Thanks for coming, now go someplace else

By Shamus
on Apr 24, 2008
Filed under:
Tabletop Games

Several worthy RPG links that I’ve sat on for too long:

  • Mr. Halbert has a post talking about how he ran the Mordan campaign for his D&D group. This is the first time anyone has run a game based on what I’ve written. It sounds like it went well. Even better is that it sounds like he got to explore some of the ideas that I overlooked or never developed.
  • Chatty DM asks some profound questions about potions.
  • It might be a bit of a stretch to file this under “roleplaying”, but Ctrl-Alt-Del webcomic just completed a communal “choose your own adventure” story, where readers got to vote on the actions of the protagonist along the way. The story is complete now, and I think it turned out wonderfully. Aside from the art (which was fantastic) the story managed to be both humorous and compelling. I always like Ctrl-Alt-Del, but this series was exceptional. The series begins here.

EDIT: Oh come on. Some people will fight about anything. I don’t know what the deal is, but someone people can’t stand the fact that others hate their beloved comics, or vice-versa. It’s like we can’t be happy until the entire net is a morass of groupthink where everyone precisely agrees on what things suck and to what degree. This is common in everything from operating systems to movies, but when it comes to webcomics people take it really seriously.

I’m nuking some of the idiocy and closing the thread.

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20201Feeling chatty? There are 41 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. Smileyfax says:

    I am highly skeptical when I see the words ‘fantastic art’, ‘humorous’, and ‘compelling’ used in conjunction with Ctrl-Alt-Del.

    I suppose I’ll give it a read, though. I have nothing to lose but half an hour and my appetite.

  2. Bizarre says:

    Seconding SmileyFax’s comment. I assumed the words “fantastic art” (heck, even the word “art”) being used in conjunction with Buckley’s work would cause some sort of small explosion or space-time anomaly.

  3. JFargo says:

    I thought this Ctrl-Alt-Del arch was fantastic, if a little choppy, right at the end…

  4. krellen says:

    I’ve never gotten the CAD hate. It’s far better than Penny Arcade; at least it pretends at plot and does not depend on being completely up-to-date on the latest video game developments for its humour.

  5. Mari says:

    Good lord. Is there anywhere left I can go on the intrawebz where I don’t have to view the CAD vs Penny Arcade debate?

    And yeah, I rolled at ChattyDM’s potions blog a few days ago. Definitely worth the read.

  6. Roleplay says:

    …I’ve unsubscribed from all webcomics other than XKCD. CAD and PA both have become “browse to them when I want to read them” status.

  7. Hal says:

    Heh, thanks for the link Shamus. I always appreciate the burst of traffic (not that I’ve been a prolific writer lately).

    I tried my best to be true to your material without railroading my guys into the same path your players followed. In some ways, I did have to egg them along, though. I think they were less interested in the story and more interested in dungeon-crawling, so most story-oriented puzzles (such as the mine riots or the curse of the mountain) never received more than a cursory 30 second discussion.

    I’d be happy to go into the differences of the campaign and how things ended up turning out if you’re curious. They started at level 1 and had a much different party makeup, so there were a few things from your campaign I had to mess with so that they didn’t get overwhelmed.

  8. Shamus says:

    Hal: Yes, I’d love a run down of what happened. I think other people would to.

  9. Shamus says:

    I had no idea there was any “rivalry” between PA and CAD, or that CAD had anti-fans.

    Interesting.

  10. Smileyfax says:

    This review brings up a lot of CAD’s faults, if you’re interested (warning: crude language ahoy!): http://badwebcomics.blogspot.com/2007/06/ctrlaltdel.html

    The Choose Your Own Adventure story was…alright. I giggled twice. It certainly wasn’t as offensively stupid as the storylines were when I stopped reading it.

  11. Shamus says:

    I’ve seen “your webcomic is bad”. They hate ALL webcomics, so why should I bother myself reading what it has to say about any one in particular? It would be like reading gadget reviews from the Unibomber, or pornographic movie reviews from Jerry Falwell.

    Badwebcomics is a great source of entertainment if you always wanted to hang out with the bullies and excoriate everyone else’s shortcomings, but I wouldn’t trust it as a metric of webcomic quality.

    /rant

  12. Locri says:

    Similarly, I’ve never understood the PA or CAD hate. They both can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, but I enjoy both comics quite a bit. Since I use RSS feeds anyway, it’s not like I’m spending a lot of effort checking when they are up to date.

  13. If getting flooded by PA traffic is called getting Wangned… How should we call a Twenty Sided flood? A Critical hit?

    Thanks for the linky love.

    @Mari: Thanks! That’s a nice thing to say!

    I actually expected to be heckled for that post :)

  14. Hal says:

    Well Shamus, if you think other people want to read it, I’ll turn it into a blog post, but it might take a while to summarize, since we spent nearly 15 weeks playing. I’ll let you know when it’s done. :-)

  15. Morzas says:

    I’m one of the B^Uckley haters. He showed his penis to an underaged girl, his artwork is copy-pasted and his writing is just plain *bad*.

  16. SiliconScout says:

    meh I read both at times either is retarded.

    the last choose your own adventure idea was pretty damn cool though.

    I don’t get the hate either, I guess too many people unhappy with something in their lives they feel unable to change and thus lash out.

    I dunno, a web comic (ANY web comic) is simply not important enough for me to get upset over it. I do find those who do amusing though… call be a bastard I guess.

    =)

  17. SiliconScout says:

    Also if he showed his wang to a minor why hasn’t be been arrested and done some time?

    Just a thought.

  18. Stu says:

    I love Penny Arcade for it’s cutting honesty and sharp wit. CAD is mostly tolerable. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I lose about an hour to a continually growing plethora of webcomics that collect in my bookmarks…(the same way cholesterol collects in arteries)

    Some webcomics needs an update though… *cough* Chainmail Bikini *cough*

    ;-)

  19. Rebby says:

    Even though it was a choose your own adventure, it would be interesting to see where the other choices would have gone perhaps in a scripted format or something… seeing how your choices change the outcome is pretty interesting I think.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’ve actually lost a bit of respect for you based on your opinions of CAD. How anybody can stand Tim B^Uckley’s lazy copy-paste “art” (complete with Google image search backgrounds) and wall-of-text writing that fails utterly to be humorous at all I’ll never know. Hell, at least Penny Arcade doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  21. Shawn says:

    You can put me in the “Can’t Stand CAD” camp.

  22. Chatty’s potion post is awesome. Two thumbs up!

  23. Shamus says:

    “Lost respect for me”? Odd.

    Look, everyone is faulting the thing for copy & paste. If that’s a crime, then what about all-stick-figure XKCD? What about poorly drawn but clever stuff like Spamusement? Geeze, what about a guy who just puts word bubbles over screenshots? I’m the poster boy for web cartoonists without any drawing ability. (Notwithstanding my partnership with Shawn, of course.)

    Blah. I just put in a couple of rambling paragraphs and realized I need to turn this into a post.

    Short version: I can understand not liking a particular comic. What I can’t fathom is the anger.

  24. Ozy says:

    I’m not a scholar of Internet Lore, but this is what the skill I do have managed to get me on the particular knowledge check of why some people don’t like Tim Buckley:

    He uses uncredited photos run through filters for his backgrounds. Examples: 1 2

    He vandalizes Wikipedia, including his own page anonymously, in which case he then then poses as CAD fans admonishing the vandalism. Source.

  25. Denzine says:

    Pedantry: The “g” in “geeze” makes a “g” sound, not a “j” sound. Think of “geese” and “geezer”- You want “jeez” there.

    Now, how about this? Be warned, part of it isn’t safe. For anyone.

  26. Alrenous says:

    I used to read CAD, even though it’s pretty obviously a rip off of PA, but it rips off things I like about PA, so yeah.

    I heard multiple times from multiple sources about Tim Buckley being a jerk. Being the internet, I didn’t really know if I had the whole story or if it’s reliable, etc… Though, one of the sources was PvP. After about a week and a half I found I didn’t enjoy reading the comic anymore, so I stopped.

    I don’t really understand the anger either, but it does look like Buckley’s a jerk. That may explain it. On the other hand they keep complaining about his art. If you don’t like his art, then don’t read his comic. (I do like the art.)

    Edit: My wavatar suits me amazingly well. I was actually wearing nearly that expression while typing this.

  27. Morzas says:

    Also if he showed his wang to a minor why hasn’t be been arrested and done some time?

    Just a thought.

    Because there isn’t enough evidence to put him behind bars. He deleted every single post that contained the photos, banned every single person that posted about it on his forums, INCLUDING the people trying to defend him. If he didn’t do it, he wouldn’t have gone completely fucking ballistic and tried to destroy every shed of evidence.

    Also, I cannot understand why someone would like B^Uckley’s art. Take a look at this page and tell me the three things there that are not like the others. I’ll give you a hint: B^U

  28. Aufero says:

    I’ve never liked CAD much, (It’s nothing to do with the art, I just don’t think it’s funny most of the time) but then, there are plenty of other comics I think are boring or pointless. Not reading them seems to take care of the problem on my end.

  29. Ian says:

    Hate to break it to you, Morzas, but Internet forums definitely wouldn’t hold up in court of law. Assuming any of that whole spiel is true (I don’t really pay attention to any of it since it’s no business of mine or anyone else’s), deleting the posts wouldn’t have done anything.

  30. karrde says:

    Strange. I knew next to nothing about the author of CAD before this….

    For those commenting about the story-arc of the most recent CAD story, the complete “choose-your-own-adventure” tree was posted in the CAD forums. Or, something that claimed to be the complete tree…

  31. Nick Pitino says:

    Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how butthurt people get over stuff on the internet.

    Personally, I do read CAD, it’s not great but it’s amusing enough to look at now and again.

    As for the author? Like Ian said, ranting on forums means nothing, and even if the guy really is a dick in general that doesn’t really matter to me because I never plan on talking to him anyway.

  32. Christian Groff says:

    I happen to enjoy the Choose Your Own Adventure stories again after reading a humorous thread reading through one called “War of the Evil Power Master.” It mocked every word the book had printed and every illustration, including one where the Martian sidekick is helping up his boss and the illustration is… pretty R-rated, to say the least. :)

    I got inspired to do similar stuff, and bought the first eight books in the series. To hear that someone is writing their own CYOA brings a smile to my face.

  33. DaveJ says:

    CAD is is terrible web comic. If the guy could tell a joke or even identify one then I might be able to like it.

    XKCD is also boring, but I did like this one: http://xkcd.com/272/ my dad does that kind of thing all the time.

    Actually most webcomics are pretty bad.

  34. Oh course, we killed him in the end.

    (Sad)

    Katt
    http://www.RabidPurseSquirrels.com

  35. Yggur says:

    I’ve always found CAD quite insipid, but i’ve never understood the hate either. I must not hang around the right (wrong?) forums! Also, why is he always referred to as B^Uckley?

    Anyway, Shamus, i’ve being reading your blog for a while now and i make it my first port of call when i get into work :) I especially enjoy your game reviews/rants! Keep up the good work!

  36. ShinGermanRobo says:

    I’ve seen “your webcomic is bad”. They hate ALL webcomics, so why should I bother myself reading what it has to say about any one in particular?

    That’s not right. They do have webcomics that they like, although you have to scavenge through the comments for it which is really just a sea of flames.

    I remember that they liked Girly and some others which I didn’t bother to remember. As a general rule, webcomic that caters to a certain niche are unliked, Penny Arcade is the only gaming webcomic which they find acceptable.

  37. Ian says:

    Yggur: The B^U bit pokes fun at how Mr. Buckley draws his characters’ faces. I find it amusing. :)

  38. JohnDoe says:

    I’ve seen “your webcomic is bad”. They hate ALL webcomics, so why should I bother myself reading what it has to say about any one in particular?

    As SGR said above, they don’t hate all webcomics, just bad ones. CAD has three main faults.

    1) Using way too many words instead of using the visual medium in which he’s working. I’m not opposed to books, and comics like Order of the Stick or Achewod can be wordy and funny, but CAD uses way too many for its simple jokes.
    2) The art is lazy and cut-and-paste most times, with backgrounds taken straight from google image search several times. Yes, you made a copy-and-paste comic, (which I enjoyed for the most part), but that was photos, not art. If he’s going to draw, He should try drawing each strip. He did have a fair go at new art during the CYOA, I’ll give him that.
    3) Arrogance – Any criticism at all that is posted on the CAD forums results in a ban. Any outside sources giving good advice on how to improve (see Yahtzee’s blog, scroll down to You Cad) get brushed off as being bad criticism.

  39. krellen says:

    Yahtzee, in this case, is actually wrong. CAD is superior to Penny Arcade in this example for one simple, but overlooked reason:

    CAD has humour regardless of who is viewing it.
    Penny Arcade is only funny if you know what they’re talking about.

    This is Penny Arcade’s biggest failing, and it’s something reflected by what I hear a lot from their fans: “Yeah, you have to read their news posts to get some things.” I can just read CAD’s comics and never have to look at Buckley’s posts. I cannot read PA’s comics without the posts alongside them to give context. I can get linked to a PA and laugh at it, because the link is relevant to an ongoing conversation, but taken alone, PA has no value.

    But they’re not even the same comic; comparisons are rather unfair. PA’s comics are great to add humour and critique to an ongoing discussion, which is how Tycho and Gabe use them. CAD is a comic in itself, separated from news and personalities. You can have CAD without Buckley (and many people prefer it that way); you can’t have PA without Tycho and Gabe (not that its fans would want to).

  40. Silfir says:

    I’ve never managed to get into CAD. The characters have exactly one facial expression, which is a mix of stoner and zombie. (A stoned zombie?)

    Shamus, it’s true that you don’t expect good art from the likes of xkcd, but CAD doesn’t belong in that group. It isn’t a comic where the art is “bad” or “unprofessional” intentionally. Unless, of course, Buckley uses that one facial expression exclusively as some sort of artistic challenge.

    krellen, your reasoning is flawed in one aspect: CAD does not have humour regardless of who is viewing it. For instance, I find it tremendously unfunny, but I do find Penny Arcade funny, even though I have to read news posts sometimes to understand it. Even though the kind of humour CAD employs may be less dependant on additional information, it’s not “superior humour”, and doesn’t make CAD “superior” to Penny Arcade. (Which you kind of acknowledged, later on, saying that a comparison is unfair. Fair enough.)

    Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad does not hate webcomics as in all webcomics or the concept of webcomics itself. It is criticism without any shred of nice. It does raise some good points within, and I can fully get behind its opinion on Ctrl Alt Del. Their reasoning behind the lack of nice is that many webcomic creators tend to react badly or not at all even to the nice criticism, and they basically want to point out their flaws in a way that might make them hear it.

  41. Shamus says:

    The “Bad Webcomics” site is just angry and mean. When I ran into the site (months ago) it was picking on some webcomic I’d never heard of – probably done by a teenager. Some webcomic artists are just young people trying to learn the medium. Picking on them is like going into someone’s house, pointing at the art on the fridge, and screaming at the kid, “THIS SUCKS! KILL YOURSELF!!!” As if people shouldn’t post webcomics until they attain some sort of professional polish. The site attempts to entertain by heaping vitriol on people as they try to create something.

    PA is the king of webcomics now, but it was pretty weak when it started. The craft takes time to learn. I’ll never be more than a comic vandal on my own, but I have tremendous respect for anyone who can step up and attempt to write and draw something on a regular basis. Heck, even my screencap comic was a good bit of work. Hammering out ten paragraphs of rage and bile because a webcomic isn’t to your liking shows that perhaps the author doesn’t hate webcomics – maybe they just hate people.

    EDIT: Okay, this thread is done. Let’s go do something else.