I need a job. Any day now would be nice.
As for the strip, I always wonder whether, once something attains meme status, it can ever have meaning again. At least, assuming it had meaning to begin with. Also, in the future, fire suppression can shut itself off. Yeah.
One more year, one more Raceday, one more Raceday filler. This ought to be my last, barring staying at CMU as faculty and somehow still being allowed to do Buggy. Somewhat appropriate that SED Filler #15 showcases CIA Buggy #15, but as the comic states, Fringe pulled an even more awesome accomplishment, being the come-from-behind second org to displace PiKA in the rankings during the last heat of the day. Congratulations, and we'll probably be crashing your party :D
Well, one kind of closure, at least. I do enjoy doing strips without words, and not just because I don't have to do the dialog layers. This probably isn't my best, but it gets the point across.
Yeh. Not much more is coming to mind right now. Buggy is fun. And it didn't snow. And collecting small children is probably a federal offense of some sort.
Alright. So the reason I throw filler now is because the past two weeks have been Spring Break and ETC Half-Semester Presentations. Normally, I would have probably taken Spring Break to do a whole comic on-schedule, and I did have that as a contingency plan, but I really needed the time to start setting myself up to get a job in the Real World. Part of that process was getting a couple of my ongoing portfolio Mac-nix projects running under Windows-nix, and with a little more work, Windows stand-alone. The longest-ongoing project, now formally closed, is a flexible oldschool sh'm'up you may have caught in the news blurb before. It's now available in the Software section of my other site, for both OSX (Universal) and Windows (32-bit XP/compatible).
In other news, Buggy is very much happening again, meaning I get to do things like realize, before noon, that I've been awake for more hours than I got sleep the previous night.
A bit of a downer strip for the comic's 4th birthday, I know. But in that I'm not taking every reasonable opportunity to detour from the main plot, I suppose it is a good segue into an announcement I ought to make:
The end is in sight.
Okay, okay, this isn't a dire "I'm pulling the plug" statement. Think of it more as a backpacking experience- you crest a ridge, the clouds shift, and for the first time you can see, out in the distance, the last peak on your itinerary. It's still a ways off, you can't actually see the trail very far in advance, it will still take work to get there, you may lose sight of it a few times before the trip is over, and you'll certainly feel bad if you bail out early, but it is nonetheless a very real thing, and every step takes you closer to it. I have an end in mind for the Diodes story, and only a couple more arcs left to tell. At this rate, it will probably be another year or three, but it's no longer the open-ended long-as-I-can adventure it was at the start. The usual reasons apply: I'm reaching a point where I have more ideas I'd like to work on than time to work on them, and as I've claimed all along, I am not an artist. I'd rather set an end point and go out as intentionally as I've done everything else than burn out or lose interest like so many webcomic artists.
So yeah- head's up. Thanks for reading, and please keep visiting in the coming months. Even as Diodes marchs towards inevitable conclusion, new adventures in other worlds are forming just beyond the horizon!
Apparently I'm just generally hard on Mac laptop motherboards. My primary machine is on its first, and hopefully last, date with the Apple mothership over a nasty battery-detection-hardware issue, but not to worry, since the G4 TiBook I used for the first 3 years of the comic is still quite suitable to the task, even with my revised pipeline. That is as much as to say I shouldn't need to drop to less than biweekly, not that I'm in any way making gains schedule-wise.
The plan was for me to have come back from another impromptu all-day trip this weekend. Even though it fell through due to impromptu engine failure, it all the more serves to justify my decision to go biweekly. I just worry a little that I'm no longer on a strictly regimented production schedule... but right now I'm too tired to care.
The plan was for me to have gone on another impromptu all-day trip this weekend. Even though it fell through due to impromptu logistics failure, it still tends to justify my decision to go biweekly. I just worry a little that I'm no longer on a strictly regimented production schedule...
The comic will be updating every other weekend this semester. In small part this is perhaps my being lazy, but the real catalyst was being sent on an all-day trip to Chicago on less than a week's notice on one of my usual comic work days. One such random time-sink I could make up for easily enough, but the fact that it came with such little notice, and there may be a few such occasions this semester means I don't want to bank on a smooth ride, particularly when I have one or two other side projects I'd really like to get on my own case to keep working on.
However, there is still hope. Last weekend I tried sketching a new comic on tablet rather than pencil & paper. It will take at least 4 updates for me to clear out my old pen & ink pipeline, but if I see that I can do 100% digital with minimal effect on quality, that will likely knock the better part of a sitting off my production timetable, and may let me go back to weekly by the end of the semester.
Note to self: just because you've drawn a new comic doesn't mean the site's been updated.
Yes, we're back to the regularly scheduled comic, and back with more of a bang than I'd remembered. However, I can't say whether I'll be going weekly or biweekly until I get a feel for my schedule, which will take most of this week. I'll try to post a newsbox update next weekend even if there's no comic.
Wow. Feels kinda odd doing the last-minute comic crunch again. I didn't actually get around to doing anything during the week, but I wanted to get back to some actual SED-related freehand drawing, so I decided to experiment with tablet-only art on a full-sized comic scale. Anything canon would definitely need to go through the same cleanup steps as I usually do with a scanned image, and I'd also want to do my usual shadow and hilight passes, but if I can go paperless as I return from hiatus, that could save me a sitting's worth of prep time each comic, which would be great.
So yeah. Happy new year! Canon comics should resume in some form the week after next. Possibly next weekend, but I may need the time to move back into my Pittsburgh room.
I have hijacked a United club business booth at the Kansai airport to post this. Apparently my return itinerary includes an overnight layover in San Francisco which I hadn't planned on, and I'm already a little burnt out and coming down with some chest/throat bug, so by the time I get back home I'll probably be pretty much dead and looking at the shortest winter break I've ever had after the longest/toughest semester I've ever had. On the plus side, I'll be back near a working scanner next week, and if you couldn't tell from the concept art filler, I'm starting to get half-way decent at tablet-only drawing anyway, so I should be able to do some more actual art filler from here on in to next semester. The actual schedule next semester is still up for debate, however, based on what my project work and job-seeking looks like.
To be perfectly up-front, there is definitely more story to be told with Diodes, but it's going to take me soe time to get back into it and build up my old momentum after so long spent not only not working on it but also working on another story-based side-project. I'd like to try to get back into Diodes if I can, but for anyone who wants some audience participation, I'm going to put another option on the table: Diodes goes on hold for another few months, maybe over a year, and instead I start putting some of the story for my RPG side-project Tekunoma into comic form while it's fresher in my mind and as I continue to write up the formal game script. This would kill multiple birds with one stone on my end, but I appreciate that there are readers out there who were actively following the Diodes plot and will be anxious to get back to it. If you have a vote one way other, feel free to contect me via spkelly _at_ andrew _dot_ cmu _dot_ edu. And include "Diodes" or "SED" or somesuch in the title so I can pick it out of the week-backlog of e-mail I'll have to dig through by the time I get around to checking.
There comes a level of joke requiring too many disperate pieces of prior knowledge to be accessible to much of anyone, and I may have hit it with this strip. Kudos if you can figure it out.
Suffice to say, the project is over, and after a week of vacation, I'll be headed back to the US. Which brings me to another point: I'm going on a week of vacation before heading back to the US. This means I'll be all over the greater kinda-near-Osaka area at various hotels with no absolute guarantee of internet access. As of last night I was going to report that at worst this will mean the next strip doesn't get posted until Monday the 29th US time, but since United just screwed my parents over 3 consecutive times delaying their arrival to Japan by 2 days, I can't even guarantee I'll be getting back to the US on United on the day I'm currently scheduled to. I'll play things by ear, and I'm loathe to break my 0 unplanned skipped updates record, just be aware that there may be a delay followed by 2 back-to-back updates rather than 2 on-schedule updates.
Another big presentation today (er... 'Monday,' which is today here-time but should have been tomorrow your time probably except I'm a little late), and yet another Wednesday, and a big official handoff Friday and I am DONE!... until January.
In other news, I'm not allowed to spend any more of my own money on games here. It's not that a PC Engine with a handful of games, 2 WonderSwans plus about a dozen games and the obnoxiously uncommon headphone adapter, the Japan-only Grandia and Star Ocean games for GBC, Monster World IV, Front Mission, Christmas NiGHTS, the Saturn version of Rockman X3, and an obscure Square non-RPG for Famicom weren't worth every penny, just that in spite of costing a fraction of what they would in the US, they ain't free and the dollar started tanking relative to the yen back in October and has spent the weeks since then continuing to take all the party's damage, even without a healer nearby. And this is why I don't actually object to paladins.
Not sure quite where these will plug into the project- they're good stand-ins for when I get a dialog system up and running, but they'll need a few more passes before being usable in any final release, if I don't just farm the drawn art out to someone else. They're passable reference, I suppose. Two more weeks of project work, one week of Japan tour, a week-and-change layover in Connecticut, and then maybe things will be back to normal. If I don't ship back to Japan at the last minute...
No, I didn't forget... completely. I've been posting Monday mornings here-time (Sunday night US-time), but this past Monday I had the official big penultimate presentation of my top-secret ETC project to our client, followed by work towards the just-scheduled second big penultimate presentation of my top-secret ETC project scheduled for tomorrow. Kinda crazy, but at least the thing is mostly complete. Ye gods... I'm not sure I've ever been able to just sit back and polish a project before...
Also, yeh, the hiatus end date has been pushed back officially to mid-January, just because I'm probably going straight back to Connecticut from Osaka, and not getting back to my comic stuff in Pittsburgh (notably my sketchbook containing the next half dozen strips) until the academic semester starts.
Busy... tired... late... gr.
It's kinda ironic- the stuff I'm actualy creating in the game itself is so crunchy and abstract that it doesn't even screenshot well yet, and the stuff I have to show off is probably the better part of a year, or at very least the better part of a winter break, from actually making it into the game. I suppose I should just be happy that time is the only limiting factor in the pipeline for now.
Oh, and yes. That is a purple kilt. And no, I don't have one. But I do have some crazy orange cargo pants that may beat my Utilikilts for storage capacity...
More side project work. I'm really not at the phase to be making any more sprites, but it will be nice to have the concept roughs when I am. Since my big ETC project is now getting into full production and my side gaming project is eating up most of the time I can still convince myself to work after-hours, the next few weeks are likely to be side-project character sketches unless life hits me with something bigger and more interesting and still easy to post.
I'm not supremely happy with this sketch of Niel, but it's a lot better than my first attempt and still far more detail than I'll need for a 16x16 sprite.
There are indeed things in the works... Things which have made me entertain notions of pulling a Garth or a Brian and shutting down SED in the interest of having more time and energy for other side projects... but no. I built Galaxxon while doing the comic and a full courseload, so I can probably handle this project the same way. And at least this one is better organized and indeed geared towards letting me put less work into assets once the main codebase is finished. That said, while SED is on hiatus anyway, there will probably be a few more project-related fillers, particularly on the art and story side. The technical side is being documented over here.
I can't even spoof xkcd cleanly with only a tablet. Ah, well. That style isn't so much about the art anyway. And no, this isn't the worst pickup line I've ever thought of.
More artistic process, engineer style. With a good clean un-antialiased 1-bit layer of linework, it's easy to clone the linework into a layer for color. Real artists, so far as I've seen, will poly-lasso regions under the line layer and fill them, sometimes with a color completely unrelated to the final color, just to get an easy quick-selectable region to paint in. I'm lazy, so I tend to just flood-fill the linework with colors close to what I want, and add what detail I can in a new layer or three later in the process.
TGS was fun. I came back late and dead and without any new art, so here's a picture of what Norton Antivirus looks like in Japan. I should be able to get some real art again for next week, but right now I just finished sorting through an 80+ e-mail backlog and I have a week or so to make my next project milestone, so I need to cut this short and get back to work :P
More tablet filler, but this time it may be going somewhere. In addition to being drowned in top secret project work (code name "Mobius Strip"), I'm also taking a free-form elective from a visiting professor. For said elective, I've stated I'll be looking into certain concepts for a new retro-style game project I was planning on starting anyway. This isn't part of the allegedly academic content, but it's what I had on hand after a crazy weekend with no dedicated comic time. Next weekend I'll be at the Tokyo Game Show and may have just as little free time. I'll probably be being eaten by a Metroid, so keep an eye out if you're in the area.
A new class of filler- stuff I can draw directly on my tablet! There may be some concept work from a project just making its way into the Psych Software pipeline some time this semester, but for now, some early findings on Japanese food.
Installment 2 in the SED comic process series. My lineweights suck unless I'm really putting in effort (and even then they're not great), but ink scans much better than pencil. Also, it's not as visible in the web-res version, but cranking the contrast up to max in grayscale mode yields a clean black/white bitmap which colors far more nicely. As a general rule, which I'll probably get into more later, either have antialias on for all tools and work at a good 3-4x the resolution you want to post, or have antialias off for all tools. The latter really is preferable.
Have I mentioned this whole hiatus thing is because of a relocation to Osaka? The paperwork finally went through, and I arrived Wednesday afternoon and ended up going to work before I even got to take my luggage home. Crazy. Anyway, this is the view out the window in front of my desk. The water is Osaka harbor. The big ship is a daily commuter ferry. The pengin... is adopted. Garth is nominally responsible.
As a heads-up, I do aim to have weekly updates, but now that I'm in Osaka and my only internet (for the moment, at least) is at the office, I may end up posting updates on Monday Osaka time, which is 13 hours ahead of US east coast time and thus possibly still Sunday, but still likely later than I've been updating from the States.
Since I've been stuck in Pittsburgh with scanner access a little longer than anticipated, I've decided to do one of those 'how to draw the comic' series artists sometimes show (also known as "how to run the same strip for 5 weeks without anyone killing you"). I've never claimed I was a proper artist, and even though this will show you exactly why, hopefully it will also demonstrate exactly how far you can get with some persistence and a few Photoshop tricks.
Stage 1 for me is a pencil. It's not always as rough as the above, but it's rarely pristine. You'll notice the lack of traditional skeletons and orientation marks. As I said- I'm not a proper artist. I tend to composite from 3D down to 2D in my head and sketch the result rather than properly representing a 3D space within the page. Not pretty, but it gets the job done.
Now... what's a neo-traditional Scotsman doing by an escalator in an indoor plaza to begin with? I guess you'll have to keep tuning in to find out!
Here's to anyone who has ever poured months of their life into a project behind a Non-Disclosure Agreement and never again been able to talk about it to more than ~5 people. And to the fact that I'm not going to get much filler material out of ETC this semester :P
Unrelatedly, you may have seen some ads for this new free MMO Asda Story, made in Korea, released for North American consumption. The beating-stuff-up to not-beating-stuff-up ratio is a little high, as could be expected from a freebie WoW-clone, but the game does have some selling points. Pay no attention to the Asda marketers, what really makes this game worth the price of admission:
5. One-handed sword warriors - Shield of iron wall! (pssst... it's a class name!)
I swear I have not seen so much entertaining engrish in a North American game since the '90s. The users are mostly native English speakers, but a lot of the quest and interface text is... special.
4. Hyperactive robotic monkey help avatar! Need I say more?
3. Your first weapon is an ice-filled rubber glove. That you swing 3-4 times a second. At purple chibi-wolves. For double-digit damage per hit. There's a certain... juicyness... in AS that I haven't seen many other places. Or perhaps a certain Ramune-ness. And yes, I have played Trickster.
2. The air travel station has at least half a dozen flying pigs. I haven't even asked what that's about.
And the #1 reason to play Asda Story? Well...
Look closely. No, not the pig. We've discussed that. No, not the creatively mechanical spear head, but you're getting warmer. Look behind the spear head. See it? Screw pants for female characters- AS has got to be the only graphical game I've played that lets you give your male character a kilt! And as a starting outfit, no less!
So there. Click the link. Check it out.
I've been putzing around on channel 8- Look for Alten. If I actually keep playing, I'll probably have a Utiliclan set up before too long. Even if I'm the only one in it.
For extra credit, try evaluating the older Stupid Gaming Tricks in light of the above.
Update from the airport, yet again. Also, happy birthday to me!
Going out with a bang. Props to anyone who can tell me the names/original artists of all songs in this strip :D
I am once again posting this from the Pittsburgh airport, this time headed not to Otakon (sadly), but to San Francisco. Next weekend-ish I'll be jetting to Seattle (and hopefully seeing the Utilikilt retail outlet), and a couple days later back to Hartford, and a little under a week later back to Pittsburgh, and a week-ish after that, visa permitting, to Osaka. And in Osaka I'm probably not going to have my full sketchbook, and I almost certainly won't have my scanner. Consequently, SED's official Osaka hiatus begins now and extends until December. As usual, I'll try to have a little something quick and interesting every week, but no promises.
The report has been updated. Pictures maybe coming if I'm not to busy.
It was a great con, and I hope to see all the cool folks and fans again next year!
For those of you who remember my usualConnectiCon protocol and are currently looking up my address so you can come marching up with pitchforks and torches because you didn't get your next-to-live up-to-the-day coverage of the con... first of all, go to the smegging con already! You're about 15 minutes away by car if you're standing on my doorstep now. Second, read the report.
Once again, in another update or so SED will be going on 'the creator is going to Osaka for a semester' hiatus for a semester. Things ought to pick back up in December.
ConnectiCon. 1 week. Any questions?
In other news, the Osaka gig is now confirmed. SED will be going on another hiatus in about 2 more updates, lasting until late December or thereabouts. I know, it kinda sucks, but I can't bring all my stuff overseas, and it sounds like the project client may not leave us with much free time anyway. If you're lucky, I'll be able to get a start on Psych Software's next big title and post periodic updates, if not, I'll try to do my usual weekly sometingorother, but no promises.
I had reservations about doing this strip at all, and later reservations about posting it, but right now, on the amount of sleep I've had for the past couple days, I'm not so much caring anymore.
One more normal weekend, then ConnectiCon, then a normal week followed by a family vacation followed possibly by a semester in Japan. If the Japan thing happens, I'll probably need to pull another hiatus, since packing or shipping all my comic production equipment would be tricky.
Fair warning to the greater Pittsburgh area and possibly the world: I seem to have taken up Nerf modding. Not by any active effort, just a little exploration here, a little adjustment there, and now my DTGs go 40 yards, my Mav doesn't jam sans ARs, and my first of two TTGs just slid in at 65 yards and isn't even finished. Once I get the right parts, my BBB will probably fire micros and rockets, and heck, come to think of it, I might be able to barrel-mod my TTG to do rockets in addition to micros. Ahhh power, you're so corrupting :)
For those of you tuning in again after last week, the crunchy retro 8-bit fractal of awesome is now complete. Another fun little NES tech demo will likely be popping up on my portfolio's software section for the Famicom's 25th this Tuesday.
Lastly, ConnectiCon. Be there or be run you through my 16-bit pow2 routine on an 8-bit processor. Which if you look at the included source, is kinda painful.
Wow but I shouldn't be allowed to write these things after 10pm.
Three digits. I'm into three digits. Three of them. Wow.
Back when I started Diodes in 2005, I set up the naming convention and display scripting to handle 3-digit strip numbers in the grand dream that some day they would be useful. If you'd asked me then whether I honestly thought I could stick it out that long, I'd have shrugged. I'm closer now than I was then to seeing an end to the strip, but to still be going at the first big number that says you've been in the business a while... I just wish I had the time to appreciate it, honestly. Diodes is, and always will be, a hobby. In my other life I've been spending all my enthusiasm getting the Nintendo Entertainment System to render the Mandelbrot Set. That's almost finished now- not bad for starting up a week ago thinking it would be cool to remix John Coulton's 'Code Monkey' as a chiptune. ... What? You expect my end product to be connected to my initial idea by a train of pure logic? I do write a webcomic, you know ;)
Speaking of which, ConnectiCon! It sounds like I still have a table, and there are technically spots available in which I could do my Hobby-Level Webcomicing and/or Remedial Photoshop panels, even if I have to plug said panels myself. Come and say hi, why don't you? I hear Fortune Memories will also be representing, just one year after Lyn attended my panel! Damn, I'm good :D *dodges flying CS textbookfrom the semblare domain*
Wow. Didn't I just update last week? Oh yeah. That's the schedule I want to run on, isn't it? On a tangent, the NERF Maverick really isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm going to have to mod the living daylights out of it to take on 2 stock DTGs. But that's a story for a couple months from now. A story for a single month from now is ConnectiCon! Come say 'hi' if you're in the area. Even if I can't get a timeslot for my hobby webcomicing panel or cheap Photoshop tricks discussion, I'd still be glad to chat at the table.
A pretty blah two weeks here. I think I've built up enough buffer to go back to weekly for the summer, even if I can't make a new comic every week. 5 more weeks until ConnectiCon! It'll be tight, but Diodes will be representing again this year. No idea if I'll have time to acquire and mod another classic video game system for auction, though :P
On-time by more than 24 hours! Must be vacation. Interesting note on Star Ocean 3: it seems to play much more like the original than like the 2nd Story us Americans remember. Also, everyone can learn a thing or three about OoT by watching pro sppedruns between plays. One more week of this, then my schedule may get crazy again. Weekly updates may resume in 2 weeks if it's not too crazy.
It's still Sunday somwhere, right? I have a few weeks off before my summer job starts, which basically means I have all the time in the world to procrastinate. I'm going to try to get back into the swing of really doing a weekly comic, and hopefully start posting weekly again in not too long. No promises about next school year, but the summer should at least be light enough for weekly updates. If, that is, I don't get sidelined by watching Iron Man, watching Indiana Jones, playing Odin Sphere, playing Star Ocean 3, replaying Zelda 64, working on Galaxxon Legacy, doing family stuff, sleeping, or updating the Cast & Background page.
Editorial note: Most of Sera's campus is not actually Carnegie Mellon. Rosemary's Bistro does, however, have a worthwhile real-world analog. If you're ever in the area, stop by Ginger's Deli. 1st floor of the Tepper school, off to the left from the main entrance. Ask for Johnny and tell him I sent you.
Working at the ETC. For the summer and right at this very moment. You almost got Puzzle-Pirate-in-drag filler. Yay final projects.
Buggy and project ate my comic time last week, putting me another week behind. Buffer is useful. I just need to be sure I keep it up. Also, I still don't quite know what my summer schedule will be or how much longer the bi-weekly situation will last. If you're a gaming or electronics company offering summer internships, I'm in the market. Drop me a line.
In other news, the is a lie.
Buggy! Buggy buggy! Buggy buggy buggy booth buggy buggy family buggy portal carnival buggy buggy buggy buggy buggy buggy bug*keels over*
Terribly sorry, everyone. I don't have much excuse for the delay this time. To make up for it, I may post some of my traditional CMU Spring Carnival Buggy-related filler sketchery next week even though I wouldn't normally be updating.
Now may also be a good time to warn that the rest of this arc, while generally lighthearted, is going to hit on some edgier material at a few points. If you're squeamish or sociopolitically conservative, consider yourself informed.
Comic up... soooo tired... yay Buggy...
I actually remembered to bring all my comicing supplies with me on spring break this year. I then proceeded to do absolutely nothing. It felt glorious.
On another note, as the title implies, this comic is based on a real piece of "art." Google "Walking to the Sky." The first hit shows the actual project, although the final installation was not in fact Rockefeller Center but the Carnegie Mellon University common space right at the main entrance to campus. It's not that I have anything against public art, but Carnegie Mellon isn't the sort of place that generally stands for following one after another in a linear fashion to nowhere in particular. And they didn't generally publicize that the deal was in the works until it was too late to argue.
And so, with minimal fanfare, Diodes turns 3 years old. 3 years. Wow. Perhaps this explains why it keeps saying "no!" every time I try to do anything with it...
Ah, well. No fanfare for now, but another milestone is slowly and surely approaching. There's even the off chance it will arrive nicely in sync with ConnectiCon. If, that is, working for a real gaming company, possibly out on the west coast, still allows me time to go this year :P
Still holding at biweekly... barely. Last week was a race to get a strip done, the week before was a major stress test between school stuff and house stuff, and a complete write-off comic-wise. Hopefully this week is a little better.
Well, I obviously didn't do any minor site improvements during the off-week, but I did create 2 strips, so I'm at least back to full buffer. This week, unfortunately, is not looking like a good production week, with a major team presentation and a project deadline I'll have to schedule group testing time for. But hey, this is why I'm doing biweekly rather than weekly.
The good news: SED is back, just like old times!
The bad news: SED is back, just like old times.
Doing a strip in the time I had this past week was not bad, but this has been a very light week academically and it wouldn't take too much more for my pipeline to break down. As a compromise, I will go back to bi-weekly updates of real canon story comic, even while trying to produce strips weekly. I'll go back to weekly as soon as I have enough buffer beyond my emergency-4 to cover until summer. During off-weeks, I may do things like expanding the Cast page or updating the site layout.
And now it all makes sense. Or not. Props to Randall Munroe for the art concept which even I could work up in an afternoon. This should be the last in the zombie sheep saga. For now. If I have my way this week, canon strips should start up again next weekend (*GASP!*).
Pursuant to Creative Commons and my blatant ripping of xkcd, this update is under Creative Commons as well. Miserly bum that I am, I still claim copyright on the rest of the archive save where noted. This may change when the comic runs its course, but hey. I may need that IP at some point for other things.
Well, I don't really have internet (this is costing me $10/day) and I'm actually pretty burnt out (some asshats who shall remain nameless got shitfaced drunk last night causing our tour bus, already scheduled to get to the hotel after midnight, to run over an hour late), and this isn't really great filler, but hey, 0 out of 3 ain't bad... or somehting.
And in case you're wondering what this is a picture of... well... I'm not really sure either. I'm tempted to say the magical idea fairy was on drugs. I think it's a hot chick using The Sheepinator on an alien zombie, but of course that makes no sense whatsoever. The actual art is a rough pencil that I slapped some multiply color over. Nothing fancy.
Next week's update will probably be delayed until Monday both since I don't have any more filler up my sleeve at the moment and because I'll be traveling all day and getting back to Pittsburgh some time late.
*hack* *cough* *sniffle* *post* *wheeze*...
Spending a day running around New York City the day immediately after contracting a nasty head/chest cold is not recommended. No. Not even if you've had tickets to Curtains for the past couple months.
New strip is up. Now if you excuse me, I think I'll just go back to trying not to cough up the other lung.
Oh, ad the next two weeks are going to be interesting. I think I have some cheap filler in mind, but that will be contingent upon my having internet and not being totally burnt out.
Saturday update. I think that may be all I have to say about this one.
Play the Ratchet & Clank series if you haven't.
Starting to approachback-on-track aroud here. Now I need to bring myself to not start the comic 2 days before I post it.
No time to do a for-real non-cannon filler this week, but I did have time to at least dust off my pencil. Probably just as well I start with baby steps so by the time I'm back on the real comic there won't be a huge quality drop-off. On that note, story comics are now guaranteed to not start up again unitl mid-January. You'd think I'd have learned to pack my sketchbook and good pens by now, but nope. All that stuff is back in Pennsylvania while I'm here in Conecticut until I take off for California. I'm thinking maybe a few progressively nicer 1-3 figure holiday fillers until the start of January, then who knows, then hopefully pick up the story where I left off.
Happy start-of-the-holidays everyone, and if you're into oldschool gaming remixes, do check out the audio that goes along with today's update. Not OCR quality by any stretch, but for something only intended to get the notes straight before I attempt an 8-bit retro chiptune arrangement, it's not too shoddy.
Okay. Not much, but it's what I've been doing. Three of the virtual worlds I worked on were submitted to the BVW Show Jury for consideration (out of a total of 31 submissions), 1 was accepted (out of 12-15 depending on who fixes what by the show). I plan to show another at the after-party to anyone who is interested. There may or may not be setup and sow pics posted as the week progresses.
Also, I'm looking at my schedule now with respect to the comic. I'll be headed back home for break on the 8th and busy up until then, meaning probably no hand-illustrated comic on the 9th. I do have a couple weeks free this month, but the first two weeks of January I will be very much on the move touring software studios in California, and I can easily foresee no updates at all happening that week by virtue of my having no regular internet or time to put anything together. I'll take a look at what would be the next 2 or 3 story comics and see whether it makes more sense to post them before breaking again or whether I should just stay on hiatus until mid-January. Decisions, decisions. If you have an opinion on the matter, feel free to write in.
Arghhhh. Sorry- didn't forget to update the comic on the weekend, just sorta forgot it was the weekend. Saturday and Sunday I was finishing my project for the big ETC BVW show, today I'm rehearsing for the big BVW show, tomorrow I'm setting up for the big BVW show, Wednesday I'm doing the big BVW show. I'll try to throw up filler, but since I'm currently sitting in the audience in the show auditorium, I'll need a few more hours to get my smeg together.
Two days of work since last update and we have some sweet textures and shader effects going. The rest of the week I spent travelling to and from Ohio, eating food, sleeping, and logging a good 15 hours on Final Fantasy V Advance. I didn't quite get the net recovery-from-2-months-of-Boot-Camp I'd hoped for, but wow did it feel good not worrying about anything for a few days.
This is the as-of-this-afternoon status of my current and final ETC first-semester project. 10 days in and we already have a good chunk of the modeling and interaction happening. This is another PlayMotion world- the paricipants will be standing in front of the projected screen image and interacting with it via an infrared shadow detection system. On Tuesday we demo the middle chunk, and two weeks from this post we'll be handing in the whole thing for a grade. Yes, we get a whole month for this one... minus half a week for Thanksgiving, a day for Adventure Module field trip, and for me personally, 2 full days and ~4 partial days of Kiltie Band activities.
Once again, I have no new content on hand. I was hoping to post a pic from ETC Adventure Module #2, but I lost my camera during the trip. I did finish another Virtual World, but didn't remember to grab a frame from our performance video before leaving for the weekend. Those are both likely to show up in the next few weeks, since the final project spanning all ETC classes is a whopping 4 weeks long.
The downside to having a whopping 3 weeks in which to do a round of projects is that I end up with no new stuff to show off for 3 weeks. This is actually a still form a video taken of my project from last round- a simple little 1-week production involving tagging those blue-dot hearts while dodging increasingly many increasingly fast flying red-dot weapons. The game is played on a platform called the PlayMotion which use an infrared camera to detect the player's position in front of a giant projection screen.
I said I had an idea. I never said it was great. I wish I could put more effort into the comic and keep up with all my other activities and keep all my project groups happy, but something has to give, which is why I went on hiatus to begin with. Bleh. Neeeed sleeeeeeeep....
Is it evident I didn't have anything in mind for this week? Sorry, the BVW game I worked on last round is awesome but doesn't film/screenshot well, and due to mechanical difficulties the video I worked on last round has yet to make it up on the ETC website. I have a notion for next week which I'll have to start sketching now, but this may become a recurring filler type when I just don't have time to create something new.
A little something to keep my artistic chops up. It pretty much explains itself. The annotation can be found here.
Not much this week, hopefully what I have underway for next week will make up for bland screenshots. The above game is a cooking competiton played on a device called a 'Jam-O-Drum'. It's a round table with 4 stations each containing a pressure-sensitive pad at the center of a rotating disc. In the above game, a ring of ingredients ran around the edge of the table, players tapped the pad to pull ingredients into their pots and spun the disc to mix their ingredients into a final dish. Between rounds, the chef in the center would evaluate the dishes and assign stars. Whoever had the most stars after the drinks, salad, main course and dessert rounds was declared winner. THe game also had a bonus phase in which players could throw as many ingredients as they wanted, from all prior rounds, into their pot and see what the game's dish-naming engine came up with for the plated result. Mmm-mmm crunchy kitten soup with strawberries, meatballs, croutons and ice cream :D
As promised, if at lower quality than expected- American Beauty goes Film Noir. Nobody in my group could stomach playing this one straight, so I had the crazy notion, since all the assignment specified was that the shots remain the same, to keep the shots, keep the script straight, but completely recontextualize the lines and filming into a film noir style drama snippet. Fortunately, another member of my group actually knew some film noir techniques and had a film noir expert friend, so we were able to take my vague sense of a cool concept and turn it into a real scene. The actual video (along with all the other videos from this assignment and the previous assignment) are up at the class gallery page. I'm on team Paramount. I swear the sound wasn't nearly that bad before web compression...
The fact that I cut comic production from my schedule this past week and still had less free time than I've had in years has confirmed my sense that, for the good of my project groups and my own health, sanity and educational well-being, I should put story comics on hiatus until December. However, unlike some deadbeat webcomicists out there, even while on hiatus, I'll still try to post some new snippet of something on time every week. I mean, I'm only going to be up to my eyeballs in games, movies and 'adventures' for the next 3 months. I'd hope some of it will be presentable.
That said, enjoy a quick snapshot from the desktop mode of an immersive VR LEGO horror puzzle world from my 1st-round Building Virtual Worlds group. Pretty simple, I know, but it had to go from meeting the group members to a final deliverable in just 2 weeks (a recurring theme in ETC Boot Camp...). Next week will probably be American Beauty goes Film Noir...
If ETC snapshots aren't enough and you're worried about going into total story withdrawal without your weekly dose of Diodes, you might try heading over to Fortune Memories. Linda was one of the few folks to attend my Hobby-Level Webcomicing panel, and appears to have taken most of it to heart. Not only has she set a new artistic standard for hand-drawn comics by CS/CE majors and eschewed cheap gag comedy in favor of mature storytelling, but her buffer kicks my bufer's ass. Seriously. I'm going to need to draw a few comics over my hiatus to get my buffer back where it should be. She could do nothing for the next 3 months and still deliver content.
This update, while not really the end of an arc, is the reasonable stopping point I was gunning for. The semester is heating up, and soon I'll be at the point where the big "build an immersive interactive virtual world from scratch in two weeks every two weeks" course is no longer the only big thing on my plate academically. I'll see how this week feels, but don't be surprised if story comics go on hiatus until December-ish starting next week. If the main comic takes a break, I'll at least try to post interesting screenshots and video of the crazy stuff I've gotten myself into, which, after all, is at least theoretically Entertainment Technology.
Have I mentioned the ETC wants to own my soul? Seriously, I could spend all day there. Oh, wait, I do. Rather less often than I should, all things considered. If I disappear in the next week or three, poke me violently by e-mail until I at least take an official comic hiatus.
The ETC wants to own my soul. Hopefully that doesn't completely come to pass and I still have time to update, but I make no promises. Particularly if they actually get sammich bread back in the kitchen, or at least bowls that can handle a whole serving of ramen.
I like this strip. This may not be the last we see of ToasterDuck.
Tomorrow I get to learn exactly how screwed I'm going ot be this semester. The facility the grad program is based out of has showers, recommends students keep a change of clothes on hand, and keeps a kitchen stocked with ramen, coffee and breakfast bars. The lounge couches unfold into futons. Not actually leaving the building for a week at a time isn't recommended, but is certainly possible.
In other news, I've finally moved into the large room I'll be in at least until next summer, and as of last night its bathroom shower is no longer a ray of liquid death! Now I just need some time to unpack all my crap that's been in the garage for 3 months. And build a table. And switch over all the house utilities. And get the landlord in for an inspection. And get the lease redrafted. And arrage a bed delivery. And ideally still have time for Kiltie Band, Buggy, and comic.
*shakes fist at the real world*
To be perfectly straight with everyone, SED may be scheduling back starting as early as next week. Yesterday was my birthday, today is the family celebration, this week I'll (hopefully) be getting and setting up a new MacBook Pro, including going through all the low-level tech hoops to get it triple-booting OSX / XP Pro / Ubuntu, and after that I'll be starting into a grad school program which sounds to be more time consuming every time I hear about it. If I can keep SED weekly while doing Entertainment Technology Center boot-camp, Kiltie Band, and ideally a little Buggy, I will, but I won't know if that will be possible until next week.
In the absolute worst case, I'll pull an Ian Gibson, put the comic on hiatus for a semester and notify everyone when I'm back (only the first semester of ETC is all-consuming 'boot-camp,' the other 3 semesters are long-term project work). I'd prefer that to a clutching-at-straws sparse irregular schedule if I can't even maintain biweekly. There's a half-decent pausing point just a couple strips away, so I'll try to run weekly at least to there, tossing filler if necessary to keep my buffer up.
And who knows- decades of time-management experience may mean even ETC boot-camp isn't even an issue for me, I just want to notify you in case it is.
It's 1 buffer length since Connecticon, and long-time readers will know what that means- as of now, the bits and pieces of this year's Photoshop panel I found most applicable will start showing up in-comic. For starters, I think my quality and practice has finally reached a level at which growing up and switching over to non-antialiased tools and separate line and flats layers will at least break even for me, and combined with other changes also already in the pipeline, will open up more room for improvement. For now, this will mainly be visible at my full 300dpi working resolution, but I'd imagine colors and borders will be a tiny bit cleaner even at web res.
After last week, I figured I should post this as soon as I thought of it. Not much new here. 2 more weeks of summer job, then home for a week, then ETC Boot Camp. At least there may be a new MacBook Pro in there somewhere. As averse as I am to the X86 architecture, I don't think a quad-core G5 would be quite as portable per unit power. Plus, sadly, I may need to run XP for projects and whatnot, and Virtual PC wasn't all that practical even when M$ wasn't owning and operating it.
Ahem. Something warrants saying here-
Apologies for the late comic, I was so focused on getting the next buffer strip drawn and working out the details of the rest of this arc that actually posting the next completed strip slipped my mind. Rest assured, though, (and particularly those of you who were at my panel) this was purely a hiccough in the posting process, the actual comic creation is still very much underway.
On a tangent, Spider Pig: The Movie is worth seeing. There are a few things Fox still does well.
A big welcome to any new readers from ConnectiCon. Things are finally settling back into "normalcy" around here. If you missed it, the Con Report is still around. I'd like to get a load of photos up at some point, but no guarantees. And in case you were wondering, the "weekends-ish" update schedule is just that- I don't use an automated script, so comics go up manually Saturday or Sunday, usually after I've done the sketching for the next buffer strip. I've been tending towards Sunday afternoons, but extenuating circumstances have pushed me as early as Thursday and as late as Monday in the past. If the comic is not going to be up before 11:59pm Eastern time Sunday, there will at least be written notice of what's going on and when to check back.
And with that, back to Deathly Hallows.
Connecticon day 3. Game, set and match. The Con Report is complete, and I need a high-level cleric.
New day 2 entry in the Con Report.
Con Report - Day 1
CONNECTICON! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! *runs around in a panic trying to get all the last minute stuff together*
Visit my table if I'm still awake. If I'm not awake, wake me up. More posting, hopefully con reports, later.
Less than a week until Connecticon! Be advised that for that very reason, there will probably be filler next week. Hopefully also my day-by-day con reporting, but definitely filler. The following week may or may not also be unusual, depending on how the con goes and how much time I have for my traditional weekend comic-drawing. Artist's Colony is apparently open as long as the con is open, meaning I could be there 8am until after midnight if I want to be. However, I'm not entirely sure that would be good for anyone's sanity, so if by chance you plan to come looking for me at odd hours, let me know ahead. The only odd hours I know I'll be keeping are around my Friday 11-11:30pm panel on how anyone, even an engineer with no formal writing or art training, can start a hobby-level webcomic and keep it going. It will be my very first delivery of the presentation orally, but hopefully, small hitches aside, it will prove interesting. There are lots of panels out there on writing, drawing, making money, getting into "the industry," etc., but I'm not sure I've ever seen a panel on the nitty-gritty technical, organizational and planning challenges implicit in starting a webcomic (or any other regular endeavour, for that matter!).
Not much comic news, although I certainly have enough comic-tangential work to keep me busy until Connecticon. What I am pleased to finally be able to present is the final project gallery for the Game Programming course I finished over a month ago. I had some Galaxxon-related news posts on here earlier, and while development has slowed around my summer job, the latest beta can still be found here.
75. What is it about multiples of 25 that make them seem so significant? It's a shame this isn't one of my best strips, but meh. They can't all be winners. Particularly if you're working purely in your free time and really need to keep a schedule, but more on that in my Connecticon panel at 11pm Friday.
This was too close. Nothing to do with creation schedule- everything's very well on track there- just too many distractions, leaving me remembering to actually post an update in the last possible hour :P
Just a reminder- look for me at Connecticon in a month if you're in the area. My hobby-level-webcomicry panel is scheduled to happen 11pm on Friday.
Dave with manga eyes scares me. I blame EGS for that image.
It sounds like I really and truly will be doing a panel at Connecticon on the nuts and bolts of starting a hobby-level webcomic. It is now apparently immutably scheduled for 11pm Friday, so be sure to stop by. I should also be somewhere in the Artist's Colony during more reasonable hours.
In other news, you need to play Grandia III. Ideally after Grandia and Grandia II. (Xtreme can actually be avoided unless you don't care much for story but absolutely PWN the battle system)
It's still hectic around here, but part of the hectic was getting into my summer job and actually writing video games for a living :D
Another part was getting the last-minute stuff together with regards to the Artist's Colony table I do have at ConnectiCon, and that hobby-level webcomicry panel which I have been informed is on for 11pm on Friday.
So yeh. If you're in the Connecticut area, drop by! While I may not be taking commissions, I do currently plan to have some of the shiniest buttons of any comic at the con, and maybe some other assorted comic and non-comic stuff...
What a week. I did not in fact get a comic done this week, so I'm still one buffer short of where I'd like to be. However, I did make great progress on Galaxxon Legacy (see last news post), and a beta version with sound and numerous bugfixes may be out in the next week or so. I also signed a house lease, lots of car paperwork, voter registration, and numerous other things resulting in my officially if reluctantly changing my residence from CT to PA where I have a summer job and 2 years of grad school to look forward to.
Speaking of CT, my check to ConnectiCon for an Artist's Colony half-table has cleared, so I can only presume I will be there with a bit of shiny Diodes swag. If not, I'll still be there as a plebe. Either way, there's a slim chance I'll be delivering the 'how to manage a hobby level webcomic' panel which I've been considering for over a year.
Finally, the andrew.cmu.edu site is officially going dormant as of this update. I'm not sure what's going to be happening with my school account- technically my grad school is an offshoot of my undergrad school, and I'm listed in the school database with my old username and new school association, but they have not been very forthcoming about what will officially happen with the 2-4 students in my position in ~90 days when the old usernames would normally expire. That, and an arc end followed by noteworthy filler is a better place than most to stop updating. Indeed, in a moment of weakness I almost considered ending the comic completely with a little written overview of what ultimately happens to Sera, Dave and the crew, since I know next school year I will be VERY busy. But that would have made the $90 I've already dumped into CTcon a waste and disappointed what dozen or so readers I have at this point, so for the moment I'll perservere. Besides, I went into this comic planning on freewheeling it with a series of small, largely independent arcs, but I now have an idea of where the strip as a whole is going and how far I need to write to really tie up what's gone on already. This is simultaneously reassuring in that I can see a real 'getting off' point in the tangible future if I need it, and disturbing in that I can see an end to the comic made all the more stark by the fact that, as of yet, I cannot think of anything to follow it with. But that's at least 2 full arcs in the future, more if things go smoothly, so I should have a good 10+ months to plan, consider, and judge whether reader interest is enough to fill the void as my original goal of challenging myself to learn to write, draw, and generally exercise my right brain becomes increasingly satisfied.
Yeh. So apparently this event has been on the agenda for 4 years or something and I'm not going to be allowed to miss it. Silly family and their silly expectations...
On a more serious note, this weekend has also killed my usual comic-drawing time and travel is going to kill my usual scan/color time, so unless I really push it next week on my crash-before-summer-job time, I may both run this filler AND not get caught up on buffer. Sucks to be me. Still, as promised, there's another project in the works. It looks something like
and will sound something like
Daa-da-da daa-da-da daa-daaaaa, Daa-da-da daa-da-da daaaaaaa...
and plays kinda like this still very-incomplete alpha for MacOSX 10.3+ (or maybe 10.2 if you're really lucky, I haven't confirmed anything). Keep in mind this is an alpha build, meaning the engine is essentially in place (sound is now working, but not in this build), but a fair bit of tuning needs to be done and a crapload of content needs to be generated before the game is considered fit for mass consumption.
Around waiting for various things to happen I didn't actually get my Connecticon Artist Colony form postmarked until the last possible day, but so far I haven't heard that there isn't room for me, so I may just be there. Likewise, I haven't heard that there isn't time for my proposed panel on the nuts and bolts of starting a hobby-level webcomic, so that may just happen too.
I'm seriously considering some form of filler in the next couple weeks, allegedly because my graduation festivities are next weekend, but as much as anything else because I need to catch my buffer up and I have both graduation and the first bona-fide standalone .app bundle of my Game Development project as possible filler subjects. Yes, I may actually be giving you dedicated (PPC Mac-using) readers a taste of what I really do around pretending to be an artist/writer :D It's still what would be considered an alpha build, but it was by far the most complete game in the class, and good enough to win 1st place in a class vote, so it's got something going for it if I clean up the engine a little. If there's interest, I may be able to convince my project partner to resurrect the Windows build of the game, and if I get a Mactel for grad school I should be able to set up a Mactel build, but for the moment the PPC Mac build is the only one I can guarantee has a chance of being finished/published.
You guys came VERY close to getting filler this week. It's not that I didn't have time to make a comic. I did get one done this week. It's more that I'm going into finals week of my senior year, and I really should be studying rather than putting all the time I have been into my Game Development project which was very nearly the filler I was planning to use. But I've had rather a lot of not-doing-the-comic recently, so I'll hold out and do a canon update now. No promises about next week, I may need all the time I can get to study and finish up projects, but I'll see what I can do.
On a side note, particularly if I hear back from Chris, both Requiem and Diodes may have tables at Connecticon this year :D
Wow. It feels like ages since I've posted a normal comic here. Ah well. Back in the saddle. The more updates I miss, the harder it is to continue.
I'm not overly proud of the art in this one, or the text positioning, but at least it's canon. And the next arc is only a few strips away, so keep checking back.
In other news, I've officially accepted my acceptance into the Carnegiue Mellon Entertainment Technology Center ETC Global grad program and will be starting their immersion curriculum at the end of August. Building Virtual Worlds, Visual Story, ETC Fundamentals, and Improvizational Acting. Sounds fun. Now that that's settled, I'm in the middle of a job search, and once that is settled, I should be able to commit to a CTCon table if any are left.
A colleague and I are also nearing the end of our game development project, which is looking to be rather the competent highly-customizable oldschool top-down arcade shooter. I can't promise the current multiplatform codebase will be continued beyond the end of the semester, but I plan to at least clean up any loose ends and have a solid Mac version up for real distribution at some point. Check back in a few weeks for details.
I AM NOT WORTHY! I AM NOT WORTHY! *bows to SigEp Booth team*
Also, 151 tastes like burning. (Please, don't try that at home, if you really must know how to do it "safely", mail me or read the Galaxxon III manual.)
Finally, hello Mom, hello Dad, if you think Diodes is worth following, you really should read any of
Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire
the Adventures of Doctor McNinja
El Goonish Shive
and come back after.
I promised uberfiller early. What can I say?
If you're in the area, join us for Raceday at CMU Friday and Saturday morning. I may even print you today's comic at full resoution :) And if you aren't in the area, watch this to get an idea of what all the fuss is about. Go CIA!
So yeah. Over the course of the past week I have put about 6 hours a day into buggy and about 0 into the comic. And I put about 5 into sleep last night, so I'm not even energized enough to rig filler.
Filler 2 weeks in a row sucks anyway, though, so I'll take the buffer hit this week and run uberfiller next, possibly even early.
If you're in Pittsburgh next Friday/Saturday, be sure to come out and cheer on CIA as we race around Flagstaff Hill on the edge of the Carnegie Mellon campus from 5am until ~10am. I'll probably spend most of the day with head mechanic duties down in our truck, but my jaw WILL hit the floor if you manage to track me down anyway as a fan of the comic.
I'll also be pushing hill 5 on CIA C team.
Maybe even in a kilt.
And the plot thickens.
I'm not sure this one came out nearly as well as I wanted, but it does the job.
It looks like buggy may be owning my soul next week as well as the following week. Depending on how things go class-wise, there's a chance of blah filler next week in addition to the filler 2 weeks from now which has been in the works for most of a year.
What is this, you say? A Saturday update? Don't I know April Fools' Day isn't until tomorrow?
Yeah, yeah, so I'm actually not pushing the outer bound of my promised schedule. So sue me. Better yet, tell your friend so maybe they'll start reading.
The store pictured in today's strip is actually based off a local hardware store near where I grew up. "Mack's Hardware- If we don't have it, you don't need it." By and large, the slogan was right. It was a wonderful little shop, an Ace Hardware retailer, I believe, and while it had a formal owner, it was almost always run by a group of local retirees who would gather just to chat about old times. I'm not even sure most of the regular 'staff' were even paid. They knew their hardware and handymanship, though, and were more than willing to help you find exactly what you were looking for, or that failing, figure out what you were trying to do and suggest something they did have that would work better than what you thought you needed. If even they weren't sure, they'd let you take a few parts home to try, with the option to return/exchange any you didn't use. It was a great place.
The store was closed perhaps 2000-ish when their supplier insisted they switch over to computerized recordkeeping. For a bunch of volunteer retirees, as much as the community loved them, it was easier to just close up than to learn the new system, enter their whole inventory, and try to run their old-fashined friendly neighborhood tool shop on someone else's strict, slim, efficient modern terms.
Oh, and if you don't get the last panel, check the archives of this place (warning: not suitable for the closed of mind, or the young and impressionable children of the closed of mind).
Alright. We're back. For now.
It's been a busy week, and the semester only looks to get busier up until roughly a month from now when there WILL be filler.
On a completely other apart from the fact that I finally got to do it around buggy note, TOAST!
It's depressingly easy to commit to not doing a comic. Still, I hoped for better filler, but I couldn't get my GameDev lab running on my laptop, and the SEGA Genesis I was planning on rehashing the overclocking instructions for turned out to be half a model too late to overclock easily, which I only realized half way through the week. Having already sunk a bunch of relaxation time into that, I didn't really feel like rushing a sketch through production in the few days I had left (although I did have a couple ideas to do with NiGHTS and/or PSO (may your servers rest in peace)) Fortunately, US Airways gave me enough to work with. No, I did not end up on Southwest for my spring break return flight, but many people were switching, particularly those who needed to make connections which US Air had also caneclled, rescheduled, or rendered unmakable. Seriously- would it have killed them to make two lines at the counter? One for customers ticketed for unaffected flights who just needed to check in, the other for the few dozen people who needed to be rebooked at 10 minutes a pop?
This week is my Spring Break. After the way winter went, I am not going to implicitly assume that just because I theoretically have all the time in the world, I also have enough time for a canon update. In particular, I already know that Sunday, my usual sketch day, I will be occupied all day meeting firends from Europe in New York to watch Spamalot, and likely will not get any sketching done.
There should not be no update next weekend, but I warn in advance it may be filler. Possibly to do with either my Game Development project or my attempts at overclocking a Sega Genesis. If this is absolutely an unacceptable arrangement, you can always poke me by email and I'll see what I can do :)
Diodes has been live for 2 years.
Time for another scorecard, I guess.
Year 2 Diagnostic
Total content posted: 37 items
- Total canon strips: 31
- Total noncanon strips: 2
- Total unrelated filler strips: 4
Best panel (artistic): #38 panel 2 for background, #62 panel 0 for foreground
Worst panel (artistic): I'm not seeing any MAJOR issues, but #43 panel 6 is subpar and #57 panel 8 needs forshortening
Most text: probably #54
Least text: #57, #62
Best strip overall: #38 (runners up #57, #59)
Worst strip overall: #35 for awkward scripting, #60 for not really advancing anything
Biggest triumph: Weekly updates!
Biggest smeg-up: expecting to have serious comicing time over winter break
Max hit spike to date: 286 on February 16, 2007 (thank you, Mookie)
Approximate average daily hits this year: 8.35
Total hits to date: 3641
Unique fanmail sources: 2
FINAL ANALYSIS: Progress has been made. I'm still not quite comfortable thinking of myself as a real webcomicist, but I'm at least on the radar of a few big names, and if I actually table at Connecticon '07, I may become a little further established. Make no mistake, my goal is not to become established in comics/art/writing/etc., SED is still and always will be a hobby in the background of an anticipated career in computer engineering, but it would still be cool to know I made a few ripples in the webcomic community as such.
As a side note, I did not plan for this to be the SED Birthday strip- this was actually my relatively-quick-and-easy strip to restock my buffer after winter break. Still, it worked out nicely, and looks pretty good for my first try at airbrushing. On a side note, most of the hilights and textures were done in Mac GIMP on a 10-year-old PowerMac 8500 spec'd up to a passable 800MHz G4 during my laptop HDD crisis a few weeks ago. Not a process I'd like to repeat, but it's nice to know I can hack it if I really have to.
Minor update- The OpenGL issues were solved by a complete Xcode reinstall, but libjpeg is still dysfunctional. But that's not why I'm here. Why I am here is to give a big "Welcome back!!!!1" to Dave Lister, prodigal webcomicist of Paradox Lost and fellow Man of the Hair. So... yeah. Welcome Back!!!!1
You very nearly had filler this week. I was a day late on two of my four comic-making phases over the course of the week, and it was mostly due to this guy.
Meet RotoNinja, star of my Game Programming lab #2. He may be showing up in some filler later in the semester if things keep going the way they have been. If you're really lucky, and particularly if I can get the game compiling on my own machine, he may even show up in his original playable context via a bonus download. Unfortunately, I may have to overhaul a chunk of the interface code for the game before it compiles on my laptop, since I have come to the conclusion libjpeg is not compatible with my machine in any way shape or form, and while I don't technically need it for the game, a lot of the starter code on which the game is built expects it to be there, and I'll have to weed through and make sure I've clipped out all the pesky routines I don't use anyway which require it. That, and the game has some (assignment-mandatory) custom graphics card shader code which doesn't really add anything and causes a metric crapton of multiple-definition warnings on my laptop (due largely to a botched OpenGL installation last semester- with the botched installation and Apple's stock framework, the compiler finds 2 locations for most shader functions, but somehow without the botched copy, it can't find anything and throws a metric crapton of undefined errors instead). Again, an issue of clipping out all the code that I don't really need but may be deeply woven into code I didn't even write.
Murphy's paradox of Apple repair: If your Apple product is going to work right, it will, but only after you've waited 5 hours to get to the front of the Genius Bar queue.
The fact that I could have fixed the problem on my own anyway probably factored into things too.
I took my laptop in last Saturday to have the completely-totally-unidentifiably-dead HDD issue verified and hopefully pay premium to have the drive switched out then and there rather than go a week using a machine with a 16:1 CPU to bus speed ratio as my primary machine while awaiting delivery of a new HDD to install myself. After hiking 20 minutes to the Apple store in 10 degree weather, seeing there was no way I'd be lucky enough to get walk-in service (as I have occasionally), signing up for their earliest appointment... 5 hours later, hiking back home in 10 degree weather, and back out later in 15 degree weather, I finally got my turn at the Genius Bar. Thoroughly convinced I'd be in and out in 10 minutes with them unable to boot my machine from anything that could see the internal HDD and amicably agreeing to swap the bad disk for a new one, I powered the machine up in anticipation of demonstrating its complete and utter deadness.
And it booted.
As if nothing had ever been wrong.
Unperturbed, I explained what it had been doing, or not doing as the case may be, and they agreed to throw their standard tests at the disk. 15 minutes later, nothing continued to be wrong. Not a single read/write hiccough.
With a final quip about "magical computer demons," the Genius was off helping another customer, and I was out a sizable chunk of the day and some of my reputation as a tech. So I decided to buy their drive tester and see for myself.
That evening, a complete block-by-block media fidelity check turned up nothing, as did an hour of continuous random-access timing.
So in all, I ended up out a chunk of my weekend, $100 in software, and another 2 hours and some sanity touching up a final buffer image in MacGimp on the above-referenced 800MHz G4 with a 50MHz bus (e.g. the processor can only access memory every 800/50=16 cycles. Image editing takes a bit of memory access, fyi.).
Something tells me the drive is going to die on me again, just to spite me, but only after I get off my paranoid backup regimen, and only when I REALLY can't afford to wait a week for a new HDD.
And the comic. Right. This one wasn't one of my better moments, but meh. They can't all be. At least it's up.
And for all you new readers, this is a normal update time, as is 11am Saturday, as is 10pm Sunday. I don't use any automated update scripts, so the comic goes up whenever I have time. If you only want to check once per weekend, check Monday. ... You know what I mean.
Murphy's law of webcomic production: If anything can completely prevent new strips from being created, it will, and right after you invest in a major ad slot.
I just spent $20 on Mookie's banner for Thursday/Friday. I warmly welcome anyone showing up because of that link, and I hope you enjoy the archives. However, my TiBook's HDD went critical yesterday afternoon, meaning it will no longer boot (at least not in finite time- it spins a lot trying to reconstruct parts of the boot filesystem, which I've heard OSX can do, just not quickly), doesn't show up when I boot from my FireWire backup, and causes any system repair/rescue CDs to go into an indefinite wait loop at the first attempted HDD access. But being a tech/artist has its advantages. Through a combination of my FW backup drive and an entertaining chain of transfers (I can get my good laptop HDD to show up as a FireWire target disk on my G3 PowerBook, which in turn can show up as a SCSI docked disk on my 800MHz G4 PowerMac 8500) I'm pretty sure I've recovered 100% of my data, including my whole buffer. Still, without a suitable Photoshopping platform, my hands are tied as far as making new strips.
I'm already looking into a new HDD, whether it be an immediate swap at the local Apple store, or an online purchase that I install myself, so hopefully no more than one update will be dropped. Still, there may or may not be a canon strip up next week. It takes me so long to refill my buffer, and indeed it's not quite back to full after winter break, that I'm loathe to pull from it when I don't foresee a large amount of free time in the immediate future. In the unlikely event that my main machine is down for more than a week, I will cut into my buffer to ensure updates and try to rig The GIMP or somesuch on my best spare machine to continue work to some extent.
I like instant ramen. Instant ramen is good. Instant ramen is good with fresh diced carrots, peas, onion, sauteed cubed chicken, fresh garlic, vindaloo powder, and maybe a dash of soy or Worchestershire sauce. Plain instant ramen is a bit lacking. And please, even refrigerated, don't let your leftover ramen go more than a week. It's 25 cents a pack, if that. You can afford to throw it out when it gets disgusting.
Sometimes, ideas just come to me. I know where the story is, I know where it will end up, but a lot of the segue is done on the fly, which means stuff like this just pops out every now and again. The sad thing is, sometimes it ends up being my best work.
For the record, I'm a tea drinker, and proud of it. And I don't mean Lipton bagged-leavings-swept-off-the-floor-of-the-lowest-grade-packing-plants tea. I mean the good stuff. Loose leaf, whenever possible. Direct Chinese imports, Harney & Sons, Fortnam & Mason, Tazo or Bigelow if nothing else is available. Did you know a teaspoon of good tea leaves is enough to brew 3-6 consecutive cups, each better than the last? Try getting that out of coffee grounds. Now, to be fair, Lipton has it's uses. A bag of regular Lipton, a packet of sugar, and one part strong coffee to ~4 of hot water creates a mostly-palatable beverage (better at least than pure Lipton), the dregs of which are to awakening as a large rusty sledge is to driving a 2-penny nail.
I like math. I mean, did you know numbers exist? It's true! Really! I saw the proof on Friday! Or rather, I saw an informal demonstration (founded on the premise that nothing exists). For natural numbers, at least. A rigorous proof will require an infinite number of assumptions, which the professor couldn't get through on Friday but plans to finish up Monday.
School. Why am I back here? What happened to break? Why are they considering scrapping the 28X airport express bus route when the line at the airport stop was at least 2 busses worth immediately after a fully-loaded bus pulled away?
Happy New Year to all, and welcome back to Ian, among other things. This will be my last week home before resuming a more normal comicing schedule, and I'll try to make the best of it. There may be a hiccough next weekend, as I only realized last week that I will be on a family day-trip all day Saturday and traveling back to Pittsburgh for a chunk of Sunday. There should still be a canon strip next week, it just may be late Sunday or at worst as early as I can manage Monday. I really would rather not have more filler. I'm getting as sick of it by now as you are.
Oh, and Twilight Princess rocked. Completely and totally. The Spinner is still probably the coolest item, but everything else had its moments. And the final boss battles... well, if you're a Zelda fan, you'll just have to see for yourself ^_^
I figured I should do something rather than have a dead week, so meh. This could just as easily be a sidenote on SGIC as here. Twilight Princess is indeed an awesome game. In all respects. I can just about forgive them for delaying it for most of 2 years. But of course, as not just a gamer but also a computer engineer, I see a bit more than most folks in a new game. A (potentially ongoing) log of some of the most impressive bits I've seen can be found here.
I got a bit behind on this one, but caught up by the end of the week. Three cheers for week before Christmas chaos :P
It's a fun strip, though, and I'm glad I got it cleaned up to post. Zero-text strips are always entertaining, and not just because I get to skip a step in the finishing process. This one may read a little awkwardly thanks to the S-track, but the second row does feel more correct right-to-left.
And FYI, this is a joke. Water balloons in a snowball fight are a BAD IDEA (TM). Hypothermia, pneumonia and frostbite are not laughing matters.
With that cheery little thought, I bid you all happy winter-chance-to-get-off-work/school-for-at-least-a-week. There's a fair to good chance I'll take next week off on account of Christmas-followed-by-New-Years, but I should be back in early January with more real actual canon updates. Like, maybe even a string of more than 2 :D
I should know better than to expect too much free time when I get home. I finished the strip I just barely started the week before last, and I should have time M/W/F to do my usual flats/shadows/finishing sessions, but I may need to squeeze the sketching and inking stages into not-the-weekend for much of break. Or just admit to my family that they're paying for 4 years of computer engineering classes only to have me go and make lousy art and convince them of the necessity that I continue making lousy art in what would otherwise be famiy time.
Ah, well. At very least there should be non-canon holiday filler hijinks next weekend. Emphasis on should.
Well, I avoided a too-meteoric touchdown to the semester, but that doesn't mean it was fun. After pulling what is amazingly my first ever academic all-nighter, the big NES project quasi-flew. My CPU was ultimately able to drive the PPU (Pixel/Picture Processing Unit- a tile-based background and sprite renderer), we did get data being read and executed from a cartridge, my CPU was doing everything correctly to my understanding, but something somewhere wasn't perfect, and execution of real commercial games kept inevitably finding its way into uninitialized memory or getting stuck in a loop well before it could draw anything to the screen. At least we were able to do a contrived, FSM-driven demo of the PPU and a partial pAPU (pseudo-Audio Processing Unit, becoming the first documented academic group to pull off a complete, functional PPU in a semeter. I managed to finish off all my other projects, and should at least maintain if not boost my standing ~3.5 GPA. The fact that I have 2, and very nearly had 3 final exams in the first 2 days of exam week is somehow not very worrying at this point.
As promised, I'm tapping my buffer to keep canon strips coming at least biweekly even when I don't have time to draw them. My original plan, if I had to tap into buffer, was to update from buffer biweekly, and to continue biweekly updates until I could refill the buffer, since weekly is pretty much my max output. Since winter break is just around the corner, however, I may just be able to top off my buffer and still maintain weekly updates. It all depends on how busy / burnt-out I am when I get home. As a point of honor, or perhaps stubbornness, I don't plan to take a formal break from the comic for the holidays. We'll see how far that lasts. At very least I should have some regular filler going, although I don't plan to take my good scanner home, so anything I draw at home, including the next ~month of regular strips, will be digitized on my ancient SCSI scanner and the newest machine I can get it hooked up to, and linework quality will probably take a proportional hit.
See below. This isn't too impressive, but it's what I've got. The scene is a 100% procedurally generated (meaning no input datafiles beyond rules to specify tree branching patterns) spoof of Sonic 3D Blast: Flicky's Island. I could only post a screenshot, but the app is animated- the Flickies flock with a BOIDS-style algorithm, and the Perlin clouds scroll and change shape with time. I probably won't have time to make a strip this week either, but next update will be canon even if it means tapping into my buffer.
Sorry all, but I had no weekend this weekend, and no actual free time this week. And breaking out in hives multiple nights in a row didn't help matters. There will probably be another (visually less impressive) 'Sean has fun in Computer Graphics' filler up some time Monday. For now, I need sleep. At least there's light at the end of the tunnel on this big 'NES on a protoboard' project I've been chained to. Tonight, after 8 hours in lab, for the first time ever, something resembling [all the required parts wired together in perfect harmony] actually compiled, configured to FPGA, and ran test code. Hopefully the night shift doesn't break my 6502, and actually gets their dream of 6502 code driving their PPU for a demo...
Wait, whaddayamean Thanksgiving's over? I don't wanna go back! I don't wanna! *sulk*
Well, there's a new strip up, and amazingly I didn't end up falling further behind even given the very little not-family-time I had over Thanksgiving. Hopefully that bodes well for the next 3 weeks. I'm really not looking forward to the hardest ML lab, the hardest CG lab, certain CG homework questions and debugging that NES I've been helping build for course credit all before December 8. In comparison to that, having all 3 of my finals between December 11th and 12th really isn't all that threatening. Be prepared for filler that weekend nonetheless.
This week kicked my ass all the way into next week. I had to drop the comic to catch up on work for 2 CS classes so I could make time to put in enough work on my Computer Engineering capstone course that my group wouldn't kill me. I still haven't had much time for the capstone, so my group is probably going to kill me. If I drop off the face of the 'net for 2 weeks or more, call the cops.
At least one of the CS courses was Computer Graphics and the project eating all my time was coding a ray tracer and it turned out pretty well, so I was able to grab my demo scene to use as filler. I could only rig the most basic color blending, my light attenuation code failed miserably and I wasn't able to do more than simply rip it out of the final app, and I didn't have time to implement anti-aliasing, area lights, soft shadows, lens effects, or really anything off the extra credit flare list... except refraction and transparent materials. My raytracer does some kickass refraction, internal reflection/specularity and faceted translucent-shadowing. The actual image previewed above was 1280x800 pixels (Mac widescreen ratio), allowed a whopping 10 recastings off reflective / through refractive surfaces, and took 1 hour, 55 minutes and 54 seconds to render. And yes, that is Sega Genesis Columns. Or an approximation thereof.
At some point there's supposed to be a class gallery going up for the raytracing lab, and I'll try to remember to link it if there's any interest. My gallery has some closeups of individual gemstones, plus the full-sized version of the filler, and I've seem some other fairly interesting images in progress on classmates' raytracers.
Alright, so it's not the big three digits yet, but it's still a fair bundle of output.
In other news, why must courses like 'Video Game Programming' and 'Intro to Digital Music' be scheduled not only at the same time as eachother, but also at the same time as the one course I explicitly need if I want to nab a CS minor? *shakes fist at CMU scheduling people*
For all of you who weren't in Pittsburgh watching the Tartans finish off their undefeated season yesterday, you missed seeing me do a cartwheel. In a kilt. And a jester's cap.
See, now you have to look at the comic just to get that image out of your head.
It really hits you how long you've kept a comic up when you get into your second round of holiday fillers. It really hits you how serious you've become when you classify a holiday one-off as filler because otherwise it would disrupt your existing story and numbering. It really hits you how masochistic you've become when you realize that you let the cheapie holiday filler strip take 75-90% of the production time of a regular strip.
Fortunately, with the amount of candy going aorund at this time of year, my attention span should be too sugar-rush short to dwell on... ooh!
Wheeeeee e e e e e e . . .
I had an interesting time with this one conceptually. It was one of those strips that just sorta popped out when I didn't have too firm an idea what I was going to do. But one advantage of developing strong characters is that sometimes they can tell the story for you when you aren't sure what comes next. The customer made the comment carrying her interest over from the previous strip, and Q caught me off guard as much as anyone else by referencing back to what Dave was doing at the very beginning of the comic- scrounging parts to sell when business was bad. Needless to say I'm not going to let half my cast be allowed to walk out the door with perfect strangers never to be seen again, but it took a little time to develop a full rationalization for keeping them.
Another week, another update. However, I'm only just barely keeping a major graduation capstone project in check at the moment (building a NES from scratch, and no, it's not actually a simple console), and if I either a) fail to make major deadlines on it or b) make intermediate deadlines by the narrowest of narrow margins, my group will probably start ragging on me to switch to 8-hours-in-the-lab-per-day mode until I'm sufficiently ahead of schedule, and comicing time is only marginally below gaming time on the list of things that will be sacrificed to the lab gods in such an event.
Weekly update, yo.
Buggy season just started for real this morning. That means now until late November I will be getting up on weekends a couple hours before the crack of dawn, getting back at a reasonable time to be getting up, and doing the comic on no sleep and lots of hot tea, so please excuse any strangeness in news blurbs and comic content generated during this period.
And in case you missed it last week, SED has just moved to http://www.g33xnexus.com/diodes/. Please update your bookmarks accordingly.
Pigs in parkas and earmuffs are no doubt flying through Hell at this very moment.
As of this update, I am proud to present the new and improved SED Weekly Update Schedule (beta). Yes, from now on I'm going to try to run SED on a weekly schedule. I've been producing weekly strips for my buffer for a while, and now I'm going to try it for real on the site. Unfortunately, my schedule outside the comic has been getting busier and busier as the school year ramps up, so all the calibration of my production rate against my free time for the past couple months may fall apart and push me back to bi-weekly (hence the beta status), but if I can survive the next month on weekly updates, I should be good for a final commitment to the schedule. Regardless, while on a weekly schedule I do reserve the right to drop updates on lesser excuses than I let myself get away with on a biweekly schedule. It's not because I hate you or because I wouldn't necessarily have buffer that I could post, just that if I don't have the time one week to make a new strip, I certainly won't have time the next week to make two new strips to catch up.
But that's not the big news.
This is the big news:
SED now has a real host! Some time after taking out ad space on Comedity I received a note from Chris, one of the brains behind the ongoing development of The Seventh Game: Precursors and its brand new spin-off comic Requiem for Innocence, with a generous offer of space on their servers. Some negotiations took place, and as a result you can now find Smoke-Emitting Diodes at its shiny new location http://www.g33xnexus.com/diodes/! I plan to continue updating both locations until I lose the CMU site, but since the g33xnexus server is a bit more robust, flexible and permanent, it will become the official location of the comic, and may in the not-to-distant future get some new shinies that I simply didn't have the option to set up on the academic server. So yeh. A big thank you to Chris, Keith and David. Give them a click if you have a moment!
I have come to the conclusion that more comics need to update on Sunday. Now mind you, that doesn't mean SED will update Sundays from now on, I don't necessarily have more time on Sundays than the rest of the world, but today I am updating on Sunday. Come to think of it, it would actually be rather difficult for me to update on Saturday today, wouldn't it? Maybe I'll try updating Friday tomorrow, just for the challenge...
I'm back at school. Why am I back at school? What happened to summer? And why am I a senior already? I don't wanna take the GREs and fill out grad school applications! I don't wanna! :(
In other news, there's a new strip up.
Erm... yeah. That's about it.
Join CIA Buggy!
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me- happy birthday dear meee-eee, happy birthday to me!
My present to myself, I suppose, is having this strip done waaaay ahead of time, since right on cue (and about 4 days after the end of warranty) my laptop had its annual summer graphics meltdown. This time it wasn't the graphics card but the screen itself which started rotting. 3 dead pixels on the last day of warranty to over 60 4 days later. The Apple Store folks were nice enough to do the repair "on warranty" but the machine was still out of my control for 3 days, so between that, travel home for a couple weeks, and my birthday, I haven't actually touched the comic since last weekend.
This strip itself is one of those that sounded like a great idea at the time but which I became increasingly wary of towards the end of coloring/finishing. But meh, it's an update. And hey, if it's half as bad as it could possibly be, odds are it will increase traffic }:-)
I like text-free strips. They take less time :)
This update feels a little odd. I'm trying out a new drawing schedule, so for the first time in the comic's history, I don't necessarily have a strip fresh in my mind when I post it. Hopefully I'll be able to adapt well enough, though, since not working in 4-6 hour sittings feels a lot better than the alternative for the 335 hours per update cycle I don't spend posting.
ConnectiCon has always been a big influence for my continuation of SED. After being all juiced up with motivation and having a week to settle down and recover, there are things in the works. If they pan out, the highly observant should be able to see the signs before any formal announcement is made.
And as for the update, wow. I'm not sure I'll ever get tired of doing that sunrise. Something I can tell you about the comic's future is that we are now finally out of the drama segment, at least for the moment. The next arc should be a little more upbeat and humorous, and a little less people-getting-hurt-and-Radix-going-emo. And arcs after that... well, things get a little darker but at least I know more or less exactly how and when, so there should be new content for the foreseeable future.
I was kept pretty busy on Day 3. Still, a report is a report.
Stuff happened on Day 2. You can read about it.
The Connecticon '06 Day 1 report is up, as promised. Strip #39 is up just because I had it done days ago and meh, why not.
Since the real SED HQ, my own non-campus permanent residence is all of 10 minutes from Connecticon, I am once again going to leverage SED's home-field advantage to bring you some of the earliest con reporting you'll find on any comic on the internet. This year, however, I plan to take it one step further- I will not simply deliver you a con report within 24 hours of the end of the con. This year my goal is to post an ongoing report on a daily basis throughout the convention's 3-day run. On that note, I already have a writeup and image set for SED's Connecticon '06 Day 0. In short, they called in the military just for me :D
Welcome visitors from Comedity and elsewhere. Just posting some assurance that this is a live strip, it simply updates every other weekend, and this isn't an update weekend (and if it were, the update would probably have been up Sunday evening at latest- I was going to post this earlier, but my network has been disturbingly flaky for a few days, and wasn't up until now). Off weekends are when the actual sketchwork for the comic gets done, and I've recently pushed pen retracing and even occasionally scanning/cleanup to off weekends to leave time on update weekends for coloring and shading. I don't usually even do news posts on off weekends, but since there have definitely been a few new faces coming in over the past few days, I thought it would be good to make sure things were clear. Check back next weekend for Connecticon coverage, and hopefully a real comic update. The uncolored version, complete with script, is already on my laptop, so hopefully I'll have no excuses.
Again, new visitors should read the archives- they aren't too long- and possibly take a peek at the Cast & background page to get on board with where the story has been and where it's going.
In preparation for a marked traffic wave due to advertising, I decided to do a little touching up of the site. Most notably, returning viewers should notice a good 50% speedup in the archive since all strips have now been "web-optimized" to remove large amounts of preview, comment, etc. data not strictly relevent to viewing. New readers should check out the Cast & background page, which sports new mug-shots of SED's lead characters.
The main news for this week's update is still below and contains some important notes, so you should look it over if you haven't yet.
Some strips you just have in mind from the start of the arc. This is one of them. I'm glad it came out as well as expected, since I've been holding off on another round of advertising until I got to it.
On that note, a big welcome to any visitors trickling in from Comedity! Alright, so maybe I don't have a penguin, and maybe the art's not as good, and maybe I'm only starting to hit my stride on the writing, but we all have to start somewhere. Not everyone has the advantage of a dozen competent voices telling him what to do (most of mine are, sadly, rather incompetent art-wise :cheesefall: ). Just take a look around, enjoy the archives (they already take a decent half-hour to read end to end), and try not to suck up all my bandwidth. Campus computing services wouldn't like that.
Next update will be a little interesting, seeing as how it's Connecticon weekend and all. Expect a con report, possibly at the end of each day, but especially given my recent absentmindedness as far as bringing my supplies and sketchbook with me, the comic may be early, late or filler.
I have also been given word by the folks who run the servers SED currently resides on that somewhat sooner than next update, namely Tuesday June 27 and Wednesday June 28, the site will be unavailable. Which makes me glad I didn't actually succeed in placing week-long ads for Monday the 26th. The details I have are:
WHAT: Major systems and network outage
START TIME: Tuesday, June 27 at 5 p.m.
END TIME: Wednesday, June 28 at 3 a.m. (earliest end time-see details)
In order to restructure electrical power to accommodate the Gates building, power to Cyert Hall will be shut down. This outage affects the Cyert machine room which houses campus servers.
If all goes smoothly, things will be back up Wednesdy by 3am EST. If not, things will be back up Wednesday by ~noon EST. Just a heads-up.
Another weekend, another comic. I was actually rather proud of the pencil when I first did it, and I think the coloring does the linework justice, more or less. This week has been additionally productive in forcing upon me another ~6 months worth of material for the comic. Now if only I could get that to happen when I'm not trying to fall asleep on a weeknight after already staying up far later than I ought to given my job =P
Once again, July 7-9 I plan to be meandering around Connecticon. Look for the best Red Mage at the con. If he's also been seen wearing a utilikilt, he's probably me. Alternately, you could keep asking around about SED until you find the one guy who doesn't give you a strange look =D
Whew. I'm hot from no AC, peckish from a sub-par lunch, sore from carrying a dozen boxes o' stuff up two stories, and drained from all of the above, but I'm moved into my summer room and there is a comic.
Smeg, my TV isn't even plugged in yet and there's a comic. I haven't been online in over 24 hours, my computer wasn't even fully set up until 11:00 this morning, I didn't even have a working network connection until 7:30 today, this is my last day off before starting work, and there's a comic. Do you appreciate what I'm doing to get you an update? WELL?! DO YOU?!!
Anyway, I hope this means I'm back on track. If by some remote chance you enjoy the comic, track me down at Connecticon in a month. Still no table this year, but I'll be one of a likely very few attendees in a utilikilt, and probably the only one in a Red Mage suit one day and a utilikilt another.
I've been home for a week, and I leave for my summer apartment and summer job next Sunday, the weekend of the next scheduled update. Guess what I failed to even think about setting aside to take home when I was packing stuff to move to my summer apartment? Yep. My sketchbook, good pencil, pens, scanner and tablets are all a few states away from me. I have succeeded in printing a few new templates and cranking out a new sketch on schedule. I plan to do one or two more to bring my buffer back up. I've even dug outmy old SCSI scanner and the only machine in the house currently capable of using it- an ancient Mac Performa 6320CD with a 1G HD running OS8.0. But without my sketchbook I have no access to the already-drawn next canon strip until late Sunday at the earliest. While I'm not certain what I will do about this, I can safely say that if the next update is a canon strip, it will be up Monday or Tuesday, and if the next update is before Sunday the 28th, it will be filler. Quality sketched/inked/scanned filler, perhaps, but still filler. If it's filler, there's a decent chance I'll guilt myself into jogging the schedule and get the next canon strip up a week later rather than the usual 2, because I'd really like to get on with the story and a month of no canon update can be a death knell to any comic.
Early filler update due to weekend moving/travel-related time constraints!
I'll give you 3 guesses as to which game I chose to crash with around exams :)
If you have no clue, I swear it has less to do with my unfortunate lack of artistic talent as with your unfortunate lack of exposure to one of the best oldschool platform-RPGs ever released, which just so happens to be PC/Mac freeware. Play it. Now.
Regular comics should (fingers crossed that things go smoothly with my getting a summer job so I'm not scrambling all week) continue 2 weeks from now.
It pains me to say this, but it is getting more and more inevitable that I'll fall behind next update. It's 3:30 Sunday and around cramming for the Computer Architecture final (this year's token final-from-hell occurring Monday early-afternoon, with the last class project having been due and worked-on-continuously-right-up-until 5pm Friday), I have not yet started the next SED sketch or scan. And right now I just feel like crashing with a game or something for an hour or 3. I'm more confident that I'm ready for the real exam after finishing the first of two provided practice exams, but finishing it and learning from it has sapped most of my productive energy for the day.
I'll see whether I can manage anything during exam week, but with my moving from dorm to summer housing over what would be the update weekend, the update will necessarily be either a little early or a little late, and I'm not sure I'll be able to fit both a late sketch/trace/scan sitting and an early flat/text/shade sitting in the same week around exams.
If I can't do a real update, I'll try to at least scrounge some decent filler, so do check back Sun/Mon, just don't put any money on new canon material.
If 3 hours and change before the update deadline isn't a new record, it certainly feels like one. Last update, as I noted in the previous newsbox, I was selling my soul to Carnival. This weekend I had to make up for it by selling my soul to one of the academic projects I should have been working on over Carnival. Next week I probably get to sell my soul to the other academic project I should have been working on. And then come finals. -_-; I'm less proud of #35 now than I was when I first sketched it, but the original script needed some major reworking for both space and content, and I barely had the time for what I ultimately managed. Fortunately, while there may be one more hectic update, it looks like smooth sailing for closure of this year-long evening of plot.
And now we return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
On the topic of schedule, this week was tight and next week could be even busier due to a particular annual Carnegie Mellon campus-wide tradition called 'run around like a crazed marmoset and sell your soul to whichever three organizations you're active in while trying to convince your professors not to assign more work,' known to visitors and promoters as Carnival. As usual, I'm not planning to miss an update, but if there happens to be a hiccup of some sort in the next two weeks, know that it's not due to unscheduled laziness.
Yeh, other commitments kept me from finishing up #33 yesterday, so I decided to take advantage of the date and post the most recent bit of art I'd worked with outside the comic. Neither cows nor donuts will be playing a role in the immediately upcoming plot. You'll just have to suffer through a few more panels of hot holo-chick alternately kicking ass and being pathetic as what I will likely dub 'Chapter 1' winds to a close.
Yet a third jumbo-sized update! Thanks to an anonymous CIA agent for the awesome lineart!
Behold- a second consecutive jumbo-sized update! I'm actually quite happy with this one. I'm on break this week, so I have a bit more time to spend, but this ending to the Radix interlude wasn't nearly as much of a pain graphically as the previous strip. The large central panel was always to be the climax of this arc, ever since I portrayed it way back in strip #2, but I must say it came out even better than I originally expected.
For those who are curious about the politics behind the last panel, or anything involving the treatment of Radix and Q-Bob by 'Corp, there's a new background info entry on the Cast & BG page on precisely how sentient machines fit into the SED universe. The FAQ also has a new entry regarding the seemingly arbitrary amounts of comic-time which pass between strips.
For those of you who just joined us, may I draw your attention to the top of the archive-by-date menu (for those of you who have been around since the beginning, please allow me to be the first to call your bluff).
Yep, SED turned 1 year old yesterday. The big 365. How did I ever manage it? Glad you asked! I wrote this based on experience and observation a month or two ago, but have been saving and tweaking it to post on the strip's first birthday. Say what you will, I consider it to be at least reasonable, and it hasn't been bad enough to generate negative feedback anywhere I've aired versions of it. <webcomics.doc>
One year of work makes 31 strips look rather scant, but I knew alternate weekends was a thin update schedule going in, so meh. At least I held to my conviction that updates are sacred. 1 year, with only 1 incomplete update and 2 on-time fillers both due to bona-fide impossibilities of getting a strip together. I was hoping to do more for the strip's first birthday, but the past couple weeks have been really strange personally/socially for me, as well as a little taxing academically. Still, note the new and far-overdue logo, and jumbo-sized 4-row strip (which, by the way, took longer to color than any strip to date- remind me not to put a geometrically complex holo-aura'd character in every single panel in the future... :P). And if you want to be remembered as the first person ever to send SED fanmail, that title is still open :D
Year 1 Diagnostic
Total content posted: 33 items
- Total canon strips: 29
- Total noncanon strips: 2
- Total unrelated filler strips: 2
Best panel (artistic): #19 panel 1 (runner up #20 panel 7)
Worst panel (artistic): #4 panel 6
Most text: #28
Least text: #25
Best strip overall: #19 (runners up- #12, #13, #16)
Worst strip overall: #5
Biggest smeg-up: #28- had scanned strip to color at home, left script at school
Max hit spike to date: 24 on October 30, '05 (likely due to splurd.com forum)
Approximate average daily hits to date: 2.5
Total hits to date: 593
Most entertaining hit seen in spot checks: Palm Beach District Schools, West Palm Beach, United States
FINAL ANALYSIS: Survival demonstration complete, now make something worth reading...
Here's to one year going strong, and hopefully more to come! Thanks for reading!
Happy Sick Artist Day 2006.
It occurs to me that there are some artists who take updates off when they get sick. Me? So what if it hurts to do things like breathe and swallow- I can still wield a paint bucket, and it's not as if typing will make me keel over de
No news. Really, for once I can't think of much to say. Um... go Steelers?
If you're upset that the news post isn't doing its usual job of surpassing the comic in entertainment value, I suppose you could hear geeks make music, hear music made by geeks or make your own geek music on any OSX PPC or *NIX X86(32) machine.
Back on track. Finally. School has been good enough to give me a bit more free time than usual so far, but I'm still not into a full homework load and I have yet to experience one of my scheduled 7-class-hour Mondays. I don't anticipate any major hang-ups before spring break, however, so we should see this arc closing up over the next few weeks.
Also, you may notice a slight upgrade to the navigation interface. It was getting hard enough for me to locate older strips for cross-referencing, so I figured anyone who hasn't been drawing the strips would be more or less completely lost. To alleviate the problem (at least until the archive becomes too big) I added browsing by strip name and a bit of code to help synchronize the display for all navigation methods.
I'm not sure there's much more to say than the filler already says. The two trips were fun, if a bit exhausting. Fortunately I was not actually outdoors when watching the Rose Parade live, but the last few days of that trip were nonetheless soggy. And LAX is hell. Spamalot is a fun musical for anyone who has followed Monty Python, but there were a few scenes that were unnecessary and not even in a particularly humorous way. And at least 3 of the songs were the same blatant rip off of 'Title of the Song' by DaVinci's Notebook. At least the jokes were good :D
I head back to school next weekend and will hopefully find time to get my sketches back up to date. Next update, barring catastrophe, should be back to the regular plot.
Happy New Year, everybody!
The good news is there's holiday filler up, and it's even up early. Apologies in general for the Christmas-centrism, it was the first thing that came to mind when I was rushing to get #27 sketched and inked and #28 inked after a week of exams. I hope everyone has an enjoyable end-of-the-year festivities season, however you celebrate it. Apologies in particular to any female readers for only doing a sexy holiday-costumed Radix, but trust me, if I attempted to do a sexy holiday male character, it wouldn't even be humorously bad, it would just thoroughly suck. Maybe next year...
I do also have some bad news to report- next update will almost certainly also be filler, and even more unusual than this update. I got #28 inked and digitized, I have it with me at home, but while I have the strip and I have my pencil, pens and eraser, I quite inconveniently forgot to pack my sketchbook. All my printed templates are in my sketchbook, so I can't work ahead, all my potential filler art is in my sketchbook so I'll have to be creative next update, and the script for #28 (which is text-heavy enough that I'd rather not BS it) is on the original #28 sketch which is, yes, also in the sketchbook. I'll try to think of something fun I can do with no scanner (my old SCSI scanner is AWOL, even in the event it does work), no tablet, no tripod to get any passable image with my digital camera, no script and no explicit filler material digitized, but if anyone has suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.
On a side note, the FAQ has been updated slightly.
Well, I am in fact behind. But I suppose that's to be expected going into exam week. A new full-color strip is up, but my buffer is getting depressingly small. I'll need to push it back up to 5 if I can over winter break.
Speaking of break, I've noticed that the next scheduled update would be right about Christmas day. This poses all manner of entertainment. I almost guarantee the next update won't quite be normal, but I can't say from here exactly how it will be. I probably won't bring my good scanner home with me, and I have no idea whether or not my old SCSI scanner even works anymore (even finding this out would require setting up a computer that hasn't been booted in ~4 years or installing drivers I haven't seen in even longer on my backup laptop), so anything I do post for the next update or two will have to be digitized before I leave or done in a different format.
Whew. Too many projects needing attention this weekend. The full color strip is up, and hopefully I won't fall behind for next week.
1000 strips. That's still a big number. You're right, Mookie, keep this up and I could get there myself, but at this rate it would take... carry the 5... ... 37.5 years. See you at CTCon 2042?
The strip is part-way colored. I've been a bit lazy after being so incredibly busy, but I'll have the job done some time over the weekend.
In more important news, Michael Terracciano- rock the f*** on! 25 strips here pales in comparison to your 1000! One-zero-zero-zero. That's more than my naming scheme even supports! And they're all brilliant! You, sir, give the term Metal new meaning. I salute you!
The week before Thanksgiving was absolute hell, starting the Monday after last update with 3 projects due at the end of the week, building to the same 3 projects still not finished despite my working all day all week with my having to do one particular 2-week 2-person project alone over Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to a sick lab partner, and ending with my having to do extra work Tuesday for one of the other projects to make up for a 4th group member forcing himself on us at the last minute without doing any of the extra 4-person-group work at all properly.
Not like that's an excuse or anything.
As you can see, there is a strip up. It's just the linework (and there isn't actually any diologue for the strip or I would have done it too) because while I brought my sketchbook with me over Thanksgiving, I didn't really have any suitable time to work (and really needed the break, by the way). I've done the buffer sketching I should have done last weekend today, as well as the pen tracing and some amount of cleanup for today's update. I should (fingers crossed) have time to get the coloring done by next weekend.
Back to the regularly scheduled programming, at least for now. I make no promises about next update. This weekend I had my usual two days of getting up at 4:30am for buggy, and Saturday the 4:30-9:00 buggy practice was followed by a 9:00-4:30 Kiltie band rehearsal and football game (going into triple overtime) and a further hour of buggy work. In the coming two weeks I have due the most challenging lab in my digital circuit design course, a rewriting of malloc for my computer systems course, the first part of the final lab for my embedded systems course, and probably part or all of the final on-syllabus project for my communication design studio. And the comic. I'm also going to be away doing Thanksgiving with family. If I don't manage to work doubletime and get a new strip up next weekend, and I don't manage to get the next strip scanned to take with me or am otherwise unable to work or reach the server Thanksgiving weekend, expect a new strip the following week.
Obligatory holiday comic! Hey, at least it's a full finished update rather than a pencilled filler. Schoolwork, midterms, homecoming band activites and buggy do not in and of themselves make for excessive comicing energy. Normal plot resumes next update, so enjoy the full-template-page-size image and try not to OD on sugar :`D
Oh, the relief. I'm finally into the buffer on the new template. Panel borders are such nice things. The 1-month delay between implementing a good idea and being able to actually post it is definitely one of the things pushing me to update more. But school is, of course, having other ideas for my time. The ~1.5 hit/day increase in SED traffic that came with the Ledgermain ad seems to be holding, though, meaning SED is getting a whole ~1.5 hits a day now! Fame and fortune, here I come!
I would like to say I really enjoy* spending 3 hours finishing a comic after getting up at 4:30am and being very active all day, then sleeping, getting up at 4:30am the following day, and being very active until 9:30am and relatively active until noon when I actually start the comic finishing.
I would also like to say the style of eating known as Brazilian Barbacue is undescribably awesome. Meat. Served off of swords. Continuously. As long as you can continue to eat it. At a fixed price.
I said there would be changes in the comic. Yes, Dave and Sera are on hiatus for most of this arc. It will actually be an interesting challenge doing a more character-driven arc starring a collection of spheres with completely fixed facial expressions. But at least there will be more robots. And maybe more robots blowing stuff up. And that's better than any possible antics of a couple oppositely-gendered collegiate techies last seen in highly compromised positions, right?
* for low values of enjoy
A big hello to anyone following the link here from Ledgermain. I'm well aware SED isn't fantasy-oriented, but sci-fi isn't too far off. And who knows, I may do a fantasy arc some time down the road.
Speaking of arcs, this here strip #20 is the last strip of the first storyarc! Woo! School has decided to dump on me like something that does a lot of dumping all at once, so I really shouldn't have done a strip this weekend, but this would have been an altogether lousy update to miss between the advertising and the story climax.
There are a few changes coming up, some more visible, some less, some I haven't even had the time to pin down yet, so keep coming back if you haven't left already. And if you have, but are somehow still reading this... you're just special.
This week's topic: things which get in the way of making comics!
1. Returning to school
4. World of Warcraft
5. WACOM tablets and the silly notion that one can use them untrained
6. Roommates who spend all of .397 seconds looking over your shoulder before saying something like "Oh, I hate those- poorly drawn webcomics which think they're funny just because they're poorly drawn..." etc., etc.
I just about had SED #19 under control after item 5, when item 6 comes and hits me in the face. So I stall for half an hour, go get food, and in the process decide that I'll be damned if I'm going to let someone telling me what I already know get in the way of my delusions of artistry. So #19 it is.
This was actually one of my favorites to create so far, even if it is an extended 33%-more-effort strip. And there's certainly more to come in a couple weeks. And if I get in the groove with my classes, who knows- I may just go weekly!
LATE BREAKING NEWS! Gamer geek's responsibility to comic trumps interest in World Of Warcraft! In an unexpected turn of events, engineer-turned-webcomicist Sean Kelly completes the final steps towards his 18th strip in spite of having installed Blizzard epic MMORPG 'World of Warcraft' not 24 hours prior! "A miracle!" one viewer called it. Other passeers-by simply muttered something about getting a life while depricating the artist's talent.
Gr. I regret having to do this so soon, but there's no way I'm finishing the next update on time. Thanks to my vacation I'm already pulling from buffer without refilling, thanks to various trips around my birthday the current strip is only half done (still need to do final text blocking and shading/lighting) and thinks to a combination of lack of sleep for a few nights and being dumped by friends into the World of Warcrack, I'm not going to be up to finishing the strip until at least Monday afternoon. I'll try not to drop a full update, but at best it will be a day or two late, and at worst, with moving back to school also happening in the next week, I'll have to shift the schedule back a whole week.
I've really got to stop it with this regular update stuff. You all might get used to it. Or worse, I might get used to it.
This week's update brought to you, in a roundabout manner, by Aido. Such good con reports and discussions inevitably get me remembering how much fun CTCon can be, which in turn feeds my pipe dream of having enough standing at a con that anyone of any import will remember me when I'm not dressed as Red Mage, which ultimately drives me to make more and better comics so SED is something to be proud of next July.
It also helps that I seem to be hitting my stride as far as writing and art are concerned. Visualizing shadows and locking in character appearance are getting easier, I think I've finally pinned down a shading style which will meet my time needs while improving quality and regularity, and I'm being let down less and less with the plot delivery of every new strip. Scrolling down BuzzComix' listing until I got to the level SED is currently stylistically competitive with was still depressing (not that there aren't a few gems in the 800-900th place range), but meh. I'll probably hold off on registering with a listing until strip #25 or so, which will give me a bit more time and practice.
Part of me is thinking, especially after this week, that I really need to, and in fact could push SED up to a weekly if I want it to go anywhere. The rest of me, however, is looking for a good therapist for that first part. Regardless, there will likely be no update next weekend, and after that I have both my birthday and the start of fall semester to worry about. By early next month the CTCon afterglow should have died completely and I'll have some better idea whether weekly SED stands a chance of happening.
Holy deep-fat-fried candy bar on a stick! Another post? An early update? Yes, yes it is!
So my only supervisor at work who actually has anything left for me to do was out for the week, meaning I had rather a bit of time at first to visit other comics and interact with their artists, and then, all else failing, to get a head-start on SED #16. The result is an early update experimenting with gradient shading and alternative layer compositing. The shading, I think, I could do without for a while. For the time I have to work, I simply can't do as well as I'd like. Dave in panel 1 took at least half the time it usually takes me to flat-shade a whole strip, and still looks terrible because I knew I had to cut my adjusting and reshading off at some point or risk spending the whole weekend bringing the remainder of the strip up to the same level. Still, I've picked up a couple more techniques, and have some ideas for alternative time-saving and equal-time quality-enhancing approaches, so if things go smoothly, there's a glimmer of a chance I may be able to pull SED up to a weekly schedule in a month or three.
More immediately, if my recollection is near accurate, I'll be on a family vacation from next weekend until the following weekend, meaning there's a real chance of no update occurring 2 weeks from now. Whether I'll scramble and throw the schedule ahead a week, get lazy and let the schedule slip a week, or throw up some cheap filler as close as I can to a normal update remains to be determined. Knowing my masochistic streak, however, letting the schedule slip is probably the least likely scenario.
Well, they did it. ConnectiCon is saved- $34,292.13 in only 10 days from the end of the con, in primarily $5-$20 increments. F***ing amazing. Based on the astounding amount of no-feedback-whatsoever I got, I regret I can't say the current SED readers are awesome, but if anyone who later encounters this entry in the news archive knows they contributed, I applaud you. You, personally, kick ass. For the rest of you, you make Sera cry. Or at least make her very angry, which makes me cry. Wrenches hurt like that. I hope you're happy.
An off-week news post! During the summer! What's up, you may ask? I think the big red bulletin speaks for itself.
As a thorough enjoyer and perhaps even future artist of Connecticon, I feel I ought to do what I can to throw SED's meager weight into the cause. Hence, from now until the end of the drive, if you forward me (spkelly at-sign andrew period cmu period edu) a paypal donation receipt showing as little as one dollar donated to the Save Connecticon fund (that's a full 80% off the Donator's Only admission fee), I will gladly send you the limited-edition SED Sera swimsuit wallpaper previewed below, available in standard 1024x768 or Apple widescreen 1280x854. Alright, so getting Sera into even a 1-piece took some work (and I can all but assure you that's the least she'll ever be caught in, in-comic or out), but if donations keep coming, I might be able to coax chick-Radix into a pose or two...
Come on, folks. $1 and she's yours- it's not all that much! And look at the quality! The best of my style and all of Ian McConville's Photoshop pointers that could be safely applied to it! (Breathe, Ian. BREATHE! It could be far worse!)
Con report review is still pending, but I have pics up now. Look for them all here. Sorry a number are so blurry- at first my camera was set totally wrong, and later it simply wasn't cooperating with the lighting/distance combinations I was giving it. Still, you should be able to appreciate a number of cosplayers, the sheer expansiveness of the convention center, the lines, Mookie & Dave's bird friend, the Uber Webcomics Panel, and other stuff that's in my report.
Not to be unkind to later-generation Final Fantasy cosplayers, but my top pick this year is decidedly
taken at Cosplay Chess rehearsal few minutes after Aeris met Captain Jack Sparrow and about 5 seconds before Aeris passed out.
I'm not going to clog the front page with another pic, but if it weren't for the above, this would have gotten top billing. I'm tempted to say she's from Chobits, but not being a follower of anime/manga, I could be dead wrong. Still, the laser cannon just seems a wee bit out of place :)
New as of 11:00am- my generally comprehensive to my experiences, if a bit rambling, Connecticon 2005 Con Report! It may not be pretty or fancy, and since I committed the cardinal sin of writing a con report without reading much of what traditionally goes into a con report, it may be way out in left field as con reports go, but at least I seem to have beaten most other artists to getting it out at all :)
Not being a bona-fide attending artist, I really can't take an update off for something as little as 3 days of spending 90% of my waking hours walking around, kibitzing with artists and vendors, learning new games, cosplaying, hauling con swag, hauling stuff that's not swag but autographs well, and getting at least a little sore in every muscle below my neck and particularly sore in my shoulders, back and left arm (satchel, and 10lbs of 8-gauge copper chainmail on my left hand 2 days running). So I have an update. I also have a con report, but it will have to wait for a second review when I'm not nearly so dead.
The short version:
Mookie is an incredibly credibly nice wonderful person with f***ing superhuman social and physical endurance, Dave Lister rocks, even if he looks nothing like Red Dwarf's co-star, Hawk & Ananth are great guys, if you ever manage to get them talking, Brian Clevinger is very friendly, especially if he's receiving your money (buy his shirts, I'll let you know about his book later), Larom & Garth can quite hold their own against Tim Buckley and Ian McConville, so be sure to check out their up-and-coming Comedity if you get the chance, Rob Balder is far cooler and younger-at-heart than he first appears, Brendan weaves some great chain and is far better at selling it than I, Nikki does a number with the cast of Chrono Trigger and makes a mean cute li'l flying hamster OF DOOM, but would rather be known for her music-inspired comics, and if I listed everything one could possibly do at CTCon I wouldn't make it to dinner. And I'm hungry.
^ Upudatto arimasu.
14 isn't so much on its own, but the pencils developing from it are coming along quite nicely. Keep checking back, I'll keep being here. Except maybe for next update. If I update 2 weeks from now, which I very well may, I'll be one of somewhat fewer artists doing a real normal update thanks to the wonderful event known as Connecticon which so happens to be right in my own back yard. I didn't nab the early-bird registration for nothing, so while SED certainly won't have a booth or table, I'll try to be milling around at least a little every day. Look for a utilikilt with a Hawaiian shirt. On the cosplay contest day (and maybe another day if I feel highly enthusiastic) you may spot me as Setzer or Red Mage.
If you're lucky, I may even do a con report after, so tracking me down would be a great way to get your name scribed for eternity as one of SED's original fans :D
Since I left you all hanging last week (That's right- all 6 of you! :) Honestly, I wouldn't mind knowing if anyone is actually seeing this comic yet. Contact info is in the FAQ if you're so inclined.) and since I believe I will be having company who, if I'm so lucky, I'll have to entertain next weekend, I decided it would be better to throw my schedule ahead a week at the expense of a buffer strip than to spend this weekend penciling and rely on getting anything done next week, let alone a full update. So, for your viewing pleasure, lucky SED #13 is above, but there's a 95% chance next week will be an off week and updates will progress as such from there.
Read the strip. It explains stuff pretty well.
As an update, my good laptop was just returned to me yesterday, which is part of the reason this is actually getting posted. They swapped out the SuperDrive this time, along with the logic board, which means every component worth mentioning in this machine has now been replaced at least once. Had I not gotten the machine back, I would have hacked the filler out on either my old B&W G3 or a Wallstreet laptop I just resurrected. If the repair took far into this coming week, I would have tried to at least ink some buffer and post it uncolored. I may get something like that up as a bonus next weekend until I'm really back on track, but even with my good machine back I don't have enough free time left this weekend to ink and color a real strip. I said I wouldn't filler without a good excuse, but I think this counts.
Lesson of the update: learn the lesson of the update the first time around.
My first day of work was delayed a week, so I once again had too much free time to actually get around to the comic until the last minute. Finding Earthbound at Game Crazy and forcing myself to finish my second play of Grandia before starting it didn't help either. Just in case you somehow missed it, though, there is a brand new comic #12 up there, a day early since I have some pretty major family events going on for I'm not sure how much of the long weekend.
Additionally, if you check the progress board, you may or may not notice a new detailed plot arc in the tally. I'm already well into the odd .5 in pencilled strips, though, and I'll probably even drop it from the count by strip 14, so more material to start drawing isn't a bad thing.
Lesson of the update: Do not ever spend a whole week doing absolutely nothing for the comic. So I did in fact have some good block free time even around exams and studying, but the thing about above-average free time is that it makes you feel you can do far more in the way of stuff you don't actually have to do than you honestly have time for around the stuff you actually have to do. On that note, the first week of summer vacation only compounded the problem. Once I guilted myself into getting back to work, I managed both a pencil and a coloring, so there is in fact an update this week.
Additionally, if you look down below this table, there is one new link. I finally got a preliminary cast page written up, and I'll add mugshots when I get the chance.
The bad news is that I'm not out of the woods yet as far as establishing a summer update schedule. I had all this week virtually uninterrupted to move in back home and get comic work done. However, within the next week or two I'll be starting my summer job. If this year is anything like last year, this means I'll drop down to precious few hours every week which are not work time, family time or sleep time. The show must go on, but if it comes down to the requisite ~5 hours per 2 weeks comicing time or the same 5 hours as my only chance at me time, I make no promises.
finished_strips += 1;
Sorry to disappoint.
This week is a little special for a number of reasons.
- Most visibly, see the strip number? Two digits, baby! That's, like, almost half way to 25... which is a whole quarter of 100! (Hey, I've got to start somewhere!).
- Most annoyingly, this upcoming week is finals week for me. It's sort of a wildcard as such. Depending on how much I convince myself I need to study, I could be anywhere from not putting any time into the comic to finishing and posting the bonus strip I was considering for this weekend after the extra pencil last weekend.
- Most regrettably, this last week on campus marks my last week on a broadband connection I can afford to use recreationally until potentially as late as the end of August. There's a chance of my getting broadband at home over the summer, but until I do, any updates will happen via AOhelL 56k on an already overloaded old G3 desktop if they happen at all. What you can expect is that if I get to posting after next weekend, I should stay on schedule for the rest of the summer- I won't just drop updates arbitrarily if I can avoid it. In case I don't manage any more posts before then, I'll be treating myself to a second year of Connecticon this summer. Of course I won't be a formal attendee artist, but I'll likely be wandering around artist's alley, vendor fair and any interesting game rooms for parts of Saturday and Sunday, and perhaps even Friday. I haven't decided whether I'll cosplay as Red Mage, Setzer, both, or neither yet, but if anyone cares enough to want to meet me, drop me an e-mail. You're smart. The address is around here somewhere :)
pencilled_buffer += 2;
Thursday 9:30am- wake up
9:30-10:30- hygeine, breakfast, etc.
10:30-1:00- Buggy showcase
1:00-2:00- lunch with visiting parents
2:30-5:00- concert prep, trumpeting at Carnival Kiltie concert, concert un-prep
5:00-6:00- dinner with parents
6:00-7:00- pre-Raceday Buggy mechanicing
7:00-8:00- pre-Raceday Buggy party
8:00-9:00- pre-Raceday course prep
9:00-10:15- more pre-Raceday Buggy mechanicing
Friday 3:45am- wake up
4:00-12:00- Buggy Raceday day 1
12:00-1:00- post-Buggy pancakes
1:30-4:30- touring Carnival with parents
5:00-7:30- watching school theater's The Wiz with parents
8:00-9:15- dinner with parents
Saturday 3:45am- wake up
4:00-12:30- Buggy Raceday day 2
1:00-2:00- lunch with parents
2:00-3:30- organizing and packing stuff to send home early
3:30-5:00- crash, including 15+5 mins of nap
5:30-6:30- Carnival awards ceremony
7:00-11:00- post-Raceday Buggy party
Sunday 10:30- wake up
10:30-12:30- laundry, brunch, laundry
5:00-6:00- class project meeting
6:45-8:00- comicing & site prep -> post!
No, I'm not being lazy, thank you very much! I can't exactly claim filler week on a 1 strip / 2 week schedule, now can I?! Today's strip is even 1/3 larger than normal!
Over the course of the past week, or rather on one particularly inspired or at least unslept night, I worked out an extension of the current storyline sufficient to fill no less than 10 strips, and more if I stretch it or at least tell it well. Having done so, leaving simple time to make the comic as the only remaining limiting factor in its production, I thought if I could pencil my usual one strip plus one extra, I'd maintain my buffer and be able to ink up a bonus strip for this week (beyond my usual 0). Oh, the crazy ideas I get. At least I got my one pencil out of the way and planned content well into the summmer, or beyond if I stick to only 2 strips a month. Maybe I'll do some bonus site work this week to make up for not having extra comics.
I was going to post this yesterday. It would have been a fitting joke if I'd managed to get it all together early enough to be worthwhile. However, life intervened so you're just going to have to make due with a plain old Saturday update.
The good news is I had some time off and absolutely lovely weather today and managed to crank out another pencil, at least in part while out enjoying the clean fresh Pittsburgh air (*hack* *koff*), so things are as on schedule as they could be expected to be. The bad news is it really felt like a stalling-for-time strip since the first little plot arc is closing and given present character priorities, I'd sorta rather throw in another action something before going into the most detailed arc I currently have thought out. Next comic post hopefully this weekend.
The past week has all but wiped the floor with me. Nonetheless, the comic won't finish itself, and the first scheduled update is hardly the opportune time to be negligent in posting. So here you go. SED #7.
And my apologies to anyone who lost money because I actually updated anything when I said I would :)
No once-a-week, sorry. I completely failed to factor in the fact that even my breaks often get overscheduled beyond my control. Friday I was doing normal weekly homework all day, Saturday I was travelling, Tuesday I had a day-trip to DC which wound up being a weather-induced overnight in Baltimore (while I brought my sketchbook along, I didn't have any free block time after getting some Japanese homework out of the way). Most other days I was working on a large programming assignment which the professors really screwed us over on (releasing necessary starting material over a week after the project was assigned). I did at least get a couple more pencils done, and I'm increasingly looking forward to posting what I have thus far.
Alright. I've guilted myself into one more strip at the start. #6 is marginally better sketched, I've done a tiny bit more with the coloring (ooohhh! crappy shading!), but most importantly it's a token of good faith to show that I actually have a first non-character-introduction plot arc coming.
I'm also considering an attempt at weekly updates. Weekly updates will be pretty much dependant on my getting enough of a penned buffer over spring break to last me until summer (in my case 'round about May). If by next weekend there's a new strip and the reserves table reads ~10 penned buffer strips, you'll know I made it.
I'm sorry I can't attempt more, but I get my comicing inspiration in waves, so I have to do the work in blocks, and I really can't guarantee the ~4 solid hour blocks needed to do a strip start-to-finish every week. Penned buffer will cut the time down to the least intensive hour or two per strip, which I think I could manage.
As a temporary note, you'll probably want to view the whole archive (currently situated to the left of the window) if you just showed up. I intentionally waited to go live until I had more than one strip to post, so there's been an archive since day 1.