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Suggestions regarding DR

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2 minutes ago, Fiona said:

@olympe can you please PLEASE stop posting the Shadow Walkers as an example of immediate sprite updates? They were an exception and should never be considered as a model. Just, whatever point you're trying to make with those, don't. Ever.

 

They do not. in any way. apply to this situation and I resent them being brought into this.

 

And the crit I received from the user base at that time was harsh and unnecessary and nearly made me quit the game. That wasn't what prompted the rework. You guys are worse over this current release.

Eep! I apologize if made any bad remarks towards the new release! I have three DR concepts: they have to be absolutely, 100% perfect. However, the only problem is to find people actually willing to finish through the concepts since they're public and have to go through a lot. A great example of one is the blue Mockers, they've gone through several artists now and I'm ready to give them up to someone who wants to work on it because it's very frustrating with trying to perfect it 😕

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1 hour ago, hazeh said:

Hm. I don't agree with restricting private submissions. I don't think that would solve anything, really. People who submit privately usually-- if not always-- already have their art go through critique; behind the scenes for artists, we share a lot of our work to get help on it. And even if we didn't-- Tj still decides if its good enough as-is. So regardless if it's submitted privately, there is still a quality control system in place, even if you can't see it. A lot of this art is worked on in private specifically because we don't want the public to see it ahead of time. Otherwise, we'd post our concepts in DR. 

I'm getting the vibe that people think private submission dragons are made exclusively by one person and submitted to TJ without any other pair of eyes landing on them. Which might be the case for a very, very small amount, but most of these dragons still go through crits by multiple in-cave artists; the same ones who critique in DR. And we nit-pick each other too, not just the ones in public view.

 

I think, though, that older concepts that are selected for release should be notified ahead of time (the artists, anyway) to give them a chance to update. Or at least notify in-cave artists to see if there is any last critique before a concept is released. This would be behind the scenes, so the public wouldn't get to see it, but it might help with this perception of a double standard. Again, not to say that we don't critique each other's work, but it would probably help prevent issues like this if there was an extra step, especially for art that was made years ago and likely not touched since. 

 

Edit: Also, I definitely agree about hiding the completed list. There's really no reason it needs to be viewable by the general public anyway.

 

I'm very much aware that the concepts from the artists' section go through peer review. However, it's clear as day that it failed this time.

Apart from that, I agree with a lot of what hazeh stated.

 

That being said, I've noticed the following trends in DR:

  • Sprites get nitpicked to death. Or the death of their spriters, respectively. 
  • Quite a lof of that nitpicking happens in a very late stage, even though the issues could and should have been addressed much earlier. Like lines, perspective, general design, stylistic choices.
  • Another thing that crops up is that a sprite that has already gone through a lot of nitpicking will get criticized for style or conceptual choices. The current DR for Merdragons is a perfect example. Two sets of adult sprites have been pretty much finished (from the same sketches), nitpicked over literally dozens of pages - and then, all of a sudden, people don't want the merdragons to keep their mane because reasons. And... other things. Like, "The sprites are nice, but let's change their body type completely." This is the very reason why I proposed a more involved step-by-step system for critique. Concept first, sketches/lines second, sprites third. This would be able to prevent a lot of effort ending in needless heartbreak.

@Fiona The point I was trying to make is that post-release sprite critique has happened before, and been volatile. And I chose to use the SW as an example because the one and only issue they had has been taken care of. I could name one issue with Two-Headed Lindwyrms, as well as one, maybe two with Ultraviolets. (One might be just my perception.) With Pyrovars, I could name five things I consider real issues, plus several stylistical choices as well as the pose. That's a whole lot for something that apparently has been through peer review.

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I don't actually agree with your point of view re the Pyrovars. And my point is still completely valid. Do NOT use Shadow Walkers as an example here, as they do not fit and as it's my art in question. That image that keeps getting posting is being used completely without my permission as it's been replaced by a new version. I haven't as yet made the wiki take it down. Do I need to go that far to stop these unwarranted comparisons?

Edited by Fiona

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Sure, TJ can do what he wants - but community is important and we, as a community, work on DR and work on requests. When TJ throws blatantly old artwork ahead of art that the community, its spriters, and basically the gamebase as a whole... of course there will be feedback.


Is pointing out flaws in a sprite not an okay thing to do? The rules specifically state you are allowed to criticize new sprites. Just because a lot of people see the same issue and bring it up doesn't mean that each individual person doesn't have the right to criticize - and if so many people are bringing up these issues, it doesn't help when all the in-cave spriters dogpile and say "no, you're wrong, it's perfect," and further push the divide. Mys admitted the Truffles could use some work. I'm sure JOTB has things about the Pyros they would change. It doesn't reflect on them as artists - it reflects on TJ's poor management of the situations and the fact that is ~hide all sprites~ policy is broken and leads to situations in which old sprites can be released. The artists should have the opportunity to put THEIR best foot forward, as well. It's bad on all fronts. 

Edited by LadyLyzar

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Criticism isn't entitlement or not-constructive the minute it's not coated in enough sugar to qualify as a glazed donut.

 

Just because it's negative doesn't automatically mean it's entitlement, no one is saying they have a right to anything but people are criticizing the way things currently are set up.

And yes he doesn't HAVE to do anything and no one is MAKING him do anything, we're not banging down his door, holding him at gunpoint, threatening legal action, or doing anything actually hostile whatsoever! People are stating the issue they have, saying the system could be better, and then going into detail on how best to fix it, if that's not constructive criticism then what is?!

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it absolutely saddens me that the Black Truffles and the Pyrovars got put in the middle of this. Not only does it breed toxicity but it makes it more difficult to try and have this conversation from an objective standpoint. Anyone who has been a part of DC for a long time could tell you that this debate isn't a new one. I took about a 6-year hiatus from DC and before I left there was a thread on the exact same topic. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to be coming back to DC and to find the same arguments happening all these years later, but if nothing else that should tell you that this topic is one people have very passionate opinions about.

 

It is my opinion that so long as there are two separate places to put dragon concepts issues like this will arise from time to time. The spriters of dragcave are wonderfully talented and generous enough to share their gifts with us. It would be silly to say that spriters are incapable or critiquing each other's work or properly vetting incoming sprites, but if this release proves anything it's that the collective critiques of the private section and the opinions of the public forum will not always match. That's neither a failure on the part of the spriters nor a criticism of the public community, it's simply a reality. 

 

Honestly, I don't know if there is a perfect solution. I can think of good reasons for both areas to exist, but also see the problems they create. I think in the end we'll have to abandon one or the other or just accept the idea that we will occasionally have "controversial" releases such as this one.

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The pyrovars are recent, actually. I was definitely experimenting with different shading and poses and trying to make something that felt more organic and volatile than much of my other stuff. I am sorry that some of you don’t like them but I stand by those choices and the only thing I’d really change would be the spikes. Also they use a variety of hunting styles.........

 

That’s all I’m going to comment, I just had to let my childhood dog go and I don’t have it in me to deal with this right now.

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28 minutes ago, Alrexwolf said:

 

Is pointing out flaws in a sprite not an okay thing to do? The rules specifically state you are allowed to criticize new sprites. Just because a lot of people see the same issue and bring it up doesn't mean that each individual person doesn't have the right to criticize - and if so many people are bringing up these issues, it doesn't help when all the in-cave spriters dogpile and say "no, you're wrong, it's perfect," and further push the divide. Mys admitted the Truffles could use some work. I'm sure JOTB has things about the Pyros they would change. It doesn't reflect on them as artists - it reflects on TJ's poor management of the situations and the fact that is ~hide all sprites~ policy is broken and leads to situations in which old sprites can be released. The artists should have the opportunity to put THEIR best foot forward, as well. It's bad on all fronts. 

 

You're kind of missing the entire point of what the problem is here, though.

 

Yes, it's a problem that DR stuff that is high quality gets hen-pecked, great sprites get released years later when the standards have left them behind, and so on... but the thing is, this sort of design by committee feature is really unusual in any sort of web game like this... and it's unusual for a reason, because it leads to situations where the userbase feels entitled to things because they worked on them and they look good, regardless of whether the site owner likes or wants them and thinks they fit their vision of what the site should be.

 

I don't necessarily agree with the way things are run--heck, the fact I want to see DR closed should indicate that I see a problem too! I just disagree with how best to solve it and I strongly disagree that subjecting more art to a broken process is a better idea than excising the cause of this disconnect in how a site is realistically run and the design-by-committee entitled-to-release mentality that DR as is has encouraged.

 

I think criticizing art is perfectly fine. But this release has had a lot of harshness not because of the innate problems with the sprites, but BECAUSE of the indignation of "how dare this get released instead of my favorite completed request!!!".

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7 minutes ago, JOTB said:

The pyrovars are recent, actually. I was definitely experimenting with different shading and poses and trying to make something that felt more organic and volatile than much of my other stuff. I am sorry that some of you don’t like them but I stand by those choices and the only thing I’d really change would be the spikes. Also they use a variety of hunting styles.........

 

That’s all I’m going to comment, I just had to let my childhood dog go and I don’t have it in me to deal with this right now.

I am so sorry that you're having to deal with this in the middle of a sad time! I hope you feel better and this doesn't deter you from drawing new styles to be released later on in the future.

 

Edit, should have phrased it better. I'm sorry :(

Edited by Dalek Raptor

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10 minutes ago, JOTB said:

The pyrovars are recent, actually. I was definitely experimenting with different shading and poses and trying to make something that felt more organic and volatile than much of my other stuff. I am sorry that some of you don’t like them but I stand by those choices and the only thing I’d really change would be the spikes. Also they use a variety of hunting styles.........

 

That’s all I’m going to comment, I just had to let my childhood dog go and I don’t have it in me to deal with this right now.

 

I am sorry for your loss, JOTB. 

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1 minute ago, TCA said:

I think criticizing art is perfectly fine. But this release has had a lot of harshness not because of the innate problems with the sprites, but BECAUSE of the indignation of "how dare this get released instead of my favorite completed request!!!".

This. For a while, yes, it was just harmless thoughts and some constructive criticism. But it definitely changed at some point, and I'm sorry that the spriters had to see that happen. Many of us did enjoy the release.

 

DR concepts are on a different level than private concepts, and shouldn't be expected to be handled in the same way. We have standards for a reason, but you have to keep in mind that those standards are developed over time. I mean, the Black Truffles are 3 years old. Of course they look different than some of the recently updated DR concepts. Only TJ can say why he chose them for release. Just don't forget that these artists are volunteering their time for us. Criticize all you want, but there's no reason to go on a rampage about how "ugly" or "lazy" their art is.

 

JOTB, I hope you and your family are doing okay. Losing a pet is so hard, even without added pressure here :(

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I really think this line of discussion has gone far far away from what this topic was meant to be.

 

I am putting my modhat aside right now to correct some misconceptions in this topic.

 

There seems to be a major disconnect here between assumptions vs. reality when it comes to submitting art behind the scenes.

 

The biggest assumption is that just because our art is sometimes done out of sight because we're already in-cave, that we don't have to deal with critiques.  This is absolutely not true.  We crit the heck out of each other's art, and sometimes more harshly than you'd find in DR.  However, since crits are coming from other artists, they are often for very specific things and always worded constructively.  Sometimes the edits are small, and sometimes they require major surgery.  (You should see my hackjobs on wings sometime.)  We want to better each other and not tear one another down.  The problem I'm seeing here is complete bashing of the art in question, which is quite frankly unacceptable.  You can say you don't like it - there's some dragons I don't care for as much for stylistic reasons - but shredding another person's creative effort is downright mean.

 

The next assumption is that in-cave artists also have a "VIP Pass" for getting things released.  Nope.   About the only thing that we've done that someone new may not have yet is signed the artist's agreement.  That's really about it.  I was an artist first, a Help mod second, and now a Global mod - pretty much the closest thing to TJ's ear.  Guess what?  I still have no idea who or what is getting released or when.  Clearly TJ liked the sprites chosen and that's good enough for me.  I personally see no glaring issues with the sprites and I am happy to collect them.

 

Modhat back on - this topic is for discussion of improvements to DR, not on critiquing any one sprite or circumstances of its release.

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Honestly even with the new "cave standards" I'm getting the feeling DR should be closed because

1) none of us non-cave-artists actually have a clue what these standards are.

2) we don't even know if in-cavers know what the standards are or were ever told or they get extra feedback from TJ himself or they're estimating from what they see him do.

3) it's hard to believe that TJ has the same standards as in-cave artists because unless I'm mistaken he hasn't had years of staring and drawing sprites and animals and references that make up an in-caver's experience.

4) he's the only one working on the site at all. It's optimistic to assume he has the time to actually look over every sprite and request and take the time to make comments on quibbles and uncertainties in this or that lore when the chances of the sprites actually being finished in a reasonable amount of time is slim to none and he has to code new dragons/features and look into/ban cheaters. Same goes for expecting him to look at a sprite set and seeing what a collective of thousands of users and dozens of artists might find.

4) does TJ even notify an OP when he rejects a thread? He gave crits for the first 3 or so finished DRs since the redo but has barely made any comments since, and one which he previously rejected is nearing a year sitting in CAR without further comment while others vanish in weeks to months. Wasn't the overhaul made to prevent this "Completed" radio silence?

4) whatever standards there are haven't been formalized anywhere and the DR guide hasn't been updated since a year ago by Sock before she left.

5) there are so many conflicting crits of anatomy, between muscles and dragon-ness and wing placements that artists don't even agree on.

6) "not dragon enough" is a terrible, terrible definition that just varies according to how prominently a non-dragon animal gets referenced by name.

 

 

tl;dr non-cave-artists are working with several degrees of separation between what we're told the release standards are and what the standards actually are (these standards being "TJ's opinion")

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@Shadowdrake TJ does not always notify for rejection. I asked once in TLQ if having a dragon disappear from the completed list, but not be released meant that  it was rejected and was told that the best option is for the user to pm TJ and ask him directly. Of course, this was before the recent clean out of the completed list, so he may be more on top of things now.

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2 hours ago, LadyLyzar said:

The next assumption is that in-cave artists also have a "VIP Pass" for getting things released.  Nope.   About the only thing that we've done that someone new may not have yet is signed the artist's agreement.  That's really about it.  I was an artist first, a Help mod second, and now a Global mod - pretty much the closest thing to TJ's ear.  Guess what?  I still have no idea who or what is getting released or when.  Clearly TJ liked the sprites chosen and that's good enough for me.  I personally see no glaring issues with the sprites and I am happy to collect them.

 

Maybe VIP pass was the wrong comparison, first class on a plane would be a little better. You don't get to skip the flight but you also get to sit separate and out of the view and away from everyone else and you often get to get on and get off the metaphorical plane before most people.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Aviatus said:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it absolutely saddens me that the Black Truffles and the Pyrovars got put in the middle of this. Not only does it breed toxicity but it makes it more difficult to try and have this conversation from an objective standpoint. Anyone who has been a part of DC for a long time could tell you that this debate isn't a new one. I took about a 6-year hiatus from DC and before I left there was a thread on the exact same topic. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to be coming back to DC and to find the same arguments happening all these years later, but if nothing else that should tell you that this topic is one people have very passionate opinions about.

 

It is my opinion that so long as there are two separate places to put dragon concepts issues like this will arise from time to time. The spriters of dragcave are wonderfully talented and generous enough to share their gifts with us. It would be silly to say that spriters are incapable or critiquing each other's work or properly vetting incoming sprites, but if this release proves anything it's that the collective critiques of the private section and the opinions of the public forum will not always match. That's neither a failure on the part of the spriters nor a criticism of the public community, it's simply a reality. 

 

PREACH! I couldn't have said it better myself!

 

I understand the comparison you're trying to make here, but I don't think it's the most apt comparison. LadyLyzar just mentioned that even the artists themselves don't know when their work will be debuted. First class lands at the same time as the rest of the plane.

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Okay well I just lost what I was typing because I tried to quote and respond to too many individual people at once, so here's a response to some of the common themes I'm seeing here:

 

Re: criteria for release

The problem here is we're talking about art. There are certainly some technical requirements, like having proper anatomy and using clear sources of light as the basis of your shading, but those are also rules that people already have a pretty good handle on (there's nothing for me to be more explicit about there, especially given the people doing final critiques are probably more qualified to evaluate those things than me).

But when you start getting into things that are more qualitative than quantitative, it also becomes more vague. There's really no way to fix that. There are things that are objectively wrong (i.e. pillow shading), but there is no clear articulation of what is objectively right—I commonly ask people to make outlines contrast less with the rest of the sprite, even though it's a perfectly valid stylistic choice.

It's probably possible to articulate a list of valid shading styles, poses, anatomical choices (e.g. spikes, scutes, tail shapes), but it's not possible to enumerate that entire domain. That is, you can either have a set of soft guidelines (in which a sprite can tick all the boxes and still not be good enough) or you can have an incomplete set of hard requirements (in which a sprite can be a perfect fit but not actually follow the rules). The latter of those stifles creativity, so I feel pretty strongly against it.


Re: double standards

Allow me to say the same thing in many different ways, because it would appear that what should be common sense is indeed unclear:

  •  Not liking a sprite is not the same thing as it being bad.
  •  You can hate a sprite while recognizing that it is well-executed.
  •  Matters of taste are opinions and should not be stated as if they are fact.
  •  Having a different opinion from someone does not necessarily make either of you wrong.

All of this is to say: okay, you don't like X sprite on the site. And you do like Y sprite in DR. That doesn't mean that there's double standards. The new releases are not objectively flawed (and while I'm obviously biased on this matter, being the one who made the call originally, I've seen others qualified to make that judgement say the same thing). Even by some of the more subjective metrics people are complaining about (like how "natural" a pose looks), the new sprites are completely in line with the other sprites that have been released.


Re: Endless critique

"Crit hell" is not a required gauntlet that requests have to go through. Unless help mods and in-cave artists are the "hoard of howling nitpickers" being referred to (in which case that's a very targeted insult at a small set of people that definitely doesn't belong here), anyone in DR is theoretically able to ignore non-final critique. That doesn't make it a good idea to do so—feedback is given to help things improve, and ignoring it without a clear articulation of why may prove to be a mistake—but it's entirely possible, especially if you as the artist feel that you're receiving too much or unreasonable feedback.

But DR is not meant to be "design by committee," and if people think it is, then there's some really weird misinterpretations of the rules out there. Then again, that's already obvious—some of the breeds called out as "wow DR standards are stupidly high why is this not completed already" aren't even in the final critique phase (and also haven't even received much critique anyways).

Whenever possible, assume good intent and you will save yourself a lot of stress.


Re: The future of releases

DR is not going anywhere in the immediate future. Private releases are not going anywhere in the immediate future. Completed Requests is going to be hidden, as previously suggested. This really doesn't change much about the DR process, except make it easier for those requests to be released since they'll already have been hidden for a while. There are some other changes in the pipeline that will be announced when they're ready (hopefully soon?).


Parting words

giphy.gif

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Thanks TJ! You nerd, lol. ❤️

 

So CR will be hidden? That's good! :) I like that. And the possibility of more changes is exciting, too.

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Very glad the CL will be hidden and that private and public release avenues are staying.

 

I'm actually gonna stand and agree with the people who are saying to quit with the hating on, to be honest. Yeah, I don't like the Pyrovars, but that is just my aesthetics talking. Mechanically I don't see anything wrong, and neither did in-cavers.

 

And as an artist, I say TJ is dead on with how hard it is to make qualitative quantitative. I may not be spriting, but I've def gotten crits like colour choice and perceived design smoothness, for example. Or textures. And crits that disagreed. There's been times when I'm like "no, not messing with that" over more stylistic crits but "yep I did an oops" on hard crits or less stylistic ones.

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Glad CL will be hidden, especially if it helps with the hiding process.

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One issue has been settled - the hidding of the CR. I know it might be too earlh to suggest something like this, but I'll go ahead. How about archiving the inactive/locked threads? As in the ones with no activity since a very long time, or the ones that didn't get an update since the CR clean? Maybe the CR could be replaced to the public with AR (Archived Requests)? Or simply hiding until OP wants to start working on it again?

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10 hours ago, TCA said:

I think criticizing art is perfectly fine. But this release has had a lot of harshness not because of the innate problems with the sprites, but BECAUSE of the indignation of "how dare this get released instead of my favorite completed request!!!".

 

This is also what I don't like about releases combined with DR in general. People have favourite requests in there and anything that isn't it will be blasted - even if it is the best dragon EVER. I have a favourite request - one which I know has been shelved, and will very likely stay that way. It breaks my tiny heart. But that doesn't  mean it's OK for me to diss every new release just because it isn't the one I WANT.

 

And there are dragons I like that aren't half  as good, as accomplished, as some of the ones I don't like. I don't like Michelangelo's David either. To me it is plain ugly. I can't stand looking at it. That doesn't make it bad art.

 

6 hours ago, purpledragonclaw said:

 First class lands at the same time as the rest of the plane.

 

RIGHT ON !

 

But thanks for hiding CL, TJ.

Edited by Fuzzbucket

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Thank you, TJ09, for all this! I really hope this shut down all the haters from targeting JOTB, Mysftt, and any future spriters from the kind of blasting we've seen from this release. Because that was ultimately unfair to them.

 

Not saying the sprites should get a free pass once they're released. Some critique is fine. But on the levels and harshness of this release? No. Just no. 100% no. That was wrong and unfair to the spriters. That was the worst I've seen it get and I've only been on here for just over a year. It made me ultra uncomfortable to watch the release topic get toxic the instant we had adults. So I'm glad this was addressed and hopefully halted.

Edited by animatedrose

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1 hour ago, animatedrose said:

Thank you, TJ09, for all this! I really hope this shut down all the haters from targeting JOTB, Mysftt, and any future spriters from the kind of blasting we've seen from this release. Because that was ultimately unfair to them.

 

Not saying the sprites should get a free pass once they're released. Some critique is fine. But on the levels and harshness of this release? No. Just no. 100% no. That was wrong and unfair to the spriters. That was the worst I've seen it get and I've only been on here for just over a year. It made me ultra uncomfortable to watch the release topic get toxic the instant we had adults. So I'm glad this was addressed and hopefully halted.

100% 

 

I'll be glad that the CL will be hidden 

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