DARK MUSINGS #32 – DARKBRAIN V6
by Andrew Zar 3/4/12
Been a while since my last blog, but only because of the massive site migration that was going on. DarkBrain V6 is now launched! This blog just highlights some of my observations of the migration process, for the press release with the summery, read here: http://www.pr.com/press-release/394568
DarkBrain V6 is our largest upgrade yet. Huge changes this round including:
- Announcement of FOUR new series coming to DarkBrain in our DB Quarterly (DBQ) format which is now Adult Only (x-rated). The Butcher, SORTAN-VALTA, Pissy Pussy and Brandi Bandit get full-sized issues as part of DBQ. Also, our Twitter feed is now posting preview pages of DQB on a weekly basis: @DarkBrainComics
- All comics were upgraded to our “HD” format and got our new navigation system which allows readers to jump directly to any page or issue from new dropdowns. This system replaced the older “Your Comics” navigation system and is just so much easier to use.
- The membership system was changed from quarterly to annual at a lower price. Existing members were automatically extended. The schedule of comics also got adjusted as well to include DBQ.
- The login and mailing list systems were adjusted – neither logins nor mailing list subscriptions are required to read our free material anymore. The list of free material was adjusted with the general strategy of having a full free issue of any series and then some extras free as well. Logins are now reserved for paying members. A site-wide age check page is now in place.
On the backend, these changes were incredibly time-consuming to make. I purposely stopped counting the hours as it was just endless. For me, I find working on already-completed content to be extra taxing – I’d so much rather be working on new material. But it was all necessary to upgrade the overall DarkBrain experience considerably. After reading the comics in the new navigation, it really sinks in how much better they are now.
Also, these upgrades helped to finish my “de-evolution” of the technology so that it no longer uses Microsoft SQL Server at all. The system was designed too large, too robust, too expansive – I often have the “problem” of thinking way too big. The DarkBrain engine could be used by movie studios as an engaging, powerful storyboard system; by video game companies to flesh out game storytelling mechanics, and much more. As I now get to V6, I have a much more streamlined comic reader that suits DarkBrain’s needs better and drops a lot of the extras I just didn’t need. This also lets me change hosts, an important step.
When confronted with a multi-hundreds-of-hours project, I find it best to just get everything that needs doing in a list and hit the list from top to bottom. My normal broader view had to be put aside for a tactical, burn-through-it strategy. Then I hit that list obsessively. My best asset, finding creative solutions to problems, had to just idle out and the task master had to take over. This crushed my sleep pattern to less than 5 a night for an extended time, was just brutal. It is nice to be on the other side of this beast now.
I had one moment late in the project where my creative part of the brain finally resurfaced and I figured out how to reduce the labor on a repetitive task by 80% - which was frustrating to not have figured out sooner! Gah! Well, deadlines are a brutal, merciless king – and sometimes I have to just accept throwing labor into the shredder of work – it was more important to get it done than anything else.
But, in reflection, it is easy to forget that running a web comic site, especially with Flash content with music and voice, involves a lot of tech work – a TON. I’m glad I can do it all myself, the cost to outsource that would be so prohibitive that DarkBrain would have never existed in the first place.
Now, at the end of the chain, we have the DarkBrain Comic Reader v6.01. Loads of cool and important enhancements to enable the next round of awesome web comics.
Till next time,
The above image is from the upcoming Pissy Pussy Origins. Copyright 2012, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Lines by Boyann.