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Alright, last journal was all about not knowing what to do next. I sort of got past that for now, so here's what's happening...

Making Comics


For now my main creative focus is resuming Ninmu Nanmu as a comic to the best of my ability. So far I've been doing a pretty terrible job of finishing on time, but the work is getting done and I'm pretty happy with the finished pages. I should be able to upload new pages weekly if I keep learning from my mistakes. Some of the delays have also been caused just because it's been so long and I've lost track of some of my old plans and reference drawings and such; that should stop happening after a little while. I don't have any specific plans beyond updating on time; other projects are on hold until I've got that figured out.

Patreon


To help me work on the comic, I've started a Patreon campaign where people can sign up to contribute money every time I finish a page. I've seen this work really well for other comics, and it's already turning out to be a big help for me. A few people signed up right away and the difference in my motivation is night and day; it really makes me feel like the comic has a future worth working toward. If you want to help me continue the comic, check it out and maybe sign up: www.patreon.com/johncolburn

Also: I know there are a lot of good reasons a person may not be able to spare money. Completed pages will always be free for everybody everywhere, so don't worry that you're missing out just because all your money is tied up with more important things.
That whole IndieGoGo disaster is finished so I guess it's about time I pushed that journal off the front page. I wish I could make some big announcement about starting up comics again or something but honestly I have no idea what I'm doing. So I'm kinda throwing this journal together to help me think I guess. Journals are supposed to be good for that sort of thing.

Resume Comics?

A lot of people have said they hope I return to making comics. That's definitely something I'd like to do at some point but ... I guess there are some issues? Well... more like I'm not totally sure how to go about it. I could just try to pick up exactly where I left off with Ninmu Nanmu and make comics exactly the way I used to... except that I wasn't doing very well in the first place. I never updated on time because it took me an unreasonable amount of time to finish each page. If I want to return to comics I'm going to need to do something differently but at this stage I'm not really sure what.

Make Games?

I also haven't given up on the idea of making games. I've poked at the code for Ninmu Nanmu here and there... I'm really happy with a lot of it, I just have no idea how to make an actual game. I'm good with code and decent with art but apparently terrible at game design? Or more accurately terrible at planning and executing a game design more complicated than "jump from platform to platform". So I dunno, maybe I should just try to make a couple super simple games and see if I can build toward something more interesting.

Life is Hard

For the last six months I've been working as a school bus driver... the pay is actually pretty good all things considered. Better than any other job I've had in the past at least. Unfortunately it turned out to be way more exhausting than I would have guessed, so I generally had no time for anything beyond working, chores, and staying sane. On the upside, I have the summer off because school is out and there's not much work for school bus drivers. If I want to make comics or games (or have any hobbies, really) I'll need to find a different job before September. Part of me wants to throw myself into comics, commissions, etc and try to make money that way but... that's an extremely difficult road.

That 'TG' Stuff

Probably a lot of people following me here on DeviantArt want to see me return to the quasi-fetish TG-themed stuff I used to post, but honestly I'm kinda burned out on that. It's not like I've lost interest altogether or anything I just... I dunno, I'm bothered by a lot of what goes on with TG transformations/captions/whatever. There's a bizarre level of sexism, homophobia, and transphobia and I'm really not okay with that. From day one I've been doing TG stuff motivated by humor, curiosity, and exploring differences between men and women. I've probably made some missteps but I never wanted to suggest that any combination of male/female/straight/gay/cis/trans/etc is better or worse than any other.

I dunno I'm really bumming myself out with this topic. I'm starting to think maybe this is the single biggest obstacle to resuming comics and other art here... I don't want to hurt anybody and I don't want to be part of a pattern or community that hurts people. In the beginning I was just like "Hey my comic will have gay people and trans people and it'll be awesome!" and then I realized that it's actually really easy to fuck up and become part of the problem without even realizing it.

I think that's enough journal for now. I've got a better idea of what I need to figure out, so mission accomplished I guess?
Okay so I semi-announced this a couple days ago: All work on the Ninmu Nanmu game is suspended, the game may or may not ever be finished, and I'm planning to offer refunds to the people who contributed to my IndieGoGo campaign. 

So far most people responding to the news have been kinder than I could have hoped, and that has made this process much easier for me. Thank you all for being so understanding.

The Game


The game is, at present, a disorganized collection of ideas, notes, concept art, and source code. There isn't even really a partially finished game to show, which is really the problem. As far as I can tell I have absolutely no talent for organizing a complicated project. I can confidently say that I am good at making many of the ingredients of a good game, but it seems that I should not be the person in charge of planning or directing the development process. I'm not sure that will ever change and I don't know that there's any way around it; even seemingly simple games can be very complex to build.

That said, I still enjoy working on games and I'd still like to finish this one eventually. I just can't predict when that might be and I can't leave people hanging forever.

Refunds


I'll be offering refunds to any of my IndieGoGo supporters who want one. I have an email address for each contributor and I'll be sending an email to each one over the next week or so. I expect there will be some trouble from old email addresses, mail caught in spam filters, and so on, but with a little work I should be able to contact everybody. Feel free to contact me here on DA using comments and/or notes, as that is probably more convenient anyway. I can't afford to refund everybody immediately, but I'll handle the refunds as quickly as my budget allows. I will stop accepting refund requests at the end of March, and hopefully the whole process will be wrapped up before June.

The exact method of the refund will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Paypal is an obvious option, and if you live in the United States I can probably send you a check. For a slightly more creative option, I could buy you a game on steam that costs about the same as your contribution amount. In any case I'm sure we'll be able to get it all figured out one way or another.

Thank You


I want to say thank you again to anybody who supported the IGG campaign, who has been following the game since then, or really anybody who has supported my comics/art/whatever over the years. Every time I'm afraid I've really screwed up and people will never forgive me, you guys manage to prove me wrong.
I've been working on better ways to announce this but I think I just need to get it out there. In the near future I will begin refunding my IndieGoGo backers. The Ninmu Nanmu game will not be finished any time soon and possibly never will be. I'll post more information soon but right now I just need to get past the initial pain and shame. I screwed up and I'm sorry. That's all I can think to say right now.
I assume most of my watchers are already aware, but some other guys are also doing a TG/TF themed game; DKDevil and Zetsub are hard at work on their visual novel game (latest update), and are also trying to get it approved on Steam Greenlight.

I dunno if you've ever read the comments on greenlight, but that stuff can be really harsh. A lot of people are trashing this game for no good reason, so if you like what DK and Zet are doing and you want to support their game you should get over there and vote; if you've already voted, leave a positive comment about how excited you are to play the game. A lot of people are questioning why the game got funded and who would actually want to play it: Get over there and tell them. Indie games thrive on the support of their fans, so don't hold back!
So if you're writing a game in something like C++, there's a decent chance that you'll end up defining things like items, NPC behavior, and one-time events in some kind of scripting language like Lua or Python.

But what if you're already writing your game in python?

Common wisdom seems to say that game assets should be stored in files outside of the game's code. This is a good idea, but it also lends itself to the strange idea that this data must be stored in some other format as well.

Today I asked myself "If I'm writing the game in Python and I need a file format for storing structured data, couldn't I just use more Python?"

It turns out that the answer is yes.

I'm not suggesting that it's a good idea to just throw random data around in your source files; that part of the original premise is true. Data should be separated from the game's core behavior. My data scripts are stored in a separate location and loaded by the main game in a fairly strict environment to ensure that they don't get tangled up with the main code.

This approach seems like it's going to have a lot of advantages because these external scripts can be as simple or as complex as I need them to be. A script could just contain a bunch of static data that gets injected into the game, or it could contain actual logic that generates large amounts of content based on a relatively small amount of data.

It also gives me a good place to put specialized game logic for things like puzzles or enemy behavior which can often be quite complex but really don't belong inside the engine proper.

Of course it's possible this approach won't be all that great. Every line of code carries the risk of horrible side effects you forgot to consider. Only time will tell ^^;.

Reposted from the main NN site.

I've decided that I need more feedback and community support for my game, so I'm putting a pretty big emphasis on updating the dev blog and stuff like that. I'm thinking I'll also try posting more stuff here on DA since I always get a bigger response over here.

Fun fact: As I type this, I'm having exactly the problem I always have with posting more often. I'm sitting here thinking "This isn't a very long journal, and it's not that interesting, should I really post something like this?". I always feel like I have to have something big and impressive to post, and I'm trying to get over that.
For anybody who didn't already notice, my Indiegogo fundraiser was a success and I'm now making a Ninmu Nanmu game. The Ninmu Nanmu website has been converted over to a development blog where I post stuff about the game and its progress.
Woo, some people might have already heard about this via the deviation I posted earlier but for completeness I'll post a journal as well! I'm starting up an Indiegogo campaign to make a game based on Ninmu Nanmu, which my DA watchers are probably already familiar with. You can check it out over here: Ninmu Nanmu at Indiegogo. Even if you can't or don't want to back the project right now, make sure you check back once in a while. I'll be adding more information and content right up to the last day.

If you've got any questions about the fame or the fundraiser, I'm happy to answer them. Just comment on this journal, send me a note, or whatever. I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner.
Here's a journal for my front page to clarify that this account should be considered DORMANT.

That means that I don't post anything, and I only check for comments and such maybe once a week. The account isn't abandoned or anything; I'll probably post some stuff again eventually. I just don't know when.

If you're sad and want some TG art, you could try checking over at Ninmu Nanmu to see if I've updated lately. If I'm being slow there as well, you could always go check to see if blackshirtboy or any of the other TG people on DA have posted anything.

Anyway, that's about all I had to say. I'll be back eventually, and see you all then.
In my last journal entry, I pointed out a disagreement I had with EmilyRees over ending the experiment. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO INTERVENE IN ANY WAY. I appreciate everybody who decided to comment, and I thank everybody who consoled me about the situation. I just don't want anybody giving her a hard time about it or anything like that. I'm honestly concerned for her; she seems to be going through some tough times. I'm sure everybody can understand that it's easy to lash out when you're in pain; please give her the benefit of the doubt.

I am generally flattered when my watchers come to my defense, but in this case I think it may do more harm than good.
  • Listening to: Metric
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Eating: THE BEST SANDWICH
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
My last journal was not very long. To summarize: I ended my sequence-drawing experiment without having drawn as many sequences as I would have liked.

I want to repeat that I'm sorry to anybody who got their hopes up. I did plan to draw at least a few more, but circumstances were working against me. I considered announcing the end of the experiment sooner, but I didn't want to admit I was in over my head. I made mistakes, and I apologize to anybody I hurt when I did that.

I feel it necessary to repeat this because one watcher has gotten really quite angry with me. I've tried to defend my position, possibly too harshly at times, but she does have a right to be angry. I just want to be clear that I didn't do any of this with the intention of hurting people. I got excited and tried to do too much; it's certainly not the first time and it probably won't be the last. I've tried to settle that argument in private, and hopefully there won't be any hard feelings. Nobody else has complained so far, and I'm always thankful for how patient people are with my fuckups in general, but if you're upset with me and haven't said anything: Please accept my apologies.

I think I'll take this as a lesson to stop announcing anything or holding these sorts of events. I'll just post things that are already done. It's just safer that way.
  • Listening to: Metric
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Eating: THE BEST SANDWICH
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Well, probably nobody is surprised but my grand experiment from the last journal is over. The purpose of the experiment was trying to find ways to draw faster, and also to see if I could re-open commissions. Turns out I can draw quite a bit faster if I pay attention and set myself up properly. Unfortunately, I won't be re-opening commissions. I had planned to do as many sequences as I could stand and/or had time for, and it turns out that number was two and a half. Not nearly enough.

  Sorry to anybody who was really hoping I'd draw theirs, but that's why I never said whose I would draw or how many would get done. Didn't want to be a liar, though I'll be honest I was hoping to do more than I did. Maybe I'll give it a shot again when things settle down for me.
  • Listening to: Metric
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Eating: THE BEST SANDWICH
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Hey everybody, I'm going to do a super-awesome and totally important experiment but I NEED YOUR HELP.

What I need is this: PRETEND for a moment that I am doing some awesome sequences by commission and YOU want to get one. Since you're pretending, you can ALSO pretend that my prices are reasonable and that you have a convenient pile of internet money set aside for JUST THIS PURPOSE. There are a couple of limitations, however: In order to get this awesome sequence you have to tell me what you want in exactly one sentence of the form "(This person) into (that person)."  and you must ALSO provide LINKS to IMAGES of those people.

WHAT SEQUENCE WOULD YOU ASK FOR?

Seriously, get your shit figured out and tell me what you would get in a comment on this journal. Some of these are going to get drawn. I won't draw it if you can't meet the conditions described above. If there are a lot of ideas, they won't all get drawn. Being first won't guarantee you get picked, but it might help your chances. I make no guarantee as to the length or quality of these sequences, but they will happen.

Comment ON or BEFORE Monday, March 28th if you want to have any chance of getting in on this.

DO IT NOW! FOR SCIENCE!
  • Listening to: Metric
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Eating: THE BEST SANDWICH
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
I got tagged. This seems to be very anime/manga oriented, so I'm gonna stick to those media/genres. I also haven't spent much time thinking about this. I'd probably choose different things if I took more time, but eh...

1) Post these rules.
2) Each chosen person must post five favorite characters, anime and manga in their journal.
3) Choose ten friends and put their icon on the same page.
4) Go to their page and send a message saying you Chosen them.
5) NO CHOOSE BACKS!

Characters Top 5:

1) Naomi Armitage
2) Winry Rockbell
3) Kurosaki Ichigo
4) Kamina
5) Haruhi Suzumiya

Anime Top 5:

1) Armitage III
2) Black Heaven
3) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (I even liked Endless Eight)
4) Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
5) Naruto/Bleach/Dragonball (Basically, "Shonen Fighting Anime" as a category gets this slot.)

Manga Top 5 :

1) I almost never read manga.
2) ...
3) Pluto
4) ...
5) Spiderman (comic books are kind of like manga, right?)

I... don't know who to tag. Do it if you want, I guess?
  • Listening to: E Nomine
  • Watching: Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Playing: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Eating: Cookies
  • Drinking: NOS
TG-TF-74 uses "Go back to sleep!"

It's super effective!

Okay, just wanted to let everybody know I got all your comments and llamas and everything. Thank you all so much for you birthday wishes.

That said, I find birthdays really depressing.

So I'm not going to try to do much to respond to anybody today. I'm just going to take it easy, maybe take a nap, and wait until tomorrow.

See you all then.
  • Listening to: Paramore
  • Eating: Cheez-Its
  • Drinking: Coffee Stuff
Wow, that previous journal entry was quite the event. Five days later and I'm still struggling to reply to all of the comments and support I received. Thank you so much, everybody.

  I'm actually making this journal entry just to push the other one off the front page and to let everybody know that I'm doing a lot better now. It was kind of a dramatic weekend, but I worked through a lot of frustration and talked it over with a lot of different people. Sometimes a graceful solution just isn't happening; sometimes all you can do is scream about the problem and hope it helps somehow.

  I'm feeling pretty motivated after all of that... might result in more art, might not. I'm absurdly behind schedule on everything because I didn't get anything done during the weekend, but I should get back on top of it soon.

=== Commission Info ===

Commissions are no longer available. This is the last journal I'll be putting this notification on.
  • Listening to: Paramore
  • Eating: Cheez-Its
  • Drinking: Coffee Stuff
I'm a little incoherent right now, but I'm going to type this up before I lose the feeling I have right now.

I'm crying and laughing at the same time... I can't remember the last time I was this happy or upset. It's one of those thing you can try to describe but it doesn't make any sense to other people. It doesn't even feel real after it's over but you know it was real at the time.

I read this about an hour ago. I managed to submit a critique with some of my feelings about it (not yet visible as I type this) and ever since I hit submit I've been something of a wreck. It's just so simple, sad, and true that I can't really even express how it actually makes me feel. All I know is that it's making me remember the reason I ever started any of this craziness in the first place.

To any of my fans who have never struggled with transgender issues, I apologize. It may be hard to follow some of what I'm saying. It's a painful thing when you can't be the person you want to be. Can't say the things you want to say or do the things you want to do. Can't have the friends you want, tell the people you love how you feel, or even simple things like wearing the clothing you want to wear. Sometimes you can overcome your insecurity, throw caution to the wind, and do what you want despite what other people think. But what if you were born physically incapable of being the person you want to be?

I've never been completely happy with my body; I sometimes wish that I could have been born female because there are so many things I feel I am unable to do and experience as a man. It seems so stupid and senseless sometimes; how many people are honestly happy with their bodies? Everybody wants to be something they're not. Too short, too skinny, too tall, to fat. Not strong enough, not shapely enough, too plain or too weird. What makes me any different? WHAT MAKES ME THINK I'M SO SPECIAL THAT I CAN COMPLAIN ABOUT STUPID IMAGE PROBLEMS WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE REAL PROBLEMS LIKE FUCKING STARVING TO DEATH?

But somehow it never goes away. Everybody has their problems, and it's hard to compare suffering. Maybe it really is stupid and senseless, but does that make the pain any less real? Shouldn't everybody have a chance to be happy somehow? Isn't that what compassion is about? I don't know.

The tears soak into the front of my shirt and dry into a salty residue on my glasses. I don't even know what I want for myself. Long hours of despair led to the conclusion that had I been born a woman I would long to be a man. I'm just a dreamer, wishing for things that can never happen. Wishing for experience and understanding beyond my reach. Years of uncertainty and confusion piled on my shoulders and still searching for an answer. Some final idea that can relieve the pain forever and let me rest.

I don't know if I can ever find that answer and the only thing I can do to ease the pain is scream my stupid story at the top of my lungs to anybody who will listen. In my shame I disguise it behind layers of fiction and symbolism, afraid of what would happen if I were ever too honest. Praying that somebody who feels the same way will understand the meaning hidden behind the lines and words. That somehow we can both feel better knowing at least that we don't suffer alone. Hoping that maybe when I'm dead and gone, my questions unanswered, someone someday will figure out how to fix whatever is wrong with people and the world they live in. In my limitless vanity I imagine that maybe my story will be one small calculation in the margin of the impossibly complicated solution to human suffering.

It's been the anthem of artists all over the world and for all of human history. Trying to express ideas we don't understand and solve problems that may not have solutions. Crying out in both defiance and remorse. Fighting against oppression and begging for forgiveness. No clear direction or goal, but with a raging storm inside that won't allow for peace or rest. Clinging desperately to life while wishing for death's release, putting one foot in front of the other, walking the line between right and wrong in strange spaces where time has no meaning.

Then you wake up the next day and do it again because you don't know what else to do.

Because that's what it means to be alive.

I don't know why I feel the way I do. I don't know why I do the things I do. Maybe there are no reasons. Today I felt like somebody understood that struggle. A one-sided assumption on my part, but it still reminded me of the feeling I had at the beginning. Some days I wonder why I decided to pick a fight against the world. I'm sure those days will come again, but at this moment on this day I can remember. I can remember why I started this fight, and I'm glad that I did.

=== Commission Info ===

Commissions are no longer available. Sorry.
  • Listening to: Rise Against
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Just keeping the old journal updated for the hell of it. Here's what's been going on:

Have pretty much completely redone the Ninmu Nanmu website. It doesn't look a lot different, but holy cow did I write a lot of python to make that happen! It's pretty spiffy, all in all.

The NinmuNanmu group thing is still going, though I'll be honest not much has happened so far. The most exciting thing the group has seen so far is a pretty cool fanart by BlackSavior3000. Hopefully some more events will happen there sooner or later.

The commission business has been a little slow and I haven't drawn much besides comics lately, so I haven't had a lot to put here on my deviantart gallery. I'll have to find something to post one of these days; I don't want to let it turn into a ghost town around here.

Commissions are no longer available, sorry.

Aaaanyway, that's about all I've got for you right now.
  • Listening to: Cascada
  • Watching: Scott Pilgrim as many times as possible
  • Playing: Fallout 2
  • Eating: Chex Mix
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
:iconninmunanmu:

Yeah, it's a group. I made it. I dunno what happens next. If you're a fan of Ninmu Nanmu specifically or you just like some story with your TG, join NinmuNanmu today! I'm not sure what the group will actually do, but I'm sure we'll figure out something fun ^^. Membership should be open, though each new member needs to be approved by me (Hint: I'll probably approve every member since I can't actually test whether or not you like things).

I guess that's all I've got to say right now.

=== Commission Information ===

If you'd like to commission art from me, check the latest journal entry!
  • Listening to: Everything on Shuffle
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Shadowrun 4th ed
  • Eating: Pretzels
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew