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fredart studios - the process behind the madness


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> Forums Are Back Up, Hooray!
paarfi
Posted: Nov 8 2016, 12:00 PM
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Cortana used to fix the forums when they went down, but sadly he passed away last year. sad.gif This time when they went down, nobody had access. It took a few days before Fred could get ahold of the host so someone could get access and fix.
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eomdal
Posted: Nov 8 2016, 12:27 PM
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Some time ago, I made plans to learn SQL so I could volunteer to run the forums. Kind of fell by the wayside.

Fred occasionally mentions that he might close the forums because he doesn't have time to keep them from crashing like this. The pitifully low volume of interest from the readers is surely also a factor: The thread for the latest comic, 1458, took a few days to acquire two pages of posts. I don't think I've ever seen that low of a response.

I do hope that the forums can continue. I have managed to avoid joining Facebook so far and really don't want to now, Twitter is not really suited to fan discussion, and I don't see how Reddit r/Megatokyo could ever catch on. Besides, MT is a very...esoteric and acquired taste. It's the kind of story that needs to have a forum for fan discussion, and a web forum in the "old school internet" venue - not modern social media - is it's style.
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Mamma Peach
Posted: Nov 8 2016, 01:27 PM
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I don't want the forums to go away! sad.gif
(Maybe someone should learn stuff to help Fred.)
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paarfi
Posted: Nov 8 2016, 03:36 PM
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Well, Fred has plenty of friends who are good at this kind of thing. MT attracts IT types. tongue.gif And I respect a good number of them.

Unfortunately, none of them really hang out on the forum with us. Like eom said, activity has dropped to the point where it's hard for anyone to justify the work needed to do anything more than kick the server when it the forums break. So we're likely to just be limping along until it breaks bad enough, and that'll be the end.

I agree with eom though; facebook, twitter, and reddit are no substitute for the forum. I don't know how many times I've seen someone comment about how they don't know what's going on in MT. If they hung out here, they'd know. Or at least they'd know more. happy.gif

Maybe once life eases up on Fred a little more, and he can get back to weekly comics, more folks will come back. I still see over a hundred hits on my visual novel update posts, so we still have lurkers checking in.

I too don't want to see the forums go away. Hopefully the site can keep limping along for years to come.
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Yl33 D4 N00b
Posted: Nov 8 2016, 07:35 PM
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I for one check the forums almost every day, and I really missed not coming here. I agree, the vibe here cannot be replicated anywhere else.
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mistersaxon
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 04:42 AM
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I also check the forums every day. I don't always post mind you, but I do check!
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Dragonix
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 08:14 AM
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I'm here a lot, but yeah, posting isn't an act I do often. Glad to see we're back. smile.gif
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garapagosu
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 08:31 AM
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I have no idea if retaining all the old info is possible, but would a new forum software make things.. smoother?

For example, I used to be fond of things like phpBB which is still updated frequently and public use license.
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Tangent
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 11:46 AM
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I'm frequently here. I'm glad they've returned.

I miss you guys.
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Ningen
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 12:21 PM
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Glad that got sorted. It's good to be back.


One thing I noticed while the board was down: the admin contact on the error messages is still set to Cortana's E-Mail. I think it's about time that got changed. It's probably worth scanning to see if there are any other places where the succession needs to be cleared up.

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Rapierman
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 05:34 PM
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Still here, still checking in on occasion.
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maldrul
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 06:20 PM
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The MT comic page and the MT forum(SD subforum) are 2 of the tabs that are *always* open on my browser.
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shadowrider
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 08:06 PM
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QUOTE (Yl33 D4 N00b @ Nov 8 2016, 09:35 PM)
I for one check the forums almost every day, and I really missed not coming here. I agree, the vibe here cannot be replicated anywhere else.

i too check the board frequently. Even though I don't always post as much as I used to.

I think the decline in activity in the forum is partially due to the irregularity in Fredrin posting the comics, problems with the forums crashing, and some people simply not logging in.
An overhaul of the forum board might help, as well as it probably badly needs to be updated too. While it's possible to save the forum board and transfer it to an updated version.
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and tumbler don't really cut it for the way we post and discuss things on MT.

~shadowrider (Still here, lurking.)
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4'33"
Posted: Nov 9 2016, 10:15 PM
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For what it's worth I drop buy at least once a day, sometimes more.
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mistersaxon
Posted: Nov 10 2016, 03:43 AM
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Here again, driving up the traffic numbers one post at a time smile.gif

FWIW I like BBCode - I have a plugin to do the awkward formatting for me but its a little disturbing how much of it I now type without thinking about it...

Lol

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S1arburst
Posted: Nov 10 2016, 10:32 AM
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Just posting to say I'm glad the forums are back up weightedcompanioncube.gif

This post has been edited by S1arburst on Nov 10 2016, 10:32 AM
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HakuRyoku
Posted: Nov 12 2016, 08:06 PM
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like everyone else that just commented, I am really happy that the forums are back up. I come here everyday (don't always post, but at least browse) and not being able to kind of threw a wrench in my routines actually...
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Nestor
Posted: Nov 12 2016, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE (eomdal @ Nov 8 2016, 11:27 AM)
Fred occasionally mentions that he might close the forums because he doesn't have time to keep them from crashing like this.

lol hard at work amirite user posted image
QUOTE (eomdal @ Nov 8 2016, 11:27 AM)
The pitifully low volume of interest from the readers is surely also a factor: The thread for the latest comic, 1458, took a few days to acquire two pages of posts. I don't think I've ever seen that low of a response.


I keep forgetting that there are people that automatically think whatever I post is intentionally inflammatory, so here's a disclaimer: I'm not trying to inflame or incite anything. Just posting my observations.

First: You take a look at other webcomic artists, the ones that are committed to making a living off their work and you can see their level of engagement. Updates consistently posted on time, every time, be they once a week, twice a week, daily, weekly, or whatever.

Second: They're consistently engaged with the fanbase, be it forum posts, twitch streaming, booths at cons, random fucking giveaways, so on and so forth, blah blah blah whatever. They're connected with the fanbase/ community.

Observations: There's just a lack of commitment. Intermittent updates coupled with a disengagement from the community tends to drive traffic elsewhere. I personally haven't read the comic in literally twelve years because he couldn't commit (and stay committed) to releasing on a consistent basis and I got tired of waiting around.
(By the way, how's that porn game he said he was going to do a couple of years ago? Did he flake out on that too? I legitimately don't know. huh.gif Hell, did he ever get his fucking store working again? I remember it was down for like two whole years.
Edit: nevermind, looks like it's up. Good for him!
QUOTE (shadowrider @ Nov 9 2016, 07:06 PM)
I think the decline in activity in the forum is partially due to the irregularity in Fredrin posting the comics, problems with the forums crashing, and some people simply not logging in.

I did a quick search because I remembered there were a few discussion threads in Central a few years back about such things. Here we go:
QUOTE (Nestor @ Feb 14 2013, 03:53 PM)
Rox was singularly responsible for the majority of e-drama here. Most people don't join the IRC channel or post on the forums anymore because of her shenanigans.

And then later:
QUOTE (Nestor @ Jun 24 2013, 08:22 PM)
The forums have died because of several reasons:
1. Y2k
2. Mayan Calendar Y2K.
3. The forums going down like a prom queen at a frat party
4. The forums keep shitting all over the place like a seventy-three year old pensioner on ex-lax and suppositories.
5. One spectacularly successful internet troll.
6. Good posters having less and less time to post because they're busy with real life.

Every time the forums keeled over and died and stayed down for weeks, more people just lost the desire to come back and post. I'm personally convinced the servers are hosted in some redneck's shack, sitting alongside some busted out CRT TV and gently rusting bicycles with no tires.

And finally:
QUOTE (Nestor @ Apr 21 2015, 10:50 AM)
The forums have been dying since the great forum crash, where the whole thing was down for months. 2007? 2008? Something like that.
Rox da Box also did a spectacular job of scaring away new people and chasing away everyone else.


But there you go: indifference from the artist, technical malfunctions, and the machinations of a select few to drive away regulars.
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paarfi
Posted: Nov 13 2016, 07:09 AM
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Good Lord, it's a Nestor. Almost literally a blast from the past. happy.gif

Dude, I know this is just your style, but that's a little unkind of you. Yes, most people have wandered away. But technical malfunctions weren't really that frequent; Rox was an obnoxious troll (bless her), but hardly the cause of most people leaving; and while slow comic updates were indeed the major reason, to blame that on Fred's "indifference" is just not understanding what has happened.

Back around when you left, Fred's son Jack was born, and then Sarah started what became a several year fight with a rare form of cancer on top of her existing autoimmune condition. That meant fewer and fewer comics while Fred took care of both of them.

Thankfully, Sarah won that fight. But they came out of that with Fred's business in trouble (thanks to folks like you wandering away); Sarah having lost her job and finding it difficult to find a new one due to the effects of the cancer treatment on her eyes; and (as anyone in the USA will understand) deeply in debt from medical bills.

Since then, it's been one thing after another. Fred had serious heart problems that required surgery and the medications he was on made it hard for him to work on the comic or anything really. Jack has had medical problems of his own (which Fred does not discuss in any detail in public). Fred's mother has increasing dementia and his father a severe case of Parkinson's, with no one other than Fred to help them. And on, and on, and on. It's like he's cursed.

This whole time, business was bad. The books had been out long enough that most people who were going to buy them had already bought them. People weren't buying as much from the store because of the infrequent comics. Then his tshirt printer broke, and his dyesub printer broke, and he couldn't afford to get them fixed. The rent for the warehouse that made sense when the store was doing well was now a major burden, but he kept hoping things would come back and couldn't find the time to clear it out anyway until this earlier year.

He tried putting out comics more frequently again and again, and more people did come back each time. But those life crises would happen again too, comics would slow, and folks would wander away again. Store sales remained slow, and the comic itself pays no bills until he has enough to publish another book. And even there, books are a double-edged sword. The months worth of work it took to put together the two omnibus books seriously slowed comic production as well. Now he spends even more time drawing art that he thinks will sell from the store because this month's bills need paid, yet that too slows comic production.

He's flailed around looking for a solution. For a while, he thought that maybe MT was just too long and intimidating for new folks to latch onto, so he spent months reviving Warmth, only to put it back on the backburner as taking too long.

The kickstarter for the visual novel game seemed like a way to actually get paid for working on MT, and the response from backers was overwhelming. But Fred had never made a game before; MT had been a one-man show for years and Fred had trouble learning to delegate; and the scope grew as he tried to deliver more to justify the funding. By the time he got things settled down to the point where he was making real progress, he couldn't afford to work on it fulltime anymore. The comic had again slowed while he had worked on the VN, and he needed to get back on it; bills still needed paid; and his life crises were still happening. So the visual novel isn't close to being done, but it still gets worked on part-time and that is yet another reason why comics remain slow.

Small businesses go under every day to less serious problems than this. Fred has mentioned several times over the years that maybe he should just get a commercial truck driver license and drop the whole thing. But he hasn't. He keeps working and he keeps fighting to keep MT alive. Fred puts family first, and I admire him for that. You can fairly criticize his judgement on some other things, but a lot of that is 20/20 hindsight. You can't fairly criticize his willingness to work or how much he cares. Fred is anything but "indifferent".

Just about all of this is stuff that Fred has mentioned publicly in his Rants, in updates on the Visual Novel, or here in the SD forum. Fred does stream on Twitch and has for years (including back when it was still Justin.Tv). He streams almost every day, and was actually drawing live while you were writing this post. He was also at Youmacon just last weekend.

You cared about MT once, and you still care some or you wouldn't have bothered posting here. MT is still alive, and Fred is still working hard on it. If you'd like to come back, he could use your support.
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mistersaxon
Posted: Nov 13 2016, 02:05 PM
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Paarfi - that's a pretty solid and brutally frank summary. All I can add is that I'll keep coming here till MegaTokyo is dead, or done, or I am. I am eternally grateful to this place for the friends I have found here and the enjoyment I have had, whether it was participating in the most massive serial stories (courtesy of a certain demented rabbit with Godhood issues lol) or watching the eternal Tom and Jerry battles between various forum factions. It's all been good times, some of them have been great times.

And if there are spring and summer throws to go with the autumn/fall and winter ones then I will definitely buy them. I also have a reasonable amount of art, the major limitation being wall space smile.gif Well, sure, budget is an issue too but not so much of a one as wall space ...
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Mamma Peach
Posted: Nov 14 2016, 11:24 AM
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I'm really sorry about Sarah's eyes. I didn't know about that part, or Jack. It looks like Fred has been dealt some serious blows with health issues, and the related financial stuff. I really wish I had the money to help. (I'd love to purchase art, books, and all kinds of stuff, but I'd have to find a source of income myself to do that.)
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chemi
Posted: Nov 15 2016, 05:20 AM
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There's been more than one attempt by several people close to him to get him to delegate at least SOME responsibility (whether it was on the creative or logistic end). He's been... resistant to do so. Pretty much the only person he's ever really let do ANYTHING for him has been Sarah.
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S1arburst
Posted: Nov 15 2016, 12:54 PM
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QUOTE (paarfi @ Nov 13 2016, 06:09 AM)
Good Lord, it's a Nestor. Almost literally a blast from the past. happy.gif

Dude, I know this is just your style, but that's a little unkind of you. Yes, most people have wandered away. But technical malfunctions weren't really that frequent; Rox was an obnoxious troll (bless her), but hardly the cause of most people leaving; and while slow comic updates were indeed the major reason, to blame that on Fred's "indifference" is just not understanding what has happened.

Nestor's just being his normal sweet-spoken self. That's why everyone loves him and his posts! (Is it bad that I've become fond of him?) He was obviously making an effort to be non-inflammatory, besides his actual statement to that effect. I only counted two profanities in his whole post wink.gif

I mean, he's right. If there's not a comic once a week, people wander off. It just is so. As far as the forums go, Nestor's probably also correct that Fred's lack of interaction here also contributes to its decline. Yeah it's a dinosaur place. I've also heard that Fred didn't create it in the first place, it was enthusiastic fans, so he doesn't feel responsible. It's really cool that it's usually him posting to let us know that there's a new comic up, but he very rarely responds to any of the fan discussions here after the initial "there's a new comic" post.

Okay, Fred's busy. Okay, his life is a disaster zone. Okay, he prefers twitch and facebook now. The basic observations still ring true, whether it's anybody's fault or not.
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Tangent
Posted: Nov 15 2016, 11:51 PM
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I'm not going to give up on Fred. Or on Megatokyo.

I still occasionally check in on comics that have been on hiatus for years. And a couple did come out of hiatus and start up once more.

Megatokyo has updated fairly slowly... but it still updates.

So I will not give up the faith.
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Teddy-Werebear
Posted: Nov 16 2016, 01:54 AM
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