Well I was originally planning to wait until I released the next episode before I made another entry, but I keep getting requests for one despite answering questions in the comments (I don't have a forum). First off, Episode 4 is getting close to done, I plan to have it out in less than a week. It's an obvious step up production-wise from the others and so far I'm pretty pleased with how it's looking.
That said, working on this episode turned into somewhat of a negative experience for me. It feels like I'm wasting so much time setting up the scene, animating mundane things, and constantly working around the bugs and shortcomings of the Source engine. While I did have some help on this one, I didn't see the workload savings I was hoping for. This episode will span multiple maps and I invested at least a month in simply creating one of the maps. What it boiled down to mainly was that most people weren't able to spare the same kind of psychotic time devotion to this that I was, or that communication wasn't very good in that I would have to explain things in such detail or correct existing work that it would be faster to do it myself. Ultimately I think it's a safe estimate that I ended up doing about 95% of the work on this episode.
The reason I don't update more frequently is because I don't want dozens of updates and no progress to show for it. I'm becoming very frustrated with the production rate since mine is horrific. Machinima is supposedly a time-saving medium, but so far I'm not seeing any of it. For these reasons, after I release Episode 4, I'm going to put the series on hold until I find a better way of producing these. I'm convinced there are better techniques out there, since I think most machinima makers don't seem to have the same kinds of problems I do, which makes me think I must be doing something wrong. I'm going to explore different options after I finish this and I will probably have to learn new software in order to do so. Right now, the process is simply too time consuming for me to keep it up for much longer the way it is. As it is, in making the first 3 episodes, it was essentially a solid burn where I just sacrificed my free time in order to make it happen. To put it in perspective, I'm an avid movie fan and I've only watched 2 movies since I stated making this in October. While that's not a hardship or anything, it does discourage me from wanting to make more of these episodes. I feel like most of the time I spend on these episodes is the result of not having the right tools or resources for what I'm trying to do, so this is what I'm going to focus on in the future otherwise the work/production ratio will be too much for me to want to continue doing this in the future. The best analogy I can make is that I feel like I'm trying to cut down a forest with a hatchet and I want a chainsaw.