Vlog #3: Future Starcasting

June 29, 2018 by Tim

Spitballing some thoughts regarding the future of The Starcaster Chronicles and possibly producing more of it.

 

Sound off in the comments below.


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Bryan
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Bryan

Patreon with a 3 month time delay for the free access perhaps? Maybe some of it never goes free?

Him.
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Him.

I honestly really dislike the never going free aspect. Sure it insures people getting money, but many people will instinctively stop buying/Patreoning because they don’t want to support people who cut a bunch of people off or something to that effect. My proverbial dying request would be that 1. nothing plot critical is paywalled. Something that hints at stuff I guess but nothing that fundamentally affects the story. 2. None of these take action until after the current events are done. I’m guessing this would be Issue 7 or 8, which should give Tim plenty of time to come to… Read more »

Bart
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Bart

I’m pro the delay idea. Maybe tied to the updates, since they are not regulary updated.

Looks like a good compromise.
This would also avoid people having to pay a lot at once if they want to catch up on the story.

Robert
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Robert

I like the idea of it being a annual thing. Breaks it up a bit and not only that gives you more time to plan and write it. If you go too full on with it you might burn it out. Break it up with the other stories and individual pages you do as you have done and i see no problem here ??

Robert
Guest
Robert

Nothing to do with not paying for it i might add, i have been reading this comic for years and have loved the variations

Tue
Guest
Tue

I´m fine with the way it is. If I had regular income I´d vote for any of them, but I don´t so have to go for what seems most realistic at given time – and even if I´m for kickstarter stuff I still can´t take it as a 100% certainty to support.

chris feltner
Guest
chris feltner

yea i love to support but when you only get ssi income it leaves you in the negatives in finances to live. if i had it i would have bought a copy of the complete set or 2 one to read and use one to have as a display

Chris
Guest
Chris

I like the patron side. But maybe think if it more like partying to vote and effect it. Release it free after each issue concludes. So people still get it for free every few months. Paying just helps support it general and allow you to be a part of the story.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Darn mobile keyboard. Wheres the edit button.

Nadav
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Nadav

To be perfectly honest #1: I’ve been reading your stuff for more than a decade probably, I love your style, and I don’t really want to see other artists do it. There are wonderful artists out there, but I think it just wouldn’t be the same. To be perfectly honest #2: I love all the different sections of the site, the sillies, the one-shots, Starcaster, etc. but the one that I care about the most, by far, is the Ethan and Lucas story. If I had to choose a section to get released more frequently, it would definitely be that… Read more »

Mike Eggleston
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Mike Eggleston

I also like this idea. It allows for those of us without regular incomes to continue getting Starcaster (which is a fantastic series, and I love reading them!) by having to wait until the full issue is complete while allowing those who pay the Patreon fee the ability to vote on the outcome of the series, and see the pages as they come.

Out of curiosity, would the goal to be releasing an issue every 3 months?

Christopher
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Christopher

Interesting Problem., I’m not sure what I like more. Long time viewer and ad block user.(I buy merch to make up for it) I think the Patreon idea works best. Building on what was said before, the people on Patreon could be the ones that get to vote how the story goes, pay to play if you will. while as the audience on the site gets to see what happens (Free) Maybe also delay the release on the site until the saga has ended. With that in mind I don’t think any one paying on Patreon will feel cheated or… Read more »

Chad
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Chad

I like your idea of Patreon getting the vote as part of their order. I vote when one comes up but I don’t feel like I’m losing out on anything by not voting either. I also think it’s easier for people to afford a few dollars for a monthly Patreon than a one time fee for a Kickstarter. I had to rearrange the budget to get the tier I wanted in the omnibus Kickstarter and my wife and I agreed I would only do it if it hit the extended ending goal. If I was going to pay for new… Read more »

Mike
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Mike

Maybe this would be an unpopular idea, but what about dialing back on the other stuff?

Ethan & Lucas is what brought/brings me here, but I wouldn’t be too broke up if the one shots/Console Wars/Four Players went to the background to give Starcaster a bit more focus.

Ian Kester-Haney
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Ian Kester-Haney

I picked keep it the same.
I only get the site via the RSS feed.
Do you have a patreon page for the site as a whole? I’d like to see a patreon page for CAD as a whole with goals for extra issues a year, maybe also for contract work for coloring or other ways to reduce your workload.

Paul
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Paul
Roderick King
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Roderick King

Starcaster Chronicles has become my favorite series. I think it has the most interesting, detailed artwork as well. The colorists chosen matter a lot though – and so far Tim’s issue #6 seems to be the best (each issue gets better). I prefer Patreon at this point as I’m Kickstarter-weary after backing over 30 projects and don’t want to worry about add-ons, stretch goals, etm.

Martin
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Martin

I fully agree with Roderick. I actually became a CAD patreon BECAUSE of starcaster, and I’d love to see more content more often, learn more about the universe this is taking place, and not have to wait a year each time before a new issue comes out (I dread the fact that we’re close to page 24 in issue 6 already again…). So, I’d be perfectly happy to become a Patreon for starcaster – and I think having (only) the patreons vote but releasing the issues for free after e.g. 3 months would work for me – it would not… Read more »

M3f
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M3f

I miss the older storylines tbh. Space opera doesn’t seem to be compatible with Your sense of humour so kinda waiting for it to be over in hope that You’ll produce more Ethan-oriented content that I enjoyed very much 🙂

Eric Anderson
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Eric Anderson

I don’t understand why you can’t release them for free provided you tell people what you’d be doing. You could have some delay (x issues behind, or n months) if you want to give people exclusivity. That feels similar to the existing Patreon model where some people support artists and usually get to see the content early, plus sometimes some exclusive content, but the content is made available for free. Similarly, I’ve assumed (maybe incorrectly) that the kickstarters for printed versions of things are priced at somewhat above the production cost so that the artist can make a profit and… Read more »

Drewski
Member
Drewski

Patreon would be my preferred route. I haven’t ever gotten into kickstarters, and having to jump into a new one every time a new issue is ready to come on is more cumbersome than a “set it and forget it” system with Patreon. For what it is worth, Starcaster is my hands down favorite thing you produce today. Ethan and Lucas and the rest of the site are things I come to the site for to check in on, but not with the “must check new page, what happens next?!” involvement of Starcaster. There’s so much story to tell, I’m… Read more »

Tom
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Tom

Agree with the benefits of “set it and forget it” over Kickstarter.

Tom
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Tom

Tim, I’ve been enjoying your content for a long time now, but SC is by far my favorite. I would definitely support a Patreon to see a more regular and, hopefully, faster cadence of releases. Drawing paying customers is a tough challenge. I’d like to offer a couple of options. (1) Release SC for free but at a *greatly* reduced and somewhat randomized cadence, meaning non-paying readers fall further behind over time, and can never be sure when they’ll get their next fix. (2) Release some issues for free, but delayed, and not all issues. You might even recycle old… Read more »

J L
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J L

The other comments were TL;DR, so I apologize if this has been suggested by someone else already. My idea of a compromise is that you have the paid support for Starcaster through Patreon or otherwise, and you keep the newest stuff available to the paying supporters. For everyone else, you release the last or 2nd-to-last issue for free on this or another website. You get paid support to expand and accelerate production. People wanting to keep reading for free still get to even if they have to wait. You still have material freely available to gather support for new readers… Read more »

Jason
Guest

Either option would be fine, as long as the cost is kept low (i like the 1/2$ a month)

you could then release them at Christmas time as a present to everyone else 🙂

Another benefit for the paid option (apart from the choice of direction) might be to suggest names for things (all suggestions go into a pool, one chosen at random).

at any rate – good luck!

Lesley
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Lesley

I’d happily pay for more issues but I dislike Patreon (too easy to over commit) and Kickstarter (I’ve found it difficult to keep track of what I’d “earned”.) I don’t suppose there’s an option somewhere between “free” and “buy the issues when they’re completed via some online method”?

Dblank
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Dblank

To be frank I don’t think either models do the franchise justice. I’ve been following CAD since nearly the beginning and love most of what you do. Currently, I think Startcaster is head and shoulder above anything else. That’s partly because it serves a niche that I’m very partial to (action adventure/sci-fi), and partly because I dig the characters far more. I think that Starcaster has great potential, and anything you do to increase the volume of it sounds good to me. I would also go as far as cutting other content in favor of it, as long as you… Read more »

Egil
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Egil

Of all your stuff I am mostly interested in the Starcaster and the Analog and D-Pad comics, so my preference would be to produce more of those funded by the patreon.

dan
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dan

In the poll, I selected “stay the way it is,” mainly because I’m not at all dissatisfied with how things are. From my perspective, it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it on my account. I actually like your release schedule. With the other artists whose series I read, even though they’re good, I periodically get tired of them. You keep changing things up, so I’m always excited to read whatever series is going on at the moment. In terms of the two paid options: I’d be a little worried that either option, but probably more the Patreon approach, could result… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

Personally, when the Starcaster Chronicles are going on is the only time I check the site regularly (probably in the minority there, I know). I wouldn’t mind if the site was all Starcaster, all the time (well, maybe with a break for console war).

That said, I think the Patreon is the best option – seems to be most likely to be consistent while providing flexibility. I’d definitely throw in on that.

Lauren
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Lauren

+1 for all Starcaster, all the time (with maybe a break for Console War) 🙂
(Though I too think we’re definitely in the minority!)

Frank Altpeter
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Frank Altpeter

I would like to vote for both options 2 and 3 please 🙂

adam
Guest
adam

I support what I’ve read here a few times – early access and voting for patreon, and then delayed access to the website for the public.
(But I would still release it as a page every day or two; not as an entire issue. That way it’s a similar experience, and each voting stage can be released as a ‘teaser’ – tune in next week to see what they do!

Thanks for years and years of brilliant content.

David
Guest
David

I really don’t like paywalled content. I’ve been supporting you via Patreon for years, and I bought the box set on Kickstarter and other merchandise in the past. I do this to support you, so you can make a living creating great comics as a full time job. But I prefer those comics to be available to as many people as possible, for free. I won’t feel cheated if content I paid for will be freely available. Quite the opposite, I probably won’t pay for online content if I know it will never be released to the public.

David
Guest
David

I think try the kickstarter option but have stretch goals that cover multiple issues.
That is, $4k per issue but maybe $7k for 2 issues, $10k for 3 issues, and so forth.
This enables you to hire an artist for more work upfront. and make good progress on this. It is just regularly released throughout the year based on the number of issues available.

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Just wanting to put another voice in the mix – Starcaster is definitely my favourite of your series, and I will gladly pay to get more of it. I don’t know your demographic so can’t speak for everyone, but I wouldn’t mind paying a set amount and getting access to a whole issue as it becomes available. I suppose it’s like your patreon approach but more one-off-cost than subscription. Patreon gets my vote in the meantime. 🙂 And though it would be kind of a shame that you weren’t the one doing the drawing/colouring, so long as the style is… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

I’ve been a reader of the comic since pretty much the beginning. I’m also a Patreon supporter. Of all the stuff you do on the site, Starcaster is my second favorite behind the Ethan and Lucas stuff. The players stuff is OK. I don’t personally care for the Console Wars stuff at all, and tend to skip them. If you cut both of those things out completely, I wouldn’t mind. However I understand the importance of you wanting the variety of options and not just be stuck doing 1 or 2 things all the time. I’d probably be OK if… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Oh and if you did Patron/Kickstarter to make Starcaster, I’d be fine with you eventually making it all freely on the site after some period of exclusivity. I support you via Patreon not for any of the benefits of being a supporter but because your work has been part of my life for over 15 years.

James Rye
Guest
James Rye

I voted the first option, because while I do like Starcaster Chronicles I also like your other comics, the Xbox vs PS war, the Superhero story with Ethan and Lucas, your comics about new good or very bad games and I think that paying for SC would hurt all those other series in the long run as you would spend more time of SC and less on them. I’d rather see SC per year, it gives you lots of time to plan ahead and draw accordingly and it is up to you how long an issue will be whereas with… Read more »

Shaun
Guest
Shaun

It’s been said a few times, but I doubt you’d have problems with using Patreon for funding and then later releasing it for free (as people have suggested, having the voting be Patreon-only and the content only being free much later, are both good ideas). That’s pretty much the case for most things I support, with maybe a few small Patreon-only bonuses, but nothing integral to the comic. I mean, I wouldn’t expect high payments per person, but for a dollar? Sure. I personally am not particularly keen on the Kickstarter option, as it would require a larger payment at… Read more »

Randall
Guest
Randall

More importantly, when is the kickstarter for the Setting book for this for Starfinder (or Savage Worlds I’m not picky).

Brent
Guest
Brent

I voted for the first option, partly because I only work part time and can’t exactly afford to donate on top of everything else, and partly because with all your different series, at the current rate it’s basically more or less one episode of each series per year, which I’m fine with. Also, and I might have misunderstood this part, but the explanation in the video made it seem like the comic would get posted but the voting would be patreon exclusive? I must have misunderstood that, right? Because that’s seriously cutting down on votes received if I’m not.

Simon
Guest
Simon

I don’t know how long I’ve been reading your site. A long time. I’ve enjoyed all of it and appreciate your sense of humour. I think you should go Kickstarter. Patreon is nice because it is a small commitment but with Kickstarter you might be surprised who would come out of the woodwork and drop $10-20 or more on you. You would probably find yourself funded for significantly more than one episode per Kickstarter. Then run another later. I also think you should give the comic away for free once each episode is done. Maybe later than that, but certainly… Read more »

Isturma
Guest
Isturma

I’d love to be able to support via kickstarter or Patreon but I’m pretty broke at the moment. The Starcaster Chronicles is neat in the fact that it’s a non-linear narrative, but i’m not so invested in the story that I’d pay for it. Sorry.

GUNnibal
Guest
GUNnibal

I usually don’t make comments, but ef it, let’s break some rules. My vote went for patreon and here is why: I’m absolutely fine with the idea of you, Tim, taking my money so that you could produce something for everyone to see (and potentially enjoy). The pure storytelling on display here is nothing short of amazing and most definitely deserves to be paid for. And that is without putting the interactivity in the equation. With it – well, I’ll need to consult the thesaurus for synonyms of ‘amazing’… Now, I certainly can’t speak for everybody. Not everyone can digest… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

As a current Patreon supporter, I’m in favor of any additional money needs being moved to Patreon. One of the pros of Patreon over Kickstarter (that I don’t think was mentioned) is that if the starcaster Chronicles Kickstarter does NOT get funded, then it’s dead, and how do you make a next issue? With Patreon, we all get to drip-feed into the Starcaster bucket and it will guarantee that another issue will be produced from time-to-time. Also, Patreon doesn’t have to be a permanent paywall, and I also don’t think it should. I think that those of use who CAN… Read more »

JimMiller
Guest
JimMiller

I like what others are saying about holding the voting for patreon users. I also like the idea of releasing the material after some set amount of time/releases. I did have some thoughts to expand on that. Crazy idea time.. Move to patreon, with the $1/2 interval w/ voting. Release the pages two issues back for free, but space it out such as 1 page a week. Allow someone to purchase the PDF of the currently releasing issue on the website immediately for $1 per issue once they start to be released. The funds go to pay for more issues… Read more »

Him.
Guest
Him.

I see two options. First of all, keeping it as is is fine by me. However, switching to Patreon…basically cuts off the plot from a portion of the fanbase. If it was like Dr. McNinja where there are unrelated stories going on, that would be amenable but the current state of Starcaster is incompatible with this set up until the end of the story arc unless its just Speck and Cort trying not to blow everything up. That said if Patreon members get something early and everyone else gets it released of all a sudden at some other point (say… Read more »

Him.
Guest
Him.

Side note:
Given that you might have half of the people willing to do Starcaster Kickstarter style deciding to choose “the way it is” because they don’t want to have a lost vote or something, there should really be 3 charts, each of which should be voted on separately.
So each question can be voted on individually as opposed to having to make a single decision. Each chart’s number of votes are tallied and the one with the most is used, as opposed to having people wanting to participate in two camps resulting in scattered votes instead of a clear winner

kwerboom
Guest
kwerboom

I voted for option #1 because I like free and I’m fine with Starcaster being a once a year thing. That said, my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if you went for a paid option. I do understand that as a content creator, you do have to eat and sleep. I already have a Kickstarter account. But that said and with the way Starcaster is produced, I think Patreon would probably be the better/saner way to go for a paid option. To grow the community, you can always release each finalized issue for free as page-by-page, 2-to-3 times a week update… Read more »

Rajani Isa
Guest
Rajani Isa

I’d be fine with a delayed free release (Say up to three months after it’s finished, release pages on your off days during the week possibly). I’d pay for patreon or kickstarter for you.

Or even both, if it got me a nice graphic novel eventually to go next to my corebook set. 🙂

Scottydosntknow
Guest
Scottydosntknow

Just do starcaster and get rid of analog and dpad

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Well, I’m fine with patreon and just have the voting held to Patreon members only. Those that aren’t patreon members just see the issue after it is finished and have no input with voting at all.

I myself read the Starcaster comics because I like them, the voting aspect of it every few issues is fun and all but really isn’t the main draw for me so wouldn’t bother me at all if it’s limited to Patreon members.

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

As one of the poor slobs who have not given the money you deserve for the literal decade+ of enjoyment you have provided me, I have a question: Since the discussion about how to fund your projects and space them out is discussed I was curious to know some idea of how financially difficult running this sight and the comic has been? I recall way back(during original Ethan and Lucas) you mentioned it was something of a side project. Is this your full time work now or are we still a farcry from this content putting food on the table?… Read more »

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Follow up: I just watched your vlog. Starcaster while being VERY different in many ways from your previous work. I don’t think its ‘lesser.’ Nostalgia will always have me pulling for Ethan,Lucas, and Leila in addition to the unique hilarity of your various one-shots. However Starcaster has largely grown on me. In my opinion though its thematically different enough that I think a legitimate arguement could be made for trying to sequester it elsewhere. i think those who come here to see a one-shot and instead see starcaster would be thrown for a loop. I think it makes sense to… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

I have been a reader for over a decade and never commented before. I think the Patreon option you describe sounds the most sustainable with the exception that new readers would be hard to attract. I would be happy to support it for a few dollars a month and then have it released for free afterwards. A poll specifically geared toward that option might provide better data if you decide to try that route. I have greatly enjoyed your work over the years, running a business with a family is very difficult so thanks for keeping it going.

Delarock
Guest
Delarock

I did initially vote kickstarter, but after reading the input from others i think Patreon is the way to go. I’ve read this comic almost since the beginning, and although I am not a patreon now, I wouldn’t mind throwing some cash your way (I’ve only bought merch in the past). I also wouldn’t mind any content funded via Patreon to be free for other readers, even if there were no delay.

Christian
Guest
Christian

I’ve been enjoying CAD for probably around a decade as well and selected “stay the way it is”. I like Starcaster as a series and I love to be engaged in the story via votes. I don’t think voting + regular release schedule (the Patreon model) would together as well. If I can expect only a 1-2 pages per month, there’s much less incentive to check back every day and vote for the latest turn of events. Also, it would take ages to have the story proceed. You’d basically have to be subbed for at least half a year get… Read more »

Christian
Guest
Christian

Oh, and forgot to add: I’m a low-tier Patreon supporter, mainly to compensate the fact that I want to keep using adblock. I’ve also got the digital DVD version of the “big collection” you released through Kickstarter a while back.

Beth
Guest
Beth

Being a Patreon supporter already, I like the Patreon idea best. An extra dollar or two a month is totally worth it to get more Starcaster produced on a regular basis. I like the one-shots, but I prefer the serial comics like A&D, SC, and The Campaign. I’d love to see SC updates more than just once a year. And I’d rather toss a buck in the SC pot every two weeks (or so) than have to pony up for a Kickstarter each issue. Basically I really like SC and would like you to get paid so you can keep… Read more »

Nuitari
Guest
Nuitari

One thing I would love to have is a way to see it as an actual choose your own adventure where we can see the possibilities. I’d definitely pay to get the various what ifs? covered…

You could experiment the model with the Space Archeologist series too (am I the only one wanting a conclusion of it??)

Lela
Guest
Lela

Just going to chime in and agree that the Patreon option plus delayed release seems the most feasible. I have never felt like the Patreon preview was bad before. In fact, still being able to see your work here for free kept me happy until I could kick in some money on Patreon myself (something I couldn’t afford until recently). I honestly appreciated that everything wasn’t hidden forever behind a paywall as I’d seen happen a lot with other previously free content in the past on other artists’ sites. I couldn’t afford to contribute, so I was unable to keep… Read more »