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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Figured this needed its own thread...
    Quote Originally Posted by gvinny View Post
    Hey pclips (Elvis), why didn't you tell me where the "Key Lime Pie" reference originated?
    Because of that golden rule of comedy: never explain. The work needs to stand on its own.

    I admit I break that rule freely in PartiallyClips, but that's more to play to my own interest in the gag writing process. I keep my strip commentary hidden as a default. With Erfworld, I intend to explain as little as I possibly can.

    As people have pointed out in these threads, I'm doing all kinds of humor, from highly subtle to completely gross. Some are direct allusions, some are oblique references, some are synthetic, some are foreshadowing, some are character-driven. Most are original to the comic, and a lot of those are completely out of left field. That's really all the explanation I can give you.

    If I set the record straight about this joke or that, it's spoiling my own fun (and certainly spoiling the value of reader feedback). I'd much rather have readers explain jokes to each other. You're all doing a pretty good job of that, so far.

    One thing I would like to say that will hopefully reassure people who aren't decided on Erfworld yet is this... I think of it primarily as a story, not a comedy. The jokes are more or less ornaments that hang on the tree of plot and character.

    These six pages were meant to set the scene and give some basic background. The meat of the story lies ahead. It's kind of like how the opening scene to Star Wars is a chase and firefight which shows us a few main characters: Darth, Leia and the droids. But it doesn't try to tell everything and leaves other major characters (Luke, Kenobi, and Han & Chewie) their own scenes to be introduced in the future.

    Erfworld will be a complete story wrapping up sometime in the Summer. Right now, with all of this analysis, it's like we stopped the movie after Leia is captured and said, "Okay! Focus group, what did everyone think?" I'm very comfortable with the fact that a lot of people don't know what to think yet. The best parts are yet to come.
    Rob Balder, Erfworld author/co-creator, and creator of PartiallyClips

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post
    I think of it primarily as a story, not a comedy. The jokes are more or less ornaments that hang on the tree of plot and character.
    That... was one of the most beautiful metaphors I have ever read.

    My other favorite comics (Goblins, OotS) are really the same way.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Wrapping up in the Summer... 8 months tops, 32~ weeks, twice weekly, 64~ strips. Around about 70 pages?

    That's good, it gives a clue to the story, closer to being a movie than being something like... um.. Lost. Which is also fine but all these stories these days tend to go on and on. I'll be happy to read it over that length of time.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post
    Figured this needed its own thread...


    Because of that golden rule of comedy: never explain. The work needs to stand on its own.

    I admit I break that rule freely in PartiallyClips, but that's more to play to my own interest in the gag writing process. I keep my strip commentary hidden as a default. With Erfworld, I intend to explain as little as I possibly can.

    As people have pointed out in these threads, I'm doing all kinds of humor, from highly subtle to completely gross. Some are direct allusions, some are oblique references, some are synthetic, some are foreshadowing, some are character-driven. Most are original to the comic, and a lot of those are completely out of left field. That's really all the explanation I can give you.

    If I set the record straight about this joke or that, it's spoiling my own fun (and certainly spoiling the value of reader feedback). I'd much rather have readers explain jokes to each other. You're all doing a pretty good job of that, so far.

    One thing I would like to say that will hopefully reassure people who aren't decided on Erfworld yet is this... I think of it primarily as a story, not a comedy. The jokes are more or less ornaments that hang on the tree of plot and character.

    These six pages were meant to set the scene and give some basic background. The meat of the story lies ahead. It's kind of like how the opening scene to Star Wars is a chase and firefight which shows us a few main characters: Darth, Leia and the droids. But it doesn't try to tell everything and leaves other major characters (Luke, Kenobi, and Han & Chewie) their own scenes to be introduced in the future.

    Erfworld will be a complete story wrapping up sometime in the Summer. Right now, with all of this analysis, it's like we stopped the movie after Leia is captured and said, "Okay! Focus group, what did everyone think?" I'm very comfortable with the fact that a lot of people don't know what to think yet. The best parts are yet to come.

    Hmmm... well, I certainly respect your autonomy as an author. But while I can't name any golden rules of comedy, I would assume that there must be at least a silver rule or a bronze rule relating to not leaving your audience so far out in the dark that they can't relate to the material and thus can't find any humor in it (or even relevance, clarity, or comprehension). A number of my co-workers and friends and I are regular OOTS fans (as well as Penny Arcade, VG Cats, PartiallyClips, Full Frontal Nerdity, etc.), and we've been arguing about Erfworld for a few days. The beauty of your humor in PartiallyClips is that, in the last frame, people can say "Whoa! I didn't see that coming!" Whereas in Erfworld, we see something coming, we watch it going, and no one can agree on what it meant, where it came from, or even if it was funny or not.

    So... is it a political barb aimed at George W. Bush? Is it a comedy so subtle that most plebians won't get it? Is it performance art a la Andy Kaufman? Is it based on some kind of MMORPG, popular fiction, video game, or on nothing in particular?

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    It's based on ridiculous! Stop overthinking everything! I totally get it even without catching all the (numerous) references. Keep up the random hillarity please!

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Indeed. Sometimes I avoid specific threads in the OotS forum for that reason, some guys tend to think about every tiny detail and to overlook the "big picture" (as they always say). I enjoy OotS very much, and I'm enjoying what little we have so far of Erfworld.

    Keep up the good job, guys.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Nice, I'm very glad I saw this. I've been waiting around for something, I'm glad to know [or think ] I have something to wait for.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    It would save a lot of bother if this was stickied. Some of the DnD crowd that frequent these forums seem obsessed with the "system" that lies behind everything. Much of the humour in OotS is in poking fun at this system or rules and they must be feeling a bit lost right now.
    Last edited by Om; 2006-12-15 at 11:18 AM.
    The Omnians were a God-fearing people. They had a great deal to fear.
    -Terry Pratchett

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    It would save a lot of bother if this was stickied.
    Stickied by request.
    Rob Balder, Erfworld author/co-creator, and creator of PartiallyClips

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    It's terribly obvious that just as OotS is based on Dungeons and Dragons, Erfworld is based on turn-based computer strategy games. As such, it makes jokes using cliches from such games ("turns", "moves", etc) in the same way OotS make jokes based on feats and checks.

    Just as OotS plays host to a larger story and more interesting characters in the confines of its medium, so too does Erfworld. There are characters to care about and a story to learn about. If those are the things you like the most, you are going to have to give Erfworld some slack while waiting for more development.

    Re: "gwiffons" and such. This is also terribly obvious. A griffon is a fierce beast combining the features of a lion and an eagle. A gwiffon is a "cute" version of the same thing, ending up looking like a kitty cat and a parakeet. Thus, this is a joke. Instead of drawing serious, deadly monsters, the artist draws cute animals. At this point, this may be just a joke. There is too little information right now to read more than that into it.

    Re: "lookamancer" and such. Again, obvious. Many games feature various types of creatures or characters with abilities. If a unit is a "wizard" or "sorcerer" looking unit, but its name ends in "-mancer", then pretty soon the player begins to call all the other units with similar abilities or appearance other quick reference "-mancer" names. In "reality", perhaps a lookamancer would be called a Diviner, but instead the player just makes up a name based on the ability of the character or unit. The ability is "look" so the caster is "look - amancer"; a Diviner. Croak = death, necromancer. And so on. In other games, frex, we often say "nuke" instead of saying "Otiluke's Sphere of Fiery Death".

    If you aren't very familiar with the world of turn based computer strategy games of the 80's and 90's perhaps a lot of this will seem a bit odd, but to the old school this should seem pretty normal.

    PS - Ansom is a good guy, not a bad guy. He is concerned about Jillian, presumably because he is romantically attached to her. Jillian presents a tough exterior because she is a warrior - when confronted by her commanding warlord, she puts on a tough act as she wants to be taken seriously. In reality, she actually likes Ansom and would choose to be with him if she could just drop the facade.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    I agree that we shouldn't need to know everything. Let any mechanics that may or may not exist slowly ooze out of the comic as it progresses.

    It might appear that Erfworld is a turn-based strategy, but don't let that constrict it. It should be, if it is indeed there, a part of the background of the world, and not necessarily necessary for the plot.

    I think it honestly shouldn't be so much of a big deal. So why did I bother posting? I don't know.

    ~Xaspian
    I apologise now for everything that is wrong with this post.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post
    These six pages were meant to set the scene and give some basic background. The meat of the story lies ahead. It's kind of like how the opening scene to Star Wars is a chase and firefight which shows us a few main characters: Darth, Leia and the droids. But it doesn't try to tell everything and leaves other major characters (Luke, Kenobi, and Han & Chewie) their own scenes to be introduced in the future.
    Okay, you're crazy, and I have to tell you that.

    Please pick another movie that millions of people haven't seen to compare your comic to because "Star Wars a New Hope" Erfworld is not. They do more in the opening of SW then you have done in Erf.

    And, no offense, but the fact you even have to explain any of your jokes is a failure in joke telling. Haven't you heard the saying, "If you have to explain it, it isn't funny"? This comic is in its infancy, it couldn't help to explain some things to people. Better yet, use the comic to explain some things.

    I was just on the can and I got to thinking ... maybe you should consider longer pages per update. When the Giant needs to get more of a message then one page can tell he does a double or triple update. I think Erf could really benefit from more then less. It won't be long before people stop looking for new content on Tuesdays and Thursdays the way things are going.

    Sebastian

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Of course, others have said-


    The test of real literature is that it will bear repetition. We read over the same pages again and again, and always with fresh delight. ~Samual McChord Crothers

    When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before. ~Clifton Fadiman
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    Yee.
    Hah.

    I'm in ur ideosphere, propigatin' ur memes!
    I do not understand me.
    English translation of Japanese translation via Babelfish of #408

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Bux View Post
    Okay, you're crazy, and I have to tell you that.

    Please pick another movie that millions of people haven't seen to compare your comic to because "Star Wars a New Hope" Erfworld is not. They do more in the opening of SW then you have done in Erf.

    And, no offense, but the fact you even have to explain any of your jokes is a failure in joke telling. Haven't you heard the saying, "If you have to explain it, it isn't funny"? This comic is in its infancy, it couldn't help to explain some things to people. Better yet, use the comic to explain some things.

    I was just on the can and I got to thinking ... maybe you should consider longer pages per update. When the Giant needs to get more of a message then one page can tell he does a double or triple update. I think Erf could really benefit from more then less. It won't be long before people stop looking for new content on Tuesdays and Thursdays the way things are going.

    Sebastian
    I've been a long standing fan of OotS for some now, though I have never really felt the need to post anything (And I am lazy.) And I got to say, since I started reading Erf, I'm already a fan, and hooked to it. I was already anticipating the next installment this morning at work.

    While the humor may escape some, I personally enjoy the somewhat subtle jokes mixed in with the actual storyline (Which, after ten pages, has barely even begun.) But then again, that humor may not be for everyone. If you simply do not enjoy subtle humor or storyline, or even perhaps this particular style, then there really is no reason to read it. Don't do something you don't enjoy, right?

    And, in the other point of view, it's a bit harsh to claim that people will lose interest simply because you do not enjoy it. Just based on the majority of the positive vs negative responses, it seems a good number of people enjoy the work, and even if there is only one person, as long as the author enjoys writing the story (Which ultimately is why an author would write a free story/web comic), then all is well, is it not?

    Last point of my rambling, there are many styles of jokes and stories. Sometimes, having a community explain jokes to one another is a way of building a community, as well as expanding one another's "comedic vocabulary" so to speak.

    Just some thoughts that has been bugging me.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Bux View Post
    Okay, you're crazy, and I have to tell you that.

    Please pick another movie that millions of people haven't seen to compare your comic to because "Star Wars a New Hope" Erfworld is not. They do more in the opening of SW then you have done in Erf.
    Not to counter the purpose of the thread, but that's just...illogical.

    The opening of Star Wars is more or less meaningless without the context of the rest of the movie. If you had to leave the theatre after the first space battle and judge the whole movie from that, you'd think it was pretty pointless.

    The point of the analogy is that you need the entire story, ultimately, to judge the opening. You've already decided Erfworld is no Star Wars. If you still hold that opinion in 9 months when the story has run its course and you have these pages completely in context, then I will accept it as perfectly valid.

    I'm sorry you're not liking the jokes. I'll keep saying it as often as necessary: this is a story comic. The jokes are either inherent to the plot/characters/concept (which no reader can have a real picture of yet), or purely ornamental and throwaway. The story, once told, will stand on its own. Condemn it at the end if you still feel it's worthless, but I promise you there is much more to this tale and this universe than you have seen.
    Rob Balder, Erfworld author/co-creator, and creator of PartiallyClips

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    If it's "based on ridiculous" rather than clever references &c, surely it should be consistently very obviously funny?
    "Why do we need another cleric?"
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post
    I promise you there is much more to this tale and this universe than you have seen.
    I should hope so, things would get pretty boring if what is shown in the first ten pages is the extent of their world.
    Not really here. Just an illusion.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    I will keep checking on it just to see, but I think that the star wars example is not so good. It's a different medium. When you are waiting for several minutes for the first part to make sense, then that's all well and good. if you have to wait a month or so then I'm not so sure.

    I know that they ARE different comics, but if you look at the first few episodes of tOOtS then you will see that as well as being an introduction to further the plot (only subtly, but they do) they are also very good stand-alone strips.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    The opening of Star Wars is more or less meaningless without the context of the rest of the movie. If you had to leave the theatre after the first space battle and judge the whole movie from that, you'd think it was pretty pointless.
    But, if I had left the theatre after nothing but the opening scene, I would have been highly entertained. Big Battle, bad dude in a big black helmet, cutting edge special effects. It was something new, genuine, original, and ATTENTION GRABBING!

    Erfworld is new, and genuine, and original. 3 out of 4 isn't so bad I guess.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    The music was quite marvelous as well.
    Belkar's Bad to the Bone.
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryGreek View Post
    Erfworld is new, and genuine, and original, attention grabbing, and fun. 5 out of 4 isn't so bad I guess.
    Bolded part mine. Just correct a few bits, and it's much better.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Please, please, don't explain it.

    I for one want to learn about this world for myself, much like reading a fantasy novel. The best of the genre let you learn by context.

    These forums tend to analyze the material to death, looking for the "meaning" behind the most obscure things.

    "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Bux View Post
    And, no offense, but the fact you even have to explain any of your jokes is a failure in joke telling.
    Sebastian
    Or a statement about the person needing the explanation.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post
    The opening of Star Wars is more or less meaningless without the context of the rest of the movie. If you had to leave the theatre after the first space battle and judge the whole movie from that, you'd think it was pretty pointless.

    The point of the analogy is that you need the entire story, ultimately, to judge the opening. You've already decided Erfworld is no Star Wars. If you still hold that opinion in 9 months when the story has run its course and you have these pages completely in context, then I will accept it as perfectly valid.

    I'm sorry you're not liking the jokes. I'll keep saying it as often as necessary: this is a story comic. The jokes are either inherent to the plot/characters/concept (which no reader can have a real picture of yet), or purely ornamental and throwaway. The story, once told, will stand on its own. Condemn it at the end if you still feel it's worthless, but I promise you there is much more to this tale and this universe than you have seen.
    Well, that's all very well... BUT! As already (sort of) stated, you are contradicting the whole reason you brought up Star Wars in the first place: The first scene is a primer, a teaser - it may not be totally comprehensible on its own, but it should be entertaining on its own, or I will go somewhere else. In fact, the start should be one of the two or three most entertaining parts - there can be boring parts in the middle, that's ok - as long as the audience is hooked, they'll hang around for when the good bits come back.
    And lets face it: We (the audience) may hope and want for this to turn out to be something good - but if it doesn't, oh, well! I wasted, what? Three hours tops? With rereading the strips twice and searching the forum for an explanation to the jokes I didn't get, but could see were there?
    Rob Balder, on the other hand, really, really wants us to get hooked - you and your team have probably put, what, upwards of 50 hours into this? 100? of drawing, development, editing, negotiating with the Giant, etc. Plus, you most likely want to make some sort of profit out of this - an effort like this must require an investment of "yourself" - your time, your money, your relationships with family, co-workers, whathavewe. If no one likes the comics, that is a wasted effort.
    And so, this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Bux View Post
    And, no offense, but the fact you even have to explain any of your jokes is a failure in joke telling. Haven't you heard the saying, "If you have to explain it, it isn't funny"?
    is, at least partially true, whereas this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gergle View Post
    Or a statement about the person needing the explanation.
    is false - or rather, the wrong way of looking at it. It may be, that my not getting the joke is caused by me not recognizing the reference to some particular... whatever. And that can be ok - I am wholly into "layers" of jokes. I don't get anywhere near all the OotS jokes, and yet I think most of them are hilarious. But if I don't find enough jokes I like, I don't come back. Therefore, if I don't get the "point" of something (funny jokes, exciting action, intriguing plot, gripping characters, or whatever else), either I'm not part of the intended audience, or the author failed in what he wanted to do!

    Now, as for Erfworld...
    On my first readthrough, I didn't quite get it. I was a bit put off by the strangeness of it, and I couldn't figure out what kind of a world it was. On my second read, though, it became clearer, and I was intrigued by this sort of weird universe - someone who succedes in portraying a giant teddybear as a soldier while retaining something resembling a straight face deserves respect. And i "totally dig" the idea of a story based comic - and I have high hopes for it.

    However, this doesn't mean I wouldn't like some explaining. Not of the jokes, though (the community will likely take sufficiently care of this), but rather of the world. Of course a lot of it will be done through the comics. But in a 70-page comic, you just can't explain everything. And I want to know how the story of the Kingdom of Magic, what kinds of (whatever)-amancers there are, and how they came to be differentiated, and what kinds of creatures the two armies possess, and by the way, how was the world created, and where are those cool Elvis/titan-creatures, and....

    ...and I know you'll probably cover many of these questions in the comic. But, as I said, you can't possibly cover everything. And I am absolutely POSITIVE that you know the answers to many of these questions - if you didn't know about twice as much about the world as you are telling us, I don't think you could tell this story. And, being a "world-buff", my mouth just watering to get into the "meat" of this world, I would hate for these treasures to just waste away in your office, or your documents/Erfworld folder.
    Not that you should reveal everything - that is the Golden Rule, never to tell everything, or the mystery's gone - but, maybe a juicy tidbit every week, or maybe every month... now that would really keep me salivating, if nothing

    Whew, this turned into quite a (too) long rant - to sum up: I am cautiously optimistic about the comic, but I can't agree totally with some of the opinions expressed here - I think explaining has its place, and the need for/redundantness (isn't there a better word?) of explaining is not solely, and not neccecarily even mostly the fault of the reader.

    /Saile - Whishing a good christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    I look at Erfworld like I look at OotS: It's a comic meant to be a story with humor in it. The humor is great. The story is greater.

    Of course, with only 10 pages of story, it's slightly convoluted. We also know somewhat little about the characters, minus the blidingly obvious, like that Ansom has a thing for Jillian. I'm expecting this to change within the next few pages (like, 20 or so). We should at least begin to learn something about their history. However, this comic began the same way that OotS began: Throw us into the story, we'll begin to understand it as it goes on.

    Really, I have a slight idea of what's going on. But I'll figure it out. When a comic first starts, to me, it doesn't make as much sense as when it has about 100 or so pages to it. At least, I can't figure it out.

    Really, the joke references aren't necessary. Even though I don't know what the importance of it is, the key lime pie thing is just funny to me because it's just one of those random things you'd say when you die, like Leroy Jenkins.
    It's tgva8889. If you can't spell it correctly, just copypasta it, please.
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    If I had some chicken, like Leroy, I might feel better about this comic. ;)

    I think I might just ignore it until there are 30 or so pages ready to go. At this point I'm just not enjoying it, but I can see potential if read in large enough chunks. Right now it seems like reading a paragraph 5 words at a time, whether those words make up complete sentences or not.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    hyikim's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Quote Originally Posted by pclips View Post


    Because of that golden rule of comedy: never explain. The work needs to stand on its own.

    are you saying your jokes are all inside jokes and all of us are on the outside?

    I think you need to let us in on these so we will be able to get some of the jokes.
    Like my Tompkintar?

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Hi there. Brand new to this forum. So far what I've read of Erfworld, gotta say my reaction is... meh. Don't dislike it, but not electrified either. So I think the only fair thing is to wait a month, let the strips build and maybe then it'll be easier to get a hold of where the creators are going with this. Up to this point it's been all over the place. Sorry, that's not meant as a criticism, just an observation. Like the artwork, though.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    Hmmm...

    Seems to be a lot of negativity.


    I like Erf.

    Its... wierd. Rather surreal.

    Almost dream-like in the way that it is full of things that would be totaly absurd if you thought about them logicaly from a real-world perspective, but which to the characters are totally mundane.


    Also the way it gradually dawned on me over the first few episodes that it was set in some sort of computer strategy game (in contrast to OOTS that makes it obvious from the start that it is inside a D&D game)


    Just registering my support.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Azukar's Avatar

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    Nov 2006
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    Australia

    Default Re: Explanations? Don't hold your breath...

    I'm going to agree with Wardog. I'm prepared to wait for the jokes and story to unfold; the only reason people are so able to be hypercritical of Erfworld is because it's updated so slowly. If Balder had started with a 30-page block, we'd have more to go on. But we don't. So any judgement, especially negative judgement, is literally baseless.

    So, here's a challenge for some of you: treat Erfworld as a more thoughtful, intellectual comic. We know that Erfworld is different to OotS. If you're too impatient to wait a few more strips before you get some serious plot to digest, if you're that intent on punchline-per-page viewing, then stick with OotS. Nobody's judging you.

    I'm prepared to wait. There's no rush.
    --

    Meta Knight avatar courtesy of Connor DarkDart.

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