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Page 120! 
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Post Page 120!
http://well-of-souls.com/outsider/outsider120.html

A Tutoring Session with our favourite Listel! ;)


Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:58 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Yes Jardin, yes you are. Also, if she sees the full alphabet she will doubtlessly quickly realize that "C" is useless and several letters need to exist.

Ah well, even the Mycenean Greeks dealt with that.


Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
hi hi

Alex is also probably giving her a chance to test out how quickly humans learn, as a general assessment of our primitive mental capabilities. ;)

I've got to say, the hands on this page look particularly natural. Especially Beryl's in panel 3 and Talon's in panel 5. I know for me, getting hands to look right when they're at odd angles is always a challenge.

(Also, I still love the little "pin pin pin" noises.)


Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Heh, I missed the pin pin noises.

Since I set my screen-keyboards to soundless, I did not look for them. I personally dislike a beeping noise at every corner.

Yes, she learns fast. Now she has a mapping of English letter to sound.But since the Belarmine mainly used Trade as teached by the Orgus for their interfaces, this will not help the Loroi much. But we'll see.

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:51 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
She has a PARTIAL map of letter to sound in english, a language so hopelessly complicaited that you can get like a hundred additional sounds by combining improbable letters.

If a Listel is ever going to bother learning english, which is the language they'd need to learn due to raw precedence regarding earth's aerospace protocol that would logically carry into the future, it'd need to be one that can actually sit down for many months and figure out what's essentially the most complicated language in wide circulation, since unlike Korean and Mandarin it's alphabet isn't really meant for circulation and unlike French it doesn't have a rigid idea of what it "is" largely going through a governing body.

The first Loroi to HAVE to speak english, for any reason, will probably mangle the pronounciation even after years of learning, just like any other foreign native forced to adapt. Simple words like "House" will no doubt be a heavy problem for a speaker who has no real concept of the letter H and the sounds associated, let alone no U as a vowel missing. It'd probably come out something like "Shose" or something similarly bizarre.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:31 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
Jayngfet wrote:
She has a PARTIAL map of letter to sound in english, a language so hopelessly complicaited that you can get like a hundred additional sounds by combining improbable letters.

If a Listel is ever going to bother learning english, which is the language they'd need to learn due to raw precedence regarding earth's aerospace protocol that would logically carry into the future, it'd need to be one that can actually sit down for many months and figure out what's essentially the most complicated language in wide circulation, since unlike Korean and Mandarin it's alphabet isn't really meant for circulation and unlike French it doesn't have a rigid idea of what it "is" largely going through a governing body.

The first Loroi to HAVE to speak english, for any reason, will probably mangle the pronounciation even after years of learning, just like any other foreign native forced to adapt. Simple words like "House" will no doubt be a heavy problem for a speaker who has no real concept of the letter H and the sounds associated, let alone no U as a vowel missing. It'd probably come out something like "Shose" or something similarly bizarre.


How exactly is English more difficult to learn than, let's say, Spanish or German?


Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:21 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
Leicester is pronounced more like "Lester".... Worchester like "Woster"....
(British English)

But those are names, and exceptions.


I agree that the pronounciation will be difficult to hit precisely, but a rough mapping will help deciphering any database they got their hands on.
When will the Listel ask about the meaning of "Mick-ey Mo-use"?
And later, will she ask for a translation of "UN" or similar stuff?
I don't know if the Bellarmine's computers have been "scrubbed" of any non-essential data when they started the mission....

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:26 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
English is quite simple compared to other European languages. Yes, it has stupidly irregular and unnecessarily complicated spelling, but it mostly lacks grammatical gender, a noun case system, a shitton of verb conjugations etc. etc. etc. Compared to, say, Czech, English is very easy to learn on a level where using it doesn't make one look like an idiot.

Beryl will probably get the hang of it in weeks rather than months it takes humans to learn another language on a beginner level.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:13 am
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Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:14 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
So, there was some discussion and criticism about the comic on another forum earlier, and although I have a vague feeling these points may have come up here before, I believe there's stuff worth discussing here. Thoughts/comments?
1 wrote:
I remember Outsider really bothering me because... There's basically absolutely nothing the protagonists can actually do. The only thing the humans have to offer either side is... Being invisible to telepathy, which is of theoretically great value to the Umiak but not at all to the Loroi... And which the Umiak may have already cracked on their own given how the Loroi just started getting ambushed when their Psi-auguries mysteriously fail. I kept reading mainly to see what sort of development would happen on that score, see whether there is anything at all that makes humans valuable enough to merit being the protagonists, but as of three years ago (which is, what, five pages? Ten given how the author's updated since then?), there was nothing at all.

Like, if you're going to have protagonists, you need to make them able to do stuff instead of just be passive victims. But the way the situation is set up, humanity could struggle with everything they have and it wouldn't matter. A single scout floatilla is larger and more powerful than the entire human navy, and a single scout ship could probably give good odds at destroying the entire human navy too.

Some sort of casablanca type situation could be immensely interesting, but the worldbuilding shot that down - there's no neutrality or the careful balancing thereof, just "you're with us or we carpet nuke you to deny your resources to the enemy." There's not even any use for cannon fodder because there's no ground combat since everyone just nukes each other and if you can make a space ship to carry your expendable conscripts you can make a missile that will do the job better.

One could make a case that Jardin and humanity in general are not the protagonists, but the problem there is that the Loroi are not particularly interesting protagonists. They don't have very many flaws that aren't just informed attributes with no bearing on the narrative ("Lol our math system is super inconvenient to use, now watch as it doesn't impede us at all"), there's not a whole lot of room for them to discover new things about themselves except maybe the ultra-obvious 'twist' that they were humans uplifted and modified by the generic ancient precursor race as a slave species, and generally speaking there's little to recommend them as worth reading about on a narrative level - there's not much reason to care about them unless blue skinned space elves are your fetish. In which case you are probably already more interested in Elerians, who are like the Loroi but actually interesting. :v

I guess there could be some hidden development that'll happen considering how glacial the update pace is, but if there is, we likely won't see the payoff until our grandchildren are in college.

2 wrote:
Changing the setting wouldn't this be like the 18th century war between the British and French in North America, with the protag being from an uncontacted tribe of natives that learned of the war from refugees. They send an expedition out to ally with the first empire they contact knowing that otherwise they will be steamrolled and destroyed, but the party is killed off except for one guy.

Instead of a story about the underdog working hard and smart to triumph, you guys seem to want the tribe to turn out to be a nation of secret ninja steampunk badasses that will curbstomp both empires because "Humanity Fuck Yeah!"?

3 wrote:
Not necessarily, I think they want Humanity to have something to offer. If the only choice your tribe has os get wiped out during the war, or be thoroughly observed into one of the empires as to have no agency outside it, did you really "win"?

It might make tragic history, but it doesn't necessarily make a good story. A protoganist with no agency, no advantages, no impossible goal to strive for, is one that people won't, fundamentally can't root for. We don't mind underdog stories, they're woven into our culture; but humanity isn't so much an underdog as an amoeba. If our immunity to psionics mattered, perhaps our protoganist could gain Earth a neutral status. Instead the enemy has already worked something out that once again makes humanity irrelevant. Or perhaps humanity could finally tip the balance and win the war for one side, slowly and painfully certainly, but it'd be a victory. As it is, none of the protoganists, be they human or space elf, can do anything to change the status quo. Good stories can still be written about failing to change it, but by god you better show how your protaganist scrapped and struggled every step of the way.

Instead Outsider merely presents humanity as a bug that's only chance for survival is to strip itself of any agency and much of its humanity so they don't get blown to bits. The space elves haven't managed to win their eternal war, and so far no one capable of changing that has appeared.

Outsider's biggest problem is that it hasn't chosen a protagonist. It has a main characters, but who should we root for? The lambs to the slaughter feebly trying to matter? Or the practically flawless space elves that take the liberty of fattening the lambs so that they prolong the slaughter? There isn't anything interesting about the elves because while better than the bugs, their official policy to neutrality is to destroy the offending party. Forgive me if I leave in disgust when I can't find someone who I can both root for, and reasonably hope to succeed.

2 wrote:
Considering the pace of the updates at around 1 page every 6 months I don't think we have all of the info yet. We do know that Humanity is sitting on a gaping exposed flank of both empires, and has an independently developed tech base that is at an unknown standing compared to the other non top tier powers. Both of which could come into play when it's time to decide what standing Humans have at the end of all of this.

As to who to root for, we don't know yet. I skimmed through the comic and the only in universe revealed stuff is sourced from refugees and one side. Maybe now that the story is slowly crawling to the Elf capital we might get access to some at least hints of unbiased information.

1 wrote:
I want protagonists who can be something other than helpless victims. That's it, really. Underdog stories only work when the underdog actually has the potential to triumph through working hard and smart.

Outsider goes out of its way to shoot that premise down, since there's literally nothing the protagonist can do. He has nothing to offer the Loroi. Humanity has nothing to offer the Loroi that we've seen over the decade or so it's taken Outsider to get to this point. It doesn't matter how hard the humans work or how smart they are since the gap is set up to be too large and neutrality is set up to be impossible.

Like, if humanity were just strong enough to slow down a Loroi incursion to encourage diplomacy that might be one thing. Then you'd have the protagonists struggling to make a balance similar to, say, the Tau in 40k. Humanity would need to balance their desire to stay as independent as possible with the Loroi desire to have a strategic territory, and the Loroi couldn't casually just take the territory over the objections of the natives without imperiling the wider war effort. Diplomacy would be a real thing of necessity, rather than something the Loroi only do on a whim and discard when it suits them. This sort of situation has inherently more tension than the one we have now.

Basically, Outsider made the Loroi too strong such that the protagonist's conflict is basically meaningless. There's basically nothing Jardin can do to stop the Loroi from doing what they want, he just has to hope that what they want is palatable for his species. He can't convince them to stop if they decide to conquer mankind because he has nothing they want. Humanity isn't portrayed as even a speedbump to a Loroi incursion - a single backwater scout fleet is larger than the entire human navy and more advanced by far.

One could suppose Outsider means to make the same point that, say, Vilacamba does, about imperialism in a wider sense, but such a premise only really works in a short story with "Imperialism isn't fun when you're on the receiving end, is it?" as the punchline, and I think giving the Loroi potentially justified motivations for their imperialism would undermine such a point.

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not asking for the tribe to be some race of supersoldiers, I'm just asking for them to be strong enough that there's some tension to the story.

4 wrote:
Humans, I believe, will become the Loroi ally that tips the balance and this is why they matter. Not due to the lack of gargantuan space fleets or cutting edge technology, but probably something more intrinsic, a la War of the Worlds. In Outsider, humans are hobbits - observers in a much greater conflict and the perspective we see through, and in the larger scope doesn't matter outside of a few yet critically important actions [to come].


Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:00 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
Oh. I fear we all are expecting a space-opera kind of story, where empires are built or shattered.

But from what I know, this could simply be the setting of a love-story. Or about how the Loroi discover, that their self-chosen history is wrong. How their leaders confront Alxander with this knowledge, and then try to control the spreading of this knowledge to prevent their empire from becoming instable during this crisis.
And once Alexander is in Loroi space, how they find out he can sire a new breed, a hybrid. And how this changes the empire. But for this again, the setting is unlikely. No real big social changes happen during wartime (except for increasing poverty of the people), as a lack pf order will mean the Umiak will crush past the defences.
On top of that, the Umiak are expanding on the other borders, while the Loroi are stagnant And the Umiak are already winning, it's more a question of time, so the story setting does not allow for slow-paced cultural developments which would allow the war efforts to continue...

But I am still rooting for Ales being the genius that gives the Loroi a new tactical advantage.

(Anyone knos the Antares trilogy?)

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:40 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
hi hi

Having studied English, Spanish, and German, I can say that German was by far the easiest language to learn, even more so than my own native English. An order of magnitude less rote memorization required, and a largely rules based grammar system. English is full of homophones, and while having a mountain of synonyms makes poetry in English lots of fun, it means there is a lot of nuance to get wrong.

A big part of what makes a language easy or difficult to learn is how similar or dissimilar it is from one's own native language, but it is not the only part. Sanskrit is notoriously difficult for native English speakers to learn, but for native speakers of Hindi it is often considered very easy.

Another distinction that languages have is the differences between speaking and writing. For instance, Japanese writing is notoriously difficult to learn, but the spoken language is rather easy to learn, especially compared to Mandarin. (Even though the written language is borrowed from Chinese Buddhist scripture.)

Also, there is a distinction between learning how to order food and learning how to speak like a native. Some languages are relatively easy to learn the basics, but much more difficult to learn the nuance. Greek, for instance, is relatively easy to learn the basics, but it is rated by college language professors as the second most difficult language to learn fluently.

One of the better ways I can think of to judge how easy a language is to learn is to analyze how frequently its native speakers get it wrong. One can make claims about the education system in the states, but native English speakers often have difficulty with their own language.

Icelandic and Faroese are quite high on the list for difficulty, as is Sanskrit. Slovak is often regarded as one of the hardest, even harder than Polish and Russian. While the constructed languages, like Esperanto, really are easy to learn. (Even if they are practically useless.)

Still, with the ability to perfectly remember everything she witnesses, I suspect that Beryl is more than up to the task of learning any human language. In record time, probably. I'm guessing that Alex has written down more than what we're seeing in the comic, since it wouldn't make sense to draw panel after panel of his notes.

(I've read Antares Dawn, but I haven't been able to get my hands on the sequels.)


Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:54 am
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Post Re: Page 120!
Whale wrote:
So, there was some discussion and criticism about the comic on another forum earlier, and although I have a vague feeling these points may have come up here before, I believe there's stuff worth discussing here. Thoughts/comments?

Alex is the protagonist of the story (not Humanity as a whole). In the early going, he's a fairly passive protagonist, and the only decisions he can make are how to react to events that are entirely out of his control. This does serve a narrative purpose; when there is a new and alien world that must be explained to the reader, it's a useful tool to have the protagonist learn as the reader learns. While the protagonist is still clueless about his surroundings, he's not going to be a very effective agent for driving the plot, and so often his actions are restricted in the early going... you can see this pattern used in worldbuilding-heavy stories like Gulliver's Travels, Shogun, or even Lord of the Rings. As the protagonist gets his footing in this new world, he has more opportunities to make meaningful decisions that drive the plot.

Alex's role as a representative of Humanity can be compared to Frodo's role as a representative of the Hobbits (if you will pardon the impertinence of such a comparison); Frodo is largely isolated from his own nation for most of the story, and the Shire is something he must work to protect, rather than expect help from. Anyone who was trying to work out how the Hobbit armies were going to play a decisive military role in the War of the Ring was barking up the wrong tree.

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
hi hi

Quote:
There's basically absolutely nothing the protagonists can actually do. The only thing the humans have to offer either side is...
"The humans," are not the protagonists in this story. Alexander Jardin is the protagonist, and even though we're only just into the second chapter, he has already done a lot. His original mission was to make contact, and against all odds, he already managed to secure diplomatic status. On the forums, there was a mountain of debate about some of his choices, like what information to divulge or hold secret.

Quote:
"Lol our math system is super inconvenient to use, now watch as it doesn't impede us at all"
The only way one would know about the Loroi math system is if they are paying attention to the insider information. That is not, strictly speaking, a part of the narrative at this point. Looking only at what has happened in the comic, I personally find it hard to think of the Loroi as flawless. Rather, I see them as rife with flaws, to the point where they can't even maintain discipline on their own ships without banishing some of their senior officers for having their own opinions.

Alex does not equal Humanity, and Humanity does not equal Alex.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:07 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Yeah, not saying I agree with everything that was said, though I can see how the slow pace and the whole serial storytelling vs completed work-thing creating a "meh" feeling. And I'd say the setup creates an expectation that other humans would show up at some point. *shrug*
Arioch wrote:
Alex is the protagonist of the story (not Humanity as a whole). In the early going, he's a fairly passive protagonist, and the only decisions he can make are how to react to events that are entirely out of his control. This does serve a narrative purpose; when there is a new and alien world that must be explained to the reader, it's a useful tool to have the protagonist learn as the reader learns. While the protagonist is still clueless about his surroundings, he's not going to be a very effective agent for driving the plot, and so often his actions are restricted in the early going... you can see this pattern used in worldbuilding-heavy stories like Gulliver's Travels, Shogun, or even Lord of the Rings. As the protagonist gets his footing in this new world, he has more opportunities to make meaningful decisions that drive the plot.

Alex's role as a representative of Humanity can be compared to Frodo's role as a representative of the Hobbits (if you will pardon the impertinence of such a comparison); Frodo is largely isolated from his own nation for most of the story, and the Shire is something he must work to protect, rather than expect help from. Anyone who was trying to work out how the Hobbit armies were going to play a decisive military role in the War of the Ring was barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks for the fast answer! :)


Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:25 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Arioch wrote:
Whale wrote:
So, there was some discussion and criticism about the comic on another forum earlier, and although I have a vague feeling these points may have come up here before, I believe there's stuff worth discussing here. Thoughts/comments?

Alex is the protagonist of the story (not Humanity as a whole). In the early going, he's a fairly passive protagonist, and the only decisions he can make are how to react to events that are entirely out of his control. This does serve a narrative purpose; when there is a new and alien world that must be explained to the reader, it's a useful tool to have the protagonist learn as the reader learns. While the protagonist is still clueless about his surroundings, he's not going to be a very effective agent for driving the plot, and so often his actions are restricted in the early going... you can see this pattern used in worldbuilding-heavy stories like Gulliver's Travels, Shogun, or even Lord of the Rings. As the protagonist gets his footing in this new world, he has more opportunities to make meaningful decisions that drive the plot.

Alex's role as a representative of Humanity can be compared to Frodo's role as a representative of the Hobbits (if you will pardon the impertinence of such a comparison); Frodo is largely isolated from his own nation for most of the story, and the Shire is something he must work to protect, rather than expect help from. Anyone who was trying to work out how the Hobbit armies were going to play a decisive military role in the War of the Ring was barking up the wrong tree.

Can we at least expect a page every two weeks? Or even a page a month FFS? Please? The guy who does 6-Commando, a self-declared lazy bones who does have a normal job alongside his webcomic, is still faster then you, Arioch.

You said two years ago that once you finished that 4X PC game you would start writing full time again. What happened to that promise?

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:31 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
hi hi

In my experience, having a normal job makes webcomics easier, not harder.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:38 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
full time of his spare time.
The full time job remains.

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Krulle wrote:
full time of his spare time.
The full time job remains.

Unlike with the 6-Commando author. WE ARE PAYING HIM. Via Patreon.
Like the 6-Commando author. He has a job alongside the webcomic.
Unlike the 6-Commando author, he is unable to deliver..

..and Mathieu Moyen, the author of 6-Commando, is only one example of many.

My point still stands.

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Durabys wrote:
Krulle wrote:
full time of his spare time.
The full time job remains.

Unlike with the 6-Commando author. WE ARE PAYING HIM. Via Patreon.
Like the 6-Commando author. He has a job alongside the webcomic.
Unlike the 6-Commando author, he is unable to deliver..

..and Mathieu Moyen, the author of 6-Commando, is only one example of many.

My point still stands.


I'd almost maybe agree with you IF he got paid regardless of output. As it stands, he only gets paid if he makes a page. Patreon gives him an incentive, not a directive or ultimatum.

Aside from that, you don't know what else Arioch has going on, and we are all free to pursue other avenues of entertainment or make our own.

CJSF


Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Two commemts:
Regarding the extra sounds in English, there is "ghoti", which can spell "fish", if certain pronunciations are selected. "gh" as in tough, "o" as in women, "ti" as in spatial.

Arioch, thanks for expanding on Alex's role as protagonist. Reading that made me realize that when two massive weights are evenly balanced, even a feather will tip the scales.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
Whale wrote:
So, there was some discussion and criticism about the comic on another forum earlier, and although I have a vague feeling these points may have come up here before, I believe there's stuff worth discussing here. Thoughts/comments?

They are regarding Humans being telepathically nullifying as only an advantage if they were aligned with the Umiak, and ignoring the enormous equalizing effect it has on their relations with the Loroi. If all your bargaining chips are in the form of knowledge, and the person you're bargaining with is a telepath, you're going to need more than their sense of courtesy to keep them out of your head.

If Alex were intended to be bringing the might of Human arms into this war, he would have been cast as a high ranking TCA officer or political leader. If he were bringing the power of Human tech, he'd be an engineer, or maybe a scientist of some flavor. Instead Alex is described in-story as having been sought out by the TCA brass because of his natural tactical talent, his underdog power could not be clearer. The challenge for Alex will be in gaining enough trust and respect with the Loroi, that they will allow him to advise (or if he's exceptionally fortunate, to lead). That's no mean feat either, given that the current Loroi propaganda of "we are the resurgent descendants of the former galactic empire" doesn't leave a lot of room for acknowledging the cunning or prowess of other species.

Durabys wrote:
Unlike with the 6-Commando author. WE ARE PAYING HIM. Via Patreon.
Like the 6-Commando author. He has a job alongside the webcomic.
Unlike the 6-Commando author, he is unable to deliver..

..and Mathieu Moyen, the author of 6-Commando, is only one example of many.

My point still stands.

According to the Patreon goals we're 62% of the way towards potentially making Outsider a full-time gig, rather than just covering the cost in time required for each page. Also, as far as I can tell, the work on Stars in Shadow is still ongoing. Not to slight the effort of Mathieu Moyen (those quality zig-zag shadows on everything are top notch), but the only way I'd wind up getting as worked up as you are over the update schedule, is if we were getting pages that looked more like 6-Commando.

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Post Re: Page 120!
CF2 wrote:


Durabys wrote:
Unlike with the 6-Commando author. WE ARE PAYING HIM. Via Patreon.
Like the 6-Commando author. He has a job alongside the webcomic.
Unlike the 6-Commando author, he is unable to deliver..

..and Mathieu Moyen, the author of 6-Commando, is only one example of many.

My point still stands.

According to the Patreon goals we're 62% of the way towards potentially making Outsider a full-time gig, rather than just covering the cost in time required for each page. Also, as far as I can tell, the work on Stars in Shadow is still ongoing. Not to slight the effort of Mathieu Moyen (those quality zig-zag shadows on everything are top notch), but the only way I'd wind up getting as worked up as you are over the update schedule, is if we were getting pages that looked more like 6-Commando.

Well... don't want to start any beef, just as an example (and maybe a little advertising) i can point to "Unsounded" by Ashley Cope with beautiful full color pages, which she post THREE TIMES A WEEK (plus hiatuses between chapters). Even before patreon was a thing! This is... bananas!
I'm don't want to sound like accusing or like "i demand goddamn answers", this is probably because my shitty english, but such drastic difference with "Outsider" baffles me...

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Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:32 pm
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Post Re: Page 120!
hi hi

The Hiatuses between chapters in Unsounded are specifically because Ashley Cope is drawing her art in advance. It is easy to keep a three times a week schedule when the pages are already finished.


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Post Re: Page 120!
icekatze wrote:
hi hi

The Hiatuses between chapters in Unsounded are specifically because Ashley Cope is drawing her art in advance. It is easy to keep a three times a week schedule when the pages are already finished.


Fair point, but it's still a lot of high-quality pages per month, in advance or not.

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My literacy is cringe-fest... Apologies for what you're about to read.


Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:03 pm
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