Has TWB officially changed?

Joined: November 4th, 2017, 3:09 am

November 4th, 2017, 3:33 am #1

I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB.
A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.
No Halloween party this year either.

Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen.

That's not to say TWB is bad now. Weekday updates, color comics, and a Patreon have been added.
However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting.

Is that where we're at?

What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared.
I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job.
I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast.

I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting.
When I try to catch up, I always find little in the 5-6 comics I missed that I would have actually, well, missed.


This isn't a dramatic Dear Doc letter- we've seen those before.

I've just been reflecting on a continuing piece of art I patronize.
I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?
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Joined: November 7th, 2015, 9:13 am

November 4th, 2017, 4:29 am #2

It has been a year since paintball was directly referenced in the strip (beyond things like Jinx reading paintball mags and such), but the big paintball-laden storyline before then ran for two and a half years. So on average, over the past three and a half years, there's still been at least 50% paintball content, considering things like out-of-story holiday strips and such during the big story.
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Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 2:27 pm

November 4th, 2017, 4:32 am #3

I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB.
A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.
No Halloween party this year either.

Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen.

That's not to say TWB is bad now. Weekday updates, color comics, and a Patreon have been added.
However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting.

Is that where we're at?

What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared.
I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job.
I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast.

I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting.
When I try to catch up, I always find little in the 5-6 comics I missed that I would have actually, well, missed.


This isn't a dramatic Dear Doc letter- we've seen those before.

I've just been reflecting on a continuing piece of art I patronize.
I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?
...however I don't think this is all that dramatic a shift. It's a far cry from Questionable Content, which is basically unreadable at this point, and the forums un-visitable because of Jeph's politic and his desire to pander-dance for a tiny fraction of his fan-base...

Stop me if I'm wrong but I think this is closer in spirit to The Whiteboard than the rom-com arc we finished. While I enjoyed it, it wasn't for everyone. And it's a welcome break from the never-ending paintball game we enjoyed for 2 years give or take.

Perhaps Doc himself can clarify but I swore he outlined a general direction he wanted to go in -- the rom-com arc, this mayhem arc, then gradually back to paintball?

It's fine with me, and I gladly give up a couple of bucks to his Dew Fund every month because I enjoy his work a great deal. And I welcome the fact that he basically keeps his politic out of the general storyline. I come here to escape, not have a morality-line rammed down my throat.

Anyway, the above is my opinion and I'm sticking with it. It's nice to see Doc experiment with other material besides Paintball Jokes Over And Over, you have to keep at it to keep it "fresh." Not every arc or strip will be a favorite but overall, this is one of the best webcomics out there.

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Joined: February 24th, 2016, 8:06 pm

November 4th, 2017, 4:35 am #4

I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB.
A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.
No Halloween party this year either.

Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen.

That's not to say TWB is bad now. Weekday updates, color comics, and a Patreon have been added.
However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting.

Is that where we're at?

What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared.
I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job.
I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast.

I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting.
When I try to catch up, I always find little in the 5-6 comics I missed that I would have actually, well, missed.


This isn't a dramatic Dear Doc letter- we've seen those before.

I've just been reflecting on a continuing piece of art I patronize.
I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?
This strikes me a more of an old Schlock Mercenary "Schlocktoberfest" event that Howard used to run.
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Joined: November 4th, 2017, 3:09 am

November 4th, 2017, 6:37 am #5

It has been a year since paintball was directly referenced in the strip (beyond things like Jinx reading paintball mags and such), but the big paintball-laden storyline before then ran for two and a half years. So on average, over the past three and a half years, there's still been at least 50% paintball content, considering things like out-of-story holiday strips and such during the big story.
I agree with your stats, but 50% over 3.5years?
That's actually 0% over the lst year.

Would TWB benefit by advertising istelf as a furry (nonjudgemental, just lack of a better word) character driven comic rather than a paintball driven one?
I'm sure Doc's insight will pivot this conversation.


I love his art and passion, but redefining his art and passion may bring greater audience to it.
I think this represents a hard truth- pb is just fraction of our lives, a fraction of the comic we identify with.

And with the dwindling pb world, a smaller fraction of our lives.

Also, I didn't bring u QC as a negative.
Rather, a compliment. It transcends artstyles and growth, and represents more of the creator than before.

Perhaps that's the key- pb dwindles in our lives, and relationships, people, economic uncertainty takes hold.

This is all meta BTW. I'm a firm believer in art for the artist's sake and world.

I suppose my "critique", if you could call it that, is in the advertising of the product rather than the art itself.
I find things in TWB now to connect on a more human level than paintball- relationships over the newest gadget or gags about them.

The big question: Is paintball the focus, or a pastime for the characters, and for us?
Are we the same group of people, maturing and finding the people around us more captivating and important than the game that brought us together?


For the record: I'm hooked, either way.
I'll always wonder how long Sandy puts up with Swampy's shit, or what she sees in him. Whether Pirta and Jake can make it work, or whether Doc's reality works for her at all?
Also for the record: I hate the Trump shit, no matter how minor it may be. But political divides have never separated me from the artists I enjoy (jeph included). I suppose I mentioned the political stuff because it stuck out compared to the rest of TWB- not because I ever thought "oh god why I better never go to that url ever again"- the introduction of subtle political advertising doesn't go unnoticed, no matter who you "root" for.


I do agree with Lord-whatever that this was a tone shift that not all are enticed by- My question is, is it better for the comic (and therefore the prospective audience) to identify with more average-life situations than the paintball themed gags?


Also, QC was not brought up as a negative comparison. Jeph has done a good job of the last year of creating and dealing with his own moral quandaries.


Last point: Art is always for the artist's sake, commercial be damned. Doc should draw and write whatever compels him to create, and the audience will adapt (by leaving and arriving). I guess my question is more a question of identity rather than "f**king doc needs to play the classics".


Has the identity changed? For better or worse is a trivial question of demographics and economics.


I suppose the main question is: Has the artist grown, and what factors facilitated this?


Sorry if none of this makes sense- literally drunk right now
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 4th, 2017, 7:49 am #6

I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB.
A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.
No Halloween party this year either.

Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen.

That's not to say TWB is bad now. Weekday updates, color comics, and a Patreon have been added.
However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting.

Is that where we're at?

What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared.
I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job.
I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast.

I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting.
When I try to catch up, I always find little in the 5-6 comics I missed that I would have actually, well, missed.


This isn't a dramatic Dear Doc letter- we've seen those before.

I've just been reflecting on a continuing piece of art I patronize.
I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?
"I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB."

-Well, except for November 14th, November 17th, November 22nd, March 3rd, May 24th, June 15th, June 20th, June 21st and June 22nd.

And, even if we go by your estimation, as others noted, that's after TWO YEARS of nothing BUT paintball. (The "day" took 2-1/2 years total, but the last few months were spent at the bar.)

"A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.


-This one actually has some merit, and we've been discussing it off and on on other boards. Yes, the community has changed, and considerably so.

For the Tinker's Guild specifically, fewer players are customizing their markers. That sort of thing is WAY down from the heyday back in the early 2000s- partly because the modern markers you can buy off the shelf don't necessarily need customizing (a lot of what we did back in the day could be described as "upgrades to make it functional/reliable") and partly because we lost a LOT of overall participants in the sport after the '08 recession. And even nearly a decade later we're still not back up to those peak levels, and may never be again.

I've also heard from a lot of people over the years that many players no longer even want a marker that 'stands out'. They want a marker like- if not identical to- those that their favorite "pro player" or "pro team" shoots.

As for board traffic in general, almost all discussion boards like this, from paintball to sailboats to race cars, are seeing drops in participation, or at best, no significant growth, because the people are migrating over to Facebook pages.

Signing up for a Facebook group shoots the current feed straight to your phone, you don't have to any of that tedious clicking or scanning of discussion topics. It's all spoon-fed to you, and people like that. So over the years, a bunch of our regulars have left us for FB groups, and there's little or no crossover (because FB wants to keep you on their site, not help other sites advertise.)

So yeah, with fewer tinkerers posting, and thus fewer tinkering posts, people talk about the comic.

"No Halloween party this year either."

-By deliberate choice. As noted above, I was shooting for an old-style "Schlocktoberfest" type storyline. I'd hoped I could bring it all in and have it done by the 31st, but no matter how I paced it, it felt rushed.

And I'm starting to not like interrupting storylines for holidays anymore- reading back through the archives, it starts feeling jarring to have a storyline end to have a few holiday gags, or to take the guys from on the field to at home in front of a Christmas tree, then back to the field, etc.

We'll still celebrate holidays- keeping in mind the running gag with Sandy's desk, just a few months ago, which rather loudly called attention to them - but I'm going to try a little harder to incorporate them into what's currently going on, rather than suddenly just shifting gears.

"Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen."

-Wait, what? If you mean the image at the top of the page, you'll note the hat is BLUE, not red, and says "Make TWB great again".

This is what's known as a parody, and is of course meant in a humorous context.

I'll also note that the "openly abuses" part is taken way out of context, and at worst, should still be compared to his predecessor who made a Marine hold a fu*king umbrella over him during a speech, and couldn't even properly pronounce "corpsman".

"However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting."

-Sigh. The general rule of TWB- indeed, of any webcomic- is that the author can't please everybody.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, up until the very last bonus strip of the "date night" series, I had gotten no- that is, zero- complaints about the whole rom-com series. On the contrary, I had gotten more feedback, period, all of which was positive, than I'd ever gotten for any other event or storyline in TWB's 15-year history. The overall consensus was that it helped flesh out the characters more, made them seem more 'real'.

But, there was some minor grousing- like this post- about how long it'd been since we'd been on the paintball field, how long it's been since we saw Roger, etc. I'd been getting a bit tired of the rom-com bit myself, and decided to rather abruptly shift gears at the end of it.

It had indeed been all too long since we saw the shop blown up- or badly damaged, anyway- and we hadn't seen any good mayhem since either the rotary-cannon bit at the field, or possibly the jet-truck landing at Howie's.

Do I decided to throw some mayhem into the mix.

"Is that where we're at?"

-Is where where we're at? Is TWB turning into Questionable Content? No, of course not. Are you assuming that the robots will be constant antagonists, always appearing and attacking our guys, like Daleks or Cylons? Well, did we have zombies start becoming regular characters after the first Zombie Week?

No, like any other storyline in TWB, this will run it's course, and we'll move on to another one.

"What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared."


-"Disappeared"? The 3-man tourney was first mentioned back in something like 2012, and was stated as being "three weeks away". The first weekend was shortly after the announcement, and was mostly practice. The second weekend was this just-past two-year day, which as you'll recall, when it started in 2014, was expected to be busier than usual because of all the teams wanting to reserve the airball fields for practice.

Remember Pirta sarcastically saying that swamps somehow bribed Bruno to let the girls use a field, with an expired Hardee's coupon and half a pound of pocket lint?

It was mentioned several times that the tourney is happening "next weekend"- and as we saw quite clearly at the beginning of this little escapade with Roger, that it's currently very early Tuesday morning.

"I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job."

-Struggles we saw only a little over a year ago, or slightly over one day ago, in-comic time.

"I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast."

-It was. But it can't be a new players' "first day" every day, and contrary to popular thought, no, I'm not going to have the crew drag Cara out on the field. If she shows up, it'll be to bring the guys coffee, or maybe even to run a coffee van or something.

"I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting."

-It happens. I've lost track of how many comics over the years that I'd been reading for a while, and at some point changed something significant- the artist, the writing, the focus of the story, the protagonist, etc. and I eventually dropped it.

TWB isn't for everyone, and I'm not going to say or assume it is. I write and draw TWB how I like it, because that's what makes it fun and interesting to me. If you like it and want to follow along, welcome aboard. If not, no worries, there's thousands of other webcomics out there for ya.

"I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?"

-From very early on, I've had people telling me they preferred this or that storyline. Paintball players like to see more paintball games. But even here, I've had tourney players tell me they don't bother reading, because I never show real tourney play- IE, airball fields, huge amounts of paint thrown, fast action, bonus-balling, etc. I've had woodballers tell me they don't read it because it's not "real" woodsball- IE, the players are all camoed out, carrying realistic-looking mil-sim guns, tactical harnesses, etc.

If the storyline is showing Doc in the store, people will as when we'll see more of Jinx. I do a short storyline on Jinx, people will ask when we'll see more of Sandy. I show Sandy and readers will ask whatever happened to Gino. I have Gino show up at the office and then everybody asks when we're going to get back to the paintball field.

As I said above, I can't please everyone, and even at five days a week, I can't produce enough to cover everybody. I have thirty-five characters, and produce something like two hundred and sixty comics a year. That'd be an average of not quite seven and a half days per character if I tried to squeeze them all into a year (which is actually kind of a cool idea. )

Seven strips is not really enough time to get a good storyline going- this bit with Roger has barely taken any time at all, and it's already required 24 strips.

So, years ago, I stopped even trying to please everyone. It can't be done. I've heard from people that said they don't read the strip because it's "furry". Do I morph all the characters over to being human just to pander to them? I've had people tell me they liked the characters, but had no interest in paintball. Do I ditch the paintball aspect to pander to those guys too?

No. As I said, I write and draw TWB as a comic that I myself would like to read. It's not Frank Miller, but I still enjoy it.

Again, if you like it, great, glad to have you along. If you don't like it, no worries. The internet is chock full of things that are probably more up your alley.

Doc.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 4th, 2017, 8:33 am #7

I agree with your stats, but 50% over 3.5years?
That's actually 0% over the lst year.

Would TWB benefit by advertising istelf as a furry (nonjudgemental, just lack of a better word) character driven comic rather than a paintball driven one?
I'm sure Doc's insight will pivot this conversation.


I love his art and passion, but redefining his art and passion may bring greater audience to it.
I think this represents a hard truth- pb is just fraction of our lives, a fraction of the comic we identify with.

And with the dwindling pb world, a smaller fraction of our lives.

Also, I didn't bring u QC as a negative.
Rather, a compliment. It transcends artstyles and growth, and represents more of the creator than before.

Perhaps that's the key- pb dwindles in our lives, and relationships, people, economic uncertainty takes hold.

This is all meta BTW. I'm a firm believer in art for the artist's sake and world.

I suppose my "critique", if you could call it that, is in the advertising of the product rather than the art itself.
I find things in TWB now to connect on a more human level than paintball- relationships over the newest gadget or gags about them.

The big question: Is paintball the focus, or a pastime for the characters, and for us?
Are we the same group of people, maturing and finding the people around us more captivating and important than the game that brought us together?


For the record: I'm hooked, either way.
I'll always wonder how long Sandy puts up with Swampy's shit, or what she sees in him. Whether Pirta and Jake can make it work, or whether Doc's reality works for her at all?
Also for the record: I hate the Trump shit, no matter how minor it may be. But political divides have never separated me from the artists I enjoy (jeph included). I suppose I mentioned the political stuff because it stuck out compared to the rest of TWB- not because I ever thought "oh god why I better never go to that url ever again"- the introduction of subtle political advertising doesn't go unnoticed, no matter who you "root" for.


I do agree with Lord-whatever that this was a tone shift that not all are enticed by- My question is, is it better for the comic (and therefore the prospective audience) to identify with more average-life situations than the paintball themed gags?


Also, QC was not brought up as a negative comparison. Jeph has done a good job of the last year of creating and dealing with his own moral quandaries.


Last point: Art is always for the artist's sake, commercial be damned. Doc should draw and write whatever compels him to create, and the audience will adapt (by leaving and arriving). I guess my question is more a question of identity rather than "f**king doc needs to play the classics".


Has the identity changed? For better or worse is a trivial question of demographics and economics.


I suppose the main question is: Has the artist grown, and what factors facilitated this?


Sorry if none of this makes sense- literally drunk right now
"That's actually 0% over the l[a]st year."

-Well, other than the fact it takes place at a paintball store, virtually all the recent principal players (except Cara, Miki and the firedogs) are regular players, two of whom were last seen wearing their ubiquitous paintball jerseys and reading (or sleeping under) a paintball magazine.

"Would TWB benefit by advertising istelf as a furry character driven comic rather than a paintball driven one?"

-And how would we do that? There's already hardly any mention of paintball on the comic page, and all the mentions are "below the fold", so to speak, below both the comic and the navigation buttons.

"I love his art and passion, but redefining his art and passion may bring greater audience to it."

-Redefining TWB means it isn't TWB anymore. Based on the popularity of Dilbert and many TV shows based around office workers, we can assume office gags would possibly be more popular than the paintball stuff. But would it have worked if Watterson made Calvin grow up and take a data-entry job?

Maybe, maybe... but it wouldn't be Calvin & Hobbes anymore, would it?

"I suppose my "critique", if you could call it that, is in the advertising of the product rather than the art itself."

-TWB is what it is. I never intended it to be a mass-market "product". Mass-market comics are fu*king boring. I want to draw something I, myself, find interesting, and I want a readership that reads it because they find it interesting.

"I find things in TWB now to connect on a more human level than paintball- relationships over the newest gadget or gags about them."

-We've been visiting some of these characters for fifteen years now, and they can't always remain two-dimensional parodies. In those fifteen years, we had exactly one strip- one- where Doc even tried to go on a date. Adding a relationship also means adding more story opportunities, another locale to set the story of the day in, and a reason to add some backstory.

"The big question: Is paintball the focus, or a pastime for the characters, and for us?
Are we the same group of people, maturing and finding the people around us more captivating and important than the game that brought us together?"


-Single-mindedness is boring. If I had the guys doing nothing but playing paintball all day, each day, every day, not only would that eventually get boring, but some reader would eventually ask when we were going to see some of their "at home" time. Why don't we see more of the players doing something besides playing paintball?

It's the same reason I don't have the guys blowing up the shop twice a month. Do it too often, and it gets expected, boring. Staple Swampy to the ceiling every day, and it's just another ho-hum gag. Staple him to the ceiling once every three or four years, and the reader knows Swamps did something really bad to deserve it.

"I'll always wonder how long Sandy puts up with Swampy's shit, or what she sees in him."

-He's a nice guy, treats her right, and make her hit E above high C with just his tongue?

"Whether Pirta and Jake can make it work, or whether Doc's reality works for her at all?"

-I thought it was pretty obvious that Jake and Pirta are very much in love. Dealing with Doc is a different matter, but there's nothing holding back her relationship with Jake.

"I suppose I mentioned the political stuff because it stuck out compared to the rest of TWB- not because I ever thought "oh god why I better never go to that url ever again"- the introduction of subtle political advertising doesn't go unnoticed, no matter who you "root" for."

-That's why I made the formerly-red hat, blue. I like the parody aspect of it, but I suspected that perhaps a few readers might take it as an endorsement. And I have come to hate political aspects shoehorned into an otherwise-non-political comic. So much so that I dropped three comics over political endorsements this last election season.

Yes, I've had political comics in the past, and no, I don't "regret" them. But nonetheless, there will be fewer in the future- I still like to recognize holidays that most other comics ignore, like Memorial Day- but I'm making it a point to keep politics out of TWB.

Doc.
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Joined: September 29th, 2016, 1:55 am

November 4th, 2017, 6:33 pm #8

Apologies if this has been addressed before, but are any of the regulars in TWB vets? I don't remember having seen mention of it in the last year or so I've been following.
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Joined: January 27th, 2016, 1:59 pm

November 4th, 2017, 6:36 pm #9

"I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB."

-Well, except for November 14th, November 17th, November 22nd, March 3rd, May 24th, June 15th, June 20th, June 21st and June 22nd.

And, even if we go by your estimation, as others noted, that's after TWO YEARS of nothing BUT paintball. (The "day" took 2-1/2 years total, but the last few months were spent at the bar.)

"A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.


-This one actually has some merit, and we've been discussing it off and on on other boards. Yes, the community has changed, and considerably so.

For the Tinker's Guild specifically, fewer players are customizing their markers. That sort of thing is WAY down from the heyday back in the early 2000s- partly because the modern markers you can buy off the shelf don't necessarily need customizing (a lot of what we did back in the day could be described as "upgrades to make it functional/reliable") and partly because we lost a LOT of overall participants in the sport after the '08 recession. And even nearly a decade later we're still not back up to those peak levels, and may never be again.

I've also heard from a lot of people over the years that many players no longer even want a marker that 'stands out'. They want a marker like- if not identical to- those that their favorite "pro player" or "pro team" shoots.

As for board traffic in general, almost all discussion boards like this, from paintball to sailboats to race cars, are seeing drops in participation, or at best, no significant growth, because the people are migrating over to Facebook pages.

Signing up for a Facebook group shoots the current feed straight to your phone, you don't have to any of that tedious clicking or scanning of discussion topics. It's all spoon-fed to you, and people like that. So over the years, a bunch of our regulars have left us for FB groups, and there's little or no crossover (because FB wants to keep you on their site, not help other sites advertise.)

So yeah, with fewer tinkerers posting, and thus fewer tinkering posts, people talk about the comic.

"No Halloween party this year either."

-By deliberate choice. As noted above, I was shooting for an old-style "Schlocktoberfest" type storyline. I'd hoped I could bring it all in and have it done by the 31st, but no matter how I paced it, it felt rushed.

And I'm starting to not like interrupting storylines for holidays anymore- reading back through the archives, it starts feeling jarring to have a storyline end to have a few holiday gags, or to take the guys from on the field to at home in front of a Christmas tree, then back to the field, etc.

We'll still celebrate holidays- keeping in mind the running gag with Sandy's desk, just a few months ago, which rather loudly called attention to them - but I'm going to try a little harder to incorporate them into what's currently going on, rather than suddenly just shifting gears.

"Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen."

-Wait, what? If you mean the image at the top of the page, you'll note the hat is BLUE, not red, and says "Make TWB great again".

This is what's known as a parody, and is of course meant in a humorous context.

I'll also note that the "openly abuses" part is taken way out of context, and at worst, should still be compared to his predecessor who made a Marine hold a fu*king umbrella over him during a speech, and couldn't even properly pronounce "corpsman".

"However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting."

-Sigh. The general rule of TWB- indeed, of any webcomic- is that the author can't please everybody.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, up until the very last bonus strip of the "date night" series, I had gotten no- that is, zero- complaints about the whole rom-com series. On the contrary, I had gotten more feedback, period, all of which was positive, than I'd ever gotten for any other event or storyline in TWB's 15-year history. The overall consensus was that it helped flesh out the characters more, made them seem more 'real'.

But, there was some minor grousing- like this post- about how long it'd been since we'd been on the paintball field, how long it's been since we saw Roger, etc. I'd been getting a bit tired of the rom-com bit myself, and decided to rather abruptly shift gears at the end of it.

It had indeed been all too long since we saw the shop blown up- or badly damaged, anyway- and we hadn't seen any good mayhem since either the rotary-cannon bit at the field, or possibly the jet-truck landing at Howie's.

Do I decided to throw some mayhem into the mix.

"Is that where we're at?"

-Is where where we're at? Is TWB turning into Questionable Content? No, of course not. Are you assuming that the robots will be constant antagonists, always appearing and attacking our guys, like Daleks or Cylons? Well, did we have zombies start becoming regular characters after the first Zombie Week?

No, like any other storyline in TWB, this will run it's course, and we'll move on to another one.

"What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared."


-"Disappeared"? The 3-man tourney was first mentioned back in something like 2012, and was stated as being "three weeks away". The first weekend was shortly after the announcement, and was mostly practice. The second weekend was this just-past two-year day, which as you'll recall, when it started in 2014, was expected to be busier than usual because of all the teams wanting to reserve the airball fields for practice.

Remember Pirta sarcastically saying that swamps somehow bribed Bruno to let the girls use a field, with an expired Hardee's coupon and half a pound of pocket lint?

It was mentioned several times that the tourney is happening "next weekend"- and as we saw quite clearly at the beginning of this little escapade with Roger, that it's currently very early Tuesday morning.

"I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job."

-Struggles we saw only a little over a year ago, or slightly over one day ago, in-comic time.

"I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast."

-It was. But it can't be a new players' "first day" every day, and contrary to popular thought, no, I'm not going to have the crew drag Cara out on the field. If she shows up, it'll be to bring the guys coffee, or maybe even to run a coffee van or something.

"I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting."

-It happens. I've lost track of how many comics over the years that I'd been reading for a while, and at some point changed something significant- the artist, the writing, the focus of the story, the protagonist, etc. and I eventually dropped it.

TWB isn't for everyone, and I'm not going to say or assume it is. I write and draw TWB how I like it, because that's what makes it fun and interesting to me. If you like it and want to follow along, welcome aboard. If not, no worries, there's thousands of other webcomics out there for ya.

"I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?"

-From very early on, I've had people telling me they preferred this or that storyline. Paintball players like to see more paintball games. But even here, I've had tourney players tell me they don't bother reading, because I never show real tourney play- IE, airball fields, huge amounts of paint thrown, fast action, bonus-balling, etc. I've had woodballers tell me they don't read it because it's not "real" woodsball- IE, the players are all camoed out, carrying realistic-looking mil-sim guns, tactical harnesses, etc.

If the storyline is showing Doc in the store, people will as when we'll see more of Jinx. I do a short storyline on Jinx, people will ask when we'll see more of Sandy. I show Sandy and readers will ask whatever happened to Gino. I have Gino show up at the office and then everybody asks when we're going to get back to the paintball field.

As I said above, I can't please everyone, and even at five days a week, I can't produce enough to cover everybody. I have thirty-five characters, and produce something like two hundred and sixty comics a year. That'd be an average of not quite seven and a half days per character if I tried to squeeze them all into a year (which is actually kind of a cool idea. )

Seven strips is not really enough time to get a good storyline going- this bit with Roger has barely taken any time at all, and it's already required 24 strips.

So, years ago, I stopped even trying to please everyone. It can't be done. I've heard from people that said they don't read the strip because it's "furry". Do I morph all the characters over to being human just to pander to them? I've had people tell me they liked the characters, but had no interest in paintball. Do I ditch the paintball aspect to pander to those guys too?

No. As I said, I write and draw TWB as a comic that I myself would like to read. It's not Frank Miller, but I still enjoy it.

Again, if you like it, great, glad to have you along. If you don't like it, no worries. The internet is chock full of things that are probably more up your alley.

Doc.


And no, I'm not meaning this as an, "In yo FACE!!" to the OP. So please don't read into it that way.

More, it's just a show that I agree with the "you can't please everyone all the time" nature of the comment and the thoroughness that Doc put into it.

I mean, I run my own site for tabletop gaming news (the site's literallyhttp://www.tabletopgamingnews.com). I'll occasionally get comments of, "Why are you covering so much of (type) game? I don't play those types!" Or, "stop talking about so many Kickstarter projects. I don't back them!" Like, that's cool and all. I'm not saying you MUST like (type) of game or back every Kickstarter that comes around (I've only backed 4 in my entire life, which, for a gamer, is basically none). But someone else does love (type) game and they are excited about some Kickstarter or another. And I'll regularly get messages from game creators going, "Thank you for posting about my game!" It's a nice warmfuzzy.

And so I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Doc for the work he puts into the comic and state that while, no, I don't always think whatever storyline is going on is the greatest the comic's ever had, I do always find it worth coming back to every day. And I'm certainly glad to see that Doc has thought about such and /does/ try and spread things out. Wacky comedy, gag-a-day stuff, the rom-com stuff was new and different, trying to rotate in different characters where appropriate, it's all good. I mean, if I had my druthers, it'd be non-stop daily gags with Bandit and Rainy. But I know not everyone would want that, and hell, I'd probably get tired of it after a while. So it's the changing nature of the strip that I enjoy.

Ah well, this was originally just going to be a n/t post... and then just the .gif... and we see what happened here.

TL:DR - Thanks for the work you put into the strip, Doc. I know I speak for many when I say, "We appreciate all you do."
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Joined: September 29th, 2016, 1:55 am

November 4th, 2017, 6:40 pm #10

"I think tomorrow will be the official one year mark since a paintball game, gun or player has appeared in TWB."

-Well, except for November 14th, November 17th, November 22nd, March 3rd, May 24th, June 15th, June 20th, June 21st and June 22nd.

And, even if we go by your estimation, as others noted, that's after TWO YEARS of nothing BUT paintball. (The "day" took 2-1/2 years total, but the last few months were spent at the bar.)

"A total of seven ads selling or searching for pb gear have been posted this year, down from about 14 last year.
The community has changed as well, with very little pb posts in the forum.


-This one actually has some merit, and we've been discussing it off and on on other boards. Yes, the community has changed, and considerably so.

For the Tinker's Guild specifically, fewer players are customizing their markers. That sort of thing is WAY down from the heyday back in the early 2000s- partly because the modern markers you can buy off the shelf don't necessarily need customizing (a lot of what we did back in the day could be described as "upgrades to make it functional/reliable") and partly because we lost a LOT of overall participants in the sport after the '08 recession. And even nearly a decade later we're still not back up to those peak levels, and may never be again.

I've also heard from a lot of people over the years that many players no longer even want a marker that 'stands out'. They want a marker like- if not identical to- those that their favorite "pro player" or "pro team" shoots.

As for board traffic in general, almost all discussion boards like this, from paintball to sailboats to race cars, are seeing drops in participation, or at best, no significant growth, because the people are migrating over to Facebook pages.

Signing up for a Facebook group shoots the current feed straight to your phone, you don't have to any of that tedious clicking or scanning of discussion topics. It's all spoon-fed to you, and people like that. So over the years, a bunch of our regulars have left us for FB groups, and there's little or no crossover (because FB wants to keep you on their site, not help other sites advertise.)

So yeah, with fewer tinkerers posting, and thus fewer tinkering posts, people talk about the comic.

"No Halloween party this year either."

-By deliberate choice. As noted above, I was shooting for an old-style "Schlocktoberfest" type storyline. I'd hoped I could bring it all in and have it done by the 31st, but no matter how I paced it, it felt rushed.

And I'm starting to not like interrupting storylines for holidays anymore- reading back through the archives, it starts feeling jarring to have a storyline end to have a few holiday gags, or to take the guys from on the field to at home in front of a Christmas tree, then back to the field, etc.

We'll still celebrate holidays- keeping in mind the running gag with Sandy's desk, just a few months ago, which rather loudly called attention to them - but I'm going to try a little harder to incorporate them into what's currently going on, rather than suddenly just shifting gears.

"Also, for most of the year a character who was used in many comics honoring troops- fallen, hurt, and whole- has worn the meme cap of a celebrity who openly abuses Gold Star Families- families of the fallen."

-Wait, what? If you mean the image at the top of the page, you'll note the hat is BLUE, not red, and says "Make TWB great again".

This is what's known as a parody, and is of course meant in a humorous context.

I'll also note that the "openly abuses" part is taken way out of context, and at worst, should still be compared to his predecessor who made a Marine hold a fu*king umbrella over him during a speech, and couldn't even properly pronounce "corpsman".

"However, TWB now better resembles Questionable Content- even the robot fighting."

-Sigh. The general rule of TWB- indeed, of any webcomic- is that the author can't please everybody.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, up until the very last bonus strip of the "date night" series, I had gotten no- that is, zero- complaints about the whole rom-com series. On the contrary, I had gotten more feedback, period, all of which was positive, than I'd ever gotten for any other event or storyline in TWB's 15-year history. The overall consensus was that it helped flesh out the characters more, made them seem more 'real'.

But, there was some minor grousing- like this post- about how long it'd been since we'd been on the paintball field, how long it's been since we saw Roger, etc. I'd been getting a bit tired of the rom-com bit myself, and decided to rather abruptly shift gears at the end of it.

It had indeed been all too long since we saw the shop blown up- or badly damaged, anyway- and we hadn't seen any good mayhem since either the rotary-cannon bit at the field, or possibly the jet-truck landing at Howie's.

Do I decided to throw some mayhem into the mix.

"Is that where we're at?"

-Is where where we're at? Is TWB turning into Questionable Content? No, of course not. Are you assuming that the robots will be constant antagonists, always appearing and attacking our guys, like Daleks or Cylons? Well, did we have zombies start becoming regular characters after the first Zombie Week?

No, like any other storyline in TWB, this will run it's course, and we'll move on to another one.

"What should we expect to not return?
I remember being interested in the tournament arc, but it disappeared."


-"Disappeared"? The 3-man tourney was first mentioned back in something like 2012, and was stated as being "three weeks away". The first weekend was shortly after the announcement, and was mostly practice. The second weekend was this just-past two-year day, which as you'll recall, when it started in 2014, was expected to be busier than usual because of all the teams wanting to reserve the airball fields for practice.

Remember Pirta sarcastically saying that swamps somehow bribed Bruno to let the girls use a field, with an expired Hardee's coupon and half a pound of pocket lint?

It was mentioned several times that the tourney is happening "next weekend"- and as we saw quite clearly at the beginning of this little escapade with Roger, that it's currently very early Tuesday morning.

"I remember Red's struggles as a field owner- something I enjoyed as I witnessed it in real life at my old job."

-Struggles we saw only a little over a year ago, or slightly over one day ago, in-comic time.

"I remember Pirta's first day playing ball- that was a blast."

-It was. But it can't be a new players' "first day" every day, and contrary to popular thought, no, I'm not going to have the crew drag Cara out on the field. If she shows up, it'll be to bring the guys coffee, or maybe even to run a coffee van or something.

"I guess I realized I've been checking TWB every MWF out of habit, but lately I've been forgetting."

-It happens. I've lost track of how many comics over the years that I'd been reading for a while, and at some point changed something significant- the artist, the writing, the focus of the story, the protagonist, etc. and I eventually dropped it.

TWB isn't for everyone, and I'm not going to say or assume it is. I write and draw TWB how I like it, because that's what makes it fun and interesting to me. If you like it and want to follow along, welcome aboard. If not, no worries, there's thousands of other webcomics out there for ya.

"I'm not looking for an argument, but rather thoughtful reflections on the past year. Thoughts?"

-From very early on, I've had people telling me they preferred this or that storyline. Paintball players like to see more paintball games. But even here, I've had tourney players tell me they don't bother reading, because I never show real tourney play- IE, airball fields, huge amounts of paint thrown, fast action, bonus-balling, etc. I've had woodballers tell me they don't read it because it's not "real" woodsball- IE, the players are all camoed out, carrying realistic-looking mil-sim guns, tactical harnesses, etc.

If the storyline is showing Doc in the store, people will as when we'll see more of Jinx. I do a short storyline on Jinx, people will ask when we'll see more of Sandy. I show Sandy and readers will ask whatever happened to Gino. I have Gino show up at the office and then everybody asks when we're going to get back to the paintball field.

As I said above, I can't please everyone, and even at five days a week, I can't produce enough to cover everybody. I have thirty-five characters, and produce something like two hundred and sixty comics a year. That'd be an average of not quite seven and a half days per character if I tried to squeeze them all into a year (which is actually kind of a cool idea. )

Seven strips is not really enough time to get a good storyline going- this bit with Roger has barely taken any time at all, and it's already required 24 strips.

So, years ago, I stopped even trying to please everyone. It can't be done. I've heard from people that said they don't read the strip because it's "furry". Do I morph all the characters over to being human just to pander to them? I've had people tell me they liked the characters, but had no interest in paintball. Do I ditch the paintball aspect to pander to those guys too?

No. As I said, I write and draw TWB as a comic that I myself would like to read. It's not Frank Miller, but I still enjoy it.

Again, if you like it, great, glad to have you along. If you don't like it, no worries. The internet is chock full of things that are probably more up your alley.

Doc.
I used to play every weekend. Then I moved to a place with no field to speak of, and no active teams. The move also involved a new job, so for at least a couple of years I was too busy putting out fires to hunt for a new field/group to play with. After that long, I kind of drifted away from the sport (and also got older; rolling around on rocks and diving for cover leaves bruises I could ignore in my ahem younger days, but not now). There are fields and players locally now, but my participation is mostly listening to the discussion of what happened at the grounds last week.

My point is people change; TWB does and should too.
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