Diecast #41: The Novelist, Aunty Paladin, Patreon

By Shamus
on Jan 8, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

86 comments


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Hosts: Rutskarn, Josh, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:

0:00 Josh has Jellybeans.

Aside: Last year I watched Candyman: The David Klein Story. (That link goes to Hulu where you can watch it for free.) It’s interesting and a little sad. It also made me want to eat candy, so watch out for that.

2:00 Rutskarn is playing the Saints Row 4.

We talk about the series, compare the humor to GTA, discuss the the “romance scenes”, and talk about choice and Mass Effect.

17:30 Chris is playing Continue?9876543421.

28:00 Shamus is playing The Novelist.

This is a game all about balancing creative work with family life. Like I said in the show: I found a lot of meaning in the game, but it depicts a problem we spent years dealing with. I’m curious if it holds the same appeal for someone that hasn’t been through this.

42:00 Josh is playing the Ys Chronicles.

46:00 Rutskarn recaps the Aunty Paladins.

Rutskarn spins us a yarn of how the stream went and shares some of the highlights.

1:02:00 Chris talks about his Patreon campaign.


Link (YouTube)

I find this incredibly encouraging. I might give this topic a post of its own, but the short version is that by sponsoring a show directly, the money ends up in the hands of the people who make the content we love. Compare this to the old model where:

  1. Acme buys advertising space on YouTube.
  2. The ad runs on a video made by Bob.
  3. Carla clicks on the ad. (Probably by accident, if my own surfing habits are any indication.)
  4. YouTube gives a tiny little bit of the advertising money to Bob.

And all too often:

  1. Actually, some jackass copyright troll flags Bob as producing infringing content and siphons off some of his revenue while Bob spends time disputing the claim instead of making more content.

Acme can’t tell where their ad shows up or who will see it in this madcap YouTube world. YouTube doesn’t care about the quality of Bob’s show as long as people watch it. Bob doesn’t care about Acme as long as he gets his money. When Carla clicks, it’s not because she likes Bob’s show, but because she’s ostensibly interested in Acme. The parties all have goals that are either completely unrelated or even in conflict.

It’s an awful system, and the only reason we’re using it is because we don’t have anything better. Services like Subbable and Patreon might be a way to route around this madness.

Like Errant Signal? Want to encourage it? You can support it here. And as Chris is quick to say: The show will continue whether you give or not. Giving is your way of saying, “Dear internet. Make more stuff like this.”

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:


202020206There are now 86 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Rutskarn spins us a yarn of how the stream went and shares some of the highlights.”

    Does he also say why he forgot to save the stream for more than a week?

    • Shamus says:

      He does a very passive-aggressive I-told-you-so to the (unnamed) person who caused the debacle.

      • Bryan says:

        Someone said during one of the first few videos that they had set up twitch to automatically mark everything as a “highlight”, but it seems that either that didn’t happen, or something broke it.

        I blame that Thin Black Duke elf … thing … that Necrohazard took out.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    He or she?What is this he you are talking about?The boss in saints row is a woman.Everyone knows that.

  3. DrMcCoy says:

    (That link goes to Hulu where you can watch it for free.)”

    Nope: “Sorry, currently our video library can only be watched from within the United States”.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Let me introduce you to the wonder that is hotspot shield.With it,youll never have to worry about such nonsense as country locked content.

      • Rili says:

        Their rhetoric is already feeling suspect, couple that with the allegations of malware and adware and I am reluctant to give hotspot shield my trust.

        But now that you brought up VPN solutions I kinda want one. Is this the best we got?

      • DrMcCoy says:

        Sure, I could use a VPN service (not Hotspot Shield though, since I’m a GNU/Linux user), or any other means of tunneling through an US-based proxy, but I find the idea of tunneling huge amounts of data just to watch a damn movie to be completely abhorrent. The solutions shouldn’t be circumventing those restrictions, the solution should be getting rid of those restrictions completely.

        • ET says:

          I’d love to get rid of restrictions like that, but they’re not put in place just so companies can act like evil jerks.
          The problem is that you’ve got different income levels for people, and exchange rates for their money, in different countries.
          Say for example, you want to sell a movie both in the US and in Ukraine.
          Ukraine’s economy is doing fairly well, but not nearly as well as the US.
          If you don’t lock your product to different regions allowing sale at different prices, you’d either have Americans buying your movie for a fraction of the cost, just by getting it shipped from Ukraine, or you’d have everybody in Ukraine not buying it, because it costs something like 5X-20X the amount of pocket money for a customer, taking exchange rates/the economies into account.

          Advertisement-paid stuff, like some online videos, are basically bound by the same constraints, but more indirectly.
          Basically, a fraction of the eyeballs who view your ads will purchase something, so that company running the ads pays you based on that fraction.

          Hmm…
          Actually, for ad-supported stuff like videos, they shouldn’t need to region-lock the content at all, since the ads would be selling either region-locked digital media, or physical goods, which have more of a precedent/acceptance for different prices in different regions anyways.
          (Or you buy it cheap in China, but then have to pay shipping anyways, so it works out about the same as just buying it in the US.)

          OK, screw these regional restrictions!
          If your content is supported by ads, you shouldn’t be region-locking it.

        • Lalaland says:

          Yup but that would require international agreement on what copyright is, how long it should run for and what constitutes ‘fair use’. As the debate on UN control of the internet has shown not everyone believes in ‘universal’ rights such as free speech let alone whether I can use a portion of your IP to make a wider point in mine.

        • Tse says:

          Well, there is the way most people in less privileged countries do it…
          I find Hulu’s attitude interesting: you pirate more, so we won’t give it to you for free!

  4. Nyctef says:

    I don’t have jelly beans and I must cry.

  5. Sean Riley says:

    Shamus, I’m disappointed that not once did you agree with Chris in getting back on topic with, “Please, Continue.”

  6. Melfina the Blue says:

    Hey, Shamus, just a heads-up. The comment counter on the front page is saying this post has 7 comments, but when I go to the article it has none. Figured you should know in case it’s a bug.

    Also, good luck Chris with the show. If I had cash, I’d toss some your way. I can knit you socks, but I don’t think that’d help somehow.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,its a weird bug that Ive noticed these last few weeks.It sorts itself after a while though(except that one time when it ate all the comments for a while).

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The return to the twomb of horrors you guys did also showed how crap the creators of those old modules were at making ecnounters with enemies that have varied abilities,eg mages.Spoony explained that long time ago.

  8. Mersadeon says:

    The entire Aunty Paladin footage is GONE? Darn, I was looking forward to watching that.

    Also, making horror campaigns is something I really like. Thanks, Rutskarn – for Hobospy. That worked out really well as a Horror/Comedy/Creepathon! :P

    • PlasmaPony says:

      I know, I’m disappointed too. I missed the Sailor Moon RPG and really wanted to check that. I also wanted to rewatch the Kobolds Ate the Maids game since that was priceless. Oh well, it shall always live on in our hearts.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yep, it seemed to be archived in some short-term form. I was out on job training with no internet access the entire week Aunty was running, came back and the videos were there. I was hoping to catch up on it slowly over probably a month or so, managed to see the Greater Ork Gods, the Vampire Maid thing and the first part of the Return to the ToH, then I noticed the videos were disappearing but hand no time to watch them all. Too bad, that horror game that Rutskarn mentions sounds amazing.

    • Bryan says:

      Well, the first 3-hour session is still there. But yeah, everything else is gone. :-/

  9. NonEuclideanCat says:

    Here’s a short review of The Novelist from a guy who streamed the whole thing in 1 3-hour sitting. In another question he mentioned that he used to be a freelance writer.

    http://ask.fm/SkippyGranola/answer/105056054077

  10. Lilith Novale says:

    Hey Ruts, I saved the first 30 minutes of each game in the first day (up to malice). Do you want me to upload these somewhere?

  11. Steve C says:

    I don’t know US tax code but you should be able to write off most of the stuff you are buying/using as business expenses against that possibly non-fictional Patreon income. If not you could set yourself up as a limited company. That is fairly simple and cheap with a ton of online guides to walk you through it. Then income goes to the company, expenses are tabulated and the remainder (if any) is paid out in salary to yourself (to avoid the hassle of dealing with corp income tax).

    I’m just saying that if you doing a little side business then the costs should be incurred on pre-taxed income, not post taxed income.

  12. Bryan says:

    On memory management — note that the same kind of existential problems still exist in C and C++. Because when you call free(), or you delete a pointer, the memory doesn’t get released to the OS right away, because it came from the OS in larger chunks than the chunk that you’re freeing.

    Most malloc/free implementations will cache the memory that you free and return it when you do another allocation of the same (or a similar) size.

    So the data that you had in that memory will, definitely, stay around for a lot longer after you free it. And actually, even after the page *does* get returned to the OS, it doesn’t get overwritten immediately, either, until the OS decides to give it to another program. (Or use it itself.)

    (And even after GC happens in javascript or java, the same sort of thing happens; until the memory is released to the OS, or returned to the program for another allocation, the data isn’t overwritten. So even garbage collection won’t kill the sprites in a real computer…)

  13. TheLurkerAbove says:

    Listening to everyone stumble over the right titles for Saints Row the Third and Saints Row 4 was fantastic. Having just finished SR4 I liked a lot of the same stuff they did, but I was not bothered by the stuff they were: the de-powered segments didn’t overstay their welcome with me, and always had a lampshade hung on them and having the instant notoriety wipe Golden CIDs to kill made the enemies spawning habits acceptable.

    Hey Kenzie, you wanna ****?

    • IFS says:

      I had the same feeling with SR4, it was fantastic overall. The only depowered segment I didn’t like was the MGS parody, because it was way too easy to instafail because you didn’t follow instructions exactly and lacked any checkpoints through the whole sneaking section. The jokes get old quickly and having that segment break right at the end forced me to replay it which further soured me against it. Other than that one segment though I loved the game, I do wish there was more reason to use/upgrade vehicles though that was one of my favorite parts of 3.

  14. Nick says:

    On void pointers for a moment:
    void * means a pointer to something that I’m not specifying the type of – literally a pointer to a bit of memory.
    A void pointer pointing to 0 could be argued to void as well of course :P

    • ET says:

      Am I rare in that I just refer to them as “null pointers”?
      I know that technically anything outside your memory space is help off-limits to you by the operating system, and would cause a crash or other error.
      However, in my experience, most of the time, those pointers were broken because you always set stuff to 0 (aka “null”) because the older C stuff wasn’t guaranteed to zero things for you upon allocation, and then you accidentally referenced the value of something when setting a pointer, instead of using another pointer to it, or you forgot that you set your pointer to something other than 0.
      i.e. Forgot to make it actually point to something.

      • Mersadeon says:

        I heard it that way, too. My Prof. always called them “null pointers”. On the other hand, that might be archaic – the terminology of Informatics moves so fast and he’s from the times where people had to manually scrape actual bugs out of “computers”.

        • Bryan says:

          But what about a pointer to a void pointer? (void** — which is not actually a void pointer, of course… which only makes sense after you think about it for quite a while.) I suspect this is what Chris meant at one point.

          And then there are the machines where NULL is not “all zero bits in memory in the variable”, but still always compares equal to a “constant zero in pointer context”, because the C standard requires the last part but not the first…

  15. So Chris, you are suggestion a Spoiler Warning “bucket” ? :P

    • MichaelGC says:

      If he wasn’t then he should be!

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Haha I was thinking that during the video.

        When Shamus said he couldn’t justify charging for so few videos, I was like “shoot I would pay for spoiler warning and the Diecast”, but then I realized the money would need to be split between all of them somehow.

  16. W0lfNord says:

    Ughhhh… Damnation!
    I’ll bug the “unnameable person” to see if he has the videos on his hard drive. I apologize but not really since i’m not at fault. I believe all of us can agree that Rutskarn-Senpai is at fault!

  17. DGM says:

    @Shamus

    You’ve got more Evony-style ads showing up. Check for “League of Angels.”

  18. Bubble181 says:

    Can’t determine whether it’s a typo or not, but the name of the game Chris is playing is missing a number.

  19. ET says:

    Regarding the “multiple-person pools” type idea for Patreon, I think that that type of thing would be better off being handled by a service dedicated to that task.
    Something like Kiva, but focusing on payments to creative works, instead of microloans.
    Like, you pick several projects from their website, pick a monthly/yearly/one-time amount of money, and then that gets auto-split between each project you’re funding.
    That way, the people like Chris get to focus on making their content, and don’t have to worry about grouping themselves with other projects.
    i.e. Who do I partner with?
    Would we get more money by partnering with groups of similar fields/interests, or with different ones?
    Do any companies exist like this?

  20. Regarding the social taboo about money. While it is a taboo (or at least, seen as rude) to boast about how much one makes, the other side of the coin is that it then makes it more difficult for those starting out to know what is (for lack of a better term) “the industry standard.” Not to mention the “thou shalt not talk about thy paycheck” is what allowed one group in a workplace to be paid more than another, not knowing that someone else was being paid more for the same work for whatever whim the employer decided (race, gender, ain’t from around here, etc.).

    It also stinks that nobody will discuss costs for a lot of things like printing, manufacturing, etc. when it comes to making merchandise.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      This is completely the other way around for us folks in the military; various bonuses and allowances notwithstanding, anyone’s basic pay can be easily looked up and is standardized by grade and time in service. We talk openly about money all the time; there’s no stigma whatsoever.

      • Thomas says:

        It’s easier when you’re all in the same job and that job has standardised pay though right? You’re never going to be in danger of mentioning a number and accidentally rubbing your better financial position in someone’s face because you both know each other’s rank already and stuff

        • ET says:

          As long as you’re not bragging, discussing your salary isn’t the problem, or cause for embarrassment.
          The inequality in pay is the problem.

          I posit that, if people openly discussed salaries/wages, then it would be a lot harder for people to have more/less money than they actually deserve, based on skill, time, danger, etc.
          Really, nobody (except jerks) would want to keep inequality in pay, unless it was actually justified.

          With the taboo in place, it easily allows employers to benefit from only paying their friends/family/etc enough money, and pocketing the reduced pay from other employees.
          Higher-payed employees benefit, either by feeling they are “better” than their peers, or feel bad, because they know their peers don’t get payed enough and can’t fix it.
          Lower-paid employees get to work extra hours/jobs, or suck up (or worse) their employer/boss, in hopes of getting more money.

          • Thomas says:

            Are we talking about inter-job or intra-job? Intra-job it’s fine and would help sort out pay discrepancies (although still cause potential strife/jealousy if the company rewards people for something that one person doesn’t consider valid, like ‘loyalty to company’)

            Inter-job it wouldn’t change anything. Footballers get paid more the firefighters because if you ask someone whether they want to give $60 to pay some strangers a decent or spend $60 on a football match, people choose the latter like 99% of the time. And it would cause all the trouble and feelings of inadequacy etc that it always does.

            Also if you have a family and your children hear you discussing money and you don’t train them not to discuss money, then someone is going to be a dick to someone else on the playground

            • If there was an official category like “loyalty to the company,” that’s so unquantifiable I’d guess it would wind up the subject of a lawsuit sooner or later.

              As for footballers, that’s such a limited role in society in a business that rakes in billions, of course the pay is going to be high. Firefighters are more necessary to society, but there are more openings and the occupation doesn’t generate additional revenue, apart from perhaps “le sexytime” calendars. I could also go on a tirade about the tax breaks sports leagues get (American pro sports leagues, including the billions-in-profits NFL, are able to list themselves as charitable organizations) and how little the average person is aware of the things that are done for them every day they don’t even see, but I’d probably trip the filters. It’s like asking someone whether a Big Mac or a whole Panera Bread Sierra Turkey on Focaccia with Asiago Cheese sandwich has more calories (the turkey sandwich, by the way, by about 300 calories) and expecting an informed answer that reflects their best long-term interests.

              I’d say inter-job would be quite helpful. For instance, I think a good, hard look at what some CEOs and investment bankers actually DO every day to “earn” their millions would be quite educational to the general populace. Not to mention actually looking at what a lot of poo-poo’ed jobs (teachers, for example) have do for the comparatively little paychecks they get. Footballers, at least, let me watch them at work and don’t dissemble about where their money comes from.

    • krellen says:

      While the company is holding a bullshit line about “insubordination” and “interruptions among coworkers” (and I’m feeding slightly-truer lines about “President didn’t approve of the contract I negotiated”), I was recently (as in August 2013) fired from my job because I revealed to the women and minority workers who were doing the same job as me that the offer made to me was higher than their pay – in some cases, as much as 40% higher.

      Because I am a white male, and I was making more, I have no legal ground to stand on to fight this.

      • krellen says:

        The short of this is: NOT TALKING ABOUT MONEY IS FUCKING BULLSHIT, and is ACTIVELY harmful to society. We all need to know what sort of money is being bandied around, or we can’t even begin to try to be fair (see the Friends episode where the three poor friends finally snap at the three rich ones for making them go out all the time). The only reason to keep salary taboo is to enable inequality.

  21. Cybron says:

    DMing horror is very difficult. It’s a troublesome balancing act between making your players afraid and keeping them engaged. I’ve only successfully done it by more or less accident, during sections that happened to get the players spooked during otherwise non-horror games (like typical D&D).

    The horror game you DM’d sounds great though. I know I couldn’t run it, though, my players are into that.

  22. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Rutskarn, I think you underestimate how much money people would send your way if you had regular video content. Hell, I think a large portion of your fan base would even pay for more writing….like I think people would go crazy if you novelized the Adventures of Cahmel.

    And that goes for Shamus too…I think people will pay for writing as well as videos.

    • A prime example, author Hugh Howey’s post-apocalyptic and self-published novel, “Wool”, which started out as a web-based novel. It’s now part of a trilogy that’s quite a good read, in my opinion, along with “Shift” (a prequel) and “Dust,” the final story.

      A side note: I read “Shift” before “Wool,” which was technically out of order, but I don’t think it detracted from the flow of the story. I may have known more about what was going on during “Wool,” but I enjoyed seeing how the author had planned ahead, or at least made later details fit the established story.

      • Rutskarn says:

        Okay, so plan so far is:

        1.) Write something too good to be ignored;

        2.) Find a way to spread word of it far and wide;

        3.) Keep writing that thing.

        I think I’ll start working on something like this.

        • Mersadeon says:

          I wish you the best of luck. I know for a fact that the money I spend on Hobospy has been worth every cent, and I really hope that more content comes out of your brain!

          Also, I’m trying to get a friend of mine to read your stuff, but he’s kinda put off by it, he doesn’t want to invest time in a “dead” website and then be disappointed when he reaches the end. So, once you post stuff again, I can force him to read it! :P

          (Quite frankly, I was shocked to find out he didn’t already know your stuff. It’s EXACTLY his kind of humour, even more so than mine.)

        • 1. Yes. Get going.
          2. Easily done. Among other things, surely an upcoming season of Spoiler Warning will have a slow, boring segment where you can do a dramatic reading as Josh’s computer bugs out or he has to walk for miles or whatever.
          3. See #1.

          In closing, is the first chapter done yet?

        • Blake says:

          Imagine if you managed to do that for a living for a few years, then decided to get a ‘real’ job, the interviewer says “What was your last job”, you reply with “I was employed by the internet, primarily to make funnies, but also sometimes provide meaningful commentary on things”.

          It’d be great :p

          But seriously, I’d happily fund the Diecast cast for a buck a week if you had a group Patreon thing for just that, it could be used to buy jelly beans.

    • Tizzy says:

      Videos are not just time-consuming to make: they are time-consuming to watch as well. Some of us are delighted that people still take the time to make written content that can be quickly consumed by our greedy eyes.

      Actually, the worst return on time investment on the consumer side is probably watching self indulgent vlogs or similar, but I digress…

      Mildly related, can I recommend Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on the art of asking?

      I know there has been some controversy around her funding activities, but she makes her point, that you need to not be shy and ask for money, pretty well.

  23. The Unforgiven says:

    Hey, this question is for Campster. I was just wondering why you didn’t decide to use Subbable for you video subscription slash donation thingy.

    • Cuthalion says:

      I’d like to hear Chris discuss (maybe on the next Diecast?) the differences between Subbable and Patreon that factored into his decision to use Patreon.

      Of course, it’s always possible that he just hadn’t heard of Subbable until the campaign already started. But probably, there were some interesting tradeoffs that potential content creators like me would love to hear about.

  24. Phantos says:

    RE: that anecdote Rustkarn mentioned: I greatly despise this macho nonsense that begging is something to be ashamed of.

    Misguided pride doesn’t put food on the table. I don’t think a kickstarter or a paypal button is the same thing as begging, but even if it were, I don’t get how people can resent someone for asking for help. Like, what moral boundary is being crossed?

    Heck, I need to start getting prepaid cards more often so I can support more content creators. And I need to stay the hell away from Steam Sales.

    • I’d add that I’m also not a big fan of the whole idea of the the PBS Pledge break being considered a negative. First, it works for PBS and helps keep it funded. Two, as I watch a lot of programming on PBS, and I love how the programming on PBS is much better than a lot of programming on broadcast TV (or, for that matter, a lot of programming on cable), so, it’s not like the programming coming out of PBS is bad? So, what’s wrong with PBS, and what’s wrong with pledge breaks?

  25. Artur CalDazar says:

    Why is everyones go-to example of Bioware romances having sex as an endpoint Dragon Age? Thats the series where that isn’t true, and yet it does seem to be the go to name people drop when the topic comes up.

  26. Valthek says:

    Point regarding Continue?9876543421. The Unity engine can use several languages. Most people either use C# or Javascript which both have their own quirks but work equally well. There’s also Boo-script (?) but i’ve never touched that.

    That’s probably the reason the game uses javascript files.

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