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Suggestions regarding DR

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Right now, it looks like DR is mostly dead. There's a couple of concepts that are being worked on, but starting with page 3 (end of page 2, really), the threads haven't seen any activity for at least a month. Starting with page 8 (2nd thread, no less), the topics haven't seen any activity in at least a year. That's... more than half of what's there. And yet, despite the fact that there are only a handful of active topics, there's no way to post new ones for those people who have them.

 

So, I think it's time to consider opening DR again for new requests, for one. Second, I think it's time to put older concepts to rest. Lock the threads, hide them even - but allow the OPs to ask for them to be re-opened. (Artists who worked on the concepts should be able to re-post them as their own concepts instead so they have the ability to edit the OP.) Maybe concepts that haven't seen any activity for 6 months could be locked, those with no activity for at least a year should be hidden.

 

This way, we get the DR pruned to what still looks like it has a chance to see the light of day, and, at the same time, opens it up for new ideas and concepts.

 

Personally, I still think we need something that goes before DR for developing concepts, a place where we can bounce ideas off and discuss whether a concept would be feasible for DC. Even if it's just a single thread similar to the proofreading thread for descriptions. 

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Keep in mind that DR activity tends to vary with the season. Winter has always seen a bit of a slowdown. With this year being the first that DR was closed, it was bad enough that a thread could go a month without a post and still be on the first page. By contrast, there have been thirty-five threads (about a page and a half) active this month, with an additional four five being moved to the Completed List, and those numbers will only increase once summer starts.

 

That said, I'm not against reopening DR, but I'd like for the submission guidelines to be looked over first. Part of the problem before was that there were too many ideas and not enough artists, and there's already a lot of artist overlap in the currently active threads. Also, while activity will increase and lessen the issue, I'd like the bumping guideline to be looked at as well. Right now the rule is to wait until your thread hits page four, which currently means waiting five months to get back to the first page unless you have an update to post. (Which is exactly why people don't really follow that rule anymore.)

Edited by 11th
Oops, I forgot one of the CL threads. This is why you check before posting, me. :T

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Some of the concepts in DR haven't been touched since 2011. The art is no longer "up to standards" and would need to be revamped entirely. Most (if not all) of these threads were actually in the Completed section and the OPs and/or artists have likely gone inactive. I think those threads could be locked without issue, creating openings for new ideas. 

 

One of my DR threads hasn't seen an update in months because the only spriter is working on a dozen other project. It's still in the works. A month isn't really a fair timeframe when considering outside factors/other projects/etc. But years? Yes, those threads are covered in dust.

 

I also agree that a concept developing step would be nice. By the time sketches are done, the concept should be fairly solid anyway. Maybe that's something TJ can weigh in on.

 

 

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I think that locking threads that have had no activity for six months or more might help. I know we are only allowed to have two open concepts at a time. Right now, I have another thread that's locked for the time being since I know it'll probably have to be reworked as the spriter has moved on from spriting for DC. 

 

I think that breaking down the DR section into further subcategories might also help since there are so few artists to go around. Having the following subsections might help:

-crit/ final crit needed

-spriting WIP

-sketching/accepting sketches

- concepting

 

ETA: Obviously the concept to artist ratio seems really overwhelming and having a way to know what stage each thread is in might help things to move along faster. 

Edited by Jazeki

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Support support sooooooooo much support!!!

 

I'm not active in the DR section except occasionally to give opinions (can't sprite worth crap), but this is definitely very frustrating and frankly a little ridiculous. I totally understood the decision to close DR to new requests until the number went down a little, but honestly that will simply *never* happen when threads that haven't been active since 2013 (!!) are allowed to stay and presumably count towards the 'DR is too full now'. It's been almost a year since it was closed to new requests, but that move doesn't seem to have helped the actual number of concepts being closed for inactivity much at all. Even if the cutoff was a full year, that would *halve* the number of open DR threads. 

 

It honestly kind of feels like the DR section was closed with certain intentions or goals and then it was all just kind of abandoned. Threads aren't being cleaned out, the number of total threads in the section is not changing.... Something should definitely be done, or we will *never* see an open DR again.

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Decide when to axe an ancient concept, especially if the concepters/artists are no longer available on Dragon Cave or its forums. Why should inactive (and concepts that will more than likely never be active again) take up the space that could invite newer, more active concepts. Just my opinion.

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Looking through the oldest few pages in DR, it seems like quite a few of the threads have either OPs or artists that are either currently active on the forums or have been active within the past few months.... And yet their topics haven't been active since 2013-ish. It might be a good idea to find out if those people are still interested in those concepts, and if not they can be closed and cleared out. There is really no good reason at all to keep years-old inactive threads around, especially if the amount of those threads are what is keeping DR closed. If the OP and artists are inactive, there you go, close the thread because there is nothing that can be done with it. If they are active, reach out to them and ask if they intend to work on the concept, and if not close it. It seems very simple, actually.

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It's too simple of a solution, yet nearly impossible to do.

Edited by Whirlaway

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While I would absolutely love if DR opened again, I don't agree with clearing it out, at least not yet. I still have at least one concept that's locked and hasn't been posted in in a year, because of the two topic limit, so it would unfortunately be on the chopping block when I have every intention of working on it, I just have too many threads open. Unless a happy medium can be reached, I'm going to be against a reopening/cleaning, sorry.

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@HeatherMarie

Many of those threads are currently closed because of the two active threads per person limit -- some people had 4-5 (in extreme cases, 10+) threads on the old CL, and OPs have had to pick two threads to focus on fixing up. Once they finish one, another old one can be unlocked to start work again. That limit is in place to make sure that people don't overload themselves or others with work. (Because, once again, there are only ~12-15 "active" artists in DR right now, with most of them already working on two or more threads.)

 

Also, PM'ing everyone sounds simple enough, but here's the problem:

There are 387 threads in DR right now. 264 unique thread creators. There's no easy way to count contributors.

It's much easier for people to PM staff as they need things unlocked than it is for the two active DR mods (LadyLyzar and Infinis) to go through all of that.

 

All that said, it might not hurt to create a third subforum for locked or inactive old CL threads, so that they would still be public without inflating the active thread list.

Edited by 11th

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That would be a nice alternative, 11th. Move threads that are currently inactive to a special thread subsection that which can be moved into Dragon Requests later if the conceptor or artist show interest in continuing the thread.

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3 minutes ago, 11th said:

@HeatherMarie

Many of those threads are currently closed because of the two active threads per person limit -- some people had 4-5 (in extreme cases, 10+) threads on the old CL, and OPs have had to pick two threads to focus on fixing up. Once they finish one, another old one can be unlocked to start work again. That limit is in place to make sure that people don't overload themselves or others with work. (Because, once again, there are only ~12-15 "active" artists in DR right now, with most of them already working on two or more threads.)

 

Also, PM'ing everyone sounds simple enough, but here's the problem:

There are 387 threads in DR right now. 264 unique thread creators. There's no easy way to count contributors.

It's much easier for people to PM staff as they need things unlocked than it is for the two active DR staff (LadyLyzar and Infinis) to go through all of that.

 

All that said, it might not hurt to create a third subforum for locked or inactive old CL threads, so that they would still be public without inflating the active thread list.

 

The majority of the threads on the oldest two pages of DR are not closed, at least not in terms of actually being locked... I counted 29 open threads on the last two pages. If some of those are actually inactive because of the two-active-threads limit, they should be locked. And if all threads that are inactive or locked *because* of the two limit were moved to a separate subforum and/or simply not counted as active in the 'DR has too many threads to be open right now' decision, that would make a *huge* amount of difference. 

 

If mods don't want to, or don't have the time to, actually ask people if they want to continue their concept, that's fine. But that should not be a reason to do nothing. If we can't PM everyone to find out for sure, then simply make a cutoff of one year or something, and lock/hide/don't count all threads that have been inactive for over that amount of time. I very much like the idea of a subforum for locked/inactive threads that does *not* count towards the 'active-DR' count, and that may indeed be a lot simpler then trying to PM everyone.... I don't really care what exactly is done, but something really does *need* to be done, or DR will never open again.

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I feel the need to stress something:

DR is not just closed because of the number of threads. There's no magic number that needs to be reached for it to reopen, and cleaning out all of the old CL threads doesn't guarantee that it will.

 

DR is closed because there aren't enough people to do all of the work. If it had been allowed to stay open after the merge, it's entirely possible that there could be another 40-50 threads on top of that 387, but with the same amount of active artists as we have now. That's because most people submit a concept and then get stuck waiting for artists because they don't draw or sprite. And if those artists leave, those OPs have to start over because the artists need to be around to give editing permission and to sign the artist agreement. That's why so many open threads with active OPs are still inactive.

 

Only eleven* threads have been finished since the merge. Eleven threads completed in a year. Eight of those have overlapping artists.

If you open DR with the same submission guidelines as before, then, sure, you'll get a bunch of active threads. But the majority of them will never be finished. Until that happens less, simply dumping a lot of old inactive threads to create new eventually-probably-going-to-be-inactive threads isn't going to do any good.

 

*(There are ten at the moment, but Freckleds were on the new CL before being released.)

Sorry if this kinda' turned into a rant. :s

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So what would you suggest, @11th? I think clearing out the obviously-dead threads is a good start, but if that's not enough, what would be? We can't magically poof new artists into DR to do the work, so to me it sounds like if the main issue really is simply not enough people to do the work needed to finish the concepts.... Then DR might as well be dead. Unless we get a huge influx of new spriters/artists, the amount of threads that don't have enough people to help is not going to change. 

 

So what can be done, then, if that's the main issue? I know a lot of people would love to see concepts finished, and would love to see the DR open again. But if there aren't enough people to do the work needed to lessen then number of threads, and the DR won't open until there is.... Is there even a point to DR? It seems that a lot of the concepts have overlapping artists... Would it help at all if the artists didn't spread themselves so thin and only focused on one or two concepts until they were totally completed, *and* concepts they aren't going to work on for awhile were moved to a new inactive subforum? There has to be *something* that will help make DR a little more productive and less of a huge mess of abandoned projects.

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I would be very agreeable to locking threads that have been dead (no posts) for six months or more (or maybe even just three, just to keep the section clean) and throwing them in an archive to be moved back to DR and opened at request of OP or artists. 

 

But the biggest underlying issue in DR is, and has been for some time, a serious lack of manpower in there to do the art. Flooding the section with an increasing number of concepts doesn't help and there's been a great deal of frustration from OPs whose concepts are dead in the water just because they have no artist.

 

4 minutes ago, HeatherMarie said:

So what would you suggest, @11th? I think clearing out the obviously-dead threads is a good start, but if that's not enough, what would be? We can't magically poof new artists into DR to do the work, so to me it sounds like if the main issue really is simply not enough people to do the work needed to finish the concepts.... Then DR might as well be dead. Unless we get a huge influx of new spriters/artists, the amount of threads that don't have enough people to help is not going to change. 

 

So what can be done, then, if that's the main issue? I know a lot of people would love to see concepts finished, and would love to see the DR open again. But if there aren't enough people to do the work needed to lessen then number of threads, and the DR won't open until there is.... Is there even a point to DR? It seems that a lot of the concepts have overlapping artists... Would it help at all if the artists didn't spread themselves so thin and only focused on one or two concepts until they were totally completed, *and* concepts they aren't going to work on for awhile were moved to a new inactive subforum? There has to be *something* that will help make DR a little more productive and less of a huge mess of abandoned projects.

 

My suggestion is for more people to start picking up pixel art, or at the very least sketching, especially OPs - anyone passionate about saving the section, really, and making it feasible again. It's unlikely that mass amounts of help will come from outside, so the best thing imo is to find it within the section. And we need that to go hand in hand with people staying in DR for the long run, even after release onsite.

 

As far as overlapping artists...I don't know if that will help. I work fast enough and get bored quickly enough that multiple concepts to jump between works well for me. But I'm not everyone, and even I'm limited - by work and by the fact that I just don't want to work on DC whatevers all the time. 

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I don’t see an issue with artist overlap in the public Completed Requests, honestly... At least it means there are some concepts that have been finished. :/.

 

But, as Infinis said, the main problem is the lack of artist willing to help on these Dragon Requests. I have only seen a few already in-cave artist helping with public DRs and only a few other non in-cave artist doing what they can to help these concepts along. If there were more people willing or able to aid with DRs, we might seem more completed concepts. Until such a time comes around, DR will stay as stagnant as it is and, if reopened, new requests could very likely get stuck in the same rut as those currently in the Dragon Request subsection.

Edited by Whirlaway

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Just to clarify, I don't think that overlapping artists alone is an issue. Some people are better at handling multiple threads at once than others. Some people just work faster. Both of those are okay. I mostly brought it up to try and hammer home just how few people are doing a good chunk of the work to finish things.

 

And, yes, what Infi said. Every person that comes into DR who can sketch or at least do part of a sprite is a big help. You don't have to be amazing to start, either -- I had a good amount of drawing experience when I started my first thread, but my sprites were... pretty awful. It took ~two years of experimenting, but I finally reached a point where I felt pretty comfortable with it, even if I'm not the quickest, and I know that when I do have problems there are people who can help figure things out without needing them to do the entire sprite.

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Oh, sorry for misinterpreting what you meant 11th! :(.

 

(But I agree).

Edited by Whirlaway

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I agree that re-opening DR right now would not be of much help due to how little artists there are compared to the number of concepts(I'm juggling 9 concepts, not counting the sketches & private ones, and others are probably also handling multiple concepts x_x). However, I do think moving the old threads is a good idea. Maybe move threads that haven't been bumped for six months? After they're moved, only the OP or the artist involved would be able to request to move them back into DR and any other post on the thread would count as spam, like CL. It would clean up DR and let us know which concepts actually need help with. The pile of hundreds of concepts is rather overwhelming.

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Yes to what SkyWolf said. They are so many concepts in the DR that it is nearly overwhelming, especially considering how few artists help with public DRs. I would like to see something done about those very inactive requests (a thread last touched in 2013 should very much be counted as inactive in my opinion) being moved from DR, so DR is for concepts that actually have progress and activity being seen to them.

Edited by Whirlaway

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13 minutes ago, SkyWolf25 said:

I agree that re-opening DR right now would not be of much help due to how little artists there are compared to the number of concepts(I'm juggling 9 concepts, not counting the sketches & private ones, and others are probably also handling multiple concepts x_x). However, I do think moving the old threads is a good idea. Maybe move threads that haven't been bumped for six months? After they're moved, only the OP or the artist involved would be able to request to move them back into DR and any other post on the thread would count as spam, like CL. It would clean up DR and let us know which concepts actually need help with. The pile of hundreds of concepts is rather overwhelming.

 

I rather agree. Also the locked ones that are locked because of the 2 threads limit should be in a separate sub-area. And there are - as someone said further up - far too many where the art is certainly not up to scratch. That isn't the case with the site artists' work, but there's art from a few people who think they can sprite and to be blunt - can't.

 

I do think everything should be kind of fleshed out more before a site artist is expected to come in and work on a concept. I've watched a couple where they came in and did some lovely art, and then the OP has said no not like that and has given some really vague demand for what they WANT and that keeps on going round and round. If I were a site artist I'd say go away till you can TELL me what you want in enough detail that I can do it. Maybe if you can't draw at all, find someone who can get the idea of what you want down in a sketch, and THEN ask for an artist ?

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I'm all for moving requests that haven't been active in months to a separate section, or maybe just archived altogether. I'll admit that when I saw the first post I was in complete support, but actually after reading the thread and everyone's points, I'm kinda more for waiting a bit longer. I've started trying to train myself in the ways of spritework because I really want to do my bit for the forum, and like Infi said I feel people should do the same - almost the entire forum is capable of giving crits, so you'll be in safe hands if you aren't the best and need to improve! I feel like all the concepts that are being worked on currently should get completed, and some form of active/inactive distinction put in place before opening it up.

 

If DR is to get reopened, I also feel like there should be a cap of sorts. With it being closed for so long, SO many users will be bursting with ideas that I feel it would be easily flooded. As such, maybe only a certain amount per month are allowed into the DR before it's closed again, and a certain amount need to be completed before it's opened again? I'm not the most fond of this idea because I'm not huge on limiting user input, but I honestly feel like a cap would be the best way to stop the place from getting majorly flooded and clogged.

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You also have to factor in the people who are on mobile (like me) that have no other choice but to ask for help. Anyone can draw? Yes, with practice. Anyone can sprite? Debatable. I only say this because there's no real mobile app that will actually help you out with this (unless someone makes one). 

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I've been around Dragon Requests for a while now (it's basically the only place I visit/have visited on the forums since I began) and when I first ventured there I couldn't draw or sprite. Sure I did doodles but... my old drawings make me cringe. My first concept- the Glaciers- were done completely by other people the first time around when they got put on the Completed List. Since they've been completed I've learned how to do pixels to a somewhat acceptable degree, and I'm alright at sketching dragons at this point. In my opinion, spriting is so much easier to get started on than sketching dragons and after some practise and a decent starting sketch, it's something so many people could do.

 

I'll admit I'm not great at doing sprites and artwork at a fast pace. I'll have waves of inspiration where I'll want to work on a dragon non stop and then I'll have a month of nothing. Every artist has their own work style and pacing, and just as we need more artists, we need more people giving their opinions on artwork and saying what they see wrong. I feel as though there aren't enough people doing either for the DR section to be moving fast at the moment. The higher standards than before also play into this- concepts are in development longer than they were before the big purge because everyone is focused on making them as fit for the cave as possible (not complaining at all, this is a good thing). It makes it easy to get burned out on a concept as you struggle to make all kinds of edits to make it work.

 

As for reopening DRs, I think it would help bring in a new wave of people. I think new users are a bit put off by the amount of old concepts in their with seasoned artists and users working away at them. With the new submissions closed, as well, they can't enter themselves. They don't want to dive in and help a year-old concept because they want to make their own concept first. When I first started at least, I don't think I strayed from my own DR for at least a few months. It was only after I got used to the dynamic of working in DRs that I felt comfortable going into other people's topics.

 

So yeah, while we may not have that many artists around to work on concepts, I think getting new concepts with new conceptors would benefit the section. It'll draw in newer players who can develop their own skills and learn how the section works.

 

I'm sorry if this comes off as a massive ramble, I didn't mean to write this much, it just kept going ;-;

 

 

Edit: The only reason I ever learned how to sprite or to draw dragons when I did was because of Dragon Requests. I don't even think I knew what a sprite was before I joined the forums. After being the OP for the Glaciers, I really wanted to take part and that's why I learned.

Edited by Skellybones

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6 hours ago, Infinis said:

My suggestion is for more people to start picking up pixel art, or at the very least sketching

I wonder if forum contests might help with that, in the Games section of course, just to lower the entry threshold of "the very first thing you publish needs to be perfect" (or "need to maintain an art thread for years before getting anywhere").

Give a topic of something simple, start with a sketching contest, and follow up with contests for whatever steps come afterwards, to get people slowly into the process of spriting. Repeat yearly.

Just an idea ...

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