Page 636: Fire

Finally, a good look at the shuttlepod! πŸ˜€

18:29 < rjbs> SHUTTLEPOD
18:29 < rjbs> (lisa needs spacecraft)
18:29 < rjbs> SHUTTLEPOD
18:29 < rjbs> (lisa needs spacecraft)

With the exception of a lengthy Tale of Two Wastelands break in February, I’ve been working on ATC every day since the last new page was posted in November. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. The fact that I haven’t drawn the comic since September or updated the front page in a meaningful way in a little over four months has predictably translated into low interest – if I’m not buying traffic or predictably posting new pages it doesn’t matter how much work is being done behind the scenes.

Heck, if traffic analysis is anything to go by, “behind the scenes” isn’t just literal non-website work, it’s everything outside of the RSS feed, everything outside of amongthechosen.com/comic/.

Such is the nature of webcomics.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happened in the past few months:

  • In early December, I proposed a few edits to The Dualist. This resulted in The Charger Edit, The Naomi Edit, the Space Edit, and some cleanup and revisions to Earth – all of which passed with much distress, little notice, and a lot of Metro 2033.
  • In January I started work on 3d assets for the final chapter of Transitional Voices, as reported on here, and in some detail here. Quite a bit of 3d material was generated, including the accommodation compartments of the Daedalus.
  • After that I took a brief breather and then got to work on the Sickbay, as reported here.
  • Following Sickbay construction and test renders I relocated the website from Linode to Arvixe, then built all of the reference models I’ll need for the first and last scene of the chapter.
  • Last week I generated Hrazny mrDat, which is the last major asset required for the chapter and the last major asset required for the cover.

You can’t see much of it on the cropped cover but important parts of Hrazny mrDat are visible in the spread, as you can see here:

Transitional Voices Chapter Four - Full Cover

You may have noticed that the script isn’t on that list. I’m taking a different approach from prior outings and while the approach is providing good plot and pacing results it’s a sort of design by reduction that’s given the chapter a very clear outline of what happens on what page but with no dialogue or set direction at present. I’m having a hell of a time getting past the outline, to the point where I’m thinking of triaging the script. Since late in The Dualist I’ve written out an entire chapter prior to starting production on it – in this case I know where things need to go and what happens when they get there so I’m okay with shoving the first pages of Fire out the door as soon as the initial scenes are finalized. I’m not okay with the fact that the script is taking as long as it has but if I go into the how and the why of that I’ll be doing it in a blog post, as it’s an issue that effects ATC as a whole and isn’t a snag that’s unique to this installment.

One thing that is unique to this installment – a change since the last chapter, largely for the better: despite my struggle with the script very nearly all of the 3d assets required for the chapter have been built. For awhile there I was in a sweet spot – I’d write and lay out the script, then model whatever I needed for the current scene, render and draw the scene, and repeat. That workflow complemented my day job and development habits nicely; since my day job went sideways and my development habits were kicked in the groan area it’s been a real struggle to write the comic. It’s not getting any easier. In this case there’s only one scene that’s going to need environment work – I’ll be able to produce the rest of the chapter as it renders. That’s new, and a thing I intend to take full advantage of.

So. Cover done, assets all but complete, chapter outline very complete. Script… incomplete. As of now it’s the only comic-related thing standing in the way of production, so hopefully it’ll be sorted this month.

When it is sorted, I’ll let you know. With PAGES! πŸ˜€

Blog: TV.4 Production Status Update: Fire rules!

Heh heh heh. Yeah. ItΒ rules.

When I produced the cover for Fire it was one of two ATC-related things standing in the way of new pages. The other thing was the script, and at the time it was easier to produce the cover. Around the time the cover went live the weather improved, and for the remainder of April Pittsburgh experienced a very brief spring, lurching from a frigid, sloppy winter into what seems to be a sweltering, soggy summer at high speed. During that time I wrote the script, laid it out. and got all forty pages of the chapter ready for production. There were a lot of steps involved in that process – steps that had previously been performed a page at a time, then a scene at a time. I think this is the first I’ve prepared an entire chapter for production in one go, and as of this writing almost the entire thing is ready for rendering. Read More →