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Hello, and welcome to Cloudflash. Typical activities include watching the clouds float by, sleeping, and exchanging the tokens of dairy products for things that may or may not amuse you.

Cloudflash is best viewed in Mozilla Firefox; the layout and colours are a bit messy in Internet Explorer and Chrome. Yes, I'm telling you to download/use a specific browser for one website.



November 20, 2017 - One focus - Re:Spite
Danny Poloskei

Looks like I haven't posted any updates here for a while. I've been focusing all my efforts on [insert MMO project], which is now titled Re:Spite. I brushed up on CSS and created a website for the game last month, though the site still needs a little more work to make it more mobile-friendly. When the Re:Spite site is completely done, then perhaps I'll finally give Cloudflash the same treatment. I'm quite busy with planning and creating art/graphics for the game, though, so I probably won't be doing anything with Cloudflash until next year. I won't be meeting my Cloudflash goals for the year, but I am fulfilling a longtime dream, at least.

To set the stage (?), I'll provide some sort of backstory for the events leading up to Re:Spite.

In the early 2000s, the internet captured my imagination and gave me a sense of wonder. I used to spend a lot of time looking up and playing free browser-based games or watching animations, many of which were made in Flash. In those days, I thought having a website on the internet, something the whole world could see, was one of the coolest things ever (hence why Cloudflash exists). Quite a few games I played had built-in chatrooms, which I also thought was incredible. Games like Inklink, chess, and dominoes weren't necessarily the most thrilling games, but something about being able to so casually chat with people living in the USA and Australia was just magical to me.

In 2004, I had the pleasure of playing one of the best games of all time, Final Fantasy Tactics. Around the same time, a game called Tactics Arena Online was somewhat popular at my high school, so I was playing that, as well. Enjoying isometric graphics, chess, and chatrooms, it was a perfect fit for me. There was one thing missing, though: it had match-making in a lobby, but no world to explore. At that moment, I decided I wanted to make my own MMO - one with 2D isometric graphics, more focus on social features, and a world to explore. I start making graphics, then I Googled some forum where I believed I'd find a programmer. I started a small team of about 3 people and we started making some plans, but the project died within a couple months since we couldn't find a capable programmer. My art was nowhere near good enough, anyway - I was just drawing things in MS Paint and somehow hoping it would all work out.

I continued working on my graphics a little here and there until I discovered Endless Online in 2005. It was 2D isometric, highly social, and had a world to explore - in other words, everything I ever wanted. I was hooked on EO for a long time, but my interest in it faded as the dev team stopped updating the game. EO became overrun with hackers and fools who resorted to using hacking tools. A game that once had about 2000 active players was eventually reduced to nothing. Before EO met its demise, however, I had hopes of making my own MMO once again. In 2008, I started making some sprites. I was thinking I'd try to start up a decent supply of graphics before seeking a programmer; I even considered learning how to program it myself, but it was too difficult to split my time between art and programming, so I mostly stuck to art.

In 2009, I was made aware of The Forbidden Gates, a new MMO developed by Endless Online fans that could not bear EO's declining situation any longer. The graphics were kinda ugly, but it basically sought out to do exactly what EO was doing, so I stuck around. They had a functional 2D isometric MMO, but they didn't seem to be doing anything original with it - something I considered to be a terrible waste. Rather than fixing EO's fundamental flaws, they seemed intent on building upon it instead. I contributed art and ideas, but it still didn't seem to show any promise of eventually becoming an interesting game. In that same year, I once again decided to try and make my own sprites for an MMO. Not knowing any programmers, I believed doing all the art and coding myself would probably be my best shot. I formed a small team of friends to help design the game, though it was hard to stay motivated as the only person doing any real work.

In 2010, yet another new team had formed. This time, it was formed by TFG players. I was invited into the development team, which already had a programmer and 3 artists. Everyone in the team basically just wanted to make an EO clone with nothing unique or interesting about it, so I tried to guide the team away from such ways of thinking; the other artists quickly lost motivation and quit the project. With myself and the programmer, we managed to make a somewhat functional online multiplayer Flash game: you could move around, chat, and see the other players. I roped Skutieos into joining the project as a musician, as well as Hisho as an additional artist. The programmer didn't have much of a vision, though. He decided he wanted to either make the game an EO clone after all or start a new game that would be simpler to play. He wanted something that would go viral like Transformice and be an instant success. The project faded away.

In 2013, my dream saw some hope once more. Members of Cloudflash realized we probably have all the necessary talent right here. Volunteers popped up with an optimistic vision, though the more experienced programmers in our midst had no interest in taking on the project. All hope was not lost, however, as one programmer did have the desire and will to learn the skills needed to create an MMO. I did a fair bit of pixel art once more, but progress slowed, then stopped. Our programmer set out to gain more experience and knowledge.

In mid-2014, I was emailed by a programmer who was scouting out an artist to create a 2D isometric MMO. Shoutouts to Cruise for pointing the programmer in my direction. With Abi programming, myself handling all art, Nate working on the story, and Skutieos contributing music, our final MMO team had been formed. The project has gone full throttle on and off a couple times due to Abi's sudden leave of absences. Paused in 2014, resumed in 2015. Paused in 2015, resumed in 2016. We got a little lazy in late-2016, but I was fully determined to bring the dream to life in 2017. I've been consistently working on the game since January. Around the middle of the year, I started shoving my art into Abi's face to help motivate him. It seemed effective, so I stuck to it and have been working very closely with him for several months now.

Finally, as December approaches, we're getting close to releasing the game to the public. It's been a long ride for me. I've started and dropped many of my own projects throughout the years, but this is the one project I've always wanted to make, right from the very beginning. This is the one I feel most passionate about, and I'll absolutely see it through. Everything has been leading up to this moment: learning how to make websites, animating, pixel art, drawing comics, and a lifetime of teaching myself art. These are all things that will combine well to help make an MMO. With the progress we've made, I know I'm not dreaming anymore. This time, we're playing for keeps. That said, keep an eye out for Re:Spite at https://re-spite.com !

A timeline of my attempts at 2D isometric pixel art for MMO projects.
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