|January 12, 2017 - Setting some vague goals|
I dunno how much time and/or motivation I'll have throughout this year. As always, there are many things I hope to achieve, both online and offline; however, it's unlikely I'll be able to get everything done. I've been slacking greatly over the past couple months, playing games and having fun in my free time instead of doing something productive. Is it so wrong to relax when I am not required to work? When I've got so many projects on my plate, I suppose the answer is yes. Yes, it is wrong to have fun.
Anyway, I haven't been doing anything on the ol' MMO project, but I was working on some writing for something else I'm working on. I just wasn't feeling up to working on MMO graphics. I find my motivation decreases when I work on things that can't be used immediately. It's hard to build upon things when my initial work can't be tested out. That is, if I create something and I'm not sure if the quality is satisfactory, I can't work on anything related to it since it'll have a snowball effect. The only way to know if my work is up to par is if I can see it in action; I need to see it from different angles, on different backgrounds, placed in close proximity to other work of varying colours, etc. Without being able to test it out, it's hard to make the proper adjustments and completely finalize the work, allowing me to move on to the next part.
I'm capable of testing out my own work, but it's a rather tedious and time-consuming process. On some occasions, half of the time I spend working on something might be wasted on setting things up to test it out. I got a bit burnt out on all that. It's been a while, though; I think that in the near future, I'll be able to have at it again. I started working on some more concept art very recently. After I have my fun with that, I'll probably get back to the pixels.
So, I suppose here's a list of my realistic goals for the year. Might as well have something specific to refer back to in future posts so I can be like, "Yeesh, I really let myself down. I better get at least 1 or 2 things done from my list."
1. Finish renovating house (hopefully). This'll take all my time and money when the time is right.
2. Create attack animations, sitting poses, and whatever other basic things are needed for the character sprite. Also finish making female version. Create at least 5 outfits with complete sprite sheets.
3. Redesign this website.
4. Make at least 15 new C-Mix comics. Ideally make it to 300 comics total, though.
5. Finish my secret writing project.
Hopefully we'll be online this year. That's all the time we have for now. Thank you and good night.
|April 03, 2017 - An update for the general public|
It's been a while since I last made a public post regarding my projects, so here we go. Throughout most of January, I was working on some more NPC portrait art for the MMO project.
After that, I started working steadily on pixel art again. Progress has been pretty good, but there's still plenty of work to be done. I've adjusted some colours in hopes of ensuring there's enough contrast between things like grass vs. leaves; seems like it worked. I've been making more nature-type things and trying to keep the colours vibrant while avoiding blinding the user. I'm pretty happy with how things are turning out.
The base sprite is coming along just fine, as well. I've refined some animations, made sitting poses, and started on attack animations. With a few more adjustments, I'm hoping I'll be satisfied with the walking animations. Once that's final, I can get serious about making equipment and a female character. It's difficult since I want to make equipment now, but I must be patient. After all, if the base sprite is flawed, then everything made to fit that sprite will also be flawed. I don't want to look at it in a few months and think about how I want to make adjustments - it must be in its final form before I proceed.
I have been able to work on hairstyles, at least, since I know I won't be changing the head shape of the sprite. A character's hair will be key to their appearance. All hairstyles will be unisex, though some are generally intended for males (like a buzzcut) while some are intended for females (like pigtails). Currently, there are 20 hairstyles intended just for males. An additional 16 hairstyles are suitable for males, but also customizable to create more feminine looks. These 16 are designed to allow hair length to be added on later, such as a ponytail or braid. The player will be able to mix and match as they please, allowing for a lot of variance. At the moment, there are 44 hair lengths available. In other words, there are over 700 hairstyle possibilities. There will also be different colours and yet another piece to customize hair with. The 44 hair lengths will affect the hair behind the character while the extra category will affect hair that appears in front of the character.
All the hair options are most likely going to benefit female characters more than males. So, for males, I have some plans to create facial hair options. I'm also hoping to make lots of different equipment as time goes on, so there should be plenty of opportunities for players to express themselves and truly make their character their own. With any luck, it'll be uncommon to see two players that coincidentally look exactly alike.
I've been working on the MMO project just about everyday since my last post in January. I've accomplished a lot, but there's still plenty to do. I haven't really been playing games or working on other things. It's been exactly a year since I started making C-Mix comics again, though I ended up stopping on August 18th. Maybe I'll make some comics again in the near future when I need to take a break from pixel art. I've also been wanting to make YouTube videos, but haven't really had time for it. To make things worse, I've recently been thinking about how I used to teach myself Japanese. I kinda wanna get back into that so I don't completely forget everything I learned. As always, there's no shortage of things I want to do. I just don't have the time or motivation to do everything at once, so I suppose I'll mainly be sticking to the MMO project for now.
|August 18, 2017 - 13 years of unfinished projects and excuses|
Well, here we are. Cloudflash's 13th anniversary. I made 4 comics to celebrate the occasion. I intended to make more, but I've had a pretty busy work schedule. This year has been pretty bad for projects overall. I've been able to make more artwork for [insert MMO project], at least. I have a few drawings in progress, hopefully to be completed before the year is over. I still want to do the site redesign thing, but I just haven't had the patience to sit down and learn how to make a decent website. There isn't much need to say more than that since we've all heard my excuses plenty of times in the past.
I'm not really sure what else to say on the Cloudflash front. I'm posting all this during my lunch break at work and I'm just about out of time. I want to do more, but haven't had the time/energy, etc. I'm making no promises, but we'll see if I might start making comics on a somewhat regular basis again in the near future. Remember when C-Mix used to be called "Occasional Comics"? Yeah, me neither. That was 10 years ago! Anyway, it is slightly comical that my consistent comic series has gone back to rare updates. You could say I'm celebrating Cloudflash's roots in an obscure way.
|November 20, 2017 - One focus - Re:Spite|
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 !