Failure is You! and other thoughts

I’d been looking forward to the release of RPGcat for some time now – it really makes me smile, and I wanted to share it with people. I thought it had real potential to become a webseries that people would follow and enjoy.

The reality of it is quite different, though. A few people thought it was hilarious, but most people were just bored or disinterested, if not outright hostile. (So much for the gaming community, I suppose.) There’s no point in putting in this many hours into making more videos if this is the general reaction. Yes, the reaction to most of my work tends towards the extremes, but this is too much. Too few people are enjoying this and too many are hating it.

This makes me wonder quite severely about the future of this site and my online work. I want to do more than just design games, but frankly it looks like every time I try to do something else all I do is piss people off or bore them. I’ve often suspected there’s something about me that annoys people: some quality of smugness, or just something off that rubs people the wrong way. Maybe that’s the reason.

Right now Verena and I have several more web-related projects almost ready to go. Since we’re not exactly rich, the hosting and domain costs are a big deal to us, but we’ve been paying this money in the hope that the result would be something people would enjoy. If this is not the case, we will have to scale this stuff back quite a bit, and concentrate only on writing.

I’m not fishing for compliments here. I got a pretty clear picture of the reaction to the video. Just thinking out loud, really. Wondering about the shape of the future. (I thought it was prettier.)

Leave a comment

12 Comments

  1. Dojutrek

     /  February 15, 2010

    Don’t get too down, the internet is about as friendly as a shark and just as deadly to the psyche.

    I rather enjoyed the video, but maybe that’s because I love cats or because I know way too much about video games. Either way, it was enjoyable and provided some entertainment. I personally liked the point on how “We humans over analyze our games”. Otherwise I did have some issues with it, but that was mostly in the length department.

    As for your so called “Smugness”, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s just that some people can’t look past certain things and are easily put off by views that don’t jive with their own. Personally I think your views are quite interesting and, as much as I disagree with some of them, I will still listen and learn what I can.

    All I can say is, if you can learn from the backlash that the people give you then it’s all good.

  2. Evil Roda

     /  February 15, 2010

    What’s this? Jonas thinking about giving up on something he does so well? Jonas, trust me. I write stories, I post them on the internet, and I get very little response to them. But I do it because I love it, and the few people who read my works (in other words, my online friends and my mother) like them. Sure, I long for some exposure, some sort of recognition. But that is not the only reason I do it. I do it because I want to tell stories. Stories of unicorns and dwarves fighting a war for millenia, stories of revolution, of murderers, and satire. Speaking of which, I must finish writing that one with the unicorns and dwarves. It’s beginning to become a burden. But I promised myself I’d finish it, and finish it I will.
    Damn, that was one Hell of a ramble.
    Also, does the RPG in RPGcat mean Rocket Propelled Grenade, Role Playing Game, or Rocket Powered Grenadier? I must know!

  3. Evil Roda

     /  February 16, 2010

    Jonas, I have a request. I showed RPGcat to a friend, and he can’t understand it. If you would be so kind to add subtitles in the form of annotations…?

  4. It’s just really hard to become sucessful with something like a webseries. There are hundreds or thousands of people out there that upload funny stuff every day, but what are the odds that it will get noticed? Especially with videogames / PCgames, I think the market for webcasts is oversaturated right now.

  5. I didn’t really want to “become successful” on the scale of something like Zero Punctuation. Just entertain some people and not get mobbed. Find a small audience. But maybe I should just be spending my time otherwise.

  6. boo_boo

     /  February 16, 2010

    feedback is a common source of entropy. not that entropy is evil, but IMO it’s unwise to let it drive you 🙂

  7. Sarah

     /  February 17, 2010

    Jonas – it’s a good idea, and smile inducing, but it’s very hard to understand. The voice is funny, but I think re-recording the vocal track is a must if you want it to be better received.
    And remember – most people are idiots, so take it all with a grain of salt. Don’t give up!

  8. The voice is funny, but I think re-recording the vocal track is a must if you want it to be better received.

    The original vocal track is quite easy to understand, but if I don’t make it satanic enough, it loses some of the amusing flavour. I will, however, attempt to experiment with making it slightly less deep and distorted. If I make another one, that is. I’ve gotten over the first wave of depression, but I’m not sure I should invest this much time again, especially when there is so much to do. We’ll see.

  9. Sarah

     /  February 17, 2010

    “I will, however, attempt to experiment with making it slightly less deep and distorted.”
    Well, that’s good (and would solve the problem)!

  10. I fear I can empathize with some of the prejudice this has gotten. It might seem harsh [WARN!] but I’d like to articulate its nature.

    I had an immediate negative reaction to the low production values seen on poorly thought-out material all over the web.

    Yours wasn’t so devoid of thought, but the production style was enough to push some part of me from open mode to critic mode, and that can make even a good piece of work leave a poor impression.

    The video was worth a few chuckles and was a reasonably insightful-sounding critique of game design. It began to feel a bit monotonous, however. But look at it this way: good series can emerge from rather rough origins.

    Low production values can be a killer but don’t have to be. I advise mixing up the visual style to something more novel and which you can work with well to produce something more dynamic or stimulating in terms of graphics. Crayon could do wonders, for instance, after playing Desert Bridge.

    Additionally, to add some rhythm to the humor I advise changing the reviews from monologue to dialogue. The insane character is often counterbalanced with a rational one, or a more insane character. Not to formula it up, but a good mauling scene mid-review may be in order.

    I still was left with a rather poor impression and my thoughts immediately after viewing the video included that you ought to stick to game development, which is again rather harsh of me to say. Perhaps the consequence is that I enjoy your descriptive style, and the sort of whimsy you put to work in Desert Bridge. If you can put those talents to work (you’re a wonderful storyteller) in future videos I expect you can find success.

  11. Hmmm. You see, the problem is that I think it’s funny, and that’s the only standard I can reasonably go by. It’s more like a Monty Python animation than a modern animated web series, but I don’t actually dislike that. (Obviously I so not have the skill or even the tools of Terry Gilliam. Still, the roughness of the animation is part of what makes the style for me.) Furthermore, some people – probably with a similar brain configuration to mine – have the exact same reaction that I do. They’re just far too few.

    Still, I might try doing another one at some point and changing some elements. (Not the visuals, though; if I ever do something in crayons, it’s much more likely to be Desert Bridge-related.)

  12. I watched it all the way through and was reasonably entertained, to be sure. Just acting as a voice for the opposition, here, since those sentiments were tangible to me.

    Again, if nothing else I might encourage you to add that second character.