Game Dogs: Episode Four: Satan

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Well, given that Russ Pitts does seem to genuinely care I'll try my best to help or at least offer a view.

The Escapist gives us short shows, roughly five minutes. This sets a structure for most of the content to be quicker with little room to breath. Characterization rarely comes through subtle moments given animation budget and time constraints. It has to be shown and often quickly through dialog. I knew within one episode that Yahtzee or Sir Schmoopy had potential and character that drew me in and wanted more. It's hard for me to characterize anyone on this show, it is more bland than bad.

If you made this show a 30 minute bi-monthly show, I could see how going at it from a completely different angle than Zero Punctuation or other new show Doralius. As is, the show Game Dogs feels out of place and that is why in earlier episode thread I thought a reworking would help. Not one to dump on a show for the sake of it and I've enjoyed most of this site's content.

It would be interesting to see making of, interviews and thought process of what you're going for here and dealing with fan response. I'd honestly give a show much more time if people working on it did show they care and respond to criticisms as you've done some here.

Given you're a Emerson fan Russ, "A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness."

Seem like nice enough fellow, good luck.

CK76:
Well, given that Russ Pitts does seem to genuinely care I'll try my best to help or at least offer a view.

The Escapist gives us short shows, roughly five minutes. This sets a structure for most of the content to be quicker with little room to breath. Characterization rarely comes through subtle moments given animation budget and time constraints. It has to be shown and often quickly through dialog. I knew within one episode that Yahtzee or Sir Schmoopy had potential and character that drew me in and wanted more. It's hard for me to characterize anyone on this show, it is more bland than bad.

If you made this show a 30 minute bi-monthly show, I could see how going at it from a completely different angle than Zero Punctuation or other new show Doralius. As is, the show Game Dogs feels out of place and that is why in earlier episode thread I thought a reworking would help. Not one to dump on a show for the sake of it and I've enjoyed most of this site's content.

It would be interesting to see making of, interviews and thought process of what you're going for here and dealing with fan response. I'd honestly give a show much more time if people working on it did show they care and respond to criticisms as you've done some here.

Given you're a Emerson fan Russ, "A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness."

Seem like nice enough fellow, good luck.

these are all great comments. Thanks for taking the time. Great Emerson quote, too. I hope we can still win you over.

I can see why you might think I don't care, but I can assure you I do. I wouldn't be in here if I didn't.

Abedeus:
Ugh. A single time I smiled was when Bob started talking.

Also, you can't even animate Garry/Gary's moving legs? Or jumping? Seriously?

I agree... that was rather poor animation. ]

However, that episode did seem to be quite an improvement. Still mediocre, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Just don't bring back Mr.Yee. Ever.
And stop with the "fired, fired, fired" all the time. It's gotten very, very old.
Also- does your intro really have to be as long as it is? That's 30 seconds of pure boring text and pictures of office crap that coulfd be used to flesh out the characters or move the plot in a more recognisable direction.

Oh, and I hope this is taken as constructive criticism.

I want to play that game...

I just don't get this. Episode 3 was OK with the Mr. Yee character but that basically stole the show, the main characters just feel bland. Nothing seems to be happening in these little stories; the plot's just moved to we now have to make a game on Satanism, how do I draw Satan? Boring. Apocalypse Lane manages to keep my interest peaked for 5 minutes every time even on a not so funny episode but I'm totally bored of this now. It all seems a little rushed plus it just really isnt that funny (but then again I dont like 80's style sitcoms much anyway)

I would like to echo... What exactly are the methods other than comments for determining how the show is doing? Simple view count isn't a great indicator, unless you don't mind that most of the audience is coming just for the "So Bad It's Good" appeal. I remember when a lot of people trashed Apocalypse Lane for being flat and uninteresting in its early days. I saw promise and stayed with it.

This series? Not so much. Your audience will likely consist of mostly MST3K'ers or furries. If you're fine with it, push ahead- it'd be somewhat funny if a show deliberately tried to be bland and bad.

If you intend to be quality, however, add a little more of a hook- the supporting cast is fairly interesting, so pushing some of the main characters into the background may help a bit. Also, the beef with the intro is legitimate- the boss character is not funny. At all. "Are you insane?" No, but I will be if I hear that ad infinitum. Every character is a little too one-dimensional; I know it's somewhat early in the series, but others have established interesting characters much sooner. Hell, Apocalypse Lane, for instance: Steve quickly became more than just an everyman with an odd shoulder growth.

Also, I don't think anyone else has touched on this- Chet's "visionary" statements (particularly one in a past episode where he just described The Legend of Zelda) eat up a lot of time that could be spent further developing the characters, story, and even some more jokes. I want to like this show. I really do. The concept (in general... I'm not so crazy about the anthro part) sounds solid, and I think a lot of fun could be had in this setting.

It seems like your best characters are your sub-characters

i really am trying to like this series, but i just can't get into it.

CaptainCrunch:
That said, dogs generally lack variety in facial expression. They communicate with body language - posture and tail motion accounts for 95%, and the other 5% is eyebrows, ears, and a varied degree of "growl snout." Hang out with a dog for a while, and really pay attention to the face. You'll see what I mean.

I'm not disparaging the animation skills of you or anyone you work with - I know it must take a lot of work, and it's getting the point across. But I really hope you're not going to try and haul out an anemic excuse like that when people criticize it.

Yeah, dogs don't have much in the way of facial expressions. They also don't talk, walk on two legs, work in offices, wear clothes, or make sandwiches. You're obviously not going for scientifically accurate dogs here, so why apply realism to something as vital to animation as facial expressions?

Like the OP said, it's necessary for empathy on the part of a human, non-canine audience. If the episodes contained no dialogue, you could technically make the argument of WELL DOGS DON'T TALK NOW DO THEY, but it wouldn't make for an interesting series. Neither does looking at flat-affect cartoon characters.

George Palmer:

GamingAwesome1:
I'm gonna say this until the dude animating this gets it right.

Are you an animator?

It doesn't require extensive knowledge of animation to spot something like that. Anyhow, he may or may not be an animator, but I am, and I have to say the facial expressions are quite bland. I understand you guys have a tight deadline to work with, but it would really help this show if the characters reacted to each other a little more. Exaggerate! I'd much rather watch characters with ridiculously over-the-top reactions in the style of Egoraptor's Awesome Series than see them sit around the table and flap their mouths at each other with deadpan expressions. Even the characters don't seem to be laughing at the jokes, to say nothing of the viewers. It doesn't take loads of extra work like, say, proper lip syncing would, and like I said, giving the characters extra expressions would really help raise the quality level--and hopefully the humor--of the show as a whole.

Another entertaining episode, indeed.
It wasn't as funny as Mr. Yee, but I guess you guys are going more for the entertaining part rather than the comedy part. Cliffhangers are always a good way to keep you hooked. But please, check the animation. A little bit of knees flexing will be appreciated.

Not really feeling this series to much, Bob is awesome though, should give Bob his own show.

xmetatr0nx:
Would it be too much to ask to have you guys invest in wind socks for the microphones? Or hell teach the voice actors not to spit air at them when doing their voices?

I mean really, fundamentally this series is so fucked. You are stubbornly hanging on to ploys that just arent funny...oooo take that haters were not getting rid of the "live studio audience" joke, give me a break. Your creations are so unoriginal that its impossible to disguise where and how you blatantly ripped them off. Sure everything is a rip of or "interpretation" of something else now a days. Usually though good shows will put their own flavour on to those templates...you guys just dont seem to get it. And no Gary...or John or cat from apocalypse lane, youre not funny. Your repeated lines are tiresome, i cant believe you guys can say with a straight face that this is a throw back to 80s and 90s cartoons...you took the weakest parts of those shows and threw out the good. Writing decent articles and people at the office telling you youre funny doesnt translate well to everyone else, have fun with your show crashing and burning around you. In the last pole 18 to 20 people seemed to enjoy this show, why not PM it to them instead?

Who shat in your cereal?

Personally, I think while its not awful, its not particularly great either. I'm pointing to stuff like Movie Bob & Yahtzee that had serious microphone issues when they started out, but that was more down to the equipment rather than them, I guess.

That said, its a god awful representation of a design team, i've worked with enough for crying out loud. Jon seems to be the saving grace with this, to be quite honest, but apart from that... Its a bit difficult to like it.

Quite honestly, the writing needs looking over by other staff, perhaps outside the team, or even a change in writers might be advisable, whichever suits how the team works. Any writing, or design that i've done, you get as many people as possible to look over it before you call it done, preferably people outside the team that can offer valuable feedback on how to improve stuff - unlike a large majority of people who've posted on this thread it seems, who are more than happy to throw a tantrum over stuff without offering any method of improving it.

Garaw:

GamingAwesome1:
That said, dogs generally lack variety in facial expression. They communicate with body language - posture and tail motion accounts for 95%, and the other 5% is eyebrows, ears, and a varied degree of "growl snout." Hang out with a dog for a while, and really pay attention to the face. You'll see what I mean.

I'm not disparaging the animation skills of you or anyone you work with - I know it must take a lot of work, and it's getting the point across. But I really hope you're not going to try and haul out an anemic excuse like that when people criticize it.

Yeah, dogs don't have much in the way of facial expressions. They also don't talk, walk on two legs, work in offices, wear clothes, or make sandwiches. You're obviously not going for scientifically accurate dogs here, so why apply realism to something as vital to animation as facial expressions?

Like the OP said, it's necessary for empathy on the part of a human, non-canine audience. If the episodes contained no dialogue, you could technically make the argument of WELL DOGS DON'T TALK NOW DO THEY, but it wouldn't make for an interesting series. Neither does looking at flat-affect cartoon characters.

Got my point across far better than I could.

The game idea they come up with was actually great! @_@

HOWEVER, as a series, I still think it falls short.

I'm not finding this series particularly funny either, the writing is very predictable but not god awful. I think alot of the humor is lost because the characters don't really emote or express at all. Just blank stares and mouth flaps.

To be fair the animator probably hasn't done this kinda stuff much and is no doubt working to a deadline but giving the faces a little more range would really pay off. Even bland writing can be made hilarious if the characters face is exaggerated the right way.

Cut the bosses lines down by half. This consists of him no longer saying everything two or three times. We get it, the whole thing is a sitcom. You know reality shows trumped sitcoms? Because no one gives a shit about sitcoms anymore.

The idea is good. Game design hits alot of the audiences here: It's acomputer heavy job, the kind that alot of escapists probably have. It *is* design, which is creative, which most people like to think they are. Bonus points for the ability to come up with really stupidly funny ideas. And last in line but first in importance, it's about games. Hallelujah!

Surprised I spelled that correctly on my first go.

The problem is that the humour itself isn't targetting the right audience. Besides perhaps Two and a half men, 90% of people probably do not like sitcoms. TaaHM garners maybe 20% which watch if nothing else is on, in case you're wondering.

Here's how to win:

1. Change the music. It's too Friends.
2. Remove both the boss' repeated line in front of EVERY GOD DAMN EPISODE, and the 'before a live studio audience' bit. That only makes sense if you have laugh tracks, which you somehow realized were a terrible idea.
3. Rewrite the boss. Napoleon syndrome is kinda funny, but not the way you do it. Make him a negligent evil like Mr. Yin/Ying/Yang Wang LSD Drop but more grounded in the moment (If not the information surrounding the moment).

Now go, and follow the voice of an essentially nameless person on the intertubes. How can you go wrong?

GamingAwesome1:

Got my point across far better than I could.

Jacked up the quote tags pretty bad, didn't I? Fixed.

It was... meh..

I mean, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't very good.

All they do is stand in a break room and talk. Your audience is videogame players. We don't care about whether or not the girl dog went to sunday school.

(What was the plot outline for this one? "Boss dog yells a recap of last week's plot for a full 1:20, then they argue over whether Satan is a dog or whatever?")

You could've at least given us clips of what Bethanie was drawing. But nope. There's no conflict except the boss yelling, which he does EVERY WEEK.
Also:
STOP REPEATING THE 'FILMED BEFORE A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE' gag. We saw it the first time!

Russ Pitts:

YukoValis:
who said it was suppose to be funny? No one. I find it entertaining.

Yeah, well funny would be good, sure. And it is great to hear from people in the comments and PM who genuinely do think it's funny. So although - for whatever reason - this show seems to be generating a great deal of negative energy, we do know that people are getting it and enjoying it.

Listen, I know you will never please everyone all the time. Hell, even our most popular shows get negative comments and criticism. So as long as we're brightening some people's day with this, I'm happy. Yes, we will listen to feedback and do what we can to please those of you who very vocally have insisted upon changes, but at the end of the day, it will be what it will be.

But as far as funny, as another poster said, it's not non-stop hilarity like some of our shows and that's by design. Most people think comedy is easy because they can make their mates laugh, but making people who know you and have a personal investment in being your friend, and with whom you share interests and a cultural lexicon laugh is the easiest thing in the world. Making people who don't know you or care about you and who come from vastly different background and share no interests with you laugh is quite challenging.

Another challenge to making comedy entertainment is making something that's both funny and meaningful in some way. Game Dogs, unlike some of our shows, has a plot. It has characters, it has - I hope - meaning. If we find that, at the end of the day, we tried something that didn't work,. we'll either make changes or quit. But so far we've published 20 minutes worth of content for this show. That's barely a TV show's worth. I think we have some room left yet to see what happens, and I hope you guys will stick with us.

Wow you really back this show huh? :) I like that. Look I am not sure why you had a little rant on me, but I told you I enjoyed it. It's a good show, and even though I don't find it that funny, I find it entertaining at least. Plus I'm a Furrie, so anthro's always go good with me ;)

I am still enjoying this show.Bob is the best he needs way more screen time.

Brainstrain:
STOP REPEATING THE 'FILMED BEFORE A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE' gag. We saw it the first time!

It doesn't say "...filmed before a live studio...". It says "ANIMATED before a live studio audience". Thus the reason for no laugh track. Watching someone animate something frame by frame isn't funny because you don't get to see what the hell is going on. You don't see the action, you don't hear the dialog. All you see is the one frame the animator is working on at that moment. So imagine a room full of people looking over a guys shoulder while he draws a Furr... I mean... while he draws an anthropomorphic dog.

Its a subtle joke I know. Looking back, perhaps too subtle.

Ahh well!

:)

Signa:

Also, if anyone actually bothers to read my comment on the 5th page, the intro needs some SERIOUS work. The music grates on my nerves, and that boss dog popping up saying "are you insane!?" isn't funny. I could see that as an opportunity for a Bart-on-the-Chalkboard gag, but it's the same line over and over each episode. It's starting to feel like he's asking me why I would even bother watching the video. Then the "Live Audience" line is so dry, Ben Stein with a bottle of Aquafina couldn't make it palatable.

Yes. In fact I want to quote almost every comment on this board because I agree with everything that's being said. I too have worked in a horrible office environment. I laugh at "The Office" and at "Red vs. Blue" and every other office humour series of worth. I haven't laughed once in the past four episodes.

I have no idea what the deal is with the "are you insane?" line. Why is he saying that? I honestly don't even know why the creators put it in. The intro is ridiculously long too, and as for "filmed in front of a live studio audience", that's pretty cheesey but WHERE IS THE AUDIENCE? The whole point of an audience is to provide a LAUGH TRACK. Can you seriously not afford to record one person laughing dubbed over three hundred times to create a laughing audience in the background? It might actually make the show funnier, and at least that intro wouldn't be so... well, insane. Haha, people say I'm not funny. Funny. Etc.

I preferred this show when it was the webcomic "VG Cats" ( http://www.vgcats.com/comics/ ) and THAT is just Penny Arcade. With cats.

George Palmer:

Brainstrain:
STOP REPEATING THE 'FILMED BEFORE A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE' gag. We saw it the first time!

Its a subtle joke I know. Looking back, perhaps too subtle.

:)

It was subtle when the Simpsons did it.
"Homer, very few cartoons are actually aired live. It's a terrible strain on the animator's wrists."
:)
You know what joke I'm referring to and you haven't refuted the fact you repeat it every week. You put yourself in the position to give me a zippy one liner about dogs/videogames, and you deliver something the Simpsons did on February 7th >>>1997<<<.

Also, it's a cop-out to say that you're trying for something deeper, and that none of us know what it's like to make people laugh. I'm a standup comedian. If I took an elitist attitude like that ("my audience isn't the ultimate arbiter of whether or not I've succeeded in entertaining them"), I'd be booed offstage. And rightly so.

Pitts, you're a good person and you've had other successful projects. But for every post you have, another excuse arises.

But so far we've published 20 minutes worth of content for this show. That's barely a TV show's worth.

1. You're not making a TV show, you're making a 5-minutes-at-a-time animated series.
2. TV Shows, with commercials, generally run 22 minutes. So you've given us 10/11s of your show and there were only like, 3 laughs (and all of them from Yee).
3. If I watch a show and it's not funny by the commercial break, it's generally not because they're holding out on an amazingly funny joke.

If you want to address a lot of criticisms, perform the script for someone. Someone who doesn't know you, someone not invested for the program - put dog ears on everyone and do it during someone's lunch break. See if they laugh, and see what suggestions you get.

Brainstrain:

George Palmer:

Brainstrain:
STOP REPEATING THE 'FILMED BEFORE A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE' gag. We saw it the first time!

Its a subtle joke I know. Looking back, perhaps too subtle.

:)

It was subtle when the Simpsons did it.
"Homer, very few cartoons are actually aired live. It's a terrible strain on the animator's wrists."
:)
You know what joke I'm referring to and you haven't refuted the fact you repeat it every week. You put yourself in the position to give me a zippy one liner about dogs/videogames, and you deliver something the Simpsons did on February 7th >>>1997<<<.

Oddly enough I haven't watched the Simpsons since about 1994-5 so, no, I don't know which joke your referring to. AND that is a different joke than the one at the beginning of GameDogs. Also I'm just not that big of a fan of the Simpsons in general. But thats me. So I guess I missed that one. Ahh well. What can you do. OH, and Bugs Bunny did it in the 1940's. I'm willing to bet Disney also did it before then.

But hey its all good! Keep on watching! More fun and excitement in upcoming episodes that I think you guys are really gonna dig!

:)

Russ Pitts you are the man, and a very funny guy,
But that was BOOOOOOOOOORING.
you seriously need to jump the shark with this series and pull out something crazy to spice it up.
none of the characters are funny or likable (and yes that goes for Bob as well.)
and its pretty much about a bunch of Dogs at work,
not very exciteing, if you were going for a sitcom feel to it you really need a laugh track or something, it could go a long way.
I love dogs, I own a dog, Dogs can be very entertaining, but replace these Dogs with humans and the show is just as much fun, that is to say not much at all.

Im holding out hope, so Ill give it two more episodes before Im done with it.

Jezixo:

Signa:

Also, if anyone actually bothers to read my comment on the 5th page, the intro needs some SERIOUS work. The music grates on my nerves, and that boss dog popping up saying "are you insane!?" isn't funny. I could see that as an opportunity for a Bart-on-the-Chalkboard gag, but it's the same line over and over each episode. It's starting to feel like he's asking me why I would even bother watching the video. Then the "Live Audience" line is so dry, Ben Stein with a bottle of Aquafina couldn't make it palatable.

Yes. In fact I want to quote almost every comment on this board because I agree with everything that's being said. I too have worked in a horrible office environment. I laugh at "The Office" and at "Red vs. Blue" and every other office humour series of worth. I haven't laughed once in the past four episodes.

I have no idea what the deal is with the "are you insane?" line. Why is he saying that? I honestly don't even know why the creators put it in. The intro is ridiculously long too, and as for "filmed in front of a live studio audience", that's pretty cheesey but WHERE IS THE AUDIENCE? The whole point of an audience is to provide a LAUGH TRACK. Can you seriously not afford to record one person laughing dubbed over three hundred times to create a laughing audience in the background? It might actually make the show funnier, and at least that intro wouldn't be so... well, insane. Haha, people say I'm not funny. Funny. Etc.

If they could get the laugh right (which I kinda doubt at this point) it could be hilarious if the "live studio audience" was just one person. Just make the dogs pause after each of their lines so the guy can laugh hysterically for no reason. Maybe have some one get pissed at him at the end of the episode and have them kick his ass. Maybe the audience is just some other employee in the lunch room watching them work. Maybe he's a hyena.

You know what, I don't know why people are "dogging" (pun intended) on it. I thought it was pretty entertaining. Clever dialogue, kinda some "old-school" type comedy, which I think the web-industry is lacking. Great work Russ!

They're getting better...
I'm guessing this will be something really good by its 2nd season.

Was that a Clerks reference in the beginning? (The animated series not the movies)

OT: It's alright, but I don't like that female characters always tend to play the "Straight" character, the one who just looks down on the whacky antics of the other two in the group. It's kind of a damper on the whole thing, I'm not saying take out the female dog, I'm saying get her more involved with what the other two are doing instead of having her react to what the other two are doing. Just what I think, but this is the only episode I've watched so far so maybe I missed something. :P

Bob was hilarious though. Keep more Bob coming.

:/it jsut feels to me, its trying to be like Code monkeys, but with furries. and noone likes furries

Russ,
Liking this series so far as i posted earlier, but that "Are you insane?" gag really does need to change every episode.

few suggestions...

1: "It's all in your head"
2: "Don't blame me for this mess"
3: "I'm passing the buck... to you!"

Just a few that will speak volumes to people who have had a lousy manager at some point in their career.

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