TV.2, Website headspace, Continuity

I finished the first modern draft of the TV.2 script last night. Over the course of getting that generated some actionable material for TV.4 fell out. Last night’s session was pretty much exactly what was required for production – the script was generated with layouts, which gives me a solid idea as to TV.2’s early CG requirements. Major geometry already exists – to get this thing going I’ll be finishing assets that are a few years old, rather than starting fresh. There’s still a hell of a lot of work to do but the important thing is that the vast majority of the script takes place in existing environments. The big hangups are the first six pages and the last six pages.

I’m going to sit on the script for a bit before I transcribe it and start cutting it up for pages, revising it, getting an idea of the final page count, etc. I plan to continue developing the production framework that gelled into place with DCR.3 – typed script, workbook, layouts, revisions, etceteras. TV.2 will officially start production when the script is finalized – at this point I’d like to have things ready to go in October. Five weeks may sound like a long time but I won’t be slacking off – that’s five weeks to bust out a cover for DCR, update the covers for The Dualist, and oh yeah… redo the website.

That last one is going to be a bit of a time sink. I plan to stick closely to the current look and feel, evolving layout, functionality and CSS to fit with where my head’s at these days. I’m also going to burn down the Universe again and cook it up fresh – more thorough, more focused, and – most importantly – more integrated. At this point I have a few ideas about how to tie Universe entries in with tag search and I’m going to explore that thoroughly. I’m probably also going to fork the Cast into its own menu item – still part of the Universe but easier to get to.

Another goal is to make all chapters of all books quickly accessible – at this point how that works out is going to depend on what I wind up doing with the left-hand menu. If that continues to handle like it does now then I’ll go with a “site map” footer. If I go in a different direction with the main menu then the footer will likely retain some semblance of its present shape.

Also on deck – CSS and template support for advertising. I’ll cook it into the build and keep it disabled until I’m ready to roll with it. It’s something that’s been on the back burner for years and now that fourteen chapters of ATC can be read coherently it’s time to start buying ad space on other comics, and allowing ads for other webcomics onto ATC.

Along those lines, there’ll be a new menu option – currently “Reading List” in my head – which is planned to be a comprehensive list of comics and support sites that I frequent.

Also under consideration is a “New Readers” menu item – currently About serves an acclimation function, though the current About section reads like a massive wank. I’m thinking along the lines of Sam and Fuzzy‘s New Reader page – though ATC being ATC, what I have in mind is a short “bootstrap” comic that would cover certain key elements of backstory before lobbing the reader into Dead City Radio. I drafted a small part of it this weekend and the first bit reads great – whether I fully develop it or not depends on a number of factors. At present it’s Under Consideration and not something I consider a requirement for a site launch… though the more I think on it, the better it “feels.”

Aaaand. What prompted this blog post, actually. Wrapping a new TV.2 script draft that’s FULL OF SPACE PORN would have gotten a mention regardless – this generalized ramble was prompted by the fact that the continuity pass mentioned previously is functionally complete. I’ve redacted the story pages of all fourteen chapters (and the bookends of The Dualist) and found relatively few genuine continuity errors – most of the effort was focused on smoothing out some clunkiness. Editing is presently down to replacing the logo on the covers of The Dualist, and removing book numbers.

Yeah, I’m “refactoring” the books. By the time the website overhaul is complete DCR will be book one, The Dualist will be book two, and Transitional Voices will be book three. Book numbering will be dropped from the cover mockups – and probably from the website. That may create some dissonance with page metadata, but if I’m going to start buying ad space and hoping for eyeballs, I’d rather give a new reader the impression that the whole thing starts with DCR.1. Which it does.

So. Gear-shift in progress. New site in September or October, I hope!