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Sonic Hurricane Combo DVD Year-End Report

December 22nd, 2010 7 comments

A couple of people e-mailed me about the DVD, so i thought it might be a good idea to provide one last project update before the end of the year – even though there’s no major news.

I’m not any closer to having a tentative release date or even a rough timetable, but i still intend to complete the DVD whenever i can. Of course i feel bad about SF4 TACV 14 taking so long, but it’s been very hard to find time for anything lately. It’s (slowly) coming along though. With any luck, that Balrog / Chun Li episode should be ready by the end of the month.

In all honesty, trying to finish the DVD is pretty much the only motivation i have for continuing that video series. The way i see it, the people who pre-ordered are the ones who supported me in the most tangible sense, so you’re the people i’m most concerned about disappointing.

I’m sorry that i don’t have better news, but that’s where i stand at the moment. Hopefully things’ll get better in the next few months. In the meantime, if anyone is unhappy with how long this is taking, please let me know and i’ll send you a full refund – no questions asked.

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How Can You Help Content Authors?

November 22nd, 2010 17 comments

Well, i think we can all agree – the reaction to my last two posts has been … outright chaotic. However the most common response by far has been genuine surprise. A lot of people simply didn’t know what was going on with these “news” hubs leeching content for profit.

Everyone’s been asking what they can do to help original content producers, and i’ve heard all sorts of elaborate, unrealistic suggestions. There’s no reason to make it so complicated.

As a matter of fact, it’s pretty simple. When you see something cool, take a moment to figure out where it actually came from, and support the original author by posting a link directly to the source webpage or channel. Post on your personal blog, or favorite forum, or social media site, or wherever. It takes five minutes and helps the author tremendously!

Aside from the obvious benefit of driving traffic straight to the source, those links also help the author’s webpage get a better search engine ranking. If we all link to real author websites instead of getting lazy and linking to news aggregators, it’ll help content producers a lot.

It’s common sense, really. When you enjoy something, just ask yourself, “Who deserves the credit for making this happen? How can i support them to encourage them to make more?” Basically you just have to make sure that you’re backing the content producer and not the middleman, because the middleman certainly isn’t going to create more of what you enjoy.

If you want to point out a combo video, then link to the author’s transcript or video webpage. If you’d like to share an article or interview, link to wherever the author originally published it. If you feel like discussing tournament results, try to find them on the organizer’s website first. You get the idea, right? That’s all there is to it.

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A Clearer Picture

November 16th, 2010 63 comments

There seems to be some confusion regarding my choice to back away, and the motivations behind it. If ya’ll don’t mind, i’d like to explain my perspective one last time in depth.

I started making combo videos eight years ago and maintained a steady pace of 2-3 articles and 3-4 combovids per year for a long time. Anyone who’s ever made a decent combo video will tell you that it’s mentally and physically exhausting, especially towards the end of the process when you can see the finish line and all you want to do is get it over with.

Back in those days, i used to take three to six month breaks to recover between each project. That rhythm was more or less sustainable. From 2002-2008, i never had a single ad banner on my website and never made a single dime from Sonic Hurricane or any of my videos. And obviously it cost money to host them because this was before u2b existed.

Last year i decided to try a different approach. I installed this wordpress platform and began writing weekly technical and strategy articles, capturing weekly screenshots, and a lot more along those lines. I even borrowed a friend’s PS3 and started making SF4 combovids and preparing custom challenges every two weeks.

I thought if i went all-in with creating original content on a regular weekly basis, i could reach my arbitrary goal of earning minimum wage on the hours i invest here. That would enable me to continue treating it as sort of a part-time job for as long as people enjoyed my work. I gave myself six months to reach that objective.

It’s been fifteen months. Literally every minute of my free time has gone into this experiment, at a rate of 5-7 hours per day – more when i’m working on a video. So far it’s earning me barely $1 a day, most of which i’ve handed over to web hosts and the post office.

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I Give Up

November 9th, 2010 182 comments

I’m sorry. I tried everything i could think of, overextending myself to ridiculous extremes in the process; and i’m no closer to my goal of making any of this sustainable.

So i need to scale everything back, wrap up a few loose ends, and try to finish my Combo DVD for the handful of people who preordered it – while catching up on all the things i postponed or sacrificed along the way. I’ll try not to disappear completely, but no guarantees.

For those of you wondering what happened, here’s the problem. Anyone can do what i do for three months, maybe six months, maybe even a year. But it burns you out, like you wouldn’t believe. The 4-5 casual matches of MvC2 that i happened to play at SoCal Regionals were literally the only video games i’ve played in the past 2-3 months!

What can i say? Running these websites is a grind. Up until now i held onto hope that i could make something out of all this effort, but it’s just not happening and it’s time to face facts.

Our whole system of publishing content is broken beyond repair. If you look at any given video i’ve posted on u2b, roughly 2k views originate directly from Sonic Hurricane and roughly 10k views come from an embedded player on eventhubs.

That means “news” sites like eventhubs make at least five times as much ad revenue for every single video that i produce. Yes, we’re only talking about a few dollars here, but think of all the material that eventhubs leeches from external authors like me.

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Sonic Hurricane Combo DVD Bonus Screenshots

September 8th, 2010 3 comments

One of the bonus features i intend to include on the DVD is a complete archive of all the screenshots i’ve posted here on Sonic Hurricane over the past year. They probably won’t be viewable directly through the DVD menu. Instead, you’ll be able to find them stored as files when you insert the disc into your computer.

How is that different from simply viewing them here? Well, on the way to capturing every screenshot, i ended up saving 2-4 variants that didn’t quite make the cut. Now they’ll all be included as exclusive bonus materials on the DVD – in lossless native resolution.

I know it’s not a huge deal, but this is just another way of showing my appreciation for your support. I mean, nobody’s going to buy the DVD for these screenshots alone, but some of you might enjoy browsing through them.

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