History of Cloudflash
Cloudflash was born on August 18th, 2004. In the beginning, it was just another section to my "Danny7" website on Freewebs. But it soon became the center of attention, and then the main site. Cloudflash was originally a very simple website. There was the absolute original site, and a later version of the site; one might say that the original was version zero just to keep present things in order.
The original site had colours for backgrounds and text links saying what ages the submissions were suitable for; this was essentially a rip off of ESRB's video game ratings. There was E-Everyone, T-Caution, and M-Violence. There was also a section for Seasonal gifs (Halloween, Christmas, etc.). Once you went to these pages, you would find the animated gifs that made Cloudflash what it was. The only actual Flash on the original Cloudflash was an intro featuring some Crono sprites; you would have to click him before he disappeared to get to the actual site.
In the first version of Cloudflash, all index pages had plain yellow backgrounds, and all submission pages had plain black backgrounds. The movie/game index was a long list of text links to the Flash submissions. The submission pages had the Cloudflash logo at top, the movie, my comments on it, and a link back to the index. Most of the submissions were simple stick animations.
The name "Cloudflash" originally came from "Cloud" of Final Fantasy 7, and "Flash" for Macromedia Flash, the program used to make the content. At least, that's where one would think the name came from. I had barely played Final Fantasy 7 at the time, and I didn't even like the game too much due to the hard-to-play-with angles in the game. As for the 'Flash' part, Cloudflash actually had animated gifs, not Flash movies or games. Most of the gifs weren't even made using Flash. I had an animated gif series titled "Mr. Blond", which was made to make fun of the Nintendo 64 James Bond game, GoldenEye, and it was made using MS Paint. So the first Cloudflash didn't really have anything to do with Cloud or Flash. Eventually a Cloudflash logo was developed, using Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 and the Flash logo. I stopped using this at some point, because I didn't want to use characters from other games in my logo. Anyhow, the point is that the name "Cloudflash" may have come from thoughts of Cloud and Flash or it may have just been some sort of coincidence.
Why did I make Cloudflash? Well, here's a lot of info about the origins and stuff... Cloudflash didn't just randomly
happen you know... Lots of history... I had first used a computer when I was around 6 years old, but I only knew about
Minesweeper and Solitaire back then. That computer was at a gymnasium I used to go to; there was no computer in
my household. Somewhere around when I was 10 years old, we finally got a computer and internet. I mostly just
messed around in MS Paint, look up game cheats, play free games, and save images to my folder. I saw my brother
making his own free website with www.homestead.com, then decided I wanted a website of my own. For about a month
I was always working on making a WYSIWYG website with Homestead whenever I wasn't playing video games. The
site was pretty ugly and pointless, but I enjoyed making it. One day I tried to log on but they told me my 30 day free
trial has expired... I had no idea what that meant, then I found out it meant my site was no more. I was pretty upset...
A couple years later my oldest brother took the computer to my dad's house, so I hardly got to go on the computer at
all anymore... I was looking for a "game maker" or something whenever I was on the computer since I had an interest
in creating games, but "Game Maker 4" was a crappy program and hard to use. I tried to read through all of their
Help and How to files, but it was too much to read, so I gave up. I was also spending time looking for a free website
maker since I was still interested in having a website, but it was hard to find one back then. They all had their free trials
and other gimmicks, and I knew better by then. It all seemed hopeless, so I stuck to drawing in school and in free time...
I always wanted to make cartoons, so I practised my drawing, even though I was terrible. I made little comics
featuring violent little stick men... Pokemon was put on YTV when I was 10, so since then I had an interest in anime... I
had watched Ranma 1/2, Sailormoon, and Dragon Ball a few years prior to Pokemon, and I enjoyed those, but
Pokemon was the shit back then! It caused me to frequently try to draw anime. Eventually I stopped sucking so badly at
drawing anime, but the drawings were still far from good. In late July of 2004, we finally got a computer again. We
installed a free trial of AOL... I couldn't go on the internet much since my mom expected the phone calls often. During that
summer I worked with my dad for a month painting houses and whatever. At his house I found a free trial of an easy-to-use
gif animator; I wanted a gif animator for some time since it was the closest thing to making animations. Later, when I was
back at home, I "went on my ship", "raised the flag with skull and cross bones", and "pillaged another ship", if you
catch my drift. I was so happy that I could finally make movies... I was so excited, I would draw out 400+ frames in
MS Paint and import them to this gif animator to make a movie; these movies were my "Mr. Blond" series. Around this
time I found out about freewebs; lots of people were making crappy personal websites, word got around... This was an
excellent opportunity to once more make a website! I created "Danny7" on freewebs, which was basically a pointless
site featuring random stuff, including a gallery of pictures submitted by myself and others. It was fun and stuff...
freewebs had a limit of 50 files per account, so I made a new account, Cloudflash, which was where I put my animated
gifs. Basically the only ones who knew about it were myself, my sister, and Katie. I kept making gifs though... I kept the
site running and all that sort. My childhood dreams of making animations and having a website were both fulfilled, and
nicely combined too! I was seeing a few Flash sites around that time; www.ugoplayer.com (formerly known as
www.flashplayer.com) in particular. I posted my Mr. Blond on the UgoPlayer forums to see what people thought. The
members seemed to sort of like it. I "got on my ship" and all that sort in late August when somebody told me that
the program used to make the real Flash was Macromedia Flash MX 2004. I didn't exactly understand it, so I stuck to
MS Paint and my gif animator. Some time after school started, Skutieos showed up at Cloudflash, and submit the very
first actual Flash game, which was a simple "shoot the stick man by clicking on him" button game. At that time I thought
that was amazing! I was inspired to try using Flash again, but not that much... I was still on the virge of giving up on
Flash entirely. I didn't sign up for the computer class known as CPT at school, but the teacher, Mrs. Watt, talked to me
about how she thought I might sign up for it and stuff... So I dropped my art class and joined the CPT class since she
mentioned Flash. We did some boring camera techniques and stuff, but then we finally got to the Flash part! I made my
first Flash movie at home in early November, which was when Cloudflash moved into version one. I told the rest of the
CPT class about Cloudflash, and quite a few of them checked it out fairly often during class and enjoyed it. That was
Cloudflash's first real audience, aside from the oldest members, Katie, Skutieos, and my sister. In early November I
also created my first "click to shoot" button game. At that point I had accomplished all of my childhood dreams to a
The second version of Cloudflash had much change from the first version. Background images were added to index, movie, and game pages. A single Flash file was added at the top of the screen, with buttons that linked to the other pages. Flash submission pages gained tables, screenshots, artist's comments, description, rating, etc. The "Other" section began many of sections to modern Cloudflash, such as "Downloads", and even this "History" page. Also, the quality of the submissions improved quite a bit. There used to be dozens of simple stick animations listed in the first version of Cloudflash, but we moved on to having less quantity, and a lot more quality. I'm not saying the movies in the second Cloudflash were perfect, but I am saying it was a very good improvement.
The third version of Cloudflash was another large jump from the previous version. I can say that the layout had improved quite a lot, even if some people disagree with using frames on websites. Rather than having a Flash navigation at the top of the screen, a frame on the left side of the screen contained button links to the other pages. The right side of the page had a frame with all of Cloudflash's affiliates, and some links. There was another frame at the top with the Cloudflash logo. The center frame contained all the pages that you were directed to when buttons/links. were clicked. The forums contained the updates, and the home page of the website displayed the beginning of those updates, then provided a link to the forum post so that the reader could view it all. The Flash Artists section had links to all of the comics, animations, and games submitted by a particular user, as well as a small profile. Many of these changes stayed through to the fourth version of Cloudflash.
A new set of update avatars were used with this version. They were based off of "Kazushi", a character from a comic I was planning on making. I noticed the comic was unintentionally ripping too many things off at once, so I gave up on that, but I kept the main character, Kazushi. Kazushi has been seen once on an "Under Construction" image on Cloudflash and on this set of update avatars.
The background of this version of Cloudflash was a blue one. The center frame was two different shades of blue, striped and tiles. This made several horizontal blue lines in two different colours, each line one pixel thick. The outter frames had a checkered and darker blue colour, each checker tile one pixel in size. The third version of Cloudflash was considered to have ended when the backgrounds were changed from the blue to a red one.
Unlike the previous version gaps, the transition from version 3 to version 4 was gradual. At first the only real differences were the avatars and backgrounds. There were minor changes now and then, which included the addition of information about Cloudflash Names, Submitting Comics, and Submitting Downloads to the Other section. In this version it was decided that there would be 15 submissions per content listing page. So 15 animations before you'd have to move on to Animations: page 2. Flash Artist profiles were linked to from the artist's Cloudflash Name, which was shown on the content list page and on the submission page. An image was added to the bottom of the screen with all of the copyright information to make changing it on every page easier. Update images were added; UPDATE, MOVIE, GAME, COMIC, and DOWNLOAD. These would be shown with the update to indicate what general areas have been added to or updated. The displayed updates changed greatly; a table with the top having scrolling text briefly stating the updates, my update avatar and name to the left, the update images to the right, [View Post] and [Comment] buttons on the bottom to quickly and easily go to the forum post or reply to the post on the forums, and lastly a cell in the center which explained the updates in full. A favicon was added, but could only be displayed on the freewebs URL of Cloudflash.
A newer set of update avatars were used. These ones were based off of myself; white skin, brown hair, plain t-shirt, and a tired-out look. An updated version of these were later introduced. They were the same avatars, but an unzipped sweater, blue eyes, and glasses on top of the head were added. Some mild details were also added to the face/skin. A new affiliate banner was also created in this version of Cloudflash; the one with the blue sky, clouds passing by, and "Cloudflash" written in red text.
The backgrounds were changed to red background images. These had more colours in them than the version 3 background images (around 3 or 4 per image as opposed to version 3's 2 colours per image) and were made up of several tiny Tetris blocks. When tiled, they just looked like a normal background. The outter frames had a darker background than the center frame.
Cloudflash faced downtime between around March 7 to March 25; freewebs claimed we were out of bandwidth.
500 MB of a small site being used up in less than 24 hours sounded like bullshit to me, so Cloudflash moved to
I found out about a way to get a free domain at a website called Hostbidder.com, so Cloudflash finally went .net (since cloudflash.com is taken by an inactive website). I figured it would be a waste of a domain to still have all the URLs hidden by the frames, so I redesigned the website. I learned some basic CSS, learned some bare minimum stuff in PHP, and changed Cloudflash greatly with those. I learned that I could do what I was doing with the frames using CSS and PHP, but all the URLs would show! Yay! It also looked a lot prettier. It's also way more efficient. I was happy to have taken the few hours to learn CSS; it made a huge difference and it was easy to use too.
I made some new and nicer looking buttons for this version, and I made it so if you mouse over them they change a bit. I stuck to the red theme from version 4, but I made new and more organized background images. I decided to keep using the version 4 logo for a while... but I later changed it a bit to match the sky at the top of the screen. At the time I changed it, I also added the little "Cloudflash character" image to the top-right corner of the screen.
Unlike in the past, Cloudflash's updates are now very gradual. The site lives and breathes; it doesn't just suddenly "evolve" from one form to another. That said, there will no longer be "version summaries". Instead, there will just be a list of the avatars used for the timeframe and a link for its archived history.
Navigation buttons from December 31, 2008 to April 26, 2009: