Infinity on 30 Credits a Day

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News: 4 June 2007

Kickstart!

Okay, it's about time I got off my backside and got this thing moving again! I've let it drift for too long since I got back from my vacation a few weeks ago, and it's time to get things rolling.

There are going to be a few major changes to the whole volunteer and contribution process. I'll outline them here, and we'll develop them together over the next few weeks.

Firstly, I've finally placed pages 4, 5, and 6 on the comic reading interface. You can see them starting from here. We still need colourings and captions for some pages, but we have dialogue lettered for page 4 thanks to a keen Infinite Monkey who just couldn't wait to contribute something.

And that's how we'll do things from now on, folks! I know a lot of you are keen to contribute and eagerly awaiting your turn in the task queue, but also worried that when it comes around you might be too busy to do it justice by the deadline. So waiting for your turn in the queue is no longer a requirement! Here's how it's going to work:

We conveniently have a basic plot setup that supports episodic action - meaning it's possible for the Infinity crew to be motoring through space, have a short adventure somewhere, then end up motoring through space again, ready for the next bit of action. A bit like a TV series.

Now, most TV series are written by multiple writers. They know to end the episode in pretty much the same state as they started, and all the action is self-contained within the episode. The thing is, they don't write each episode in sequence - they all write simultaneously. The episodic nature of the story allows this. But over a longer time, as one episode is filmed and becomes "canon", the writers can then build on material from then, so the plot still evolves and is not necessarily totally static.

If we adopt this approach, people can write their own short sequences, draw up a few pages, caption them, and so on, and send them in to me, and I can simply slot them in to the ongoing plot. If you don't have the talents or inclination to do all the steps, you can write a prose or script treatment for a short episode, send it to me, and I'll post it on the site, then any artists who want to illustrate it can have a go, they can send the art in, and I'll post it all, and other people can colour, write captions, etc. And all of this will go into the archive of material that makes up "the comic".

Now here's the cool bit. The voting will be done by reading the comic and deciding which way you prefer the story to go. For example:

Now we're after the start of the race - call this "plot spot X". Let's say Monkey A draws a 3-page sequence that can slot in next, and Monkey B draws a one-page gag that could also slot in next. They both go up on the site, you get to read both, then "vote" by clicking to strengthen or weaken the connective link from spot X. If most people strengthen Monkey B's sequence, then a strong link gets built from spot X to Monkey B's sequence, and becomes the "alpha" plot thread.

Monkey A's sequence is always still accessible, but is pushed down to "beta" status. But it can come back into the alpha stream if later on, say after Monkey D's 2-page sequence it becomes interesting plotwise to insert Monkey A's sequence. Then you can vote to form a connection from Monkey D's bit to Monkey A's sequence, and that could become the alpha plot stream.

And so on. In this way the thread of the overall story is fluid - infinite, really - and can develop as fast as contributors want to work on it, without me needing to assign tasks and do so much administrative overhead.

I'm kicking this off by posting some "fan art" that Infinite Monkey Zachfive produced and posted to the forum recently, as an example of a one-off gag page and make that our tentative page 7. Other posters in the forum suggested captions for it, and I'll get those lettered up as dialogue. The result may move from being "page 7" once more art and story come in, or may get ensconced there. We'll see how it goes.

So: now there are two things you folks can do:

1. If you have a cool idea for a story element, write it up. If you want to do some artwork, go ahead. When you're done, send it to me. Don't wait for a task assignment off the queue. I may still use the queues to do assignments when particular jobs are needed, but anyone keen to contribute no longer needs to wait to be assigned a task. If you know a fellow monkey you'd like to work with - one writing, the other doing art, by all means combine forces. Feel free to discuss your ideas and solicit help from other monkeys on the forum if you wish. I'll write up some formal rules over the next few days, but for now just keep your total contributions down to a size that will require a maximum of three pages of artwork. Start now!

2. Of course, feel free to comment on the forums.


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