ZIM!Creator's Diary: Thursday, October 31 2002
Outsider's First Birthday

One year ago today, the first pages of Outsider were posted to the web. Twelve months and about a hundred and fifty thousand visitors later, here we are. Twenty-two pages.

Not a very impressive page count for a year, is it? Especially lately, my productivity hasn't been very good... only a cover and five pages in almost six months. I knew what I was getting into when I planned to do a full-color comic -- it still takes me nearly twenty hours of work to produce a single page -- but even so, I had hoped for better production. The weekly deadline has been helpful in the past, but right now it's hard to keep what should be a labor of love from becoming a chore. I sometimes find myself avoiding working on it. Interference from my job lately hasn't helped either, but the main issue is that I need some time off, away from the weekly update schedule.

Part of the reason I started working on Outsider was to develop my 3D skills, but unfortunately over the past year I haven't done nearly as much as I would like, and what I have done (the Bellarmine and Tempest interiors) isn't really up to the level of quality (or even effort) that I'd like. I've been doing stuff just good enough to look okay in the background, to meet the weekly deadlines for the comic. When I look at the quality of the levels in games like Unreal Tournament 2003, I'm embarrassed to look at my own recent 3D work. If I ever hope to get a job doing this stuff for real, I'm going to have to do much better.

I had originally planned to get the comic to a stopping place at the end of October and take the last two months of the year off to work on some portfolio pieces. Since I've accomplished so little in the last several months, I had postponed the hiatus until next year, but now I think it would be counter-productive to continue to flail away at it. I'm a bit burnt out, and I need a break.

So, that's what I'm going to do. I'll finish up page 22 and then take a hiatus from the comic until next year. I'll continue to work on the project during the downtime, especially the 3D assets, but I won't be posting any new pages until 2003. I'll continue to post the work I'm doing in the gallery and on the forums, so if you're interested you can drop by to take a peek. It'll be some 3D character stuff, unrelated to Outsider.

To be clear, I still have great enthusiasm for Outsider as a project. I think the work I've done on it so far is good, and I'm looking forward to the work that's still ahead. I've never really worked on a single project like this for a whole year before, and I've learned a lot. Even though I haven't accomplished as much as I would have liked, and there have been a couple of points where I've had to re-think things, and demand more of myself, and there have been things that I'm disappointed with, overall I think it's been a great experience. There are a lot of exciting things about Outsider that I intend to have a lot of fun with in the future.

I have some time off from work coming at the end of December; I'll try to return in January refreshed and eager to work on the comic (and, hopefully, with some art assets in the can). I'll make a decision at that time about what to do as regards the update schedule.

Thanks again to the readers for their continued support and remarkable patience. See you in 2003!

- Arioch  

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