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Monday
Aug232010

Questions and Answers

Good evening, Sports Fans, and thanks for watching Zoofights V!

You've been awesome supporters over the last 20 weeks, and I'm really glad if ZF added a little to your summer. On a personal note, thanks for being patient and trusting us to get the job done - I hope it was worth the wait.

Thanks also to every single person, either on the email lists or not, who took the time to draw/paint/animate/sculpt/compose some of the action. We'll be acknowledging everyone properly when Gravitas puts the credits together, but I can't say thanks enough.

THE FUTURE OF ZOOFIGHTS

Contrary to what the sign in that image says, I can safely say we won't be starting another tournament this month!  So technically that picture is dated next year, and is coming to you.. from the FUTURE!

Discussions are already happening however, and we've already got some cool ideas for what to do.

What with croctopus building the entire ZF3/4/5 timeline into a boat and sailing it off, we have quite a broad canvas to work with, but I'm staying silent on the theme etc - you'll just have to wait and see!

THE FORMAT

Next year will have some changes, because I think we've reached a point where trying to keep the pace of earlier tournaments is impossible given the quantity and quality of art each fight deserves.

I'd like to move to a format that doesn't burn the art team out so much (they're doing this for free after all), and which lets me really take the time to tell the story to the full, but I haven't got a concrete plan yet.

It would be good to get your feedback as an audience - would you prefer a smaller annual tournament and some goodies in between, or perhaps a longer tournament "season", with longer intervals (1 week, 2?) in between fights? Maybe you have another idea altogether.

ZOOFIGHTS ON THE INTERNET

One thing's for sure - I want to make much greater use of the website. What would you like to see on it?

I'd like to get a proper voting sytem up, plus a decent bestiary, an archive of great vote posts and a forum of some kind. Not sure how to do the latter, but I think gravitas was looking into it.

I'll keep doing the threads on the Something Awful forums, but I think I want to move voting exclusively to the website next time, to make the place more active.

A lot of people who aren't goons have told me that reading the site feels like they are missing a load of private jokes and stuff, and I want to make ZF a bit more accessible to newcomers. Again, opinions welcome on this one.

OTHER SHIT

Aside from the tournaments, I've been slowly working out a plan for a zoofights card game. If anyone has any info on cheap ways I could produce something like this, I'm all ears.

I've been wary of trying to sell anything on the back of ZF because it would be a dick move to make money of stuff that other people are giving their free time to do. However, if I ever do decide to sell anything, the cash would just go to advertising and maintaining the site until there was enough to share round.

----

Well folks, that's about it from me. Do let me know what you'd like to see from ZF in future - in the end I'll only do what's fun to do, but I'm not even close to getting bored of ludicrous cyborg animal combat!

POST ANY QUESTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS AND WE'LL ANSWER THEM AS SOON AS WE CAN

Reader Comments (11)

I really enjoyed watching this tournament; good job!

As for the future, I would prefer a longer tournament season with the fights more spaced out. It would certainly be exciting to get each fight straight from the oven at 24 hours intervals but as we saw, that doesn't really work out well. With a more spaced out tournament, we'll get a "TV series" feel, which I think is just fine - one new "episode" per week, for example.

I am somewhat worried that this might cause the audience to be much less active what with participating and such. The constant action currently seemed rather important - when a delay came, the posting frequency seemed to decrease significantly. Or maybe it was just commenter burn-out.

I would be very wary of trying to concentrate more heavily on this website for ZF. I will gladly follow fights on an RSS feed and occasionally drop in on SA Forums afterwards to comment/vote but I would never bother to check some "other" forum.

Instead, I strongly recommend tighter integration with SA Forums. Instead of polling & commenting on the website, why not make a new SA Forums thread (+ poll !) for each fight, closing the previous thread. Add a link to the appropriate forum thread at the end of each post on this website. This would work far better than doing some "custom" forum & poll stuff. We have a strong home-base in SA - I doubt any success would come from moving away from the forums.

I am sure some non-goons visit it, but is that really a significant portion of the audience? I think that's very unlikely. Maybe they are simply the ones that e-mail you because they can't write on the forums :) I urge you to concentrate on integrating with SA more and taking the viewpoint that if a non-goon is missing out on stuff, he should become a goon!

Hell, ZF is a popular annual event. I suspect SA would love to make it a frontpage thing even! Talk to the admins about it - I think you might get some support from them.

I recommend you also post some very clear art licensing guidelines for future tournaments (and also check with SA Forums licensing terms) if you want to make and sell a card game.

Well, I think that about covers my €0.02. Have a good one!

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEssOEss

Well, I do have one idea that might help in terms of scheduling - at least for the first round.

Determine bracket placement very early on - like in January or something. If you know who fights who long before the actual voting, you could make significant progress in the picture department (although you would need to leave some blank space to fill in RP characters as the audience). Then, once the votes are in, all you need to do is add/color audience members and make a few pictures showing the KO. For later rounds, this doesn't really work, but the old ZF4 standard of "wait between rounds" would help. Waiting is never fun, but a pre-planned week or two of waiting that you know is coming is a lot better than having constant one-and-two day delays breaking up the momentum.

I could also make more filler bonus matches during downtime if that'd help.

Ideally, the expanded tournament could last about as long as this one did, but with that pesky one-and-a-half-month gap between the semis and the finals spaced out a bit. The beginning of May to the end of August - a summer event.

Also I would totally read backstories/explanations on the fighters. What little backstory we got of Seanet, for instance, was chilling. (Speaking of Seanet, did Croctopus's new universe get rid of them, too? They seemed like they would be important early on, and that reached a climax with Aggronaut, but after that they just faded out of the story.)

##Account of a war from the Sturge's perspective. :D

Uh, aside from that, my biggest site suggestions would be to add a "fan works" section where fanart, song lyrics, exceptional votes and arguments, videos, and those MtG cards could all be archived, and to see about sticking Zoofights 2 up there - I'm morbidly curious. It would also make the site more "complete".

Lastly, yes, please do start negotiations with the artists and everyone responsible for designing the various zoofighters and see about opening a Cafepress store and the like.

Oh yeah, one other question: If Gamma Constrictor had tractored Croctopus in the panic vote, what would have happened? Bad End? There was never a KO picture - no time to make one - so was the voting even used? Was it just to get the crowd even more hyped up?

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGooper Blooper

"Oh yeah, one other question: If Gamma Constrictor had tractored Croctopus in the panic vote, what would have happened? Bad End?"

We pretty much knew people would vote for Croctopus, but the contingency plan was for Ouroborus to run out of options and the only way for him to defeat Croctopus was to twist time so that the fight never took place in the first place. The ending would have been similar, but the snake would be left alive and drained of power in the far far far far far far past. I don't know the EXACT details because, although I discuss all this shit with Major Failure, he's the one that makes the final decisions and sets everything up.

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGravitas Shortfall

Hmm. That's pretty interesting. I often take an interest in "cutting room" and "what could have been" stuff. I've enjoyed the post-fights discussion. Thanks for the answer!

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGooper Blooper

Overall, this was an excellent tournament this year and absolutely carried me this summer. Amidst studying for my medical licensing exam, me and my friends (Vin Diesel, Sad Aragorn, and Sean Connery amongst them) used ZF as a way to escape from the shittiness of studying 10 hours a day and allowed us to have a great competition to see who could predict the most outcomes correctly. I already can't wait for the next one! But alas, you asked for opinions on what I want to see, so I will take this opportunity to voice my requests.

What would make me mark out even bigger for the next ZF tourney:

- Please please please please please cut out ALL of the role-playing not involved with voting. The primary reason why I did not want to go to the SA forums to check what was going on was because I didn't want to sift through 4 pages of kids pretending to be drinking at a bar or describing a day in the life of their fake character. I think the role-playing is great for voting or arguing about who should win a fight, but lets stop all the sad excessive role playing.

- Make it very clear at the beginning of each fight what can be voted on. I know there were plenty of people who loved the "friendship" ending this tournament, but this type of bullshit needs to be stopped irrespective of whether or not people like it. We can't have people randomly voting outcomes, or else we will have some stupid ass double death or we WILL have wolfbike come back and win a goddamn fight on his own. Either make it simple (just pick one of the fighters to win) or spell it out for everyone what can be voted on. This will make the flow of ZF much better and should make it easier on the artists to predict how the story of each fight will progress.

- Have a definitive ending. That's what made last year's tourney so awesome. This year, we sort of had an implied ending. And although I'm glad that we essentially have a "king of beasts" this year, I want a KO drawing. I know, I'm spoiled, but isn't that the classic ZF way to end a fight, especially after waiting many weeks for the championship fight?

- For fun, have a ZF awards ceremony after the tourney. Have the masses vote on "most underrated beast", "this year's Wolfbike", "oh my god moment of the year", "best drawing or submission", "best SA participant", etc. I think this would be a fun way to continue the ZF festivities after the final fight.

- Don't cram things down our throats aka don't pull another Snapture. I understand he was popular. But after losing to the seal, and then to Gamma Constrictor, he needed to die. I wholeheartedly disliked the way that the crowd was quietly manipulated to consider voting for Punchules and the Snapture in order to see a drinking contest, and then after Snapture lost HARD in the battle royale, he still managed to come back and challenge the bat anyway. If he is that popular and meant to move on, he'll ride that goddamn tractor into the finals. But he didn't, and I hated him, and it was completely ridiculous that I had to see him even after he lost fair and square within the limits of the ZF rules. So if someone is done, JUST KILL HIM ALREADY.

- Get all of the old ZF's loaded and working properly on the website so we can all bask in the glory of past beasts while we wait for a fresh batch of fighters to be surgineered for the next tourney.

Additionally: Update the fights in real-time on the website the same way it's done on the SA forums! Don't leave us website readers in the dust!

Yes, I know. It looks like I'm complaining about a lot of things. But let me reiterate: this tournament was absolutely stunning! Best of all was the INCREDIBLE art that was utilized this year. There wasn't a single fight that was hard to follow, mainly because the progression of each fight was documented so well in the beatiful drawings that everyone submitted. This tournament also birthed some of the best and most unique fighters in ZF history. And, some of the fan contributed content was super top-notch this year. ZF has grown and become grander with each passing year. I hope that at least 1 or 2 of my recommendations above will be implemented because smoothing out some of the last minor rough edges will truly catapult ZF into achieving its fullest potential.

Major and everyone else who made ZF possible this year: thanks so much for letting me get lost in a world of brutes fighting brutes. And fuck the Snapture.

August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaims

That's actually some really awesome criticism, and very practical too. I pretty much agree with you on all the negatives, and given the conversations we've already had backstage about how to run ZF6, I think you're going to be pleased with how things progress.

I'm not going to say anything about what we've decided on, but we are doing a lot to bring things back to the basics: impassioned arguments about ridiculous fights, the thrill of needless ritual combat as portrayed by a battallion of artists, and the cold steely justice of mob rule.

Hands up on the Snapture, me and Tentakulon shouldn't have brought him back - it would have been better just to do a spin-off comics page about him sometime if we liked the character that much.

I think that sort of thing is symptomatic - along with the more extreme RPing and some of the other things you mentioned - of the tournament becoming too weighted towards "plot" rather than the fights themselves... I'm confident we can balance it right.

Thanks again for watching, glad it made the summer easier for you :)

MF

August 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterMajor Failure

I think the plot stuff is awesome. The main issue seems to me to be striking a proper balance between pre-planned epicry and organic developments through voting and audience participation. The two are somewhat at odds but both are vital to the Zoofights experience as I see it. Jaim's comments all seem to be towards minimizing the audience participation and I have to disagree. I agree that RPing sometimes has to be reined in, but not that it should be eliminated completely.

The last few fights of ZFV were simulcast on SA and on the website, which is great. It could also be used for those who seek to avoid the RPing as much as possible - send out a RSS or e-mail alert when a fight is about to start, and people could go straight to the website and see everything unfold in real time.

I definitely agree that dead should be dead. I said as much a couple of times when we were planning out the Royal Rumble. Though when your big bad is a snake with complete control over time, strange things can happen.

I'd also like to note that as of last night, ZF3 is up in its entirety. All that's left now is ZF2, god help us.

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAkumu

I do not feel my suggestions reduce audience participation at all. What they do reduce is material that often detracts from the essence of Zoofights.

Believe it or not, Zoofights is not about asking for the cocktail of the evening at Gezora's bar. Although everyone has a jolly ole' time with that, these tournaments are supposed to be about the grand debate of which oddly outfitted beast will persevere in a deathmatch of might and wits. Most of the time on the SA forums, you'll get 1 actual post debating the upcoming fight for every 10 posts involving space soldiers and post-apocalyptic robots indicating their woes in their fantasy worlds.

Some of it is great, like all of the betting characters do with one another. Gezora is funny too, and clearly a ZF staple. But all too often he is responding to comments that have nothing to do with the upcoming fight. What I'm trying to say is, if that's what people want to do, then you can do that without the pretext of an upcoming brute marauding. You can RP in a completely different thread and get the same results if you wanted to.

So my suggestions, in reality, are trying to INCREASE audience particpation....when it comes with talking about the fights and which beast is better. Do you know how many posts involved goons arguing back and forth about which fighter was the best? A depressingly low number. This is the sort of tournament where people should be heavily backing their beast of choice with insults to the opponent and brash and wild claims and theories about why someone will win. Instead, we often get votes from everyone with very minimal cross-talk and argument.

I'll be honest. What I want to see is people whipping out "yo mama" jokes to insult other fighters, ridiculous wagers on battles, claims of superior fight predicting skills. Remember accordion head? Remember how he dropped that Gorillian dollars and got everyone all pissed off and riled up? All those insults to the Snapture? THAT was entertaining. People actually started debating the fight once that bomb was dropped. I personally think people don't get into the fights nearly as much as they should. They get into the fake character's life so much, but barely discuss the intricacies of a hugely radioactive snake that can only see a few seconds into the future in infrared. If only people had discussed it more, they would have seen why that Snake had the potential to be a badass from the start.

Let me reiterate: all RPing should not be stopped, only that which does not add to a fight. That is the suggestion I am trying to get across.

Plus, I've suggested an awards ceremony, with the audience voting on the winners. That's a productive way to get people more involved with the ZF festivities.

I think it's time ZF starts to wean off of the SA forums a bit and establish itself as its own entity on the web. I think it will bring in more readers that way. The SA readers will hate that opinion, but there isn't really any reason why it needs to be there anymore. Plus, I hate the idea of supporting a forum that requires you to pay to be able to search for a given thread (just my opinion).

P.S. - Thanks for having ZFIII up and running!

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaims

there should be one long tournament with, say, one battle a week, voting should be on both SA and ZF to have more votes or perhaps an email adress for voting, but perhaps thats unpractible.
just some short ideas that i came up with while surfin' the net

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterO

The only thing I want for the sequel is the Necromonitron from Zoofights III to appear. Seriously what the hell is he? I wanna know.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThoseTwoDudes

Also, what the hell is the Necromonitron? I never even saw the damn thing.

January 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Deleter

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