If you were confused by that last paragraph, and don't know what an ARG is, it's basically an online and in-real-life scavenger hunt with a story, often involving riddles, puzzles, and various kinds of technology. The big ones (Nine Inch Nail's Year One, iLoveBees, Portal's first ARG and their Potato Fools ARG) and of course, The Beast) all read like a sort of cyberpunk Indiana-Jones/ Da Vinchi Code-style action/archaeology serial with people racing to hunt down clues buried in lost technology or bizarre riddles (except there's thousands of protagonists all working together). If you'd like to read more about them, unforum is a good starting point.
Oh, and if, like me, you enjoy reading about/participating in ARGs, but have been kind of disappointed at the struggle small-scale, hobby-style games seem to have with drawing in and engaging an audience, keeping pace, and providing the kind of motivation large-scale, corporate-sponsored marketing ARGs manage to, then take a look at reddit.com/r/coredump/ -- they're doing some very cool things in building a new sort of community-centric ARG, using the global support structure, and small-scale/personalized gaming group style of something like D&D. I write science fiction (including a story that involves something eerily similar to what they're trying to make) so I tend to dream a little big, but personally, it's my hope that this will create something new the way The Beast created modern ARGs. At the very least, they're doing something different, and that seems like a good first step when everyone else fails at something.
In other news: I'm still trying to get comments up and running... my old system was a sort of jury-rigged mix of spreadsheets and forms a helpful soul created for google sites. It was functional, but hard to scale and lacking many of the features a formal comment system would include, chiefly the ability to take the contents with me to a new site when I switch to a more permanent hosting solution. Back when I was preparing to relaunch I'd settled on Disqus (since damn near everyone uses them and because they'd recently created a (somewhat ugly) google 'gadget,' but it's being finicky now, so it might be a little while before you can leave feedback on most of the new content. But I am working on it.
Not much news this week... update-wise, we've got two posts in the story section: First up, the intro to my main story, Activation, a science fiction tale involving the post-apocalypse, artificial intelligence, crazy survivalists, virtual reality, and a sort of cyberpunk WW1.
After that, we've got the first section of a short, episodic comedy piece called An Untimely Awakening -- The Very Late Richard Nixon Assassination Plot, whose title is perhaps somewhat more descriptive, wherein a seventy-some year old, cold-war-era soviet sleeper agent accidentally activates himself and sets out to assassinate an actor who bears a striking resemblance to the late Richard Nixon.
Damn it's good to be back. Okay, I know it's been a while since we posted anything, but this time there's a good reason, beyond the usual life-stuff. No, this time, I've been building up a buffer. My goal for the next year is bimonthly updates (every two weeks right? I can probably manage that), and I think I've got some stuff you're going to like. What kind of stuff? Stories! Comics that aren't about videogames! (I know, I looked it up and we can actually do that. Who knew?) We might even get an update to the tutorials!
So CFTI tends to be a little eclectic as far as actual content goes, reflecting the interests and ongoing projects of the people who work on it, (Except when it was just a webcomic, I guess) but my goal is to lean it towards fiction and comics (writing and art, my two main hobbies). I've spent the last few years working on a scifi story involving the postapocalypse, virtual reality, ARGs and a sort of cyberpunk WW1. If that sounds interesting, then buckle up because we're going to have lots of updates from that. This story is actually part of why I'm bringing the site back, but more on that in a minute.
Up next, a pair of comic series I've been working on. They're stories I don't take quite as seriously, and which lend themselves to a visual media (But the cheap-to-produce kind, with static images drawn by one guy). I'm gonna level with you, these'll update kinda infrequently -- I'll go into detail on my messed-up, non-optimal process next comic update, but let's just say there's a lot of drawing, scanning, painting, and text-adding, and three different art programs have managed to get involved.
The story (I'm just calling it 'Activation' at the moment) is very much a work in progress and will probably change some over the next however long it takes me to write it. Edits will be made to earlier sections, and the site will probably be updated. Lest I be accused of 'Lucasing' the project or anything like that, I will try to keep some sort of archive of each version I put up, but my goal here is to get feedback and input, and to further polish the thing, so it's probably not gonna stay static the way a webcomic would, where you can see the evolution of the art or anything like that. Sorry. For what it's worth, the comics definitely will, so feel free to ogle the terrible early art as much as you like on the off chance I'll add better ones down the line.
So that's it for now, thanks for reading, and just to prove there really is some new content, here's the first of one of the new comics!
There's a new comic over in the comics section, and I'm happy to announce that we now have an extras page, full of all the things we didn't have a place for before. In it, you'll find two high-resolution desktop backgrounds I made from panels in the comic, as well as one that Jake Berry made in Gary's Mod. In a few days, hopefully, I'll post some of the hand-drawn comics I've been working on over the last month, and we'll probably add new things from time to time.
So go ahead and check it out, but be warned, the backgrounds are spoilers, so you might want to read the comics first.
I am exited to announce that we've made some improvements to the site over the past few days, including the News section, which you are reading right now, and a working comment system, which I've added to the latest comic page, and will include on every comic from here on out. Please note, this news section will probably end up replacing the other RSS feed we were using before, so if you have subscribed to that, feel free to switch over to this one.