There's a short version of this post, and a very long version.

I have written most of the long version, and I will post that to the Toolbox later today. But let's do the short version here. Comments in the forums, please.

Worst Things First

Erfworld won't be updating again for the foreseeable future, possibly the rest of the year. I hope it won't be that long.

Okay, that's not the actual worst

A horrible thing happened. This thing is easily as bad as what we went through with Linda's diagnosis, but it's (fortunately?) not about her health or mine. This thing needs our full attention. I can't even share what it's about, because other people—our closest loved ones—are involved.

That is one of the most awful parts of this whole ugly mess. Your emotional, financial, and actual medical help got us through the worst of our cancer hell, but this one we've got to keep private.

Re-tooling the art team a little more than we thought

When we finally return, we'll be changing how Erfworld is made. Almost everything in the comic will be 3D modeled before it hits the page.

Lillian is leaving us for other things, and we truly wish her well. Her contribution to Erfworld has been stellar, and she hit new high marks for art in the recent prelude pages.

We will not be seeking a replacement for the inker/colorist/shader role, because it shouldn't actually be needed for future books. This is why:

 

 

Here's the new plan to make crap golems from all this crap. While Linda and I are dealing with Horrible Thing II, Connor and new team member Brendon are modeling everything and everyone in the Erfworld universe. With special rendering, post-processing and touchup work, we can go straight from the model to the comic page.

Xin (thankfully) will continue with Team Erfworld, although a lot of what the "penciler" role does will change, too. She is currently providing character turnarounds, diagrams, maps, source material and art direction for the modeling team (after having a go at it, she prefers not to be doing the actual modeling itself). She'll also continue the pinups in the art blog, and we're thinking of other long-term drawing projects like the playing cards (maybe a Carnymancer's tarot deck?).

Well here we are again, it's always such a pleasure

So. This is not what we planned or wanted to do. It creates some serious issues with money, and I've had to try and figure out something to do about those. I won't change the "on time update" model of the Toolshed. That works for you and for us. It's important for keeping up our creative output.

But no amount of "we need money" will make Erfworld possible to create right now, and we do have to pay our own staggering bills, and pay the team for working hard.

This is what we're going to try instead. As the modeling team continues to create assets for the comic, we'll be doing very small "Make/100" Kickstarters to raise the funds to keep them at it. These will be virtual collectibles of something the modeling team has made. They'll be limited to 100 items, at pledge tiers of $1, $2, $3, on up to $100.

The first one is from the scene above, and it's for Sizemore's shovel "Erfmover." The project will be running for only 48 hours. If it fails to fund, we might launch it again immediately with a longer time, or try something else.

Last important thing - for Rain or Shine folks

With the "Rain or Shine" pledges, I know those were not supposed to be "Long Drought" pledges.

Our Rain or Shine Tools offered to cover for us when things just got in the way of updating. But you didn't figure on paying our bills while we put up no comics for months. I don't expect you to, and we were trying to work out a solution before the billing cycle happened.

Billing for pledges happens just after midnight on the 14th of each month, so that ran today. We were working on offering you a way to opt out of Rain or Shines retroactively for this trailing month, so you would not be billed for the updates we've missed (all of them) in the last cycle. But it's hard to test a one-off code change in a script that runs for several hours once a month. It goofed, and we missed billing one Rain or Shine update.

So we'll need to sort that out manually. You can change your pledge by clicking here. Everyone who opts out of Rain or Shine in the next week will get a refund for the 7 collected pledges in the trailing month. Everyone who has not done that within a week's time will be billed for the skipped pledge. A special email about this will go out to Rain or Shine Tools. You can also ask questions or make comments in this thread, for Tools only.

What happens at erfworld.com in the interim

A lot depends on Horrible Thing II. This is a chaotic and draining situation, with crisis flareups all the time. I am going to try and occasionally get a backer story update posted—I really want to finish Dylan and Thomas—but I make no promises.

I'm more confident saying that there will be more posts to the Toolbox and the Art Blog. We have three finished pinups in hand, and Xin is working on another one. Connor and Brendon (not to be confused with Brendan of the dev team) are doing amazing work, I want to share regular progress shots as we go. John, Brendan, and especially Red are all doing what it takes to keep things under control, and the stalwarts of the Erfworld #IRC have even been hunting art references to keep our modelers on track.

We've seen tougher times. I think. Probably. IDK, TBH this is pretty horrendous. But you and us, we've always weathered these crapstorms, picked up our shovels, and made those golems together.

There's more about Book 5 and the future on the Kickstarter project page. Please give it a look. Thank you all for still giving a flippin' boop about this comic.