Shattered Visage

Production of ATC has halted at 16 years, three books, and 652 story pages. The comic is estimated to be 50% complete by page count and approximately 10% complete by total CG assets.

The views and interests of the author at 40 do not align with the views and interests of the author at 23. An attempt to address differences was made with the Mastering Pass in late 2016, at which time it was realized that the project was no longer an expression of the author’s outlook and could not be rebuilt as such without rearchitecting it from scratch.

The decision to end production was not taken lightly, nor was it made in haste. To continue, even without the aforementioned issues, would have necessitated a substantial investment in CG assets – requirements more in line with a film or open-world video game, infeasible for a comic produced by a single individual. In 2017 an extended period of time off was taken to heal and to get a fresh perspective, initially with the intent of figuring out how to continue the project. During that time it was discovered that life without ATC was much more enjoyable than life with ATC – so much so that work on the final version of the website, and this final blog post, were deferred for over a year. Work was scheduled for August of 2018 but thinking about the project at that time resulted in a nervous breakdown that took months to recover from. Wrapping up production is a major step in that recovery.

And for my next trick…

Transitional Voices is provisionally complete. According to the ATC Production Roadmap the next item on the to-do list is the “Science Pass” and “remastering” – a giant full-spectrum cleanup edit that will haul the comic cosmology kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

I’ll be starting on that soon. The idea is to steamroll through the material, make the required changes, and then make some PDFs. And probably CBZs since those are easier to make. If you support ATC on Patreon at a $10/month level you’ll hopefully have something to read – a lot of something – before the year is out. If you don’t, you’ll probably have to wait awhile to see the edits reflected on the site. While recent edits have been extensive this one’s going to be epic. The file structure will be overhauled, The Dualist and chapter one of TV will finally be configured for print, and some of the more willfully obtuse bits of the plot will (hopefully) be streamlined into something easier to relate to.

I’ll be doing a few graphics tweaks but for the most part that’s over with – all of the major graphical edits on my to-do list were done during and after the production of the final scene of Fire. I won’t be adding new pages. I will not be adding new scenes. I will be folding Observer Effect into Dead City Radio, moving Interstitial into Transitional Voices, renumbering everything to list correctly, and then overhauling the web site.

A large amount of the mental heavy lifting has been done – for the most part this is a vast pile of work that just needs to be plowed through. This phase should go relatively quickly when I get started on it. I say “relatively” as there’s no quick way to tweak and renumber almost 700 pages, and I say “when” as I’m still figuring out my post-Pittsburgh workflow. The incentive to get this leg of post-production done is the work that comes after – cleaning up assets and generating material for the restructured cast and lexicon sections. Shining ATC into product.

I’ve been searching for a conclusion for a couple of hours, but I’m coming up dry – it isn’t something I’ve thought about or rehearsed, unlike the massive list of post-production edits that are about to go down. I’d say “Courage” but Apple recently turned that word from an obtuse cultural reference into a worldwide punchline so I’ll sign off with something more appropriate.


Further bulletins as events warrant.

Data structures, then and now. And a bit about the script for the next chapter.

For those of you wondering where todays comic update is or isn’t, take a look at the Changelog. I moved a seven page update earlier this week and as far as I’m concerned that counts as a content update. Visual continuity and all that. There have been quite a few edits since last week’s update and this past week being one of those weeks in which Work stubbornly refuses to exist I had no other pressures that I could meaningfully address so “todays” edits were moved as they were completed during the week.

Today’s update is classical and modern directory tree screenshots. Data organization erotica, if you will.

An 18,000 square mile island on the edge of the world.

The title was going to be “Website launch & comic production timeline” or something equally dry.

The new version of the website is up, with only a bit of weirdness. All the practice on paid off, and the experience was mostly painless. There was some wonkiness with jetpack – I have no idea why the fix worked but it did and I hope that’s the end of it. Turning curl off to make SSL work strikes me as the modern equivalent of sacrificing a chicken the first tuesday after an eclipse but whatever, that’s mild compared to other voodoo lurking around under the hood. There’s some charset stupidity despite the database, tables, templates etc. all reporting UTF-8, so there may yet be some funky characters to batch edit. OTHERWISE…

New cover, if you hadn’t noticed – keystone for the new comic archive and the first non-canon group shot, with Raven sporting a Woo Hoo!-inspired dye job! :D

Observer Effect production timeline

Observer Effect 4 and 5 are in production hell at the moment – 24 panels total, 27 if I count full-panel sound effects that are already complete. The pages are scripted, blocked out, ready for CG, and the major 3d asset for both pages has been acquired, tweaked and textured. That leaves environments – which, as the pages take place over the span of a year, are fairly excessive. As are the line art requirements.

Getting these pages done is going to take awhile – four different environments and a good solid mix of rendering and digital painting plus a lot of drawing (and cleanup and shading). The pages are a great example of information density and after the first page of OE are the highlight of the installment.

Fortunately, OE.6 and 7 are almost the complete reverse of OE.4 and 5 – the line art requirements for these two pages are minimal and the environments have been complete for a couple of weeks now. The trick with this vignette is the script – the first draft was meh, the second draft doesn’t fit the rest of the installment, and I haven’t been in the writing zone in a couple of weeks. As 6 and 7 are effectively narrative-over-images, the visuals can be produced before the script and can Sit There until applicable words show up.

8-10 are scripted and laid out on paper, with no digital production as yet. While the line art is on the dense side, production requirements aren’t as stringent as 4 and 5 so when these pages are on deck they should come together in short order.

At this point the plan is to get 4 and 5 done and posted this month, 6 and 7 visually produced this month and posted whenever the script solidifies (hopefully also this month), with 8-10 going up in November. Production time estimates are based on my workload over the past couple of weeks and my projected workload for the next month or so – something that may very well go straight out the window. If work does step it up, the revised goal is to get OE out the door by the end of the year. That’s not ideal but it is doable!

Pushin Forward Back

This post is named after the Temple of the Dog track that The X never plays. I think I’ve heard it once on college radio. In the mid 1990s.

It’s an appropriate title for two reasons – first, as detailed in an amendment to the current site notes, I’ve overhauled all comic navigation. It’s presently filtered to previous/next between story pages, pushing covers aside to favor the presentation of a seamless narrative. That was a bit of a push, forward.

Second, Return To Color (Transitional Voices chapter two) has been pushed back while I focus on Observer Effect, which should take a couple of months to produce. Hopefully less. I’m moving forward with new pages, but I’m also moving forward back in the sense that the current block of work takes place before Dead City Radio.

While Observer Effect will end with a lead-in to DCR, it isn’t a straight-up DCR prologue – it’s an ATC prologue. It sets the tone for Templar actions on earth and if it comes out as intended it will provide some context for the actions of John West, Raven Lockheart, Beef Knuckleback, and Thad & Ornix. It’ll also set up some of the events of DCR.1, and hopefully set the tone for DCR in a way that DCR.1 doesn’t.

I don’t have a timetable for OE at present – I know it’ll be ten pages if I can’t cut it to eight, I know it’ll need to match up to DCR.1, I know pretty much what I’m doing for pages two and three and 7-10, and I’m stuck on four and five. OE covers two years in ten pages – the WGP briefing got the first page, at present Jason gets three, and the remainder will be composed of two page scenes that will each address something relevant to the existing books.

The objective of Observer Effect is to answer the question “What’s this thing about?” in a fashion that will satisfy long-time readers without confusing new readers. It’s also a chance to fiddle with some CG I won’t get a chance to otherwise and an excuse to see what the cast looks like in the mid 90s. It also also puts modern art in front of DCR.1, and that’s a good thing!

Also also also. With OE in production, the new site is now very nearly at full operating capacity. It won’t be Go For Real until TV.2.1 is on the front page, but as of this morning all planned sections are active… which is more than I can say for previous versions of the site.

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!

Vizcon, changelogs, and the continuity pass.

I’ve created changelogs for DCR, The Dualist, and Transitional Voices. Major edits will be reported on these pages, and I plan to feature the pages themselves more prominently in the next version of the website.

I don’t expect to find much to poke at when I do the continuity read-through. This thing has been through the wringer more times than The Star Wars and by now all of the major issues have been resolved. The only real teeth-grinder will be expanding the gutters and creating CMYK forks of the Dualist and TV.1 pages, and that’s not a web issue – that’s a print issue. That’s a good problem.

There are three phases planned for the continuity pass, as follows:


Between chapters I typically think about doing some work on the website. Outside of page posting and near-permanent browser tab residence I never monkey with the thing otherwise. Presently, I’m planning a couple of minor updates to templates and whatnot before I get serious about DCR.5 pre-production. DCR.5 already has a script, has layouts, has several key assets created, and is generally chomping at the bit in ways that previous chapters never have. Downtime will be shorter than usual, and during that downtime I intend to accomplish the following:

1. Comments overhaul. The CAPTCHA thing that made the current commenting system work appears to have died in its sleep some time ago. The comment system will be upgraded to what is presently using, as foreshadowed previously.

2. In line with that, once comments have been debugged to my satisfaction they will again be enabled on all three books as well as the blog. Some future version of the site may expand this to Universe.

3. “Tool tips” will be implemented for all graphical links. Main left column navigation and the previous/next bars – and possibly the book root menus as well. Book roots will probably get a bit of CSS love as well – a background color declaration on the graphics is long overdue.

So, that’s it. It’s a short list and I should be able to bang it out in short order. Possibly this weekend, definitely before the end of April. With the exception of transplanting comment logic this is all extremely trivial stuff – the real update-and-overhaul will take place between DCR.5 and Transitional Voices 2.

As with past website updates, the changes will be announced in a future blog post.

18:48 : Comments are GO!. Tool tips are NOT! Due to poor interface design choices during the 2010 site build and a total derp on what to do/say in the first test instance, work on the site is presently half done. I’m presently learning towards shelving them for the moment, and doing it up all Right And Proper after DCR.5 wraps.

Goals for 2012

In brief:

1. Finish DCR.

2. Website tweaks/overhaul/etc.

3. Get back up to speed on Transitional Voices.


1.A. 4.12 has been rendered and I have draft renders for 4.13. Draft as they were generated under rushed circumstances and may require either a significant amount of work or a fresh approach to make them acceptable.

1.B. While 4.12 has been ready for Photoshop ops for roughly a week, I haven’t – and won’t – have the time to work on it for awhile. Hopefully early this coming week, probably longer. 4.14 will require fresh CGI and I have other 3d modeling obligations to see to before I can start on that, so the “back end” of Chapter Four is going to take awhile.

1.C. The chapter five script is done. Transcribed, too. Several pages have layouts. I plan to have the script for this chapter fully developed before chapter four wraps so that production continues without a break. CG requirements are minimal, the panel count is relatively low (compared to Whitehouse, anyway), and it’s short. Bit of a Stephenson ending but avoids a lot of repetition – most of what isn’t in the script is filled in over the course of The Dualist.

I’d like to have DCR wrapped by June if possible.

2.A. While it’s tempting to apply the current state of web fu to the ATC site, if I hold off until after DCR wraps, my fu will be even stronger. I’d sooner do one overhaul than two.

2.B. Given that, any mutterings about possible changes now would be moot, as where my head will be in a few months and where it is at the moment will hopefully be two very different things.

I’ll probably stick with the current aesthetics – major aesthetic changes will hopefully be limited to improvements to the existing CSS.

3.A. TV.2 (Water) has been percolating in my head since 2008. I’d be lying if I said it was ready to fall out, but I do have a pretty good idea of what the chapter is going to look like and what kind of work it’s going to entail.

3.B. Hopefully my experience with DCR will pay off and Water will be a 28-36 page jaunt instead of a 40+ page production slog. We’ll see!

Item one – finishing DCR – is priority. With 32 pages left as of this writing, one of them rendered, another probably rendered, ten more laid out and the remaining 20 already existing in script form, and the fact that I managed 48 pages this year… it’s looking doable.

The Traditional Between-Chapters Laundry List

Production of DCR.3 wrapped this weekend, clearing the way for me to Get Serious about DCR.4. Originally titled Seasons in the Abyss, now tentatively titled Diatribe, the chapter has a full outline and partial script and will need an extensive amount of development within the next month if I’m to shoot the images I’ll need for the opening at an appropriate time of year. I’m in a position to chew on this while getting work done on paying projects and wrapping up a few other things – script development isn’t nearly as onerous as page production, especially given the fact that it’s half done already.

When I tell writers that writing comics is the easy part, the writers who write frequently bristle and get pissy with me, whereas the writers who also work on the art side of a project have a tendency to agree. They’re different challenges – while they use different parts of the brain in different ways, there’s no disputing the fact that once something pops into your head, writing out a description takes a hell of a lot less time than drawing, modeling, photoshopping or otherwise rendering the image – especially if, as the writer, you know exactly what you want on the page.

This applies to the next chapter in spades. While script development has been relatively straight-forward, visually realizing what happens in chapter four is going to be one hell of a challenge. The beginning and end are straight-forward, chapter five is straight-forward, but the middle (the majority) of chapter four is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around from a feasibility standpoint. It’s some seriously major plot stuff, both for DCR and for the story as a whole, and I’ll need to be at the top of my game just to get the layouts right.

I don’t know how long the script will take – I’d like to shoe-horn it in over the course of the next month in addition to other obligations, and would like to have the critical assets modeled and page production under way by some point in October. I don’t want a repeat of DCR.3, where the cover goes up in November and I spend the next four months in an alcoholic haze. I want this thing to go cover to pages quickly, and I’d like production to be as regular as the latter two-thirds of DCR.3 was.

That said, there’s a few website-related details that need taken care of over the course of the next month, as well as some back-end bit-shifting. Here’s the list:

1. The Hemera crew needs to be added to the Cast page. I may split them into ICG and Addicaines, I may lump them into Heirotus, I may use this as an excuse to play with tags a bit further down the road. There’s a skeletal writeup already done – I just need to flesh it out and select headshots.

2. I need to audit the metadata. Technically I need to do it for all three books, but DCR and TV get priority, as between the two I’m looking at just under 80 pages that need to be proofed versus the 350-plus of The Dualist. Metadata for both books will be back online within the next couple of weeks. The Dualist will take longer – I’m currently thinking of it as a winter project, and I’m thinking on ways to re-jigger the CMS templates to hide/disable unaudited sections while rolling out the revised material.

3. As part of the audit I’ll be creating disk-side metadata files for each page. I’ve already done this for DCR.3, and for TD2E in bulk. In this case I’ll be extending it to all pages, and that’ll be part of an effort to get the file hierarchy for The Dualist reorganized – something I’ll be starting today or tomorrow. The original pages are in an original chapter directory that’s a sub-directory of each new chapter, and long story short that’s made it a bit disorienting to find color palettes and other reference material on short notice.

4. I’ve been threatening to edit and add to the glossary/Universe and refusing to actually do it for so long that this is effectively the list item that cried wolf. There’s a lot of work to be done, and there’s enough material on “paper” to justify spending some time at least editing the existing entries. While I doubt this will actually happen (beyond adding the Hemera crew), there’s always the possibility that it might actually get done at some point.

5. DCR.3 needs to be typornographed. Rather or not xeno will actually remember to do this is anybody’s guess.

One is happening soon, Two is happening soonish, and half of Three will be done today or tomorrow. The third item means nothing to readers, so it’s best to get it out of the way quickly. Five isn’t a xeno-only thing – if you find a typo, feel free to contact me or leave a comment!


That’s the short term between-chapters plan. With a bit of luck and a lot of effort this stretch of downtime will be a short one, and I’ll be back on the stick before the year is out!

Finally, Synopses. And a new About!

(Synopses being the proper plural of Synopsis.)

I’ve been threatening “proper” chapter synopses for awhile – years in some cases. It took awhile, but my head finally hit the proper place and out they came. Now DCR, The Dualist, and Transitional Voices all have proper book, part, and chapter descriptions. They’re all on the terse side – some detailed, some vague, all done, and all accurate. I’ve also done a bit of cleanup of the production dates and page counts for The Dualist. Things look nicer, read smoother, and are generally more approachable, talking about plot instead of production for once.

I’ve also been working on a rewrite of the About page. When complete it will be an actual About – an overview of what you, the reader, are getting yourself into. I say “when,” as despite being very nearly complete, the text still has a couple of massive Sabrosa-sized holes in it. I’m blocked pretty hard on what it’ll take to fill them in, and I’m not posting the writeup until I’m happy with it.

As with all things comic related, I have no idea when that will actually happen. Given the completeness of the text, late January or early February seems reasonable.

Give ’em a read – if you spot any typos or other issues, comment on this post, email me, or message me on IRC!

Update, 20110203 : The rewritten About page is live. Woohoo!

Tightening the focus.

This weekend was enlightening, to say the least.

The trailer (which I’ve muttered about on IRC, in metadata and to various people in the meatsphere) is still a good idea, still something I want to do, and definitely not an August Project. For one thing, August is half over and I’m still working on the July workload. For another, holy shit on toast – while my hardware can barely handle 720p, my current disk capacity can handle, at most, twenty or thirty seconds of it. As for rendering… thirty minutes of setup, five hours of grind for a five second preview render that looks good aesthetically but falls way short in the animation department and I’m back to thinking Best Use Of Limited Time.

Right now, that ain’t it. Another six months of heavy grind on pages and I’ll definitely have something to talk about. Six pages from now, DCR will be done with transitional material and setting. All Plot, all the time. Three and a half chapters of it. Finally.

In light of that, I think production of actual pages needs to be the priority. After most of a year (or two years, depending on how you look at it) of shifting, splitting, multiplying, changing priorities… putting another distraction in front of the story seems like something I need to stop doing.

Like, now.

That said, any work or real solid decision-making on the DCR website is also A Distraction, at least at the moment. As such, DCR strips will post to the DCR site until the end of chapter two, which is a good time and place to shift gears – consolidating the comic projects onto the ATC site and retooling the DCR website as…. something else.

It also means “Advised To Clean”

July has been a busy month. It’s not over – not by a long shot. The workload that nuked comic production back into neutral will be bleeding over into August – how long that’ll last, I don’t know. With luck and proper planning, things will be getting thing again in a couple of weeks.

I’m Re-Jobbed, at least for the time being – I don’t know how stable it’ll be or how it’ll shape up in terms of workload, but for the time being it’s looking good. That’ll have positive benefits in the near and hopefully long term – in the immediate term, I still have a ton of freelance work to wrap up… and as soon as those projects are finalized and the clients are happy, I’ll be hacking out new business cards and doing some work on the DCR website.

What kind of work, I don’t yet know, exactly. An overhaul at the very least, potentially a total repurposing. Something involving less duplication of effort.

On a web-related note… there’s still a ton of work to do on the ATC site. Mostly in Universe, but comic chapter descriptions still need a rewrite, analytics is still being a goober, I’m cleared for ads I still need to figure out where to put, etc.

The DCR chapter two script is inching along – upcoming scenes are now on their third or fourth draft, the next few pages have been finalized and have layouts, and I’ve managed to get some plotting work done but nothing in terms of actual work. That comes later, after the bits in the previous paragraphs have been dealt with.

Rub a dub dub.

Over the past week or so:

The ATC data structure has been Organized. This means some Big Things – namely integrating DCR – and it also means a lot of little things. It’s a big deal for me in terms of navigating and backing up the project, it’s a necessary step between where things are and where I need them to be, it’s been a huge pain in the ass… and it has absolutely no bearing on the website or its contents. For the time being, anyway. The organization has had the following effects:

1. All panel renders have been converted from straight tiff to tiff with LZW compression. All – okay, probably most – panel file duplicates and panel CG file duplicates have been weeded out, and all panel-relevant CG data has been filed in the relevant page directory. This has cleaned up the CG source directories, added some size to the page directories, and through elimination and compression cut the project from ~270 gigs plus an additional ~18-20 gigs of Transitional Voices render data down to – at present – 253 gigs.

Which is slightly easier to back up.

2. TD1E has been integrated into the TD2E data structure. It’s cleaner and easier to navigate. Somewhat. That whole “chapter zero” thing still throws the math off when it comes to navigating on the fly.

3. Candy (a thing long-time readers may remember), Logos, tattoos, shirt decals, etc. have all been properly named, organized, and filed.

4. As has the CG. Which took an entire day, in part due to a weird networking glitch that caused XP64 to repeatedly BSOD – but also due to the task running in parallel with panel-related CG organization and mass LZW compression (which would have been unthinkable without a handy Photoshop droplet I took the time to debug). Everything that’s “done” has been properly organized and version-synced, some minor repairs to a few files were made, one file (the S-VHS deck) will need extensive work before I reuse it for anything other than parts, and most everything is “boxed up” and ready to move forward.

5. DCR templates have been “verified” and extensively reworked. DCR.1 page files have been {mostly} cleaned up, standardized, and prepared for the impending rewrite. DCR.2 has a temporary cover and the four complete pages of that chapter have been assembled and prepped for rewrite. The DCR.2 bits will go up when the new website – which I haven’t started on yet – is finished.


The cleaning was a follow-on from the year spent “cleaning” The Dualist and TV, and has lead into the prep-work for DCR (which I’m now ready to start on).

I get that done, and I get the website done, I run a backup to DVD-R (instead of other hard drives), and I’ll finally be in a position to….

… well, to keep finishing stuff. Namely DCR.2. Still finishing? Boo. Making new stuff and actually progressing the story for the first time since 2008 to finish stuff? Yay!

Over the next few days, I’ll be concocting a hopefully-complete list of the CG objects I’ll need to build in order to get things moving again. Then I’ll deal with the website. Then modeling.

New art in March, with any luck!

Aaaalmooost there…

The Dualist (Second Edition) – Main content complete.

Transitional Voices : Earth – Rewritten.

TD2E needs a bunch of covers – a couple are done, a couple are ready for art. TV needs a couple. One, at least.

Then the website, restoring more or less everything removed with version 2008.1.

All told it looks to be approximately 18 months of downtime between the last new page of TV and the next new page of DCR or TV.


As part of another required test protocol, we will stop enhancing the truth in 3 … 2…

Semi-weekly status “update” :

1. The TV.1 rewrite is plodding along and is presently at just over the half-way point. The rewrite is shaping up to be important from an exposition standpoint, though I may re-draft some of the chunkier bits before committing to it. Re-lettering will be done either after TD2E or while waiting on TD2E renders and in either case won’t be uploaded until after TD2E is complete, as the rewrite now Assumes You’ve Read The Dualist, rather than just toddling along where it left off.

2. TD2E script is still done.

3. Texturing of remaining CG is coming along very, very slowly. The to-do list consists of two objects, an environment, and two dummies. One of the objects is done, one of the dummies is almost done, and no work has been done on the second dummy or the environment. The second object has finally heaved itself off the launch pad and, after a couple of false starts, is finally starting to shape itself into something. While I’ve made substantial progress over the weekend, I still have no idea how long the thing is going to take. I’d like to have the base work done by the 25th and the “flavor” done by Halloween… but I don’t know how likely that is. The last vehicle I textured was the Hemera, almost a year ago… and it was considerably more forgiving.

Also, vastly less central to the story.

The single biggest hurdle of vehicle mapping – for me, anyway – has always been figuring out the final color palette. I’ll know generally what I want something to look like when I start out, but getting The Exact Colors is always a lengthy period of trial and error. That part of the ordeal is over with – now it’s down to refining the design and getting it Done.

Confessions of an Asian Foot Goddess

As there’s been no visible progress since my last status update a couple of weeks ago, and as it’s a new month (this year is whipping by even faster than the last five!), I figure it’s time for a general status update.

In no particular order:

1. The TD2E script is complete. The remaining original TD1E pages still need to be relettered – Getting the script done was a horribly expensive process and I’ve been doing freelance in order to eat for the past couple of weeks. It sucks, but there it is. These pages will be lettered as soon as my current list of commissions has been whittled down.

2. The TV.1 script is partially rewritten, thanks largely to writing inertia and having packed the remaining pages of TD1E in with the TV binder for portability. The TV.1 rewrite is plot-identical to the first edition, though several core bits of character personality, backstory and exposition have changed. The goal is to finish the rewrite within the next few weeks, and to start work on it as soon as The Dualist is re-completed.

3, I CAN HAS PC. Finally. No more limping along in VMWare without hardware 3d support. Still need to replace my “light table,” but that’s a trip to Lowes/Home Depot with the paycheck after this one. A sheet of plexi won’t be expensive, but a round trip to the waterfront is three to four hours of my life. And I need that time for other things at the moment.

4. There has been no work done towards the next edition of the website. I know what I’m going to change and how I’m going to do it, I just don’t see the point in stopping everything else to get it done. Webwork will hopefully happen in December or January – by then I should either know how to implement the “spoilers [on] [off]” and “devnotes [on] [off]” options I’d like to put into the new site, or I’ll have figured out how to live without them.

5. DCR.2 and TV.2 plot work is back on deck. As I’m quickly coming up on finishing with TD2E and TV.1b, my imagination is lurching forward with the story. With TV.2, I’m weighing story and CG, trying to think through what needs told and what needs shown and figuring out how to balance them in a fashion that will keep new CG to an absolute minimum. With DCR the concerns are similar, though it’s long been a question of “is it worth it to model the outside of ‘gheny?” I hope to have that answer before the year is out.

5.B. While I’d like to keep DCR as “the thing I do when ATC is rendering,” there’s a very real possibility I’ll be forced to Choose One in order to make meaningful progress through 2010. DCR is the likely candidate – while DCR and TV are roughly the same length, DCR has much lighter production requirements and almost all of its vehicle CG is complete.

6. Production-wise, the new pages I’ve mentioned previously (total : 10) are still being held up on the CG front. Fortunately at this point the geometry is effectively complete and it’s a matter of texturing. How long this process will take, I don’t know. Fortunately, the two objects I need to progress TD2E are also two important objects I need to progress DCR, so I’m in sort of a win-win situation here – sitting on my ass is now holding up both projects.

Fortunately, one of the two bits I need, while not necessarily complete, is at the Good Enough point and will be usable for production in TD2E. I’ve stuck it in the “Extended” section of the entry to keep it off the front page, as at this point it’s technically a spoiler.

One, one, and…

One page of TD2E left to pre-format. A good-sized chunk now need new panels and there’s ten new pages to create, but hey- one page left to pre-format.

That’s the “II” I’ve mentioned previously.

Touched c1 of Transitional Voices for the first time in Awhile tonight – knocked the Ornix Shirt Fixes down to one. One. Page, that is. Several panels of one page.

One that’s been really strangely assembled, even by my standards.

So, one of each. Not counting the rewrite TV will need – as I’m all about getting the brute photoshop out of the way now, that bit can wait.

Will upload the new TV pages as soon as the last one is fixed.

Photoshop gruntwork is almost done; writing gruntwork is on deck. So much gruntwork.

As for the “three” implied in the title – huge whopping chunks of my internet have caught the lame tonight. Or this past week. Or… since Sunday. No idea how to debug and pretty sure the problem isn’t on my end.