Patreon in July: Milestone Updates

I can hardly believe that the Patreon experiment has been going as well as it has.

That said, I’ve been pretty slow to get around to those two milestone promises I made back when we got started. But there are reasons for that, as well as bonus complications to talk about, so I will elaborate upon them now.

Milestone #2: No Webcomic Ads

There are still ads on the Friendship is Dragons website! Why? Well, because I’m waiting for one last payout, so what little money I’ve earned doesn’t go to waste.

Yeah, simple as that.

Basically, Google Adsense doesn’t pay out until you earn over $100, and the banner ad on FiD generally earns me about $45 a month. So it takes three months for me to get a payout. A welcome payout for sure, but if I’m only getting one measly payout every three months, it starts to get annoying.

Thus, around the 22nd of this month, I’ll collect my payout and then remove the ads from Friendship is Dragons.

Milestone #1: Proper Podcast Hosting

This one’s a bit more complex, and is part of the reason I’m putting the word out today.

When we started Fallout is Dragons, well, I didn’t know much about podcasting. Since we passed this milestone, I’ve spent just about all month researching everything about podcasting – file sizes, formats, hosting services, best practices, sites to avoid, RSS feeds, iTunes policies, the whole nine yards.

To summarize what I’ve learned: One, just putting links on Dropbox is not RSS feed friendly and that means we have to rehost everything, and two, we have a very large podcast on our hands here.

Because we’re recording a tabletop game, our episodes tend to last 2.5-3 hours. Even at really low bitrates, each file averages about 80 MB an episode. Publishing three or four episodes a month means we’re asking for a lot in monthly storage space.

Fortunately, I think we’ve found a nice new home on libsyn. I’ve just started it up and you can even grab the first few episodes on there now. But I’ve already reached my sizeable monthly limit with just those first five files.

We don’t have to wait for it to play catch-up over the next several months, though. Libsyn does provide a migration service where they’ll approve and archive whatever you need for a one-time fee of $0.05 per MB. To get everything up to Session 16, that comes to about $61.

Sadly, this month’s Patreon funding (thanks for that, by the way) has already either been spent or preemptively allocated towards many other things. I’d rather not wait a whole month to get Fallout is Dragons up to speed in its new host, so the remaining option is to crowdfund it.

Sumarry/TL;DR: If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, consider donating to my Paypal (not my Patreon). If I can crowdfund at least $70 (adjusted for fees), I can get all of Fallout is Dragons up on libsyn as a legitimate podcast.

Otherwise, thanks for supporting me, either financially or just by looking at the stuff I make. Continuing to be creative is what keeps me sane these days, and your encouragement reassures me that I’m not wasting your time.

P.S. I’m open to suggestions when it comes to extra stuff to offer on the Patreon page (new Milestones or Rewards, or rather the Milestones-as-Rewards scheme I’ve been using so far). I’m still very new to this whole shebang.

State of the Spud May 2014: Not Good

As a general rule, I lurk and don’t keep contact with anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary. Part of that’s introversion and social anxiety, part of that’s a voyeuristic desire to see what people are saying when I’m not there, and part of that’s not trusting myself not to say something stupid or say too much when I make comments.

Makes keeping a blog up kind of a conflict of interests, but that’s a question for another day.

What little contact I’ve made has probably seemed especially distant and depressed of late, so I realize I owe people an explanation. Here’s what’s going on in my life right now:

After months of stress and stress and stress, I’ve been informed that I am not welcome to live in my current situation starting next month. I have to move out. I have to move back home.

This is the culmination of many, many months – in fact, basically a whole year – of a chaotic, uncertain life, barely scraping by on goodwill and lucky breaks. Luck and goodwill that has finally run out. Months of stressing over money has exploded into this climactic downer.

So right now, to summarize: I’m broke, being forced to move, soon to be between jobs, and generally feeling like I’ve failed at life.

On the plus side, I’ve gotten my food budget down to $20-$30 a week. I used to be terrible about that, you don’t even know.

 

Fallout is Dragons – Session 0 – Flametongue

It’s been a great while since I’ve been in the DM’s seat. This foray into the world of tabletop RPGs, using the Skype rules of the Pony Tales: Aspirations of Harmony system and set in the Fallout: Equestria universe, will be the first campaign I’ve actually started and run by myself, which is a scary thought. Still, it’s a special occasion, and this adventure promises to be so much fun that I just want to share it with the world.

So, living up to my namesake of trying new things, here’s the first (or zeroth) episode of Fallout is Dragons, a pony-themed tabletop campaign podcast.

MediaFire link
YouTube link

With any luck, this should become a weekly thing. This is where you’ll find the podcast links for now. The project now has its own tumblr, and the updates will go there now.

 

Pony Tales: Aspirations of Harmony

Friendship is Dragons comfortably fills a niche for bronies who love tabletop RPGs. Yet there are those who can’t seem to get enough of their pony RPG fix, and they remedy this by making their own homebrew pony-themed roleplaying game system. And thanks to the comic, it’s easier than ever for said systems to get exposure and attract potential players.

This now makes the second time this has happened, and this time it comes from a good friend of mine. He goes by the handle Stairc, and he made his own system called Pony Tales: Aspirations of Harmony. (Not to be confused with another Pony Tales, an Open D6 pony system. From this point on, when I say “Pony Tales,” I mean Stairc’s game. I haven’t played the other one.)

Stairc organized a game with a few of my regular readers, who’ve been great about sharing recaps of their adventures with the rest of the… Friendship is Dragons community- boy that’s weird to say. Earlier this week, I got invited to create a character and play a game with the established group to try out the system. And now I hope to be a regular player each week.

Suffice to say, I really like Pony Tales, but I feel I should really elaborate on how I feel about the game, if only to satisfy the game designer in my brain.

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Father’s Day 2012: Ducks and Ponies

I’ve been writing long enough and frequently enough to recognize my own style – but only just. In the past year, I’ve learned a lot about how I write comedy by doing the screencap comic Friendship is Dragons. It’s given me pause to think about what I find funny, and how I try to deliver that humor to others.

On reflection, there’s no escaping the fact that I owe a lot of my sense of humor to my dad. He’s the one I watched MST3K with, played games with, and shared jokes with. That’s not the only influence he’s had on me, of course – he shared his love of computers with me, as well as his taste in literature and music. We shared a home and a life together, in which I grew up to be very much like him in many respects. (Not ALL respects, naturally – I’m sure he’s glad I’m not a carbon copy of him.) I wouldn’t be the kind of writer I am today without his influence.

So this year, instead of just calling him up to say “Happy Father’s Day” like every other year, I’ve decided to make this Father’s Day special. Continue reading

Skyrim – Dem Dragons

I actually haven’t let Skyrim eat a whole lot of my time. I’m the kind of person who eats the side dishes before the main course, so I’ve been tearing through a bunch of smaller games and leaving Skyrim for “every once in a while.”

That, and I’ve been letting the mods pile up in eager anticipation of the Creation Kit coming out around this Tuesday.

But while I don’t have a whole lot to say about Skyrim, I have noticed one crucial thing about its design that I think is worth sharing.

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My Unknown Ponies: Failure is Awesome

Over the weekend I…

Wait.

Dear Princess Celestia…

This past Sunday I played a roleplaying game run by Erin Palette, whose ideas I used as inspiration for my webcomic, Friendship is Dragons. She made a pony modification for the Unknown Armies system which she calls Unknown Ponies: Failure is Awesome, and invited myself and several of her other friends to test it over Skype.

Is that enough links? Nope, gotta mention Erin’s own after-action report, too. There we go. Now where was I?

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First Post – MDA

I’ve been dragging my feet on this first blog post because, well, first blog posts tend to be kinda terrible. They’re always about “Oh boy, it’s a new blog and a new opportunity; here’s looking forward to all the cool stuff we’re going to do; hope all you imaginary readers like it.”

None of that. This site – spudlink.net – is primarily for my use and my reference. I’ll be looking back at this first post very often. So it needs to be something that I’ll actually find useful.

So let’s talk game design. Continue reading