing my vent, about TVTropes.
Specifically, how I've been banned from editing. Now if it were for other pages, I'll need to know why.
But for my own, well...that's why I was ranting:
THE PEOPLE EDITING MY PAGE DID NOT DO THEIR RESEARCH. I strongly suspect none of them had even read my webcomic.
I was ticked off. SERIOUSLY ticked off. I had to restrain myself from dropping f-bombs in this rant, but let me summarize things. When I'm in a more calm mood, I'll go over the details of all of them.
-Emphasis. Lots of it has been deleted. The thing is, the emphasis I placed in the article mostly came from emphasis in the actual comic itself. I've got the documents to prove it; I can put up the exact quotes to show it.
-But far more blatantly...deleting all YMMV items, deleting character alignments, deleting things such as the Uncanny Valley, deleting ChaoticEvil and LawfulGood from the page and such. The thing is, THOSE ARE FUNDAMENTAL PARTS OF THE SETTING. Anyone who's read the comic, heck, anyone who's even visited the site at all will know that my comic features canonical character alignments.
When I've calmed down, I'll recompile the whole list. Everything from Ironeyes's removal of MidnightBlueEyes (sure it's not a trope now, but it was when I added it--how do I know? Because I visited that page and read it in painstaking detail to make sure it applied. And it did) to FamilyThemeNaming. (Firefox crashed as I was checking that line out, since I wasn't sure about it.) And then beyond.
Now mind you, my list of complaints doesn't mean I hold any ill will, nor do I think that all the changes suck.
Some of them I like, and most of them I understand. So as much as I'd love to shout, "STOP VANDALIZING MY TVTROPES PAGE!!!", I can't, since their intention (while misguided) was to clean it up.
They failed, miserably, because they Did Not Do Their Research quite obviously, but their minds were in the right place, so I can't blame 'em.
It's just that, well...they lobotomized my page, without being at all familiar with the setting.
Heck, I explicitly said IN MY TVTROPES DISCUSSION PAGE, that Character Alignments were a canonical part of the setting, so there's no milage to be varied; it's set in stone. So it really irks me, that I'm going to have to go through the trouble of getting unsuspended, so that I can rebuild my page.
And, well, one of the things said was not to abuse the invoked tag. The thing is, when in the actual comic, I INVOKE THE TROPE, what other tag am I supposed to use? I'm invoking the trope. Specifically invoking, say, ChaoticEvil as an alignment. Specifically attempting to invoke, say, Uncanny Valley. Those are things that I put in the comic itself, and explicitly state having the intention of it being in the comic itself. So it's not YMMV items. It's in the comic itself, as explicit as can be.
So, I'm going to compile when I've calmed down the list of things which they're doing wrong on my page and I was doing right. I'm going to explain exactly why, if that was the reason for the suspension, it should not have happened. 'Course, if the suspension were for other pages, well, then, that's something I'd have to be shown what I did. I mostly just have been adding to ComicFury pages, in much the same format as they were already in, keeping things consistent. I state clearly each time my reason for editing (maybe a little overly verbose in doing so), and make the examples as relevant and as detailed as I can.
So again, I kinda doubt that it's for any page other than my own. And on my own, I'll admit there are some mistakes, but far less than people have assumed. Of all ComicFurians, I'm the one who knows TVTropes the best, but I don't keep track of things constantly. Things get renamed, tropes get dropped and merged, and I can't realistically be expected to keep up with that. And I never add a trope without doing my research. Research which at the time supported everything in there as being valid for the example.
Could I make a mistake? Sure, I can misinterpret things; I'm only human. Could tropes change under my feet? I'm positive they have already a lot. Can policies for pages change? Clearly they can, since what was acceptable and standard at one point is no longer so. (For instance, when I made my TVTropes page, I made sure to model its format after several respected TVTropes pages, such as Hellsing.) All that means is that my methods are antiquidated, not wrong. Could I describe things in more detail sometimes? Yes, I sometimes neglect that. Do I describe things in too much detail sometimes? Yes, I do.
But it also runs both ways. Can others make mistakes? Yes. They have, in not being familiar with my work. Are they willing to accept that I added tropes before they changed? Not often, as they'll delete without replacing more frequently than not. Are they willing to accept that my page was created and formatted a long time ago? Well, apparently not, but I'll find out soon enough if they realized this. Do they cut out details which are important? Yes, yes they do. Are their methods of welding things together perfect? No, they are not, as their efforts often mangle the meaning and twist it into something it's not.
I'll get it all sorted out soon enough.
But I'm just...gah, thank goodness I'm a trained mafia player. If it weren't for my experience in trying to keep rational thoughts and reasoning despite being passionate about something, well, then the above would be a little more hostile. :P
This leaves a sour taste in my mouth, so I'm considering not updating while I sort out this mess.