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Forumwarz Podcast May 5 2009

Forumwarz Podcast - May 5, 2009

The following is a transcript of the Forumwarz Podcast from May 5th, 2009.

It can be downloaded in MP3 format here.

Good afternoon, Forumwarriorz!This is your boy - Jala - coming at you live and direct with the very first of what we hope are few JB-only Zunecasts.

First is what I call SRS BSNS - and those are sort of the weightier questions about, you know, upcoming features and so on.

And the next one is more ego-casting, it's more questions about, you know, writing, and a little bit about my personal history.

And finally we've got what we call the "comedy option.” And those are sort of sillier questions that don't have any real bearing on the Forumwarz universe. So, hope this comes out well. I'm using my new wireless headset. So I'll be pacing around and **** like that so hopefully (chuckles) it doesn't get cut off too many times.

So we're gonna start off with, my man Nicco. He asks;

"If episode three is going to cost money, how much is it going to cost?"

Well I guess it's safe to say that it will cost money. The price point will probably be comparable to, y'know, what you're expecting. we haven't decided anything ourselves yet. But I can tell you this much, it will be reflective of how much… [struggles to find right words or push out a #2] work went into it and how much gaming value you get out of it. So in other words, We're going to consider the price and we think that it will be fair and we think people will be happy with it, and uh we've also said in the past that if you've already purchased episode one or you wanna buy both as a package, there's a good chance that the price of BOTH will go down a little bit so that's your answer for now, and we'll have more info soon.

Now Fortunato wants to know;

"Is Forumwarz turning a profit, Are any of you making a living wage, and how long do you think we'll be able to keep THAT situation going?"

Uh. Yeah it does turn a profit uh, and it does earn enough to give Evil Trout what you would call a "Modest Salary" and it keeps our servers running and all that stuff. And as for me, I've announced this summer I'm going to ask for some payment to start working on Forumwarz full time. Y'know, we're not getting rich off this, by any means… and this kinda leads into Fortunatos next question which is;

"How long do we expect the overall lifespan Forumwarz to be, As a community? As a game?"

Nobody really looks at, Y'know, Websites like ours, with a really long-term goal in mind. I think we expect to keep it going as much as possible and with the launch of episode three, which we're committed to get out the door either way, even if, if nobody is playing over the next few months and and and uh, our income completely crashes to nothing. We're still gonna do it. So at the very least, you can expect it to go for another year or so. And we enjoy what we're doing,. We wanna do gaming for a long time. We've got this community that we love and I think y'know we'll probably pay attention to whatever our projects might be. So I think, in some iteration or another you can expect the Crotch Zombie team to be around for a long time whatever it is that we're doing. So the answer is 3.6 years.

BillMurrayfan7383 uh, and Dobnits asked uh this kind of question that I've cleverly linked together;

"Now is there going to be a forumbuildr elite for episode three? The first one was actually really fun and as an extension, bumuming Yes, When will this be taking place?"

So, I guess the cat’s kind of outta the bag. There was a, There was a forumbuildr Elite and that's how a lot of the episode two forums were built. Yeah we wanna do it again, it actually worked out really well. Uh, Yes. We definitely want to do it again and uh, when will it be taking place again?

The truth is that we're not that far along enough in episode three that we even know what kind of forums we're going to build yet. We have a lot of good ideas but, it’s not ready. So it’s gonna be dependent on when we can start getting episode three together. But it will be y'know within months of today. Let's put it that way.

CrinkzPipe has a few questions here;

"First of all, is there an Itembuildr elite?"

I don't see any point in doing that at this time. Uh, the format, it needs some improvement obviously, but I don't think splitting off an elite is exactly what we need to do yet. I can see it being a useful tool to tell you the truth. But we don't necessarily have any plans for it.

He also asks [CrinkzPipe];

"What's the new combat system going to be like?"

That's an interesting question. Can't promise too much now, obviously, because it's still in its "nascent" stages, T'tell ye we have some pretty wild ideas. Uhr, I think they’re gonna be really cool. It's gonna add a lot to the battle system. Maybe (chuckles), I shouldn't even mention them right now, like, okay I can tell you this much, We're thinking of a uh, Sensitivities system: Where different attacks and different kinds of threads are sensitive to each other, and there's other things like y'know special attacks that degrade the forum over the long term and also, uh geeze jeez I forgot the technical term for it, but y'know like poison and slow attacks. I-It's basically going to make things MORE interesting, more challenging, more strategic and a little less of the ol' "One-two One-two." Might throw a Three in there, Maybe even a four. I ca--don't promise anything though.

And also Crinkz asks about, "Episode 2. What are your plans for it?" (Ed. note: here JB blushes like a school girl as he remembers a previous failure.) Uh, he might be referring to a typo I made in my blog post where I said, "You can ask anything you want about Episode 2," BUT I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because we do want to reform a lot of the stuff about Episode 2. With the new battle system, some of it might be retroactive, and actually, we do want revisit Episode 1 and 2 at some point in the future. It's kinda hard to do concurrently with developing Ep 3 and all the other features we're trying to push but... we've taken a lot of critiques about Episode 2, and we want to make it run smoother and, you know, make it more interesting to play. So, we will do that. I don't know exactly when that's on the table, but it is a goal of ours. Uhhhhhh, soSo those are our plans.

And Big Brother wants to know about the content pack that someone got hired to work on. He's talking about Invariel, the latest CrotchZombie. And it is a secret to everyone. Uh, all I can tell you is it's basically a much larger multiplayer gaming application that is going to fit into the Forumwarz universe. It's not quite like INCIT or something like that. It is sort of a meta game, but I think it's going to be a lot stickier, a lot more strategic, and it should be a lot of fun. Uh, that's really all I can tell you without giving away our trade secrets, but it's basically another gaming thing that we're going to create. It should be pretty cool. Or it'll suck, ha!' I 'dunno, why are you asking me?

(Ed. note: by "stickier," JB likely means the game will resemble that crusty sock you keep under your bed for lonely nights. Imagine what fun you could have sharing that sock with friends!)

Essex-Tacy asks me, "Will Ep3 actually be challenging? As both 1 & 2 were quite straightforward and simple." Well, let's see here. Will it be challenging? We hope that it's going to be challenging enough. If you're talking about, just as far as just hardness of the forums, like, if you want to grind more, we have no problem with that. I guess maybe you're asking: Will the gameplay be less hand-holdy, and will it have more puzzles that are impossible to solve? That's not necessarily our design philosophy.

You know at first when we started making Episode 2, I guess it wasn't as obvious what you had to do next. We found that we just got a lot of confusion, and a lot of complaints and bug reports, about people who just did not know what to do next. We didn't want to have to make it so straightforward, but it turned out to be an absolute necessity; and we're just going to try to split the difference, I guess. With Episode 3, we do want to make it challenging enough that, you know, a gamer feels like they've actually solved something, and you know, had to do a little bit of thinking to get to the next point. But at the same time, we don't want it to be too hard. So, I'm sorry you felt that it was... simple. Well, maybe you're just -- maybe you're just smarter than the average Forumwarrior, I dunno. So, that's my answer. Okay. Raepdog, asks, did I say “aks?” No, asks, an interesting question. “If you could change anything about the birth of Forumwarz, what would it be, and if not “Crotch Zombie,” what would you call the company?” As far as the birth of Forumwarz I wouldn’t hire that ginger, Evil Trout, that’s for damn sure. Okay no that—that’s a flippant answer… truth is I thought the launch, first days of Forumwarz actually went great. Ah, I don’t know what else we would do to get it off the ground. We got a surprisingly good response, so. So the stuff that came later, which, you know, in hindsight yeah, maybe we should’ve had some things in place. But I wouldn’t change anything about that.

But as far as inspiration for the material itself? Y'know, it's, uh...I would like to think that it's — not random, because I don't necessarily believe in randomness, but...just has to do with a lot of free bumociation. And just taking note of things — that are...y'know, culturally relevant. Just, taking note of it, and then taking it and — putting a twist on it. Taking it to its illogical conclusion. Honestly, Google-fu (that's, “Google kung fu”) is any writer's, or, or creator's best friend. You free-bumociate by looking up keywords about things that you might have an interest in and you find — all kinds of little factoids, and stories, and characters that you can totally use! And no one will be ever able to trace, y'know, the history of how that idea came to life!

Um...And then Evil Trout — himself! — wants to know about the steps taken to write a conversation in the game. HUh, he obviously knows the answer to this, but he thought it might be interesting for people to know...and I think it might be too, because maybe you'll understand how much blood, sweat, tears and semen goes into it. (The semen is usually...after the conversation is written. It's one of those ways you...motivate...yourself? By fapping.)

Uh, a conversation actually takes a lot of work. And this is part of the reason why I'm so gung ho about finding this Apprentice, who's going to really appreciate what I expect the process to be. You have your idea — let's say it's, um, it's an Amish character, like, uh — SPOILER ALERT! — in Episode 2...uh, y'know, Jebediah the Hypocrite. First of all, yeah, a lot of Googling, a lot of research about Amish culture. How do they talk? Y'know, I found a huge, huge Amish glossary and slang dictionary that I tried to adapt into the conversation itself! I wasn't just making up stupid-bum words like “nixnootzich” and stuff like that.

So...You do a hell of a lot of research — I compile all my research, into one big design dogreat timesent (usually on Google Docs). Of course I don't put this kind of care into every character? But the ones that I don't really understand their world — you know, like Bruce Bear, for instance — I don't have any ties to the gay community...uh, for that, y'know, um, I'm gonna do a lot of RESEARCH! So, then you start drafting out the conversation. Now, what I used to do is I used ET's interface, which, uh...he has shown screenshots of it, it kinda looks like this — Yahoo Pipes thing, where each component of the conversation is within its own little box? And uh, there, there're connecting lines between different parts of conversations? So you can actually create a conversation tree, and uh, it is like a, a mind map or a flowchart — and that's really the only way to get looping conversations that lead to different parts along the line.

Now this interface actually is — y'know, it's no offense to ET's design, 'cause it's actually ingenious but, it can be slow to use because you basically have to upload every little piece of text. And — y'know, the, uh — it has to get saved. So, each time it, it can be kind of frustrating to work within that medium.'s not like having just a chat back and forth. So lately what we started doing (at least for Episode 2) was I liked to draft it up in — y'know, Google Docs or Word or something like that and kinda just create all the connecting tissues along the way. So...once you've decided, here's where the conversation's gonna take you, this is the main one...then you have your little side bits, and you have to make sure you have an escape right off the bat. Like: “Just take me to the mission, please! I don't want to read this bull****.” Uh, and of course you have to y'know any other programming bits like — if there's an avatar change, or if it triggers a Tubmail or something like that, or a new mission — I notify Evil Trout, who has to fill in the blanks. (Uh, he doesn't really want me to try to do Ruby code...and neither do I! Other than the good/evil stuff, I'm able to figure that one out. long as I have a cheat sheet right next to me.)

It is a very long process? Especially testing? Like, you really wanna test to make sure that it works, and that it flows well, and, that, isn't tl;dr. It is very satisfying to get a good conversation just, completely done from start to finish...because you get to fap afterwards.

scully says: “Do you, or have you played any browser-based or ongoing game (besides Forumwarz, of course); and, if so, what was your favorite?” Little embarrbuming to admit, but no, I can't think of a single one. I guess you could say I'm a purist in that that you know that Forumwarz is not ripping off any other browser-based games, so at least there's that. Evil Trout tells me I should go play more games, especially role-playing games, but I'm like...”Euh, I guess I could...” But I never do. ...'cause, I hate games! And it probably shows.

And now we got markchd, says "I heard you used to write childrens' programming, is this a good way to recover from that, or you prefer writing for (your) actual works?" And yes some animated screenplays yeah the most. That's not necessarily like little kids, never did preschool stuff, it was mostly for I'd say at the youngest 9 to 12, something like that, actually always really enjoyed, y'know it's obviously not as "edgy" as Forumwarz is, but few productions are, specially here in Canada where you gotta [(pause]) go through a lot of "red tape" just to get something on TV, more red tape than a mummy on a rag like I like to say. Y'know it's actually kind of cool to work within that milieu, because, well, y'know there are standards you know you can get away with, I was trying to slip in some more, not "adult" as in like y'know, adult humor but just you know references that people, posters of my age are gonna understand and appreciate, and you really you can't avoid that as a writer unless you really are 12 years old you are going to get, y'know the wisdom of the ANCIENTS in there...

But I can tell you that as far as writing for actors, uhhhhh, that's a little bit of a misnomer because I don't consider it writing for actors at all, I consider I'm writing for the characters but that's not exactly true what I mean is the actors are actually the .... uhhh.. the last consideration when you're writing dialog, you're actually writing for your showrunner or your executive story editor. First and foremost you have to get the style of the show that's, that's been outlined by them, and you also have to please you're producers you know your network executives and, and beyond the actors you're also writing for animation directors and your animators themselves, and the voice director who is actually gonna tell the actors how to do it so when you actually get the actors in the booth (laughing) it no longer resembles anything you've written. I like to sometimes sit in on the voice record if I gotta chance to, and afterwards I just cringe because , not only did, the actors not necessarily say it the way I wanted them to, but yknow everyone in the room is kinda taking notes and , is.. y'know the voice director will be "oh yeah that's great, that's perfect" and I'm like "no, it's not..." but you have to trust that they're doing their job, and they're doing it better that you could ever do. That's what they tell you, but it's bull****, is just to make you feel better. UHH. But that's kind of why I like Forumwarz because nobody tells me what to do.

Fingerz asks a two part question: “What are you wearing and what are you doing Friday night?” Uh, what I’m wearing is uh, like shorts and a T-shirt, ‘cuz I work at home. What I’m doing Friday night-- what, you know, I think the subtext of this question is uh, would you like to hook up and have nasty, feral sex sometime. The answer is “Yes, I absolutely would.” Um, you know I’ve got a pretty busy schedule so I can’t go flying around the world in order to fulfill these… these “trysts.” But you know, you make it down to “Crotch Zombie City” a.k.a. Toronto and yeah, I’ll show you a good time, don’t worry. So…

Why don’t we move on to what you might call the “comedy option.”

‘Kay, Scullyangel asks (laughs) “JB, kinks or vanilla?” And she’s not talking about scoops, people. Um, you know what? Uh, I’m gonna be pretty straight up here. I I’ve always prided myself on not having any “kinks” or fetishes or any weird **** like that and I guess that’s why I feel so comfortable making fun of it all the time through Forumwarz. To me, you know, sex is uh, even the vanilla stuff can be pretty, you know, nasty enough. I mean in a good way, without resorting to bondage or you know, the whipping and the cutting and the vampirism and the… eating ****. But Scully, you have got a, a bit of a– what do you call it? –dominatrix sort of gimmick, so I don’t want to offend you or anything with this answer but so yeah, I’m pretty much straight up vanilla. But I can be persuaded otherwise, I guess.

BillMurrayFan7383 asks me am I still bumhurt about those 50 tubmails. (Laughs) You know, actually I’m going to use this opportunity to kinda springboard into a discussion which I’ve probably brought up before but, I think, I think there is a bit of an overuse of the word “bumhurt” especially in our community. I think, like, you know, what does it actually mean to be bumhurt? You’re so upset by something to the point that you’re, you’re lashing out? So it’s basically proof that you’ve been trolled by someone and I’m not sure that that necessarily applies. I mean, yeah, it ****ed me off, it was, it was annoying. That was the goal, right? So, if the answer is “Yes, I was bumhurt,” then mission accomplished, right? And if I were to say “No, I was not bumhurt,” then you’re going probably just deny that I am, in fact, bumhurt ‘cuz you want to think that you, through your actions, have caused me to feel pain, in my rectum, you see? So you really can’t win. So what I’m saying is, don’t do **** like that, because I will ****ing ban you. And really, does it really matter at that point if I’m bumhurt at that point or not? I don’t think it does. So yeah…

Hey, Fortunato. Can we have hot pbumionate sex with the stated purpose of attracting girls who are into.. Yowee (Yaoi?) porn? Edit: OI second most sexy sir.” I think, I have no idea how to pronounce that ****, I think it’s some gay Japanese thing. And yes Fortunato, as you all know, won the Top Model contest. Purely, I think, due to his hairstyle or you would say “air style,” to be more precise. And anyway I really wish you didn’t ask that question there because uh, I think you just, you just kicked yourself out of the running for the Apprentice. Because, what would people think, you know? Us two highly- desirable males? You know, working side by side? The Photoshops would be endless. So… I’m just kidding man, sure, we can do that.

CoreyJess: How much porn is on your computer, how do you deal with the nasty rashes that come from a fap-heavy day? Personally I find pure aloe from an aloe plant works the best. Well, CoreyJess, the answer is a lot, and I will take your advice to heart. That’s very good, kinda Martha Stewart-esque piece of home-remedy advice.

And Shaggy Rogers goes, [horrible Shaggy impression] “Like, what are your favorite gimmick alts you’ve seen in the last year, man?” And I, that’s a, that’s a damn good question. I really wish I could just have access to all the times I’ve looked at an alt and thought, “Holy ****, that is so funny, that’s awesome.” And I, I can’t remember any off the bat but I gotta say I ****ing love them. I know it costs, like, a BP or two to create these things, and they tend to be kinda short-lived, but I really appreciate it when people, you know, along the lines of Manphin and his many alts, or are they alts? Maybe they’re all different people doing it independently… No, they’re alts. Ah, when they do that kinda thing, I don’t know how much other people appreciate it but when I see that kinda stuff in Flamebate, I just, roffle. I roffle! And I hope more people do it too. ‘Cause I think it’s really cool. It adds a lot, and it’s really what this game is all about, to an extent. And it’s about, PAID alts, with Brownie Points. And ah, and all that jazz. Anyway I think this is getting a little bit long in the tooth, so I think we’re gonna wrap it up.

So I thank you everyone for listening. I hope this has been informative and amusing… and what do you say at the end of these things… like …..….. uhm…. “Tune in next time?” Keep pwning those forums, people. [pause] Alright I’m done.

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