Return of the Forum
Well, I finally revived the forum. I figured I should upgrade it to the latest version of phpBB since it'd have to be redesigned to match the site, anyway. It took a while 'cause it was a bit of a hassle to save all the old user accounts and posts. Everything's been restored, so our old members can enjoy cringing out to their archived posts from 10 years ago. Meanwhile, new accounts will see a wasteland of a forum with practically zero posts on it! I forgot to make a backup of some files before the big move, so we lost all our old attachments and most of our avatars.
We don't have a chatbox at the moment, but I'll see if I can get one up and running again. Other than that, I guess the forum is open for business. I'll update the hideous default graphics as we go along.
I sure took my sweet time, but I finally updated the forum to kinda match the rest of the website. There's still work to be done on that front, but at least it looks a little more presentable now! I also made a new C-Mix yesterday. It's been a while, haven't made one since Cloudflash's anniversary last year. Speaking of which, that's coming up again kinda soon, so you can probably expect at least a couple more comics when that time comes. Hopefully I'll keep working on updates, I do hate to see my website in such a bare state!
Re:Spite Down / Artwork Added
Re:Spite is temporarily redirecting to Cloudflash while I sort out a little Re:Spite problem. I'm hoping to get it to go back to the proper Re:Spite website tomorrow! Anyway, just wanted to let the masses know in case they wound up at Cloudflash and wondered what's going on.
Over the past week or two, I finally created the Artwork section. Well, it's still a work in progress, but at least it's possible to view some of my art now. A good portion of it (36%) of the art is from Re:Spite! I suppose over the past 4 years, that's been mostly all I've been drawing. Perhaps it was around 2010 when my artistic abilities transitioned from "serviceable" to "pretty good", then to "something people could actually like" in 2012. Anyway, so I guess that explains why a lot of it is Re:Spite-based.
Now It's 16 Years
Well, Cloudflash is now 16 years old. I made 2 new C-Mix comics to celebrate. It hasn't been a terrible year, has it? Sure, I've only made 3 new comics so far this year, but at least they were kinda bigger than normal. I made some decent progress on the redesign, too, so that should count for something! I've been busy working on my house, get off my back. Okay, fine, it's been a terrible year. Are you happy now?!
Cloudflash History n' Stuff
I've been quietly updating a few things lately. I've finally replaced my placeholder avatar with a new one - I've been using the placeholder since starting this redesign in November 2019. Ah, it's nice to have a more full avatar not encased in a little box. I updated the site navigation font to look nicer and be more clickable. Various fonts on the forum have been updated to be more readable or consistent with the rest of the site, though I still have work to do on that front. I got rid of the old "red sword" favicon for the site, opting for a big ol' "C" instead.
A couple of comics have been ninja edited. One such comic is #26, "Food Items"; the RPG menus originally had black borders and black text, but I changed them to white to more accurately reflect real RPGs. #95, "Giant Woman", has also been updated a little. The giant was originally naked (in an undetailed way), but that was just me being pretentious in 2009. Back in those days, PBF Comics was still new and exciting to me. PBF had non-descript characters drawn nude, so I imitated them. Anyway, I felt a little embarrassed about that, as well as the poorly drawn body proportions/pose, so I changed it. I improved the backgrounds slightly while I was at it. I intend to update a few more old comics at some point when I have some time.
Lastly, I brought back Cloudflash's history/news post archives! There used to be a "History" button as part of the site's main navigation, but I decided to tuck it away in the Misc section, back from whence it came! The old History pages used to use the exact code from old versions of Cloudflash, regardless of how messy it looked. There was also a ton of broken links to old Photobucket accounts and such. I didn't want to have sloppy/obsolete code on my pages, so I updated them to fit the modern layout. For some general amusement and to spice the page up a bit, I faithfully recreated old versions of Cloudflash using my old files, took a screenshot, and included the screenshots on the History page. As I went through every old news post, I also fixed up the dead links (so when an update post referenced a comic, I pointed it to the new URL). It took quite a while to get through Cloudflash's archives, especially when I used to make announcements multiple times per month in the 2000s! Well, anyway, it's done now.
More Art, New C-Mix
All this 2020 US presidential election suspense gave me a comic idea, so there it is: one brand new Cloudflash Mix comic for your viewing pleasure. I also added more stuff to the Artwork section - mostly non-digital drawings created with the use of paper and a pen or pencil. They're not great drawings, but I wanted to include them to show how I've improved over the years. Well, enjoy (if you dare!).
Updating Old Comics
Well, I edited a bunch of old Cloudflash Mix comics. There were just a few little things that had been bothering me throughout the years, such as lazy backgrounds and poor anatomy. Anyway, here's a list of the minor changes:
- #75 Street Fighters - First panel had a lazy non-background originally. I gave it a real background. Redid the shading and added some small details.
- #78 Scratch n' Sniff - Another non-background in the first panel has been upgraded to a real background. Redid the shading.
- #110 Canada Day - Fixed the pencil necks, added shading, added other small details and overhauled the backgrounds.
- #133 Thanksgiving - Added some text to the first panel to make it clear the character just ate Thanksgiving, added shading.
- #157 One of These Days... This - Changed the first panel to not show the ground looking completely normal. It's still mediocre, but maybe it's at least a little less confusing/nonsensical.
- #165 Programmer's Math Problem - Changed some text to try and convey the lame joke a little better.
- #83 Table Manners - Completely redid the comic. The old one had a terrible background, awkwardly posed character, and a copy+paste panel. It wasn't even clear the character just took a bite out of their sandwich. For shame!
I intend to update some more old comics at some point in the future.
More Comic Updates
I've been updating more old Cloudflash Mix comics. There was a time I cranked out 3 new comics per week; quite a few (C-Mix #34 through #58!) were drawn on my Nintendo DS during lunch breaks at work. I was lazy at times, recycling entire panels or not drawing backgrounds. As I improved over the years, some of my weaker comics became a bit of an embarrassment. Still, I felt some obligation to leave the comics as they were, perhaps to preserve the comics origins and my growth? Anyway, to hell with that. If I have the time and energy, I figure I might as well clean'em up to make Cloudflash Mix a better webcomic as a whole. There's no point leaving the really bad comics as they are if they don't provide the entertainment value they're intended to. I have the ability to make these comics more enjoyable through better art, writing/speech bubble placement, paneling, etc., so I might as well update them as I see fit!
Generally speaking, I'm fairly satisfied with how the comics beyond #100 look, especially after all these edits. There are at least 10 more pre-#100 comics I intend to edit. Anyway, here's a list smaller of changes lately:
- #95 Giant Woman - Improved the backgrounds and shading a little more (I already revised this in July).
- #105 Strong Man - Redrew female character in panel 1 (she was very flat and awkward looking), adjusted/added small details to other characters, added minor background details, redid speech bubbles, removed weeby nose bleed.
- #111 Farewell - Added shading, fixed character's eyes in panel 2 (they were way off level!), fixed character's head shape in panel 3, other minor adjustments.
- #112 Equivalent Exchange - Improved shading, added minor background details, fixed character head shapes in last panel.
- #127 Punch Buggy - Added black & white shading to make it more readable. It was kinda tough to distinguish things when everything was just solid white.
- #248 The Art of Lifeguarding - I forgot to fill in part of the lifeguard's trunks white. Oops!
And here are some bigger changes! In some cases, I reused some of the original art, but I consider these to be remakes:
- #39 Joke - No longer recycles the same art for all 4 panels. Remade to convey the joke better, new text added.
- #70 Bridge - Added details and depth to characters in panel 1 and 2, remade character in panel 3, reshaded everything, remade backgrounds (I can't believe the bridges were completely flat before, you couldn't even tell it was a bridge!).
- #74 Link's Uncle: Master Swordsman - Remade all characters and revised backgrounds.
- #85 Graffiti - Remade everything, split text into 2 speech bubbles to make the wall of text more readable. The graffiti was originally just a regular font with minor effects added - how shameful!
Well, that's all I have for now. I'll post a new C-Mix (#297) tomorrow.
Back to the Schedule?
I've basically been trying to maintain a weekly update schedule for Cloudflash Mix this month. We'll see how long that keeps up, I guess. It looks like I'll finally be reaching 300 comics this year, anyway. So, there should be a new comic every Thursday until further notice. To keep that going, here's#298 comin' right back at ya.
In milder news, I added a little site map thing to the bottom of the page. It's not much right now, but at least it gives you a way to make your way around the site if you happen to be at the bottom of the page.
Retiring Blue Borders
In the year 2008, I tried to make my comics look a little nicer and more uniform. I created a basic template for Cloudflash Mix comics, which consisted of consistent information - titles, dates, credits, and numbering. That part was fine, but Cloudflash had a horrible blue eyesore of a layout and I decided to give the comics a horrible blue layout to somewhat match! Having not read many webcomics besides Ctrl+Alt+Del at that point in my life, I also defaulted to having 4 panels in every comic. It took about a full year for me to finally deviate from that setup, but the damage was already done to 83 comics in a row.
4 panel comics can be fine, but that restriction kinda messed with the flow of my comics at times or just made them not as interesting to look at. I was also kinda too lazy to draw more than 4 panels in a comic most of the time, so defaulting to 4 panels was just simpler to deal with.
Anyway, tl;dr, I think it's time to retire the blue borders on C-Mix. I changed some of the most recent comics to have white borders instead, now I'm posting new ones with white borders. In some cases, I've even opted to not have an outline around each panel in a comic, or I at least made the outline more subtle. I'm a bit on the fence about that one. I posted C-Mix #299 a little early.