State of the state of the...

Quick follow-up to the State of the Erf. (Can Rob write a short news post? Yes, probably. I probably could also learn to fly in a wingsuit, or make tiramisu from scratch, or slay enough antelope to tan their hides and stitch them into a yurt. Am I gonna? Mmmmaybe.)

We saw Linda's oncologist today, and...

...she was smiling. Linda's latest CT scan from Friday shows no new tumors and no tumor growth. I'd love to report that there was further shrinking, but there's really nothing significant. With NET and sandostatin, sometimes you will be fighting a holding action for years, and that's where we are right now. But her doctor is happy with what she sees. She only wants imaging every six months now, which tells you how great this news is. Linda will still be putting up with shots in the keister every month indefinitely, but those shots are working. If and when a CT scan shows any kind of advancement of the disease, we would probably step up to the PRRT radiotherapy or (and this is really not out of the question, given the typically slow progression of neuroendocrine carcinoma and the fast progression of cancer medicine these days) there may be something even better that comes along in the meantime.

Something else is working

Xin and Lillian are learning Maya modeling from the basics on up. In an intensive week, they've gone from simple polygon primitives and learning the tools: some pretty great looking shapes to match the 2D source photo:

They have weeks and weeks left to go, though. In terms of funding those efforts, Re-Tool the Art Team had a big debut. We've now got the money to keep Connor, Xin and Lillian learning through at least the end of the year. Thank you so much to all who have pitched in and bought a gem so far!

Some real pretties appeared in the collections of our artist-sponsors, too. I'm posting a few favorites:

Everybody roll 100d20

So, anyway we've raised over half of my target goal for the training budget. I've talked this over with the team, and here's how we want to bring it in for a landing.

The gems in the store now show a quantity remaining in stock, ranging from 100 for Lillian's Lucky d20 to just 10 for Rob's Resplendent Rays. When they are sold out, that's it. No more gems of these cuts will ever be created, sold, or mined. (The Cube of Tutelage is the only exception. It will be available in unlimited quantity through the end of December, then never again.)

If we can bring in that much, then we can afford to keep Xin and Lillian working all the way through Connor's course, and keep Connor working on the city models, plus stuff like this:

(progress on the dwagon sculpt/model)

and this:

(WIP reference model for portals in the MK, colors still to be canonized)

There is still so much for him to do (and Xin and Lillian, when they're up to speed). We'll need all the older cities, plus the frequently-seen interiors such as portal and throne rooms, generic background terrain, maps...that stuff is piled up high. Ideally, we're going to be able to create a city generating engine, so that new locales barely even need a concept beyond "Old Jetstone Signamancy, near the edge of lake" or some other vague input like that.

And that's just "make the main comic" kinds of things, before we even get into the sculpted units, items, and possibly characters. Anybody want to see a 3D pinup? 3D printed dwagon sculpts? Rigged figures for animation? It all might happen as we level up the art team. Please, please, please chip in and help us do that.

Backer story coming up

I want to get back to Dylan & Thomas, but the main story needs something else right now. So the current prelude update with Noah Moore will be the springboard to a short story for a different backer. That will update tomorrow and for the next two or three update slots. Should be fewer skips, since they'll have no art until the final page. This will give the team time to do some of the new models for the preludes to come.

(Note to Tools: with the backer stories, if you have checked that you'll pledge to these and are also Rain or Shine, you will not get double charged. A maximum of two pledges will ever be billed in one calendar week. If you are not Rain or Shine but would like to add backer story updates to your pledge, now would be a fantastic time.)

Ads coming back?

I want to thank everyone for your comments on the State of the Erf, Part 2. There was a lot of helpful and heartwarming stuff written in there, and I especially want to give a nod to Omnimancer for a couple of great suggestions. The stuff we're going to try is partly in response to that comment and a one or two others.

So. The one thing that everybody seemed to agree on was that we should put the ads back on the site and just suck it up. Hrmmm.

Thaaat's not so simple. Ads actually pay very little if you don't cast some Moneymancy on them. That is, you have to watch them all the time to optimize for revenue, rearranging the ad chains weekly and evaluating the data almost daily. So it's not really as easy as just "activate the ad codes" it's also "activate another part time job for Rob" which I really don't need right now.

But money is something we do need right now, and a lot of it. And you're right. We can't afford to ignore a source of revenue at this point in time, even one we hate as much as ads. So we'll try bringing them back again in January, but maybe with some kind of way to kill the ads again for the whole site that month by doing another special gem sale (or something better we come up with in the next three weeks).

Hey Rob, don't you have a yurt to stitch?

Well I've got Erfworld to write, anyway. So let's call it a news post. Please, please continue to pitch in to Re-Tool the Art Team, at least until we lock in the 3D art budget. Let's take this into a beautiful 2019 for everyone.


    • duramora

      From My Point of View: Go ahead and bring back the ads. I can put up with them for the sake of Linda's kiester (and I'll refrain from any more pain in the Bottom jokes)

      • Bandaid

        Well, thats great news for Linda (except for her keister maybe) so awesome.

        Limiting the available gems is economically sound, the now or never approach always helps with people wavering whether they should buy or not. As for me:

        Bandaid: I really want one of those Rob gems!

        Bandaid's bank account: No, you do not!

        Bandaid: Sigh...


        Well, thanks to Red I actually have one of the smaller ones.


        As for Omnimancers ideas, simply auction off the NSFW version of Sailor Erf, that should finance all the art courses you could want.

        Concerning the ads situation, to bad that mining profits plummeted so hard but thats life. Perhaps something can be salvaged from the whole situation? Awarding bonus spins for tools might be one good way to do it. Or perhaps for voting on top webcomics? Or perhaps for a "Invite a friend (tool) system"?

        Anyway, I am looking forward to the next updates. Best regards to Team Erfworld and (platonically) kiss Linda's keister for me Rob.

        • Zebio

          Whoah, Rob that was short! Good to read that Linda's treatment is doing the job, if your oncologist is optimist, then let's follow her on that path...

          Tiramisu, well that's not so difficult or time consuming, as @Rahynor said, even if it's even faster to eat... As far as wingsuits or yurt stitching, well, I'm no expert (or even noob), so good luck (I would refrain from killing antelopes, though)...

          Still prefer my "Twentymancy" gem ( than the ones shown here, so everybody is happy I guess smiley-laughing.gif! Considering buying another one, maybe after Christmas, depending on current funds at this point.

          • DeanXeL

            Did I miss the comments being retooled? What is this sorcery!? Good job on keeping it short, Rob, seriously :D

            • Rahynor

              Glad to hear things are going well. Tiramisu is surprisingly easy and quick to make. I have a great recipe if anyone wants it. 

              • Merilynne

                Great news regarding Linda's treatments! No growth and no new tumors is wonderful, indeed. Definitely worth a shot in the "buttocks" (said in Forest Gump's voice, of course) periodically.

                Things are looking up all around, it appears, and I know we're all looking forward to a new backer story. Just don't start stitching that yurt until you kill all those antelopes first.  ;)